Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hey, Hey Goodbye!

I've survived the loss of the first church family to leave the Church Around the Corner. It seems the church isn't changing fast enough for the husband, so he decided to find a church that's more progressive. After threatening to do it since I've been here, he finally did it. He sent me an e-mail. My reply? "So sorry. I understand. Go in peace. It's the desire of my heart that you find what you're heart is searching for and the church you choose recognizes the gift they been given."

I survived!

Crazy Busy

I've been Missing in Action because I've been crazy busy. For me, January has always been a reorganization month.

I won't dis my predecessor because comparing the two of us is like comparing apples and oranges, but he wasn't a meeting kind of person. In fact, there was a time when the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee didn't meet except once a year to set his salary. He was about as "hands-off" as you can get for a pastor. But he LOVED these folks. And when he came, they needed some loving up. He was their healer.

The time for laurel-sitting is over. It's time to get to work and be in ministry. That means training folks to be leaders and take responsibility. I've developed job descriptions for all the boards and committees and I'm holding them to their jobs. After six months of listening, this is what THEY want ... accountability.

They also want "meat." To quote them, they've been fed "formula" long enough. I'm starting another study ("The Shack") on Wednesday nights. Our Women's Group has been such a blessing and so well-recieved that we're going to continue on with a Beth Moore study.

Oh, and they're participating in a Community-wide Chili Cook-off to help defray the costs of training a Service Dog. The motivation: We have one who is a regular Worship attender (and very well behaved, might I add!). They want DISCIPLESHIP.

I'm having a blast!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This Week

I don't know exactly how to explain about this week. It's like "Define the universe and give three examples." Yeah. It's been that kind of a week.

I preached on our UM understanding of baptism. I mean, my understanding of the UM understanding of baptism (see my last post). Sunday's God-incidence happened in the guise of that young man and his girlfriend.

Monday's God-incidence happened when one of CATC's prayer warriors came and asked if I have ever considered starting a healing ministry. Uh, no. Healing is one of the spiritual gifts I've been given. but I'm not opposed to having someone with that gift lead a ministry. She has that gift and the Spirit's been prompting and leading her for years. My two predecessors didn't want "that kind of stuff" happening in "their" church on "their" watch. I've come to know this woman in past six months. She's on my Partners in Prayer team. We've been praying for an outpouring of the Spirit on CATC, its people and its ministries. God-incidence #2.

#3 happened in a Church Council meeting on Tuesday after the church's business stuff had been taken care of. A young man in his 30's asked if he could address the rest of the group. He was given permission by the Chair and then proceeded to talk about the Youth, the Young Adults and the Middle Agers (his age). What he said was in line with everything I've been saying these last six months. When one of the old-timers asked, "What can we do?" the man answered, "Let's sit down and talk about it together. And let's leave Pastor Net to faciliate and listen to our dialogue. CATC's ministry starts with us and God, not her." Whoa! Holy Spirit time!

God-incidence #4 happened during a pastoral home visit on Wednesday. I went to visit New Friend who wanted to speak with me. She's also in my PIP group, a prayer warrior, loves the Lord with everything she's got and just "retired" at my tender age to spend more time with her family from a CEO postion. We're sisters from different mothers. She told me how she had been praying about CATC and that the Lord would send the "right" person to lead them when Previous Pastor retired. She sees what's happening in the church and is praising God for the leaps and bounds of faith that's been going on. She pledged her prayers and support.

And then we had us some deep theological conversation. Turns out she has a BA in Bible! I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be able to converse with someone using BIG words! Her background is in Social Work too, so I had a marvelous time talking theology and social science with her.

She asked me if I had read "The Shack" yet. I told her I hadn't - I'm not very fond of Christian fiction (gagging noise). New Friend gave me her copy and asked me "to read it with an open mind." I thanked her and told her I would.

Thursday was self-care day. I had my nails, my eyebrows and my toes done (Opi's Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not). I travel 30 miles to go to the Salon Where Everybody Knows My Name. These folks are like my family! I had a wonderful conversation with the manicurist and we prayed together when I was done. After listening and ministering to the lady who does my 'brows and toesies, she hugged me tightly and whispered, "I just love you." I chatted with the other beautician's father who calls me "his favorite preacher," although he's never heard me preach and I doubt if he goes to church. He has a good heart and I pray for him, too. God-incidences #5, #6, and #7.

I finally open "The Shack" when I get home.!!!!

Y'all know I'm a REALLY BIG "Joan of Arcadia fan. And I freely admit her character (right along with Teresa of Avila) has influenced my understanding of God. In each of these God-incidences I have stated my position and my notions about God. I get "asked" (commanded, ordered, prompted) to do things that I'm not sure where or what they're going to lead towards. I try to be faithful. I've listened to God's voice for so long, I KNOW what is sounds like. Like Joan and Teresa, I've often asked God, "How do you want me to do this and what shall I use?"
Sometimes I get an definitive answer and sometimes I'm left to figure it out.

Anyway - back to "The Shack." EVERYTHING I've talked about this week with others has been affirmed through this little book. I'm thinking of making it our next Thursday night study book.
God-incidence #8.

And tomorrow I shall preach about: "I'm listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?" God-incidence #9.

As always, I am amazed and delighted at the way God. works.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Great White North

Hosers take off! (I've always wanted to say that - but I'm not Canadian. I do have good friend who is French Canadian and a Pentecostal pastor. When she starts speaking, I'm never sure if it's in tongues or Quebecquois!) I feel like I live in the Great White North today. We've got a good foot of snow with wind chills below zero. The cats have been camping out by the fireplace.

We had more in worship today than I thought. Brave, brave souls.

A young couple came that I didn't recognize. The church family pulled them into loving and caring embraces, talking animatedly with them. They left before I had the chance to go over and introduce myself.

Turns out, I've already met the young man. He dropped a lot of his mother's stuff off at the church after her death. After he left, both Hubby and I looked at each other and said at the same time, "He has such sad eyes. He must have a story to tell."

He was arrested shortly afterwards for drug possession. I found out by reading the newspaper.

The church family filled me in on his story. He attended Church Around the Corner from the time he was brought in his mother's arms until the time he became an angry, rebellious teenager. The good folks of CATC have watched over him, prayed over him, loved and cared for him all through his life. Today, he came back "home" and they rejoiced and loved him up. Sounds like a parable we've heard, doesn't it?

This church is just so awesome. Not perfect - not by any stretch of the imagination. These are good, good folks.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We're entering Round 2 of a significant snow event up here in the tundra of the Great Sinkholes. It's not like the last place we lived where you could get 2 and one-half feet of snow at a time. But the Small Town folks are telling me this is the snowiest winter in a long time.

Some blame me by telling me I brought the Snow Belt down when we moved. I tell them, "I'm not that homesick!"

Anyway, we've got 9" on top of ice with an additional foot on the way.

Wonder how many folks will be at Worship tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Rumors of My Demise ...

I'm still here. Lots of stuff to blog about. Lots of stuff going on in Church Around the Corner. It's mostly good!

What does it mean when the Bishop requests to be your friend on Spacehook?