Thoughts to Start Off the Week

A few things I’m thinking about today as we start off another week . . .

Ernesto seems to be moving east toward Florida. I don’t wish a hurricane on anyone, and my sister lives in Orlando, but I am very glad it is not projected to hit Louisiana-Mississippi. They truly can’t take it. The tens of thousands of people living in FEMA trailers would again be homeless. I just pray that this hurricane season remains relatively quiet.  This week is the one year anniversary of Katrina and the memories are strong. I’m going to write a bit about my memories from last year. Even though I didn’t go through it, we were down there four days later and my family went through it. It was a horrendous time and I want to get some thoughts down.

We had a great day at church yesterday. I preached on Philippians 3:17-4:1. Powerful passage. We talked about how Paul’s example and pattern were the "way of life in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 4:16-17), and how that is so different from just moral behavior alone. Rather, it is finding your righteousness in Christ by faith and allowing Him to live through you and transform you. That leads to moral behavior, but Christ is always our starting and finish point. He is our guide and our goal. The message notes and audio will be up on Gatewaylife.net later this week.

We also had 14 people in our Newcomer’s Class yesterday afternoon. I praise God for each person and I pray that they will grow closer to the Lord and other believers in our body.

Caelan has six more sessions of radiation to go. So, we should be done by next Tuesday. He is still doing well and it was great to all be together as a family this weekend. He is almost walking and is standing up by himself. It will have taken him longer to walk than any of the other kids, and it’s probably because he is held ALL THE TIME! Literally, it’s like his feet never touch the ground. But, he should walk in the next few days. He is so close! Thank you for your continued prayers.

We are having a conference at our church September 22-24 called From the Ordained to the Ordinary: How God is Using Ordinary People to Disciple the NationsOur keynote speaker will be Dr. Thom Wolf (more on him later!).  We will be partnering with 4-5 other churches our size in our city and focusing on how God is using people in their sphere of influence in the marketplace to be salt and light. So many people think that they have to always share the 4 Spiritual Laws or have a Bible study at work to be an effective witness, but in reality, you can be a witness through HOW you do your job, what decisions you make, the policies you enact, your perspective on your work, and the relationships you build with others. God has called us to make disciples of the nations, which include individuals, but also involve institutions, businesses, schools, governments, etc. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting interviews with different conference participants as well as others who see their work as a vehicle for worship and mission. It’s going to be an incredible time. Also, we are having a children’s track called, What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? We’ll be looking at the same issues from a kid’s/vocation/mission perspective. If you want to come, let me know!

Over on SBCOutpost, Marty Duren has started a discussion on War and Peace from a Christian perspective. He quoted from a comment I left, so I guess I’ll explain. I am very conservative politically and have been in favor of the War on Terror. As an American, I’m all for the defense of our country and I believe that we need a strong armed forces. I understand that we are in a War on Terror and that we need to take action against our enemies. However, as a Christian, I believe in Just War doctrine, and believe that we should always work to promote peace when possible and that our war making, when necessary, should be just and honorable. So, we need to think, be informed, and have a Christian perspective. Sometimes, that is lacking, and we just tend to react without being informed of the real issues, often from more of a cultural or political view than a Biblical view. During the conference I just mentioned, on Saturday night, we will be having a roundtable discussion on Globalization, the War on Terror, and Global Christianity: Prospects for War, Peace, and Kingdom Growth in the 21st Century.  This part of the conference is going to be amazing. We will have experts from several different fields from Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base as well as a professor of political science at Troy University, an Arab Christian pastor, and Dr. Thom Wolf, who travels all over Asia with the IMB. Yeah, this is going to be good.

I am praying for rest in my spirit this week. I’ve been pretty restless and easily agitated. I think it has to do with stress and our family being split up for a month. God has been so faithful, but I’ve definitely had to press in more to Him. I have a TON to do this week, but I’m really asking the Lord to be my peace and strength in the midst of the storm. May God pour His life into all of us and may Jesus Christ be our total satisfaction.  So be it.

One Response to Thoughts to Start Off the Week

  1. Gee Alan with all you’ve been through lately I can’t imagine why your spirit would be restless and easily agitated! 🙂 I’ve had several weeks like that lately with my daughter having a couple of medical problems that we have found no answers far, church conflicts, and the general business that accompanies the pastorate. For me the Lord has brought me around by reminding me that know matter what is going on, it is still all about Jesus – being a follower and witness of Him.
    As for the hurricane, I too am relieved to see it turn (for purely selfish reasons 😉 Now I want have to sit through a torrential downpour at the State-SC football game Thursday night! Seriously though the gulf coast does not need anything else right now.