I'm preparing for tonight's community wide Thanksgiving service. It's at a local church that isn't a part of my denomination. That is what I am most thankful for. I am a Baptist and more specifically a Southern Baptist. I am happy to be both, but sometimes I like to worship with others with different styles and traditions. Diversity is good. Some of the churches represented tonight are very traditional. Some are very demonstrative in their worship. Some pray in unison out loud and others pray in King James English. It's not only rewarding to worship with believers from other congregations, but it is interesting to watch how they react to one another. I noticed one year, while a person from another church was praying, that other members of his church joined him, out loud. I couldn't help notice the puzzled look on the faces of some of my fellow Baptists. (Since I am a professional I am allowed to watch while the rest of you are required to keep your eyes closed.) It looked as if they weren't sure whether to ask the person to be quiet or join in. At another service a dear brother in Christ made a joke about female pastors and a faint murmur went through the crowd. It seems one of the churches represented had just called a female pastor. For some unknown reason that church hasn't been represented at our community wide service since. The host church tonight has a pentecostal tradition. They are a little louder than my church and usually meet for longer periods of time. Awesome. How great if we weren't so concerned with time. When Baptists think about heaven we often wonder how you can spend so long praising God and not worrying about the mental well being of workers in the preschool. I'm looking forward to tonight where there are no time constraints and brothers and sisters from many corners of the kingdom stand together and praise God with one heart heart and mind. I look at it as dress rehearsal for heaven. Have a great Thanksgiving!
November 2009 entries
This is a note I just received this morning. It is in response to all who believe I am too reactionary in my views toward the direction we are headed as a nation. It is an email sent to one of our members from a well known ministry offIce. It will be printed without comment.
We received this info at "our office" today:
Shirley Dobson will be giving a deposition today from 8:30-4:30 pm. She is being sued by a group “Freedom From Religion” because she asked the President and other political leaders to pray for our nation…as leader of National Day of Prayer.
Just the beginning of fall out from the Hate Crimes Bill!
Now that heart surgery is inevitable I have found I pay more attention to it's activity as it beats hidden in my chest. What used to go unnoticed is now reason for worry. A skip here, a vibration there and even an occasional pause sometimes startles me from my sleep. It is tough to think about your heart. When you do suddenly you are aware it's there where in the past you knew it, you just didn't think about it. You know what I mean. Kind of like your tongue. Have you ever really concentrated on your tongue. It suddenly seems to swell in size and you begin to wonder how it is contained in your mouth at all. How can you get food around that serpentine thing? And air, how can air pass by it if your nose is plugged? What has previously lived in almost total anonymity is now in your every thought. Whether it is your heart or your tongue, what was once almost totally ignored becomes your focus when pondered upon at length. And how can yo not think about things so vital to your existence?
I have also become keenly aware of something else since my heart problems have been diagnosed. My spirit. Or maybe better yet, the Spirit within me. God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit to some and the Holy Ghost to others. In my angst over my physical health I have also begun to ponder my spiritual health as well. I have become acutely sensitive when I do not feel His presence in my life. I find myself constantly checking my spiritual pulse. Sometimes I am jolted from my sleep by His seeming absence. When the pulsating power of the Spirit is irregular I become concerned about my spirituality vitality. Others have been telling me that they sense the Spirit controlling me while I preach. I'm grateful for that. I feel no different on the inside, but the testimony of others is expressing a different truth. He is there. He is active and controlling at least that part of my life. Now my prayer is that God would show His presence to me the way others have begun to see Him in my preaching. In pouring myself into my calling I have become a little dry. Kind of like when I awake from a sound sleep because the beating of my heart has taken a breather. So I am alert spiritually to feel the presence of the Spirit working in me. I am ready for God to pour Himself into me.