Good morning. Today is Monday, June 10, 2013.
Yesterday was a challenging day. The two main pastors of our church have resigned, the lead pastor, Joel Engle, leaving to take the preaching/vision pastor role at Changepoint Church in Anchorage, Alaska.
Yes, I said Alaska.
The other pastor, who started The Exchange with Joel around six years ago, is leaving to explore the option of church planting in the northeast. I think he wants to go to Long Island. He and his wife are in conversation with the Southern Baptist Mission Board in Houston. They have passed the “mantel” on to Jacob Seay, who was already on staff as the Discipleship Pastor. Christi and I believe that Jacob will do an excellent job carrying on as the Lead Pastor for The Exchange. While this is a sad time, and we will miss our friends and leaders, it is also an exciting time, as we believe that God’s work with this church is far from over. The overall spirit of the church seems to be good. There will be some who will leave, of course, and that’s okay. But I’m hearing it told that some who recently left may come back. Who knows? We know that we are staying, though, because we haven’t been told otherwise. We both have a ministry at this church and we have not been released from that.
Our cat, Amber, is home. She seems to be doing much better, but not “out of the woods” yet. She still doesn’t seem to be interested in eating on her own, so we have to hand-feed her. But I did see her drinking some water from a bowl this morning, which was exciting. She also jumped up on the side of the bathtub and got on the bathroom counter this morning, so she is definitely feeling better. She’s purring up a storm and walking around with tail held high, so she’s certainly on the mend.
Today is Iced Tea Day. Since it’s a work day, I will be participating. I have a glass of peach iced tea every afternoon around 4pm.
(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1190, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, also known as Frederick Barbarossa, drowned while crossing the Calycadnus River in Anatolia. He was determined to go on crusade to the Holy Land, and had begun in 1189. He was Emperor for 35 years, during which he was excommunicated from the Church by Pope Alexander III, because he used his influence to convince a small group of cardinals to elect Victor IV as pope, as well. Victor was declared “anti-pope” and Frederick was excommunicated. After eighteen years, Frederick and Alexander reconciled, and Frederick began his crusade.
There is a German legend that Barbarossa didn’t really die, but sleeps enchanted in “a limestone cave in the Kyffhauser mountains in Germany,” waiting for the opportune time to “restore Germany to greatness.” During WWII, Hitler named his invasion of Russia “Operation Barbarossa.”
Today’s birthday is Judy Garland, born on this date in 1922. Judy was a musical actress, who appeared in over 30 movies, probably most famously as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She was seventeen when that movie released in 1939. She also appeared in “Easter Parade,” “In the Good Old Summertime,” and “A Star Is Born.” It is said that Fred Astaire called her “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.” She died in 1969, at the age of 47 of an accidental overdose of barbiturates.
Honorable mentions go to Howlin’ Wolf, 1910, Elizabeth Hurley, 1965, Leelee Sobieski, 1982, and Tara Lipinski, 1982.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Psalm 31:24
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80:7
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. Psalm 71:21
Father, I pray that you show me something of yourself during this brief time of morning devotion. Prepare me, by your grace, to face the day ahead, with its challenges.
Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Asking for Help.” The scripture reading is from 2 Kings 22.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess. (11-14a)
And she said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods.” (15-17a)
But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.'” And they brought back word to the king. (18-20)
This passage is about Josiah, the young king of Judah. Even though he is king, he “is humble enough to know that he needs to ask for help in understanding God’s will about the book of the law that was found.” His officials had to go outside the court to find this prophet. We must never be afraid to ask for help in understanding what God is speaking to us. That is one of the reasons that we live in community with each other. That is why Christians must heed the words of Hebrews 10:24-25: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. There are too many people who think that we can live this life on our own. No. We cannot. We are not designed that way. We must “be open to hearing the Holy Spirit through anyone around [us], especially those who display the fruit of the Spirit.”
If the King of Judah needed help understanding God’s word, who am I to think that I could grasp it on my own?
Father, may I never grow so arrogant that I fancy myself to have such a complete understanding of your word that I don’t need to ask others for help. As many times as I have read through the Bible, there are still places that get me stuck; there are still passages that I don’t get. I will always need the assistance of someone else, and they may not always be necessarily smarter or wiser than I, but perhaps just have a better understanding of a particular area, and even that, because you have gifted them with that understanding, by your Holy Spirit. I am a firm believer that none of us can understand scripture, but by the help of your Spirit. So I pray that you send your Spirit today, with understanding. Teach me to know your ways, that I may walk in your truth. Give me that “double portion” of your Spirit, just as Elisha asked of his predecessor, Elijah.
I pray for this day. May it be a smooth day for Christi at her work, and I pray that our cat, Amber, will improve drastically today, so that we won’t keep having to hand-feed her. I also pray for Stephanie today, that you will show her your grace and love during this day; help her understand what she reads in your word. I pray for my work day, that it will go well, and that there will not be any anxiety to stress me out. Give me the grace I need to get through this day.
I pray for our church, The Exchange. Give us wisdom and grace to make it through this transition. Show us what you have in store for us in the future. I pray for Jacob Seay, that you will anoint him with a mighty dose of your Spirit, that he might preach and lead us with the power of your Spirit, that The Exchange might become a mighty beacon of your light in our area, and a powerfully worshiping church. I pray for Joel Engle as he heads to Alaska, that he will be successful in his new ministry there. I also pray for Ben Carr, as he talks with the Mission Board. Show him his new path and equip him for the task.
I lift up Cassie Gaines, who spent last night in the hospital with phenomia. I pray for your healing hand on her and for comfort and encouragement for her daughter.
Your grace is sufficient.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help in understanding God’s word, or in what direction God might be guiding you. This is what we are here for; this is why we are a community; to help each other understand.
Grace and peace, friends.