Today is Monday, July 8, 2019. Blessings to you!
Forty-two days until S’s birthday!
We had a . . . a . . . I’m having difficulty coming up with words to describe it. Our worship time, yesterday morning, was something different and special. We departed from our usual (if you can even say we have established “usual” for these “scattered” Sundays) plan. The youth had been to camp the previous week. Oddly enough, what went down was not them sharing about their camp experience. Not exactly, anyway. It was not a time of testimony of what a great time they had at camp, or how close they all got, or any of the usual stuff that gets shared after camp.
Instead, things got real. For at least an hour, things were shared that necessarily would stay in that room. People (myself included) got honest and open. We confessed sin. We confessed struggles. Some of us bonded over shared struggles. There were confessions and responses. There was encouragement, and no one, I repeat, no one tore anyone else down. It was nothing short of amazing, and I believe we all came out of it with a much deeper sense of what “church” is supposed to be. All because a small group of youth got brave enough to want to show the adults what they had discovered.
Afterward, we took the pastor, his mom and dad, and Terry and Summer out for lunch. We went to a place that C & I had never been before, called “Hwy 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries.” The burgers were delicious. The fries were good, but I’ve had better. But then we had shakes. Well, I had a malt. Because they make malts! Mine was chocolate with Butterfinger pieces in it. Most of all, we had a great time of fellowship as we “broke bread” together.
The Texas Rangers avoided a sweep by the Minnesota Twins, beating them 4-1, in eleven innings. Shawn Kelley got the win in relief. The Rangers are 48-42, in third place in the AL West, nine games out of first. They are three games out of the second wild card spot, currently held by Cleveland. The next game will not be until July 11, against the Houston Astros, as we are now up to the All Star break. For the record, I don’t watch the All Star game. I couldn’t possibly care less about it.
The Boston Red Sox completed a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, beating them 6-3. David Price got his seventh win of the season, and I hear it was his 150th career win. The Sox are 49-41, in third place in the AL East, nine games out of first place. They are two games out of the second wild card spot. Their next game is not until July 12, against the LA Dodgers.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
Today I am grateful:
1. For the sense of community that is growing in The Exchange Church
2. For the boldness of youth
3. That in the Lord’s strength, we have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about (Psalm 3)
4. That everyone in the body of Christ has a unique contribution
5. That seemingly insignificant events in my life can be much bigger than they appear
“O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; [especially those for whom our prayers are desires]; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.”
(The Book of Common Prayer, Prayers and Thanksgivings, 2. For All Sorts and Conditions of Men)
(From Faith That Matters)
History–Humankind’s and Yours, by Frederick Buechner
To him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
“Biblical faith takes history very seriously because God takes it very seriously. The biblical view is that history is not an absurdity to be endured or an illusion to be dispelled. Instead, it is for each of us a series of crucial, precious, and unrepeatable moments that are seeking to lead us somewhere.”
It truly doesn’t have as much to do with the information in the history books as we might think. It has more to do with what happens to human souls along the way. And what happens to human souls is “apt to take place when most people are looking the other way. The real turning point in our lives is less likely to be the day we win the election or get married than the morning we decide not to mail the letter or the afternoon we watch the woods fill up with snow. The real turning point in human history is less apt to be the day the wheel is invented or Rome falls than the day a child is born in a stable.”
What are the significant points in your life? In my life? I know that, in some deep way, yesterday was one of those for a small group of us. I wasn’t prepared for it. It almost happened while I was “looking the other way.” But it grabbed my attention.
Take note of the things that are happening in your life. The smallest event may be much more significant than you could ever imagine.
Father, help me to walk through this life with my eyes open to what you are doing around me, whether it be something as huge as Rome falling or something as seemingly insignificant as the birth of a child in a stable. Whatever it is, if I’m not looking, I won’t notice it. Help me to look. Help me to look with the perspective of your Word as my guide. Teach me your ways that I may walk in your truth.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.