Friday, December 26, 2008

Thank You

The Christmas services are over. What a awesome time. Great message, great music, great people involved. So I would like to take this time to thank those who were part of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. To the soloists, awesome job. Each one of you shared your gift to uplift our hearts this Christmas. To the Choir Members, thank you. Your message was great and powerful. To the Bell Ringers, wow! You did great (that week off didn't effect you at all). The bells added to the message. To the kids who sang on Christmas morning, what a touching moment. Thank you. To those who stepped in and sang an extra verse for me while my voice is "leave". Thank you for the quick fill in and your willingness to help. And to the guitarist, thank you for strumming the same pattern over and over again. I know that it wasn't the most exciting part, but very meaningful. It took everyone, not only the musicians. It took the sound managers, powerpoint, readers, jr. ushers, communion assistants, ushers, greeters, and pastor to make these services meaningful. Thank you. The message, the music, the meaning -- all was there. What a wonderful ministry Living Word has.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Get to Just Listen

I woke up this morning and realized that my voice wasn't working in its normal way. It was a little raspy. My throat didn't hurt but I could tell that my voice wasn't its normal self. I had rehearsal tonight for this weekends worship. Now my voice isn't close to being normal. So what does that mean, well, it means that I won't be doing a lot of talking for the next few days. I get to be quiet and listen. To just listen is really going to be nice. I have an opportunity to listen to the congregation sing Christmas carols. I have the opportunity to listen to the giggles and excitement of my kids opening presents. I have the opportunity to listen to the Word being read about the birth of our Savior. I get to just listen. I don't want to miss out being part of this season, but I'm finding out that if I listen, I capture the true meaning of the Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

The white stuff is falling. Falling fast and blowing around. So what does this mean today, on this wonderful Friday. Snow Day!!!!! Yes, the call came this morning a little after 5:00 am. Snow Day. Snow days are great, at times. The kids can sleep in. You aren't rushing around getting cleaned up, dressed and ready for school. You aren't watching the clock to make sure you are out of the door by a certain time. A snow day is a morning to sleep in, hang out in the pj's and allow our mind to focus on other things and not on what is happening this moment.

During the Christmas season, we need a snow day. We are so caught up in getting things done. Our focus is on what needs to be done instead of what was done. We have to be here or there. We have gifts to buy. We have wrapping to do. We have family traveling or we are preparing to travel to family. We are busy, busy, busy. During this time, we need a snow day. We need time to slow down and look at the big picture. We need to refocus on Jesus, who came to this world to "seek and save" the lost. We need to take a close look at the manger and then the cross. During this Christmas season, slow down. Clear your mind of all the stuff that keeps your focus away from Jesus. Look at the manger and have a mental snow day.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The Christmas Cantata is over. What a wonderful time it was. The spoken words from adults and kids, the message sung, the relaxed melodies from the bells, it was all good. The message was shared and the gifts and talents given to all of us by God was used. I am so glad that God has blessed the music ministry here with such talented and loving people and I have the honor of being part of it. But it is now time to remind people on what the message was and that we shared that message through word and song. It wasn't playing or singing everything perfectly, but about the birth of our Lord and Savior. It wasn't about the "I'm not..." or "they are so much better...", but about God blessing everyone with gifts and talents. We should rejoice in the privilege to share that message. Mistakes happen -- the groups made them, I made them, everyone makes them. But when we are sharing a message, there aren't mistakes only opportunities.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Simple Taste of Coffee

I love coffee. Yes, I love coffee so much that you really don't want to talk to me until I have a cup in my hand filled with that wonderful warm drink. Coffee is my drink of choice in the morning, noon, and sometimes at night (depending on the event). I enjoy a good cup of coffee. I like my coffee straight. Nothing in it -- nothing fancy, just brew the coffee and pour it into my cup. That is enough to satisfy me. There are a lot of people who add things to theirs, but not me -- a good straight cup of coffee. I can almost taste it now. So why do I bring this up? During the Christmas season, we get so caught up in making Christmas perfect, to fancy up the story. We have parties, gatherings, gifts, lights, even inflatable mangers scenes for our lawns. We make Christmas fancy. So fancy that it hides the true meaning of Christmas. Just like a cup of coffee, you can add flavors, whip cream, sugar, all sorts of things to make it taste different than just a cup of coffee. Soon it becomes more of the added items than coffee. Our focus should be on the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus Christ given to us for our salvation. That is the message, plain and simple. We need to keep the message as it is. It is the perfect message, the perfect story, the perfect Christ child. It isn't what we do, but what He has already done for us. We don't need to fancy it up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Busy Season

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines! It is the Advent/Christmas season. A time of rushing around, preparing worship, working with all the extra services, working around other's schedules, extra rehearsals, setting up chapels, leading chapels, shopping, family events...when does it end? All these things happen and when you think you have time to for a quick breath -- bang -- more is asked of you. As a church worker, people know you work hard during this season. They know that the message of Christ's birth will be shared. They know that when they come to worship, a worship experience will be had. They know that during the week, the planning and preparing will take place. So I and others keep plugging away during this Advent/Christmas season. But the problem isn't the things I have the privilege of doing. The problem comes within my heart. As I'm working to prepare and share the message with others, the message must be in my heart. In order to share the message, I must also hear it and allow the joy of this message live through me. This is when I need to stop, take a deep breath, and open my heart. I need to open my heart to the Word of God. The story of Christmas -- the ever reason for our salvation. The Gift given to us all. It must be in my heart and yours and every person. So during this Christmas season, when things seem to get busy and you are running in five different directions. Stop, take a deep breath, and think about the Gift we have been given. Put it in your heart and allow that joy live through you.