A woman's walk through marriage, parenthood, servanthood and the family of God.
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Light. I need light. It's 3:30 in the afternoon and it's nearly dark, for crying out loud. It's been weeks since we've had a sunny day and I am literally craving sunshine. It's 60 degrees out there and feels like spring. Would a little sun have hurt?
posted by Stacy at 3:48 PM
Here it is, the last day of 2002....and we're still not living on the moon...or even jetting around in Jetson bubble cars. Hmmm. I think my elementary school teachers may have lied to me. They taught in all seriousness that by the year 2000 we'd be living like the Jetsons, have entire cities on the ocean floor and colonies on the moon. What a bummer. As a species, we've fallen short of our potential. Maybe we've just been too distracted or dumbed down by all the "toys" we've invented to dream that big. The coolest exhibit (to me) when I visited the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum was the one that showed how often science fiction later became science fact. I still believe we will one day be able to live on the moon or under the sea. Maybe I'll still be around to see it. Maybe they can clone me and one of my clones will be around. :oP
posted by Stacy at 9:06 AM
Saturday, December 28, 2002
Well, we had a wonderful Christmas with both our families and friends. Megan was sick, but not sick enough to take the joy out of the festivities. The same can not be said for several of the teens in the youth group. They were dropping like flies on Christmas Eve Day and calling to tell me they probably wouldn't be able to participate in the service that night. I was a bit nervous about how many would be there and what we would do as they were to do most of the service. We ended up with three of them missing (one in the emergency room) and the man who was going to do most of the music was also sick. We had to make some major adjustments and a service that was meant to be an hour long ended up being just over 30 minutes long. It was very simple, but still very beautiful.
As we enjoyed family and friends, ate too much food and received way too many gifts I was reminded again just how blessed we are and how good God is.
A bit chilly this morning as the propane ran out in the night....oops! Not too bad, though, and we got a fire going in the fireplace as soon as we got up. The house temperature is in the low 60's and Tim should be here with the filled tanks any minute. Considering the frigid temps outside, it could have been much worse.
posted by Stacy at 9:15 AM
Monday, December 23, 2002
One last dash to the stores this morning with a moody teenager and a tired, crabby, not-feeling-well pre-teen in tow. Oh, the Christmas cheer! Not....especially after sitting in traffic in Walmart's parking lot for over half and hour. At least I can finally say that without doubt I am totally, completely, really, truly, undeniably DONE!!!
We are taking a bit of a break right now but will soon begin the final clean up of the house and then we can settle down and bake some cookies. To my amazement, even Matt is looking forward to doing that.
Well, I probably won't post again until Thursday or Friday, so I wish you all a very happy, safe and blessed Christmas!
posted by Stacy at 2:10 PM
Saturday, December 21, 2002
The quest for cymbals resulted in two, a new and better crash and a splash. If you know what that means then you are better off than I was this morning, though I am now thoroughly educated on the finer points of cymbals. We got a good deal so also picked up an extension arm for the splash, some sticks and a sheet of drum tattoos that will go in the stocking.
Tim had gotten a Red Lobster gift card for his birthday so he treated us to lunch. Very, very good.....and very, very nice to be out on our own. I am so stuffed, though, that I don't know how I'm going to eat anything at the church's advent dinner.
posted by Stacy at 4:18 PM
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Oh, good morning and welcome to my life! Megan is dancing and singing as she makes her breakfast...a little ditty she is making up herself as she goes along. The verse about the dog goes something like this, "Who wants the doggie? Who wants the doggie? Cause he lives in a weinnie mobile outside of South Kalamazoo." What a way to start the day.
It's Tim's 42nd birthday. He doesn't want any fuss, but we sang to him (poor guy) before he left this morning and gave him his gift. Tonight we have to go to the Gideon Christmas party so I guess he gets his no fuss wish.
Yesterday I sanded the places in our bathroom that Tim had spackled. He said if I did that he'd touch up the paint and hang the border. Well, I just got on a roll and did it all. It was done and cleaned up before Tim even got home. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.
posted by Stacy at 7:52 AM
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
This from Mike Yaconelli at Youth Specialties:
What a year! What a calling.
We have been so graced this year because God has chosen us to do youth ministry.
It makes no sense that He would take a group of rag-tag, unsophisticated, unfinished, work-in-progress wandering ragamuffins like us to hang out with a bunch of rag-tag, unsophisticated, unfinished, work-in-progress wanderers called young people.
What an honor!
We have been called in a world who often judges us by competency, efficiency, productivity, activity and conformity. But we serve a Jesus who judges by a completely upside-down standard: incompetency, inefficiency, intimacy, and inactivity. We have been called by a Jesus who wants only one thing from us. Us.
We have been called by a Jesus who is not impressed with large, but instead celebrates small; a Jesus who rejects power in favor of powerlessness; a Jesus who chooses little instead of big, one over 99, the lost rather than the found, the loser instead of the winner and the imperfect over the perfect.
Jesus is the one who invited us to the party, the one who gave us the VIP pass to get in, the one who ruined our lives, the one who caused us to quit our good paying job to work a bad paying job (or a no paying job). We admit it. It makes no sense to do what we do.
And yet, there is something we cannot describe, something just beyond our words that?s smoldering under the surface, which fills us with joy, with expectation, with excitement and with anticipation. We know what it is ? or should I say, who it is. It?s Jesus.
He is our Sanctuary. We are safe with Jesus. He continually affirms us, supports us, is proud of us. When we are with Jesus we realize we are not alone, we are not crazy, we are not slackers, not irresponsible, not immature. No, we are doing the work of the kingdom of God. We are simple followers of Jesus.
This Christmas may you celebrate the joy of your calling, and the even greater gift of Emmanuel, God with us. May His very presence bring you peace.
We can hardly wait for the New Year to begin.
owner, Youth Specialties
posted by Stacy at 12:21 PM
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Ended up going to the mall yesterday afternoon. What a zoo!! It took me about 20 minutes to find a parking space and that was in outer Mongolia. Once I'd hiked back to the same time zone as the mall, things went a little smoother....as long as you overlook stores crowded with rude, grouchy, shoving customers and loooooooonnnnnnggggg lines at the checkouts. I can't even say that the customers and cashiers at the Christian book store were full of holiday cheer and goodwill. All that aside, I found gifts for my cousin's entire family at great prices and even found my gift for the youth group exchange...Spencer's had lava lamps on sale for $9.99. The kids will love it.
Today is going to be devoted to wrapping, which I detest....so I got pretty gift boxes for as much of it as I could. :o).....and getting the house in Christmas order. With the temperatures getting warmer over the next couple of days, I won't bake until later in the week. If it was cold I could store cookies on my mom's enclosed porch.
posted by Stacy at 8:58 AM
Monday, December 16, 2002
Ok, deep calming breaths....I'm trying to relax, go with the flow, keep things in perspective, not get caught up in the insanity of Christmas preparations.....BUT IT'S ONLY 9 DAYS AWAY!!!! AAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Yesterday was the cantata at church. It was very nice. Very simple. Familiar carols with readings from the Christmas story. The youngest boy in the youth group (whose voice hasn't changed yet) sang 'O Holy Night' in his clear soprano. Wow. I didn't know he had it in him....brought a tear to my eye.
The kids had practice for the Sunday school Christmas program after church until 3:00 so it was a quiet afternoon around here. Good for napping. Megan napped when she got home, too. Matt stayed at the church to practice with Margaret. Those two are the most committed to the praise team and D.O.R.K. 247 (that's Disciples of a Righteous King, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone reading who doesn't know). They also got some pictures taken for a project Margaret is doing at school.
I took the youth group to the pastors' open house last night....only way I could figure out how to get there myself. A very nice time. Good food, good fellowship.....surprising to me though, just how few people came. I'd say about 15 families were represented, tops. I've been thinking about that and about other dinners and such at the church and about why it seems that very few people participate....and it is always the same ones over and over that do. It seems to me that it's a shift in culture, generation, or whatever. Back a few years, people made their church the center of their social life and that's where their best friends were. It doesn't seem that we do that now. With some obvious exceptions, most people in the church seem to be aquaintances and happy to keep it that way. What a shame. We're really missing out on something and I think it's hurting us, the church and our society.
posted by Stacy at 9:01 AM
Saturday, December 14, 2002
As Bing sang, it's a marshmallow world this morning. We woke up to about three inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground, got about two more inches since then, and it is still coming down. It looks so pretty. I hope we have some snow for Christmas.
The hunters who haven't got their deer yet (like Tim), are surely appreciating the weather since it's the last day of the season. Tim and Matt got up early and headed out at first light to see if they could scare up anything. Matt is going to see if he can head anything in his dad's direction. By the way, the venison steaks went over much better with the guys having seconds! Yea...I don't have a freezer full of useless meat.
Spending the day working around the house starting the final push for Christmas.....cleaning, wrapping, baking, etc. Tonight we are taking some of the youth to the fair grounds for a Christmas light display. There are also crafts to buy, sleigh rides to be had and hot chocolate to enjoy by the bonfire. First time in recent memory we'll have snow for it. :o)
posted by Stacy at 10:30 AM
Friday, December 13, 2002
The weather is taking another nose dive (should that be one word?). It started raining this afternoon and as the sun sets, it's looking more like sleet and I hear snow is on the way during the night.
I'm going to take another stab at cooking venison for supper. The steaks have been marinating for a while now. Originally I planned to grill them, but looks like it will have to be the broiler. I read how to do it in the wild game cookbook so the meat will not get tough or anything. Hopefully, it will be a bigger success than the last attempt. We'll have fried 'taters and onions as well and maybe some mac and cheese for Megan, who will not even taste the steaks knowing they are deer.
Hoping to get to Kmart before the roads get too bad this evening. I need to pick up the Christmas layaway and get started on the wrapping. Somewhere along the way we also need to get to Drum World again. The only thing Matt is asking for is cymbals and that is the least expensive place to get them. Just hate the thought of having to drive down to Pittsburgh this week.
posted by Stacy at 5:04 PM
Just read the Youth Specialties Update and see they are having their first ever Emergent Convention in February 2003. I checked out the site and it looks like it's going to be a great chance to hear what the foremost thinkers of the day have to say on our changing culture and what it means to the church. Would love to go, but don't think a trip to San Diego is doable.
posted by Stacy at 6:37 AM
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
SIGNS THE WEATHER IS REALLY BAD: Tim came home from work because it was too icy to do anything. I can count on one hand the number of times he's come home from or stayed home from work because of the weather in 18 years.
posted by Stacy at 11:44 AM
Interesting morning so far. Matt was supposed to go to help pack Christmas stockings for needy kids today--part of the county-wide Operation Santa Claus program. The freezing rain started about 15 minutes before we had to go and I debated making the drive to the school, but he wanted to go so badly I gave in. No slipping and sliding, though the roads were quite icy. However.......we arrived at the school to find the library secretary doing a kind of duck squat walk to her car, where she changed her tactics to include hanging on for dear life. She told us school was canceled, but she didn't know about the trip. Matt went in to ask and found it was canceled, too. Ok, celebrating by both kids. Megan is happy with a day off and Matt doesn't have classes anyway so woohoo! Mom can celebrate now that we are home. A trip that usually takes 5 minutes one way took us over half an hour round trip. Glad and thankful to be home.
posted by Stacy at 8:03 AM
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Oh, good grief! I did everything I could to camouflage the venison in tonight's dinner knowing that Megan at least would have "issues" with it. She did, but so did Tim and Matt. Both insist it was the sauce/gravy that they didn't like and that the meat was fine.....uh, the sauce was the same as always. It's the meat that is different. I have a freezer full of the stuff and Tim is still hoping to get lucky and get another one. This is going to get interesting from the cooking perspective. Time to borrow Mom's wildgame cookbook...it was the guide of choice when we lived in the perserve and rarely ate meat that wasn't some type of game.
By the way, the concert was really nice. They did a Celtic Carol (also known as Greensleeves) that was incredible.
posted by Stacy at 10:11 PM
It's been kind of a lazy day. Just some laundry and straightening up, a phone conversation with Pastor Matt and one with a parent. Other than that I spent the time reading a Janette Oake book I borrowed from the church library. I really like her stuff. She has such a gentle, simple way of expressing truths and I usually manage to pick up at least one nugget of wisdom about marriage/family/life in the reading.
Matt has been bugging me to cook some venison ever since we brought the meat home on Saturday. I haven't up till now because the refrigerator is crammed full of goodies for Christmas and there is only room for one day's worth of leftovers at a time. I don't know if it's what he had in mind (I suspect he was thinking steaks) but I'm going to brown some ground meat, make gravy and serve it over noodles. It needed to be something quick and easy to get ready and to clean up since we have his concert tonight. I'm really looking forward to that. It's the first in the long line of concerts, programs and pageants for us. Kind of makes the whole holiday season "official."
posted by Stacy at 3:52 PM
Up and out in the cold waaaaay too early today. Matt's got a jazz band concert tonight and his teacher scheduled a practice for 7:00 this morning. :oP
Happy to report that the council meeting went well last night.....well, it did after a few initial flare ups (one of which involved the pastor being told to shut up because someone else had the floor). Bottom line is that the financial issues and power struggles that have plagued the council seem to have been put to rest and the two in the center of it all hugged when it was over. Yea!!
posted by Stacy at 7:25 AM
Monday, December 09, 2002
It is beyond cold this morning with temperatures right around 5 degrees.
posted by Stacy at 8:43 AM
Sunday, December 08, 2002
The end of another long day. I was up early this morning to make muffins for breakfast and stuff a small turkey to roast while we were at church (this after getting home late last night from decorating the church tree....and hanging wreaths inside and out). The kids had a friend spend the night so there were three kids to get moving. Believe it or not, there was no fighting and we walked out the door on time for a change.
Sunday school and the 11:00 service. I had hoped to rush home to finish preparing dinner but Tim and I got cornered by one of the trustees who was venting all her rage and frustration with things that are going on with the council. It took a little while to tactfully remove ourselves. Based on that "conversation" tomorrow night's council meeting is in need of a great deal of prayer.
I did manage to get home and get dinner done with enough time for the kids and I to wolf it down and rush back to the church for the regional Bible quiz meet. Another church covered the opening, but I needed to get the quizzing stations set up, the registration table ready and all those fun things that go with now being the region's quiz coordinator. Had a good time of fellowship and the kids all did a wonderful job. God bless, Lillian. She is still supporting the program even though she has "retired." For the second month in a row she slipped me money to help cover expenses.
Youth group tonight consisted of some hanging out time after quizzing and a group trip to Dollar General as well as a short lesson and cleaning up the church and putting it back together. A lot of kids were absent and one of my girls is grounded from youth group until she brings up her math grade. :o(
Back on the homefront, Tim cleaned up the kitchen in the wake of the turkey dinner so I got to come home to a clean kitchen. It was wonderful!
Well, I'm exhausted so it's off to bed. Goodnight.
posted by Stacy at 9:50 PM
Saturday, December 07, 2002
It's been a busy day....and it isn't over yet.
Tim got up at 5:00 this morning to drive to New Stanton, where he met another of the superintendents from work. He gave him a friend's auger to repair and then borrow for his own use. He was back home by 7:30 and surprised us all by making french toast (he makes the best) and bacon for breakfast. Kind of sat around for a while after that until it was time to head down to the church to get our picture taken for the directory. It was all digital so we got to see the pictures and pick the one we wanted to go in the directory. We get a free 8x10 of that and we also ordered one they took of the kids and a different family shot as a Christmas gift for my mom. We'd have liked to get more, but they are expensive!
Picked up Matt's deer today....all nicely butchered and wrapped....for a mere $90. I thought it would be less, but Matt ordered 5 pounds of jerky at $5/lb....that's where the extra cost came in. The jerky, by the way, will not be ready for another week or two. Anyway, our freezer is full and we had to put some of the meat in my mom's freezer.
Went to the mall because it's the only place I know that has a Hickory Farms kiosk. We looked around and decided on a nice gift package to ship to my aunt in Florida. Woohoo! We got a free summer sausage with it. Ate at the mall food court :o( busy, noisy and expensive. We looked at freezers at Lowe's to get an idea of size and price. We've decided we need to get one for the purpose of stocking up during sales and if Tim should happen to get a deer there is no place to put the meat. We also checked into how much it would be to rent one at Colortyme.....too much. They want $60/month and we can purchase a brand new 15 cub. ft. frostfree model for $357.
Stopped at Aldi's on the way home and stocked up on basics....mac and cheese, pasta, canned veggies, baking supplies, crackers, etc. I spent the most I've ever spent there, but walked out with 12 bags. I shouldn't have to buy groceries except for perishables and a ham for Christmas.
It would be nice to stay home the rest of the day, but we have to head down to the church again in an hour or so to put up and decorate the tree in the sanctuary. I am hoping a family we called earlier will help us. It's a 10ft. tree and a big job for just us. I've tried to get others to help, but no one seems to be interested in doing it. It's probably one of those jobs in the church that once you do it, you're stuck with it until you die....or at least go to the nursing home. I like it, just wish it was easier to round up help.
posted by Stacy at 5:54 PM
Friday, December 06, 2002
Back to normal today....whatever that is around here. Tough to get everyone going this morning. We all seemed out of it. Tim was grumpy. I went back to bed before he even left, I was so tired. Matt forgot to turn his alarm on and overslept. Good thing he woke up, because I didn't hear a thing till he and Megan were fighting at 7:10. Megan was moving slow as well, but she always does in the morning so that didn't mean anything.
Got another inch or so of snow so far today. It's supposed to be warmer, but somebody forgot to let my body know it. I am freezing. I got a fire going a little while ago and I'm wrapped up in a quilt. It's just me, though. The thermostat says the house is warm.
LISTENING TO: Bing Crosby. He is the man when it comes to Christmas music. It ain't Christmas till Bing croons them out.
READING: "Power of a Praying Wife." It's about my third time through it, but it's a goodie. I keep going back to it.
TODAY'S RANDOM THOUGHT (courtesy of Mikey's Funnies): Christmas is weird. What other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?
posted by Stacy at 1:51 PM
Thursday, December 05, 2002
Watching 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' for the first time in ages. I'd forgotten just how good it is. The Sheriff of Nottingham is my favorite part of the film. He is just one of those characters you love to hate. They gave him the best lines in the movie.
posted by Stacy at 2:11 PM
Upgraded to a full blown SNOW DAY!!!! How much more exciting that would be if Matt and Megan weren't already at each other's throats. I've threatened to keep them inside if they keep fighting, but shhhhhh.......don't tell them I'd never do that. I don't think I'd be able to take it. :o)
posted by Stacy at 9:15 AM
YESSSS!!! Two-hour snow delay this morning. I'm going back to bed.
posted by Stacy at 6:44 AM
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
It is sooooo cold this morning...somewhere below 10 degrees. We had to get up and start a fire in the fireplace during the night to supplement the heat so the furnace wouldn't run nonstop all night...which it was working on doing. Tim thinks we need a larger regulator to fix the problem. He probably won't have time to pick one up until Friday (our propane supplier closes at 4:00 weekdays) so looks like a couple of days of tending the fire are in store. Not so bad during the day, but it makes for long nights. Tim doesn't sleep well as it is and with being up and down all night worrying about the fire, he was exhausted this morning and it was affecting his outlook as well. Pray for him today.
posted by Stacy at 6:10 AM
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
Found this article on one of my favorite sites, Band Name of the Day (www.jugglernaut.blogspot.com).
"With the Thanksgiving glut behind us and a month?s worth of holiday parties ahead, we talk of little except what we ate, what we?re going to eat, and how bad it all is for us. However, I?d like to propose a new theme for this year.
As an official representative of the Health Police, I?m urging people not to fret over food, weight and eating behavior. The HP public policy statement is this: Have fun! Enjoy sharing the bounties of the season with family and friends. And enjoy a brisk walk with them after dinner. If you maintain reasonable eating and exercise habits most of the time, it ain?t gonna kill ya to go off the wagon here and there. If you gain a pound or two, so what? Return to your regular routine in January. This is why we save new year?s resolutions until after the last of the gingerbread has been consumed. I?m not saying we should all binge and purge our way through the month of December, but we shouldn?t starve ourselves or feel guilty about that last cookie, either. Maintain a happy medium, that?s all. Chances are you can come up with something more important to worry about if you try.
If you can?t, here are a couple ideas to start with. If nothing else, these activities should keep us out of the buffet line for a few more minutes, eh? :-)
* See that Salvation Army bell ringer? Take the $2.50 you were going to spend on a super grande turtle mocha latte and stuff it into the little red kettle. Then buy the bell ringer a cup of hot chocolate. Two good deeds at once!
* Take a homeless person to lunch. Or take lunch to the homeless. Do it in person, donate to a food shelf, participate in a church charity dinner, or tear off one of those donation coupons at the grocery store checkout counter. Don?t know any homeless people? Visit The Homeless Guy online and make a donation via PayPal.
* Donate a few toys to Toys for Tots or a church or community angel tree. Volunteer to help wrap the gifts. If there isn?t such a program in your area or workplace, see if you can start one.
* Take a senior citizen holiday shopping, or take the list and run the errands yourself if the person doesn?t travel. You?re going out anyway, right?
* Starting in January, put your quarters in a jar. Get your family or your carpool or your Sunday school class to do the same. Next December, do something good with the money.
* Pay it forward. Yes, I stole this idea from the movie of the same name, but it?s a good one. If a stroke of good luck comes your way, don?t pay it back to the person who brought it to you (but do say thank you!); instead, pay it forward to the next three people you meet who need a hand, without asking for anything in return. Urge them to do the same. In the movie, people give each other cars and homes and new leases on life, but I?m thinking more along the lines of an extra pair of mittens. Well, don?t let me discourage you; start small and work your way up.
* The corollary to the above is, if someone wants to do you a favor, let him. You know it feels good to help someone, so let someone feel good by helping you."
Good deeds: one size fits most.
posted by Stacy at 1:57 PM
Monday, December 02, 2002
Matthew got his deer! He and Tim went back out this afternoon to the same place they went this morning. While walking through the woods, they came across a fresh blood trail and followed it. Would you believe they found the buck Matt shot this morning? It was still alive so Matt had to shoot it again. It is an 8-point, or would have been had one antler not been broken off. A nice big deer. They dropped it off to be processed after showing it at home and taking pictures. Tim said it was bigger than the majority of the deer there...even the man who tagged it said it was a big one. Way to go Matt!!!
posted by Stacy at 7:08 PM
A cold, gray day, but so far, none of the predicted snow. Tim and Matthew are out deer hunting. Matt apparently hit a big buck this morning but after going down, it got back up and took off. They were able to track it for a while but then lost it. Too bad. Matt was really disappointed. It's the first time he's even hit anything and to have it be a big one (Tim's guess was 10 pts).... Megan and I have been hanging out at home doing some reading, playing games and just enjoying the coziness of the fire and the house decorated for Christmas.
Read this on another blog today:
An increasingly large proportion of the population are finding themselves engaged in part-time, casual and temporary jobs, either because of a shortage of full time options, or simply because of the flexibility it adds to their lifestyle. Some people may have to work a multitude of these jobs to create a satisfactory income. Likewise with church, more people find themselves engaged in what has been called 'portfolio church' - Participating in a number of church and quasi church groups and activities, in an attempt to cobble together a sufficiently satisfying experience of worship, faith and community.
Is this encouraging us to be a consuming people or is this a viable way to contribute in multiple places?
? Maintain a view of Church, not church, which goes beyond dialogue ? Feel free to allow people to come and go, share experiences and opportunities. Potential leaders who are free to and blessed in going to other congregations will often provide unexpected returns to the congregation which sent them. Relationships are built between churches, ministries combine and flow back and forth, and individuals can return even more skilled and talented than when they departed.
? Salvation isn?t found just on Sunday ? Some people may never feel comfortable in established forms of church. That does not mean that they are backsliding, lacking faith or even worse, ?liberal?! The church is God?s people and they can always be found in the most unlikely of places. In local ministry based groups; in loose collections of Christian friends who gather on semi-regular basis; in educational institutions; even through online communities on the internet. We can argue over the pros and cons of each, but to a certain individual, each of these could be their connection point to the Church.
? Encourage creativity and imagination ? These are increasingly valued and encouraged tools in our workplaces, yet originality, creativity and imagination often find themselves in hostile territory in our churches, with the emphasis on tradition, conformity, and truth.
? Give up competing to be the saviour of your community ? Many churches are working more cooperatively in trying to reach their community, which is fantastic. However, in my own experience there often exists in many churches an underlying desire to be ?the best?. That doesn?t necessarily sound bad, but I believe can have some unconstructive consequences, such as a possessiveness of leaders and members, a focus on numbers and quantifiable outcomes, and a trend to copy other patterns of ?success? verbatim without uncovering the narrow path that God might be trying to show us.
? Encourage the informal, open-set groups that may cluster around your congregation ? These are the groups which are often most able to form these positive networks and be flexible and responsive enough to take on the challenge of the post-modern era, and thus, if embraced or at least supported by the established church, will help build the path for the broader church to follow in due time. They also provide a suitable forum and place for belonging for the disenfranchised and ?awkward? Christians, which isn?t too disassociated from the mainstream church. Provided, of course, that they are given relative freedom and autonomy to define their own existence.
I found that really interesting because I'm increasingly seeing that portfolio phenomenon among the teens I work with and I admit it's been bugging me that they go to the larger youth groups for the flash and the fun. This has given me something to chew on.......maybe it's okay that they go elsewhere for that since I don't have the resources to provide it and they do bring friends to our meetings, though not in the numbers they take to the other places. I'm thinking that's ok, because when they come to me, they are ready to go deep into God's Word. I don't deal in the light and fluffy. So, anyway, I've had my thinking readjusted today to where maybe it isn't so bad to be fed spiritually at a smorgasboard.....as long as it is all compatible and "healthy."
posted by Stacy at 2:26 PM
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Attendance will most likely be down at church this morning. The temperature is well below freezing and the wind is whipping the snow into a multitude of little whirlwinds, all destined to sting the face and chill the body to the bone. It's the kind of day where many in the congregation will decided to stay home warm and comfy saying God will understand....just this once.
Today finds us heading out to Sunday school and services. I wouldn't miss....this is the start of Advent, one of the two best times in the church (the other being Lent). This afternoon I will recruit whoever I can to help finish up the Christmas decorating. Tonight, Matt is attending the school's Christmas dance to be held at the Elk's club. Hmmm....December 1 and a Sunday night? Who planned that? Youth group is canceled for the holiday weekend.
The spaghetti dinner went very well and we served over 70 dinners at the church and a little over 20 take-out dinners were sold...a great fundraiser for the coffee house! Those of us working had a great time fellowshipping and with so much help it didn't take long to get things cleaned up at the end.