Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Madness

I read the following excerpt on a college classmate's blog last week:

Just so you know...that feeling of tiredness, irritability and the excessive need for caffeine actually has a name during the Olympic Games. It's called Olympic fatigue! So there ya go! Happy fatigue as I watch the women's finals in gymnastics at 11:45pm!

I laughed at the note because, for the first time ever, my family and I are actually engrossed in the Olympic Games. Anyone who knows me at all is keenly aware that I am not much of a sports enthusiast. (Pastor Derrick argued with me last week that the Summer Olympics weren't really sports anyway, because nobody can get hurt.)

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy any sporting event, if I'm there... I even play racquetball on occasion, but I've never been much for the sports scene. Other kids played football... I played piano. That's what makes this whole Olympic infatuation seem like some sort of "out-of body" experience for the redhead and me.

Nonetheless, I've genuinely enjoyed working my way through the recordings on our DVR, seeking out the greatest moments of the last couple of weeks. In fact, I realized that maybe I'd watched one too many medal ceremonies when this past Saturday evening at Starlight Theater I was momentarily stunned to hear a different arrangement of the national anthem than the one I'd been hearing on television so many times in the last several days.
So what's the reason I share all of this?

1. It's Monday morning and I needed a blog topic. ;-)

2. I wonder who else is finding the games to be a source of interest... Share some comments on your own Olympic thoughts... I'd love to hear them.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Count your blessings
name them one by one;
Count your many blessings
see what God has done.
-Johnson Oatman, Jr. 1897

To be honest, though I've sung it literally hundreds of times, that old gospel song has never really been one of my favorites. So, why do we keep singing it? Because it helps us gain perspective. It's like the old saying, "You can't see the forest for all the trees..." Sometimes I find that God has been so actively at work that I must make a conscious effort to step back and see exactly what it is that He's been doing.

I love Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Such has been my own experience for the last couple of weeks. July 22 marked the one year anniversary of the day I met the congregation at Blue Valley Baptist Church, and yesterday gives me a full year on the platform as BVBC's Pastor of Worship. In that time I've seen God do so many things in my own life and ministry that it serves me well to stop and think about them.

At home:
All of my girls have found Kansas to be a wonderful place to live. God has blessed us not only with a wonderful house to rent, but with good neighbors, great schools, close friends and many new experiences... things like having four distinct seasons (not something we had in Texas!). I've said often over the last year that while Melinda and I have been blessed with many wonderful opportunities in life, neither of us had ever really considered living outside of the Lone Star State. Who knew a group of died-in-the-wool Texans could make such a happy home in Kansas?!

At church:
I have to admit, I've never worked so hard in my life as I have since coming to Blue Valley, but I must add to that statement the fact that I've never seen God do the things He's doing here. The explosive growth of our church has presented challenges beyond my past experience, but God has been faithful to guide and instruct us in navigating the course He's marked. Many church members have shared with me over the last year that they had concerns about what corporate worship would look like under the direction of a new leader. Most of those people went on to say how blessed they are to see the growth in our ministry and the diversity of our worship experiences. Testimonies like these affirm that God is up to something good.

The days ahead bring the promise of even greater things. This fall we'll be adding another staff member to the bvbcWORSHIP Ministry, and that person will begin leading new facets of our program with the first priority being church orchestra. As has been the case for many years, the goal of our ministry is always to empower individuals to be effective worshippers and effective worship leaders. Broadening the ministry creates new places for people to serve. Perhaps you need to be serving with us. I'd count it an honor to visit with you about the opportunities you have in the bvbcWORSHIP Ministry and hope you'll consider how God might be calling you to participate.

I've learned that when God does things, they don't always look like what I might have expected. That's part of what makes it so much fun. I thank Him for the opportunity to serve here and I thank you, my church family, for making my first year in Kansas so full of great experiences.