Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some important, random, subjects

The last month has passed SO quickly.  I have a new son in law, I've been half way round the world and seen more in two weeks than many people see in a year, and I've had a week's vacation with my wife at the beach!  Now, I'm playing catch up with everyone and everything, it seems, but getting up to speed.  Any number of thoughts and subjects are flitting through my head; let me tackle one or two.

China!  My, oh my, the things I have seen!  Just read my blog posts below (numbers one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight) for a complete report.  But they are incomplete.  They cannot capture the encouragement my heart received in seeing God's work.  Nor can they capture the sense that this is a moment of great opportunity that requires God's people to be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves (or as I like to say, "It's a 'flying snake' moment.").  GBC has incredible opportunity to partner with and under the direction of our brothers and sisters there in hugely significant ways.

Firstfruits!  I'll say more about this Sunday, but this is one of two times we ask people to dig a bit deeper and augment their regular giving through a special gift to the church.  Our larger push, the fall Harvest Offering, is to give away.  This offering has usually focused on strengthening us for ministry here, often through debt reduction, but also through capital and facility improvements and repairs we cannot cover in our budget. 

This past Sunday I experienced a first--pictures of our restrooms, including a great shot of the urinals in the men's room, as we explained that we need to renovate those restrooms.  Now, I have to admit, having just returned from China where our style of toilets and bathrooms have not been universally received, I realize this isn't an emergency.  But it IS something we would like to do, especially for our guests who sometimes draw certain conclusions about the way we do things by the way we maintain what we have.  Our restroom facilities in the main building do not create a good first impression, do they?  More than that, just as we have to make necessary but unexciting changes to our homes, replace failing vehicles, and do other maintenance and repair in life, having a 100 year old chapel, 50 year old addition, 30 year old sanctuary, and our "newest" wing being closer to 20 than 10 years old, there is stuff to be done.  And our bathrooms need repair, even if it isn't all that exciting to think about. 

I'm AM really excited about the mural and improvements to the children's ministry hallway downstairs.  That will change the feel of that place completely. So, give to the point where the restrooms are done, so we can finish this project at the same quality as our excellent start.

So, join me in doing what we need to do, in this special opportunity of Firstfruits to get it done.  I promise, no more urinal pictures if we meet our goal!!!  How's that for promotion?

Book recommendations!  I've done a lot of reading lately, and wanted to recommend both Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God by David Platt for your attention.  I'm reviewing the latter and will post that shortly.  But read them in that order, and you will be challenged. 

Spiritual Disciplines!  I just preached on these Sunday, and if you were not with us, can I encourage you to listen to the message at the main GBC website, or iTunes, or watch it on the link provided.  This isn't about self-promotion, as much as an appeal to each one of us to consider whether we have a foundational understanding of the disciplines, and if we have a plan for personal growth in faith!  More later on this, too!