Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Mind Dump

  • Okay, okay, already! Some of you are so impatient. I didn’t post a Sunday Mind Dump last week because Renae and I went out of town for a day trip…. and some people are going into withdrawals. SO HERE GOES……

  • What a totally AMAZING day! The house was packed, the music fantastic, and the Spirit of God was operating as only He can do.

  • CDs flew off the shelf. A number of people actually stayed and attended the second service AFTER attending the first service. Wow.

  • It blows me away seeing all the TEENAGERS in church each week. I especially like seeing them on the front row fully engaged; worshipping, taking notes, open Bibles, and soaking it up. It is very exciting, and is also humbling to me.

  • In fact, I noticed this among the adults too - in both services. Sometimes when I look out over the congregation I notice lots of people taking notes and flipping through their Bibles marking passages. This is very uplifting to me. I don’t think I am that profound, but am delighted that the flock of PCC has such a desire for the WORD OF GOD!

  • (Not only were people taking notes, I think some people were PASSING notes).

  • Someone said to me one time that PCC was a shallow church because we project the Bible passages on the screen overhead. Huh? What a critic. I told him so, too. If you'd like to know who, just ask me.

  • Have I mentioned that I LOVE SUNDAYS?

  • There are some great comments on FACEBOOK about today’s service too. I can’t tell you how much this impresses me; young adults, senior adults, and teenagers are eating it up! What is it about PCC that appeals to such a cross-section of our community?

  • Can I confide in you? There are A LOT of people in our church family who are HURTING, and they are hurting in a major way. There is so much pain in our church family, that, when I think about the sheer volume of people, it is overwhelming to me. I hurt for these people.

  • I’m glad that PCC is a SAFE HARBOR where hurting people can find SAFE PEOPLE, safe relationships, and safe friendships. Not every church can say that. “Thank You God, that You have seen fit to send hurting people to PCC where they can find shelter in the storm.”

  • There is no way I could have planned THIS MORNING’S MESSAGE (in advance) without God directing my steps. I usually try to plan a couple of weeks in advance, (following the Holy Spirit’s lead, I believe), and little did I realize the impact today’s topic would have. Moreover, little did I realize that I WOULD BE LIVING IT as well! ONLY GOD knows WHAT HE WAS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH in this morning’s service – within me – and within a lot of other people too.

  • For the last two weeks I have had Renae send out an e-mail (i.e., “From the Desk of Pastor Ron”) to mention the weekend services and encourage people to be in God’s House on Sunday. There are 600-700 names on this e-mail list, and it has been proven to be very effective for us. However, last Friday, someone replied saying something like this: “My name is so-and-so. I visited your church one time back in June. While there, I noticed there were no crosses or crucifixes on display, nor did I hear the name Jesus mentioned once. Please explain.” Renae did the right thing by not replying to this persons demand (that we ‘explain’ ourselves) and simply removed this person from our e-mail list. By doing so, she did not waste precious emotional energy on a one-time-only visitor (malcontent) who apparently has a problem with Pace Community Church. I’m not in the habit of ‘explaining’ the ‘whys’ and 'hows' behind everything we do (to demanding personalities) because it is an exercise in futility. Besides, we cover the whys-and-hows in our 101 seminar. But if I had replied to this person, this is what I would have said….

    “Dear so-and-so,”

    I’m sorry that after ONE VISIT you have judged us so severely and found us to be unworthy of a second visit. You asked us to explain ourselves as to why you didn’t see the things you were looking for. Well, here’s why: You arrived at church with a CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER. You were looking for something to condemn and find fault with, and that’s exactly what you found. You OVERLOOKED the obvious and visible dedication we have to God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the resulting changed lives. People always FIND what they are LOOKING FOR, and if you didn't hear the name of Jesus mentioned in the service it's only because that's what you were EXPECTING. If you had not been looking at us with a jaundiced eye you would have noticed the crosses in the atrim and would have heard the name of Jesus Christ heralded a dozen times. A
    pparently you are a deeply critical and bitter person. Unlike the 500 other people who have found our church to be a place of healing and God-honoring worship, you found only fault. If you would take the beam out of your own eye you would then see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. PCC would not be a good church for you - we are incapable of making you happy.”

  • THAT is what I would have said. But Renae took the high road and didn't bother with it.

  • We had an APPRECIATION RECEPTION for CATHY DENNY today after the second service. It was our opportunity to say “thank you” for 6 ½ years of exceptional service to PCC. Cathy has proven herself to be absolutely loyal (to me and PCC), faithful to God and her duties, and has performed with a high standard of excellence. PCC is where it is today, in part, to her faithful service. About 100 people stayed for her reception, (and I took note of who was there), and there were a lot of expressions of love and friendship. I think it was one of those “God moments” that church congregations sometimes experience in their journey. We honored her for a ‘job well done’

  • Today was the wedding anniversary of my mother and (deceased) father. They would have been married for 54 years today. (Sorry Mom if I got that incorrect. Is it 53, or 54?). Dad passed away in 2004. I miss him… sometimes deeply.

  • Our staffing transition is almost complete. I will be posting an update on this soon; probably next week.

  • I am in a personal ‘growth period’ right now. I feel like I am growing up in many ways.

  • Being around student teenagers reminds me that I am getting old.

  • Does anyone else love this weather? Or is it just me?

  • College football begins in two weeks.

  • One thing I don’t understand about college football is the MALE CHEERLEADERS. I’m sure that any one of them could beat the daylights out of me (because they are so athletic). But I don’t get it. A guy cheerleader? Seems like a prissy britches to me.

  • Renae and I will probably BE GONE for three days next week.

  • Unite Picnic THIS Wednesday night.

  • We are about to enter a NEW SEASON at PCC… new workers, new leaders, new accomplishments, and new victories. Oh yea, and a FRESH outpouring of God’s Spirit.

  • Miriam was put outside the camp for seven days because of her sin. That’s called ‘CHURCH DISCIPLINE’ today. You may (or may not) notice it, but it is something we practice and enforce at PCC.

  • I am PUMPED UP about PCC, God, and the ministry accomplishments that are ahead of us.

  • I love our church. Honestly, there is no place I would rather be than the Sunday morning services at PCC. Sadly, I don’t think many pastors can say that.

  • Next Sunday (actually Monday) is the one-year anniversary of Nathan Melton's death. It was a sad loss and we miss him. He was a good friend to both of our sons. Many of his family members still attend PCC and still feel the pain of his loss. We are thinking of you this week. Our thoughts and prayers go out especially to Pamela and Darrell, Nathan's parents. And young people, remember the promises you made to God that Sunday at the altar.

  • PCC has some of the most amazing volunteers that I have ever seen in my life! Just so you know, we are planning a VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION event to take place in October or November. We are going to PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS on this event. We are overdue.

  • Our FALL SEMESTER of SMALL GROUPS begins in September. I’m looking forward to them. It appears a lot of new people are interested in signing up.

  • I was blown away by the number of visitors and guests today. Where do all these people come from?

  • I am astonished at the number of YOUNG COUPLES currently attending PCC. This is VERY, VERY encouraging to me. Young couples are the demographic group that is very DELIBERATE about getting their life STARTED OFF RIGHT and are SEARCHING for ROLE MODELS and MENTORS to help guide them in the right direction. If you are a married couple, say in your 30’s or 40’s, with a successful marriage yourself, you have a great opportunity RIGHT NOW to INVEST YOUR LIFE into the lives of someone else that will MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Let me encourage you to seriously consider leading a small group, or leading a 4 x 4. You will affect (impact) someone’s life for time and eternity. With the exception of your own family, there is nothing greater that you could do with your life than to help another couple to have a successful marriage and family. Think about it.

  • GREG GILL is doing an amazing job on the drums. I don’t know if you have noticed, but he has really stepped up and filled a critical need in our band. We always seem to be short-handed in this area, but finally it appears we have a long-term musician for this position. In fact, he has literally TAUGHT HIMSELF through self discipline. This is a feat within itself. Trust me, this is a very difficult thing to do. I’m a musician myself, and have been playing three different instruments for more than thirty years…. but I couldn’t drum my way out of a wet paper bag! Either you’ve got it (on percussion) or you don’t. I love it when he hits the cymbals, or does a serious drum-roll at the end of a stanza. Greg Gill is almost in the same category as Greg Baker (one of our former drummers) – which is saying a lot. All credit goes to Greg, he did it on his own.

  • Lest I be remiss in honorable mentions, let me give a SHOUT OUT to ALEX CASEY as well. This is a young man who I have my eyes on. Recently baptized, Alex shows all the signs of potential ministry service. He is a young man with obvious spiritual inclinations towards the “things of God.” He really seems to have a serious interest in deeper spiritual matters; a rare thing among young men today. That aside, he is a good musician too; playing bass guitar, saxophone, flute, AND drums. Way to go Alex, you are such an asset to PCC!

  • Have I mentioned that I love PCC?

  • Do you ever sit back and realize that God is so much better than you deserve?

  • I’m still riding my bicycle faithfully – about four times a week. This is my attempt to work off my mid-life midriff. Mark my word…. I’m going to be cut-and-defined by December.

  • Don’t hold it against me, but I like watching UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

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