Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Mind Dump - Easter - April 8, 2012

Jesus is alive!  Because of what we celebrated today, everything in my life is different!

Almost 500 people today (491).  It’s always a lot of fun to have a packed house;  the energy level goes way up; the noise, laughter, and animated talk goes up; and people get to visit with each other and catch up.

The room temperature goes up too.  With 410 people in the sanctuary, the air conditioners could barely keep the room cool.  There were 81 in the Kids Zone.

We count the numbers (like they did in the Bible) because it gives us important data.  But numbers don’t impress me as much as they used to.

I’m under no illusions that an Easter Sunday crowd represents a true reflection of our church family, or a congregation of committed disciples.  It was just an Easter crowd.  But still, I’m pleased that so many came.  I’ll be glad for things to get back to normal next Sunday too.

BTW, I have always thought it is better to have a normal service on Easter Sunday so that all the guests will have an idea of what we’re really like the other 51 Sunday’s of the year.  I dislike the dog-and-pony show that some churches put on.  It’s an extravaganza that requires more workers, volunteers, and effort  that only leaves everyone exhausted after the day is over – all in an attempt to impress a crowd of people who attend church only once a year.  Not worth it.  It’s much better to offer everyone a meat-and-potatoes service; that way they know what they’re going to get if they decide to come back; plus your workers are not overworked.

Get this.  Our attendance was higher than normal, but giving was lower than normal.  Not surprising.

With the exception of planning for a larger crowd, (such as extra seating, a couple of new songs, extra ushers and children’s workers on the schedule), today’s service was typical. 

The benefit?  After church everyone was out of the building within an hour or less, off to spend the day with family and friends, have a family meal together, and enjoy a day of rest.

It doesn’t get any better than that.  I am blessed.

If I seemed a little distracted this morning while preaching it’s because I was.  I was carrying an extra burden of sadness.   A personal tragedy occurred in our church family.  It was sooooo hard to stay focused.

I love preaching and teaching.  It’s my shepherds heart that gets my emotions.

FYI – There will be a funeral or memorial service this week.  It is likely to be held at PCC in the sanctuary.  We’ll get the word out as soon as we know.

The morning message was entitled “The Resurrection Narratives.”  It was the first time in my ministry that I ever taught on the resurrection of Jesus Christ this way.  I took the separate accounts from the four gospels (in their narrative form) and correlated them together to offer an accurate sequence of events as they occurred.

It’s always been a bit confusing to me reading the different accounts (in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) because the details overlap, sometimes seem to contradict each other, or leave out details that the others mentioned.  However as I studied for the message this week, a clearer picture began to emerge.  It was pretty exciting for me to make these discoveries.

I wasn’t able to cover all the events for the sake of time.  However, I would like to take another stab at this sometime in the future.

I’m proud of our staff, ministry leaders, volunteers, and workers.  They pulled it off today, just like every other Sunday.  This is one of the most self-sacrificing groups of people I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.

The “community” that people are experiencing in the PCC family right now is exceptional.

Renae and I went fishing on Friday (Good Friday).  We had a good time out on the water.  The weather was perfect and the fishing was good.  We caught one redfish, one largemouth bass, and one speckled trout.  In addition, Renae lost two fish; they were so big that her line snapped.  You should have seen her fishing pole.  It was bent over almost to the reel with line running off the drag.  But then, “snap!”

We’re going back soon.  We’ve got the fever.

My garden is taking off!  Very excited.  I’ll post pictures in a week or so.

Last week I posted two blog entries regarding men.  They were the only two posts all week long, not because I’m getting lazy or am experiencing writers block, but because I wanted to be sure they stayed on the home page long enough to ensure that they would be read by the most people possible.

There's more to come.

I feel very strongly about ministry to men and I will be writing about it more this upcoming week. 

For the longest time God  (I think) has been stirring me on the inside regarding men in the church and how to minister to them.  I’m not talking about simply having a pancake breakfast once a month either.  I’m talking about ministering to men in a way that the church has neglected… and that begins by speaking their language and thinking like a man thinks.

After all, the apostle Paul said, “I try to find common ground…. so I might bring them to Christ” (I Corinthians 9:22)

That’s why I’m writing about this subject right now.  It’s helping me clarify my thoughts and codify important ideas.

Hopefully, it will capture the interest of other men too.  I hope they join me.

Now to decompress for the rest of the day.


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