Friday, August 31, 2007

Looking Past The WHALE

Let’s play a game of word association. I will give a name of a Bible hero and you give the first word that comes to your mind. Ready? Here we go! "Noah?" What did you think of? Probably the ark. What if I said the name, “David?” You would probably think of Goliath or maybe Bathsheba. But what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the name, “Jonah?” That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? Everyone would think of the whale.

Throughout the month of September our entire ministry will be taking the time to look at the story of Jonah. Whenever we think of the story of Jonah, our mind always goes to the whale that swallowed Jonah and vomited him up on dry ground. There is no question that the whale is an amazing part of the story. But to really understand the story of Jonah we have to look past the whale. The real theme of the story is God’s love for the world. Over the month of September we will see how this fits into the story of Jonah.

The story of Jonah has been one of the most ridiculed books in the entire Bible. Skeptics and liberal theologians find all kinds of ways to explain away the reality of this story. Some take a mythological approach where they view Jonah like a Robinson Crusoe or like the Phoenician story of Hercules and the Sea Monster. Others take an allegorical view and see the book as one big extended parable where Jonah is really Israel, the sea represents the Gentile Nations, the fish represents the Babylonian Captivity, and Jonah being vomited on dry ground is the return of Israel out of captivity under Ezra.

Others get even more creative. Some explain away this story by saying that it was all a dream that Jonah had while on the boat. Others say that Jonah accidentally went overboard into the water and was rescued by a boat which had the sculpture of a fish as its figurehead. My favorite liberal view of Jonah is that Jonah fell into the sea and climbed inside a dead fish that happened to be floating by to escape from the storm. When it comes to the story of Jonah, you can either believe these creative attempts to explain away the truth of Scripture or you can see it for what it really is, a real and historical account about a prophet of God who didn’t want to obey God.

How do we know that Jonah was a real historical person? In 2 Kings 14:23-25, Jonah is listed with names of real people and real places. In Matthew 12:38-41 and Luke 11:30, Jonah is connected with the actual event of the resurrection. In fact, Jonah is one of only four Old Testament characters mentioned by Jesus. Jonah was real and so is his story.

Another remarkable thing about the book of Jonah is that this little four chapter book is packed full of miracles. There is the miracle of the storm. There is the miracle of the lots. There is the miracle of the calming of the sea. There is the miracle of the fish appearing. There is the miracle of the preservation of Jonah inside the fish. There is the miracle of the ejection of Jonah from the fish. There is the miracle of the gourd. There is the miracle of the worm. There is the miracle of the east wind. And then there is the most amazing miracle of all, the repentance of the entire city of Nineveh.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mending a Torn Net

In Galatians 6:1, the Bible tells us that when a brother or sister in Christ is overtaken in a fault that we who are spiritual are to restore them in a spirit of gentleness.

Paul here is not speaking of a believer who is habitually and intentionally choosing to live a life of sin and who is knowingly choosing to disobey God. He is describing a Christian who has been taken off guard and as a result has become wounded. Over the course of church history, the church has widely been known as one of the few organizations that tend to step on or shoot their own wounded rather than helping to see healing and restoration come into their lives. How sad. In many cases the unbelieving world often treat their wounded more Biblically than the church does.

Our goal and purpose anytime that another believer faces a spiritual struggle is to “restore” that brother or sister. This is word that was used to describe the mending of a torn fishing net so that the net once again becomes useful and effective in its purpose (see Matthew 4:21). It is also used to describe the setting of a broken bone so that healing takes place and the limb is again returned to its effective usefulness. That must be our goal for believers who stumble. When a believer finds himself in a spiritual jam and admits their mistakes and repents, we must make it our heartfelt passion and purpose to see that precious person restored to a place of effective service for the Lord.

How are we to go about this ministry of restoration? The Bible says that we are to do it in a spirit of gentleness. This is a word that describes a soothing balm that takes the sting out of a burn. Why is it that when we hear of a brother or sister who has stumbled that we often react in ways that are more like pouring salt in the wound rather than being the soothing balm that helps to minimize the pain?

This spirit of gentleness also requires that we give careful diligence to our own walk with the Lord realizing that we too are susceptible to falling and that we too are a target of the evil one who roams around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We all wear targets. We are not better than those who are struggling. We too can fall.

In verse two, Paul continues by telling us that we should help to carry the burden of those brothers and sisters who have been overtaken by a fault. We are to help support and carry their load, not make their load heavier through gossip, idle chatter, and an attitude of self-righteousness. Instead, we are to stand with them and by doing so we fulfill the law of Christ who taught us to love each other as ourselves. We cannot in anyway think that we are somehow better or spiritually superior to the one is struggling. We aren’t.

Until Jesus returns, believers who are good men and good women will face spiritual struggles and many will be overtaken in faults. It could happen to me and it could even happen to you. When the church puts these principles into practice it is a beautiful and powerful thing. It is a very true saying, there is nothing like the local church when the local church is working right!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A valuable piece of land

A couple of years ago, we as a church purchased the 12 acres of land across the street from us that we held last summer’s Rodeo and Western Event on. Why is this land so valuable to us? The answer is in the fact that we are completely landlocked on our present 16 acre track of land which our facility sits on. Due to green space restrictions, we as a church have built as much as we can build. We can not build another square foot.

This is where this land across the street comes in. This 12 acre field is currently zoned agricultural. What this means is that we cannot build a building on it. However, if we can find a usage for this land that allows it to remain green, then perhaps the township might allow us to count this property as our green space that would allow us to expand our present facility.

This has resulted in the Elder Board putting together a Concept Development Team led by our Business Manager, Andrew Norton, along with Rich Wilson, who attends our church and is one of the Vice Presidents at Lancaster Bible College, to look at the possibility of making this piece of ground a top notch community recreational park. Your first reaction may be to say, “What kind of ministry value is there in that?” Actually, there is load of advantage.

First, it would allow us to meet a very real need within our community. Our community is hurting for additional sports fields, especially in the sport of soccer. If we could turn this land across the street into a recreational park that included a first rate soccer field and regulation size track among other things, we would meet a very real need in our community. Our land would be used on a regular basis bringing hundreds of people to our property. This would fulfill our purpose perfectly of “meeting people where they are and moving them to where God wants them to be!” If this land included an unbelievable kid’s play area and picnic area, we would touch people in a positive way, much like we did through the rodeo, but on a daily basis. Imagine how much more effective these touches would be if we could make this complex first rate with lights for evening activities and the works.

Second, this direction would greatly help our children’s, youth as well as our educational ministries of MorningStar Daycare and Lititz Christian School. Our current soccer field is very bad and our school track team literally practices while running around cars in our parking lot. How incredible would it be to have a first rate recreational park that not only serves our community but assists all of our ministries that involve reaching and impacting children and teens. Folks, listen, that’s a “win-win” scenario! It’s the best of both worlds.

And if that is not reason enough to be excited about this possibility, we may just be able to accomplish all of this while at the same time making it possible to do something we currently are not allowed to do and need to do…expand our facility out on to our present soccer field. Now we are talking a “win-win-win” for our church! This is a very exciting time to be part of the Grace Church family. Please be praying for our Concept Development Team and our Church Staff and Elder Board as we see how God leads and directs us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No Charge!

Because the local church is such a vital part of my life, I can’t pass a church of any flavor or denomination without taking notice. As a result, I have found several things that irritate the snot out of me when I drive by some houses of worship.

For example, at Christmas time I always get irritated when I drive by churches that have well lit manger scenes in the front yard that include the Wise Men carrying their gifts from afar. Folks, listen, the Wise Men didn’t come to the manger the night of Jesus’ birth. Shepherds? Yes! Wise Men? No! They came months later when Jesus was more of a toddler. How do we expect our culture to get it right when our churches display it wrong? How ‘bout it fellow churches? Let’s get it right this coming Holiday Season!

Another thing that I can’t help but notice is the “stupid” sayings that churches put on their signs. It is a rare time that I see a saying on a church sign that excites me. I sometimes think churches forget that the majority of people who read their signs are unbelievers that drive by daily. If first impressions mean anything, than our ecclesiastical signs probably do more damage to our efforts to reach our communities than they do any good.

But the number one thing that I see outside of churches that bugs me the most is when a major community oriented event takes place in a community near a church and the church uses it as an opportunity to make money by charging people to park in their parking lots. What are we saying to our communities when we charge them money to use our parking lots to attend weekly sporting events? What misconceptions about the church are we feeding when we collect a certain dollar figure per vehicle to park in our lots while attending community festivals and fairs?

Thanks to so many television evangelists with bad hair pieces constantly begging for money, the world already sees the church as a place that is only interested in people’s checkbooks. Is it really worth a few dollars gain to our coffers to cement that same perception in the lives of people who are already leery of the church?

Instead of charging people to park in our holy lots, why don’t we try a vastly different approach? Don’t charge a penny. Let’s serve our community instead of fleecing them. Let them park for free. In fact, why not go one step further? While they are enjoying the game or the event, give their car a complimentary wash, wax and detailing. When they come back and try to give a donation…refuse it. Let them know that you didn’t do it for money, you did it to genuinely demonstrate to them the love of Jesus.

You know what will happen? Your church will become the talk around the water cooler that next week. News of your servanthood will spread like a wildfire. Then, the next time Christmas or Easter rolls around and these same folks begin to think about making their once a year pilgrimage to be with the “steeple people,” you just may see a few of those same cars back in your parking lot on a Sunday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

O How the Mighty Are Fallen

As Judges 16 closes out the life of Samson, we see him as a captive of the Philistines. After seizing him, they put out his eyes, which was a common practice concerning captives, and put bronze chains on him. He is taken back to Gaza where he had carried away the city gates and was given the humiliating task of grinding grain by hand which was a task usually given to a woman or a slave. I always imagined this being done as Samson would push around a large wooden beam sticking out of a huge circular grinding stone. However, these types of grinding tools were not present until after Old Testament times ended. Samson would have simply sat in a dungeon, blind and shackled, with a large stone sitting in his lap while he used a little hand tool hour after hour to grind the grain.

The Bible makes mention that his hair began to grow. Now remember that the source of his strength was not his hair but rather the Spirit of God in his life. His hair was just a symbol of his commitment to God which had been shattered. But as his hair begins to grow back we once again see a picture of the grace of God even after so many failures.

Samson the captive now becomes Samson the clown. The Philistines credit this victory over Samson to their god, Dagon, who was said to be the father of Baal. A holiday feast is called to give homage to Dagon. Because Dagon is also the god of grain, having Samson grinding grain was equal to making him serve Dagon. Perhaps the biggest mistake the Philistines made was in thinking that Dagon had delivered Samson when it was really Jehovah. Now it is important to keep in mind that this festivity brought thousands of Philistines into the same location including every influential person in their culture. At the height of their drunkenness they bring Samson out and make “sport” of him. There is absolutely no end to the horrid and depraved things they may have done to their number one enemy as Samson stood between the two pillars of this great temple.

Now Samson the clown becomes Samson, the conqueror. It appears that a boy (probably a Hebrew slave) was in charge of Samson. Samson asks the boy to put his hands on each pillar so he could rest by leaning on them. The temple was filled with thousands of Philistine men and women along with all rulers and dignitaries while 3,000 more watched from up on the roof. Samson now repents and looks to his true source of strength, the Lord, for support. If there is one thing that we should remember about Samson it is that in spite of all of his failures, in the end he called on the Lord.

God answers his prayer and shows His grace by giving Samson strength to push the pillars off their stone bases collapsing the temple and killing more Philistines inhis death then he ever killed while alive. For Israel, Samson’s victory in death gave them the upper hand against the Philistines as all of the Philistine leaders were wiped out in one swell swoop. God has used Samson in a great way. Based on this, I have begun to pray this prayer,

“Lord, in whatever time You have left for me on this earth, please use me to accomplish more for your glory in the days ahead of me than you have in the days behind me!”

Friday, August 24, 2007

Let the Academic Year Begin

It may just be the most exciting day of the year for our ministry as a whole. I am speaking of the first day of our academic year and it all begins this coming Monday morning. For those of you who don’t know, our church also runs an educational ministry with MorningStar Daycare and Lititz Christian School which entails well over 400 children from 6-weeks old through the 12th grade being in our building most every day and being spiritually impacted along with their entire families by a wonderful staff of godly men and women that make up our administration, faculty and staff.

This is all part of the vision of Dr Young, the former Senior Pastor of Grace Church. Dr Young would see these wonderful church buildings that only got used 1 or possibly 2 days a week. He promised God that if He would give Dr Young a building, Dr Young would do everything within his power to see that building utilized 7 days a week. Our mighty God answered that prayer of Dr Young and in return Dr Young was faithful to keep his promise and launched MorningStar and Lititz Christian. Dr Young’s vision lives on as another exciting year gets ready to kick-off come this Monday morning.

I am very pro Christian Education. Why? First, because I am a product of Christian Education. I spent my last three years of High School at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA) in Stow, Ohio and it had a great impact on my life. One of the men who God used greatly in my life as a teenager was my High School Band Director at CVCA. I also believe in Christian Education as well because I have seen the difference it has made in my own kid’s lives. I love the fact that both my kids attend Lititz Christian.

Now please don’t get me wrong…I am in no way “anti” public schools. We have many wonderful educators in our area public school systems that also attend Grace Church. We have many hundreds of wonderful teenagers and children who go to public schools that also attend our church. I thank and praise God for each and every one of them. Our ministry has a wonderful relationship with the Warwick School District.

But one of the things I love about pastoring Grace Church is being able to be part of this daily ministry of impacting young lives through Christian Education. As a result, there is always something exciting going on inside of our facility. We have an exceptional group of students who attend Lititz Christian. I am thrilled at the intentional progress that our educational ministries are making to increase our excellence in every area. God has blessed us with a tremendous administrative team at MorningStar and Lititz Christian who also are all part of our Grace Church family. Be sure to be praying for these leaders of our educational ministries as they embark on another academic year starting Monday:

Rick Bernhardt, Senior Administrator
Eric Lewis, Secondary Principal
Sherry McConaghay, Elementary Principal
Tammy Wiggins, Daycare Director

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Getting to know the Worship Guy!

Matt McElravy is doing an awesome job as our Worship Arts Director here at Grace Church. It has been a blessing to get to know him and work with him daily. I wanted you to get to know him better as well through his answers to the questions listed below (although after his answer about the genre of music he likes, I may just have to fire him!)

What is your current family status (married/single, children, pets, etc.)? Single

Where do you live? In Ephrata

How long have you been attending Grace Church? Since August of 2006

What do you do for a living? I am the Worship Arts Director here at Grace—sometimes I have to remind myself that what I do really counts as “work”!

What is your favorite food? Anything Mexican

Coke or Pepsi...Coffee or Tea? Coke…Tea

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset—it doesn’t require getting up early to see!

Favorite season (spring, summer, etc.)? Autumn

What are some of your hobbies/pastimes? Playing music, reading, writing, exercising

What is your favorite place on earth? Scotland

Who or what do you most admire, and why? I would say I admire my father more than anyone else. He’s always been an example of Godly leadership in our home, and has shown me what it means to lead a life of integrity, to live for the Lord daily, and how to be a good friend, husband, and father

What is your favorite Bible verse/passage? Psalm 119:32: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”

Do you have a favorite musical genre? If so, what is it? I try to listen to as many different genres as possible (even Country…don’t tell Pastor Scott). But I’d say my favorite is Rock, followed by Jazz

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I wasn't always just an "artsy musical type" fact, I was the MVP of my Jr. High basketball team in 8th grade! …And then I got cut from the Sr. High team the very next year. That’s when I decided it was time to get more serious about music!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It All Goes Back In The Box

One of my favorite authors and speakers is a guy named John Ortberg who pastors the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, CA. This guy is one extremely gifted communicator who really connects with me. He spoke at the recent Leadership Summit that I attended. While I was there I picked up and have just started reading his newest book, When The Game is Over It All Goes Back In The Box!” It is a book about lessons he learned about life from playing Monopoly with his grandmother when he was a kid. In the first chapter he quotes the following from comedian, Jerry Seinfeld to show that you don’t even have to be a believer to realize the lesson of the box. Seinfeld says:

To me, if life boils down to one significant thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving. Unfortunately, this means that for the rest of our lives we’re going to be looking for boxes.

When you’re moving, your whole world is boxes. That’s all you think about. “Boxes, where are the boxes?” You just wander down the street going in and out of stores, “Are there boxes here? Have you seen any boxes?” It’s all you think about.

You could be at a funeral, everyone around you is mourning, crying, and you’re looking at the casket. “That’s a nice box. Does anybody know where that guy got that box? When he’s done with it, you think I could get it? It’s got some nice handles on it. My stereo would fit right in there.”

I mean that’s what death is, really – the last big move of your life. The hearse is like the van, the pall bearers are your close friends, the only ones you could really ask to help you with a big move like that. And the casket is that great, perfect box you’ve been looking for your whole life.

Interesting take, isn’t it? I’m only through chapter one and already John has my curiosity and interest. I can’t wait to see where he goes with this concept. If you’re looking for a good book to read, why not pick this one up or one of his other excellent books such as:

If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat

God Is Closer Than You Think

The Life You’ve Always Wanted

Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them

Love Beyond Reason

Living The God Life

Spiritual Relapses

Last Sunday we saw Samson’s spiritual relapse into following his weakness rather than obeying God. From Judges 16:1-20, I find 7 principles regarding spiritual relapses:

Progress and victory in areas of weakness does not mean that the weakness is nullified. Samson had spent 20 years judging Israel properly with no mention of his weakness getting the best of him, but he still fell into a relapse. Weeks, months and even years of victory does not mean that we can let down our guard when it comes to our weaknesses.

You can easily identify if you’re heading into a spiritual relapse by asking yourself if there is any action, attitude or motive that you are trying to hide from others. Samson went all the way down to Gaza, the Philistine city furthest away from Judah, in order to be with a prostitute. He then left at midnight to return home under the cloak of darkness.

Spiritual relapses are often worse than the original struggle with the weakness. Once again Samson “sees” a woman that sends him into a downward spiral of following his weakness of lust and sexual passion. This time it will cost Samson everything.

After a while, the downward spiral of a spiritual relapse leaves you apathetic and no longer caring who knows about your actions. Samson goes from hiding an illicit sexual relationship with a prostitute to a public and unlawful relationship with Delilah. After a while, our spiritual relapses will often result in our seeing ourselves as a victim and faulting everyone else around us. It also results in our justifying our sinful actions leaving us no longer trying to hide our weakness.

Spiritual relapses brings about insanity. Delilah tried three times unsuccessfully to render Samson powerless. Yet, Samson still tells her the truth of his strength. Samson never even saw the danger. When we reach a certain level in this downward spiritual spiral we no longer think straight. We no longer make rational decisions. We put ourselves at risk without even realizing the danger that is looking us right in the face.

In the end it is the very sinful passions that we pursued that turns on us like a monster and destroys us. Samson pursued his sexual passions, being willing to give up his calling from God to find sexual gratification with Delilah. But after Samson’s hair was cut it was Delilah herself that afflicted Samson. It is the very sins that we pursue (lust, money, etc.) that in the end will turn on us and destroy everything near and dear to us (our marriage, our families, our jobs, our churches, etc.).

When we are in a spiritual relapse we deceive ourselves into thinking God is blessing us when He is no longer empowering us at all and we don’t even realize it. After having his hair cut by Delilah, Samson went out to fight like all other times but he did not know that the Spirit of God has left him. The Spirit of God lives within us to empower us. But when we sin, the Spirit stops working through us and starts working on us.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Cost of a Haircut

We have all heard of politicians who have spent upwards of $400.00 on a simple haircut. But that is nothing compared to what a haircut cost Samson in Judges 16. For the past 20 years Samson has ruled faithfully as judge over Israel resulting in his being mentioned in Hebrews 11 but for some reason he goes to Gaza where he falls victim once again to the weakness that had plagued him earlier in his life, and engages in intimacy with a prostitute. Because Gaza is the Philistine city which is the furthest from Jewish territory, it would appear that he went there with intentions already made to participate in immorality without being caught. Samson goes into the home of a Philistine prostitute.

The men of the city hear that their enemy has returned and camp outside the gate to capture Samson. At midnight, Samson leaves the house of the prostitute and goes to the gate of the city where the ambush is waiting him. He rips the huge city gate along with the posts it was set on and the bar which locked it and ran with it carrying it all the way to Mt Hebron which is a 38 mile trip to the top going up 3300 feet above sea level.

Samson’s series of encounters with seductive women now reaches its climax as he falls in love (obviously not Biblical love) with Delilah. Little is known about Delilah except that she lived in the valley of Sorek which was inhabited by both Jews and Philistines. Many believe that she too was a harlot. Realizing her encounter with Samson, five Philistine leaders bribe her to discover the secret of his strength by each offering her 1100 pieces of silver. That would be 5500 pieces of silver in total. Remember that Judas betrayed our Lord for just 30 pieces.

On three different occasions Delilah seduces Samson (probably through intimacy) and asks the secret of his power. All three times Samson lies about what would secure him and each time the Philistines brought her the item needed and she would seduce Samson to sleep and tie him up. All three times, after he is secured, Delilah awakes him with a cry that the Philistines are attacking him and each time his strength releases him. Delilah now resorts to what we have already seen as something that Samson has a very low tolerance for. She nags Samson and cries before him until finally Samson reveals his secret. He tells her that the secret to his power was in his hair. Remember, the hair was simply a symbol. It was the only remaining sign of his Nazarite vow that he had not broken. The loss of power was not due to the loss of his hair but due to the fact that the Spirit had left him because he completely broke his commitment to the Lord.

Delilah collects payment, and begins her betrayal. She causes Samson to sleep and has his hair shaven. She then afflicts him somehow to see if his strength is gone and hollers that the Philistine’s are attacking. Samson responds thinking he can rely on his strength but not knowing that the Spirit (and his strength) had left him. How often do we go about our daily activities and ministries thinking that the Spirit of God is empowering us when in fact we are going through the motions in our own strength. And like Samson, so often we don’t even realize the difference.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Inspire Me!

Bill Hybels ended the Leadership Summit with a very inspiring talk on being inspired. The crux of his message was that motivation matters and it is a leader’s job to keep himself or herself motivated because that is the greatest most effective way to keep those under us motivated. Bill then shared 10 ways that he keeps himself inspired, motivated and energized as a leader. These are all very practical and very effective:

1. You must stay crystal clear about your calling from God!

2. You must leverage your spiritual gifts the way God gave them to you!

3. You must make sure that players on your team are inspiring people!

4. You must read books that inspire you!

5. You must rub shoulders with exceptionally inspiring people!

6. You must participate in events that are exceptionally inspiring!

7. You must pay attention to your physical disciplines!

8. You must pay attention to your working environment!

9. You must have an inspiring recreation outside of work!

10. You must practice daily spiritual disciplines!

When you keep yourself motivated it is the biggest way that you can inspire others on your team. Hybels then gave some other ways to motivate those underneath you:

· Connect everyone you lead to a compelling cause!

· Learn the inspirational language of everyone on your team and then speak it!

· Identify and reduce every de-motivating factor you possibly can!

· Celebrate every sign of progress toward your team’s shared goals!

Bill then ended his talk with this question…“What would a church look like if everyone who was part of it was inspired and motivated?” The answer to that can be seen clearly in Acts 2:41-43. Read it! This church back in Jerusalem was like that! Grace Church should be like that too! After all, what can be more exciting that meeting people where they are and moving people to where God wants them to be!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leadership Summit Quotes

Last Thursday through Saturday, 34 people from Grace Church were part of 100,000 people worldwide who experienced the Leadership Summit 2007. I am already praying that next year we will have 100 people from Grace Church attend the Summit 2008. Below are some statements made in the sessions that stuck with me. To really understand each and its impact you needed to have heard them in the context they were given.

“Vision is a leader’s most powerful weapon!”

“Great leaders take more time creating ownership of vision than taking credit for it!”

“Vision leaks!”

“Sometimes knowing the right question is more important than knowing the right answers!”

“Nothing worthwhile happens with a single person working alone!”

“Every time you overcome something you fear, you become stronger!”

“Don’t let other people’s prejudices become your burden!”

“Give people a vision more compelling than their fears!”

“Build on your strengths and manage around your weaknesses!”

“You grow the most in your areas of greatest strengths!”

“Talk about your strengths without bragging and your weaknesses without whining!”

“Most churches outreach socially is more about the congregation than the recipients!”

“Good intentions are not enough!”

“Most organizations do too many things resulting in limited impact!”

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplied!”

“Leadership is disappointing people at a rate they can stand!”

“Be prepared to disappoint people and make them angry!”

“Leadership is about seeing and unlocking the potential in others!”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Card in the Bulletin

If you attend Grace Church then you know that we have what we call a Connections Card in the bulletin each Sunday. This is a very important tool that is vital to our staff in being able to connect with the hundreds and hundreds of people that are attending on Sundays.

Why do we use these Connection Cards?

This is the only real way we have to be able to stay up on who is attending Grace Church and to learn the important needs and changes in the lives of our congregation. As our church continues to grow, this becomes more of a challenge. These cards help greatly.

Who should fill out the Connections Card?

Without question, we would love to have every guest on a Sunday fill out this Connection Card so that we have a record of their being with us and so that we can send them a thank you letter and be sure that they get one of our Grace Church cookbooks. However, it is also important that all of our members and regular attenders also fill out a card each and every Sunday. In short, we would love to see every person who attends on Sunday fill out one of these cards and drop it in the offering.

What should I include on the Connection Card?

If you are a guest with us, we would appreciate it if you would fill out all of the information on the card. If you attend Grace regularly, just your name is sufficient. On the back of the card you can include other pertinent information that you would like us to know about you. This should include any specific prayer requests you have; praises you have experienced; or changes in your personal information such as a new phone number, new address or change in e-mail address. It is also helpful to us if you use this card to let us know of any upcoming surgeries or medical procedures you are having as well. There is a place on this card for you to mark if you would like your comment to only go to me as the Senior Pastor or if it is something that can be passed on to our entire staff.

What is the wrong way to use the Connection Card?

Our Sunday morning Connection Card should never be used to communicate something about our ministry or services that you do not like or feel should be changed. These types of comments are never effective when only communicated in writing. The Bible teaches us to “go” to the person that we have an issue with (Matthew 18; Galatians 6). If there is an area of our ministry that you are not happy with or do not agree with, please do not communicate that through our Sunday morning Connection Cards. Our staff is always willing to sit down and talk with anyone that has constructive criticism. To be perfectly honest, we do not take into consideration any negative comments that are received on the Sunday Connection Cards and in most cases we do not pass these on to our staff.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm Sending Out My Resume

That’s it! I have officially had it! I never thought this day would come, but I can simply take it no longer. There’s no talking me out of it! My resume has been updated and by the end of this week, every owner of each and every Major League Baseball team will have received it along with my application to become the new Baseball Commissioner. I’m tired of seeing the sport I love being led in such a haphazard way. My resume will include the following plan that I will put into place my first 100 days in office:

First and foremost, I will end the designated hitter position in the American League. All this has become is a way for “has been” players to continue playing beyond their prime!

Second, I will reinstate Pete Rose so that he can take his rightful position after being unanimously elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Outside of maybe Tony Gwynn, Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose may just have been the best pure hitter in my lifetime (Ted Williams was before my time) and no one, I mean no one, played the game harder and with more gusto that Rose did. The Baseball Hall of Fame should be based solely on a player’s performance on the field, not on his “off the field” mistakes.

Third, I will rid baseball of all domed stadiums. Baseball was made to be played outside…that is part of the game (I feel the same way abut the National Football League).

Fourth, I will pull in the reins of the home plate umpires today who throw out warnings to both dugouts anytime a pitcher even glares at a batter. I would restore the day when “Bean Balls” and “Brush Back Pitches” were a strategic part of the game. And after I succeeded in accomplishing my first promise of ridding the American League of the horrid designated hitter rule, all pitchers in the Majors would have to step into the batter’s box, which makes it all the more interesting if he threw too far inside the inning prior.

Fifth, I will extend Spring Training two additional weeks to be sure that players are ready for the start of the season which would limit needless injuries greatly.

Sixth, I will design the schedule so that the first two weeks of the season would only be played in warm weather locations so that no more games would get “snowed out” in Cleveland and Chicago while stadiums sit empty in Texas and Southern California.

Seventh, I will drop the ridiculous “luxury tax” option and force the New York Yankees to limit their payroll to the same salary caps that every other team abides by.

Eighth, I will halt any further expansion. There already isn’t enough good pitchers to go around and from the looks of the season our hometown Barnstormers are having, there doesn’t seem to be much hope in the Minors that things will change anytime soon.

Ninth, I will move the Baseball Commissioner’s office to Lititz, PA so I can still preach!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Philistine's Most Wanted

If the Philistines in Judges 15 had post offices, you would have seen his picture inside each and every one of them with big, bold words reading “Wanted: Dead or Alive”! Samson was to the Philistine nation what Osama Bin Laden is to the United States. After burning the Philistine wheat fields and killing many in revenge of the death of his wife, Samson is now hiding in a cave up in the cliffs of Etam which was just above the city of Timnah, located just inside Jewish territory. The search for their #1 enemy had brought the Philistine army to these cliffs. Verse 9 calls this location “Lehi” which is the actual name given to this location after these events and which literally means “jawbone” which will become significant very soon.

The men of Judah become frightened by the presence of the Philistine army and inquire about the reason for their presence. The Philistines tell the Israelites of all that Samson had done. In order to try to avoid a potential skirmish with the Philistines, the Israelites go to talk with Samaon hoping to convince him to surrender. It is more than interesting to note that the Jews took 3,000 men to confront Samson showing their respect for his power and their uncertainty about his response. Samson answers their inquiry as to why he had done such acts by saying that he only did to them what they had done to him. The Israelites make an agreement with Samson not to kill him but to tie him up and deliver him to the Philistines. They keep their commitment and deliver him to the Philistines securely tied with new topes that had never before been used.

When Samson arrived in the Philistine camp there arose a great triumphant cry from the Philistines. However, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson (again we see the real source of his strength) and he broke the brand new ropes as if they were burnt and barely hung together. Samson grabs a jawbone of a donkey for a weapon which was new or moist, meaning it was solid and not brittle. With this weapon Samson kills 1,000 Philistines without any help from the men of Judah. Verse 16 is a play on words as Samson basically says “with the jawbone of a donkey I have made donkeys of them.” He then names the place, “Hill of the Jawbone.”

After this victory that came from the Lord, Samson becomes thirsty and suggests that God is going to let him weaken from thirst and die at the hands of the Philistines. Lust was certainly not Samson’s only weakness. Self-pity was also a part of his character. God shows his grace to this pitiful and barely faithful servant and miraculously provides for Samson by causing water to come out from the ground which after he drinks it, refreshes him. As a result, Samson names the spot, “Well of the one who calls”

Judges 15:20 becomes the key verse in the entire story of Samson. In this one verse we see the next 20 years of Samson’s life as he judges Israel with no mention of his sensual lifestyle. It would be this 20 years of his life that undoubtedly put him in God’s hall of faith in Hebrews 11. That is the beauty of God. Even with all of our sins, failures and weaknesses, we can still be remembered in the end for our times of faithfulness to Him.

Friday, August 10, 2007

There's no need to fear...UNDERDOG is here!

Last weekend, my son and I went to see the new movie, UNDERDOG! Hey, I’m an action movie kind of guy, but I enjoyed this show. I think it’s because it reminded me of all the cool cartoons and shows that I watched as a kid. Some of them you can still find once in a while on reruns or TVLAND but most are just memories. Like most things, they just don’t make them like they use to. Here is my list…what would you add to it?


Atom Ant

Magilla Gorilla

Lost in Space

Land of the Lost

The Brady Bunch

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

Happy Days

Laverne and Shirley

The Love Boat

Fantasy Island

Hogan’s Heroes

Gilligan’s Island

Get Smart

The Six Million Dollar Man/The Bionic Woman

Welcome Back Kotter

WKRP in Cincinnati

And how excited I was to see on the previews that this Thanksgiving there is a new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie coming to the theaters… “A-----L-----V-----I-----N!!!!!!!!”

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Leadership Summit Begins Today!

Over the next 3 days (Thu-Sat), 33 people from Grace Church will be attending Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit which will be held via satellite at the Lancaster County Bible Church. Please be praying for those who are attending from Grace!

Those who will be attending the Leadership Summit from our ministry include:

Staff: Scott Distler (Senior Pastor), Doug Kegarise (Director of Student Ministries); Andy Brightbill (Pastor of Connections); Matt McElravy (Worship Arts Director); Whitie Willard (Care Pastor); Andrew Norton (Business Manager); Rick Bernhardt (Senior Administrator); Tim Auld (Pastor of Spiritual Formation); Karen Gromis (Finance and Human Resources Assistant); Tim Reedy (Media Director); Susan Auld (Director of Children’s Ministries); Eric Lewis (Secondary Principal); Sherry McConaghay (Elementary Principal); Tammy Wiggins (Daycare Director); Shari Ober (Daycare Worker); and Janet Leisey (School Receptionist)

Elders: Dennis Hummer; Barry Brooks; Andy Spade; Dan Buch

Others: Mike McCracken; Nevin Spade; Andrew Spotts; Daryl Leisey; Ginger Glass; Rick Glass; Laura Distler; Bobbe Sauder; Barry Sauder; Gordon Harrower; Eric Summy; Abe Sauder; and Bonnie Sauder

The sessions we will be attending at the Leadership Summit will include:

Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, speaking on the topics “Vision to Die For” and “Whatever You Do Inspire Me

Carly Fiorina, former president and chief executive officer of Hewlet-Packard, speaking on “Tough Choices

Floyd Flake, Pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Queens, speaking on “The Heat of Responsibility

Marcus Buckingham speaking on “Putting Your Strengths to Work

Michael Porter, Professor at Harvard Business School, speaking on “Strategy and Leadership

An interview with former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, on the topic of “Leading at the Highest Level

John Ortberg, Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, CA, speaking on “A Leader’s Greatest Fear

Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Richard Curtis, speaking on “Living for the Greater Good

An interview with former President Jimmy Carter on “Building Humanity

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Saying NO to what's GOOD

If there is one mistake we are most susceptible to here at Grace it is the error of trying to do too much. Believe it or not, if we are going to be effective as a church at genuinely accomplishing our purpose of meeting people where they are and moving them to where God wants them to be, then we are going to have to say “NO” to many things that are really good. In other words, we can’t do it all and also do it effectively. It is better to do fewer things well than to do many things with mediocrity.

We very much use this philosophy when it comes to our Sunday morning service. The more varied aspects we throw into our Sunday morning worship services, the less effective we become in accomplishing what Sunday is all about. Our purpose for each and every Sunday morning is “LIFE CHANGE!” As a result, we only include on Sunday mornings what will help us in presenting the principles from Scripture with the goal of each and every person leaving church that morning different than when they entered. From worship, to musical specials, to the theme-set up, to pre-service slides, to videos, to announcements, to dramas, all the way to the preaching, we are trying to hit one bulls-eye with each and every service…LIFE CHANGE!

That is why we are very strict on saying “NO” to many requests we get about Sunday’s services. We don’t just say “NO” because we think all of these things are necessarily bad. In fact, just the opposite is true. Most of them are very worthy things. However, we only have 75 minutes. Our goal is LIFE CHANGE. The more we add other things into the service, no matter how good they might be, the less effective we become at communicating the main principle from Scripture which results in changed lives.

As a result, we don’t use our Sunday morning services to focus on patriotism unless that happens to be the theme of the entire morning service. We don’t use our Sunday morning services to cover political issues. We don’t use our Sunday morning services for missionary reports and updates unless it fits the theme of the morning from Scripture. Nor do we use our Sunday morning services to make announcements about specific areas of ministry within our church unless it is a church-wide function that deals specifically with the purpose of our church.

Now that doesn’t mean that we think these things are unimportant. Patriotism, politics, missions, and all of the different ministries within our church are very good things. Yet, if we add all of these elements to our Sunday morning services, we become less effective at focusing on that morning’s principle of Scripture that can produce real change in the life of every person who is in attendance.

Our Sunday morning worship services are the “hub” of our ministry. We touch more people on Sunday mornings than anything else we do. We have one goal for each and every Sunday morning…LIFE CHANGE! We are committed to making sure that we protect that purpose even if it means saying NO to many other things that are good!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

7 Questions for our Staff

Recently, Andrew Norton, our Business Manager here at Grace Church, sent me a copy of this post he found on Perry Noble’s blog, pastor of a wonderful church in Anderson, South Carolina. We have well over 100 employees here at Grace Church, Lititz Christian School, and Morningstar Daycare. I encourage each of them to answer these 7 questions that Perry poses:

#1 - Am I Living Above Reproach? According to II Timothy 2:20-21, PURITY MATTERS! I am sick and tired of pastors and church leaders making seriously bad immoral decisions and shipwrecking the faith of so many people…we are called to live above reproach. One of the questions I often ask people in a one on one setting is, “Is there anything going on in your private life that, if it became public, would disqualify you from ministry?”

#2 - Is This Job My Passion Or My Paycheck? God created us all for a purpose in life…and it wasn’t to just draw a paycheck. Ministry needs to be a passion…an obsession…NOT just a way to make a living.

#3 - Am I In Line With Where We Are Going As A Church? A staff that is united and focused is a powerful force in this world. But a staff that is divided has never produced good fruit.

#4 - Do I Feel Like I Deserve More? Ministry is one of the most under appreciated jobs in the world! (The other two are mothers and teachers!!!) BUT…if a staff member is always going around complaining about how hard they are working OR comparing themselves to other staff and saying, “They don’t work as hard as me,” there’s a problem!

#5 - Am I Reflecting On How Things Used To Be Or Passionate About How Things Are Going To Be? Things change–PERIOD! And in a church world staff need to be able to change as well. That means systems AND relationships are going to be different this time next year if the church continues to reach people…and a staff member who is stuck in the past will weigh the rest of the staff down!

#6 - Do I Feel Like I Have To “Kill Time” Because There Is “Nothing To Do?” This one is HUGE…there have been a very few instances where a staff member has said, “Yeah, I don’t really have anything to do.” My response has always been, “With thousands of people coming to our church, you have plenty to do!” I then encourage them to send a card, make a phone call or do something to communicate a thank you!

#7 - Do I Fully Trust The Leadership? It is good to do a gut check from time to time for any staff member…to look at their supervisor and say, “Do I REALLY trust that guy or girl?” AND to look at the senior pastor and ask, “Do I trust that dude?” Because if trust isn’t there then problems WILL surface because a person who doesn’t trust the leadership will always become divisive or lazy!

Monday, August 06, 2007


The world is filled with bizarre honeymoon stories. We were so poor when we married that we actually camped at a KOA as part of our first week of marriage. We used a tent that my dad gave to us. He assured us it didn’t leak. It poured rain. My dad lied. Our honeymoon was very soggy but Samson’s actually went up in flames.

In Judges 14:11, Samson is at his own wedding feast at the home of his bride with 30 other men who are all Philistines and who were obviously invited by his new bride. Samson participates in a common form of entertainment which was making a wager on the solving of a riddle. Samson makes the deal that if these 30 Philistines solved the riddle within 7-days (the length of the wedding feast), Samson would give them 30 linen garments and 30 cloaks which would have been a very hefty wager. If they did not solve the riddle they must give Samson the same. Samson’s riddle is this…“Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” It was a description of the honey he had found in the skeleton remains of the lion that he had killed earlier on his way to Timnah (14:5-9). Samson knew this riddle could not be solved because had told no one about the lion or honey, including his own parents (14:9).

These 30 Philistine men realize their inability to discover the answer so they resort to blackmailing Samson’s new bride. They accuse her of inviting them to the wedding feast only to gain their assets through this wager and they threaten to burn her house down unless she finds out the answer for them. Samson’s wife cries before her new husband, manipulating him by saying that he does not love her since he would not tell her the answer. At first he refuses, questioning why he should tell her the answer when he didn’t even tell his own parents (Samson obviously has a lot to learn about what to say and what not to say to your wife!). However, after several more honeymoon nights of his new wife doing nothing but crying (not exactly Samson’s idea of a romantic beginning) he tells her the answer and she immediately tells the 30 Philistine men. These Philistine men then give Samson the proper answer…“What is sweeter than honey and what is stronger than a lion?” Samson immediately realizes how they got the answer and accuses them of “plowing with his heifer” (again, not the smartest “term of endearment” for his bride).

In anger, Samson goes some 20 miles south to the Philistine city of Ashkelon and kills 30 Philistines, using their garments as the payment owed. He spends much time away and finally returns to his bride with a baby goat as a peace offering (Genesis 38:15-17). Upon returning, Samson discovers that her father thought he had left for good and had given his bride as a wife to the best man at their wedding. He instead offers his youngest daughter claiming that she is more physically attractive (he obviously knew what mattered most to Samson). In an act of revenge, Samson takes 300 foxes, making 150 pairs by tying their tails together to a torch, and sends them through the Philistine wheat fields and vineyards entirely destroying this all important crop. The Philistines retaliate by murdering Samson’s former wife and father-in-law. In a state of complete anger, Samson kills many Philistines. Gee, and all it did was rain inside my tent on my honeymoon!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thou Shalt Go To The Movies

While we were on vacation in Florida we went to see the movie Evan Almighty. I had heard that it was a pretty good movie but I went to it with much skepticism. A movie like this was bound to have a lot of content that would make the Biblical account of Noah a mockery and certainly there would be so much “save the earth” material in it that it would probably be a waste of both my time and money.

I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, though there was a “save the earth” message in the movie, it didn’t appear to me to dominate the show. It was easy for me to look past it (in case this posting is not controversial enough let me just go ahead and say that I do not believe in the ‘global warming’ theories so prevalent in the media today). But what really surprised me were the parts of the movie that actually inspired and encouraged me. I will give a few examples but keep them somewhat vague so as not to ruin the movie for those who haven’t seen it as of yet and still may chose to go catch a matinee.

For one thing, the movie helped me to really grasp how difficult it must have been and what an incredible step of faith it would have been for Noah to obey God and build this massive ark while giving the reason to the mocking people that a flood was imminent.

Second, there was a part in the beginning of the movie when Evan, a newly elected congressman, moves his family to the D.C. area. As he and his wife get into bed, his wife shares with him what she and the children prayed that night. She asks him what he is going to pray for and he basically says that he doesn’t believe in prayer. She then says, “But you came here to Washington to change the word. Don’t you think you might need a little help from God to do this?” After she falls asleep, he gets on his knees and prays. Later in the movie, God (Morgan Freeman) is talking to Evan’s wife and shares with her how he is answering those specific prayers. It was very thought-provoking.

I also loved the part of the movie where Evan is questioning the command to build the ark and the news of the impending flood. God (Morgan Freeman) says, “Just remember, though you may not completely understand it, everything I do is because I love you!” Now that will preach. There are many times I don’t understand God’s commands or actions but I must always remember that everything He does is because He loves me.

And then I loved the end of the movie. After everything works out, God (Morgan Freeman) and Evan are talking. All throughout the movie, every time something good happens to Evan, he does this freaky little dance. As they talk, God says to Evan, “Are you ready?” Evan responds, “Ready for what?” God smiles and says, “It’s time to do the dance.” God and Evan then do this freaky little dance together as they smile and laugh. Folks, listen, that may seem blasphemous to some of you, but that is exactly how I picture God. I can see myself getting to heaven and having God say, “Well done, Scott, now lets do the dance (yes, I believe we will dance in heaven)! So at the risk of the many e-mails of criticism I am bound to receive, I highly recommend Evan Almighty.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


While on vacation last month I was able to read Ed Young’s book, The Creative Leader. Ed is pastor of Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas which grew from 150 to 10,000 people in just 15 years. This book reinforced in my mind the need for us to be willing to be creative in communicating the timeless truths of Scripture from Sunday to Sunday.

In the beginning chapter of his book, Young says, “If the local church is not the most creative, innovative, and alive place on the planet, we are failing as leaders.” Now if you do not think there is any room in the local church for this kind of creativity, than you underestimate the fact that creativity originated with God. After all, what is the fifth word in the Bible? “In the beginning God CREATED…” God is the one who invented creativity. Young goes on to say, “If God wasn’t content to make a bland, predictable world, why are we content to make church that way?”

After all, Jesus was the most creative leader and teacher that has ever walked the planet. Young cites that 72% of all Jesus’ words in the Gospels were based on application. Jesus understood 2,000 years ago that we are visual learners. Remember his teachings? “Look at the birds!” “Look at the trees!” “Look at the flowers!” He even pulled a coin out of a fish’s mouth. That’s why in recent Sunday mornings I have held up a football; broken a vase; had a strength machine; and we have even set up the stage to look like a library or in the round.

Ed Young talked in his book about visiting Vegas and being amazed at the numbers of different and varied signs that businesses use to communicate virtually the same message. He said to his wife, “These people in Vegas don’t have very much to say but they sure no how to say it!” That’s when it hit him. The church’s problem is just the opposite. The church has everything to say but we don’t know how to say it.

Below are some more quotes from Young’s writing:

“Churches that are committed to doing whatever it takes to reach our lost world will raise their share of critics, but they will also turn people into passionate pursuers of Christ!”

“Ask God to enhance your creativity!”

“Most of the time a creative idea dies due to lack of courage to follow through with it!”

“The higher the predictability, the lower the learning!”

“Creativity is more environmental than informational!”

“The local church should be the most exciting entity out there. What can you do to show your community that you church is the place to be!”

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I Saw a Woman!

You’ve heard the phrase, “famous last words.” For Samson, it was his first recorded words in Scripture as seen in Judges 14 that set the pattern for his life and the reason why he would only “begin” to accomplish what God planned for him to do rather than “finish” the job (13:5). As chapter 14 opens up Samson is now a young man who goes to the city of Timnah which is one of five major Philistine cities located on the northern boundary of the land occupied by the tribe of Judah, just four miles from the city of Zorah where Samson lived with his parents. While in Timnah, Samson sees a Philistine girl and is infatuated with her physical beauty revealing his spiritual stumbling block.

Samson returns home and demands that his parents make the necessary arrangements for this Philistine woman to become his wife. We again see Samson’s weakness in the area of lust as his first recorded words in Scripture are, “I saw a woman.” This same weakness would follow him all of his life and would ultimately also include a relationship with a Philistine prostitute as well as another Philistine woman named Delilah. Samson’s parents advise him against this marriage but Samson has a much greater desire to fulfill his lust than he does to obey his parents or God. This request of Samson was a violation of the law which forbid Israel to marry with the heathen nations (Deuteronomy 7:1-3). It is obvious that it is solely the physical appearance of this woman and his desire for her sexully that becomes the main motive of his actions. Samson’s parents were greatly distressed but God had a plan for Samson even through his disobedience. God would use this to begin freeing Israel from Philistines. How amazing that God can even take our rebellion and use it to accomplish His purposes.

Samson and his parents go down separately to Timnah to make the necessary arrangements for this marriage. On the way Samson is attacked by a lion. The Hebrew word would describe it as a lion in its prime. It is interesting to note that this attack takes place in the vineyards suggesting that Samson was eating of the grapes which was a breech of his Nazirite vow. Remember that a Nazirite vow showed one’s commitment to God (Numbers 6:2-6) and involved not drinking wine or eating grapes; not cutting your hair; and not touching a dead body. Samson receives the strength to kill the lion with his bare hands. This strength came because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.

Samson goes on to Timnah, finishes his preparations, and returns home. Some time later he returns to Timnah to take his bride and on the way sees the lion that he had killed on his last trip. He discovers that bees had made a hive in the skeleton carcass and had produced a honeycomb. Samson ate some of the honey and took some to his parents but made sure to tell no one, not even them, of its source. Once again, Samson shows no faithfulness to his commitment to the Lord as touching a dead body was another breech of his Nazirite vow.

Samson marries this Philistine woman which begins quite a string of events which will result in his honeymoon literally going up in flames. The only part of his commitment that he has kept is not cutting his hair. When this aspect of the vow is broken, his commitment will be shattered and his strength will be no more.


As you can see, I have not posted in well over a week. This was due to a glitch in the blogger system. Blogger has computers that automatically lock down any blog site that appears to be SPAM. One of the red flags for this is if a blog continually inlcudes a link to the same sight. Since we began our Grace Church Bible Reading Challenge, I have ended each blog with words of encourgaement to go to our special Bible Reading blog website, giving that link. As a result, the blogger computers automatically locked me out. I had to fill out a form and then wait for someone to persoanly check out my blog and make sure it was not spam.

Well, it all checked out so here I am again! Later today I will post my entry entitled, "I Saw A Woman!" The rest of the week will look like this:

Thursday: "Creativity in the Church!"

Friday: "Thou Shalt Go To The Movies!"

Thanks for reading!