Sunday, September 30, 2012

Behind the Scenes Sunday Morning at E-Free!

I love Sunday mornings and today was no different.  Below are some "interesting" stories and observations from behind the scenes of this morning's services at the Gaylord E-Free Church:

I actually preached 3 times in 2 states (Indiana and Michigan) in less than 24 hours this weekend!

This morning as all the stage participants stood backstage in a circle holding hands and praying right before the service, I realized that for some reason I had forgotten to put on my deodorant.  Realizing how much I sweat while preaching twice on a Sunday morning, I raced downstairs after doing the welcome and greeting at the start of the service where, fortunately, I had an emergency roll-on in a file cabinet in my office!

I do believe I preach better after an Ohio State victory over any team from Michigan, even if it was an ugly win!

I am very thankful for Cody and Jacob who were my substitutes in running the hurdles on stage this morning!  I am convinced that their being my substitute sprinters this morning truly kept me from pulling a hamstring!

There is only way way to describe the worship this morning led by our worship team here at E-Free - it was absolutely awesome!!!

We had many first-time guests this morning.  One couple I met has just this year come up from Florida to make Northern Michigan their summer home.  They had spent all summer looking for a home church for the summers.  The good news is that they were super excited that they finally found us here at E-Free.  The bad news is that this was their last Sunday before heading back to Florida for the winter.  I guess we'll have to wait until next summer for their second visit to E-Free!

I was surprised at how many people there were in both of our morning services that had no idea what a flannelgraph story was.  Now that is what I call a deprived childhood!

Welcome into our membership here at E-Free to the Moore's!  It is so good to have you!

Yes, I did sing the children's song about Zaccheus this morning in both services as part of my sermon ("Zaccheus was a wee little man...").  And, if you were there, you now know why this is the most horrible song ever taught children in the history of the church.  The problem is that now I have this tune stuck in my head and I can't get it out!

For some reason, after being in church this morning I have this amazing urge to find a TV station that is showing reruns of episodes from the old sitcom, Taxi, staring Danny Devito!

There is only one way to apply this morning's service at Gaylord E-Free to your life - GO CLIMB A TREE!

If you were not at Gaylord E-Free this morning and you are not sure what some of these observations mean, you can go to our church website ( and listen to it this week.  It should get posted sometime on Monday.  Next Sunday we will finish our "H-3 to the Highest Power" message series as we have been learning how to get over the Hurts, Hang-ups and Habits of life!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Wee Little Man with a Wee Little Hang-Up

If you grew up in the church as I did, back in the era of flannelgraph stories and chalkboards, then you also learned some really cool children’s songs.  Remember this one?

Zaccheus was a wee, little man
And a wee, little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And as the Savior came that way
He looked up in the tree
And He said,
Zaccheus, you come down
For I'm going to your house today
For I'm going to your house today

This Sunday here at Gaylord E-Free, as we continue our “H-3 to the Highest Power” message series, we are going to see the story of that “wee little man” in Scripture named Zaccheus who had more than one “wee little hang-up” in his life.

If we were making a motion picture today of this Bible story I could envision Danny DeVito playing Zaccheus, couldn’t you?  Zaccheus was short and rich.  And he ends up in a tree!  Imagine that – one of the wealthiest men in his day and he is up a tree – literally!  It would be like being in a crowd of people today and seeing Donald Trump in his suit up a tree!  What a story!

But here is what I don’t like about the children’s song we learned as kids!  It ends way too early!  It misses the coolest part of the story!  Yes, it was cool that Jesus stopped and called Zaccheus by name and it is very cool that He says He is coming over to his house.  But the coolest part of the story is what happens after all that.  It’s not in the song but we’ll see it right from the pages of Scripture this Sunday as we learn how to deal with the “hang-ups” in our lives.

Don’t miss this Sunday and invite someone to join you at either 9am or 10:30am here at Gaylord E-Free!

Monday, September 17, 2012

God Even Works During Intermission!

Remember when Moses approached the presence of God through the burning bush and God told him to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground? This morning in our weekly staff prayer time that we have each Monday I felt like I should have taken my shoes off because the presence of God was so real and the prayer time we had was so special. It was also good to have Pastor Jim joining us for the first time since his recent back surgery. God is so good and we are all amazed and very humbled at what He is doing in and through Gaylord E-Free Church.

Just to give you one snapshot as to how God is working, let me share with you a portion of an email I received today from one of our Children's Workers.  To give you some backdrop, we have two service times on Sundays.  During our first service we have our Kids Sunday School program.  During our second service we have what we call our Kids Church program.  In between we have a special 30 minute activity time in the gym while parents who attended the first service pick up their kids and parents who are attending the second service drop off their kids.  Not only is God using our Kids Sunday School and Kids Church ministries, He is even using that 30-minute time-frame in between as evidenced in this email:

I would like to say what a great direction I feel the Sunday mornings are going in Children’s Ministry, especially in the middle period since this is the area I have been most involved in.  I have to be honest when I first heard of how Children’s Ministry was going to work in a 2 service format I had many doubts. My main doubt was how we were going to entertain a large group of children, of a wide range of ages for 30 minutes. That is a long time to keep a child’s attention span but even more a long time to create a child to wanting to come back another week and do it again. 

I made a point this past Sunday to try to interact with each child either individually or in a group. During this period I did not hear one child say they were bored or one child sitting on the sidelines because they thought the activities were dumb. This to me is amazing, but there is something even more amazing about this situation. Instead of children complaining they were not able to do something or that they did not have anything fun to do, Children were asking me what activities they were going to get to do next week, commenting on how much fun they were having with their certain activity, and wanting to play with the activities even longer.

This time period in our Sunday morning is really creating relationships for kids with each other and for all the volunteers, that I pray is impacting the Kingdom of God. I continue to pray that God blesses the E-free church in growth so that we can see more and more children excited to come to church each Sunday, and more importantly learn the Word of God and just how awesome Our God is.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge in Northern Michigan

Several times a year I am asked to write a pastor's perspective for one of our local newspapers, which I always enjoy doing.  In today's edition of The Weekly Choice is my most recent article.  This one was the most challenging one that I have ever written because I was asked to give a Biblical perspective to the annual Antique Tractor Crossing of the Mackinac Bridge that happens this weekend.  Here is what I wrote:

Bridges fascinate me, especially our own Mackinac Bridge right here in Northern Michigan.  On Labor Day my daughter and I participated in the annual Bridge Walk.  What a great experience it was to walk across this 5 mile bridge, becoming even more fascinated by such an amazing structure with every step I took.  This weekend the celebration continues with the annual Tractor and Semi Crossing.  We sure know how to celebrate this wonderful bridge here in Northern Michigan, don’t we?

I have crossed some historic bridges like the Golden Gate Bridge and our own Mackinac Bridge, but neither of them would classify as the greatest bridge I have ever crossed.  The greatest and most momentous bridge I have ever crossed was built long before these two great bridges were ever constructed.  This bridge did much more than to allow me to cross over some troubled water.  This bridge spanned the enormous expanse that separated me from God.  It wasn’t water that separated me from God, it was my sin and there was nothing I could do to fix the problem.  

However, God provided a way – He provided a bridge.  He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to come to this world.  The Bible teaches us that God became man and lived on this earth in human form for 33 years before He died on the cross for my sin and then rose from the dead.  The perfect Son of God died for my sin and in so doing, He did what no man could do for me and what I could never do for myself.  On the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for my sin in full.  His cross became the bridge that allowed me to cross over the expanse of my sin and have a relationship with God, resulting in the assurance that I will one day be in heaven with Him.  I crossed that bridge when I trusted Jesus Christ to be my Lord and my Savior.  I didn’t drive across that bridge on a tractor or in a semi; I crossed that bridge riding the only transportation allowed – FAITH!  The Bible says,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not a result of works so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge is an amazing thing to do, whether you drive your car over it, walk over it, or even hop on your antique tractor or jump in your semi and make your way across its long expanse.  But the greatest bridge you can ever cross is that which leads to a relationship with a holy God through faith in what Jesus did for you on the cross.  This is a bridge crossing so worthy of celebration that the Bible says that even the angels in heaven rejoice when any one person says “YES” to Jesus Christ.       

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Labor Day Bridge Walk!

I don't know how you spent your Labor Day Holiday but I did something this Labor Day that I have never done before.  My daughter, Joy, and I got up at 5am and joined two other wonderful couples from our church to drive a bit further north then where we live and join an estimated 50,000 other people in walking the 5 miles across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge that connects the lower peninsula of Michigan to the upper peninsula.  We drove across the bridge to start the walk at the exact moment that the sunrise came up over Lake Michigan - just beautiful!!  

What a great day - but my feet sure hurt!!!