Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Here's what happens when you are willing to be a pizza getter

My last post was about a message that my brother preached recently at his church up in Michigan.  Well, two days ago, they took the spirit of that message to the streets.

Here is what the local newspaper said about the church that day:

I guess this is what you get when people are willing to go get the pizza or do whatever else God calls them to do.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sometimes you go and get the pizza

I heard a great message today from a great pastor.  He isn't the pastor of my home church.  But he once was.  It was all about the phrase, "Don't Go to Church.  Be the Church."

We were exhorted to be Jesus Christ's feet and hands extended to a lost and hurting world.  We were told that everyone is needed.  Everyone is wanted.  Everyone has abilities that God wants us to use for His glory.  We were told that everyone has value.

Then I remembered something that happened many years ago.  I remember showing up one evening after work to work with the pastor and one of his biggest helpers at the church.  We were going to begin work on refurbishing the nursery.  It was a small but growing church.  (There is always something to be done in a growing church.)  The pastor gave me the job of removing the baseboard trim so that we could put a new floor down and repaint the room.  I had no tools, so I walked over to the toolbox in the corner.  I grabbed the largest hammer that I could find.  It turned out to be a framing hammer.

Well, I took that hammer and began wailing away on the baseboard trim.  I managed to bust up about 6 or 8 feet of trim before the pastor came over and grabbed my arm in mid swing.  He asked me what I was doing.  I said that I was removing the trim.  He said, "You know, we had hoped to re-use that trim after we paint it." -- Oooops.

I was willing.  But I really wasn't equipped for the job.

It was at that point that experienced a feeling that I did not have the skills and abilities that God could use in His Kingdom.  You see, I really have no real skills when it comes to carpentry or building skills.  And that was what was needed at the moment.  I was given a new assignment by the pastor that evening.  One that didn't involve the destruction of the materials that we would need later in the project.

I was told to go and drive over to the local pizza joint and get some pizza for the three of us that were working.  I suggested that we just call the pizza place and have it delivered.  I could then get back to the work of "removing" the baseboard trim.  The pastor said, that what I really needed to do was to go and get the pizza.  I knew that it would take 45 minutes to an hour to go and get the pizza.  How demoralizing. 

Did I mention that the pastor was my brother?

Fast forward to this morning's service.  We were told this morning that we all had skills and talents that God can use.  Rewind to that night so many years ago.  Instead of working on the project, I was sent to go fetch the pizza.

Why can't I be the one to work with the tools and "build" the Kingdom like my brother and Gary?

Then I heard the unmistakable voice of God.  "You don't choose the job.  You just answer the call."  I wanted to be a builder.  Because I thought that was the right call.  But God's call is a personal call.  I am called to obedience just like you are.  But the form that obedience takes is often times different for me than you.

And it dawned on me.  Sometimes you are called to go get the pizza.

So I echo the words of the pastor this morning.  Don't let your own self-doubts or feelings that you don't have the right skills for the Kingdom.  Just answer the call.

Oh, and did I mention, the pastor that spoke this morning was that same brother?

Photos used under the following license agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/help/7_2

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Update to the Family Tree

Today was a great day!

Today we officially welcomed Andy Barnette into the family.  Andy married my niece, Ashley, in a beautiful ceremony where there was love abounding.

There was the love of the young couple.  That was easy to spot.  There was the love of a father and mother as they looked on as a new family was begun.  That was also pretty easy to spot.  And there was the love of close friends and extended family as they looked on and pledged that they would prayerfully support this new family.

I think God was pleased today.  Clearly this young couple wants to have God central to their marriage.  The love of God may not have been as obvious to see to the untrained eye.  But if you looked into the eyes of Ashley and Andy, Dave and Diane, and John and Betsy, you could see it.  It was just as obvious if you knew where to look.

Blessings on you Mr. and Mrs. Barnette.