July 2nd, 2018

Good Monday Morning!!! You know its July when you start looking at the weather to see what the “low” temperature is going to be. Just FYI there is one night where it’s supposed to drop all the way down to 77 over the next two weeks. No need to get your jackets out just yet. I am praying that God will give you a great week as we celebrate Independence Day this coming Wednesday. Have fun but be safe!
Yesterday we finished up our series on Suffering as we looked at the passage of scripture (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) that talks about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. I pray we will remember that suffering is designed to change our conduct and our character. I always know when I preach a series that God is going to test me in that area. This is why I didn’t want to preach on suffering (haha) and if I am honest I cannot remember a more unsettling and trying June in recent memory. I was even asking God this morning that since we were done with the series could He slow down a little on the trials and problems. I didn’t receive a firm Yes in response so I am praying that God has Grace and Mercy on me this week! But I do want to grow to be more like Him. Don’t you? Sometimes it feels like I still have such a long ways to go and I get a little discouraged. If I am honest with myself I see that I am weak in many areas and then I am reminded that when I am weak He is strong. I am praying today that God would use my weakness to reveal Himself to many. So many times I think “I got this” or “I can do that” or “If only they would do it like I would do it” and so on. In reality God continues to show me that I don’t know much. He continues to show me how much I still need Him. I don’t know about your experience but for me it seems like there are so many areas in my life where God continues to let me know I can’t do it in my strength. I’m not smart enough or I’m not good enough or I’m just too weak and it is in those moments, when that becomes clear, I am drawn to my knees in reliance upon Him. He is big enough and strong enough and smart enough to handle all my problems and trials. But I also know I have to trust His judgment and His timing and His will instead of just expecting Him to suddenly take all those away. That is hard. Many days I fail. But God is there to encourage me and to help me get back on my feet. He also uses others, He uses you, to encourage those around you who are suffering. One lesson we hopefully learned was that God comforts us so we can comfort others. Don’t misunderstand. I didn’t say God makes us comfortable. Nowhere are we promised a life of comfort and ease. In fact, many of us are already too comfortable and God often uses suffering to wake us up. I love this quote from yesterday’s message: “Suffering is the icy cold splash that wakes us up from the complacency of living this life. We truly don’t see God and his purpose and strength without suffering, because we just become too comfortable.” If you are like me some days I just want to say OK, God, I’m awake, I’m listening!! But what I really want is for the pain and suffering to go away. God understands. He is there with us but He also knows what we need. Thank Him today for that gift. I’ll close this section with another quote from yesterday. Malcolm Muggeridge said, “Supposing you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be! Everything that corrects the tendency of man to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He’s bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered.” Some of us are pretty intolerable . . . am I right? Again I pray for God’s Grace and Mercy in the midst of the trial.
July is shaping up to be another busy month. Let me just list for you some of the events coming soon!
- July 9-13 – Vacation Bible School
- July 15 – Church wide Picnic
- July 22 – Summer Movie Night
- July 29 – BLOCK PARTY!!
And I forgot to mention that “Experiencing God” is coming this month as well. You will want to get signed up for that. It’s going to be really good.
Let me close by wishing my daughter, Lauran, and her husband, Allen, a very Happy 11th Anniversary!! We are also excited to have another daughter, Gabby, coming in this week for a few days!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?
P.S. If you missed the “Thank You Luncheon” then you missed another great time together as a family of believers! Thanks to Jon West for smoking the delicious brisket to perfection!