Sunday reflections...a bit of normalcy...sermon post

Not trying to promote one coffee shop or another or sponsored in any way by this one but this is just a shot of a little bit of more normalcy coming back into my life.  So small but is so big to have a time to be with some guys early in the morning around a "cup of joe."  Granted we will be outside the establishment at a picnic table in the brisk air of Maine but none the less, we will start our work week catching up on each others lives and telling our favorite stories from the weekend.  The whole idea seems small.  A small group, a small event, and a small preparation routine (setting the alarm the night before so I don't miss it) seen on the outside but in the life of a church, this type of fellowship among God's family is huge!  

Maybe this is one of the lessons learned from COVID-19.  The fellowship of the body of Christ is something to be cherished.  It is not only something to be cherished but a tool that God gave us to show His love to one another and the worl…

Wednesday in the Word...John 20:26-29...An important conversation between Jesus and Thomas...sermon post too

Back in the saddle again at MVBC!  Last week's sermon is included at the end of this blog post.  I pray for us all to keep in the saddle with our time with the Lord.  It has been easy to fill our days with news of the day rather than the words of our Savior.  May reading this post help us all keep focus to what our true mission is as followers of Jesus Christ.
This is such an important conversation between Thomas and Jesus.  It is more than just Thomas' proclamation, "My Lord and My God."  Jesus prepares Thomas and us Christians for what is to come next, people who will believe who have not seen.  
Today's Wednesday in the Word covers John chapter 20 and verses 26 through 29, which read,
v.26 - After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them, Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
If we remember back a couple weeks, Jesus made His first appearance to His disciples minus Thomas. …

Sunday Reflections...What does a preacher do on a Sunday he doesn't preach?

It is a really odd feeling to not be preaching behind a pulpit on a Sunday morning for me.  I am in my 35th year of ministry and God has been working on me to better handle His Word for which I am very thankful for and humbled by.  This Sunday found Stephanie and I in not one but two churches.  

Churches are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as we are back in Machias, Maine so things look very similar in practice.  Some are wearing masks, physical distancing is being practiced, orderly entry and exiting and hand shaking and hugging has its own warning.  I have noticed that because of these measures, it is very hard to get to know the people of the congregation.

The first church is the Grace Bible Church of Tampa.  It is not in Tampa but on the way from Zephyrhills off of the famous Florida highway 301.  It is about a 20 minute drive and we attended this church last year when we were setting up the mobile.  I also blogged about it here:…

Short vacation post of my "get 'er done" list at the mobile

It might be hard to see but the foreground is the white vinyl the way it is supposed to be and the background is what happens in Florida to mobiles in just a years time.  Another chore checked off the list and my arms are tired from scrubbing back and forth.  So since my arms are sufficiently tired I headed into the next thing on the list.

"Oh, you own a palm tree?!?"  I don't think you own a palm tree but rather it owns you, kind of like cats.  Pruning off the lower dead fronds is a very dirty chore and you have to work with your hands above your head.  It looks nice when it is done, you just don't look too nice when you're done.  Notice that I didn't post an after picture of me!  Yes, I see that you have noticed that my lawn is longer than my neighbor's.  So that is on the list for tomorrow.  
I haven't gotten to "the fun in the sun" yet.

Wednesday in the Word...John 20:19-25...Where's Thomas?

Hard to believe but 53,000 gallons of water came out of that hole in a month's time.  Not sure how the precision hole got there but the repair has been made and we are back in business.  Home ownership, you got to love it!  
We have a couple of weeks to be with family but also to recharge before heading north again to our assignment in Maine.  When we get back it will be the year mark and even though COVID-19 made its appearance, God has stopped His kingdom work through His Bride, the Church.  
I have also had the opportunity to connect up with 3 other IPM interim pastors who are stationed in Maine.  We connect through ZOOM and it is great to talk "shop" with one another and be praying for each other.  I am learning a lot from those who have done this multiple times and usually being the youngest of the group, I take a lot of notes.  
Today's Wednesday in the Word is John chapter 20 and verses 19 through 25, which read,
v.19 - So when it was evening on that day, the firs…

Sunday reflections...sermon post...blooming flowers

The lupines are blooming again.  I said "again" because it signifies a year when I set foot in Maine and specifically the beautiful little town of Machias.  It was a full weekend and the members and elders of Machias Valley Baptist Church were evaluating if they wanted this "green" interim pastor to serve them through this transition.  I am so glad that they said "yes!"

I have learned so much in this year not just about this church and community or even the ministry of being an interim pastor but also about myself.  I have asked myself many times, "Was this the right decision?"  I am thankful to say that as many times as I asked that question, I also received some confirmation from God to keep going forward.  

So when I return from vacation, year 2 will begin.  I don't think we will be here another year because the ministry opportunity of this church to this community is obvious to anyone seriously considering MVBC as a ministry assignment fro…

Wednesday in the Word...John 20:11-18...I come to the garden alone

Maybe our passage of scripture was the inspiration for the song, "I Come To Garden Alone" or known as "In The Garden."  A little research and the answer is "yes!"  Here are the words of the song's author referring to our passage this morning.
One day in March, 1912, . . . I drew my Bible toward me; it opened at my favorite chapter, John 20 [1-18] . . . That meeting of Jesus and Mary Magdalene had lost none of its power to charm.  As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene. I became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary’s life, when she knelt before her Lord, and cried, “Rabboni!”. . .  My hands were resting in the Bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. I awakened in full light, gripping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickl…