Today's Word for Pastors...
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8
Today's Preaching Insight...
The Perfect Storm
[W]hen I was still a college student... I went to Hawaii with my parents where my dad was attending a printing and office supplies convention. While there we took a tour boat out to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial, a very moving experience. Down in the water we saw the sunken battle ship U.S.S. Arizona which became a watery tomb for the men caught onboard that infamous day of December 7, 1941.
As we were returning on the boat the waves of the Pacific began to rise. Rain showered down upon us. We were seated in rows out on the bow of the boat, and nearly everyone naturally rushed for cover in the cabin. But, bold venturous explorer that I was in my youth, I went all the way up to the tip of the bow and "Titanic" style, stood grasping the sides of the rail as the boat lurched up and down crashing through the rolling waves. It was a particularly vivid moment as I sensed I was fully alive, fully experiencing all the journey across the waters had to offer.
I felt a bit in common with the famed 19th century naturalist John Muir, who explored much of the Pacific Northwest. Once in 1874 Muir was caught in a fierce storm in the Sierra Mountains. He had just gone to visit a friend in a cabin, snugly set in a valley of those mountains. When the storm moved in Muir was not to be found in the safe tightly caulked cabin. He had instead gone out of the cabin into the storm, climbed a high ridge, and scaled a giant Douglas fir tree from which he could best experience the kaleidoscopic sound, scent and motion of the storm.
Why raise such storm-tossed images when thinking today of the church? Well because like the perfect storm, the perfect church is not all neatly fixed, flawlessly decorated magnificently complemented by the perfect choir and perfect ushers, perfect ministers and perfect officers. You already realize in one sense, there is no perfect church because there are no perfect people. Whatever perfection a church approaches comes as we learn to rock and reel and navigate through the ups and downs of our imperfect lives learning upon our perfect Lord.
What makes a church perfect is imperfect people like you and me caring enough about God and each other, and bringing enough of our real, broken, imperfect lives to the Lord who can take them and make us new. Jesus Christ, who turned water into wine, can turn imperfect people like you and me into new people. He can create the perfect, or the real, church.
(To read the entire article, "The Perfect Church" by Edwin Gray Hurley at Preaching.com, click here)
by J. Michael Shannon
It happened in the 1840s in Uruguay. The Uruguayan Navy was desperate. They were fending off the navy of an aggressive force from Argentina. They ran out of conventional ammunition and thought their cause was lost. Someone came up with a creative idea. They would use old cheese as ammunition. So they raided the kitchen and loaded their cannons with old, hard Edam cheese and used it as cannonballs. Incidentally, they won the battle.
Is it possible for us to take good things and turn them into weapons? Words for instance can be used to edify; or, if hard, they can be used to destroy.
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