Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts

- Really good weekend. I'm recovering from the knee surgery really well. A little stiff and sore, but other than that feeling good. I'm looking forward to being able to run again soon.

- Had just incredible worship times on Sunday. Our baptism service was just awesome! Seeing everyone get baptized was just great, but I really enjoyed watching some of our teens jump in to it. 3 of our students got baptized and 2 of our students were able to baptize people. I was just so pumped to see that and just love watching people take the step of baptism and show others that they are followers of Jesus. We really try to make it a celebration at Grace and, thankfully, I think we were able to do that.

- Sunday night we had Communion. We really try to make our times of Communion an experience for people. If we do the "in remembrance" of Jesus, we truly want to make it something special for everyone. So, we try our best to do that. So, we tried to make it a journey for people. We started with some music and then brought a cross out and placed it in the center of our auditorium. We explained what Communion is and what we would be doing throughout the night. The first stop in the journey was just an opportunity for people to spend some time with God, reflecting and confessing any sin in their life.
We then moved to foot washing. We do a "three-fold" communion at Grace and footwashing is a very special part of the Communion. I know a lot of people do not do this when they do Communion, but, to be honest, I can't imagine Communion without it. It's a symbol of the cleansing of sin that Jesus gives us and also a symbol of his servanthood. Washing another's feet is humbling and just an incredible reminder of what Jesus does for us.
We then moved to a time of reflection by looking at various "theological" words and what those words mean in our lives. We looked at things like "Predestination," "Adoption," "Atonement," "Justification," and "Glorification." We reflected on the words, the implications of those words in our lives, and Bible verses explaining those things.

We then took the Bread and the Cup and spent time reflecting on what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross for our sin

After that, we spent time praying for lost people. In our church, we have specific chairs that totally don't match any of the rest of the funiture in our building. We use these chairs to represent people who do not have a relationship with Jesus, and as a church we always want to do what it takes to help people understand who Jesus is and allow people to come to know Him. So, we spent time praying at these chairs for friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc, who do not know Jesus.

We then moved to righting our names on a piece of paper and nailing it to the cross as a reminder that Jesus died for us. Wow, honestly, when I was walking through the Communion journey and having my feet washed and reflecting on words and praying for people and taking the Bread and Cup ... and at the same time hearing nails hammered in to the cross ... wow, incredibly powerful reminder of all Jesus went through for us. I was really moved.

Sidebar funny story ... while I was nailing my name and the names of my family in to the cross, I hit my finger with the hammer. So, I had just come from confessing sin and then had to confess cursing under my breath when I hit my finger. :) OK, I really didn't curse, but it crossed my mind especially as my finger was throbbing!

After spending some time worshipping, we had our Love Feast, celebrating all that awaits us in heaven. And, it couldn't be a celebration without cake and balloons, so we just totally rocked the place and really tried to create a party type atmosphere! It was truly a celebration!

Sunday was a busy day, but man, was it worth it! So many people worked really hard to make Communion happen. It was a pretty big production and I'm really grateful to everyone who helped out and to everyone that made it happen. One thing I love about our staff ... if I could just brag on 'em for a second ... I loved seeing Pastor Jim with a vacuum strapped to his back helping clean up. I loved seeing Jon and Miah and Jeremy picking up trash and putting away lights. Tim and Jerimae coming all the way down from South Bend and helping stack chairs or clean up the stage or put stuff in the trash. Mitch helping get everything in order and Craig helping clean up even though, technically he was off. After a long day, it would have been easy to just sneak out of the place and let others do the clean up. I'm really glad that I serve on a staff where it's just "normal" for everyone to be doing stuff like that. You can't lead others if you're not willing to do the stuff that a lot of people wouldn't want to do or wouldn't like to do. I love that none of them think they are "above" that. I'm so grateful to serve at Grace.
- I'm really excited about axis this Wednesday. Our student leaders are taking over the night and we'll be doing some guy/girl stuff ... trying to answer questions about dating, why guys do certain things, why girls do certain things, etc. Should be a lot of fun. I'll be helping do some shopping tonight with some of our leaders and then we're going to deck out the Link in guy stuff and girl stuff. It's going to be a lot of fun.
- We are getting ready for family to come and visit over Thanksgiving. In our fridge, I think we have the biggest turkey that ever hatched from an egg! Can't wait to tear in to it. I really need my knee to heal up quickly just so I can start burning off some calories from Thanksgiving.

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