Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekend Thoughts

It's nice to be able to sit on the deck with my coffee and computer and reminisce about the weekend. I really enjoyed my return to Zion Baptist Church (ZBC) in Cainsville MO. We were trying to figure out how long it had been since my last visit; I was thinking around eight years. One of the members said that he knew exactly how long it had been because I visited his wife in the hospital after the birth of their little girl--she is 6.

Although this was only my third trip to ZBC, it really does feel like a sort of homecoming. It is a small congregation with a huge heart for serving the community in the name of Jesus. I really love their pastor. He is a simple, hard working man that runs his business and pastors a rural church. He loves his Lord, loves his flock and loves serving others. Not surprisingly, the church has taken on the heart attitudes of loving God, loving each other and serving the community.

It's a pretty sweet fellowship.

There are so many thoughts running through my head this morning about the weekend that it is very hard to organize them into any orderly post. I think I'm going to just write them out in bullet form and expound on them as the thoughts come to mind.

*This was the thirteenth year of the Zion Gospel Jubilee.
Several music groups from the area (and some individuals) come to sing on an outdoor stage under a big tent. The event normally begins around 1pm on Saturday and lasted until around 10:30 at night with a break for an awesome dinner. (They smoked about 200 pounds of beef brisket and pork butts.) Sunday morning had an outdoor service under the tent followed by lunch and more music. This year, they added the Friday night session with music and magic--my part in the weekend. I also shared twice on Saturday (once in the afternoon, once in the evening) and preached the message on Sunday morning.

*The groups that come to sing look forward to this event.
This year's groups had all been to the Jubilee before. The event is well advertised and people come from some distance to enjoy the music. There was great talent singing praise to our God.

*Life isn't always what we've bargained for.
When you get in a mix of God's people, you find that there are a lot of suffering Christians. It's a myth that those that follow Jesus have great lives. We do have eternal life, but often times our earthly journey can be difficult and lonely. There were times that my heart hurt for the stories of struggle that were shared.

*We are family.
One of the things that always amazes me is the instant bond of fellowship with believers from another congregation. At a family reunion, you can often tell that the people there are apart of your family clan by certain physical characteristics. When meeting with fellow followers of Jesus, there are also characteristics that lead you to believe that we are of the same family.

*Other contacts.
I also had the opportunity to visit with some old friends that lived in the area (by in the area, I mean about 40 minutes away). I enjoyed getting to visit with them in their home and also saw a few other people that I have shared ministry with in the past.

*Blessings of service.
I'll be on a bit of a high for a few days. The blessings of service are grand. I know that this weekend will carry me into the week with a grand feeling and positive attitude. I have another program tomorrow night and am preaching on Sunday in Springfield. It sounds really busy and like I'm doing a lot of work, but the truth is that it's too much fun to be considered work.

*Random thought--
If it turns out that I'm going to keep the del Sol much longer, I'm going to have to put some work into it to make it more serviceable and more comfortable for long trips.

*Final thought (for now)--
There are a lot of hurting people out there. Some suffer in silence and in secret while others are more open about their pain. They need a bit of encouragement and love today. If you know of somebody that is carrying a burden, lend them a hand today. Call them. Offer them a time of rest or a moment that they can set aside their troubles and enjoy a short time of peace with a friend.
For those that suffer in silence, take care to be kind to everybody you encounter. Be a positive influence at work or school. Be kind and courteous to strangers. Smile often. Speak words of encouragement. Show the love of God in all you do.

God loves you.
Jesus died for you.

John <><

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