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Cleaning the steeple


Steeples provide a focal point, draw worshippers, and announce a church presence in our area. They are an essential element of church architecture and occasionally, they need cleaning. Pastor John McLaurin and church member Doug Dyer recently tackled ours!

The Cost of “The Wall” on Father’s Day 2018

Do you remember as a child what it was like when you parent(s) left the house?  Even if it was only for a day, a night out  – you might agonize the first day they were away out of town, the first night.  Have you ever been homesick? Do you remember the trauma that caused you as  child?  On this Father’s Day, all those memories come flooding back.  Worse still, on a national scale the situation continues to grow worse across our land.  I am reminded that more than ½ of American children grow up in homes with a single parent present.  I am reminded that the average age of a homeless person is 7,  yes, 7 years old due to high number of single-parent families that are homeless.  

In the news today, I am reminded that in numerous towns across our southern border there are immigrant children (infants to 17 years) living in camps as they are separated from their immigrating  parents. Through no fault of their own, they are isolated, separated, traumatized and living in fear.  They don’t know if and when they will ever see their parents again.  Can you imagine the fear they are suffering – every day?

I recognize that we have immigration issues in the USA that need to be addressed.  I recognize the need for more border security and maybe even a wall of some sort – impractical as that sounds, since all walls are penetrable. I get the premise – domestic control over immigration is reasonable. But today I became outraged. Today, I heard something that is totally unacceptable.  It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat or any other party.  Every Christian should be appalled, every citizen should say – “we are better than this”.  Today – the AG and President used these immigrant children as bargaining chips.  They used these innocent children as a wager in a bet in high stakes immigration control.  The AG quoted the Bible to justify a policy that has zero connection to the teaching of Jesus. You know them by heart – “Love your neighbor”; “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Is it even remotely Christian to use the separation and isolation of these young children as a high stakes leverage to get money for a border wall?  Is it like us as a nation to create suffering and use it as a weapon for policy negotiations?  It doesn’t seem Christian to me!

 If you can’t empathize with the children – can you with the parents? Can you imagine what it’s like to wonder where and how your children are doing every day, the babies, the preteens the teenagers – wouldn't the “unknown” of their well-being drive your desperation?  I would agree that the parents have brought this on themselves. I would agree that they put their children in danger and I would agree that things must be pretty bad from where they are running, to put their children at risk. Still, it’s not the children’s fault. They are minors who would follow their parents anywhere, just like you and I would do at the same age. 

 Next door to my house in Jacksonville was an orphanage. The boys there, were desperate. They had everything they needed – except the love of parents.  Not one of them was a happy, optimistic child.  Their conditions were far better than what we are witnessing in the encampments housing all these children. The encampment kids have no idea what their future holds or where their parent(s) might be and if they will ever see them again.    I lived in that house next to the orphanage because I was one of the ½ of American children growing up in a broken home. I was blessed with uncles that set good examples. One in particular, Erwin Wollitz, was a daily example. I spent my earliest years (untill 4th grade and then on and off until 10th grade) living with him and my aunt and looking over the fence at the orphange. Even though there was some trauma being without my father at that young age, at least I know I had one that I would see again, someday. I was never used as a bargaining tool for leverage.

 It's hard to celebrate Father’s Day when you know of the incomprehensible suffering these children are going through. Incomprehensible - seems to be the new normal in Washington. And don’t let me get started on all those voices - in Washington, in Deltona and everywhere - that should be raised in opposition. This Father’s Day, do you hear our Father’s voice calling you, too?

I hear, “John do something, don’t be silent like the lambs”.

In His Name,

Pastor John

Reaching people who don't go to church

Excerpted from an article by Carey Nieuwhof / edited by J. McLaurin

Let’s make a clear statement: Church is not about you being comfortable and happy.  It’s NOT!   It’s about reaching people who don’t know Christ and who don’t go to church.

It follows that, in essence, the mission of the church is to share the love of Christ with the world with the hope that everyone will come into a relationship with Jesus.  Of course, the big challenge is that unchurched people are not flocking to the local corner church.  Most Christians can’t seem to understand why,  We don’t understand what they are doing, or not doing, to change that reality. 

Statistically, there are many reasons, but a surprising number center around one thing:  Christians treat the church as if it’s their private club.  It’s their place and not everyone else is welcome.

Read more ...

Reaching people who don't go to church: An Action Plan

Survey’s tell us that 90% of the people who visit a local church make up their minds within 20 minutes whether to ever return.  For us that means before the choir has sung or the pastor preaches – they’ve made up their minds about coming back.  Now that should tell us that we need to be changing the way we interact with new faces in our church!

What are the 7 things we should give up in order to reach visitors and unchurched people?

1 – Music:  It should occur to you that we all have a different all-time favorite song.  That we may even have a different favorite genre’.  That for each of you who like the 40’s sound there are a bunch who like the Motown sound of the 60’s.  And how about the younger 30 to 50 year old’s – what music do you suppose they like.  My guess it’s not endless versions of the Old Rugged Cross and Nearer My God to Thee.  It could be the stuff you hear on Z88.3 FM and similar stations.   Would your relationship with Christ be damaged if you were singing something other than hymns and dirges?  I don’t think so.  But it may be a welcoming sound to visitors to have some mixture of tradition, contemporary, jazz, blues and maybe even some Motown sound.  Would you be willing to give up some of your preferred music in order to reach  and welcome the lost?

Read more ...

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