Well, as advertised..my time in New York City was absolutely inspirational. Yes, my trip to NYC last week was a work trip! O.K. let me confess a couple of things: 1. I love the city-the bigger the better - don't know if it's just all the people or what, but I love it! 2. We took in a show (West Side Story) and some great restaurants, the metropolitan museum and times square (we were there for the last two innings on the big screen as the Yankees won the world series with thousands of crazy fans...very cool). 3. I love the men and their wives (all pastors of mega-churches) and share a deep and partnering friendship with them. All that to say...it was a work trip that didn't seem a whole lot like work!
We went to meet some of the pastors behind the churches being planted in the Northeast and beyond by a church planting organization called the Orchard Group. Very well run ministry organization (God is doing some cool things in the city). I'm inspired. Maybe when God is through with me at this Eastview thing (Lord willing that will be another 15-20 years) then Sara and I will go the Big Apple and plant a church (did I tell you they have starbucks there?).
Sunday I continued in our series in Luke and as advertised the angelic appearance to Zecharias in the temple foretelling the birth of John the Baptist was inspiring. What wasn't advertised is that your sr. pastor on a self prescribed cocktail of some sinus medication, some congestion medication and four shots of espresso would be a little loopy! O.K. a lot. I have got some kind of cold thingy, but I'm feeling a little better today. I hate having a cold because I hug everybody and don't feel like I should when I'm sick (did anyway).
This Sunday is the big day when we begin bringing in our toys for kids in our town who won't have a Christmas any other way. I hope that as advertised (we are getting a reputation around Bloomington/Normal) our church excels in the grace of giving. It's just that, you know...a grace. Passing on joy to a child for free, undeserved, unable to repay - sounds familiar. Once God sent his Son to his children for free, undeserved, unable to repay - gift of grace. May our giving reflect that gift!
Here's my challenge: 1. Think of the amount of toys you are going to bring to church for donation this Sunday. 2. Pray about that and ask God if He wants you to give more. 3. Double the answer to number 1. 4. Do it by faith. 5. Smile because you have freely received and freely given. 6. Go have a gingerbread latte' (I allow myself this one sissy drink during the holidays each year!)