Archive for the 'Church' Category

I’ve heard it all now!

My friend is a Christian but unchurched. She and her kids have come to our church two or three times over the past couple years. She used to work Sundays and so couldn’t come, but she’s no longer working so I’m hopeful to get her involved in church. She has started working the PTM discipleship course and is very excited about it. We were going to get together today to discuss the first lesson (which she has completed), but she’s really busy today prepping for an Easter dinner, so we moved our meeting to Monday afternoon.

Anyway, I invited her to come to church on Sunday, saying that it will be a great Easter service. She replied. “My mother-in-law JUST has to have a Easter dinner so I have to make it or there’s no living with her… I would go but I’m having to cook Easter dinner.” Now that struck me as extremely funny and terribly sad. You can’t go to church just ONE TIME on Easter because you have to cook an Easter dinner?!?!? I replied, “What’s an Easter dinner without an Easter resurrection celebration?!?”

Indeed.

We’re not having an Easter dinner, but I can tell you that we’re going to have a glorious party at church!!!

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On serpentine items

Nearly every morning, although now that the weather is getting cooler, it’s more like every other morning, I water tomatoes. This involves taking down five or six loops of black hose from my handy-dandy hose hanger, flopping the pile of hose onto the ground, turning on the water, and pulling the hose toward the side yard barrels or front yard pots of tomatoes. But most of the time, the hose on the ground manages to tie itself in knots, and I have to stop and try to disentangle the mess. Since I’ve been doing this at least 26 times a month for the past five and-a-half months, that comes to something like 143 times I have dealt with the sometimes-tangled hose. You’d think I would have a worked all the kinks out of my procedure (pun intended) by now!

Today I was up at the church vacuuming the sanctuary. I won’t mention the minor frustration involved in navigating a vacuum cleaner between the 288 legs of some 72 ganged chairs, first from the front side of a row, and then from the back side thereof. That’s kind of tedious stuff, but I am fairly good at – and actually energized by – doing boring, mundane, repetitive task, so I fell to with a vengeance and conquered all those crumbs. The vacuuming was a little more challenging than normal because on Wednesday night, Pastor Barb had had the congregation divided into five groups in five widely spaced locations along the walls of the sanctuary, using straws to blow spit wads at post-it note targets on the walls. It was an effective object lesson about sin and missing the mark, but three days later, there were tiny spit wads all over the floor and stuck on the walls; some higher than I could reach to scrape off.

Anyway, my main issue today was not with the chair legs or the spit wads; it was with the @!#$^% (I’m pretty sure that spells “STUPID!”) 100-foot orange extension cord. That beast has somehow gotten majorly twisted, such that it’s a royal pain to roll up and an even greater royal pain to unroll. It’s all lumpy and bumpy, like its insides have been wrung very tightly. When you pick it up in a given place, it jumps like a living thing and instantly coils itself into a twisted nightmare. And if you try to pull on the ends to untwist it, it will attack your shins with a vengeance. It’s kinkier than black hair, for crying out loud!

So having dealt with a 100-foot long kinked hose and a 100-foot long kinked extension cord in the same morning, I’m ready for everything to be smooth, free, and unencumbered tomorrow.

Family Fun Night

Our Wednesday night services have, for several months, featured the youth and adults combined, which means things are just a bit louder, dimmer, and more active than some of us are accustomed to at church. But, as Larry tells Bob says in the intro to Veggie Tales, “It’s for the kids.” And so it is, and we are glad to spend some focused time in ways that minister to our young people.

We usually have silly ice-breakers and group discussions with lots of interesting questions, but tonight was billed as Family Fun Night, a time for youth and adults to interact with each other in many ways involving spirit, soul, and body. It ended up being more fun than I had anticipated and some of the events were totally hilarious.

I opted to pass on Bubble Ball Soccer. I actually experimented with it earlier in the week, but the Bubble Ball was just too claustrophobic for me. I also declined all three rounds of the Hula Hoop challenge. Round One was standard Hula Hooping, which Nevaeh won, hips down, Round Two was using a Hula Hoop as a jump rope, and Round Three was jumping rapidly back and forth among four Hula Hoops that were lying on the ground. See Kris bounce like a maniac and fall to the ground on her back!

I did, however, hold my own in solving riddles and playing Four Square. I came in second to Tara in Four Square; turns out we were both champions in our elementary school years.  = )  I think I could have competed in the Jeopardy-style Bible Quiz questions, but we left that to Bob and Sister Jean, who were both quite successful.

And then there was the matter of Dodge Ball. I only hit a victim twice, and I was also only hit twice, but I think that was because they considered me an “older” woman, and so were being nice to me.

Overall, thanks to Zach’s Bubble Balling, Cheryl’s Hula Hooping, Bill’s Ball-Dodging, Jean and Bob’s biblical answering, Tara’s Four Squaring, and my logical deciphering, our team took first place. We were proud and happy, and then we all worked together to re-set the sanctuary for Sunday. . . when things are likely to be a bit calmer. . . or maybe not.

Simple pleasure

I help with some of the bookkeeping in our church’s office. My part takes about an hour to do, and it’s one of those boring, mundane, repetitive tasks that most people dread and try to avoid, but which I totally enjoy and gravitate toward. Our pastor recently hired a super-WONDERFUL assistant, and one of my tasks is to train her to do the bookkeeping I’ve been handling. The procedure is complex and not especially intuitive, so I’ve been working on documenting the entire process in such detail that someone who has never done it before could follow along and do it. It took me three hours to complete my four-page “cheat sheet,” what with using one computer to perform each individual step and then using another computer to write down exactly how to do that step, but now it’s FINISHED(!!!), and I’m so jazzed. I think it’s going to be quite useful, and that is really exciting to me.

I remember when I was working in the TV department of a church the year before Katie was born. We had just put a Christian TV station on the air, and I was responsible for “traffic,” the coordinating of all the incoming and outgoing videotapes and the scheduling and organizing of all our satellite recordings. I spent months designing and improving our system, and once I had most of the kinks worked out, I documented it all in a series of color-coded three-ring binders. (This was back in the day of handwriting on notebook paper.) Several years after I resigned my job to stay home with our oldest, the church purchased a computer – a totally novel idea! – and the TV department guys set up a system on the computer to handle the traffic, but they told me that the logic they used was exactly what I had worked so hard to perfect and document.

It’s very interesting to me that a quarter century later I’m still energized by doing the same kind of work.

The joy of labels

Some of us relish unusual experiences.  Today Jessica and I worked at the church for a while, coming pretty close to completing a major task we started on yesterday.  Jessica’s helping our pastor as interim children’s minister for a few months while she’s home, and she’s been working like a mad woman to get some systems figured out, set up, tested, and functional before she leaves in a few weeks.  To that end, she’s done a ton of organizing, and yesterday and today, we worked in what has become the “children’s ministry supplies room” sorting reams of construction paper, zillions of pipe cleaners, an unbelievably large collection of children’s safety scissors, and what appeared to be a gross of glue sticks (plus LOTS of other stuff).

Today we finished up the more fun part:  labeling everything and putting signs on cabinets to direct the various workers where to find what they need to do what they in ministering to the kids, because as we all know, “It’s for the kids.”

It was supremely satisfying to get the boxes and bins positioned for maximal effectiveness and then label everything clearly.

Due to remodeling through the years, the light switch in this particular room is currently positioned behind a crib that is almost maximally distant from the door, and reaching it requires one to navigate a maze of toys and supplies that used to be used when the church ran a preschool (which it no longer does) and which are stored in this same room.  So in addition to tamer labels like “Puppet Props” and “Game Prizes” and “Cotton Balls and Q-Tips,” I also got to make fun signs with arrows, saying things like “Light Switch is in Back Left Corner Behind Crib” and “Light Switch That-A-Way.”

Jessica and I just has a grand time, as we are both embarrassingly beavish when it comes to decluttering, organizing, and labeling.  However, Pastor Barb was at the church after we left, and she said we did a great job.

Maybe the only thing better than making labels is having someone else appreciate them.

“We Are”

And I am. . . really proud of Andrew at church this morning, that is.  Usually he plays the background keyboard for worship and sometimes he also sings background vocals.  Because our worship leader (Jessica) was out today, one of the young ladies who usually harmonizes (Taylor) was singing lead, and Andrew and Alexis sang harmony.  He did a good job.  Then right before the sermon, he also sang a special, Kari Jobe’s “We Are.”  I could tell he was a bit nervous – and this is the guy who never gets nervous on stage! – but he sang well and the congregation responded with applause.  = )  That was his first time to sing a solo at church, or anywhere, for that matter.

So musically all went well, and then during the sermon, Pastor Barb called him up to sit in a chair as an object lesson about Psalm 91:1.  He sat down in the chair but looked skeptical when she brought out an umbrella (perhaps remembering the time she fed him baby food as an object lesson. . . ), so she let him off the hook.  She had him stand to the side and asked another young lady to come sit in the chair under the umbrella.  But it turns out Andrew had inadvertently played right into her hand.  Her point was that when we get out from under God’s shadow in his secret place, we are unprotected.  So she poured some water over Bethany’s head, and of course, Bethany stayed dry under the umbrella.  Then Pastor Barb ran over to Andrew and slung the rest of the water at him!  We all had a good laugh, the point was made, and Andrew’s shirt was still damp when we got home.

What a service!

We had a wonderful, amazing church service today.  God showed up in powerful ways and ministered to his people!  Worship was great (Andrew played keyboard for much of it), Pastor Guy prayed for several people, and Jessica preached a very high energy, passionate message about testimony.

WOW!  It was a great service!