I have decided to make today’s entry the last of the First Church Year series.
The answer is simple. We are not going to attend the church we have been a part of this year any longer.
We aren’t leaving mad or anything like that. We are simply worn out.
We find it difficult to be part of a church that is 30 minutes away. That is one full hour of drive to and from just for the morning service. Given that there is also a Sunday evening service, we would have to spend two hours driving on Sunday to be involved in Sunday church services. That’s our fault for not considering that earlier, but we simply cannot be involved in this church in the way we want.
Rather than do another Church Search series or First Church Year series at some point, I will simply replace it with basic normal posts. Well, as normal as any of my posts are. :)
We have no plans of not attending church. We were in “church” yesterday. We will not forsake the assembling of the saints. I’m sure that you will hear about that in the posts to come. It just won’t be in the manner that you may have become accustomed to hear in Deuceology land.
Thanks to everyone who reads.
How was your church experience this weekend?
I received an invitation on Friday to attend a 10 year celebration of a church I helped plant. For the first time in nearly a decade, I attended this church yesterday.
It was very interesting. Of course, several people were there that we know. We were greeted warmly by them. We were also greeted by those who did not know who we were.
There were several references to our first meeting in Alabama. As I looked around, I could see the result of that first meeting years ago. People who joined this church since we left had no idea that we were part of that original dozen or so people who met. It was a fascinating trip down memory lane with so many people not knowing that we had those memories.
One of the most interesting things stated during the service was that this church had shaped a lot of people over the past ten years. I realized when this was said that it was definitely true for me. This one church, which I helped plant and had not been to for close to a decade, has shaped my life even though I wasn’t there. I won’t go into the sordid details of why I haven’t been there for ten years. Needless to say, it has not necessarily shaped my life for the best over the last decade. That has been my fault.
Here’s the real deal. I haven’t really enjoyed church over the past ten years. Not the way I want to. Hopefully, by coming around full circle yesterday, I can take the steps to enjoying church like I want to. I look forward to the journey.
How was your church service yesterday?
On Saturday night, my University of Tennessee Volunteers played at 9 pm EST. Yes, you heard that right. 9 PM!!!
That might not mean much to you, but for me that’s late. I’m normally beginning to think about when i will go to bed at 9 pm. I may stay up a little later on Saturday night, but not much. 11 pm is usually as late as I will stay up. So, you can imagine what time I actually got into bed. It was nearly 1 am.
I usually get up at 5 am. I finish doing some last-minute sermon prep for my message at the campground and spend some time alone. Yesterday was no different. 5 minus 1 is 4. My math is still pretty good.
I did pretty well up through the campground service and actually getting to church. That’s when it happened.
I pretty much hit a wall around 10:45. Our church service starts at 10:30 and goes until around 11:40 or so.
I struggled for a good hour.
I told my friend David to hit me if I went to sleep. He too quickly agreed.
It wasn’t too hard to fight it while we were singing. Honestly, I probably didn’t sing with as much gusto as normal. But I was able to enjoy it.
However, there was the time that always comes. The time for the sermon came.
And I don’t really remember it. I concentrated the entire time on staying awake. In doing so, I couldn’t really focus on what was being said.
It ended. The service closed. We made our way home. And I had a two-hour nap.
I don’t want a day like that anytime soon.
Have you ever stayed up too late the night before church? How did that work out for you during the service?
For the second week in a row, I did not make it to church. This week we had an annual family reunion of Jan’s to attend. So, I want to take this opportunity to talk about church in general.
Family reunions are funny things in that people just sort of come and go as they please. Sure, there is a time that is set. Some have to get there to kick the thing off, but from there people just kind show up and leave on their own schedule. Usually everyone brings a dish. Everyone just kind of wanders around and visits for a while until it is finally time to eat. Once the meal is over, people wander around some more and visit. There may be all sorts of activity. Kids may play ball. A group may get together and sing. Someone may sit in a rocking chair and nap. There are all sorts things going on.
The Church is a family. Should it be more like a family reunion?
Everyone bring a dish and share a meal regularly?
Groups just spending time together singing in a spontaneous way?
Kids being kids in life of the church?
People wandering around visiting and loving each other?
Fill in the blanks with whatever else you can think of.
Should our churches be like family reunions on a weekly basis?
We are coming to the end of the last unofficial weekend of summer. It is Labor Day and we have been experiencing Labor Day Weekend. A few months ago we kicked off Summer with Memorial Day Weekend. There was much hoopla in church with paying tribute to fallen soldiers who died in service to our country. Patriotic songs were sung. Prayers were offered for our nation and currents soldiers.
Labor Day Weekend? Nothing.
This is not an indictment on my church. I don’t recall ever having celebrated Labor Day during any other church service. I’ve scratched my head wondering how to do it.
You could sing songs about the work Christ did on the cross.
You could preach a message on how we are the workmanship of God.
You could preach about how Paul said that those who do not work will not eat.
You could discuss the spiritual gifts and how we can use them in our work in the Church.
Those are the ideas I had. Now it’s your turn.
How could you give attention to Labor Day within the church?
One year ago last night, some circumstances happened that caused us to leave a church we were a part of for seventeen years. There were many emotions that we felt that night: anger, sadness and some that we could not describe.
Yesterday, we attended the church we joined earlier this year. We could not imagine being a part of it a year ago.
Yesterday, we got Jesus Juked and some of us laughed.
Yesterday, we prayed for humility and holiness.
Yesterday, we worshipped in song and word.
Yesterday, we were glad things had changed.
Yesterday, a year ago was less important
As you read this you should know that there are only twenty-five days until my Tennessee Volunteers will kickoff in their first game of the year. I will be taking that day off work, listen to pre-game shows, grilling brats and shouting for three hours of a football game.
If you Jesus Juke any of that statement in your comments, I might delete it.
I thought of this as I reflected on yesterday’s church service. I can only describe it as the service of SHOUT!
The Isley Brothers and The Beatles probably have the most recognizable versions of the song, Twist and Shout. This song was not played during out church service, but there seems to be something primal in our desire to shout. It definitely comes out in things like our music or the aforementioned football game that I am looking forward to.
Yesterday we sang Shout To The Lord! I love that song. You have probably sung it in your church service. The song tells us that nothing compares to the Lord and implies that this is a reason to shout to Him.
We sang another song called When I Think About The Lord. In this song, the one who thinks about the Lord shouts Hallelujah. Again, the response to the Lord is shouting.
When was the last time you shouted in church?
I’m not talking about something that is for show or anything. I’m talking about a spontaneous response to what is happening in the service?
I don’t think I’ve ever done it.
Football games? Absolutely. I’m so focused on what’s happening that when something good happens it just bubbles out.
Church? Not so much. I wasn’t raised that way. I was taught to think it improper and showy if someone even yelled, “Amen!”
There is a lady in our church who gets so excited that she lets out a “Whooo!!!” in a lot of songs.
She responds like the songwriters encourage us to by shouting.
Do you shout in church services? How about football games? What do you think about it?
I haven’t done a roundup like this in a while, but I also haven’t been reading as many new blogs for the past couple of weeks. Here is what happened on here at Deuceology over the last week.
Sunday brought Learning From The High Priestly Prayer, Part 1.
Tuesday was a Huey Lewis day with It’s Hip To Be Square.
Wednesday discussed Why You Should Be A Skeptic.
Thursday found us doing some Church Triage.
Friday asked Are We Guilty Of Tribalism?
What posts did you read this week that all of us should take a look at?
This is an odd First Church Year in that I am writing it several days ahead of time. I try to do that will almost all of my posts, but I usually wait until the church week is over for First Church Year. This one is different.
This one is the result of overflow. It’s the because of the excess time I spent at church over the last week preparing and performing in our Easter musical.
There probably hasn’t been one thing that was more valuable in getting to know more people in my new church than working in this performance. I don’t know everyone, but I have a better idea of who several people are now.
How did I get to know these folks?
Obviously, I spent more time with them than I usually can or get to. But it’s deeper than that.
How did I really get to know them?
It was through their stories.
I heard bits and pieces of their stories throughout the week.
Do I know their full story? No. Neither do they know mine. But the stories build something. They build a picture that grows larger and larger.
And that’s how we come to know God, isn’t it?
We have part of the story in the Old Testament.
We have the rest of the story in the New Testament with Christ.
It’s through these stories that we get the picture of God.
So, when we see and hear the picture of others, we see a faint, incomplete picture of what God does for us in the Bible.
Now, when I got to my church, I have a shared story with more people.
When I go to church, I get more of the story of God through His church.
How was your church week? Did you listen to people’s stories? How about the story of God?
Here we go with the next in the series of our first year in our new church.
What stood out this Sunday was actually something that did not take place at church. Jan and I did not have the kids at home this weekend. They were gone with the youth to an annual conference at Ridgecrest over in Asheville, NC. It was strange for us to be at church without our children with us. I honestly don’t know when or if that has happened during the past 17 years.
We took advantage of this situation and actually skipped Sunday school. We went to Hardee’s for breakfast and just sat there together enjoying a slow start to our day.
Our time at church was short today. We went to the worship service and it was good as always.
One of the exciting things that we heard was that the church will form a search team for the new pastor soon. That is an exciting turn of events as I though it might be a little longer before they did that.
Another thing that happened was that I was approached to help in a ministry opportunity. It is something that fits my gifts and what I am interested as well.
How was your church service this week?