This is a post from a couple of years ago.
I almost called this one What I Am Afraid Of, Part 1. Instead it became Intruder or Introvert. I call it that because, quite honestly, I am an introvert.
Someone just picked their jaw up off the floor. They cannot believe that I am an introvert.
After all, I teach Sunday school. I have no real fear of public speaking. I do each of these each week. I am not afraid of these things.
However, here is what I am afraid of and it has everything to do with me being an introvert.
I am afraid of…….are you ready?…….wait for it……..group activities. Parties. Fellowships. Sunday school get-togethers.
When I say that I’m afraid of them, I don’t mean I fear them in the same way that I fear rattlesnakes or copperheads. What I mean is that when I walk up and a few of you are talking, I feel like an intruder. I see some of you and you have known each other for decades. I feel like I am intruding into your relationship. I fear that I will never have that with you or anyone else for that matter.
I see that some of you have some common interest. I hear you talk about something and speak what I almost think is a foreign language. I see you belong to what seems like some impenetrable circle that I cannot hope to join. And I fear that I will never have something like that.
I realize, at times, that it is really just a product of my introversion. I realize that it is part of where I inwardly hold back. I will only go so far before I move along.
So what do I do? I pop in and pop out. I will try to speak to you one on one. Sometimes with two of you. But the larger the group, the more likely I will move along. If I’m hurt, I will look inward. I will retreat to a book, a website or my blog where I will let it all hang out, sometimes with disastrous results.
I’m an introvert. What am I afraid of? That I am an intruder in people’s lives.
How about you? Are you an introvert? How does it affect your life?
Welcome to the April Fools edition of the First Church Year blog post. That might sound like something, but there really was not an April Fools component to yesterday’s church services.
Sunday school and the worship service were solid, typical times yesterday. One of the standout pieces was the opening song of the Easter drama was sung. It is really a powerful song.
Sunday night was more interesting than usual. We had the first business meeting that I have attended. What was unusual for me was the order of the service. The business portion was sandwiched by the singing and the preaching. I had never actually seen a business meeting that was followed by preaching. Maybe that should happen more often.
Following the service I spoke to a couple who are interested in beginning a small group. We both think that this is the future of some great things for our church.
The night wrapped up with several of us gathering together to watch Wrestlemania. It was a fun night of fellowship, food and fun. Unfortunately, I had to leave before it was over, so I don’t know if The Rock beat John Cena.
How was your Lord’s Day?
Today marks a special edition of First Church Year. It is the first such post to occur on Tuesday, instead of Monday. That makes it special, right? I hope that you got over to Michael Perkins The Handwritten yesterday. I hope you continue to check it out and it becomes one of your favorite blogs like it has become one of mine. Now, on with the first church year recap.
The focus on this week at church has to be three things: Sharing your faith, missions and prayer.
Our Sunday school class went in together to visit another class. The purpose of the class is to give people help in sharing their faith. Few people other than who was in our class decided to take time to spend learning how to better tell others about their life with Christ.
In both worship services, we had missionaries speak. One missionary had spent a great deal of time in Asia. The other missionaries had spent their time in Peru. It’s amazing to listen to those who have given their lives to live in another culture away from everything they know.
At 5 pm each Sunday evening, our church is gathering to pray together for our church. This Sunday our prayer focused on our future pastor, his family, the search team and the future of our church.
How was your Lord’s day this week?
More than likely, unless something goes wrong, I will go to Sunday school today. Perhaps you’re reading this and I’ve already been. Regardless, the majority of the time, I go to Sunday school.
However, a couple of weeks ago, I skipped Sunday school. Guess what? I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll tell you why I did it. And I will give you a good reason to skip Sunday school yourself.
(By the way, two of the staff members of my church will read this, so I hope they understand what I’m saying.)
I skipped Sunday school to go to Hardee’s and spend a few extra minutes with Jan.
Our kids were out-of-town at a youth conference.
We were running late to Sunday school.
Rather than break our necks rushing to get there, we went to Hardee’s and got a cheddar biscuit. We got to talk. We got to laugh. We wondered why and how they could have coffee for the drive-thru but not for the lobby.
Then we went to church.
So, if you are going to skip Sunday school, do it for a good reason. Spend time with your spouse. Enjoy your time together. And don’t do it too often. But often enough.
What would you skip Sunday school for?
I usually begin my recap with what happened on Sunday. Let’s shake it up a bit. Let’s start with Wednesday.
My friend David is the youth minister at our church. He called me recently to ask if I would help him with some of the speaking on Wednesday nights. I said yes and showed up to hang out with him and the youth this past Wednesday night. I wanted to get a feel the group.
What ended up happening was that I gave an impromptu introduction by way of my life story, who I am and how I came to know he Lord: you know, a testimony. It looks like I will actually do some planned speaking this Wednesday.
Our church recently went through a building process. This left the old worship area empty. It looks like with some work and upgrades, the youth will be able to use this area on Wednesday nights for a worship service. It’s exciting to be in on this from the beginning.
In Sunday School, we had a substitute teacher who did a great job.
During the worship service, we had the Lord’s Supper. It was the first time we had done this in at least six months, if not longer. It was great to do this in remembrance of Him.
Following the service, I was asked to be a Roman soldier in the Easter musical. I was told that there would be no lines. I have this picture of me with a sword and a toga. That would be a dangerous combination for me. I also wonder if I could steal the show like Vince Vaughn did in the Christmas play in Four Christmases?
How was your Lord’s Day?
It’s hard for me to believe that I have now written six of these First Church Year posts. We have gone to our new church each Sunday this year, so we have been there for around nine Sundays.
One of the things that stood out to me was marked by a couple of absences. Our worship leader was gone for the day. The gentleman that filled in for him did a great job and even wore a Daffy Duck tie. It wasn’t that the music suffered with him being gone. It was just a fact that a member of our fellowship wasn’t there. I believe that truly makes a difference.
Another friend was absent due to having surgery Friday. Both he and his wife were gone and we have begun developing a good relationship with them. Besides the fact that I personally missed them, I could tell that the body as a whole missed their presence.
A couple of other things really stood out to me from Sunday’s service. There have been some issues and problems within the church prior to when we began attending church there. I can sense the Lord working in the lives of many of the people. I see healing happening. I really believe that this church is on the verge of revival.,
The final thing is that our Sunday School teacher came up to me after the service. He told me how much he appreciated the comments I make in class. He also said that it challenged him to prepare even better each Sunday. It was pretty cool to be told that you are encouraging someone who has been in the church for several years.
How about you? How was your Sunday?
Unless you were off on a deep space mission this weekend, you probably know that Whitney Houston died this weekend. LL Cool J described it on the Grammy’s as a death in the family.
I read an article in a magazine discussing the secret to Eric Clapton’s success. Of course he has talent and has worked hard, but one of the main secrets to his success was the collaboration he had with other artists. The list of bands and individual artists that he has worked with was incredible.
What do these two things have in common?
Community. My One Word this year.
Whitney Houston was part of a community of artists.
Eric Clapton is part of another.
Each has had an impact far greater than they would have had individually because of the communities they were a part of.
What does that have to do with you and me? Most of you are probably followers of and believers in Christ. We belong to a far greater community than any of these others.
We belong to the Body.
We need each other.
We don’t have room for Lone Ranger Christians. As John Maxwell has said, “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.”
My blogging friend, Ben Emerson, wrote a great post the other day about this. He discussed how we don’t need to interpret scripture alone. We need the group. At first I disagreed. Then I thought about it. We stand on 2000 years of interpretation. We don’t need to come in to Sunday School or Bible Study Group and all say what it means to us. We need to find out what it means. Together.
We need the corporate worship experience, not to be entertained or fed, but because we need each other.
We don’t need the singing just to pump us up. We need to sing and praise our God and Savior together.
We don’t need to just listen to a sermon. We could do that on our iPod. We need to hear it together and share the experience. We need to worship Him together in the word.
We need each other. We need to collaborate in this thing we call the Christian life. We need our brothers and sisters.
How do you collaborate in your community and part of the Body?
Do you ever have one of those Sundays?
It started early and cold.
We got started toward church late due to not planning well enough.
We got to church between the end of Sunday School and the beginning of the worship time. A couple of people from our class saw us and told us that they missed us.
The music in service seemed, to me, to focus on Forever. Two of the songs spoke of Forever, It reminded me of something I had read earlier in the morning. It said to begin with the end in sight. I wonder if we do that as believers? Do we really do what we do with the thought of where we will end up on our minds?
The sermon spoke to whether or not we are desperate as believers. Not desperate in the sense of not having hope. Desperate in the sense of looking at God through Christ for everything in our lives. I think it was a timely message.
Just from my observation, I believe it serves our church well to have an interim pastor right now. I believe that this man will help the church be in a “Go!” position when the new pastor comes.
No one has asked me. We haven’t joined the church yet. I would suggest not forming a search team until after Easter. I tink that the first three months should be spent with the team praying and developing a process they will use to search for the pastor. At that point, around July, I would then begin the actual search. But like I said, we haven’t joined.
On the other hand, I was asked to serve as an usher to take up the offering.
It was a good time in the church house yesterday.
How was your Sunday?
Thanks for joining me in the continuing adventures of our first year in our new church. If I simply give a rundown of what happened each week, this thing could get boring. I’m going to try to give a unique picture each week of what is going on.
Something exciting happened in Sunday School. Last week we had prayed for a lady who was having surgery for a tumor. Her husband reported that the tumor was a little worse than expected. It was malignant and wrapped around the small intestine. The exciting part is that the surgeon successfully removed it all and she is cancer free.
A funny thing happened before the service. I was asked by the gentleman who coordinates the taking up of the offering to help. I think a few of the other guys looked at me wondering who I was.
An older pastor preached yesterday. More than likely he will be the interim pastor while they begin the search for a new pastor soon. Without saying it this way, I felt like his message was basically, “Folks, you’ve been through a rough time. Get over it. Focus on going forward.” Of course, that is a good message for anyone and he said this is a caring, loving way.
Some events are coming up that should help us assimilate even more into the church. There is going to be a game night in a week or so. I look forward to playing some games and kicking some folks rear ends. That should help me introduce myself to some people. There will also be a chili/soup fellowship to help raise money to send the youth to a youth conference.
All in all, it was a pretty good Sunday at church.
How was your assembling of the saints this week?
This Sunday brought new experiences to our journey in our first church year.
First, Sunday School was a good time. One person needed prayer and we gathered around to pray this person and their circumstance. From there, we had a lesson on unity. One thing we all agreed on is that we cannot go through this life alone.
I have a college friend who is a member of this church. She came over and talked with Jan before the service began. She was checking with Jan on her recovery from surgery a week ago.
The worship service was another good one. It was a mixture of contemporary music with some old hymns. I would give you more details, but the flow goes from one song to another. I don’t have time to stop in the middle and write down the song titles. I also don’t want to in the middle of singing.
The sermon was about the demon possessed man from Gerasenes. My friend on staff preached about how this man had a story, but had an even greater story once Jesus had healed him from the possession. The point was that we all have a story to tell as well. We all have a story that we can share with people about how we came to know Christ and what He has done in our lives.
Following the service there was a fellowship lunch. We were able to eat with the church and get a better picture of what the church is really like.
That was it for yesterday. Jan is still recovering and does not feel 100%, so we did not return last night.
How was your church service yesterday?