Since we are in the middle of election season - one of my least favorite, I've been hearing a lot about "four years". One side is hoping for "four more years" while the other side is wondering if they could survive "four more years".
Today, I am thinking about "four years" in a very different context. September 25 marked four years of our Thursday night praise service and I'm marveling. When someone from the church I was attending approached me about starting a midweek praise service, I was immediately flattered. Once I started thinking about it and wondering if it was something I'd be interested in doing and praying to see if it was something God was saying "yes" to, I was overwhelmed. I remember saying to Tom - "I think I have about two messages in me." TWo messages were not going to go very far if I needed a message every week.
Then, on September 25, 2008, we kicked off our first service - complete with my beloved inneedofgrace praise band. A call to worship, five songs and some prayer, a Scripture reading, a short message, a time for the congregation to share their stories, thoughts, etc, a group prayer, a song, a blessing and we were done. It was a small group of people but it all went really well.
Four years later - and almost 200 services, I am astounded at how God works. It's still a small group and yet we have grown and shared our lives in a way that has made us family. We've encouraged one another to drop our "church faces" and share who we are in a way that's genuine - our joys, our struggles, our victories, our failures.
What amazes me most is the effect that planning and leading this service has had in my own life. My faith has grown, my own devotional life has stretched and I have met God in a way that brings me to my knees. I have been blessed and encouraged and the people of the congregation have shared their thoughts and stories and experiences with me. Thursday has become my favorite day of the week.
And so today, I am celebrating God's faithful love and grace. I am rejoicing that He supplies me with all I need. I am thankful for the opportunity to share in the lives of my Thursday night family and for the blessing they are to me.
Praying you have the opportunity to share your life, stories, and thoughts with people you care about. May God shower you with His love and grace as you do. Sending big hugs to all of you!
I really enjoyed summer this year. It's not so much some exciting vacation I had or lots of cookouts and BBQs with friends as it was the summer itself. I spent a lot of time outside in a perfect spot Tom set up for me in my backyard which had the perfect balance of sun and shade. In many ways, it's as if I moved my office out there. Armed with my ipad, my wireless keyboard and either a cup of green tea or a glass of sun tea, I did most of the prep for my Thursday night praise service, my reading and studying - along with a healthy dose of email and facebook. There's something so cool about being out in the grass with bare feet, feeling the breeze and listening to the symphony of birds in my backyard.
As the weather starts to cool again and the fall schedule starts up, I find myself in a funny place. Although I know I will miss those long summer days, a part of me is reaching toward the fresh start that fall seems to offer. Even the fact that as I attempted to revive my blog after months and months of neglect and wound up wiping out all my old entries seems to point me to that fresh start. I am working on a few self-improvements right now - including deepening my spiritual life and making my days more productive and I never seem to be as far along as I would like. Fall's fresh start's finger beckons me forward and reminds me that each day is a chance for a fresh start - a chance to leave the failures and disappointments of the day behind and begin anew. I remember the words from Lamentations - "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning."
So today, I'm thankful for the chance for a fresh start - and the chance to leave megativity and bad attitudes behind me and to embrace whatever God may bring my way today.
Praying you enjoy a fresh start today and a reminder of how precious you are to God. Sending big hugs to all of you!
While trying to update this blog for the first time in forever, I just deleted all my posts. Oh, the terror of a blind woman and an ipad. As I think of it, it may be just as well. Now I have the chance for a fresh start. I have missed blogging so much and missed reading the blogs of my friends but just can't seem to find the motivation or time to write here. I'd like that to change, but it remains to be seen if I have the motivation to do it.
I hope my blogging friends are doing well. Please know that I think about you all and miss you.
Praying you have a day filled with love and grace!