Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Gonna Get Bad...

Terrible things are about to happen.

I just heard on the news that very soon, all the trees will lose their lush green vegetation and become barren of leaves and fruit. It will get so bad that grass will stop growing and become brown and dull. Even with adequate amounts of sunshine and rain, few crops will survive.

Temperatures will drop precipitously. In fact, things will be so terrible that we are likely to experience days in which travel is difficult, if not impossible. Streets will be effectively closed down. Those who have failed to adequately prepare will find grocery store shelves empty of the most basic supplies of life.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Of course, you already have figured out that I’m describing the normal change of the seasons. But if you use the right language, you can make it sound pretty awful. Certain words paint pictures of despair, even horror.

And while some of us may not be excited about the change in seasons (personally, I love fall and winter), few of us would say we “fear” this change. In fact, we expect it. The truth is that we in this part of the country would be far more concerned if we experienced 90 degree days in December or a sudden resurgence of lawn growth in January, because we know that isn’t normal. Whether we like the change in seasons, we know what to expect.

In a similar way, we shouldn’t allow the events of life to unnerve us as much as they do. The truth is, we’re going to experience various “seasons” of life. They change, like the weather. We may not be able to predict what to expect in the next season of life, but neither should we dread it.

As we begin our church-wide Life Group study based on John Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat, we need to remind ourselves that we are all going to experience events of life that call for courage and faith. And just as we don’t fear the changes from summer to fall or from winter to spring, we should approach the changes in our lives with a resolve to trust God to see us through.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spring Hill Fall Festival

Experiencing and Expressing the Love of God…

That’s the Life Spring mission statement.

I think we do a great job at the first part of that statement. Week in and week out, we experience God’s love in a variety of ways. We experience it through some awesome times of worship. We experience it in times of intense study of God’s Word. We experience it in Life Groups, where we do life together.

It’s a little more difficult to measure our success in “expressing the love of God”. Whenever there is a need in our church family, we tend to respond quickly and generously. We usually see a great turnout when a plea for assistance in meeting some need in our community is made known to our congregation. I am sure there are numerous acts of concern for others manifested on the part of Life Spring folks daily.

However, this weekend we have an opportunity to Experience and Express the love of God in very visible ways right here in our own community. We’ll leave the confines of our building and the comfort zones of our routine to engage members of our community where they are.

On Saturday morning, we’ll continue a tradition that began even before our first formal worship service three years ago—participating in the Fall Festival parade. Our Worship team will declare the glory of God as dozens of Life Spring folks walk the parade route, handing out water bottles. This has become our “signature”, and some people in the community have already been asking me if we’re going to do it again this year.

It’s a small thing. Handing a person a water bottle. Saying “hello”. We’re not quoting Bible verses or engaging in theological discussions, but we are letting our community know that Life Spring is here, and that we care about the needs that exist among our citizens. Even if it’s just quenching a thirst in the middle of watching a parade.

We will again set up a booth at the Fall Festival, staffed all day by Life Spring people. We’ll have some information there about our church, but it’s not just a publicity gimmick. We’ll have games for kids. We’ll visit with our neighbors about their tomato crops and the mild summer weather and the Chiefs surprising performance against Baltimore (you knew I’d sneak that in somewhere, didn’t you?). I’d love it if someone accepts Christ as their Savior or decides to attend our church, but we won’t be doing much proselytizing that day, so those things may not happen. But at the end of the day, maybe we’ll have had the opportunity to give people a different impression of Christ and Christians than they may have otherwise had.

Sunday morning will start with a new event—the 5K walk/run. Life Spring is partnering with Grace Community Church to host this event, with proceeds raised going to the Spring Hill Multi-Service Center to help families with financial needs in our own community. Following the 5K, we’ll join other area churches at Spring Hill City Park for a Community Worship Service. What a way to cap a weekend of Experiencing and Expressing the Love of God…

If you attend Life Spring, and especially if you are a member of our congregation, I hope you’ll make an effort to participate with us in this weekend’s activities. No, it’s not the only way we experience and express God’s love. But it’s the best opportunity most of us will have for doing it this weekend!