An Intrepid Gang
It was, I should note, a miserable day to be doing yard work! At 10:00 am it was a chilly 37 degrees with a 23 mph wind. One minute it was raining, the next it was snowing. It wasn’t the type of weather you see in the Miracle Grow commercials, where everyone is whistling as they work in t-shirts under a clear blue sky. The morning dawned cold, wet, and dreary.
But there, on a huge pile of mulch, stood a crew undaunted by the elements, and one that worked together as a finely-honed machine. An empty wheelbarrow would be wheeled in front of the pile and, in 14 seconds or less, the crew filled it to the brim. (I know this because Dave Mantegna would count off the seconds as the boys shoveled.) In between wheelbarrows, I took a shot of the gang, shovels in hand.
I thought you would enjoy seeing this intrepid gang. And if you should see any of these hardworking guys, express your appreciation for their labor. (And the labor of many others on that cold April morning!)
When I pastored in rural Potter County, Pennsylvania, the priestly moment took place each fall. I would step on a potato harvester, poised at the end of a potato field, and ride the big machine on its first run of the harvest. At the end of that first swath, the farmer would silence the noisy contraption and I would offer a prayer of thanks for the harvest about to be received.
Arriving at Pearce, I soon learned that a priestly moment was anticipated on the morning of the opening of the Annual Mission Garage Sale. So tomorrow morning (Friday), I’ll make my way through the crush of people poised outside of the Family Life Center. I’ll gather the many volunteers who so graciously give of their time and, standing among a vast array of “stuff,” I’ll offer my prayer for the harvest about to be received. And I’ll savor every second of the privilege!
Do You Have a God Pocket?
One way of blessing others is by becoming a practitioner of “the God pocket.” This idea comes from a book by Bruce Wilkinson with that title: The God Pocket. Wilkinson challenges Christians to keep some money in an accessible place, available for you to give directly to those you meet who are in financial need. In other words, have some cash tucked away in a special place in your wallet or purse where you can readily access it when encountering an opportunity to bless someone.
2 Corinthians 9:6–8 serves as the Biblical inspiration for Wilkinson. A portion of this passage states, “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.” (The Message). He summarizes his family’s involvement in this concept with these words, “We believe God wants to put a face on giving and the face is not yours or mine but His.” (p.98)
Wilkinson summarizes the God pocket as follows:
- Decide how much money you are going to dedicate to your God pocket.
- Devote that amount of money directly to God.
- Deposit your devoted money into your God pocket (a special place in your purse or wallet).
- Depend on God to “nudge” you when you encounter the person that has a need.
- Deliver God’s funds.
- Declare that God is the ultimate giver.
- Disciple that person to become a delivery agent to others.
Why not give the “God pocket” a try? You may find yourself part of God’s rich blessing on those you encounter.
This weekend I’ll begin a new series of messages entitled, “Corner Conversations.” My hope, through this series, is to help each of us discover ways in which we can dialogue with skeptics about our culture’s objections to the Christian faith.
At Pearce, we are committed to “engage our time in the timeless Story.” That is, I want each of us to be able to tell the marvelous story of God’s involvement in our world and in our lives. We desire to help people discover where their own personal story intersects with God’s overarching narrative.
However, often there are barriers to belief. There are objections to the Christian faith that are quite common in the minds of those we encounter, objections that prevent them from embracing God’s Story. It is these objections I want us to work through, so that we can intelligently, and with a Christian perspective, clearly present God’s Story.
This weekend we’ll consider people’s objections to the Bible itself. What was viewed as an authoritative book by past generations is now often viewed as a book of myths. How do we present God’s Word to a generation skeptical of its validity? This weekend, we’ll explore that very question.
As a companion book to this sermon series, I highly recommend Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Copies are available for a donation in the lobby at Pearce.
Project #1 of our SWAG (Stewardship with a Goal) emphasis has been fully funded. Within a few weeks, the asbestos abatement of our boiler room will be complete. Project #2 on our list is a $10,000 payment on the principle of the loan that financed the construction of our Family Life Center and Christian education wing. We are nearly half-way to funding this second project. This past weekend, we received $3,830 for SWAG, bringing our year-to-date total to $29,282.
Thanks for your generosity!