Here is our discussion and prayer regarding the letter to the Church in Pergamum from Revelation chapter 2.
PAstor Nick Fatato our District Pastor came to speak to us in the midst of our transition this week. Here is his sermon and the key Scripture….
36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.” Acts 13:36
So this week has been…..
My mother fell down the stairs on Tuesday night. We were pretty sure she had broken her hip. She of course insisted she had not. It turned out the doctors and the X-rays agreed with her.
Y’know it is entirely possible for a person to have no broken bones and still be entirely broken…..
While Mom did not break any bones she pulled every muscle on her right side including her back and groin, and the bruise on her hip is massive. She is shuffling with a walker around the new bedroom living room we fixed up for her in the two hours we had while she was in the hospital.
I am so thankful for Jody Clapp who came to our rescue and helped us with our impromptu and o’er-rushed home improvement.
Over the last three days we have rearranged the entire front of the first floor into an open concept living room- bedroom/ dining room-office.
We have thrown away a couch, a hutch, six broken dining room chairs, a broken table, an old TV stand, three rugs older than me and about a truck load of bric-a-brac we didn’t even know we had. We have dusted, swiffered, swept, mopped and vacuumed every square inch of this area.
Today I hung privacy curtains which can be drawn across the arch into Mom’s space so I can receive congregants at home as the transition at Cornerstone progresses. I have begun moving my office and prayer center down into this front room so that I can work and help Mom at the same time. I have been sleeping downstairs on the couch so I can help mom with the bathroom at night.
We have met with a nursing agency who is beginning to care for Mom when the three of us are at church ( this will hopefully be temporary but better safe than sorry). I have hired a junk take away guy who is coming on Monday to remove the mountain of refuse from the stone deck. We have made about forty calls tom the doctor and pharmacy (maybe an exaggeration but it feels like that).
THIS ALL LEAD TO A PROBLEM….
In the emergency, my schedule left me. Routine vanished like summer snow. My prayer life became so cursory I hardly had time to say “Thank you Jesus! Amen”. The absence of my disciplines left me feeling like I was absent myself. It has felt like I was on the outside looking in at my life and very…very out of control, not of the circumstances ( I am painfully aware I have no control of circumstances) but of my response to them.
So last night I stopped and reminded myself of why I need my schedule. Why I need my prayer time….. It keeps me sane and keeps everyone else safe.
So today as we are mostly done with the first phase of the reset at The Vicarage I have begun to restore the patterns of mindfulness and prayer that keep me from becoming absent in my own life and keep me from being a totally unhelpful jerk.
What patterns of mindfulness do you practice to keep yourself sweet?
Feb. 12th– Today was a day of deep prayer at the Vicarage. Hours were spent in the Word and in the prayer closet. I am learning that days like this are days of preparation for the days of action….those days when I must be about the Lord’s business in the harvest field. Sunday is coming and it will be a day in the field. So today was more like this.
Feb. 13th- Another day of prayer in preparation for tomorrow.
Feb. 14th– Valentine’s Day and the Lewiston’s final service with us at Cornerstone.
We took the Lewiston’s to lunch afterwards just before they departed. We cried and prayed one last time in the parking lot of 110 Grille. Well the Lewiston’s cried….Lillies are not known for their tear-ducts.
Feb. 15th– Today was a day of meetings and preparation for the transition which lies ahead. I am working hard to try and make sure that my slow, constant, intentional routine while adapting is not discarded….especially the prayer piece. It is very easy to allow the weight of ministry in the moment to steal away the very things that feed the anointing for ministry.
Feb. 16th- Today was my first day running staff meeting without our lead pastor. It was a good meeting. We are determined to carry on the vision God has given to the body. God will fill in the gaps.
We may not know what lies before us as challenges, but we have our mission firmly in hand.
Feb. 17th– My mother has taken a fall. At first we thought she broke her hip, but after a trip to the ER via ambulance and a few xrays the doctor has diagnosed her as badly bruised. Of course we weren’t allowed to go with her to the hospital because of COVID but I was able to pick her up and bring her home after her xrays.
With my friend Jody’s help Brenda and I were able to reaarange the downstairs so Mom’s room is near to the bathroom, which is still too far for her to walk at the present moment so thanks to another friend, Sandy Freeman we now have a protable commode for Mom to use as she convalesces.
There will obviously be a lot of cleaning and putting away tom do tomorrow but the furniture is moved….That is a super big deal.
Feb. 18th– Mom has been in a great deal of pain. She isn’t sleeping well which means the rest of us are not sleeping well. I have called the Dr. to see if they can prescribe something stronger than Tylenol….Her is hoping we sleep better tonight!
Share Your World is a weekly challenge I have participated in for…gosh… 7 or 8 years now at least. It is hard to believe I have been a part of the blogging community for that long. In some ways I still feel like a real novice at this work and am just really discovering my wings.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PART OF YOUR ON-LINE COMMUNITY?
Anyway one of the things I like about this challenge is that it lends itself easily to one of my blogging goals, which is to inspire community through conversation. This year my number of hits has gone down, but the number of deep conversations I am having with people has gone up. It has been very nice to see this sense of community deepening with those of you who choose to read and comment on my blogs.
Anyway here are this week’s questions and my answers toward starting conversations with you all….
Do you feel you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?
I know I definitely do not ask enough questions. It is something I am trying to remedy…but I have to admit I am not very good at it.
When did you fail to speak up when you feel you should have?
This is a close cousin of the last question. I feel like not asking questions and not speaking up have the same root. ….Fear of other people’s opinion. As I look at what God’s next steps are for me I know that these things are going to be essential skills to develop further.
When was the last time you felt lucky?*
I don’t know that I consider luck as a part of my life. I do consider myself blessed. Blessedness understands that everything that comes, good and bad, is taking me down a God-ordained pathway that leads me, ultimately, to God’s plan for me, which is my created purpose and ultimate fulfillment of being. Blessedness understands that resisting the difficult things, because I want only easy things, only slows the process of receiving and achieving God’s plan. Blessedness embraces what is before me as a part of something larger which is both good and benevolent.
What is a boulder?
Feel free to share your gratitude with everyone!
I am so grateful that the Franklins got to join us for church and for supper on Sunday! I am also grateful to have the first pictures of my new grand baby in South Korea!
Wow! The end of a brief but very significant era in Cornerstone Church WInchendon’s history has come. Yesterday was the Pastors Lewiston’s last day. It was a seventeen hour day for me (hence the reason for my lack of posting), but it was one I shall not soon forget.
Here is Pastor Dan and Jen’s final service with us at Cornerstone.
Now we move as a church into that space called transition!
I find that particularly during the season of cold and ice, I need to find something to keep me busy that is productive but does not involve the structured planning side of my brain.
I need time everyday to just let my mind run wild, free from the constraints of schedule, housework, meetings, ministry and the needs of people.
I find such time in prayer.
Prayer for me is becoming an exercise in waiting on the Lord for inspiration. I do pray for people and things in my prayer time, but a vast amount of my time is spent sitting in the presence of the Lord listening to His Scripture and waiting on Him to tell me what He will. This I am coming to believe is the genesis of my creativity.
I also find the space of recreative freedom in reading.
I am learning to break my reading into two categories….Story and Improvement.
Improvement reading is the reading I do for work: It includes leadership books, ministry manuals, reports etc. I love this type of reading but it is decidedly not something that sets my mind free. This kind of reading creates the structures I need to be successful at work. I am just starting a new book called, LEADING CHANGE.
The type of reading that I need to do to set my mind to run wild and free is story. I have worked my way through several stories this year….
And the one I am currently reading….
But reading is not enough to truly set my mind free from the shackles the world creates for it.
Prayer leads me to creating something of my own from the depths of my own soul to offer the world.
Sometimes this comes out as sketches.
Sometimes it comes out as photography….
Most often it comes out as the written word, here in a blog or in a story or a poem of my own.
I heard from my editor this week and she said the edits for my upcoming book, PORK CHOPS WITH THE SENTINELS OF AZATAN are on target to be completed by early spring.
That book has been my creative outlet for several years and now it is about to enter the organization phase. I am sensing that as I subject this work to the publication process, I also have to prepare myself a new outlet for the creative side of my being.
I am already praying about it.
DO YOU EVER FEEL THE NEED TO LEAVE THE CONSTRAINTS OF YOUR ORGANIZED WORK WORLD? WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I know after the year we all just lived through many of us were hoping to get back to “business as usual” or at least business as it used to be. Maybe somewhere out there that is happening for someone, but that isn’t how it is for me.
And you know what? I am good with that!
I have said to many of my friends that as frightening and difficult as 2020 was, it changed me in ways that I want to abide in for a while…maybe forever. I don’t want to go back to what was. I want to forge ahead into something new.
And 2021 seems to be delivering on the age old promise, “You can’t go back again.”: With my lead pastor leaving and the church looking for its next leader, I can’t go back again; With the birth of my second grand-daughter and the promise of a third by fall from these two….
I can’t go back again; With the upcoming publication of my first novel, Pork Chops With the Sentinels Of Azatan , I can’t go back again; With my sister finishing up her itineration and getting ready to head back to The Netherlands, I can’t go back again; With the Franklin family looking to relocate to this area, I can’t go back again;….
I suppose as I think about it I could go back…..but I really don’t want to. I feel more ready for an adventure now than I ever have before. I feel more ready to move forward into something new than I ever have before. Somehow 2020 got me unstuck. I am no longer willing to settle for business as usual. I also feel less inclined to accept the status quo as it is set up by other people.
I know how I want to live my life now.
I also feel strong enough to not let others tell me how to live it. I am ready to move forward and not to go back to what was.
WHAT LESSONS HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU WILL TAKE WITH YOU INTO THE FUTURE?
I am running a bit behind with my posting today. It has been a busy week with many distractions. Distractions are not good for me on the whole, but sometimes they cannot be avoided.
Anyway last night was Pastor Dan’s final night with us at The Wall Prayer meeting. He will preach his final sermon at Cornerstone on Sunday and then Amanda, Brenda and I will take the LEwiston’s out for a final dinner and they will be off to their new posting in Tennessee.
Here is the video of our final night together at The Wall. Next week I shall carry on with the teaching regarding the letters from Revelation 2 and 3.
Feb. 5th– I have wanted for a while to give everyone an update on my book, Pork Chops With the Sentinels of Azatan. After being released officially by my publisher, I contacted one of my former students who has started an editing business and I have entered into an agreement with her to do the final edits of the book. This time it is happening folks. I am going for the finish line.
Feb. 6th– I was supposed to meet a men’s group for breakfast this morning, but I was so far behind on my morning chores I had to cancel with them. The importance of scheduling and not underestimating the time it takes to do things is going to be very important in the days ahead.
I have learned so much about scheduling and prioritizing over these last years and I sense a new challenge is on the horizon. I feel ready for this challenge.
Feb. 7th- Today was Pastor Dan’s next to last service…..
I have enjoyed working with him and as this next week speeds by I am mindful of the fact that this is an end and beginning all at once.
Feb. 8th- Today was a busy day. I started out by singing a funeral for a very dear woman who was once a member of our church.
After the funeral I went to do some work at home: lunch, laundry, prayer, and writing. I am working on my next book, The Remember Man. While I await the edits on my first book, Pork Chops With the Sentinels of Azatan.
The afternoon was a music lesson and then an impromptu visit with Pastor Dan and one of our deacons, John Russel. Then tonight I met via Zoom with a group of men engaged in study called Jesus Is Not Nice.
Feb. 9th– Final staff meeting with the Lewistons this morning. So much is about to change and my mind is just trying to race to catch up.
Feb. 10th – Tonight was The Wall and Pastor Dan and I shared the teaching space together one last time. I won’t lie there were some tears shed at the end.
Feb. 11th– It was a busy morning. I am noticing that my schedule is experience an uptick in the busyness factor. I am going to have to watch that closely. Tonight I have worship rehearsal, but before that I have quite a bit of housework to do around the Vicarage. It is good I got my errands done this morning!