Monday, April 28, 2008

My weekend at my home church

At Pastor' Retreat, our District Superintendent told me, "it's good for you to be away; important for you but even more important for your people." Even though it's hard to be gone for the weekend, being gone is a great reminder that the church isn't about me. I kept reminding myself of that when missing TF but I'm glad I was able to be away for the weekend. I worshipped at preached at my home church in Burlington, IA.

It was a great weekend, here are the three main highlights:

I was a part of the dedication of my niece
My sister was able to work it out that Dani was dedicated this weekend, which was a great experience. Although Pastor Terry was willing to let me perform the ceremony, I was adamant that I was only up there as "brother," not as "pastor." A dedication is more about the church family than the biological family. It takes a community of believers to raise a child to know Jesus.

I had the opportunity to preach
I don't get the opportunity often anymore (for obvious reasons) but I relish every chance I get to preach at Burlington First CON. I can't explain the amount of love and encouragement being beamed back up at me as I preach to my home congregation. It's an invigorating experience. The handful of people who suffered through my first attempt to preach 14 years ago are still in awe of the fact that I'm actually able to put together a somewhat coherent sermon. Many of the same guys who gave me encouragement and advice during my early years are still there to greet me after I'm done. Although I'm certainly working to challenge the congregation, the "awe-shucks" factor makes it more like a concert than a typical Sunday at TF. But I must say, I love the encouragement.
During my message, I shared some of our story of infertility and failed adoptions. A couple about our age came up to us after church and said they just went through the IVF procedure and are waiting to see if it will work. I could see both fear and hope in the wife's eyes. We then prayed for them and they prayed for us; it was a powerful moment.
I was also able to join Pastor Terry in annointing one of the great saints of that church.

Erin was able to share about Love Wins
I really should've preached less so Erin could've had more time to share. My sweet wife nailed it in sharing her story, vision and fruit from Love Wins. She had the congregation in the palm of her hand. I could hear people around me sniffling from tears as she shared (though that might've just been my dad). The even better sound was the opening of purses and checkbooks during the offering for Love Wins. In a single offering right at the end of worship, Burlington First donated $1177.06!

It was a good week at Tan-Ta-Ra and a good weekend at my parents, but it's good to be home.
I now need to be done blogging and get to work on Sunday's message; Sunday morning is just 6 days away!


russthecynic said...

I am glad you had such an awesome weekend. I coach Ryan's baseball team and one of the parents told me last night how awesome they thought the love wins program was. She attends New Life but she went on and on about you and your church...

Finding your niche! You and your wife are a treasure to this community!

Donnie Miller said...

That's cool!
New Life sent us $800 for Love Wins, so they put their money where their mouth is.
Did you read my post on the retreat? It's amazing how much difference a year makes.