Monday, April 11, 2016

Variety is the spice of life, or something like that

I have not real point to today's ramblings. Perhaps that is what makes these random thoughts. Perhaps I should rename my blog to ramblings. No, wait, that would be what happens when I preach. Ramblings. Not really. There is always a point to any sermon that I preach. The central point is always Jesus Christ, Him crucified and risen. Then next point is what does that mean for me as I live my life each day. How does His life, death and resurrection affect my life as I sit at a compute? Or watch a ball game? Or spend time with the family? Or go to work? Or whatever I do day after day?

In many ways, I have come to understand that those thoughts really are found in the life of sanctification of the Christian. It also is what takes place in the life of stewardship. All our daily life is a life of stewardship. Stewardship is about money, yes. It is about what you put in the plate. It is about the budget of the church. It is about how you serve your Lord at your church. You don't volunteer at church. You live out your life of stewardship. To volunteer means you have no responsibility to the life of the church. That is wrong. All that takes place in the church is a part of your life. It is your stewardship life. It is not just time, talent and treasure at church. It is life, everyday life. But I digress. The discussion of stewardship is a continued emphasis of the congregation, an emphasis that is part of Doctor of Ministry Major Applied Project (MAP). I have come to see that the Christian cannot separate out a section of his life as "stewardship." That would be like saying that only a portion of your life belongs to Christ. It can't be done. It is all or nothing. Christ is your all in all or He is nothing to you. Same with stewardship.

I was thinking about this last weekend. It was a busy weekend for the youth of St. Paul's, especially the youth going to the National Lutheran Youth Gathering. The congregation has been very supportive of our youth going to NYG in New Orleans. The youth started their fund raising with the thought that as the financial support came in, they would give back to the congregation in some way. This has taken place this last weekend. On Saturday, they went out behind the Ministry Center and cleared away over 7 years of growth of vines, trees and weeds. The area was slowly being overgrown. They spent hours cutting, hacking, sawing, dragging, pulling and burning. They cleared the whole area, which was absolutely amazing. I didn't think that they would make such progress but they did. In fact, they finished that task. They uncovered the soccer goal, a picnic table that had long been swallowed up by overgrowth. Thank you to them for this work. (I wondered to myself as our youth were doing the work, where have the adults of the congregation been all this time? Why did we let it become such a mess? I thought about it and realized that we, as a congregation, had become lazy, taking for granted the land the Lord had given us. I am willing to bet most of the congregation hadn't looked out the back of the Ministry Center since it had been built. Out of sight, out of mind. And if we would have asked, would the adults have stepped forward and done the work with complaining? Or would we have been too busy to do it? I just wonder.)

Then these same youth spent Sunday afternoon baking cookies which they will be giving to all the members of the congregation that attend worship next weekend. They spent several more hours mixing and baking dozens and dozens of cookies. Really? These youth gave up their whole weekend for the Lord and for St. Paul's. I admire them. I think you should too. Why? I doubt if many of us would have done both things. We would have said, "Sorry. I am too busy. Doing what? I have a chair to sit in. I have places to go. I have ball games to watch." We would have found our excuses. For that, I am sorry Lord. I am just as guilty as anyone on this. Forgive me for being self-centered Lord. I am betraying a power stewardship life. I am focused more on me than on You and that which will bring glory to You and edify Your people.

Following an afternoon of baking, these same youth and their parents then spent the evening working on things for the NYG. They worked on their group covenant, how they will act at the Gathering. They discussed how they will act, what they say and do in various situations. They were working on how they can bring glory to God and to St. Paul's, Troy. When was the last time you asked yourself how you can bring glory to God and to St. Paul's? Or have you thought of that at all? Once again, their actions convicted me of how I live my life for the Lord.

More ramblings. I have much more to say but not enough time to tell it. And so I say good by till I ramble on again. Blessings to you.

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