Hanging Out ... or Ministry?
Today didn't really turn out at all like I planned, but I think it turned out better. Before I got to the office Mike called and wanted me to go with him and give him some moral support with an errand he had to run. I realize that we are all going to die, but when a doctor tells you that the end is immanent, I'm not sure what you do about that. Mike is handling his illness with a beautiful spirit of faith. He believes that God can heal him, but he is prepared to accept God's will in the matter. After running a few errands we went to Waffle House and imbibed on hot coffee, omelets, and hashbrowns. While going to get gas, I asked Mike if he wanted to accompany on some stuff I had to do, and he agreed. We went to the hospital and visited Keith for just a short moment. They came to get him so that he could walk down the hall a bit. His knee operation seems to have been a success. We then went to Fred's and got a few pictures for Mr. Milligan's room. He is the man I wrote about yesterday. We found a couple of masculine prints and cheap frames and bought them to brighten his room. We were nearby Robbie's place and so we stopped to pick him up. He needed a pick-me-up. I won't go into the details here, but some things haven't gone well with him in the past week or so and we decided to spend the afternoon with him. I think he welcomed the company ... and we headed to the nursing home. Though it was a short visit, we left Mr. Milligan's room a little brighter. I told him I would be back soon. I think I would like to get to know some of the other residents there ... it's like stepping into a third world country. Mike, Robbie and I headed over to Hudson's Treasure Hunt (my idea) and we spent an hour or so looking around, laughing, enjoying each other's company. I was able to pick up some children's classics for Claire, some cologne and Tony Tiger sleep pants for JR, and a few other items. We got Robbie something to eat and headed over to Dough Joes, because Mike wanted a smoothie. My friend Danny says I mention Dough Joe's about every other post. Perhaps I need to get an advertising fee! While at the coffee shop Robbie attempted to set up a blog, but I'm not sure he was successful...the firewall made it difficult. Then I took Mike to the church building so he could help a few other people, and Robbie and I ran an errand and I dropped him off a little later. I don't know what your estimation of my day is. I suppose some would say that it was a day of loafing. It was enjoyable! I tend to think of it as ministry. I spent some time with two people who have significant hurts in their lives. We talked about these things seriously at times while we were driving from place to place. We encouraged one another in heart. I love these two brothers and I hope that our time together was a blessing to them. Tonight we had a birthday dinner for our daughter Nicole, who turned 30 yesterday. For dessert we had a cake from Dean's Cake House in Andalusia, Alabama. Now it would be worth it to drive to Anadalusia to get one of these delicious seven-layer cakes, but we can buy them in Moss Point at Four Seasons. Wynona Harris introduced us to these cakes, and they make a special occasion even more so! I'll have to get back to watching my food intake tomorrow! Later we watched BE COOL with John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer and a bunch of other well-knowns. There were some funny moments, but it was much too long and it moved much too slowly. One of the highlights was a music video segment in which Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in cowboy gear singing Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man." I'm sure that wouldn't play well on a WWE stage! Meanwhile back at the ranch.... Mrs. Betts and Mrs. Bowers have been volunteering at the front desk, greeting people and accepting their paperwork. David and Elaine are in Oklahoma for David Jr.'s wedding and will return in a few days. We look forward to having more voluteers as a result of Jeff Campbell's recruiting trip, which begins Sunday. He will be spending a month in the Nashville area, and is still looking for accomodations. And Monday we will begin John's Book Club! We plan to read and offer some thoughts on one chapter a day (probably five a week). The first book I want to read in this way is Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding by Bobby Valentine and John Mark Hicks. If you can join with me, let's read it together! If you are from Central, let me know and I'll get a copy for you - but you have to read it! What about preachers doing blogs? My friend Paul says that preachers can reveal too much about themselves and create friction in the church. My philosopy is that it isn't a sin to 'think out loud' and for people to realize that preachers are real people who are not all cookie-cutter. On the other hand, Danny Dodd's latest blogpost suggests that preachers can use blogs for sermon preparation, discussion, and discipleship. I think that's useful, but I prefer for my blog to be more personal than academic in nature. I tend to think of this as a kind of conversation around the table while we drink coffee. Of course it's pretty one-sided if you do not comment! As I have said before, these are my thoughts and do not represent the Central Church. In addition, I reserve the right to be wrong sometimes! I may not even agree with myself at a later date. We usually call this 'growth'! I noticed that Dee Andrews has a similar theme in a recent blog. Twentysomethings put faith on the shelf. Scot McKnight turns to the Barna Research Group for answer. Much of the ministry to teenagers in America needs an overhaul – not because churches fail to attract significant numbers of young people, but because so much of those efforts are not creating a sustainable faith beyond high school. It's a long post, but worth the time. The question is, what do we do about it? Thanks for reading!