(For those not familiar with the greater Siloam Springs, AR metropolitan area, the streets named below form a square that is, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a mile across. My house is contained in the square...now it might make sense. If not use your favorite map program and look up Siloam Springs, AR.)
If you don’t live in the neighborhood with West Jefferson St on the north, Elm St. on the west, West Harvard on the south, and South Mount Olive on the east...you probably are not aware that the city is replacing waterlines in that area. I happen to live in that area, so I am familiar with the work that is taking place.
The other day I was looking out of our kitchen window and I saw an incredible thing. As part of the work, the city is putting in a new fire hydrant just across Granite from us. This is not the “incredible” part of my observation.
The “incredible” part is the precision with which the new fire hydrant was being placed. Apparently it’s not a question of just finding a main waterline and putting a fire hydrant in...there is an awful lot of thought that goes into the process.
After a whole lot of figuring by a half dozen city workers...I can only assume geometry was involved...one man was operating the backhoe that was lifting the new hydrant, two men were guiding the swaying hydrant and three other men were huddled up talking and pointing to nothing in particular. Absolutely incredible!
In John 15, Jesus calls Himself “the Vine” and His followers “branches.” He also makes a point that “apart from me you can do nothing.”
If Jesus is the “Vine” in our life, then everything else in our life is in line with Him and flows from Him. And if we ever think about adding an activity, relationship, job, or, well, anything else to our life, we have to be sure it lines up perfectly with Him.
If we add things that are not in line with the “Vine” then the “Vinedresser” (God) just might have to do some pruning to our life...which, though necessary, can be painful.
When we are “plugging” something new into our lives, we need to use care and precision to be absolutely certain that we put it in the right place. If we don’t get it perfectly in line with “The Vine,” the consequences can be disastrous!
Beginning tomorrow when you visit our church webpage, which I KNOW you do on a daily basis☺, you may notice something new on the home page.
You will see a picture of a family nobody knows and instructions to click on that picture to sign up for YOUR appointment to have YOUR picture taken for OUR new directory.
Now I realize that a lot of people don’t like to have their picture made. I understand there are multitudes of excuses that can be made to not sign up (like, “But Carl, I don’t have a computer,” - I will deal with this in a moment).
Please understand that this “directory” is really a “family album”. There is a difference. A “directory” is impersonal, just names and faces. A “family album” is personal, the names and faces of people that you love and care about.
And what I also realize and understand is that we need a new family album and OUR family album is not complete without YOU being in it. How bad do we need a new family album? Just look at the picture board in the family room...then look at some of the people in real life: my how their appearance has changed (especially the kids!).
For being photographed, you will receive a copy of the family album and a free 8X10 copy of the photo used in the family album. Feel free to display it, give it away, or burn it.
You will also be given the opportunity to purchase additional portraits, but NO purchase is required and there will not be a high pressure sales pitch (they will encourage you to buy, that’s their job, but you are not required to make a purchase at all). We have a pamphlet for you to take home with their prices available in the office if you’d like to plan ahead.
We also have a “Photography Planning Guide” and various other information to ensure you have a positive photography experience.
If you already know you will not be available March 9 or 10, please let me know. We can make arrangements to have you included a couple of different ways.
So, what do you do if you don’t have a computer? Call the church office and we can get you signed up or we will have a paper sign up on Sundays (or we might just have someone in the office at the computer who can get you signed up).
The important thing to remember is that our family album will not be complete without YOU. So please sign up for a time (and then keep your appointment on March 9 or 10...this is sort of important).
You may or may not be aware of it, but we are in that wonderful time of the year affectionately known as “Awards Show Season.” That time of year where celebrities celebrate how “great” they are and all of us regular people “OOOOHHHH!” and “AHHHHH!” (and sometime “EWEEEEE!!”) over who is wearing what and going to the show with who.
This year there will be at least one new award show passing out coveted and prestigious awards. The show will take place on February 10, 2018 and will begin at 6:00 PM.
The new awards to be passed out are known as “Easties”...which makes perfect sense since they will be handed out at our annual Valentines Banquet!
That’s right, guys...shine your shoes and send your best suit/tuxedo to the cleaners. Girls, get that formal gown you never thought (or hoped) you’d wear ever again ready to go. We’ve got a party to dress up for!!
We will have a red carpet for pictures starting at 6:00. Dinner will be catered by an as yet to be determined professional culinary institution. And, “Yes, Virginia,” there really are “Eastie” awards and they really will be awarded at the Banquet. (By the way, if you have any ideas for categories for awards, I’d love to hear them...serious or otherwise...I do already have a few, but could use a few more.)
If you are new to Eastgate and have not attended one of our Valentines Banquets (or if you have been here for a long time and just haven’t attended for whatever reason), I really want to encourage you to attend this year.
Why are we doing this? Why, to have fun of course; to share a time of fellowship; to laugh and have a fantastic time!
For the record, you do not have to wear “formal” attire to attend (though if you want to “dress to the nines” feel free). The most important thing is that you come and that we enjoy ourselves, and that God is glorified!
This past Sunday night I was “watching” TV (that is to say the TV was on and I was in the room) on one of the local stations and they had a reporter at one of the area New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The reporter was interviewing various attendees of this soirée about their New Year’s Resolutions. One lady’s reply made me do a double take: “I want to be less committed.”
I thought I must have heard it wrong. I mean most people want to be MORE committed. So, thanks to DVR technology, I rewound it and, sure enough that was exactly what she had said.
So I rewound it a little further to the start of the interview. It turns out that she prefaced her comment by talking about how busy she was and how she has so many things going on and when people ask her to do something she has a tough time saying no...so she wanted “to be less committed.”
It made more sense in the proper context. She probably could have phrased it differently...perhaps “make less commitments” would have been better. But being on live TV can make even the most eloquent person a little tongue tied.
Context is an important thing. In a conversation, if you don’t have the proper context, you will not understand what someone else is saying...in fact you may find yourself thinking they said the opposite of what they actually said.
The same is true with Scripture. We can pluck a verse out of context and make it say something it was never intended to say. Taking a verse out of context can be a very dangerous practice.
This year, as you do your daily Bible study, be sure that you keep verses in their proper context. Read before it and after it to make sure that it says what you think it says.
And don’t be surprised if that favorite verse of yours that you always have quoted as a stand-alone verse suddenly starts to take on a whole other meaning…when you put it in the proper context.