Let me start by thanking those of you who complimented this past Sunday’s “memorial” service. I do hope that we will recall the lesson on future Sundays as we remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
I had been thinking about tinkering with the order of our worship service for a while...well, since about the third week we were online. Maybe putting the shepherd’s prayer first or changing the order of the songs or even putting the sermon before the Lord’s Supper.
This last reordering was, perhaps, the most appealing to me. If you watch the service on YouTube, you can see the number of devices that are watching at any given time (there’s a little person profile with a number by it).
I’ve noticed that the number consistently drops by 2-4 devices immediately following the Lord’s Supper. It’s kind of like people getting up and walking out of the services after communion, before I preach my sermon. I understand that sometimes circumstances necessitate leaving services early...but 2-4 “devices” every week is a little odd.
Now, before you think “Big Brother Carl” is watching you, YouTube doesn’t say who is watching, just how many, which is why I encourage those who watch to say “hi” in the live chat. But the real reason I’m saying this is...
The second most “popular” response to this past Sunday that I have heard was, “I thought you had forgotten communion.”
Sometimes change is good for us. Changing the order of service might cause some to pay closer attention. It might “force” some to stay for the whole service and discover that there is, in fact, more to worship than just the Lord’s Supper: the singing, the praying, the giving, and even the sermon can be a very encouraging and uplifting time.
Maybe the 2-4 devices that “leave” after communion are visitors (people with no affiliation to our congregation who “stumbled” upon our YouTube channel, and thought it was something else, so they leave). Maybe they are regular members at Eastgate.
I’m telling you this because, well, I might go ahead and change the order this Sunday, just to watch the “analytics”. Or I might keep them the same, because I’ve noticed friends from other places tuning in just in time for the sermon (they comment on the live chat, that’s how I know they are watching).
Every act of worship is important. I encourage you to take part in all of them...even online!
Maybe it is just me, but I’m a little confused. There is all this talk about churches “reopening.” As I said, it’s a little confusing, at least to me.
And, before anyone gets upset, yes, I too have talked about when we were going to reopen. But then I thought about it. “Reopen” implies that there was a time when we were, well, not open...in other words there was a time when the church was closed.
While I cannot speak for other places, the Eastgate church of Christ has not been closed. We have continued to be “open” for business throughout this period in time.
We have had people stop by seeking help...we have helped them.
We have had many of our members calling other members to check on them.
We have had many of our members doing “little things” that have provided big encouragement to others.
We have produced “full length” worship services that were viewed online...perhaps by more people than were attending when we last met together.
We have produced a Wednesday night Bible lesson that, in my own opinion, is not too bad.
We have continued to do everything that we would do back when things were “normal”, with one exception.
That exception is that we are not meeting in person. Thus, some would say, we are “closed.”
But can the church really close? I suppose if a congregation suspended operations, then it could be said that it was closed. But if we are just not meeting together in person, are we closed? And even if a congregation ceases operations, is it really “closed.”
Not a chance! The church cannot be closed, because the church is not a building it is people!
I look forward to the day when we reo...no, when we restart meeting in person!
For those of you without Facebook, you may not know that on April 27, Monica had to go to the dentist. She ended up having to have a tooth pulled, which is never any fun.
Well, on her drive home things got even more “fun” as a truck (either that she was behind or that was heading the opposite direction) lost a large rock or a mass of mud that hit the ground and then hit the car Monica was driving.
All she noticed was a smudge of mud on the windshield, so she kept on driving. When she got home, she got out of the car to see that the driver’s side front end was significantly damaged. It looked like this: (the picture under this article).
Well, we called the insurance people, then took it to a local body shop. They told me she was “lucky” not to be injured or worse, based on where the mass hit and that it didn’t go into the windshield. I don’t think “luck” had anything to do with it...God was watching out for her.
Eight days later, we got the car back and it was in incredible shape. It had a new front end and, well, a new car feel and even new car smell to it. They had even vacuumed the interior and there was not a trace of dog hair, which is truly amazing!
So I started thinking about how messed up the car was, but, when we turned it over to someone who knew what they were doing and placed the car in their care...the car came back good as new.
Such is life. We mess our lives up so bad. Sometimes it is our fault, other times...well...we just couldn’t dodge the obstacle coming at us and it hits us.
The world tells you that it knows how to fix things and offers items that, in the end, actually make our lives an even bigger wreck.
The thing to do is simple: turn our lives over to the One who knows what He is doing. We need to place our lives in His care.
If we will do this and allow Him to do what He does, without interference from anyone else, He will make our lives just like new again.
The wise teacher says, in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He makes all things beautiful in its time.”
God can take even the most messed up life and make it beautiful, in His time.
How well do you know the New Testament? Would you say you are fairly knowledgeable? Are you familiar with what Paul and the other New Testament writers wrote to different churches and people?
1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to always be ready to make a defense to anyone who asks you about the hope that you have. So how ready are you to do this? How well do you know the New Testament?
I was thinking about this just the other day. 2020 hasn’t been the best of years for me for my personal study. Over the past few years, I’ve stuck to a daily reading program that takes me through the New Testament in 60 days and the book of Psalms in 30 days.
This year, I guess too much other “stuff” has squeezed out the time I used to spend reading. I really need to get back on my daily plan!
Now you’re wondering why I’m asking you these questions and telling you these things.
If these were “normal” times this week would be the final week of the spring semester at Harding University. The final week of any semester at any college or university is also known as “finals week”.
This semester, several of the girl’s professors decided not to have a final or to make the final optional. But one of their professors decided to still have a mandatory final (oddly enough, it is in her Bible class). But this final is a little different...perhaps even different than the professor would have given had they been on campus.
Her class is on, well, the final 22 books of the New Testament (that’s everything but the gospels and Acts). The final exam: she has to make her own 100 question test. 20 of the questions can be True/False; the other 80 are multiple guess...I mean...choice.
Once it is finished, I have asked her to send me a copy. Once I have a copy, I would like to have some “guinea pigs” take the test.
So, there are 100 general knowledge New Testament questions...if you’re interested, just let me know: it’d be a nice way to spend a little time when you are stuck at home.
By the way, all of the questions have the book, chapter, and verse included. So if you want it to be open book, it can be. But since it’s not really for a grade, I’d encourage you to try to do it without looking first.
So, any test takers?