Sunday, July 13, 2008

Good Things Going On!

Well, it's been crazy around here but I think things are calming down. So much has been going on.

My wife and I seem to have found a decent church. We had been meeting here at home but there was this ongoing inner question of "did we really look around enough". After meeting in our home for a while we found a very small church near here. By obscure I mean we live in a town of 35,000 and never heard of it. It's been there 55 years.

The pastor is older. They sing hymns exclusively. They live their faith. Perfect? No. Of course not. But I see a consistency there that I haven't seen anywhere else. I heard about this place from a former pastor's parents. They mentioned visiting there and said that they'd be there if they didn't have their "below the radar" ministry at their current church, which has lots of polish and little substance.

We've been at this church since late April and were pleasantly surprised to say the least.

As an aside, the week before we found this church we visited an LCMS Lutheran church. I had expected it to be more liturgical but this was nearly Roman Catholic. The worship is by rote, out of a Lutheran Service Book. I had thought that the Missouri Synod churches were more orthodox. I was wrong, at least about this one, based on what we saw and heard. No thanks.

So we started visiting our present church. It's "just" a small "Bible church". No affiliations. After arriving and taking our seats, I looked around and thought "Oh boy, this is gonna be a dead church!". I was going by the appearance of things. I was wrong.

The pastor introduced himself, as did others. Before I forget to mention it, the next week when we returned, the same bunch went out of their way to welcome us again, and even remembered our names without any problem at all. I wish I could remember theirs better.

The turning point was the preaching. No, it isn't polished. But there is substance. I prefer substance over polish. And the pastor admits that he isn't trying to be polished. Yes, there could be more depth. But what he has to say is accurate.

And they aren't there to entertain. The first Sunday we were there, he touched on modern church growth methods. That was encouraging because he mentioned that "church growth" isn't up to human inventiveness but a work of God through the spread of the gospel.

There are other things as well, but I won't detail them. I will merely mention that they make room for one another's weaknesses. The elderly are not shoved out of music ministry merely for becoming frail and forgetful.

Since starting there in late April, I don't think that there has been more than one sermon where he didn't mention evangelism. And you can tell he has a passion for the lost. So many of the people there seem to be that way as well.

This leads to the second positive thing, and that is the beginning of evangelism classes at our church. Today the pastor had once again mentioned that "we don't evangelize enough". I agree. That is just generically true. If we could see how real hell is, we'd understand the urgency. But life leaks in.

Anyway, I approached him after the service and mentioned that the reason why evangelism is so low is maybe because people are nervous about witnessing. He agreed. I then mentioned Way of the Master to him. He welcomed the idea of classes. No surprise really because I had been bringing tracts to church from Living Waters and leaving them. People have been picking them up and giving them out.

So, at this point I'm preparing to see what we can do to start at least one Way of the Master class.

The third positive change is getting my music studio set up. After running linux for nearly five years, I decided to try moving to an iMac to (re)build my studio around. I saved and scratched and eventually had the money to get a nice big iMac. I mean a 24" incher. Well, that was a nightmare. I went through two of these things and they both were a constant problem with hardware failures and kernel panics. Out of six weeks, I had a useable optical drive for one week. After swapping out the drive, bootup took 40 minutes. . .yes, minutes! On the next attempt, they swapped the system board, the HD and the optical drive. Then it wouldn't even boot. Back it went for replacement. The next one was a kernel panic nightmare. I then tried to reinstall OSX. The installer was nice enough to confirm my OS install cd was ok, but after wiping my hard disk determined it couldn't write to the hard disk. Lots of fun.

So, back went the iMac and I built my own system. For the computer gear heads, the iMac was a Core 2 Duo at 2.8 Ghz with 2 gigs of ram and 500 gigs of HD space. The one I built is a Core 2 Quad at 2.5Ghz, 2 gigs of ram and 750 gigs of drive space. And it cost less. Not to mention I can open it up and work on it without voiding my warrantee.

It's nice being back in control. I hate having to rely on service techs. And, I saved enough money from my iMac refund that I didn't have to fork over more for the Garritan midi instruments I need to be able to use. I'm guessing I saved around $500 over all.

The fourth bit of good news is my blood sugar is getting back under control. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2000 and things have generally been fine, until recently. It got a bit scarey but it seems to be back under control again.

Now all we have to do is get the roof on our home done. But we're working on that one.

So, I'm thankful. Mostly for the new church home. It's exciting to see what God may be doing. We'll see. I forgot to mention that when I spoke with him about people being nervous about witnessing he said he preached about that this past Wednesday evening. Too bad I wasn't there but it's great to see these things work out. Again, we'll see what God does.

And I'll keep you posted.