|Location: BlogsBrad's BlogMid-Week Missive||
|Posted by: Brad Miller||2/24/2009 3:50 PM|
|Greetings on this drizzly morning,|
It’s kind of funny how God works to put things in front of you that help you connect up the dots, move you forward, keep you on track. Let me explain.
This past weekend, Carol and I attended a conference/retreat for couples who are involved in Marriage Enrichment events. We went through training about 10 years ago, were certified to lead retreats and workshops, and have tried each year since to attend one of these conference/retreats. It has always proven to be a relaxing time, and we always come away with new insights about our own marriage, as well as for leading retreats. Over the years the conferences that we have attended have been held at Calloway Gardens, Birmingham and various places in and around Gulf Shores, Alabama. This years conference was held at the WinShape Retreat Center at Berry College. And something about this conference was very, very different.
The facilities are beautiful, but then we have been to other beautiful facilities. The workshops were enlightening, the fellowship was great and the setting was relaxing. But that has been true of the other conferences, too. So what was so different about this one? The people who worked at the WinShape Retreat Center were the most welcoming, hospitable folks I have ever encountered at any conference or retreat facility that I have ever attended. I am not overstating this point. I have been to literally dozens of retreat centers from San Francisco to Jerusalem over the years, and never have I been greeted by such a feeling of welcome as I got at WinShape. From the Berry students who helped us with our bags in the parking lot, to the people who were stationed at every door to greet us, to the cooks who came out of the kitchen to see how things were, to the dishwashers who smiled and thanked us for coming, to the persons picking up the trash, to the people cleaning the rooms, the reception was the same: genuine, warm smiles and heartfelt gratitude for us being there! Many of us commented on it, including one person who said, “When I get home, I may run into the first door I come to after three days of having someone open doors for me!”
The question that kept popping up in my mind was: what is it that causes them to be this way? I mean, I try to be pleasant and welcoming, but these folks have it goin’ on! The director of the center cleared up the mystery for me one night as he spoke to the group about the center. He said, “This is not a hotel. This is not a retreat center. This is a ministry.” Which of course got me thinking about how I present myself in ministry. Do people feel welcomed when I greet them? Do people come away feeling positive? It is a question we could expand to all the ministries of the church. I have always felt that BCC was one of the most welcoming congregations I have ever seen, and I continue to believe that, but being around these folks this past weekend made me think about how important it is that we continue to be aware of how important our attitude is to the functioning of the church. But still, I wondered, even if it’s a ministry, does that really explain the positive attitudes of even the people holding the “lowliest” jobs? What is it that they have?
Here is where God’s hand in all this comes in. Upon returning to church, I heard from a couple of folks what a wonderful sermon Rev. Jennifer gave last Sunday. Not surprising, I thought. She is a gifted preacher and I hate that a good chunk of the time she is preaching when I am not here. But I asked to read the sermon and I understood immediately why people told me what a good sermon it was. (In fact, I am going to attach her manuscript to this message for those who missed it…and make it available in the narthex this week.) It also struck me that the folks at WinShape held a view of the world that Jennifer espoused in the sermon: a view of the possible, of the good, of the positive. When we get mired in the negative, it affects everything. But when we get caught up in the positive, when we look around and can be genuinely grateful for what we have rather than lamenting what we do not have, when we can look forward to the awesome possibilities that any day offers, we will start to greet the world like the folks at WinShape greeted us. I honestly think that embedded in Jennifer’s sermon was an answer to my question, “why are these folks acting that way?” The answer as I see it is, because they choose to.
The connections do not end there. This Sunday, immediately after worship, we will hold our quarterly board meeting. All board members are expected to be there (officers, elders, deacons, trustees, permanent funds members, ministry chairs) but everyone in the congregation is invited to this important meeting. To help as many people get there as possible, we will be having a “pot luck meeting” and nursery care will be provided during the meeting. We want as many people there as possible because we will be considering an important topic: possible property renovations. As many of you who have experienced building and renovation projects at home, at work, or at church know, it is a daunting task. Decisions must be made carefully and prayerfully. If we move forward it will cost money, and it will cause some temporary disruptions. But I ask you to come to this meeting in the frame of mind that Jennifer laid out, the frame of mind that the folks at WinShape personified: the embrace of the possible. I am not talking about foolhardy, pie-in-the-sky, Pollyanna thinking. I am talking about coming together and concentrating on what we CAN do, not on what we can’t do. What we can’t do will be readily apparent, but that still leaves a lot of possibilities for where we can move forward. Let’s open ourselves up to the possibilities of what is possible, what is doable, what we can accomplish by working together. If we come into these deliberations with that attitude, we will feel confident with whatever is decided.
So come to the meeting. Bring a dish or two to pass. Hear what the building committee has been working on for these many months and prepare to envision the possibilities that present themselves to us. Because when we come together and do that, we will know what we are supposed to do.
For an updated list of upcoming activities and an updated prayer list, please go to www.brookhavenchristian.org
For your prayer list
Please keep Chuck Daunch’s brother David in your prayers. He continues to hold his own in his health struggles and covets the prayers of all of you.
Please keep all those seeking employment in your prayers.
Don’t forget: Board meeting this Sunday right after worship. It is a pot luck, so bring a dish or two to share and come and take part in this important meeting. Nursery care provided during the meeting. ALL ARE INVITED – board members and non-board members alike.
Believe it or not, Lent begins next Wednesday with our observance of Ash Wednesday. We will gather in our sanctuary at 7:00 p.m on Wednesday February 25 with our friends from Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church to begin our Lenten journey with a contemplative service of repentance and renewal. Start Lent out right and come and worship with us.
The afternoon of March 7th is the Annual Spring Tea at BCC. If you would like to sponsor a table, help in the kitchen, buy a ticket or help in any way, please contact Crystal Evans or Evelyn Lester.
I hope you can make it to worship this Sunday as we celebrate the Lord’s Day once again. The sermon is entitled “The Mantle Passes” and the Scripture is 2 Kings 2: 1-12. Have a great rest of the week!
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