Laughing With Sheep is Good, Just Be Careful Who the Shepherd Is

Seek the Balance of Humor and Seriousness

This past Sunday we were privileged to have Keith Anglemyer give us the message. Keith grew up in Tisdale UMC and now is the minister at Beloit 1st UMC. It’s exciting to see fruit that came from planting seeds.

He started by sharing his testimony and how his experiences in this church helped to shape him into who he is today. He told us the importance of attending church every week that his parents instilled. How his love for music grew out of the church, leading him to be a music teacher before God lead him to becoming a minister.

Keith’s message was titled “Laughing with the Sheep”. He told us how as a kid in the church we were expected to sit still, be quiet, and behave. Then he shared a story of a youth trip where Melvin drove down the highway for miles with his turn signal on and the laughter that was had. These two seemingly opposing positions lead to a bit of a struggle.

Are we supposed to laugh in church?

This is a struggle that has been going on forever. There is “high church” that emphasizes formality and resistance to a modern contemporary worship style. On the opposite side there is “low church” that focuses less on rituals and liturgical contexts. These differing worship practices often times lead to confusion, misunderstanding and sometimes churches splitting.

You’ve probably heard it said of sheep, that, “Get one to go and they will all go”. Let me tell you, this is very true. I used to have sheep and there were multiple times when I watched one sheep jump over something that wasn’t there and every following sheep jumped in the same spot.

Because of this follow the leader behavior, sheep have been called stupid. This isn’t the case. They act the way they do as a way of protection. Their moving together collectively is a survival instinct.

The Bible is full of examples comparing us to sheep and the importance for us to follow the Good Shepherd. We are easily persuaded to follow crowds and do the things that others are doing. Whether this is worshiping in the way that we always have or something else.

The key to this is to know the Shepherd and follow Him…not other sheep.

I think Satan knows that we tend to act like sheep and he uses this to get us to follow along, often going the wrong way. Don’t blindly follow other sheep.

Get to know the Good Shepherd by reading about Him who He is and how to worship.

Remember, even though we act like it, we aren’t really sheep.

People Are the Foundation of the Church

Jesus Is Building “It” On Believers

In Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus asks those following Him, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter’s answer was “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Who do you say that He is?

Jesus tells Peter, “You are the rock on which I will build my church.”. This is the first time that “church” is used in the Bible. Too often, people think of a building when they hear the word church.

Jesus was not talking about a building when He spoke about the church. He was talking about believers. People who believe that He is the Son of God. Too many people think of church as a building.

Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.

C. S. Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity that…

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse….”

Believing that Jesus is the Son of God makes you one of the foundation stones.

There is a responsibility that goes with being part of this foundation. The weight of the church rests on it. The more blocks that are in the foundation the lighter the load is on each block.

The load appears lighter to those who choose not to be a part of the foundation, in reality, the load we carry alone is much heavier. The load is lighter when it’s shared.

If we choose to be a foundation rock, we have a responsibility to the other rocks. To share the load with the other foundation stones while showing those who aren’t yet, how to be one.

We have a responsibility to be the best foundation that we can. It’s our fault if the building falls down.

If I Scratch in the Dirt with Chickens, Crumbs Is All I’ll Get

 

 

 

 

Hanging Out with Eagles Helps Me Soar to Greater Heights

 

Last week I wrote about the importance of a loving church family from Pastor Lee’s message last Sunday. This week’s conclusion of the faith sharing series included sharing of personal stories.

From these stories there were struggles shared, faith expressed and confirmation of the importance of a loving church.

Tears were shed and bonds were strengthened. In the sharing, both last week and this, the one thing that was evident was the importance of being surrounded by the love and support of others.

Those with whom we choose to associate with directly affect who we’ll become, either good or bad. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Your friends are a statement of who you are choosing to become. 

Choose to hang out with eagles.

 

It’s evident that we are influenced by who we choose to associate with, on the other side, we influence others who associate with us. We have been called by Jesus to be salt and light to the world. We need to be lifting others up and helping them to soar higher.

 

Choose to be an eagle to others.

Influence is both powerful and gradual. Everything is always changing, either toward good or bad. What’s important is that we are intentional about the influences in our lives and choose the good.

We can choose to scratch in the dirt with chickens or we can fly with the eagles. It’s up to you which you choose, but you were made to fly.

 

Life Is Better in A Loving Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Like Being Wrapped in A Warm Blanket on A Cold Night

There are way too many people stumbling around out in the darkness in need of a warm blanket. Those of us who have found our blanket need to be sharing blankets with others.

 

This past Sunday our Pastor’s message consisted of members of the congregation sharing what our church (Tisdale UMC) meant to them. This was a combination of long-term and recent members and some who weren’t.

 

Just like everyone of us is different and unique, so were their stories. Even with all the differences each one expressed common feelings of the warmth of the church. (Just like a warm blanket on a cold night.) It didn’t matter what their situation was, they felt wrapped up in warmth.

 

Having grown up in this church I assumed this was how all churches were. As I got older, I had a recurring conversation with people who had moved away and struggled to find a church that had this same warmth. This doesn’t mean that every person is looking for this warmth, but once they’ve experienced it, they want it.

 

This warm feeling is bigger than the people, bigger than the church, it’s God’s loving arms.

 

 

Too many people are cold and don’t even know it. If you find someone that’s cold give them a warm blanket of love and invite them in out of the cold.