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Open Doors

I recently read a book about church growth. One of the elements the book mentioned was “open
door” programs. These are programs and ministries through which people get connected to the church. In our
current context, our volleyball ministry would be a good example of an open door. The water bottles given to
people at Hog Days, and school supplies handed out in Kewanee, would also be open doors.

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No Help is Coming

Can you imagine calling 911 and hearing a busy signal? Or getting a dispatcher that tells you no one is on
their way?
 
As Hurricane Ida smashed into Port Fourchon, LA, the mayor announced that emergency responders would
not be able to answer calls, Collin Arnold, New Orleans’ top emergency official said, “There’s nobody coming,” (CBS
news). Because of the storms, it was unsafe to send out responders. Can you imagine needing help, though, and
hearing that no help is coming?

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Liberty

One area that sets us apart as an independent Christian Church is that we hold to the concept of “In essentials,
unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” Where the Bible is clear, we are bound to the Scriptures.
Yet, in the many areas where the Bible doesn’t specifically address an issue, we have freedom to do as we think
best. I’m reading a book where several authors argue for various forms of church leadership. While the Bible
does speak about leadership and the roles of elders and deacons, the specific way leaders make decisions or
meet is not clearly spelled out by the Word.

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Generosity

One of my former professors (Chuck Sackett, Lincoln Christian University) recently posted, “In all my
years of ministry, I’ve seldom known what people gave…and never felt the need to. However, I’ve always
known who was generous. You don’t have to see dollar signs to recognize generosity.”
 
This resonates with me deeply. I’ve intentionally tried to avoid knowing who gives how much because I
never want to be accused of pandering to bigger givers. Chuck then goes on to list examples of generosity he’s
experienced. It made me reflect on some of the generosity I’ve seen firsthand.

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Call Home

Growing up, I remember my Dad calling my Grandparents every Sunday afternoon. I didn’t think much about it at the
time, but as I grew up and moved out on my own, I realized that he had set an example of setting aside time to talk to
one’s parents. It’s easy to become consumed with our own concerns and forget to call home. However, I know that many
of you reading this would give anything to pick up the phone and be able to call your mom or your dad because they have
passed on. It’s a special privilege that we can easily take for granted.

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Shine So They See God

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in
heaven.” (Matt 5:16).
 
Thank you to all those who served at Mission:Kewanee. You were letting your good deeds shine Sunday. I
loved hearing the stories come in of hearts touched by your service, with a couple of people even deciding to
check out FCC in person next week as a result. My hope and prayer is that you were encouraged as you made a
difference in our community. The community has been so appreciative of what you accomplished.
May we keep shining our light before all people, not so that people see us, but rather that they see God.


God Intended it for Good

Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
What difficult situations in your past helped move you to a better place today? I think of my friend who was in
the hospital regularly as a young child, and now serves as a nurse. Or the time my other friend had to lose his
job he hated in order to motivate him to work towards the job he wanted.
When a tree falls across the road you are travelling, you can choose to sit there idly and allow bitterness and
anger to fester, or you can choose to follow a new road that may lead you to better places than you could have
imagined.

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The Invisible Gorilla

There is an experiment where people watch a video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo) of a group
passing basketballs back and forth. Viewers must keep track of how many times certain players pass the ball. In
the middle of the video, a man in a gorilla suit comes on screen, stands in the middle of the group, raises his
fists and beats his chest, and then leaves. Because people are so focused on counting the number of times the
ball is passed, 50% of viewers don’t even notice the gorilla in the video at all.

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Heaven is a Long Hello

Last week was a reminder of mortality. Not only did I officiate a funeral, but a member of a previous church I
served passed away, as well as the father of a dear friend. We know that, unless Jesus returns first, every one of
us will die one day. Everyone we know will pass. There will always be difficult goodbyes.

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Unknown Impact

“Where are the other nine?” – Jesus in Luke 17:17
 
I’ve done a lot of funerals in my life, and one thing I heard too often is how we often wait until too late to tell
someone what they mean to us. Someone may have changed our life, and they die never knowing their impact
on us.

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