I just love my church. There are many reasons, including the amazing pastors, the incredible musical talent, the many ministries and opportunities to serve, and the children's programs. I felt at home there from my very first visit.
After worshipping in song tonight, Pastor Pam read an email the church received from missionaries we sponsor in Haiti, Jim and Karen Esson. A photo slideshow was on the screen as she read. A few days ago Jim arrived with a team of doctors and skilled workers. They were working on clearing rubble from two orphanages and had treated 400 patients in one day! He mentioned a group of US soldiers that helped them by providing food to be distributed to the people camping on the grounds of a church. He told of a fault line opened up down the middle of a street, pancaked buildings, and the stench of death in the air. So far our church has sent $10,000 and more is on the way. Afterward we prayed for the missionaries, aid workers and victims of the earthquake.
Pastor Harry is a terrific speaker. He is entertaining, yet gets important serious points across. It's like that spoonful of sugar with your medicine...you are enjoying the stories, the jokes, the anecdotes, and then before you realize it, you learned something! First and foremost with Harry is making sure that everyone knows that God loves them, that they are important to God, and that they can be forgiven.
Harry has touched my nerd-nerve more than once. A few months ago he used an Iron Man reference in his message. Of course the message was about who your hero is, but once he said Iron Man my mind kinda wandered.
When I got home I tweeted Jon Favreau about it...and guess what? Jon Favreau retweeted ME! I gained quite a few followers that day, included one that calls himself GeekRev. Yep, I have a geek pastor following me!
Tonight Harry worked in a Jaws reference. The message, which Pastors Jeannette and Ken helped convey, was about talking back to your storms...basically not being afraid because God is with you and he can calm any storm. He is in control! Remember the story of Jesus sleeping on the boat? When the disciples woke him during a storm he simply told the wind to be still, and it was. But Harry always has a story and a at least one punchline. Tonight it was the scene from Jaws when Roy Scheider is chumming and the huge shark lurches up from the water at him. Remember the quote? "We're gonna need a bigger boat!" I probably shouldn't admit this in the same paragraph as our church sermon, but I just watched an SNL skit last night that referenced that same quote! Anyway, rather than a bigger boat, let Jesus take the wheel.
Now I don't want you to think that I just go to church for the movie references! Besides Harry and his jokes and references, we had two other fine pastors speak on the same subject tonight. It was an unusual service, with three pastors each delivering one of three main points. A tag team approach that I found very interesting.
Pastor Jeanette is also a superb speaker. What I took from her portion of the message was this: Practical Atheism. Jeanette defined practical atheism as living as though God does not exist by acting as if it's all up to you. Wow. Anxiety is essentially NOT trusting in God. It's practical atheism. I'm gonna have to watch out for that in myself! I can be a control freak at times.
Next up was Pastor Ken. Don't spread this around, but Ken is my favorite pastor. He used to teach a Wednesday night Bible study that I would go to while Treklet was in AWANA. I think he's got the gift of teaching. I really liked the way he teaches, and he has answered many of my questions over the years. He once gave a silent sermon that I thought was brilliant. I think I have the powerpoint somewhere, so maybe I'll post it here sometime. He and his wife, Pastor Pam, lead the Couples Ministry.
Ken told us to talk back to the storm. He drove the point home using Mark 4:39-40. He told us that God is with us, and God is good. God is scary...but He is good. Do not pray like a wimp, but pray boldly in Jesus name. That is talking back to the storm.