June Carpenter – Automobile Accident
Tim Gerde – Cancer Treatments at LGH
David Lord – Surgery this week
Phil Shower’s wife – Youlanda – Surgery on Tuesday
This week, we especially need to pray for the areas destroyed by tornados throughout the South including our own, Virginia.
A Week after Easter – Highs and Lows
Easter was a tremendous high for me. I observed several worship services with joy and even felt a touch of pride for our pastors and churches. I received emails and phone calls from many more telling me about the crowds and the transformation of people worshipping God.
Later, like many of you following worship I enjoyed a wonderful lunch surrounded by my family. All in all, Easter was a great day as it should be.
There were other highs throughout this week
Attending a clergy meeting held in Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech. I met distinguished leaders and heard football coach, Frank Beamer talk about leadership. (I know, you have to be a die-hard Hokie to love that one.)
I met several of our new pastors this week. Each one seemed perfectly suited for the church they will soon be serving. I could not be more thrilled.
I’m excited about several new ideas that will soon have a lasting impact on ministries, missions and churches within our district.
Of course there was the royal wedding. It was a wonderful and romantic time to share with my bride of twenty years as we woke up at 4:00 AM and watched it together.
But there were also lows
Mell’s mother continues to weaken. We try to visit frequently. This week, she seemed to show some improvement but at the same time we were told they are arranging hospice care.
Our Park View Mission continues to struggle financially and despite the amazing ministry of feeding over 800 families every month there are serious concerns about the future.
My neighbor asked for help working on his son’s house last week. He’s a marine returning from Afghanistan. He’s coming home to a nearly destroyed house. His wife left him and their child is now being raised by grandparents. My neighbor, the father, is in Jacksonville, NC trying to fix the house before his son returns. No one was able to help him. Here is the part that makes me feel really guilty, I’m not there either.
Tornados ripped through several states including Virginia leaving over 300 people dead and billions of dollars in property damage. As I find out more, I feel overwhelmed with the many needs and wonder with all the other problems we’re facing… will we be able to help?
All in all, it was a week full of ups and downs.
Not what I would have expected for the week following Easter.
Maybe you’ve had weeks like this full of highs and lows wondering what it all means.
What is the lesson to be learned?
I see the prophet Elijah with new eyes and understand more deeply how he felt following the showdown with the prophets of Baal. After a huge victory, Elijah was forced to run for his life. Rather than celebrate he was depressed but in the midst of that, Elijah heard the voice of God not in the windstorm or the earthquake or the fire but in a gentle whisper.
And the voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
Do you sense Elijah’s frustration? After this week, I can understand how Elijah felt confused rather than victorious, depressed rather than joyous.
But the Lord wasn’t through speaking to Elijah --
Then the LORD told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!” (Various Parts of 1 Kings 19)
Here is what I heard the Lord say…
· I am not in the windstorm – do not be discouraged by the storms of life.
· Go back the same way you came – remember from where you came.
· Anoint Hazael to be king – you still have important tasks ahead.
· Anoint Elisha to replace you – there is someone I have selected to help you.
· 7,000 others have never bowed down – you are not alone, others surround you.
Do not be discouraged by the highs and lows of life.
Remember from where you came.
You have important tasks ahead.
There is someone to help you.
You are not alone; others surround you.
Do not be discouraged is my reminder this morning to pray as someone with hope in the midst of the highs and the lows of life.
So as I pray for you during the Sunday following Easter, I pray knowing that God’s gentle whisper is there even in the midst of the storms of life.
I pray this morning remembering from where I came. I’ve grown so much over the years and how God has been with me throughout my journey of highs and lows.
I pray knowing there are many important tasks ahead and that God will provide the answers.
I pray with the comforting knowledge there is someone to take my place when I falter.
I pray knowing that I am not alone. Others surround me, pastors and churches full of people ready to answer the call.
I’m learning to appreciate the highs.
I’m learning to more fully rely on God through the lows.
I’m learning that God is not through yet.
This morning, I will pray for you and eagerly look forward to what God does through you.
Today, I will lead worship and bless the successful completion of a new church building. Proof that God has been at work in our community.
Today, I will take another pastor to a new appointment with renewed enthusiasm, knowing God is there.
Tonight, I will participate in a revival confidently expecting God to work miracles.
Next week, God’s Holy Spirit will guide me and you toward finding answers to the problems we face. Most of all, we will know that God is there.