NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SEPTEMBER 7, 2014
He’s back! Yep, this Sunday will be my first Sunday back in the pulpit at Covenant since August 3rd. I’ve had some wonderful experiences while away. I was blessed to attend Gay Games 9 in Cleveland, Ohio; visit dear friends in North Carolina and Georgia; speak at the 60th Birthday party for my High School Class Reunion and also the following weekend at the Memorial Service for my annual family reunion in Virginia. The best part of it all was my daily prayer time and Bible Reading that was an absolute priority as part of my time away.
Feeling good, I was glad to get home on Monday. Then it happened. Reality set in. I was busy as a bee on Tuesday. Then my first day back at work on Wednesday turned into a 15 hour day, and I was bushed! By Thursday morning as I was mulling the difference in last week and this one, I remembered that I had missed two days of my private prayer time and Bible readings. I thought of an old line that I had heard long ago that says: “The problem with the Christian life is that it’s so daily.” How True!
While I didn’t think the world would end because I forgot my private time with God and readings for a couple of days, I was reminded how life often has a way causing us to forget things that are important. One of those things is going to church on a regular basis. I guess that is especially so in the summer months when there is just so much we can do outside to enjoy the warm (ok hot) weather. If we are not careful, not going to church one Sunday turns into two Sundays, to … well you get the point.
As a pastor, I like having National Back-to-Church Sunday in September. After all travels and outings of summer, it’s a gentle reminder that it’s time to get back to church. I also think of it as a reminder that we serve “A Second Chance God.”
I think of it as an opportunity to remind people that following Jesus is a lifestyle that builds on past lessons and decisions, but it also depends on our dedication day by day. We cannot live off yesterday’s successes or last week’s prayers. Each new day is both a challenge and an opportunity. Our faith will be challenged, and we can use that challenge as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with God.
As we approach National Back-to-Church Sunday this week, I invite you to also remember that as each day unfolds, take a few moments to pause and remind yourself that it is a day to be dedicated to God. Make a daily commitment that you will live this day to the fullest because it’s a new start from “A Second Chance God.” The mistakes of yesterday are past and forgiven and today is a day I can begin again.
Someone wisely observed that: If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. No doubt about it: we serve “A Second Chance God.”
So, on this Back-to-Church Sunday, of September 7, 2014, and my first Sunday back in the pulpit since being away, join us for worship and be reminded of the love and forgiveness of “A Second Chance God!” I’ll be preaching from Philippians 3:12-16.