Planning is Easy ~ Greg J
While I was student teaching at Moberly Middle School, sometimes I sat in a back corner of my room grading papers while a “Careers” class proceeded. One day their teacher asked the students to draw a picture of their future work.
Many of the kids enjoyed basketball. They sketched slam dunks. Other kids liked to draw horses. They drew horses. I found cause to visit the other side of the room and noticed several drawings. A rock star in shades. An astronaut. A drooling race car driver with large bloodshot eyeballs. A hair stylist or brain surgeon, I couldn’t be sure. Batman. A capitol building. Another horse. A carpenter. No teachers.
The students were summoned to the front to show their drawings and describe their future careers. One young lady held up her well-composed landscape and pointed out its features.
“This is the south part of my country house. I will have other houses. This is my yellow convertible for summer driving. Here is the pool, and the tennis court, and my two lovely daughters and their horses. And back here under the tree, it’s hard to see, but this is where my rich dead husband is buried.”
Lots of people have definite plans for you! The salesperson wants you to buy stuff. The oncoming driver doesn't know your name, but expects you to stay in your lane. Everyone counts on you to pay taxes.
My own plans for me are not elaborate. My plans often do not match subsequent events. This week at work I turned in my part of the budget for a new contract. The next day equipment failed. I submitted an eight thousand dollar unbudgeted item. D'oh!
A Chinese fellow observed to me, “Planning is easy, except with respect to the future.” *
Consider this from Proverbs 16:
The mind of a man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
My old idea was, “God, you take care of the big things like world peace. I will take care of the small things like getting groceries.” But God transcends my presumptuous assignments. God controls from beginning to end. God controls the horizontal and the vertical. I make one big choice:
Trust the Lord with all your heart,
and don't depend on your own understanding.
Remember the Lord in all you do,
and he will give you success.
- Proverbs 3
Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants.
Then all your other needs will be met as well.
- Matthew 6
* "Planning (is) easy, except about what comes." is a wooden translation from the Chinese language. When I mentioned this to a physicist I know, he grinned and revealed that he too was intrigued by a similar quip and traced it to Danish physicist Neils Bohr. Bohr may have been quoting a Danish proverb.
Welcome Surgeons! Here are our announcements for this week...
- We're continuing our Undercover God series, with this week's message being on "The Surge Mission"
- We have several opportunities related to using the Barn to bless our community, please be in prayer that we would make the right decisions here and would act with grace and wisdom.
- Next SAW concert is May 21, these are the third Saturday of the month, so mark your calendar now!
- Offering and Connection Cards can be placed in the small wooden boxes in the back of the room...
That's it - looking forward to seeing you soon!
Remember ~ Greg J
Seven Stanzas At Easter by John Updike.
As I type my words here, the computer stores them and plays them back easily. For my brain to store and recall the same words requires... trickery!
Thus, when I learned to read music I used tricks like “Every Good Boy Does Fine” and “F A C E”.
Walking helps me memorize. As I unwind my points to an audience, I also revisit a crack in the sidewalk, a cardinal’s chirp, and the smell of barbeque as I passed by my neighbors’ door last week. Connections are essential to memory even if they are weird connections.
Repetition also helps, but timing is everything. A mean fifth grade teacher I now bless made us memorize American History documents. The quicker to put in my time on the Declaration of Independence, “When in the course…”, I tried rattling through the assigned first half of it thirty times in thirty minutes! Did it stick? No. My subsequent standup stuttering did not win me an “A”.
Next was the Preamble of the US Constitution, “We the people…” I reviewed this once per hour, peeking at a 3x5 card around ten times a day for several days. Yay, an “A”!
Then came the Gettysburg Address “Four-score and seven years....” I got a new card, but checked it only twice a day. After a couple of weeks this was not working. So I stepped up to once per hour. I made a papier-mâché Abe Lincoln puppet on a black sock to help me out. The PTA applauded!
Humans simply are not good at remembering!
A recurring message from Jesus in the days near Calvary was simply, “Remember me.” He tells stories of absentee landlords, delayed bridegrooms, ... and servants who forget.
Crowds praise Jesus, then call for his death.
What of his closest followers, the ones who saw him walk on water, heal the sick, and raise the dead? They ran away.
Jesus knew we would forget him. However, he came up with a way to counter that forgetfulness:
Then Jesus took some bread,
broke it, and
gave it to the apostles, saying,
“This is my body, which I am giving for you. Do this to remember me.”
(Luke 22. See also 1 Corinthians 11.)
To help me remember, Jesus rehearses a demonstration full of sensual connections: Bread. Wine. Friends around the table.
Some Christians understand Jesus to mean, “celebrate the springtime Passover meal to remember me.”
In view of some meetings of the early church, the Surge group observes the Lord’s Supper weekly.
I cherish all the times I can participate with other Christians in the Lord's Supper. Nevertheless, I once asked myself this question:
How often should I remember Jesus?
I acquired the habit of considering Jesus whenever I touch bread or a grape product. Does my incredibly frequent celebration diminish the experience? Quite the contrary. Memory of good things is precious and can't be repeated enough.
At least three families in this small congregation have older members afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease or other fading memory. I have been particularly impressed with Lou. At times he has been cantankerous. At Kirby Road—not at The State—we had to watch for half-eaten donuts placed back with the other donuts. Still, though he might not remember my name, Lou has frequently looked me in the eye and exclaimed, “I love you!”
I hope that when when I'm reduced to my last two heart-felt sentences, they are, “I love you!" and “God loves you!”
How can I insure that failing neurons hold that line? By making connections now, with each person God brings my way. By deliberately participating in special and ordinary events that connect me and all nearby to Jesus.
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem.
They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
As they talked and discussed these things with each other,
Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
but they were kept from recognizing him.
When he was at the table with them,
he took bread,
broke it and
began to give it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him....
Welcome Surgeons! Here are our announcements for April 15th ,2012:
- We are beginning our series, Undercover God, this week being the idea of What is God's Job?
- We have a special by Dishwalla today, Counting Blue Cars
- Remember that offering is now being dropped in the wooden boxes in the back of the room. Thank you for your giving and your continued generosity!
- The Surge Spring cookout at The Barn TODAY (Sunday, April 15th), 5pm - this will be a great time to meet new people and spend some time getting to know each other, a relaxed and fun evening together
-- The teaching on Surge leadership at 8:30 a.m. on 21 April--we'll be explaining the biblical basis for how The Surge is led--who the elders are, what they are responsible for, and how we'll be selecting additional elders in the future. Great time to get familiar with the leadership here. Open to everyone!! At the Barn at 1988 Kirby Road, Mclean, VA. 22101
- SAW Concert, Saturday night April 21st, 7pm at the Barn, wonderful music, free concert, this is a great date night or a good chance to invite a friend for a good evening of music, dessert and coffee. It will be featuring the music of Carey Creed and Lynn Hollyfield - don't miss it!
That's it... hug an accountant, it's the season for silly tax stuff!
Unorganized ~ Greg J
Last week I had a stimulating email conversation with a visitor to the Surge Community Church, who observed,
I notice you guys gave no info about your history or denominational affiliation--
and I can appreciate why that might be part of your outreach strategy.
It’s flattering that someone thinks we have a strategy! I replied:
As to history, around 1832 some Christians weary of divisions chose to do something unusual: not fight, but unite. They hijacked the radically ordinary name, “Christians” that other groups had left behind. A preacher proposed this defining slogan, “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible, no law but love, no name but the divine.” A few minutes later, he recognized to his horror that his slogan violated itself. But the damage was done, and an undenomination had formed. Today, tenuously affiliated by a fuzzy set of Bible colleges, benevolence, mission, and parachurch ventures, autonomous congregations have enough beliefs and practices in common to be almost predictable. Addressing a 1974 meeting of Christian Church leaders, Baptist humorist Grady Nutt joked, “There’s one thing worser’n bein’ a denomination; that’s bein’ a denomination and not knowin’ it!”
The Bible Answer Man and his colleagues offer an independent critique of "The Churches of Christ, the Christian Churches, the Disciples of Christ". The CRI analysis hedges, “Because the COC and the NACC value the autonomy of the local church so highly, there is a great deal of diversity in the teaching of the individual churches, and generalizations, though valid and helpful to a point, may not apply in certain cases.” Amen, brother. We don't need no stinkin' badges. Lacking a governing body beyond the individual congregation, people who meet the Biblical qualifications for elders (such as in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1) lead the local group.
I have visited energetic Christian groups in urban China and the mountains of Thailand who after decades of isolation and persecution had beliefs and practices spookily like these.
Denominations tend to form by fission. Undenominations tend to form by fusion, as is the case with the Surge Community Church. The fallout involves some infusion and confusion.
People often say, “I believe in spirituality and God. I'm just not into organized religion.” I reply, “Cool! We're about as unorganized as you'll find!”
I love love love this simple, natural life we've got going on, but I'm gonna be honest: there are many times I fail. Miserably.
There are only so many hours in a day, and even though I want to only eat the best food and make all my own cleaners and waste as little as possible, the bottom line is when I run out of time, my priorities lie elsewhere.
There, I said it.
Unfortunately, I could go on and on. Here's the thing: every effort I make, no matter how small, means I'm taking the responsible path. My intentions are sometimes drowned by my actions, but more often my intentions create actions.
I fail. Because sometimes life needs to be lived, and people need to be loved. And each day is a new chance to do it better.
Good morning everyone! Happy Palm Sunday! Here are a few housekeeping items and announcements:
- Spring Cookout, Sunday April 15th (Sunday) at 5pm... we have a lot of new folks coming with launch and this will be a great way for us to get together, see the barn and connect with people over burgers and dogs. Finalize the taxes and head on over!
- Next SAW Concert is Saturday Night, April 21st, check our facebook events for details this week!
- We're continuing our Margin Series today, talking about Financial Margin. So bring your budgets, worries about money, thoughts on whether we should discontinue the penny and any stock tips you may have... money is (unfortunately sometimes) a big part of life - it makes sense that we look to see what God may have to say here!
- We had a great write up and blog review from one of our visitors, read all about it here
- We also had a write up from E Reiss, who was locked in a room with John Williams for almost 3 hours, and survived to tell the tale. If you're not following these, you should start! You won't regret it. We have a team of writers who are sending out some really wonderful posts- Next weekend is Easter Sunday! It's going to be a great day, so bring a friend and watch out for lions and alligators in the pre-service videos.
Welcome to The Surge, where the men are men, the women are women and the children sing their songs in perfect harmony :)
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.