Local Church Sets the “High Water Mark” for Congregational Health
Local Church Sets the “High Water Mark” for Congregational Health
By Paul R. Blake
(Article is based on the events of a Wednesday evening singing service at Tomlinson Run during the June 2, 2010 level three thunderstorm)
An interesting Wednesday evening service… to say the least! It began with a strong storm front bearing down on this region with all the gentleness of a grizzly bear with a sore tooth, heartburn, and diaper rash. Heavy downpours, strong winds, intermittent hail, and multiple lightning strikes covered this area with flooded roads, trees blown down across highways, and the electricity out at the church building. In addition, a number of members were out of town on vacation, or for business, or to care for ill kinfolk. It was song night and most of our song leaders were either away or late due to the storm. The power was out at the building, the air conditioning was off, one of the emergency lights was broken, two of the hurricane lamps would not light, and the third lamp was smoking. On top of it all, the rain was coming down so hard it was difficult to see the other side of the parking lot, and many of the members came in drenched. Wednesday had all of the makings of a Perfect Storm of murmuring and peevishness; at the very least it had the potential to be a service where worshipers just go through the motions and then go home un-edified.
But the storm did not reckon with Tomlinson Run. In spite of trees down, pouring rain, lightning and thunder, hail the size of hickory nuts, and high winds, about seventy percent of our members manage to weather through the storm and came to praise God in song. Reactions to the storm: some of the sisters jumped and squealed at the lightning strikes (in a very amusing manner I might add), some of the members expressed surprise at the wind and rain when they came in, and a number of members called the building to alert us about downed trees. However, the predicted complaints never materialized. The building was dark and stuffy, yet no one seemed to notice. We had to change from our planned theme for song night to song leader’s choice and did so with a limited number of song leaders, and a few members observed that it turned out to be a really good service after all. A few of our younger men grabbed my chainsaw and pickup truck and cleared the trees from the road in short order, and then came to services soaking wet (thanks guys!). By the time services ended, the storm had passed, and many of the members kept their customary practice of remaining in the parking lot to talk and visit for another thirty to forty minutes.
Someone might suggest that we were prepared to handle the storm by what we endured in the winter storm in February (nicknamed snow-apocalypse). Others might conjecture that we were trained for this by the years of hardship when so many of our Dear Ones were chronically ill and many of them passed away. Perhaps. In many ways, we are the sum of our experiences. However, I think that it is just the nature of the disciples here at Tomlinson Run. Healthy disciples react to crises the way we did this past Wednesday. And such health comes through sound doctrine, godly love, good works, experience driven wisdom, and perseverance. Hebrews 6:9 - “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation… For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
In the midst of the worst thunderstorm to hit the area this year, the members came to midweek services, sang and prayed together, greeted each other with warmth and affection, and went home refreshed. I should have expected no less.
Until the Belly Does Its Share
“But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'; nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (1Cor. -22).
One day it occurred to the members of the body that they were doing all the work and that the belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting and after a long discussion decided to strike work until the belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two the hands refused to take the food, the mouth refused to receive it, and the teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two, members began to find that they themselves were not in very active condition. The hands could hardly move, the mouth was all parched and dry, while the legs were unable to support the rest. Thus, they found that even the belly, in its dull quiet way, was doing necessary work for the body, and that all must work together or the body would go to pieces. (From Aesop)
A Moments Wisdom on Goodness
- Goodness is easier to recognize than to define.
- Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.
- A man is only as good as what he loves.
- The omission of good is no less reprehensible than the commission of evil.
- All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
- What we give to the poor for Christ's sake is what we carry with us when we die.
- Sin is anything that separates us from God. If we are so good that we don't feel any need for God's mercy, then our goodness is sin.
- Let us not paralyze our capacity for good by brooding over man's capacity for evil.
- One of the nice things about problems is that a good many of them do not exist except in our imaginations.
- To err is human; to blame it on someone else is really human.
- Too many people are praying for mountains of difficulty to be removed, when what they really need is courage to climb them.
- Those who know God will be humble, and those who know themselves cannot be proud.
- He has the right to criticize, who has the heart to help.
- Of all the commentaries on the scriptures, good examples are the best.
- If you want to get even with someone, start with someone who has helped you.
- The great trouble with an idle rumor is that it doesn't remain so.
- Remember not only to say the right thing at the right time and place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
8/28/22 AM & PM - Understanding and Answering Calvinism
9/4/22 AM - The Jesus You Never Knew; PM - Singing Service: Congregational Choice of Songs
9/11/22 AM - The “Christians Meet Here” Church; PM - Euphemisms: Dirty Talk in Disguise
9/18/22 AM - Getting Grudges Gone; PM - Othniel: The Lion of God
9/25/22 AM - Baptism: How to Become New; PM - Trustworthiness: Christian Integrity
10/2/22 AM - “I Am Nothing” (Galatians 6:3 - Requested); PM - Themed Singing Service