This last Friday, I got to do something I haven't been able to do in a while: I got to go to a live sporting event!
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL IS BACK!
....and Oh, was it glorious. Not only did the Llano Yellow Jackets win, but it was just a fun game to watch all around. If it's one thing you'll learn about me, it's that I love football. I don't care what level: High school, College, Professional, or even Youth League. I love to watch the game. It's more than just hard hitting defense, or fast running offense, but when you get into the weeds of it, it's like a chess game.
Every player on the field has to play their part. The offensive linemen have to block, the receivers have to run their routes, and the quarterback has to know where everyone is supposed to be. The best teams move as one unit, everyone knowing their place, knowing their assignment, and knowing the play.
As I was sitting at the game on Friday with our new youth pastor, Ashleigh, and her husband Jordan, we talked about all the cool stuff going on in Llano and in our lives. At one point, our conversation turned to Llano and what we see God doing here; that there is a sense of "Unity" that we have not felt anywhere else.
I cannot speak for the other Churches in the community, but I just feel like God is up to something big in this little town. I feel that there is a sense of Unity in the Spirit; that the churches of this community aren't in ministry to compete, but are in ministry to save souls...it's a team effort.
I am reminded of Paul's first letter to the people in Corinth where he says in Chapter 12, beginning in verse 12:
"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we are all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body -- whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free -- and we were all given the same Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many."
See, we can be from different backgrounds, different denominations, different understandings of Baptism and Communion, and yet, God's Spirit is still the same, no matter what Church we call our "Home Church."
It is my prayer that every single church in the town of Llano continue to put Christ first in all things. In our decision making, in our invitations, and in our cooperation with each other!
And just like a well coached football team, I pray we work together for the common goal; making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
Almighty and Gracious God,
You are Good, and your Love endures forever. We give you praise for all that you have done, all that you are doing, and all that you will do with YOUR church in Llano. We ask for continued protection for all of our churches as we continue to meet out of faith, even in the midst of this pandemic. We ask that you help us to be of one Spirit as we work to bring people to you. Help us to build relationships with our brothers and sisters of other denominations and backgrounds. Help us all to be your CHURCH in Llano.
In The Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
Many of you know I started out ministry as a youth pastor. If I am honest, somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew I was going to go through the Ordination process to become an elder, but I think there was a small....OK...really big part of me...that tried to run from God for so long. I guess you can say that Youth Ministry was the "gateway" for me into what I am doing now. That doesn't diminish the role of a youth pastor, only to say that I believe many of the lessons I learned as a youth pastor have brought me to the place I am today.
In my previous appointment, one of my students always seemed to have a hard time saying the word "pastor;" it always came out "pasture." And so, of course being in youth ministry, it stuck. Now, on my table in my office I have a nice "pasture" with a Donkey and a Cross, and a blanket with my newly coined name embroidered on it. What started as a joke, turned into something special.
Living in Texas, especially in the Hill Country, there are some pretty beautiful pastures. There is nothing better than the Texas Hill Country in the Springtime; flowers blooming cows in the pastures, and and lots of green grass. To me, it is one of the most peaceful things in the world.
As a Pastor, I believe it is my calling to bring the peace of Christ with me wherever I go. There are many stories about Jesus when he would enter the room and he would say something like, "Peace be with you." (Luke 24:36)
There have been many times when I have been invited into a situation where there hasn't been any peace. Deaths, family disputes, tragedies, the list goes on...
And yet, I have been called to bring the peace of Christ with me; to enter in to a moment, walk along side a family and minister.
When Christ came to this world, the world was not at peace (kinda like now). The Romans ruled the known world with an iron fist, there were famines, wars, and life was difficult for many reasons. And yet, Christ entered in, not as a conquering hero, but as a baby. He did things a lot differently then everyone else.
Where winds would rage, Jesus calmed the storm. Where people were filled with demons, Jesus drew them out and cast them away. Where people were sick with leprosy, Jesus would touch them and make them clean.
Peace...Like a Peaceful Pasture.
I hope this week, you experience the peace that passes all understanding.
Let us Pray...
Oh God, you are Good, and your love endures forever. Help us to feel your peace around us, and help us to bring your peace with us into every situation. Calm our hearts, heal our bodies, and wash our lands. Help us to put you first in everything we do.
In Jesus' name,
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD