Never Shout Never

I am committed to PCC – not just because I work there, but because I believe so passionately in what we do. We strive to make it a place where people can feel welcome, comfortable and safe. Above all, we want people to have a relationship with God.

We believe that relationship develops in different ways, at different rates of discovery. We believe that there is undeniable, irrefutable truth to be found in the Bible. We believe that God honors obedience, and that His precepts are set out for our good.

We don’t believe in legalism, but we do believe that God has designed a good way for his people to live.

We believe that a relationship with God should be vibrant and alive through every hour of every day of the week. We believe in transformation.

And we hope that people will come to our church in an effort to see God, to enter into community with others who are striving to follow the teachings of Christ. We hope that they’ll come with open minds and hearts; because we believe that God will meet us there, when we gather.

And we continue to believe that something happens when we meet together, something that makes “going to church” worth the effort. I caught this video this morning and found that it makes my heart happy, to hear witness of such an honest hallelujah. It makes my heart happy, even as it makes me a little sad to know that it’s sort of about rejecting church. It makes me want to strive even deeper into being creative and open and inventive enough to welcome people like Christofer Ingle (also known as Never Shout Never) into our community and make sure there’s a place for him.

Because his hallelujah helps our hallelujah, which our voices sing together. We need each other.

HT to Ben Arment for linking to this vid. Good stuff.

The Bible And The Bills

Last week, I lost three very important things:

  • my Bible
  • my March church expense statement
  • my January church expense statement (don’t ask)
I looked everywhere; I turned the house upside down. I went through everything in my office three times. No sign of the Bible or the bills.
I assumed the Bible would turn up eventually. It’s quite amazing, actually, that my spiritual life isn’t hindered by the lack of a tangible Bible – there are tons of online resources like Bible Gateway and Youversion that are at my fingertips. I have a few old, tattered copies of study Bibles at home. But my red Bible is sentimental and personal; it means something to me. It’s underlined and dated and I’ve marked some significant moments in it.
As a brief tangent, I’ll reveal that there’s a small piece of paper tucked in between the pages of my red Bible, dating back about eight years. It’s part of a church program, and on it are written thes words:

“Consider yourself hugged.”

Slipped to me during a difficult time in my life, in the middle of a service during which my tears were flowing freely, I keep it to this day. It meant the world at that time. It still does today.
(I believe that my friend who wrote that reads this blog from time to time…wonder if they remember it as clearly as I do?)

Anyway, I’ve got notes like that tucked in my Bible, along with underlined passages with dates and the initials of the pastors who have revealed truth or insight (JR….BCH…JL…LG…DF…) It means something to me, my history intertwined with the writings of Paul and the words of Jesus and the history of God’s people. I missed it.
The bills are another story; suffice it to say that I struggle with deadlines. My monthly efforts to get my work-related finances organized, accounted for and submitted in a timely manner are not always successful. Having just had a roundtable discussion during which we were all rather strongly encouraged to do better in this area, the last thing I wanted to do was to let folks in the financial department know my predicament.
“Uh…hi, it’s Beth. You know how we were going to try to do a better job getting our statements in on time? Well….I can’t find mine…”

Just slap a sticky note on me that says STUPID.
Late last week, I gave up. I wrote the “I AM STUPID” email confessing my ineptitude, and I took a deep breath in preparation to accept Brian’s offer of a new large print Bible to replace my old one (grrr…..muttering and taking GREAT offense under my breath….)
And then, lo and behold, as these things tend to play out, I started finding things. First it was my Bible.
And undoubtedly you’re dying to know where I found my Bible, right? Well, I’ll tell you: it was in the trunk of the car, in my workout bag. Which I haven’t used in…well, long enough to have had no idea that my Bible was in it.
And then, I came into work on Tuesday and found the March financial statement in my mailbox in the office. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, etc! There was much cheering and shouts of “THANK YOU JESUS!” Later, I found out that I not only had Jesus to thank, but also Dennis Green, who admitted to placing the envelope in my box.
“I found it on my desk. I’m not sure how it got there, but I found it. Under some stuff.”

(If you saw Dennis’ desk, this statement would make perfect sense.)
Still waiting on the January statement, I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. With a willing and very clever accomplice, I snuck into Dennis’ office during his absence and flipped through a stack or two of paper.
Voila. All that was lost is now found.
And the point? Well, there is one.
Don’t give up. Own up to your mistakes, but be sure that it’s not over till the fat lady sings – or till Dennis cleans his office.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. – Lamentations 3.22-23 (The Message)

I’m Not Sure What Comes Next

Our friend Tony, who is part of the core group of folks who are invested in the Westchester campus of PCC, is out of town.

It’s not a business trip per se; it’s about something that has captured his heart. He goes to Moldova several times a year to try to help children who have grown up in orphanages. You can read more about Tony’s work in Moldova here.
Interestingly enough, Moldova is making headlines in other areas, for other reasons. Anne Jackson is an insightful author (Mad Church Disease, which I highly recommend) and blogger who recently returned from a trip to Russia and Moldova.
She is deftly sharing what she learned on this trip. I read her words, and look at Tony’s pictures and prayer requests, and I cannot help but think that God wants us – well, let me speak for myself. God wants me to know and really see that the world is very large, indeed; that the needs are very large, indeed; and that to continue to sit back and do nothing is no longer an option.
Read Anne’s post about witnessing the trafficking of girls in the equivalent of a local Panera.
I don’t even know what to say, except that the privilege of living a life of safety and security, numbed by American culture, seems to be somehow tainted. God wants me to see this. He’s dovetailing information about a foreign country in a way that I can’t ignore. He’s all up in my face.
I’m not sure what comes next.