10-6-2013 Beyond Expectations

We welcomed back Pete Sjoblom, Director of Congregational Vitality at Central Conference of the Covenant Church, who facilitated our Veritas workshop about 3 years ago. 

We lifted up Randy and Laura’s daughter Megan who has a cancerous tumor on her kidney that is now scheduled to be removed. Prayers are greatly appreciated for this situation and our hope is that no further cancer will be found.

Pete opened by sharing that the Covenant denomination has more than doubled (90,000 to > 200,000) since 1992, but most growth has come from church planting. With older churches right for some revitalization, he shared his heartfelt pitch for the Congregational Vitality Pathway.

In Judges 6 God’s messenger interacts with Gideon. Gideon was a man we can probably relate to. He was essentially feeling like the ideal plan for his life went wrong at some point. He was just trying to survive, keep his head down, and take care of his family’s very real needs in an unfriendly environment. Gideon was feeling that God had all but deserted him, but he finds out that God had much greater plans in store than Gideon could have ever imagined.

To visualize how small things can make a difference

  • We folded our bulletins in half multiple times, each time doubling the thickness.  We learned that continuously doubling the thickness just 50 times would result in a thickness that reached the Sun (93 million miles) 
  • Pete cited Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference on how disease epidemics spread
  • A dramatic drop in crime in New York City was at least partially accredited to making very small changes, such as fixing broken windows and stopping subway fare jumpers

May God help us to stop limiting ourselves by factoring in our own expectation of proportion; and yield to God, His abilities, perspective, and proportion. Ephesians 3 proclaims how God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Pete finished by grabbing his guitar and leading us in a 3-part congregational worship of Hallelujah Salvation & Glory in a black gospel style.  Here’s a video from another church to help you picture our diverse little church lifting up God in a foretaste of eternity.

We concluded with Communion, in which Randy mentioned the ancient Jewish betrothal custom of the man giving his future bride a cup of wine when he proposes. This added even another layer to our communion. Not only did Christ give his body and blood for us, but He gave a cup of wine to His bride to be, The Church.

We hope to see you next week when we welcome our Central Conference Superintendent Jerome Nelson.