I hope that this Update finds you at home, warm, and safe. If you're in Georgia, my heart goes out to you. At least 11 people have died due to the extreme weather conditions there (it may not sound like it's that bad to us Midwesterners, but they're totally unprepared for this sort of weather there, and when they all leave work at the same time to avoid the snowstorms... well, it's not a good thing). Please keep the people in the South in your prayers.
Ironically, the weather here has been pretty decent. Oh, it's been cold, and between snow days and holidays, my family hasn't had a five-day school week since mid-December. But other than that, it's actually been okay this week. The extreme cold has been awfully hard on some of our older FCCers, though, so think of them when you're praying for Georgia, if you would.
We did still have a great Valentine's Day Fundraising Dinner this year this past weekend. As always, the decor was romantic, the teens had a lot of fun being hosts and waiters and busboys, and the food was amazing. They even made me my very own, Pastor-Kevin-sized loaf of homemade bread, since they know how much I love the stuff. Of course, I still grabbed as many of the little loaves that they'd let me get away with, too...
Oh, and mark your calendars so that you can join us for the special Congregational Dinner on the 20th--followed by the Congregational Meeting afterwards (I say it that way in the hope that we get more people in attendance than if we said, "Congregational Meeting, with a dinner beforehand"). Seriously, please come join us for this meeting, since we'll be able to hear reports from the Deacons and ministry leaders about what our church family has done in 2013, and what we'd like to see happen in 2014.
Speaking of dinners, we talked a little bit about a dinner that Jesus provided in Matthew 14--feeding 5,000 men (and an unspecified number of women and children). Again, as we've been talking about for the past two weeks, we tend to assume that Jesus fed the multitudes because they were hungry, but that's not the case--Jesus fed them to make a point to His disciples.
See, the disciples were supposed to feed the hungry people. That's what Jesus asked them to do, and that's exactly the sort of miracle that He'd been equipping them to do. But as so often happens to us, the disciples saw the crowds and their needs as bigger than Jesus and His power, and they crumpled in despair, unable to show God's wonders because of their own lack of faith.
Interestingly, immediately after they dropped the ball with the feeding thing, He made them get into their boat and face the storms... which they'd seen Him calm so easily earlier. But instead of stepping out in faith, they again saw the waves as bigger than God's power, and they simply leaned on their own, physical strength for nine hours, with no appreciable success.
Important safety tip about life: If all you ever believe in is what you can accomplish on your own, then that's all you'll ever accomplish.
Jesus got so frustrated with the fact that they never even tried to step out in faith and work a miracle that He simply walked across the water, intent on passing them by--but even then, He had compassion and stopped for them. Peter even tried to have a little faith and walk on water to him... but then he saw how big the waves and wind seemed, and his faith crumpled again.
Again and again, Jesus gave them the opportunity to step out and perform His wonders--and again and again, they simply couldn't get past looking at life through the lenses of their own limitations. Tell me that you've never had the same problem...
So what is God asking you to believe Him in today? Are you only going to believe Him as far as your own limitations and abilities can take you, or are you going to believe that with God, all things are possible?