Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting Ready for Worship: March 27, 2011

I love our staff meetings. They are full of energy, insight, humor and creativity. We laugh together, pray together, and wrestle ideas together. Recently we were talking about the calendar and solving programming challenges. One suggestion made by a staff member triggered an immediate response from me: “Absolutely not! We can’t do that!” And then I realized how totally reactive I was. In the ensuing silence, another insightful staff member said, “Don said that because it’s part of his tradition.” She was absolutely right. I’m usually very flexible…about other people’s traditions. But when it comes to mine it’s another matter. Leave my traditions alone, thank you very much!

You don’t know how powerful a tradition is until you step in one. Marriage is one of the best battle grounds for competing traditions. I love to visit with engaged couples and have them talk about how they will celebrate their first Christmas together. Every church I have served has its own bundle of precious traditions that incoming pastors need to learn and appreciate. Living next to Westmont College has opened my eyes to institutional traditions that mark its uniqueness.

The truth of the matter is that I love traditions because they tell stories enacted in rituals. Traditions carry within them time and history. The question I want to raise as you get ready for worship is, when do traditions help and when do they get in the way? When are traditions good tools and when do they become chains and barriers? Read Matthew 15:1-20 with an open ear to your unique traditions.



1. April 1 is Parents’ Night Out. From 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. there will be activities at church so parents can have free time on their own. Contact Julia or Ashely for more details.

2. April 9 from 9:00 a.m. till 12:00 p.m. is Parenteen. This is a seminar for parents and other caring adults held cooperatively by MCC, Ocean Hills and Community Covenant. It will be held at Community Covenant, 5070 Cathedral Oaks Road and the cost is $10 per/couple pre-registered ( or $15 at the door. Rev. Bill McPhee is facilitator and this will be excellent!

3. Dr. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary will be preaching at both services April 10, and lecturing at an M-4 Soup Supper that same evening at 6:00 p.m. on “Convicted Civility.” RSVP to the church office to reserve a seat at the meal.

4. Budget Update as of March 23, 2011

a. Income Needed YTD: $167,500

b. Income Received (%YTD needed): $121,343 (72.4%)

c. Expenses YTD (deficit) $130,784 ($9,441)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Matthew 10: 24-39