Headlines from First Thoughts

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

First Impressions

The word that we use for worship, a “liturgy,” comes from two words: “public works.” On Saturday, we had a liturgy, public works with hands, eyes, and feet, as we fed and clothed over 300 people. Thank you, church family, for all the plans that went into Saturday. What a treat to serve together. Here are just a few comments I have received in the past few days.

One person wrote, “The Christmas season has only just begun, and already, I believe, I have experienced the highlight of my Christmas at our Christmas Brunch. One gentleman, named William, told me, ‘This is good luck and a blessing! It is cold out today, and I needed a coat. Besides, it is my birthday on December 22. This is my birthday party. I'll get a warm meal, a coat, some food, and some clothes for my birthday present!’ His smile was radiant. Bless his heart, I made him endure a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ sung slightly off key. Another gentleman was entering the clothes shop at the end of the day. He had chosen a new suede jacket from the coat closet, and it still had the ‘Men's X-large’ taped on the lapel. ‘May I pull this off for you?’ I asked him. ‘Yes,’ he began, but as I pulled it off, he reconsidered. ‘I don't know. I might want to leave it on there so everyone will know that I have a new coat. I haven't had a new coat in years!’ I did not throw away that piece of tape. Instead, I stuck it inside the jacket, saying, ‘Here. We'll put it inside your jacket so that you can show anyone you want that you have a new coat.’”

Another emailed me, “What a blessing Saturday was! It was wonderful to be a part of something so special. Saturday Christ was at First Baptist and he was fed and clothed. You received a special Christmas gift from the members of the church. I am so glad that I was allowed to be a part of what I hope becomes an annual event. The people were so grateful and really touched by the opening of our doors. I only heard good comments. It was a grand event! The comments ranged from, ‘This is the friendliest church I have ever seen’ to ‘I have never been in this church, it's beautiful.’”

Several of our guests submitted prayer requests. A man named Eric wrote, “Pray that I can move out of the mission soon—I turn 25 on December 30 and have been in the mission on and off for 3-4 years.” Another said, “Pray for my son Aaron who is on the Syrian border. Please pray for a safe return home.” Tanya wrote, “Help me find and get a better paying job; help me get my own place and get a car.” Keep praying for our guests.

I’m collecting more stories and prayer requests on my blog. Go to www.firsthoughts.blogspot.com or follow the link from our website. Post your comments under the article, “Rest Area.” You can also preview upcoming sermon themes and provide feedback on previous worship services and events at 1B.

On Sunday evening, we continue the liturgy with a gift from the Sanctuary Choir. Like the present we received from the Children’s Choirs Sunday, let’s open our hearts again to the sounds of the season. Come to be refreshed and to listen to the voices of Advent. It’s another public expression of our gifts from the Lord.

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