This has been quite a week. I thought it might be fun to let you in on some of what I've seen and done. In fairness, it has been unusually packed with evening events. But many of my weeks could be described as "unusual."
Sunday, October 4
In the Morning, I preached and celebrated at both of our worship services. The subject matter from the Jesus Story Year (www.JesusStoryYear.com) was "Christ our Passover." I preached about Christ in the Passover and the Exodus, speaking fairly personally about my own history with the Passover celebration.
In the afternoon, I went home and watched the Titans get slaughtered. Then I took a brief nap and headed back over to the church facility. At 4 pm, we had our 2nd Annual Neighborhood Bar-B-Que. Because of the rain, we had to have it inside; but it was a great experience. We were joined by a large number of our friends from Family Affair Ministries (www.familyaffairministries.com). The food was amazing, and the bluegrass music was a hoot.
One of the best things about the afternoon was moving all the tables, chairs, and beverages from the big tent on the lawn all the way back into the fellowship hall. You should have seen it. Men and women, young and old, black and white all spontaneously chipping in to move tons of stuff from one side of the property to another. Men drove their trucks up to the tent and filling them with chairs. The women formed a "water bucket line" to move chairs through the halls and back into the fellowship hall. It was just really cool.
Monday, October 5th
I was able to meet with a couple of great guys from my church, one for coffee and then another for lunch. It's so encouraging to sit with these men and hear about what God is doing in their lives. My daughters had gone with Laura to Birmingham to experience a day at Law School, so I had extra time to do some reading and writing, as well as catch up on the 100 or so e-mails that had piled up in my inbox over the weekend. I also finally upgraded my home cable service to HD. That night, I was able to go with all my ladies to the Macaroni Grille. A dear lady in our congregation had given us a gift certificate, which was a great blessing to us. By the end of the night I was celebrating wins in 4 of my 5 fantasy football leagues.
Tuesday, October 6th
I had some good pastoral care sessions on Tuesday, meeting with members of my congregation, sharing the Lord, and praying together. At lunchtime I got to lead my weekly Bible study. We spent our time talking about the Exodus. That is a neat group of people, and always welcoming to newcomers (Tuesdays at 12:10 pm).
That evening I had a unique experience. I was privileged to baptize a young woman named Kayla in the Little Harpeth River. Kayla and her boyfriend Kyle had come to a recent New Member's Seminar. I had told the group that to be a member of our congregation you must be a baptized person. Kayla had never been baptized, so we arranged to do it this evening. We were joined by a number of her friends, as well as the folks from the new Redeemer cell group she is a part of. It was quite an experience to wade into the fast flowing and muddy waters (it had been raining quite a bit) and to have the opportunity to obey Christ's command in this way. It was a great blessing to me. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the dinner that followed. But I did get to spend the evening helping my little girls with a ton of homework.
Wednesday, October 7th
After taking my girls to their school, I started the day leading Morning Prayer in our chapel (8 am, Monday through Friday). It is a lovely service, and a profoundly centering way to begin the work day. Later that morning I had a staff meeting. We have a great staff at our church. Our meetings are always a lot of fun, flowing between prayer requests, ministry updates, and personal sharing to talk about movies, books, and football. I'm so happy with our staff, and grateful to work with these talented and Christ-centered men and women.
At lunch I got to meet with a dear friend whom I haven't seen in a while, but who has just started to come back to Redeemer after a long absence. He is a really good man and it was a joy to be with him. That afternoon I spent working on my sermon before picking my girls up at school.
At 5:30 in the evening I was back at the church meeting with a couple and their first daughter. He is African, she is American. They are going to have their daughter baptized next month, and I was able to talk to them about faith, baptism, sacrament, and raising children in the faith. Then at 6:30 I led Evening Prayer in the chapel. At 7 pm I led the third part in a series called "Behind the Curtain: why we worship the way we do." A good sized group of folks met in the Sanctuary for a rousing conversation about liturgy. I greatly enjoyed the flow of questions and ideas.
The best part of my day, though, was spending the evening with my lovely wife. I love being with her.
Thursday, October 8th
Laura took the girls to school this morning, and I was at Morning Prayer. Most of the rest of the day was spent working on the Jesus Story Year, reading and writing and studying. I picked up my girls from school and took them to the dentist, and then bought my elder one some hiking boots for her upcoming three day school trip to the mountains.
In the evening, I was at church again for a sweet service of Praise and Healing. Led in large part by our Music Worship Pastor, Jenna, this was a time to call upon the Lord as well as give him praise. I had the opportunity to anoint people with oil and pray over them. I had several moments in which I felt that the Holy Spirit was leading me in what I was saying, speaking through me directly to these people. That is a crazy-cool feeling. Some folks also prayed over me, which was deeply honoring.
Coming home I got to see my wonderful girls and my amazing wife. Have I mentioned how much I love my wife and my kids? I do.
Friday, October 9th
Tomorrow is my day off. I intend to go for a run and go see a movie. And rest! My mother is coming into town, so that is always fun (especially for the girls!)
Wow, what a week.