I never left the house for almost four days (Saturday evening through Wednesday afternoon) last week, due to the flu bug. I was not extremely ill. I was just weak and tired and chilled and feverish, off and on. I know I am not feeling good when my appetite goes away.....ha ha! Anyway, I was feeling better by Wednesday morning, so I pushed it to get ready for church prayer meeting that night. I led a Bible study on Proverbs 3, in which Solomon gives 10 Principles of Life:
1. Let love and faithfulness always abound in your life.
2. Trust in the Lord completely and totally.
3. Do not depend on your own wisdom for right living.
4. Honor God with all your income and possessions.
5. Accept God's discipline with understanding and humility.
6. Find wisdom by seeking God alone.
7. Do not fear anything here on earth.
8. Give to others without reservation or manipulation.
9. Do not plot or scheme to hurt others.
10. Do not imitate the violence of others.
Live according to God's ways, and you have the promise of longevity, prosperity and peace. God curses the proud, while He blesses the humble. God gives shame to the foolish, while He gives honor to the wise. The wicked are cursed, while the righteous are blessed.
On Thursday morning, I was scheduled to lead the daily devotion time at the Coronado Stone Products manufacturing plant in Fontana. So I got up early and spoke on the call of Joshua and his victory over the enemies of Israel. I ended with a challenge for us all to be "champions" for the Lord in fighting the spiritual battles we face.
Having been "cooped up" for several days, I wanted to get out and do something. So, that Thursday afternoon, Sondra and I went to see "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" at the local theater. It had an intriguing plot, but the movie was slow and boring. I felt like I wasted my money. Anyway, it was good to get out, go to the Market Broiler for dinner and see a movie.
On Friday, I had a meeting with the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Coronado Stone, Brian Coulter, and the head of Men's Ministries and Disaster Relief for the California Southern Baptist Convention, Don Hargis. We met to discuss the partnership efforts that can be done in the future in disaster relief efforts in the U.S. Coronado has a network of construction and building companies to help bring building supplies to areas hit hard by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and such. This is a plan that is developing and is exciting.
I have known Don Hargis since the Landers earthquake in 1991, because our church in 29 Palms was just about 20 miles away and our community suffered some damage as well. We mobilized our church to assist Don and his Disaster Relief Team (from the Fresno office of the convention) in the feeding of both earthquake victims and the local disaster relief and Red Cross workers. I saw first-hand how ministry to hurting people can really make a difference.
From Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, we took care of Bailey and Brynnlee. Keeping them overnight is always special and eventful. Feeding, entertaining, changing diapers, bathing, watching cartoons and everything else is great fun. Sondra sleeps close to Brynnlee's bassinet and, naturally, Bailey is close by. So, through the night, Sondra is up and down with one or the other. The lack of sleep is offset by the enjoyment of taking care of them. On Saturday, Sondra offered to take Bailey to see the new Chipmunk movie, while Brynnlee went home with mommy and daddy (Crystal and Shawn). I stayed home to get ready for Sunday.
At church on Sunday morning, we took communion in the worship service. Having the Lord's Supper is always a high time of reflection and praise. The time taken to remember that Jesus died for our sins is very humbling and very moving. My morning message was taken from Mark 14, where Jesus sat down with his disciples for the Last Supper, the meal of the feast of the Passover. I did a brief recall of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, where the last plague was the death of every first born in the land. The sacrifice of a lamb, with the blood sprinkled on the door posts and lintel, would spare the death of the first born in every Israelite's household as the death angel would "pass over" them. In that same sense, the death angel "passes over" us as we trust and obey the Father in heaven for eternity's sake.
In preparation of our hearts for taking the Lord's Supper, I reminded us as a congregation that we need to "come to the table" with:
1. Clean hands (a clean life through forgiveness, restoration and response to Jesus).
2. Good appetite (ready to eat from God's goodness, not the "junk food" of sin).
3. Attitude of fellowship (ready to savor the time of togetherness with God's people).
4. Harmony (a unity that discourages and dismisses conflict or divisiveness).
5. Thankful heart (gratefulnees for salvation, not taking it for granted).
6. Faithfulness (loyalty and trust in Jesus, with undivided commitment to him).
During the invitation, many came forward to express their love and commitment to the Lord. The taking of the elements (unleavened bread and fruit of the vine) was a very special time.
After church, a man in the church (Michael Geiger) asked if I (with Sondra and Alden) would like to go to the Cal Baptist brunch with him and his new roommate (Juan Carlos Cuevas). I didn't hesitate. So, our music minister (Dan) and his fiance (Pam) joined us for a great time of fellowship and lunch. It was the first time at the buffet for Juan, Dan and Pam. It is a fun way to spend your time at lunch on a Sunday afternoon.
It was raining a little as the afternoon progressed. We need the rain, so I was not complaining. The rest of the day was filled with naps, football and the Golden Globe awards show.
Today (Monday) is the Martin Luther King holiday. I will probably be lazy and relax most of the day, since it is still sprinkling a little.