There is lots to report this week. I hope you get to read all of it!
First – Defending the Faith – Last week I spent three days teaching High Schoolers in “Master’s Commission” hosted at Faith Christian Church in Mauston, WI. Six plus years ago I used to attend this church. They remembered my love for defending the faith and asked me to do three one-hour sessions on that subject. The students were so interested in the discussion and asked dozens of questions. In fact, the second day was so powerful to them that I was there for four hours instead of one. This experience with young people heavily confirmed my thoughts on how young people in particular are yearning and searching for answers!
Second – MP3 Pastor’s Meetings – Each month many of the Pastors of Madison and the surrounding area come together to hear an encouraging word and pray together. Most of the Pastors are in the Evangelical and Charismatic churches of the area, but we get a few Traditional Pastors as well. I was so encouraged by this last meeting. The meeting affirmed that we all trust in the “Orthodox” Christian faith. And, even though we may differ over ministry models and emphasis, we share the very same essentials passed on from the Apostles themselves. This is worth celebrating!
Third – Intimacy with God Conference at City Church – While at the MP3 meeting, Pastor Tom from City Church asked me to come and pray the morning before their Intimacy with God Conference along with other Pastors and participants. I was delighted and quickly accepted. In the nearly three years I have been here, I have deeply connected with City Church. Many times throughout the year I am teaching at their Bible College. Our churches joined for a leadership conference. Their Pastors and Prayer Team joins us each year here at Living Water for our Summer Tom Stamman meeting. This last January they asked me to lead their multi-church Young Adults retreats up north. You may remember me saying I was ministered to as much as I ministered. Finally, several of their Pastors and I get together for Pickle Ball about once a month. I look forward to continued collaboration with them into the future!
City Church is hosting the Intimacy with God Conference, but the conference is meant to bless the wider Madison area. I want to encourage you to make it if you can! Amos the prophet said, “Seek the Lord and Live!” Please pray about more opportunities for our churches (and other one’s too) to work and serve together! See the details of this conference below or click this link www.citychurchonline.org
Fourth – Sermon / Readings – This week the sermon text comes from Colossians 1:15-28. About 60-70% of the time I follow what are called the lectionary readings for which texts we read and preach on Sunday mornings. Long ago, church leaders divided up portions of the Bible to be read in churches over a three-year period that covers most of the Bible. I rely upon these texts most of the time (Minus Sermon Series and the like) for many reasons. The main reason however is that the congregation is fed a balanced diet. Every Pastor has their favorite texts, but the congregation needs more than one person’s favorites. Moreover, I find relying upon the lectionary puts me in a place of trusting God’s Word. It may seem like a tough Word on certain weeks, or perhaps something irrelevant to our situation now, but God will always come through for his Word. If you are interested in keeping track of the Scriptures on the lectionary from week to week, check out https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/