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This past week we had a church consultant come in. The elders brought him in to help us with vision and direction. As we think about potential changes for the future, here’s some food for thought.

The last couple of weeks have been very busy. We’ve had family come to visit. Several projects to complete around the house. I’ve been doing reading, but nothing that seems overly fascinating to post. I did come across this quote from Henri Nouwen on the Holy Spirit. In light of last Sunday’s sermon, it seemed appropriate.

“When we speak about the Holy Spirit, we speak about the breath of God, breathing in us. The Greek word for ‘spirit’ is pneuma, which means ‘breath.’ We are seldom aware of our breathing. It is so essential for life that we only think about it when something is wrong with it.

“The Spirit of God is like our breath. God’s spirit is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. We might not often be aware of it, but without it we cannot live a ‘spiritual life.’ It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy. It is the Holy Spirit who offers us the life that death cannot destroy. Let us always pray: ‘Come, Holy Spirit, come.'”

“When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with commercials for ‘the few, the proud, the Marines.” What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. And I hate running.

“But you know what? I didn’t bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would’ve been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you.

“Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn’t say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, ‘Take up your cross and follow me’” (80). – Francis Chan, Crazy Love.

Just got done with a marathon assembly planning session. Actually it wasn’t terribly long, but we planned seven assemblies. I do enjoy thinking about sermon possibilities and how they then feed into an assembly plan. But it can be hard work. I don’t think in terms of song lyrics. I’m glad there are others who do. It is helpful to have someone who can say, “This song would be good here.” I can think in terms of Scripture and message, but accompanying songs don’t occur to me naturally.

I would like to be able to take some time to reflect on the overall shape of our assembly. It is easy to get into a pattern. A pattern is easy to follow. A pattern can be helpful. But a pattern can also become repetitious. Are there things we should be doing differently? What do our current practices say about what we believe about God? About church? What are others doing that we should consider?

Any suggestions?