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With Eyes on the Goal of Joy and Happiness

September 29, 2021

Leadership Notes

Usually on Saturday, in preparation for Sunday worship, I like to find something to read that's inspiring, especially if it speaks, either directly or indirectly, to what we do on Sunday morning. Here's what I shared last Sunday from Steven Lawson:

"Grace has raised us up from the depths of sin to being seated with Christ

in heavenly places."

One of the primary things about worship is it gives us a glimpse, however imperfect, of what heaven will be like. It is our opportunity, together with other followers of Jesus Christ, through song and prayer, to glorify God. We hear of his grace and mercy through the reading and sharing of His Word. Worship puts us in touch with His greatness. And worship is the time when we separate ourselves from the sin, cares, and fallenness of this broken world as our hearts and minds are drawn to thoughts of spending eternity with Jesus. It is not escapism. It is a window into a reality beyond this present age. Worship lifts us up and out of darkness.

Sometimes I wonder if we are living through a new Dark Ages. If we are, what a great time in which to be a follower of Jesus Christ. During times of trouble, turmoil, and tumult, we get to be fearless and unafraid. It's a win/win…we have the assurance of transformed lives in Christ plus we get to glorify God no matter what happens in life. As I type these thoughts, the song "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" is playing on Pandora.

It can be a crazy, mixed-up world. Rather than seeking refuge from it, we need to be salt and light. So, as we live and love in our little corner of God's world, we can bring gospel hope and confidence to fill the dark places.

The governor of a major state, commenting on mandatory Covid vaccines, said, "I'm not aware of a sanctioned religious exemption from any organized religion. In fact, they are encouraging the opposite. Everybody from the pope on down is encouraging people to get vaccinated." This governor went on to say the unvaccinated "aren't listening to God and what God wants," adding, "I need you {the vaccinated} to be my apostles. I need you to go out and talk about it and say, we owe this to each other…" Crazy times.

Perhaps, as we move into a post-pandemic world, some of this lunacy will fade.

It has been encouraging to read that the false narrative that Border Patrol agents were being abusive toward people trying to enter the United States illegally has been called out and put to rest. It was heartbreaking to hear these law enforcement officers maligned by people who should have known better. There is an ugliness about bearing false witness by those in leadership positions. Thankfully, truth has revealed itself. Perhaps this is another example of fading lunacy.

From the "Truth is Stranger Than Fiction" files, there's the story of a Lutheran pastor {ELCA} who's going on a hunger strike. He's pledging to stop eating until Congress passes a climate change bill. He says he "hopes it won't take long." Now that's refreshingly funny.

From funny to precious, I read every Tuesday afternoon to Melissa Hilton's kindergarten class at Tecumseh Acres Learning Center. I started doing that about 20 years ago when Darlene Penterics was the kindergarten teacher there. I loved that woman and immensely respected the heart she had for teaching. Mrs. Hilton continues to uphold the standard of excellence that classroom has grown accustomed to.

Over the years, I have been able to read some awesome books to so many kids. Some of those kids are now married and having children of their own. It is a privilege to be part of this circle of life. One little girl, as I was leaving yesterday, wanted a fist bump, and as we did, she said, "I'll see you when you come back to read to us again, Mr. Mortimer." I love the teachers and I love the children. It is a blessing to be able to do that every week!

A dad treated his kids to Taco Bell for the very first time. His ten-year-old daughter said, "I don't care about quality; these are GOOD!" And I could not disagree with the little gourmand.

Finally, this from Kyle Mann, Editor-in-Chief/Writer for The Babylon Bee:

"Things will get back to normal for you personally when you decide they

are back to normal and not a moment sooner. Do not wait for the

government to let you live your life. Start living now."

And now, pinch-hitting for Charles Spurgeon, here is your Moment with J.I. Packer:

"Once you become aware that the main business that you are

here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of

their own accord."

With Much Love and Affection,


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