Archive for December, 2008
“His mercy endureth forever.”
This phrase occurs 41 times in the Old Testament. As it was translated in the early 1600s for what we know as the King James Version, the translation committee must have taken great comfort from this truth. For in the days of King James I (1603-25) the times in England were perilous, and the future quite unknown.
Not much was different from the times in Israel when these words were given by God to His prophets. For when we read these words it is often in a context where Israel is under threat of invasion and exile. The word “mercy” has more the meaning of “steadfast love” (ESV), loyalty, or commitment. Thus the verse is a reminder that, although we are often unfaithful to God, He is always faithful, through all generations, in good times and bad.
Days of the Babylonian threat to Judah, days of the early 17th century, today. Again not that different. As C.S. Lewis so wisely concluded, it is “chronological snobbery” to view our time as more advanced, more moral, or we could add, less uncertain than times past.
We live in days of stock markets diving through floors, basements, and even finding previously unknown catacombs below the basements! We live in days of wars still fought in two other countries. We live in days of sizeable cities like Juarez, Mexico in the hands of criminal elements. Yet God is no more or less faithful to His glory, His purposes, and yes, His people than the times we think of as being more prosperous.
What a joy for us, together, to worship Christ and not commerce during such times!
Over the past few years a significant piece of feedback we’ve heard is that there needs to be better communication. As an example, we might bring a missions team to the front of church to pray as we send them out, and hear someone later say, “I didn’t know we were doing a missions trip for medical purposes in Guatemala, if I had known I would have wanted to go.”
So to this end we’ve done a number of things to improve this area in the past year or two. Some of the more visible examples are: (1) you’ll know the minute you walk through the foyer that things looks different than they did 18 months ago‚ instead of a large number of tables, often with the same display week after week, there are four kiosk stations now, each with a flat screen that can, if the ministry wants, rotate announcements and pictures; (2) we’ve begun an email newsletter, which comes out the first week of each month; (3) we’ve printed, on one card, the calendar events for the whole year (the 2009 calendar card is available at the welcome center)‚ so that with the calendar tacked up on a refrigerator or handy near a desk or dresser at home, we shouldn’t have to wonder any more about when the men’s retreat or VBS or summer camp is; (4) this new web site will allow for better navigation, updates, links, and control of archived audios; and (5) in early 2008 we came out with ministry cards (they are at the welcome center), where the basics about each ministry such as purpose and contact information are outlined.
We’re always open to new ideas for communication, so if you have any please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In future blogs I’ll communicate more about finances here at DSC: how our budget is doing, what projects we are considering for the future, etc.
But to give you one quick note in passing about finances, you’ll notice some Christmas decorations outside the church in the evenings and, especially, some new ones for the Christmas Eve services. We had looked at the option of spending a good amount of money on outside decorations, and that certainly would be a neat way of helping to welcome and invite people in the neighboring housing developments to join us for Christmas, but we really felt like in tight financial times we couldn’t do that.
Priorities like preaching, group studies, local outreach, and overseas missions come way before the facility. Therefore we decided to spend what will end up being just a few hundred dollars on the lights you see at the entrance, as well as some special decorations put together by some DSC groups that will welcome us as we arrive on Christmas Eve!