Good News for Wednesday, August 5th
I was excited to write a message of hope to you today (and I’ll get there), but I must confess that I’m writing it with a bit of a heavy heart.
I went into Target to pick up a few things this morning at 9am. Incidentally, this is the best time to shop to avoid the crowds, and I believe they have senior hours from 8am-9am. While I was walking through the store I overheard a conversation between a shopper and an employee from several aisles away. It was easy to overhear because the shopper, a white male who was probably in his mid 60s, was shouting most of the time. He seemed upset about many things including that he had to wear a mask and that the cell phone section of the store would not be staffed until 10am. First he was angry at the employee, and then he began to take his anger out on his wife was at home. Apparently she told him that he could go into Target to get his phone problems fixed. He used many expletives and then shouted 3 times “I’m gonna beat her up.”
The Target employee who promptly but calmly said, “Sir, you probably shouldn’t talk that way… even if you are upset.” This employee handled the situation respectfully, kindly, and honestly bravely because there was no one around in that section of the store to back him up.
The response from the shopper was less than respectful. He used a few more carelessly chosen expletives and (shouting again) told the employee that he was “just ******* kidding around.” He then went on to berate the employee and was shouting about “all these *** **** liberal whiny babies” before he stormed off.
I was quite proud of the employee, and I thanked him as I was making my way in his direction. The shopper needed help with his phone that was only 45 minutes away, but somehow this turned into an incident that led to “joking” about domestic violence and berating an employee in such a way that suggested that there must be a political agenda behind the employee’s response.
Friends, this pandemic has not been good to us. I don’t think for a moment that this shopper represents the “average American” today by any stretch of the imagination, but I have seen far too many moments like this happening in our society lately. The isolation and disruption we are all experiencing has brought out the worst in us. When we can’t be present with one another and reach out and touch one another something essential can quickly erode in our relationships. What is most discouraging to me is that it looks like this will be with us for many more months.
There is a lot of desire for things to “return to normal,” but for a number of reasons, I really don’t know if expecting to return to normal is helpful. Instead, I am choosing to focus my energies and attention on what I wish the next normal will be. My continual hope is that we will finally emerge from this pandemic as a better version of ourselves- as individuals, as a Lake community, and as a church. It is my prayer that through this time we will devote ourselves more fully to living as disciples of Christ and actively being the Light of Christ to everyone that we meet. While there are many viruses that I pray would not infect our communities, there is one that I hope will infect us all. My prayer is that the generosity, the mercy, the peace, and the love of Christ would go viral across our community. And my prayer is specifically that we might be the hotspot that God uses to spread this Gospel virus!
To this end, I spent the early months of the pandemic preaching about having an emotionally healthy spirituality (watch past sermons here- look for April 19 through May 31st)– and I really do pray that you took those messages to heart. Now we are walking through Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount” in our sermon series titled Rightside Up. Each week we are going back through the fundamental teachings of Jesus to see what it is that He requires for those who would choose to follow Him. I encourage you all to go back and watch any sermon you may have missed (I know you’ve got the time!) and share them with people you know could use some encouragement.
As we wrap up the Rightside Up message series over the coming weeks, it is time that we put our discipleship into action. We will do this in several ways. NOTE- few of these have finalized details yet, so read your weekly newsletter to stay up to date.
- Back to School Supplies- School districts across the country have had difficult decisions to make regarding how to educate students this year. School of the Osage plans to open the school buildings back up to children on August 24th as planned, but they are making a number of changes to meet new safety standards. Beginning next week I will have a list to share with you of items that we will be collecting to help meet the specific needs they have identified. We will also be accepting monetary donations.
- Books for Kids- Literacy matters. So we will begin collecting donations for books for the children of Heritage Elementary through our partnership with Scholastic. Each child will receive one book every month, and the books cost $1 per child. Our goal is to provide a book to each child in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade a book for 7 months of the school year. Last year, you were so generous that we nearly reached our goal in one week of fundraising!
- Build-A-Box Food Drive- Food security will continue to be an ongoing struggle for area families as we move into the off season. We would like to help by providing area food pantries with boxes of food, similar to what we do with our Food Truck ministry each Spring. But instead of the gathering at the church as a big group to assemble the boxes, this is something we are all going to do at home. You will pick up a box and a packing list, purchase the items on the list, and bring the completed box back to church for delivery. The plan is that we will roll out this project in September. Stay tuned for more details still to come…
- Sept 19th- Moto Rally for Mozambique- Our Bishop in Missouri, Rev. Bob Farr, will be leading what has become an annual event to support our partnership with the United Methodist Churches in Mozambique. The pastors in Mozambique often serve several churches and few have working automobiles. This annual event helps raise money to purchase motorcycles for the pastors so that they can, in turn, spread the gospel. They will begin their (socially distanced) 2-day ride around Missouri at 10am on September 19th from the parking lot of Faithbridge. More details can be found HERE, or you can contact the church office.
- Oct 10th- Hope Isn’t Cancelled Virtual 5K– You know you need some exercise! Run or walk with us on Saturday, October 10th in person or from the comfort of your own neighborhood. Your entry will support frontline workers and local restaurants! For every entry into this virtual 5k/10k, we will purchase a meal for a frontline worker (i.e. nurse, doctor, screener, etc.) from a local restaurant. More info will be coming soon.
- Oct 25th- Alzheimer’s Walk- This is another chance to stretch your legs and support the fight against Alzheimer’s. Our local walk will be held on Sunday, October 25th, and I think it will be around noon.
There are countless ways that you can spread the contagious love of God in our world. As Christians, we have a hope that is unwavering even in the midst of the darkest valley or the fiercest storm. I encourage you to keep your eyes open for the ways that God is at work in our world, and continue to seek out opportunities to shine some light into the darkest places. Finally, please continue to pray for the employees of Target, schools, first responders, doctors, nurses, screeners, and other front-line workers who continue to keep life functioning for the rest of us. And remember how truly blessed you really are.
Blessings in the wilderness,
Pastor Andy Blacksher
Connect, Grow and Serve…
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Online worship details
If you plan to worship online with us this week you have 3 options. Join us on Facebook Live at 9:30am on Sundays, or watch anytime on our website faithbridgelakechurch.com, or join us at our new online campus at https://forthelake.online.church/ on Mondays at 9:30am & 2pm, Wednesday at 7pm (eventually we will add Sunday times as well).
In-person worship details
If you’re ready, we’re ready! In-person worship services have resumed. Seating is limited, however, and you’ll need to make a reservation to ensure we will have a seat for you. You can MAKE YOUR RESERVATION HERE: https://faithbridgechurch.churchcenter.com/registrations
Keep in mind that this isn’t “church as usual.” We have adapted and made provisions to provide a safe environment for worship. It will look and feel very different than what you remember, but if you are ready to come back, we are ready for you!
It is our plan to form a “virtual” choir for the Christmas season. If you are interested in getting more information, please reply to this email or contact Tina at the church office. The commitment for this type of choir will be minimal and you can do it from home, at your convenience. We know this will be fun and a little new, and hope you’ll consider participating!
Blood donations are urgently needed at this time! There will be a Bloodmobile in the parking lot of Christ the King Lutheran Church on Bagnell Dam Boulevard on Friday, August 14th, from 11:00AM to 5:00 PM. To schedule an appointment call 417-227-5006 or visit www.cbco.org/donate-blood.
Just For Kids!
Harper Chapel is beginning Pre-School classes and a Student Center program for school-aged students. For more information on either program click below.
By our Prayers…
Please remember the following people and situations in your prayers this week:
Kathy Browns- Rusty Fowler’s cousin who is fighting cancer
Darrel Johnson – Keith Johnson’s brother who has been diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer. Prayers for the whole family.
Perry Legg – Friend of Galen and Josie Barlow is battling the return of inoperable lung cancer. He is a retired law enforcement officer and veteran.
Christy McField – Debbie Geasley’s sister-in-law who has breast cancer
Levin McGee – Sharon and Norm’s grandson needs prayers for doctors to make a confident diagnosis of the problems in his shoulder.
Danny Moore – Resting at home after being hospitalized for treatment of meningitis. Also, keep Joy and their family in your prayers.
Mary Jo Ware – A friend of Elaine and Bill Griglione is in Louisiana battling Pancreatic cancer.
(To be included in this list, please reply to this email or contact the church office.)