March 5, 2014
Thanks to the wonderful weather, last weekend was a tale of two days. Saturday was a record breaking service in attendance (512!), but Sunday services, because of the crazy ice/snow were record-breaking the other way! (Kudos BTW, to all those who came to worship and serve in spite of the level 1 snow emergency!) We followed the high of Saturday, though, with the lowest attendance we’ve had in recent memory on Sunday. Winter simply won’t die!
Saturday night we had a record breaking attendance for an Encore concert with Denver Bierman and the Mile High Orchestra. (Denver said that it was also the largest number of child sponsorships for Compassion International that he has done!) But the Devil cannot stop the work of God. We still had first time visitors on Sunday and I made the biggest giving announcement in Whitewater history. It was a G.O.O.D. one.
Last Sunday afternoon when I finally made it home, I praised God that we have four things:
- Saturday night service (if you missed the weekend sermon, view it here).
- On-line giving (which enables the church to be resourced/funded no matter what the weather is! Our e-giving last weekend was almost half of the total offering!)
- Dedicated people who show in spite of snow!
- People with the gift of high capacity giving (which inspires others to also give).
My friend Gary Johnson, minister from Indian Creek Christian Church in Indianapolis, penned some great and timely words in a recent article entitled Road Salt.
“From the Midwest to the Northeast and well into Canada, people are talking about one thing – the weather. From December on, snow has been falling, and lots of it… Winter storms have struck with a vengeance, shutting down airports, stranding motorists, damaging homes and businesses, and even claiming a number of lives. . . We will be talking about “snow-mageddon” for a long time.
Still, there are some people who are not complaining about the snow. These people make their living when there is record snowfall. Who are these people? Those who mine salt. Heavy snowfalls make for records sales of salt. Literally millions of tons of salt are mined every year that are used on millions of miles of roads throughout the winter months. An enormous salt mine in Kansas recently reported that their employees are putting in many hours of overtime just trying to keep up with the demand for road salt. An official with the Department of Transportation said that treating roads with salt prevents more than 80% of accidents. There is a benefit to the widespread scattering of salt on our roads.
Come to think of it, “snow-mageddon” has a spiritual aspect to it. We are living in a spiritual winter, of sorts. Increasing numbers of people are growing cold to all things Christian, and many have ice-hard hearts to the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. Never before have people been so disinterested in and unresponsive to Christianity. A recent report revealed that one-fifth of American adults identified themselves as “nones” in our last US census, meaning that they have no religious affiliation, whatsoever. The impact of the “nones” is being felt in different ways within the American culture.
What are we to do? How can we respond? We need to scatter! No, I’m not suggesting that we run for the proverbial hills and hide. I believe, that like salt, we need to scatter throughout our corner of the world. Jesus called us the “salt of the earth,” and one of the properties of salt is that it can melt that which is frozen cold. Spiritually speaking, we can melt the hardest hearts of people who have little or no interest in our Christian faith. Just as there need to be rising temperatures for salt to begin working on ice-covered streets, there comes a time when our influence on the “nones” around us can increase and begin to be felt.
This winter, “snow-mageddon” has impacted literally tens of millions of people, but ice-hardened streets will begin thawing as the salt is applied. In much the same way, we need a spiritual thaw to occur on the icy-hearts of the American culture to all things Christian. The best way to accomplish this is to scatter ourselves as the “salt of the earth,” doing good to all people at work, at school, in our neighborhoods and beyond.
I am grateful for more than one kind of road salt!”
Well said Gary! Let it snow, but let it salt!
P.S. Don’t forget to switch your clocks forward 1 hour Saturday night this coming weekend (another reason to come on Saturday this weekend!). Speaking of switching – On March 15-16 weekend one-year-olds through 6th grade will have new spaces. The Switch will allow, not just more room, but better use of all our rooms for more fun and age appropriate environments. We are growing and running out of room even in the winter, so that million dollar gift and Phase 2 are coming at the perfect time!