Why I Write These:
This is an initiative I started in 2018 to begin documenting my life better. It’s meant to be a snapshot of a day both for public disclosure of what is going on, both good and hard things in my life. It also serves as a record that I hope to be able to look back on in future years. This concept was inspired by my grandfather, Leon Milton Buttermore, who has a memory that I am envious of, and I hope that by doing this I am able to be the kind of man who starts to treasure the things given him.
What a day! Sundays are just the best! I woke up and went with Trey and Karen Trumbo as well as Ellen Burns to pray for our sister Sherly who is returning to India after an unfortunate incident with her academic program has left her with no option but to return home. The good news for her is that she had a husband she left behind, which I imagine will be nice for her to return to, as well as her family! She also was a huge encouragement last week when she told us that she was excited to tell Indian church members that she had found an American church that loved her well. Apparently it is a stereotype that American Christians do not treat Indian brothers and sisters very well. I had no idea, and am thankful to God that we were able to demonstrate His love for a bit.
Major props to Karen for putting together this idea. She is a prayer warrior. My goodness, you can hardly find someone who cares about people more. Say what you want about her, but I figure if more of us had half her passion to love people our churches would be insanely different places. I feel like people like her and others, like Michael Gaddy, inspire me to this very loving competition where we try to outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10). It’s this very, very friendly competition where you enjoy getting one upped by each other. If you want a fun game for your church, try this one! It’s addicting. I’m sure, like anything, it can have its pitfalls, but in general I think a church who has people whose primary goal is to try and outserve one another is going in a pretty good direction!
After that we went to Starbucks where Trey and Karen bought us coffee. They’re very kind and generous. Then we went to ABF. We had, I believe, 24 people today! What an amazing thing that people are showing up to this class in droves. I think it’s potentially becoming a strong point of UBC. I never thought I’d say that. We have more leaders in that class than at any point before, and I’m very thrilled to see how it continues to evolve naturally! We’d be running 30 strong if it weren’t for the special ABF. Watching the ABF grow has been like watching a metaphor for the growth I’ve witnessed both in myself and in UBC since I’ve been there. It’s fun!
In ABF we studied the thought of peace. True flourishing. Some great stories were shared. We’re trying to work on helping people get comfortable opening up to one another about personal stories. We have some great theologically deep conversations, but something about connecting the dots with personal examples of what the Lord has done in our lives completes a conversation often. Our class is still working on that aspect, but major props to Trey for being willing to try new things to help draw our class into stronger dialogue. I’m very excited to see what his willingness to adapt may do for us!
I shared about a story when I hurt my ankle. I remember being so embarrassed and frustrated by my inability to do anything. I just wanted to take a shower and was on pain meds and it all was beyond my grasp. I felt so incapable. I felt less than human. I hated that time in my life. But I’ll never forget trying to figure out how to take my first shower and Austin Wilt came in and helped me out. It was weird and awkward because I was naked and bumbling about on crutches, but he didn’t once complain. I didn’t go in planning to share that story, but I’m thankful again for how well Austin served me. I probably should reach out and say thank you to him for that. I probably never have let him know just the depth of my appreciation. I hope he’s doing well!
But peace of Christ is powerful. It’s what Romans 8 where the Paul says that our present sufferings are incomparable when viewed against our future glory. That’s why Jesus says peace to His disciples in John 20:19-23 multiple times. They had the door locked because they thought they were next on the Pharisees’ hit list. But Jesus’ ability to bring peace supersedes all that and brings joy to the disciples. He then sends them out without removing the danger, but the peace equips and affirms that the mission is able to be fulfilled no matter the peril. Cool lesson!
Then we went to the main service. I sat next to the Penicks because I wanted to be up front since I was doing a reading and prayer for the service. Next week, I think I’m going to go crazy and sit somewhere towards the back and see who I meet. Or, I may try to sit next to the Penicks and talk to James again. I met him last week and got to know a bit more about him. Apparently he works a lot. He’s not a member, so I wonder how he felt after we did the Lord’s Supper today. We encourage those who are not baptized members of a local body to refrain from joining us at our church. James may have had some thoughts about that. I guess either way, I can’t go wrong and it will be exciting to see what happens next week…
Actually, I just remember I’m on nursery that week. So, the best laid plans and all that. 😉
Well, the prayer went well. Frank Hannon came and found me and gave me a thumbs up. If I had to pick one person to affirm me on a prayer, it’d probably be him. A thumbs up from him is worth a soliloquy from another!
Brad started a sermon series in Amos. If you want to feel good about yourself, avoid UBC for the next 3-4 weeks. Ha! But seriously. This book punches. It speaks directly to God’s people and it brooks no argument that God judges everyone. Brad’s main points today were:
- God’s judgment is universal.
- God’s judgment is impartial.
Universal because, as Romans 1 tells us, we all know God. He is revealed to us just through all that He has surrounded us with and there is no excuse to not know Him. But it is also impartial in that even those who are His “people” are not immune if they reject His word. Brad had some cool thoughts and words. Some notable ones:
- The roar of a lion is a paralyzing thing. I’d like to hear this some day. I feel like I don’t appreciate what the roar of a lion probably did to someone who would have been in the hills of Israel.
- Amos is a shepherd from Tekoa. A small town in Judah. But he preaches to Israel. Just proof that God takes even the lowliest and raises them to esteemed positions in His kingdom if they’re willing to be faithful. Reminds me of another shepherd boy who almost got forgotten when Samuel was trying to find a king. Wonder what became of him…
- Brad highlighted very well how the Israelites would have cheered through the first 7 countries as they got their judgments. They’d have been clapping and hollering for them to get what they deserve. But then the trap gets sprung, and the Israelites find themselves in the crosshairs. It’s a reminder that we can be quick to judge others so quickly while making excuses for our own behavior and making it seem trivial. God doesn’t think it is trivial what we do, especially if we claim to be His people and claim to be His name.
- Okay, so super geeking out on God right now and the Bible! Seriously, this book is amazing. Amos is delivering a series of prophecies against other nations, but Brad showed how if someone was paying attention to the geography of the nations being judged the judgments are going in an ever tightening spiral. Whose at the center of the smallest spiral? Israel. Do not be too quick to cheer for those being judged. God desires for all to repent and live. It may be that if we’re cheering for the destruction fo our enemies, it may very well be that we ourselves will quickly find ourselves a target for judgment as well.
- Not that the church of God is any jeopardy, but America is in serious trouble if it doesn’t fix where it is going. Go read about how Israel trod all over the poor. Go look at how the Ammonites are ripping babies out of their womb. Go see how father and son are using the same woman. If our hope is in America, then I’m not sure we won’t find ourselves doomed at some point. Just look at our nation. There’s no way we can continue as we are much longer and not draw God’s judgmental eye. If you’re a Christian, this should spur you on to warn the people! It may happen anyway, but we should still declare that there is something to watch out for.
In spite of the fact that this sermon series is going to hit hard, I am really ready for it! I think so many sermons do a great job talking about our justification, but it seems often that we don’t preach good sermons on why sanctification is important. You can’t have one without the other, and it is a good reminder that God did not give us commandments just for the fun of it.
After the service, I went to Slim’s on Joyce with the Penick’s and Gaddy’s. Paul Ussery and Luke Stanton and Bill and Ana Konyk were at a separate table. You’ve hardly seen a funnier sight than all of the Gaddy and Penick children eating at a table by themselves. I can only imagine what people walking in thought. It seemed like adults in the bodies of small children had decided to inhabit Slim’s.
Trey and Kristen Richardson also came as well as a few college students. There was a fellow member named Ryan (?) who we invited to join us but he was reading his book and seemed content.
I just love taking over a restaurant with a bunch of people I love. Is that what Heaven is like? Just fellowship all the time? That’s my best life then. My best life is not now, Joel Osteen. Sign me up for Heaven if that was anything like that. And just imagine when it’s not limited to these folks? What if they’re there and I turn around and my mom and dad and brothers and sisters and so many others I love are all just there. And God is there! And maybe we’re eating and singing and just… being in perfect unity and worship of our God. It brings tears to my eyes just to imagine. I think our lives could use a bit more Heaven in them. I know mine can.
After lunch, I went home to watch some NFL while I worked on different things. Ethan Penner and Aric Powers finished up Winter League and came over to watch the 2nd half. Tom Brady is a wizard. Just admit it. It’s impressive. Lots of people dislike him, but I respect the guy for his fierceness is. Just wish that he had half that passion towards Christ. What would he do for Christ if someone ministered to that guy? Maybe we can dream?
Anyways, I left their company and went to the Sunday evening service. I got to give an announcement about Living Sacrifices starting again. So followed up the service talking to many people and trying to make sure everyone who wants updates is getting them. Guy Wilcox gave the message. It seemed to boil down to the fact that God, the creator, is also God, the destroyer. But there are those who he extends mercy to and does not destroy.
Probably the most powerful thing he said was that we get excited to get out of a speeding ticket, and what do we feel when we think of the Gospel? It’s sad how often that doesn’t move me. Oh, Lord! Give my feet wings to take the Gospel fearlessly into the hearts of those you would call to yourself.
I’m home now and have done some lesson work for Living Sacrifices. I finished Morgawr. Yes, mom. I did eat some white chocolate chips. They’re dangerous.
Now it is time to go read a chapter of It Is Well, and then read Exodus 4-6 before trying to get to bed a bit earlier tonight. Need to try and hit earlier bed times this week. That’s the goal.
Coolest moment of the day may have been singing a cappella with our church congregation. That moment. That moment where your voice ends and the voices of all your local church members comes to your ears. Have you listened to that moment? Next week, I dare you to listen to it. First of all, you can learn a lot about a congregation by seeing how loud, passionate, and fierce that sound is. And secondly, there is nothing more beautiful than the edification of my soul as I hear it. The Holy Spirit comes on me powerfully every time I am ministered to by it. I dare you. Listen. Heaven is there if we but have eyes to see and ears to here. The kingdom of Christ is coming and, Lord, hasten that day!