John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for July 18, 2021

THE PRIORITIES OF MY CHURCH FOLK
SOME GO TO SERVE, SOME GO TO BE SERVED

I have to vent today. Maybe I should just pout, or go off and have a good cry. Church today was a bust. Plan and simple. We did have Victor back with us today to run the PowerPoint slides and the sound system, our other media worker and his wife, the pianist, were out of town for a Celebration of Life service in behalf of her brother who is in hospice care and not expected to live beyond this month.

So we didn't have but half of the worker bees today and the fill-in pianist, who is also my secretary, made a few boo-boos and not just on the piano. Thursday, when she finished the power point slides for the worship service, she saved the file as Worship 7-18-21.pptx. She had forgotten that she had already saved a file named Worship  7-18-21.pptx from the week before as she likes to stay ahead two to three weeks on all her work, bulletins, power points, etc. Notice the difference? We all know you can't save two files with the exact same name in the same directory or folder on your computer. NOTICE, yet?

There is a double space between Worship and the date in one and a single space in the other. She finished the double spacer up and that was the correct one to be uploaded to the media computer but instead, she sent the single spaced one which was actually the slides from a service from last year that she was going to use as a template, but she only changed the file name and did that last week - just to be ready to work on this week, but, instead, she just reused the previous weeks and added the appropriate words from the songs, the sermon outline and special and the rest.

So we started out the service with her playing the right songs but the word slides were showing. Janice stopped before the singing began when she noticed the wrong slides and asked the church to get out their hymnals and that we would sing from the hymn books. I immediately got off the drums and went upstairs to see if the wrong files was uploaded and discovered both the single and the double space files and sent the correct one down by the time the second song started. Victor loaded it up and by the second verse of the second song we were up and going.

Well, that mix up got my secretary so messed up that she couldn't play the songs in an up tempo and try and Janice might, she couldn't get Shirley to play any faster. Shirley (my secretary and fill-in pianist) was frazzled and so upset with herself that she started to hit the wrong notes. She is an accomplished musician - more of an organist than a pianist but still accomplished. She just made a lot of mistakes today.

Shirley also played the special for the choir and she had little time to practice it, in fact was only able to go over it with the choir but once and that was fifteen minutes before church. The special was too slow and the choir didn't present it well because they couldn't hear the piano that well. Shirley was playing the music a lot lower than usual.

Then, there was the usual swapping out of people as some were back from being out of town, some left to go out of town. In fact, there were more out today than last week. One couple that were not there was not out of town and, in fact, have been back from nine weeks of travelling for the last two and they were not there today. He is chairman of the Deacons, Finance auditor and Corporate Chairman and his wife, who has MG (Myasthenia gravis - a chronic autoimmune, neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles that worsens after periods of activity and improves after periods of rest) hasn't kept her from all the travelling and scheduling two or three other trips in the next six months. She hasn't been back to church and she lives diagonally across the street! But her husband was at the work day yesterday and acted as if nothing was bothering him. But he was out today (he was in church last week). Anyway, it is the messed up priorities of some people that just get me going. They are physically OK with travelling to and through 21 states over a nine week period, but can't come across the street for an hour? I can't fathom that?

Then came the sermon. It was well prepared and timed for both the summer vacation season as well as for those who are not there to hear it and who need to hear it. Yes, just about all preachers have those sermons that we ask "what good will it do to preach it since those who need to hear it won't be or aren't there?" Well, I decided to print the highlights here. I do so simply to "get it out of my system" since the ones it applied to were absent and I just feel like I need to get a jab in.

I started out reading an alleged letter written by an irate church member to her pastor (not me) about 25 years ago, as she took the pastor to task over his questioning why so many people just make up so many excuses not to come to church. Here is her note:

Dear Pastor:

You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated.

Christmas Holidays (the Sunday before & after) 2
New Years (the party lasted too long) 1
Easter (get away for the holidays) 2
July 4th (national holidays) 1
Labor Day (need to get away) 2
Memorial Day (visit hometown folk) 1
School closing (kids need a break) 1
School reopens (one last fling) 1
Family reunions (mine & wife’s) 3
Sleep late (stayed up too long Saturday night) 9
Deaths in family 2
Anniversary (second honeymoon) 1
Sickness (one per family member) 5
Business trip (a must) 1
Vacation (three to four weeks) 6
Bad weather (ice, snow, rain, clouds) 2
Ball games 2
Races 2
Unexpected company (can’t walk out) 2
Time changes (spring & fall) 2
Special on TV (super bowl, etc.) 3

Pastor, that leaves two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the 4th Sunday in February and the 2nd Sunday in August unless we are providentially hindered.

Sincerely,

A Faithful Member

I told the folks at church that this letter illustrates a point. Some people will make any and every excuse why they cannot come to church. These reasons, and dozens of others, are being employed on a regular basis in every church. Some people do not like to go to church. They say it is boring. The songs are unfamiliar. The preacher’s sermons are dull or uninspiring. The prayers are meaningless and irrelevant. The people aren’t friendly.

On the other hand, there are those who do enjoy coming to church. To them, church is exciting. The songs are uplifting. The sermons are inspiring. The prayers bring them closer to God. The people are friendly and inviting.

What is the difference? The difference is their motivation for coming to church. We come to church to be in the presence of God. We come to meet with God. We don’t come because of the preacher, or the music, or the people. We come to meet with God. If you will get the motivation right I guarantee you that you will enjoy coming to church.

Then I made my major point: "The reason some have little desire for God’s House on Sunday is because they have had little desire for God throughout the week."

Bam!!

The sermon was based on Psalm 84, all 12 verses and in it you can find three main points. That the writer of the Psalm:

1) Desires to be in God's house which represents God's presence.
2) Declared those who dwell in God's house will have:

  • Will have their strength rendered;
  • Will have their spirit renewed;
  • Will have their supplications rewarded;
  • Will have their sight radiated;
  • Will have their security raised;
  • Will have their satisfaction realized

3) A Decision has to be made. That decision was based on verse 10 of Psalm 84 which says: "Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wicked people."

Then I asked the people what is your decision? Would you rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, or to dwell in the tents of wickedness. The choice is only between these two alternatives.

I got down to the nitty gritty and asked: "Are you happy dwelling in the house of the Lord? Are you having a meaningful worship experience? Do you get excited about coming to the Lord’s house on the Lord’s day? Or, is it drudgery to you? Do you have to come to church, or do you get to come to church? Which is it?

I realize that many go to church out of habit, some out of a desire to have a companionship with other good people. Some to learn something and a few come just to see what is going on. But the priorities are screwed up.

As I was preaching along I saw a few heads nodding in agreement with a lot of what I said, some were looking around from time-to-time, maybe because I was hitting too close to home; some were nodding off and the rest were not there physically or mentally or both.

It's the ones who are half-hearted and look for excuses or things to do to not feel guilty in not going to church.

You know what I wish. I wish that those who don't want to go to church would just say what's on their mind. Tell me, "I didn't come to church because I just didn't want to." Excusers are losers in my book. Just say "I get nothing out of it." Tell the truth, don't hum and haw - let it out, for God's sake. But remember, you come to church to meet with God.

If you will get your motivation right, you will enjoy coming to church just as the psalmist did. I told the folks, we are not here in church to impress or be impressed. We are here to meet with God, and I know He is here because He promised to be in our midst.

I tried to give them this simple observation: If they will seek God with their whole person they would walk away from the services with a fresh encounter with God. Not only that, if they will seek God in that fashion, you will not be able to stay away from the church house when God’s people are here meeting with Him.

I have had a lot of people quit coming to Windsor Baptist in my ten years there. Some because they just don't like me. Many because the new church down the road offers dozens and dozens of programs for kids, the young adults and the music is soooo entertaining! We have had a few deaths, but the physical death do not outnumber the spiritual deaths I have witnessed in those ten years.

It hurts! It hurts me since I take it personally, but it hurts God more because there are far too many people now saying that meeting God - at any time, not just on Sundays - is too inconvenient and not that important.

So endeth my Sunday tirade. I am sure there will be something to gripe about again next Sunday, but it is my intent not to moan and complain the whole blog next week. As for tomorrow's blog? Who knows, I can always piss and moan about the Democrats, but maybe I will be more uplifted and therefore more uplifting. It's supposed to storm tomorrow and be cloudy all day! Just right for a bright disposition, aye?

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Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.