Last week, Lisa and I were exceedingly blessed to attend Polishing the Pulpit in Sevierville, TN. This was our 2nd time to go, but Lord willing, it will not be our last. When we arrived last year, we thought we were going to a “preacher’s convention”, but we were shocked to find out that nearly 4000 Christians, many of them entire families, were in attendance. PTP is not only for preachers, it’s for every Christian!
I mentioned from the pulpit last Sunday that since we couldn’t take the congregation to PTP, we were going to try to bring as much of PTP to the congregation as we could. In the winter quarter, I will teach in the auditorium Bible class on Sunday mornings 13 lessons I heard this year from PTP. I want to do this for several reasons: 1) to show the variety of topics that PTP offers, 2) to share the wisdom of some of the best preachers and teachers in the church today and 3) to hopefully whet the appetite for many from Jersey Village to attend next year. We brought back with us around 40 PTP programs, which include class schedules and descriptions, along with other information about the conference. I will make those available to anyone interested in learning more.
Our lessons this Sunday were planned before we left for PTP, but I learned much information at the conference that was applicable. Sunday morning we are going to be looking at the idea that for Christians, every single day is “Labor Day”. God has called us to be workers in the vineyard, yet so many of us allow the busyness of the world to keep us from being busy doing the work of the Lord. Of course, this is nothing new. God has always needed men and women to step up and get busy. There is never a shortage of work that needs to be done. However, there is often a shortage of workers. Jesus lamented in Matthew 9:37, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (NKJV).
However, I think that the church has often tried to guilt people into laboring for the Lord. While we should indeed feel a twinge of guilt if we aren’t serving when we can, the bottom line is that we should approach church work with a completely different attitude. Rather than a burden – one more thing to do in an already full schedule – we should recognize what a great privilege we have been given to do God’s work! As we will see Sunday, our daily service is God’s purpose for us, it should be our priority, and it is certainly eternally profitable for us!
Sunday night we will begin a new series entitled, “The Last Word.” In the month of September we will look at the final thoughts that Paul had when he closed four of his letters to the churches of the New Testament. This Sunday night, we will examine Paul’s command to the Corinthians to “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (1 Corinthians 16:20). We will see that Paul wasn’t promoting the use of mouthwash, but he was speaking to a hurting church during difficult times. I believe he was reminding the Corinthians of the importance of family, fellowship and forgiveness. I hope that these lessons will encourage the brethren here to see each other as we are – God’s family.
To that end…don’t miss the opportunity for fellowship Sunday evening after worship. Bring sandwiches, soup or whatever you want to eat and share for dinner plus your favorite board games, dominoes or whatever you like to play. There will be something fun for all ages, including Billy Alexander and I renewing our Strat–O–Matic Baseball rivalry! With Monday being a holiday, this is a great opportunity to eat, snack, relax and enjoy the company of brothers and sisters in Christ and really, in the crazy world that we live in, what could be better than that? I hope you will join us!