The church I attend has been without a permanent Pastor for approximately two years. Our Bishop called Pastor Michael Kemper, who is a full-time Interim Pastor, to fill in and shepherd our flock.
After the entrance hymn, opening prayers, and before the readings, Pastor Mike invites the little children to join him on the steps to the altar to sit around him as he shares a story, on their level, based on the Bible readings for the day. Pastor Mike’s first children’s sermon was a little longer than our church family had ever heard. The second week, a little boy asked Pastor if he was going to tell them a long story again. Oh, such honesty. 🙂 As time pressed forward, Pastor Mike told his stories at whatever length was necessary to get the message across and I feel that no one, young or old, concerned themselves with a time limit as he is an engaging story-teller. My inner child would always run up to the altar, with the little children, to hear their special sermon.
Pastor Mike never gave a bad sermon to the adults either. Truly, I wish he would write books as I know he would be my favorite author.
On October 2, 2011, we will blot tears from our eyes as we wave good-bye to Pastor Mike and his lovely wife, Jane. The Bishop has a new assignment for our favorite Interim Pastor. My inner child is throwing a tantrum because I do not want him to leave. My adult self understands that people must pass through our lives as they serve God’s purpose for our growth as well as their own. If I feel this way about my Interim Pastor, just think how the people felt in the towns that Jesus passed through during his ministry. I hope our paths will cross again on this earth, but if not, I will look for Pastor Mike in heaven some day.
Pastor Mike, you have given our church stability at a time we felt broken, prayed for us when we could not, and shared your smile every time we saw you. Our congregation is blessed to have been under your leadership. I pray the church(es) you serve will realize you are a blessing from God.
I just returned from a business trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is what I noticed as I traveled alone in the airport.
Her giggles caught my attention as I ate my lunch in the food court. A metal railing corralled patrons systematically through the food ordering process, but to a 4-year-old girl, the railing was a jungle gym. I watched as her older brother joined in the fun and tried to teach her some new daring moves. They were having so much fun being kids while their father stood nearby waiting for their food order.
At one point, someone behind the counter turned on a blender and the noise startled the little girl. She covered her delicate ears and ran behind her father for protection.
Sitting on a tiny plane for the last leg of my journey, the woman sitting next to me was traveling home with her husband and their 17-year-old son. The airline made an error in ticketing this family and the son was on a different flight heading to their hometown while the parents were on my flight and planned to drive 45 miles to get home.
The son sent a text to his father alerting him that the airport changed the departure gate for his flight. He became lost in the large airport and feared that he’d miss the flight that was nearing take-off; just as our plane was about to shut the door for take-off. The father rushed off the plane to find his lost son.
When life turns on “the blender” and we get scared, we can stand behind Jesus anytime and He will protect us. Jesus told a parable about the shepherd who was missing one sheep. The shepherd left the flock to rescue the lost one.
Being a witness to two Bible stories in real-time made my trip a complete success.
John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?