Fourth Sunday in Lent – March 18

Good morning!

Today’s scripture: John 3:14‐17 (Message)   In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

This morning at the CoOp we are continuing on in our pruning series by looking at pruning our programs.  I have actually dreaded this particular Sunday.  Why you might ask? For one reason, this topic isn’t as solid as the other topics.  You can actually physically see your finances right there on paper.  There are things to be done to prune your finances.  Before that, when we talk about structures we can see how that might benefit and make room.  In our daily lives, we can take steps…but programming?  This is a sticky situation.  People are really attached to programs in the church and personally it seems pretty hazy.

Or that is what I thought until this morning and a light went on in my mind while I was in the shower.  I am over-programmed and I like it and that is why I am nervous about this morning! If I start talking about pruning away programs I don’t just have to look at the church world to refocus mission, I have to look at my own time to refocus.  How did I get there?  I was thinking about Tuesday night…just Tuesday night. I was invited to four different programs just Tuesday evening and I wanted to try to make it to all four.  Later in the day, as I meditated on pruning I realized that I definitely could not get to all four Tuesday night events even though I really wanted to see all four things and be at all four places.  I had to think about what would allow me to most focus on one topic area.  I have finally realized (and it doesn’t always stick) that if I am trying to run from one location to the next, no one location really gets me, my full attention.  Plus I had to really think Tuesday night which of these four events would feed me the most (aka fulfill my mission for the evening).    For me, this morning pruning our programs won’t be just about the church but about reminders for me to refocus my energies for my programs.
In the church world though we get in trouble when we are over programmed.  People divide into areas that perhaps we didn’t anticipate.  We don’t feel unified as a church and we certainly don’t feel as if our programs match up with our mission.  This is one of the major reasons we are looking at Eat, Share and Serve as our path.  If it doesn’t fit into those areas, and we don’t have the space for it, then we don’t include the program.  We really have to evaluate and reevaluate if the program we have come up with matches where we are going.  This doesn’t mean that some of the programs that don’t fit are bad programs.  They are great programs but pruning means that sometimes we have to cut it away.
This week in another Lenten blog, this video appeared that I think really helps us out this week.  If we don’t prune away our programming, we may just lose the creativity….check it out…it’s short….
Our prayers are with you today!  Go and prune!

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