An Expression of Unbridled Love: May 8th - 14th

This Week & Beyond...

Hey everyone!

The sun is shining and things are heating up!! Praise the Lord!!  Just wanted to keep the following on the tip of your tongue and top of your mind...

Prayer this week...
1) Greg & the team leading P&W.
2) Darnell & Christy as they bring the Word.
3) Rob leading the service.
4) Brad & Kelley and their pursuit of adopting Shannon.
5) Sound persons needed!!  Right now Tim is our only guy.  Let's ask the Lord if there is someone to add to the team!

Team night #7 - Praise & Worship @ The Loeppky Loft!!

It has been booked!!

For our last team night of the year, we will be inviting the church to join us for a night of prayer, praise, & worship at Ron & Hedy Leoppky's loft.  

We will be starting at 7pm with worship and prayer, and around 9pm, ending with a fellowship and coffee in their renovated barn.  As of this moment, the plan is to have the same feel as our 36 McKenzie worship times, maybe just on a slightly larger scale. :)  We will bring a small sound system, and, rotate musicians as are available and desiring.  

Please, if you could... 
1) Save the date, mark your calendars, free up your schedule!!
2) Confirm your attendance sooner rather than later, that would be most excellent!!
3) Mention it to others!  It would be great to fill the space.(60-80 peeps)

Blessings to you all!!
Gregory James...

Devotional...

An Expression of Unbridled Love
by Tom Kraeuter, Hillsboro, Missouri  

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).

A dear friend of mine pastors a church in northern Minnesota. There is a young boy, maybe 9 or 10 years old, named Isaac in his congregation. Isaac has Down syndrome. As is typical of such children, Isaac is very free in his expressions of affection. In fact, most of the time when Isaac sees my friend the pastor, he hugs him. And not just a polite little squeeze either. Isaac gives his pastor a big bear hug at nearly every opportunity.

When they celebrate communion at my friend's church, it's a bit more formal than in many evangelical churches. The congregation members file to the front of the sanctuary and kneel side by side to receive the elements from the pastor. Those who are younger and who have not been instructed in the meaning of the Lord's Supper, receive a blessing. The pastor stops, touches the child on his head or shoulder, and prays for God's strength and peace to rest on that child.

One day as my friend was distributing the communion bread and wine, he noticed Isaac kneeling at the railing like everyone else. But out of the corner of his eye, the pastor noticed a big smile on Isaac's face. Just as my friend reached Isaac and went to pray a blessing on him, Isaac jumped up and gave him a big bear hug. Suddenly the formality of the moment was disrupted. The pastor had never learned about how to handle such a situation while he was in seminary. His training had not prepared him for this scenario. The pastor fought back tears as Isaac unashamedly demonstrated his love.

Later my friend shared with the congregation that Isaac's disruption was a great example of how God wants us to act toward Him. A true expression of unbridled love. The Lord isn't looking for some sort of stoic formalism with no life. He wants our hearts expressed with real passion. Just like Isaac did with his pastor.

I would challenge you to consider this as you help lead worship this week. Our job isn't to help get the congregation -- or even ourselves -- just to sing. Our job is to worship the Living God, and thereby help others to worship. We shouldn't be content to simply get them to say the right words. Instead, our desire should be for them-and for us-to truly connect with the Lord in an expression of unbridled love. Our goal should be, as Romans 12 says, that we would all present our bodies as living sacrifices to Him.

GOING DEEPER: 
1. What could we do that would help and encourage the congregation to honestly give themselves more freely to God in worship? 
2. Share a time when you have seen someone demonstrating "unbridled love."
3. Consider the expression of unbridled love demonstrated by the father in the parable of the prodigal. (Luke 15:11-32) Imagine God greeting you like that. How could you express that same kind of love back to the Lord?