DON'T WASTE HALLOWEEN. This year we won't be having any activities here on October 31. In times past we've had Fall Fests on that night for the enjoyment of our own church family. In recent years we shifted to "Trunk 'n' Treat" events outside on our parking lot with outreach to our neighborhood as a focus. We'll take a break this time around. We'll not schedule a happening inside our facility or out on our grounds.
It's okay not to do the same thing every year!
We could use a breather. Traffic and walk-ups for the outdoor event had seemed to decrease some in the last few cycles, and the needed participation of our own folks was a little down, too. Maybe we should reevaluate what would be a better approach next year. Churches ought to be constantly studying and dreaming and brainstorming new and creative ways to minister and do mission. Staying in a rut is useless. ( I'm so very excited, for instance, about our latest project--adopting and partnering with nearby Crittenden Middle School and attempting to be a blessing to faculty and students there. That endeavor began last week.)
So...stay home this Halloween. But use the evening for God's glory. Turn on all the lights in the house so that your residence is ablaze with illumination(we're people of the light, not darkness!). Make your dwelling shine like a Thomas Kincade painting!Meet your neighbors as they come bringing their little "trick-or treaters" to your door. Put a gospel tract or a New Testament in the kids' bags along with the candy. Invite some folks to visit our church. Enjoy being with your family. Breathe a silent prayer for each one who stops by your place that night and then shuffles back into the autumn darkness. If it's chilly, build a fire in the fireplace, make some popcorn, and watch a scary movie...and be so grateful that because we know Christ we don't have to be people who live in fear(ever counted how many "fear nots" there are in God's Word?)
CHRISTMAS IS COMING. If you don't believe me, go visit Cracker Barrel.
It's only 8 or 9 weeks away. And Advent begins on November 27. Just my usual reminder that if you're going to buy a new Bible for a friend or family member this holiday season, consider purchasing a study edition. Those cost more but offer lots of very helpful explanatory notes alongside the scripture text. I heartily recommend the ESV Study Bible. There's now a student edition of that wonderful product, too, if you're looking for a good spiritual tool to give a teenager.
PBA. In a day when many are discounting the value of district Baptist associations any more, and when some of those groups are even disbanding(one in central Virginia did recently) our own local grouping of churches is doing very, very well. Some of us attended last week's annual meeting of Peninsula Baptists and I have to tell you that I came out of that 2-day event greatly encouraged. There's new energy and passion and focus. Chuck Harrison, our new Director of Missions, is doing an awesome job of leading us. He's very committed to church planting and to existing church revitalization. Lift a prayer for him occasionally. He's a man with a vision! I'm thrilled that we've already had him here 3 times for visits and that he's now a good friend to us.