• South Lyon Church

It seems like the move for the past quarter century or more has been to get rid of pews. I don’t believe there have ever been any pews in the current building the South Lyon Church of Christ meets in. I know that when we were remodeling the auditorium in Davenport, we replaced the pews with chairs. As a matter of fact, we couldn’t even give the pews away. They ended up being tossed into a dumpster, though many of them were still in decent shape. Pews were out.


And before there were pews? My family has had the privilege to visit some of the older congregations in New England. What is interesting in these churches is that before there were pews, there were pew boxes. These were sectioned off areas, oftentimes with wood to separate them, for a family to sit in. Usually, there was a cost for your “family pew box”, and they were often in the most preferred place in the building. If you didn’t have a family box, you would sit on a bench in the back or in the balcony. And though we don’t have these sectioned-off boxes anymore, we do still seem to have our family seating areas.


Well, what about before pew boxes? Logs, grassy areas, benches carved from rock, dirt floors of homes? We could go back and figure some of this out. Maybe read some old books, or an article or two. Regardless as to what they sat on, the first building built for the congregation to meet in didn’t appear until near the end of the third century; a long time from when the church first started to meet. It was way before we had the discussion as to pews or chairs.


Now, I’m not advocating we get rid of chairs and stand the whole time. Standing or sitting doesn’t really matter to me. What I am advocating is that we move past chairs. Have I stumbled across the next great sitting invention? No, but I do believe we need to get past the chairs, or more importantly that which they represent: a place we worship as opposed to a life of worship.


A place of worship is someplace you come to, do the act, and then leave. A life of worship is one that is continuous regardless of where we are. Yes, we will have our time of corporate or community coming together to encourage each other and remember the life that was given on that cross; but, it won’t end when we leave the chair or pew, it follows us wherever we go.


This week as you are sitting, in a car, at a table, on a bench or even in that comfortable chair you have at home--think about worship. Ask yourself if you have worshiped God with your life that day. Or will you worship God with your life that day? What will you do for God by offering your body as a spiritual act of worship? It takes getting out of our chairs and sharing our lives with others. It takes getting out of our chairs and serving others with our lives. It takes. . .not sitting around.


Standing up for God,

Randy


  • South Lyon Church

Dr. Dolittle was a beloved character in a series of children’s books from the 1920’s. The character was made into a movie in 1967 and then again in 1998. The story of a doctor who could converse with the animals and they could in turn talk back to him. A fun concept in both the movies and the series of books that were published before that.


Now, I’m not sure where Hugh Lofting got the idea for the book, but we can go back in history and see the concept was already there. Though in this case, it wasn’t as fun loving as the later books and movies. We go to the book of Numbers (don’t let that word scare you, some of the greatest aspects of the Old Testament are found there). Go to chapter 22 and start around verse 22. Here we see Balaam and his donkey carrying on a conversation. Was this the first? I don’t know, but it was well before the idea of Dr. Dolittle came along.


What has always intrigued me about this, is it just seemed common place for the donkey to talk. Was this a common occurrence? Did Noah have some conversations with the animals on the ark? The iguana bringing it up to Noah that the elephants were taking up too much space? Were they concerned that the big elephant’s foot would crush them? Or maybe Noah greeted each of the animals coming onto the ark and they in turn thanked him for building it. So, I don’t know if this was common place conversation, but I do believe Balaam and the donkey he was riding had a verbal exchange.


If you think of how this could happen, it is quite simple, God is Creator! Trees are green with leaves, flowers are blooming or have bloomed or will bloom. How do they know when to bloom? Why do they bloom at different times? The staggered blooming does work well for the bees that collect the nectar, and in the process pollinate the different flowers. So, yeah, I can see how something beyond my understanding, my ability to control, could happen. God is Creator!

It is going to be rather warm the next few days. Take some time think about why it is warm. The sun, the tilt of the earth, the jet stream, the. . . okay, I will stop with the meteorology lesson. I do understand the how, the why. But who put the sun there? Placed the earth at just the right distance? That is Who we claim to follow.


So when you see animals this week, think of Dr. Dolittle, but don’t stop there. Think of how an animal could actually talk. Then think of the Creator—the one who can do greater things than seen in any movie or storybook.


  • South Lyon Church

For better than a week I had been looking. I looked through my garage twice. I looked through my basement storage. I moved boxes, shifted items that were sitting on the shelf to make sure I had not overlooked them. Could they be in there? Nah, but I looked anyway because I knew I put them somewhere and I needed to find them. Three or four times I walked by my table saw and kept looking. Then for some reason that I still don’t remember, I happened to look in the bucket sitting on top of my table saw. . . and there they were!


What was a looking for so diligently? Just some bulbs that I needed to plant in the ground. Why was I so intent on finding those bulbs? Because they had a special meaning to me; they were from a guy back in Davenport. I know I have referred to this guy before when I said he could have been a stand in for Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty. I’ve never really watched the show, but what little I did see, Ron could have been a stand in, somewhat in looks, but definitely in personality. Ron is memorable both in his commitment to Christ, and in his sharing with a guy living down on the Mississippi River. Ron shared Jesus with this stranger he met while walking by the river and after talking with him, I baptized him in the Mississippi River where he had a small tent set up as his home. Ron is special. So yea, I wanted to find those bulbs.


In Luke 15 Jesus tells three parables about searching--looking for something or someone. The one searching is always symbolic of God and the lost item is us. These three parables show how much we are loved by God and how much He desires to be reunited with us. We could also talk about sparrows or the number of hairs on our head, all indicating the value God places on us. But then why shouldn’t He value us? After all, we are His children. What parent doesn’t value the blessing they have in their children?



As I said, I found the bulbs and immediately planted them in the ground. When they flower each summer, I always think of Ron.

As you walk around next week, notice the different flowers that are blooming. Some for only a short while, others a little later in the summer, still others may show their beauty all summer long. When you see them, think about the bulbs I could not find, how I looked so hard for them, and rejoiced when I found them. Think of why they are special to me. And then think of how special you are to God. Even on the worst of days, the days you may feel like a failure or like giving up, you are valued by God. Remember that you have value! And if you feel lost, know that God is looking for you. . .and He will find you no matter how long it takes.






Valued by God, Randy