• South Lyon Church


Except for the times it is associated with first, one gets a bad rap. And even being associated with first isn’t always great. I would much rather have the winning run on third base instead of on first base late in the game. When it comes to the NCAA basketball tournament, the first four may sound good; but really they are the last teams to make it into the tournament and must play the first four games, or “play in” games as they are also called. Being in the final four is much more desirable. So even being associated with first, doesn’t make one always great.


When it comes to songs, one is not that great either. Countless country western songs lament about being all alone, because you have been dumped or cheated on. Alone is just another way of saying being just one. The kid’s song, “The Farmer in the Dell” has the farmer taking a wife, who then takes a child, who then takes a nurse, continuing on until the cheese stands alone. (This cheese is crying in the Youtube video I came across when looking for these lyrics.) Three Dog Night has a song titled “One” which tells us that one is the loneliest number that there ever was. Most songs aren’t singing the praises of the lonely number one.


To an extent, the Bible concurs with these songs. Right off the bat we are told that it isn’t good for man to be alone. Genesis 2:18 tells us this and a suitable helper is brought into Adam’s life. Ecclesiastes 4:9 informs us that two are better than one. On two different occasions (John 8:16 and 13:31) Jesus lets us know that He is not alone, but the Father is with Him. And we know that Jesus, when sending out the twelve, send them in pairs, as we read in Mark 6:7. So most sources point to the fact that one is not the best.


I would like to, however, defend one. Think about what it would be like as we enter 2022 if you have helped one person get closer to God. Maybe it is someone who has drifted away from that relationship. It could be one person who is going through difficulties and struggling with their relationship with our Heavenly Father. Then there are those, like I was, who were trying to follow God, but didn’t have a good understanding of what God’s word really said. Maybe it is someone that has not seen the love of God and just needs someone to show them. Helping that one is a good thing.


Tell One More is our theme for 2021, and it starts with one. That one is you! Start praying for God to use you. Pray for an individual who you want to help know God better. Pray that God will put you in that one person’s life. Pray that you will be committed enough to talk to that one person when God gives you the opportunity. Pray that a year from now you will be encouraging that one person to in turn, pray for, love, serve, and yes. . . tell one more.


One at a time,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church

I had some time this week to sort through the A/V closet with Tom and Bryson. It was amazing how many things were in that room that is approximately six by six. There were enough items in there to fill the top of three of our white folding tables, plus the floor beneath, plus items stacked at the end. You can see from the picture that there was a lot of items that we sorted through.


Some of the items may prove to be useful. Anyone who has been at services lately is aware that the mic used by the speaker cuts in and out at times. Well, we found a box that looks like it may be replacement cables for it that will hopefully rectify the problem. There were some flashlights, they may come in handy sometime along with several cords that we may use to connect electronics together. So, some useful items there.


But along with the useful items there were. . .well. . . . There was a box of 75 premium 92 minute long cassette tapes—now to be fair, there was also a dual cassette player/recorder to duplicate tapes. There were different empty boxes, some to items we probably still have, some to items that are long since tossed. And then there were the three sound boards that we last used, I’m not sure when. So it was a good activity to go through and keep things that would be useful and toss those that were junk.




As we were doing this and with the new year upon us, it made me think about the storage in my life, specifically in my Christian life. How many things, ways, ideas am I carrying around, storing in my life that are just taking up space. Sometimes as individuals and as a congregation we need to evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it. Is that way, that thinking, still the best? At one time those cassettes and player/recorder were gold. Now, it may be hard to find someplace to play the tape. We just pull out our phone, go to a website and listen.


As we start this new year, out with the old, in with the new, let’s do some cleaning. Let’s examine the way we live our lives, is it just because I have lived it this way for so many years, or is it because it is the best for the Kingdom. It can be hard. Letting go is hard; but, it may be just the thing that is needed to make room for even better spiritual habits in our walk with Jesus.


Checking my closet

Randy

  • South Lyon Church

One big thing COVID has done is change our habits. There are things I used to love doing that I miss tremendously and then there are some things I’ve learned to live without and may never go back to doing at all. For instance, I loved going to the movie theater at least once a month and especially for certain special movies that must be seen in the entertaining atmosphere of a movie theater. But after being restricted from that pleasure for eight months, I find I don’t really need that activity at all. I don’t think I’ll ever go to a movie theater again.


There are many other activities and events that we took part in eight months ago that we no longer do. Some of these experiences are ones we really miss and some of them are just things we may have done out of habit and COVID broke that habit. Over the last eight months, we formed new habits to replace the old ones. Healthline.com states, “It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.” Well, we’ve had 245 days since the first school shut down due to the virus to create new habits—some of which are now automatic.

Many of these new habits are great. I know busy families have enjoyed the additional together time that they didn’t even know they were missing. Several people have finished projects that they had been slowly working on for years in their limited free time. Normally stressed out people are doing creative activities they always dreamed about trying, but just never stopped long enough to accomplish these dreams. There are some old ways of living we will never return to, nor would we really want to.

One of the new habits that has developed during this time is church online. When we were first told we couldn’t meet in person together, we were devastated. Zoom quickly became a household word and phone calls became more frequent. We missed each other. We felt discouraged and alone. We looked for online sermons for encouragement and shared links with other Christian friends. One of my friends said he listened to more sermons during quarantine than he had listened to in his whole life because he had so many preachers from his past who were putting messages online, and he wanted to hear them all! Sunday mornings eventually became stress free “Sabbaths.” We could have “church” at any time convenient for us, sitting comfortably on our couches. It became quite nice, in fact. Church on a screen, however, was never meant to replace church as a community.

A study of the original word now translated as “church” shows: Latin ecclesia, from Greek ekklesia, where the word is a compound of two segments: “ek,” a preposition meaning “out of,” and a verb, “kaleo,” signifying “to call” - together, literally, “to call out.” That usage soon disappeared and was replaced with “assembly, congregation, council,” or “convocation.”

It’s not a place, it’s a people. It’s not a building, it’s a community. It’s not a structure to meet in, it’s the body of Christ to live in. This people, this community, this body needs to be together. Churches all over the country have seen a significant decline in attendance. Some of this is due to precautions taken to avoid the virus; but, many times it is due to the replacement by other “habits.” The church is no longer a people “called out” joining together as a community, but a substandard, impersonal meeting with a screen.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” God knew we were habitual creatures. He also knew we needed each other. So if you never step into another movie theater again, that’s okay; but don’t get used to being absent from the gathering Jesus felt so strongly about that He died on the cross to make it within our reach.