Monday, September 22, 2008

Workshop Week

Thoughts on a Monday morning while wondering aloud, "Why didn't I start Ronnie Brown on my Fantasy Football team?"

It's Workshop week at Woodward Park. The 11th annual Spiritual Growth Workshop promises to be another mountain-top high in the life of the Woodward Park family. I couldn't help but think this morning the picturesque Sierra Nevada's are a visible reminder of what awaits this week.

What a beautiful morning. What a promising week.

As I shared with the church yesterday, our enthusiasm and excitement is a bit tempered by difficulty. Bryan Shelley, a dear friend and colleague who preaches for the church in Madera was diagnosed over the weekend with Stage Four cancer. It has been located in his colon, lungs and liver. Bryan is a young man, a powerful spokesman for God with a contagious enthusiasm. I simply ask for your prayers today for Bryan. He will begin aggressive chemo treatments that will prevent his participation in our Workshop. In his stead, Nick Perez will speak.

Late Saturday evening, we received word that the plane crash on Friday night in Columbia, South Carolina took the life of a member of Brandon Holt's congregation in Corona, California. Brandon is our Thursday evening keynote speaker. As was talked, he spoke of an entire family of disciples in Southern California stunned by the swift tragedy that befell a 25-year old member of their church family. Please pray.

Finally, yesterday morning during Bible class, Marie Hurley, mother-in-law of our Associate Minister, Joe Boe, slipped peacefully into the arms of Jesus. Marie's long, faithful fight has ended. Please pray today for Tom, Lorry, Joe and their entire family.

Suffice it to say, there's been more than enough tragedy to sidetrack and distract the hearts and minds of many. And perhaps that makes the theme of our Workshop: "Standing on the Promises -- the God of Genesis" all the more pertinent.

When tragedy strikes, our tendency is to shake. But God calls us to stand -- stand firm, stand fast, stand fearless thanks to the concrete consistency of the promises of God. Collectively, as a family of God, we need that and our Workshop arrives this year at a perfect time to secure and sustain our faith.

Here is a complete schedule for SGW '08.

Have a good Monday and please, spend some time today before the Father for Bryan and Debbie Shelley and their children, the Still family of Corona, and the Hurley family.