I hear a lot of it lately, and I appreciate it - “Preacher, things sure are changing around here.” Most of the time when that is said, it is said tongue-in-cheek about something that isn’t sitting well with someone. The truth is, we are all dealing with a lot of change. Currently, I am writing this as I share an office with five people (which I love most of the time), so I am certainly aware that a lot has changed in our church community over the last 12 months. Some have been great changes, and others were changes we didn't expect but happened nonetheless and we are trying to make the most of them. I want to remind you that God is always good. I want to remind you that Long’s Chapel is an incredible church with wonderful people that are always available to help us all manage life and explore faith. I wish we could all see Long’s Chapel through the eyes of a seasonal resident I got to have lunch with last week who with tears in her eyes said, “I wish I could bring all my Florida friends up to Long’s Chapel to help them see what church could be.”
Changes are necessary and important, but please know that I am aware of the change tolerance of our church. I know we are pushing a threshold. I also want to warn you that there is a good bit more change to come - as our vision evolves and our campus expansion finishes up next August. So please know that your leadership teams (staff and lay leadership) love you, care about you, and want to help you grow closer to Jesus. We are also passionate about reaching new people in our community for Jesus. Can I remind you that even though our campus and ministries are changing, the Gospel doesn’t ever change? The Good News of God doesn’t change and our desire to Reach, Grow, and Serve so that everyone knows that they matter to God - that doesn’t change either. The vehicle about “how” we deliver the message is constantly changing but the message of Jesus (which is the “what” and the “why”) is always the same and is such a privilege to be a part of. Thanks for your persistence and your patience as we hit “growing” pains around our campus expansion and ministry plans. But some inspiring conversations are happening, and God is so good. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Long’s Chapel in 2020.
Now on a lighter note - our two younger children were out of school on Monday for a teacher workday and so we made the journey to the State Fair in Raleigh. Just for fun - I made a Top Ten List after visiting the fair that I thought I’d share with you.
Top ten things I learned at the NC State Fair this week:
1. You can get a man to do just about anything for a funnel cake :-)
2. Turkey legs look better than they taste.
3. Families have such precious little quality time together, and it’s hard to see many of them spending that precious “fair” time fighting, yelling, and screaming with each other.
4. What good is the prize-winning decorated cake when it’s been sitting there for 2 weeks with a first-place ribbon on it and nobody has cut a slice and eaten a bite of it yet? How can a cake win first prize when no one has tasted it?
5. There are a lot of lost kids at the fair who need to have the announcer call their name to meet their parents at the water fountain. It reminded me that there are a lot of kids in life that feel “lost” without anyone to meet up and “find” them.
6. You don’t have to hit a balloon with a dart anymore to win a prize. Everybody is a winner. When did that change happen? :)
7. There is a guy who charges women (and men) so he can make a public and loud guess of their weight and age with a microphone - has he lost his mind???
8. Sometimes surprising a single mom with some leftover tickets to be able to share rides with her kids brings more joy to your day than you could ever know.
9. How much fertilizer does it take to grow a 1500 lbs. pumpkin?
10. Is there anything that can’t be deep-fried, and where is the antacid?