Oh, to be missed

I will be in the church I pastor tomorrow for the first time since May 21.  It’s the second time in my 10 years as a pastor that I have missed church two weeks in a row.  Diane and I took two weeks for a retreat/vacation.  Two Sundays ago we were in a church in Jacksonville, FL.  Last Sunday I attended two worship services on Anna Maria Island, FL.  One was in a typical high church at 8:30 a.m. with pastors and robes, and the second was at 10:00 a.m.Harry’s Grill & Bistro (think neighborhood bar) with about 18 people.  At Harry’s, we ate breakfast, drank coffee, and praised Jesus as we listened to an 18 or 19 year old talk about the challenges and the thrills of obedience to Jesus.  She will be going to a Russian orphanage next month.

Tomorrow, I will be back in the pulpit.  Last night I saw someone from the church and I mentioned it was strange being gone from this church for two weeks.  The person (jokingly, I think) said, “Oh, were you gone two Sundays?”  Most people notice when I am not in church because I usually stand at the front and it usually does not start without me.

I also have not blogged for the past two weeks.  Any time I miss blogging for more than a week, I always appreciate an email from Lisa Ohlinger in Montana asking me if everything is OK.  After several years and over 1,300 blog posts, it is unusual if I go more than a few days without writing something.  I understand that the internet, the church, and the world can and will go on with me or without me.  But it is nice to be missed.

One of the problems I have as a pastor that preaches three worship services on Sunday mornings is trying to keep up with people who miss more than a couple of weeks.  If everyone came every Sunday, it would be easier.  But most people only come half the time so their absence is not uncommon.  And then weeks go by and nobody has sent them a note or given them a call.  And many become upset that they could miss that long and nobody seems to miss them.

I always joke that if Jacob Kneeland misses church everyone notices.  Jacob runs the computer for the projector on Sunday mornings at 8:30.  When Marjie & Galen Whitacre miss a Wednesday night, I miss them because they often do the dishes.  When Nicole Reed misses Sunday morning she is missed because she teaches Sunday School.  When Beth Foreman misses the Good News Club, she is missed.  When Marvin Funkhouser misses church for very long I miss him because he always tells me that he and his family all pray for me and my family every day.  Do you see the pattern here?  People who answer or seek out a way to serve Jesus, even if it seems they are taken for granted, even if it does not seem to be a big thing, and I would add even if it is not always in the church, are definitely missed when they are absent.  Part of the way Lisa Ohlinger serves the Lord is by keeping me accountable to blogging through her cards and emails. (And I mean that in a good way.)  She lets me know that she misses my blog.  My advice to you and the purpose of today’s blog is to encourage you to make yourself available and valuable to Jesus.





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One Response to Oh, to be missed

  1. Eileen says:

    You were missed. It is like when my mom was down sick, my daddy was there to take her place. But it just seemed like something wasn’t right. Glad your back.

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