Monthly Archives: December 2018

Welcoming the New Year

The days between Christmas and New Year’s feel important to hear God for the New Year instruction and to lay out plans. I want to hear God’s plan, at least those parts I can fit into and cooperate with—at least so I’m not conflicting with His plan.

In my early years of ministry, we always had a “Watch Night” service on New Year’s Eve. Most Evangelical churches did. Food, celebration, interaction, contemplation and dedication of ourselves to God’s purposes for the new year. Then Planners became part of that liturgy.

During my pastoral years, I thought it good to have a weekly “Vesper’s Service” on Sunday evening for congregants to bring their planners to God and ask about the new week and his guidance and then to consecrate the coming days to God.  Intent—bring Kingdom life to our calendars—annual and daily.

Ransomed Heart Podcast gives an excellent, innovative and purposeful approach to this. I found it very helpful and with some fresh trails. Very instructional.

It has been thought-provoking and a pleasure to offer the 2018 blogs. I have prayed they would present another point of view or insight. It is my intent to provide resources or ideas from sources that you would not normally access. Your response (or rebuttal) is always welcome.

Partnering with God for a great 2019.

©2018 D. Dean Benton

Last Minute Gift List

I’ve made my want list and I’ve checked it twice. I want for Christmas 2018:

  1. A blue 1956-1960 Ford pickup. Red is the currently hot marketing color for pickups. If red is all you can find, that will work, but blue would match my eyes.
  2. A dog. I need a dog to ride with me in my new pickup.
  3. A 2-story log lodge—about 6000 square feet.

A log lodge has been on my list for several decades. Someone has not been listening! A Wall Street Journal (12-12-18) article says Baby Boomers are aging as the loneliest generation ever. Senator Ben Sasse quotes a study in his book, The Vanishing American Adult, that Millenials experience their turmoil as loneliness.

A building does not guarantee a community, but it can help.

I’m also thinking about my wish list for you.

  1. A copy of Ben Sasse’ book and desire to talk about the forecast Kingdom.
  2. Commitment to regularly interact with, worship with, eat lunch and drink coffee with a diverse group of ages and ethnics. In 1972, I suggested to a struggling Baptist church they replace pews with tables and chairs. They rejected my wisdom. I have since learned that the word “preaching” pictures the audience sitting around tables. We could use the log lodge.
  3. When you come to the lodge or our house you will experience God’s presence. Emmanuel is still His modus operandi.

Merry Christmas—An intentional New Year

©2018 D. Dean Benton—writer, wonderer, worshiper, witness

The Winner is…

“Check out any church altar built in the 19th century. Churches didn’t pay for altars. They honored the carpenter most celebrated locally for craftsmanship by invitation to build it. An Oscar-like event—be awarded the contract to build an altar for a church.” (A post from Len Sweet)

Which altar? In churches with split chancels, the altar is what Baptists call the Communion Table. The pulpit and lectern are separated to give open access to the altar. Sweet is Wesleyan so my guess is the “altar” refers to the bench in front of the platform where people kneel to pray through or give their lives to Jesus.

A church in South Carolina is solidly wood with pine and other native wood on the walls, pews, floor and platform. I like wood, but this building felt different. It was immaculate. I asked who cleaned the church. “We take turns. The men in our grandfather’s generation went into the hills to bring lumber to build the building. We would be dishonoring them if we didn’t clean the sanctuary with love.”

Do you catch the significance of building and the great honor of being chosen to build the altar? To be chosen to prepare the place where contact with God is enjoyed!

Wonder if Jesus built altars? He built yokes which were considered the best because they “fit most comfortably.” A bench that invited a revisit. Made of cherry, mahogany, pine, fur carved to fit elbows and foreheads. Where wood fragrances envelope and the grain reminds you of strength and beauty God is instilling in you as you kneel there.

What an honor to be selected to build an altar where the presence of God is hosted. Is there a greater partnership than hosting the presence of God? At tables, in the woods, at Starbucks, sitting on a boulder overlooking a snow-covered landscape. It may be our uttermost evangelistic tool—to create atmospheres where we and friends will sense we are in the Presence.

©2018 D. Dean Benton