Edited to add: sorry so long AGAIN!
When I was an ICS (aka Immaculate Conception School - no kidding!) cheerleader in junior high school, one of the first cheers we learned was: "S-U-C-C-E-S-S! That's the way we spell... SUCCESS! Comets! Sucess!" Kind of a random cheer, I think. But very motivational.
Anyhoo, I'm one of those self-help book types. I can't get enough of them. I usually stick to Christian authors, although I occasionally read business books, as well. So you can imagine how my ears perked up when our Senior Pastor (Dr. Bryan Burton) opened his sermon with a question. "How do you define success?"
I quickly answered. Not out loud. It's not that kind of church. We're Presbysterians, for gosh sakes. Anyhoo, my thought was "success is achieving goals." I don't achieve very many goals. That's why I don't think of myself as a success. My husband whispered to me that his definition was "being happy." Which is why he thinks of himself as successful.
So anyway, our Pastor introduced us to the thoughts and writings of "Brother Lawrence," a monk who wrote about success as practicing the presence of God.
Pastor Bryan tied this in with our study of Genesis, and specifically, Joseph. You see, we've been going through the chapter of Genesis. Since January. January 2006. Two thousand and SIX. Just in case you missed that. Oh, from time to time we explore another subject for a sermon or two or three. We took a break during the holidays. But then it's right back to Genesis. And I've got to tell you... I love it.
When we, as a church, embarked on this journey through Genesis our ladies groups also started The Patriarchs, a Bible study by Beth Moore. Well, obviously we finished that a long time ago! In fact, right around the time my little Nicknack arrived. (On a side note, don't you just love Beth Moore? I wish she would come be my neighbor.)
So Joseph is somewhat familar territory to me and I couldn't wait to hear about him again. We're up to the part where Joseph has been wrongly accused by Potiphar's wife, and imprisoned.
Our pastor talked about success as the world sees it. But he pointed out Joseph was successful, wherever he was. As a "household manager," as a prisoner, and as a powerful right-hand-man to the Pharoah.
Rather than achieving success, Dr. Burton talked about the concept of receiving success, much as we receive grace. Totally unearned. True success being "practicing the presence of God," whatever our situation. Having God with us and in us at all times.
Oh how I wish I had the spiritual gift that would be necessary to properly convey the message of the day. I plan to borrow a CD this week, so I can listen again. I also took notes that I need to review.
All in all, it was a wonderful service. We sang two of my favorite songs (Isaiah 43 and How Great is Our God). Nicknack, as always, had a ball in the nursery. We always go fetch him early so he can join us for the worship music after communion.
Then we came home to a sunshiney backyard, which the boys enjoyed whilst I worked on my accounting homework, albeit from the sofa, so I could at least watch them play in the new sand/water table.
Sundays are the highlight of our lives around here. I hope they're your favorites too!