It was good to be back in my pulpit yesterday. I missed being with MSMBC last Sunday. And I was very eager to preach.

A simple act of kindness – the gift of three cough drops before church – helped calm my anxieties about the day. It was a simple act through which God communicated that he was with me.

I got more comments yesterday about what a blessing Pastor Elliot Ivey was to the congregation last Sunday. My constant response was, “I told you so.”

We had quite a few first and second time guests in our two services. Cool.

I resumed our study of the Sermon on the Mount with a message on Matthew 5:13 that I called, “Out of the Saltshaker.” I intend to preach the connected word picture, “You are the light of the world” (5:14-16), this coming Sunday, God willing.

This was the third time I have preached Matthew 5:13 over the course of my pastoral ministry. And I happen to have the two previous manuscripts. It was interesting to review the different messages. My interpretation of the verse was the same in all three messages. But they were three totally different messages. But my presentation of this text was different each time. I guess the mystery of preaching includes our personal growth and our growing understanding of the text over time.

I am really enjoying this study of the Sermon on the Mount. It gets to the heart of what true righteousness is all about. And you cannot help but be changed and challenged, if you take the words of Jesus seriously.

I am a little surprised and very grateful for how well the congregation received the message. I think I came at them a little hard at points in this message. But they “endured” (2 Tim. 4:3) my rebukes, reproofs, and exhortations. To god be the glory.

For the first time in about a month, I got through my morning messages without getting hoarse. For those who are counting, Sunday’s score: hbc2 – 2/microphones – 0!

What do you do after a good day of worship? Go to Disneyland! My niece Harriette, my pastor’s granddaughter, Sidney, went with us. George and his nephew, Kendell, also joined us. We had a blast. The weather was great. And the lines were short. What more can you ask?

We didn’t get home until midnight. So I don’t have to tell you how wiped out we all were. Are. Will be until we can catch up on some sleep.

I listened to Dorinda Clark-Cole’s song, “I Am Still Here,” this morning. And it set the tone for my day. I have been overflowing with grateful praise all day.

Our 2008 Vacation Bible School began this evening. It will run through this coming Friday. And our children will participate in our worship service this coming Sunday. Please remember our children’s pastor, Phil Placenti, his team of workers, and all the children and families who will be ministered to in your prayers this week.