Yesterday was just one of those days you kind of want to hold onto. It was one of those reasons that I still count myself a member of Otter Creek and am happy to.
Let me start with the end of the Sunday morning worship service. We had a member of our congregation there who hadn't been there in a while. Howard Justiss is turning 98 years old today and attended yesterday for the first time in a while. He's cared for in a nursing home these days, but he is one of those "lions" of our congregation that provided the foundation for who we are today. He was one of the original movers and shakers of AGAPE, an adoption and counseling agency in Nashville. With him there, another one of our lions, John Rucker, got up and with his prerogative as a former elder and being in his 90s as well, he took the mic and gave a wondrous tribute to his friend Howard, also inviting up Charlie Brandon, ANOTHER Lion of Otter Creek. Seeing those three men up there reminded me about the roots of Otter Creek and how deep they run and how blessed we are to still have men like them among us.
But honestly that wasn't the best part of the morning. The best part of the morning was the sermon. Lee Camp, who I count as a friend, gave an incredible sermon. My initial reaction is to call it the best one I think I've ever heard, but I know my tendency to overreact to things while I'm still in the halo of them. It was called Neither a Conservative Nor a Liberal Church. If you've read Mere Discipleship (and if you haven't, why not?), then you'll be familiar with some of the concepts, but Lee took it in some new directions that just really worked and he was passionate about, all with a focus on us looking like Jesus personally and corporately. I highly, highly recommend listening to it.
The day closed out with an ice cream social and a night of worship with the Sanctuary band which was really excellent as well.
Otter Creek is entering a new phase of life with Josh Graves and David Rubio starting their preaching and teaching ministry on September 1. And thankfully, it won't be a "new" work. It'll be the continuation of work and preaching and teaching done at Otter Creek for 80 years. There are great foundations to that congregation and my hope is God doing greater things through that congregation than we can imagine.
Addendum: Cory Martin has transcribed part of the last portion of the sermon. http://murribu.blogspot.com/2009/08/neither-conservative-nor-liberal.html