Smack Down or Tag Team?

As a kid I was a “professional wrestling” fanatic. My friends and I would practice body slams and back breaker moves on each other. It was great fun! Wrestlers like Gorgeous George and Andre the Giant were my heroes. I would beg my folks to take me to see a match. I liked the “Smack-down” one-on-one bouts, but my favorite was the tag-team matches. My friends and I would scream at the TV when a tag should be made (They never listened!) and we would moan when our team lost!
 
Today our society has begun to look a lot like professional wrestling. This is seen especially in the supposed inter-generational conflict that is amplified across our society—from news rooms to living rooms and from school houses to houses of worship. Boomer verses Builder! Millennial verses Gen X! Gen Alpha verses Gen Z! Though there is some merit to these groupings, in my opinion they have become a marketing ploy used to exaggerate differences to boost sales.
 
In society today there are 6 active generations—more on average than at any time in history. As Christians we need to decide which model we will follow. To borrow the wrestling analogy will it be the “Smack-down” model where one generation tries to dominate the other? Or the biblical “Tag-team” model of the Family of God? “Smack-down” or “Tag-team” which will it be? The answer to this question is critical. Will we “bite and devour” (Galatians 5:15) and destroy each other in an inter-generational smack-down, or will we “tag-team” to build one another up (Ephesians 4:12) so that we can be more effective for the Lord?
 
We must take seriously Peter’s warning in 1 Peter 1:8 to be on the lookout for the devil. In verse 9 he advises us to resist him—yet he notes we don’t do this alone. We resist evil in the company of the family of believers. Our tag-team mates are all around us, from 3-92 (Happy Birthday Dixie J.), if we will only reach out and tag them in. Our failure in this must frustrate God. I can picture God watching us struggle alone with sin, screaming at us to tag out! Will we listen? Will we see one another as supportive team mates or as rivals who devour each other for Satan’s delight?
 
Church, we have a choice. “Smack-down” or “Tag-team” —which will we be?
 
 
 
 
Your Brother,
Roger Woods

Tag-team sermon between WLCOC ministers Caleb Smith and Roger Woods

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Generation Next

Did you know that when Paul McCartney was a boy, he tried out for the church choir? He was turned down because the director didn’t think much of his voice. Did you know that John Lennon’s aunt Mimi told him he’d “never make a living by” playing his guitar? When Lennon made his first million, he gave her a silver plaque with her words inscribed on it. Two boys that changed our culture yet the adults in their life failed to see their potential.
 
We see this in the Bible too. When Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the next King of Israel, Jesse paraded his seven strong sons before him, but God rejected them. Then Jesse said, “There is still the youngest, he’s tending the sheep.” David become the next king because God looks at the heart of a person rather than their physical appearance or place in society. The apostle Paul tells Timothy to not let anyone look down on his youth. Why? Because someone was doing just that to him. This discounting and discouraging of the younger generations is nothing new—but is this what God desires?
 
How we deal with this issue as the Church is critical. In 1st John 2:12-14 the apostle paints a word picture of the inter-generational make-up of the Church: children, fathers, young men. Each older generation is responsible to teach, encourage and guide the younger. The younger likewise is to respect and help the older. But as the older generation we must take care that we do not stifle our youth. Instead we must nurture them to become leaders—and be ready to follow their lead.
 
Think about it, how many young people in your family, church, or community are the leaders of tomorrow? Are they future preachers, artists, politicians, teachers, or social workers who, with God’s help might be used to shape your community and make disciples for Christ? Let’s not hesitate to encourage and strengthen them. Let’s look for ways to help them and invest in their lives. They are Generation Next and are vital to the present as well as the future of fulfilling our commission to make disciples of Christ who know, love, serve and share God.
 
 
 
Your Brother,
Roger Woods
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Some of our WLCOC teen leaders get made into mummies at last week’s halloween party!

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Grab a Mop

Friday, October 6th was one of my first “official” special elder’s meetings with David, Brian and Roger. The plan was to meet together at 3:00, lay out some ideas and discussion, and then eventually after we had talked up an appetite, retire to Red Robin (yummm) for some grub. There was one small bump in the plan however, as all that morning and during the previous evening, the lands were blessed with rain. So much so, that the bounty of rain not only wanted to shower our outside grounds with moisture, but it also wanted to share the blessing and cover the inside too; with pools of water in the church basement. First on scene of course was Glenn, who constantly serves this church with tenacity (shout out to you Glenn) armed with a shop-vac, and fully prepped for war. Following that, was Brian armed with a mop. Then David arrived, slightly wounded from a battle with a car, but without even asking, he grabbed another mop and went to town. Then Roger appeared with a cart to start hauling away the soaked and wounded rugs to let them dry. The five of us at the church won a great victory that day, and rain thought twice before entering our basement again.
 
In my opinion, there couldn’t have been a better way to start an elder’s meeting. Even though we had “official” business to do, these men grabbed mops, and helped take care of one of the most basic needs of this church. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but for all of the things that could have happened or the ways in which it could have been dealt with, starting with no questions or frustration but a very simple act of service was the right foot.
 
With that in mind, I pray we are a people ready to pick up a mop; not only for the church, but for one another. There are plenty of spills, messes, accidents, mistakes, pains, that very well may spill over from the things that we try to keep private or keep in their “proper place” outside of church, but in all reality, a mop-armed church is the perfect place to let that stuff go. A church is where spills and messes happen, because we are a spill-y and messy people. But when all are willing to help, pray, support, encourage, and clean, then we will finally be like the one that we recognize as our Savior. Who in the best way, despite the things that could have happened or the ways in which it could have been dealt with, wrapped a towel around his waist, stooped down, and washed feet. May we be willing to do the same, and get ourselves some good mops.
 
After that work is done and our floors are finally clean, just imagine the feast that will be waiting for us…unimaginably beyond Red Robin (yummm.) 
 
Caleb Smith | Pulpit Minister
 
Our elders and ministers serving at trunk or treat, october 2023
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