Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Cats Fall From the Sky

A Pastor discovered a kitten had climbed up the tree outside his parsonage. Having a heart for all of God’s creatures, the pastor took it upon himself to get the little kitty out of the tree. He tried calling and coaxing her down by holding out tuna. But she wouldn’t stop crying and was too scared to move. Seeing that the tree wasn’t sturdy enough for the him to climb, he figured would need to lower the branch in order to grab the kitten. Pondering it more, he constructed a plan to tie a rope to the branch and then to the bumper of his car. If he could drive slowly away, the tree branch might bend enough to allow him to stop the car, jump out and rescue the kitten.
He got a rope, tied it to the tree and his vehicle and then slowly pulled the car forward, frequently checking his progress in the mirror. But just as he moved a bit further forward... the rope snapped. The tree limb went "boing!" and the kitten sailed through the air - out of sight.
The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen a stray little kitten. Nobody had. Giving up, he prayed, "Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping," and went on about his business.
Oddly, a few days later while shopping at the grocery store, he happened run into one of the church members. He noticed that in her shopping cart she had cat food. Now the Pastor knew this woman didn’t like pets, so he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food? You didn’t get a cat, did you?” She replied, "You won't believe this," and proceeded to tell him her story. Evidently, her daughter had been begging for a cat, but Mom kept refusing. She kept begging until finally, the exasperated Mom told her little girl, "Well, if the Lord gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it."
The lady ended her story to the pastor, "Would you believe, I watched my child go out in the backyard, get on her knees, and ask Lord for a cat. And really, Pastor, it sounds crazy, but a kitten dropped out of the clear blue sky, with its paws spread out, and landed right in front her!"
Isn’t this somehow the way things work? We try our best to solve a problem, to make a difference and yet we bumble things up miserably? Or we resist and insist that something doesn’t occur (like our daughter getting a cat) only to find that the power of prayer trumps our human logic? Thankfully, God is in charge to cover our mistakes and ensure that every lost kitten gets into the hands of the one who truly loves it. No matter what.
In the last ten years, many of you have felt like the outlook for Olivet was dismal. Our worship attendance and membership was in decline, our financial situation was stessful ... and to pray for a reversal seemed as crazy as praying for a cat to fall from the sky.
I am delighted to report that Cats Are Falling From The Sky for us at Olivet. Incredible growth has occurred. We reached the end of the decade in strong financial and numerical standing. Overall, we weathered a decade where it felt, at times, for many of us that our prayers could never be answered. As we go into a new year, we go with a sense of God's faithfulness and steadfast prescence.
Every Pastor prays to someday serve a church during it's season of growth. I am humbled to be a part of Olivet in these days!
The February Newsletter that comes out next week will include an end of year, end of decade, report on our church. I invite you to read it over and notice God has blessed us. The vital ministry of Olivet is an expression of the faith of each of you and your confidence in God's provision.

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