“Flair” vs. “Flare”

spellingBeeSo today was the big bee. Spelling bee, that is. 13 Christian schools from the area. We headed out to the southern suburbs early this morning and Maggie was NERVOUS. She wanted to do well SO BADLY. There were 30 kids in her grade level competing in her room. That room was way cramped. 30 kids, 5 judges and 2 parents for each kid. By the time we were done (about 1.5 hours) it was like a rainforest in there. Anyway, Maggie did so well and I’m proud of her. She came in 10th out of 30. Fantastic!! She was desperately disappointed, though. She wanted so badly to be in the top 4, ‘cuz the top 4 got to go up on stage in the final ceremony. She got out on the word “flare”. The sentence used even confused me & I wasn’t sure if it was “flair” or “flare”. Maggie chose “flair”. I felt so bad for her that she got out on a homonym. Homonyms stink. When she got out, she plopped herself down in an empty chair. I could see that she was on the verge of tears. I called her over and she snuggled with me and cried a bit. She was so incredibly disappointed. Don’t fret, baby. You’ll get ’em next year. Okay?

This past Sunday was our pastor’s last day. He’s the only pastor I’ve really ever known. When we came to the church in ’96, I was a brand new, baby Christian. All fresh and pink-cheeked. I learned so much under his tutelage. He challenged me. He rejected complacency. Don’t get me wrong, he had his faults – as we all do. He was a MUCH better preacher than a pastor. He had vision and passion and a knowledge of God’s Word that I’ve never seen before. And the man could PREACH. Completely extemporaneous. He never had notes. All he had was his Bible. And he’d get right to the heart of it. Challenging the congregation to get in the Word. Not preaching a “feel-good” gospel, but the unapologetic Gospel. Not afraid to take on issues of the day and call out sin where he saw it. I became a better Christian because of his leadership. Inadvertently, as well. I learned how to deal with people I found difficult. I learned how to forgive – even when I didn’t want to. I learned that even though decisions aren’t made the way *I* think they should be, God is in control. God’s sometimes leading people in a way I can’t see. And I need to shut up and get out of the way. It was a really awesome service, filled with tears. They had tons of old pictures that they used in a slideshow during a lot of it. It was so cool to see him as a young man, witnessing to people on the mission field – teaching his fellow soldiers when he was on Okinawa (December 1968 is when he was saved, by the way), raising his boys, cuddling his grandkids. And one of the speakers put it really well. He’s got 3 sons all of whom are Godly men, growing in Him and serving Him in all they do. He won the ball game. At the end, the song “Thank You” was sung, and when she got to the part about “one by one they came….”, we all started walking up to the front of the worship center to stand in front of the platform where he and his wife were sitting. The look on his face as he saw us all approaching – it was a mixture of terror and disbelief. He was trying desperately not to cry, but this was more than he could handle. Seeing, in a visceral way, all the people he had ministered to, all the lives that were different because of him. People crying. It was quite powerful, I must say. I’m going to miss them. I can’t imagine how different it’s going to be with him gone.