Pastor’s Corner

Pastor’s Corner – Oct. 15
(A weekly word from the Pastor)
As I sit here and reflect on our life together as a Body of Christ, I find myself so thankful for the Care Ministry of the church. These men and women help to meet the care needs of our congregation. They often provide meals for those grieving or recovering from surgery. They take Holy Communion to our shut ins. Often they make hospital visits and home visits to those in need.  The Care Ministry is often the front line in letting the office and I know who is needing a phone call, a card or a visit.
Our local church is relatively large. We run approximately 300 people in attendance at services on Sundays. There are over 290 giving units in our church. This many people require more congregational care than one person can ever give.  Many churches our size have on staff a Congregational Care staff person, but we don’t have that privilege. What we do have is an amazing lay led Care Ministry team.
We are always looking for Care Ministry team members. If you love to visit with people and care for their needs, please consider joining the team. Lee Petersen and Motu Johnston are our leaders of this wonderful ministry. We would love to grow this important ministry deeper and broader. Living life together, doing the “one anothers” of scripture is such an important ministry. Be looking in the bulletin for our next team meeting and come join us!


Pastor’s Corner – Oct. 8
(A weekly word from the Pastor)
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In the midst of the evil we see and hear about, we, as believers, are many times dumbfounded. We find ourselves in shock. It catapults us into reflecting on what our response to the evil should be. Scripture tells us to “stand firm” in the face of evil. We are instructed to “flee the devil,” and to put Satan behind us.
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Evil exists. No way around it this side of heaven. It is. Do I wish it wasn’t? ABSOLUTELY! The truth is, evil is real. Evil is the absence of good, or God. What happened in Las Vegas this past week was pure evil on the part of the shooter. He somehow, someway, became lost in the darkness and God was not in him or with him. He chose a path of darkness and despair and took it out on many, many people who had not one thing to do with his own despondency. But isn’t this like so many human beings? Oh, I am not saying many human beings turn into mass murderers. But the line between a mass murderer and those who take out their own frustrations and hurts on others is not as large as you might think it is.
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Think of the “bully” on the playground, or in the church, who is hurt, broken and dark within so then twists things, manipulates people, creates “drama” and/or threatens others. Are they so different really? Or the parent who comes home from work and yells at his/her children for things which yesterday were no issue? Or the alcoholic who nurses his/her anger and brokenness by trying to self-medicate, but only ruins lives around him/her with drunkenness? Or the abusive spouse who speaks poison to his/her family and leaves open wounds of the heart in their children and spouses? Evil is not just inside the dark hearts of the likes of the Las Vegas gunman. The potential of this kind of evil is within each of us. I am not making any excuses for the gunman who so callously took the lives of 59 people and wounded 500 plus. He made a choice to give into the darkness. I am saying, “there but for the grace of God,” goes anyone of us. Evil must be stood up to…confronted…turned from. We cannot nurse anger, bitterness, hatred, hurts, and fear and expect good to come.  We must stand firm against it, rebuke the lies of the darkness, the brokenness. We must flee from the dark thoughts and vengeful feelings.
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Did you know a little bit of light goes a long way in darkness? I worked in Mammoth Cave National Park for two years. I took people through the cave. At one spot deep in the cave we would turn out the lights. You cannot see even your own hand in front of your face. Absolute darkness can be suffocating (literally for some). We would then light a lone match. That one little match would illuminate so very far I could see the faces of most of the large group with me. We would then light a small torch, and the large cavernous room we stood in would be illuminated! A little bit of light in the darkness showed us the way out of that room.  We, as believers, are called to be the “light in the world.” We must “walk in the light as He is in the light.” What will drive away all-consuming darkness? Christ alone!
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Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, talked of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. Why? Ultimately, our faith affects our heart. See, it is out of the heart of a person his/her actions and words flow. As the heart of a person goes, so goes the mouth and the actions. Our Christian faith is seen in our “fruit” (Jesus said it too). Our “fruit” is our actions and our words. Our Christian faith is so much more than mental assent to some ancient tenets. It is way of being, living, and doing.
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I pray each of us will confront the darkness within ourselves. I pray each of us will hold ourselves, and those we love, to being light in our world. It is easy to default to drama, negativity, hatred, division and darkness, as it is in the very unregenerated core nature of humanity. But for those of us who follow Jesus, in the redeemed of Christ, it is NOT to be our nature. As we die to self to live to Christ, He becomes more and more who we imitate and who we become.
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What is our response to the evil we see around us? Be keenly aware evil is (in smaller doses perhaps) all around us and in us, too. Pray for the Holy Spirit to root it out of your own life. Pray for the Light of God to shine in the darkness and let it begin with you…and me. Let us be more kind, more compassionate, more gentle. Let us be Christ to those around us.


Pastor’s Corner – Oct. 1
(A weekly word from the Pastor)

As we continue to walk through the biblical purposes of the church we have already looked at WORSHIP and DISCIPLESHIP.  Worship strengthens us. Discipleship grows us. Fellowship connects us. There are some core questions every human being asks about life. Some of them are, “Am I wanted? Do I belong?”  It is through fellowship we help people really recognize they belong.  God’s heart is that we all belong! We are all wanted! It isn’t just saying, “Hi.” It is genuine caring for others, for their well – being. It is “doing life together.” It is being authentic and real, transparent.  As we grow stronger through worship, grow up through discipleship, we grow warmer through fellowship.

If we are intentional in living out our mission statement to be “a welcoming family of worship, serving others and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ,” we find fellowship at the heart of being “a welcoming family.” Let’s keep growing “warmer” as we love one another!