Worship on the Lawn and Opportunities to Grow in Our Faith

This past Sunday, there were seventy-three of us who gathered in person for worship in the north end of our property (what a witness to those in our community who passed by on either China Spring or Yankie Road).

It was HOT and it was HUMID but…WHAT A JOY it was to gather again with so many whose face I’d not seen in months or if I had seen, it was probably on a computer screen. I know there were many who for very good reasons were not present but watched online. I hope and pray that each of you felt as blessed as I did on Sunday

I am deeply appreciative, as are others who I’ve talked with, for all the work it took to put on the outdoor worship service. Thanks to everyone for their efforts to make this happen.

I’ve already been asked when we might do this again because it was enjoyed so much. While I don’t have an answer, we WILL do it again. As most of you know, our Administrative Council and Trustees will be meeting Tuesday September 8th to discuss how are community is doing as it relates to Covid-19 and when we might resume our in-person worship services. Please keep this meeting in your thoughts and prayers as we seek to make wise decisions based not only on the most current information available to us but based on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As it relates to another outdoor worship service, regardless of whether we resume in-person worship services, we will look at doing more in the future…maybe even another time besides Sunday morning so those that have to work on Sunday mornings each week would be able to join us as well.

Hopefully you’ve already heard, but if not, let me share some ways in which you can join with myself and others in growing in our faith.These ways include our existing Tuesday morning Ladies Bible study which meet each week on Tuesdays at 9:00 am via Zoom, Tuesday Night Faith Conversations meeting on Zoom each Tuesday at 8:00 pm and a weeklong discussion online via our website. Each of these discussions will center on, at least in part, the primary passage of Scripture which will be used in worship on the following Sunday.

This will give opportunities to each of us in our church family to focus our conversations each week, and in the process, learn from one another and by the power of the Holy Spirit and grace of God to grow in our faith. If you want more information regarding these opportunities, let me know. I’d love to have a conversation from you.

I hope you will prayerfully consider joining in one or more of these opportunities…

Grace and Peace to you all,

How’s Your Prayer Life?

Since nearly the beginning of this year, our lives have been dramatically changed and our daily routines altered. I could list all the changes that have occurred, but you don’t need me to do that because you are living it each and every day. With these changes to our lives we often feel uncertain, anxious and yes even fearful. With the new school year beginning soon and the ever changing “plan” for how to do this safely comes new anxieties and new fears.

To be clear, the human creation was given the full range of emotions we have, and these emotions are not to be discounted or looked upon as a sign of weakness. In fact, the emotions we were created with and experience on a daily basis are ones that often tend to guide and direct and raise our sense of awareness as to what’s going on and what we should do.

With that said, an important part of dealing with the full range of human emotions we experience and discerning what “to do” with these emotions is experienced through prayer. It is through prayer that God speaks to our hearts and minds and helps us know what to do…or not do.

Remember with me the words Paul wrote to the church in Philippi found in Philippians 4:6-7 as it comes from Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Whether it is experiences and/or decisions we are faced with today in the midst of a pandemic or other experiences and/or decisions we will face throughout life’s journey, there will always be things that can cause the full range of human emotion from sorrow to joy, from peace to fear and so on. In the midst of all those things, one thing remains a constant and that is the love God has for you and the desire that you and I always feel His presence.

With all the above said, let me ask a question. How is your prayer life? Is it one that involves daily (maybe even throughout the day) conversations with God that help you center your life and feel the peace that surpasses all understanding? Or is your prayer life rather dry and you only engage in conversations with God in times of deep need or stress? Or is it somewhere in the middle of those two?

Whatever your answer to the above questions might be, please know that I am praying for each of you and your families. Praying not just for your own health and well-being (physical, emotional and spiritual) but praying one of the blessings of this pandemic will be a more rich and robust prayer life…drawing you closer to your Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer…

Grace and Peace to you all,

Pastor Steve