Pastor’s Message July 2019

SUMMER HAS ARRIVED!!!!  I believe we can say we’ve all had enough rain.  You turn on the weather and it’s another day of rain and possibly thunderstorms.  We’ve seen the devastation from the tornadoes, and floods that the rain has caused.   I’m struck by the power of water.  Water is necessary for life and when we don’t have enough life suffers.  Water has the power to give life and also has the power to destroy life. We’ve seen the devastation that’s occurred in the Midwest from the tornadoes and flood waters.  We’ve also seen the devastation that’s been occurring in Oswego with the rising waters.  Many farmers are having trouble getting their planting all done.  

Watching the news and seeing the water surround so many places reminds me of the water that gives us life.  The water that flows from God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit: The waters of baptism; These waters have both destructive and life-giving powers.  Paul tells us in Romans 6:3-11 (NIV) 3“don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Paul is telling us when we go through the waters of baptism, we experience a death and a renewal of life.  The moment we go under the water we die of our broken sinful selves and we arise with a new life in Jesus Christ.  From the moment the Word of God’s promises combined with the waters touch our brow, we’re drowned in them, die, and live by the Spirit of the living Jesus Christ.  The waters of baptism destroy our brokenness, our captivity, the power of evil, chaos, suffering to sin and death.

At the same time the waters of baptism have the power to give us life.  As we go under the water it brings us into the gift and promise that we receive in Jesus Christ.  God’s love encircles us in such a way that it can’t be removed.  We live each moment of every day as one of God’s beloved children, carried by His unlimited grace. In baptism we received the same life to which Jesus was raised; life without end; life that is stronger than sin and death, life that promises an end to suffering and pain; life that no evil, experience, thought, word, or action, can take away.  We find this difficult to wrap around in our minds because exactly how it works is a mystery of God.  Yet, there is a death and there is life in the same act, in the same waters, brought about by the power of God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ.  In these waters we find the promise of God.  By God’s action through these waters we know God’s Love Never Fails, His forgiveness is stronger than our sins, His life makes a way through death and His unwavering presence is with us with always.  He has promise to Never Leave nor Forsake us!

When you see the water around, as the rain continues to fall, as you see the devastation, the destruction, and the life-giving power of the water, remember the powerful waters of baptism which God’s promises become a reality for you and are renewed for you every moment of every day in your life.  

God Bless You, Keep Praying and Studying God’s Word.  Invite others to attend church with you.

In His Service,

Pastor Doug     

Pastor’s Message June 2019

Greetings in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

I’m going to go back to April one of our busiest months during Lent.   We had 18 parishioners complete the 5-week Bible Study on “The Lamb of God.” On Friday, April 19th   we held our Annual Good Friday Tenebrae Service.  There were 58 that attended this service.  Jenn Cerio our choir director put together a very powerful musical presentation performed by our choir along with the scriptures readings from some of our parishioners.  It was then followed by the Drama entitled “Mary & James Under the Cross.”  We received many good comments regarding our Tenebrae Service and Drama presentation.  Many lives were touched that night.  Praise The Lord!  I want to thank Jenn Cerio, all the choir members, Elinor Fults & Briana Wignall for the duet they sang during the Tenebrae and Easter Sunday Service, also Cindy Kennedy that played Mary and Norm Chirco that played James during the drama presentation.  Our Easter Sunday Worship Service ended with Communion.  There were 50 in attendance for this service.  Thank you to everyone that attended these services.

As we entered the month of May we celebrated the Wedding of Tim Short and Tammy Blowers on Saturday, May 4th.   On Monday, May 6th we hosted the Lion’s Club Pasta Dinner for the senior Honor Society of the Weedsport Central Jr.-Sr. High School.  Thank you to everyone that assisted in the kitchen, set-up, take-down, table servers, clean-up, whatever you did, just know it was greatly appreciated.  Our Penny Fund for the Heifer Project has raised over $500 for the Heifer Project, a mission of our church.  The Prayer Warriors continue to draw names on the second Sunday of each month to pray daily for a family that attends our church.  We had 44 in attendance on Mother’s Day which included 10 children.  We congratulate Michael Chirco that has graduated from Western New England University.  On Sunday, May 26th A Memorial Candle was placed in the front of the altar which Bob Taylor lit to honor and remember the men and women of the armed forces that paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could have the freedoms we have today.  We will never forget.  I have been asked to do a Tribute in Memory of Chuck Jayne at the Law Enforcement Torch Run to be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at the Parking Lot of Rite Aid on Genesee Street when the Law Enforcement Runners arrive (10:00 am).  Our church will be hosting the Weedsport Central Jr.-Sr. High School Baccalaureate Service on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm.  Our Choir will sing during this program, and I will give a message to the senior class.   

You have heard me say many times God has called us to be his disciples.  I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” The call of God is not just for a select few, it’s for everyone.  Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears and exactly what I hear depends on my spiritual attitude.  In Matthew 22:14 the Bible says: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”  That is few prove that they are chosen ones.  The chosen ones are those that have come into a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened.  Then they hear “the voice of the Lord” continually asking “…who will go for us?”  However, God doesn’t single out someone and say, “Now, you go.”  He didn’t force his will on Isaiah.  Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call.  His response, performed in complete freedom, could only be to say, “Here am I! Send me.”

Remove the thought from your mind from expecting God to come and force you or plead with you.  When our Lord called His disciples, he did it without irresistible pressure from the outside.  The quiet, yet passionate insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive.  Mathew 4:19, the Bible says: “And He said to them “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard; “the Voice of the Lord.”  In perfect freedom we too will say “Here Am I! Send me.”       

Keep Praying, read your Bible, and Invite someone to attend church with you.

In His Service Pastor Doug

Pastor’s Message May 2019

A Prayer for When You Can’t Pray

Every time you feel you can’t pray, you can start here, with the one prayer given us by our Lord.   

                                                By Marci Alborghetti

The Lord’s Prayer is the only formal prayer that Jesus offered us, the prayer He gave to His disciples when they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:2-4).  Every time you feel you can’t pray, you can start here, with the one prayer given us by our Lord.  And since it is literally the Lord’s prayer, a personal gift from Jesus to each one of us, we should offer it back to the Lord as a personal gift, embracing the meaning of each line as it reaches out to gather us into Christ’s waiting arms.

Our Father: Lord, help me to remember that You are my Father, a caring Parent Who will love and protect me much more than any human parent.

Who are in heaven: Heaven is Your home, Lord, and I thank You for letting me see glimmers of heaven every day here on Earth, in sunrise and sunset, in thunder and lightning and rain-bearing clouds, in the oceans with their rippling waves and tides and the rivers flowing into them, in roses and irises and snowflakes.

Hallowed be Thy name: Father, let me honor Your name in my every word, action, thought.

Thy kingdom come: Let me remember, dear God, that this world is only temporary, that Your glorious kingdom will indeed come.  I long to be swept up into it. 

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven: Father, in this world, we are often so far from doing Your will as Jesus revealed it.  Help me to live my life according to Your will and help make Earth more like heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread: God of abundance, thank You for providing so generously all that I need.  Remind me to share what You provide for me so that all may have their daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses: Without Your continuous forgiveness, Lord, where would I be?

As we forgive those who trespass against us: I should be more forgiving, Lord; show me how.

And lead us not into temptation: Father, I often feel that I’m being tried. Help me to remember that my small trials are nothing compared to those of Your Son, my Brother, and give me the strength and faith to persevere.

But deliver us from evil: Dear God, intervene for me because I am weak, and without Your deliverance I am like a lost and wandering child.  Draw me safely into Your protective embrace, Lord.

Amen:  You, Father, are the final amen, the way, the truth, the life.

Pastor’s Message April 2019

We made it through the cold of winter, moving our clocks to daylight savings time, and now the season of spring has arrived. The robins and geese have returned, the birds are singing, the temperatures slowly on the rise, the tulips and daffodils have broken up through the ground and the baseball season has begun.  Soon God’s beautiful creation will be enhanced with the blooming of the flowers showing off their colors.  Yes, the yard work will begin, green grass will grow and need to be mowed.  The creeks have all been stocked with trout and on April 1st the trout season of fishing opened.    

We began our Lenten Journey on Ash Wednesday, March 6th.  This was the beginning of our 40 day journey to the Cross of Calvary.  A period for many Christians to observe a period of fasting, prayer, repentance, self-denial and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside a time of reflection on Jesus Christ, his suffering, his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.  Before Jesus took his final trip to Jerusalem, and the cross, he prepared his disciples for the event that was to happen.  Jesus discloses himself with the “I am” statements revealing His purpose and person.  These are found in the book of John where Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd,” “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Light of the World,” “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  These tell of Jesus care and love for us.  In John ll:25-26 Jesus said: “I am,” “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” This is the focus of Easter. Jesus disciples didn’t understand what He was telling them.  After the events of Easter, it became clear to them the meaning of Easter.  Even as we see the season of Spring unfold, into the abundance of summer, the resurrection of Jesus unfolded in the lives of his followers.  His promise of sacrifice and his victory over death became a real lived truth and it’s ours. 

Easter is the core of our faith.  When we look at all of Jesus promises, his teaching, his care & love for us, it becomes tangible for us at Easter.  It’s my hope and prayer that you and your family will make Easter Worship not just a time of gathering for a meal, but a moment to stop and celebrate the truth that continues to unfold in each one of your lives.  Jesus went to the Cross, shed His blood and died for the remission of your sins and mine, so that we can have eternal life with him.  He is the way, the truth, and the life and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness, trust, have faith and obey Him.

God Bless You and Your Family

Pastor Doug        

Pastor’s Message March 2019

We’re now going into the third month of the New Year. Over the past month we held our Church Annual Meeting that was well attended.  We look forward to what God has planned for our church this year.  Our Outreach Ministry Team is reorganizing and will be discussing ways to draw others into our congregation as well as holding more events for children, young people and adults this year.  We are also forming a Welcoming Committee that will be developing and implementing a visitor packet to give out when a new person attends our church.  If you are interested in serving on the Outreach Ministry Team or Welcoming Committee, please contact me.  Our Prayer Warriors continue to draw names each month and pray for families attending our church.  We’ve had many answers to prayers and know God will continue to answer our prayers in His time.             

On March 6, Ash Wednesday, we’ll begin our journey through the 40 days of the Lenten season.  Lent is often seen as a season to be introspective, a time to check in on our relationship with God.  Have we been praying and keeping in touch?  Have we given thanks as much as we’ve asked for help?  If we think God has been ignoring us, Lent is a great time to be honest about how often we’ve ignored God.    We need a time of Lent to shift gears, to turn around (repent) and take stock in our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Giver of All Life.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our daily agendas and forget that God loves us unconditionally, truly desires to be in relationship with us.   

During Lent we’re reminded what God has done for us, and the lengths to which God was willing, and is willing to show us that love.  There’s nothing we can do to destroy God’s love for us.  Our God is like a father who keeps vigil until his prodigal son or daughter comes home.  If we’ve been absent, can we see Lent as a turn back to God?

Lent is what we make it; we can ignore it; or we can embrace it.  Lent has also been described as a wilderness time. Our quest for God can feel like a journey in the wilderness; perhaps a little scary, or even dangerous.  But in the end, it’s a journey inward; a road of twists and turns that ultimately finds its home in our hearts.  In the Gospel of Matthew 4:1-11, and Luke 4:1-13, we find Jesus was driven into the wilderness right after his baptism.  The wording sounds a little harsh, yet Jesus would return to the wilderness again and again to be in prayer with God, to reconnect, rest, and be strengthened for whatever was coming.  Can we do the same?  The wilderness can be a scary place, and so can the journey inward when we come face to face with the wild beasts that live inside of us:  the beasts of anger, fear, grief, anxiety, guilt, and shame.  Who wants to go there?

As we journey through Lent this year, it’s my prayer that we’ll be surprised by God, and discover how profoundly loved we are.  God seeks; God knocks; God wants to be close.  God only desires our joy, and our joy is a sign of God’s presence.  

Keep Praying, Reading God’s Word, and inviting others to attend church with you.

In His Service

Pastor Doug

Pastor’s Message December 2018

This past November was a busy month for us.  On November 11th we held a family dinner and afterwards filled shoe boxes with different items for children to be sent to “Operation Christmas Child” a mission program that’s in their 25th year of operation.  This event was well attended.  We assisted with the Food Pantry on Monday.  Thank you to those that were able to assist us.  November 12th.  Our 5-week Bible Study on “Grace is Greater has been completed.  There were 17 people that attended.  After Worship on November 25th we brought down all the decorations, Christmas Tree, and did some light cleaning for our annual “Hanging of the Greens’ Service on December 2nd.  Thank you to everyone that was able to assist in any way.  Thanksgiving is behind us now and I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for every day. 

December will be a busy month as we begin the season of Advent on Sunday, December 2nd.  The Sanctuary will be decorated with greens, a Christmas Tree, scriptures will be read, and each week we will light a candle that symbolizes Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.  On Christmas Eve, the White Candle will be lit remembering Jesus is the Light of the World.  We will hold a Candle Light Communion Service on Christmas Eve, December 24th at 6:00 pm.  I would encourage you to invite a friend to attend with you.

More people today are saying Merry Christmas than in the past because “Jesus is the Reason.”  I’m not saying He has nothing to do with it because It say in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  For God so loved the world that includes you and me.  Jesus was born to this earth, so that we might be saved and spend eternity with Him.  The Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:8 “God shows His love for us, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Jesus came to this earth born of a virgin, in a manger to live His life as a servant to those considered the lowest of the low, and ultimately give His life as a sacrifice for all mankind, past, present, and future.  He was crucified, shed his blood on the cross and paid a debt for every human beings’ sin.  What the cross meant to kill, became a victory for us. 

Christmas can be a joyous time for many, sometimes may even be considered the best time of the year. However, for some it can be difficult, depressing, loneliness, loss of a loved or maybe the Christmas Season and Christmas Day has never gone as you hoped and you’re feeling empty.  I want you to remember and hold on to this:  Jesus came to earth, died a horrible death for all, because He LOVED EVERYONE INCLUDING YOU! In Matthew 10:29-31   Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.    This verse means God is aware of everything that happens even to sparrows, and you are far more valuable to him than they are. Because God places such value on you, you don’t need to fear difficult times or circumstances.  These can’t shake God’s love or dislodge his Spirit from within you.  He knows your weakness, brokenness, heartaches, and joys.  What a gift to hold on too and what a gift to share with someone that God loves and cares about them too. I John 4:11 says “Since God loved us, we also ought to love others.” 

This Christmas above and beyond all the noise we will have going on, remember to share the greatest gift of all.

Invite someone to attend our Sunday Worship and Christmas Eve Services. 

On behalf of Carol and myself, have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

God Bless all of you.

Pastor Doug

Pastor’s Message November 2018

October was a busy month for us at Weedsport First Baptist.  Carol and I took some time off to go down to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where we saw the “Live” Production of “Jesus” at the Sight and Sound Theater.  It really stirred our hearts and I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen it, to take a trip down there to see it, you will not be disappointed.  It would take many sheets of paper for me to describe how powerful this production is, but if you’re interested come see me.  This production goes until January 1st then they are bringing back “Moses.”

While we were on vacation, the church held their Fall Rummage Sale.  There were over 33 tables of many different items.  This sale was very well attended and successful.  Thank you to Liz Breeze and any one that assisted her in any way along with everyone that donated items for this sale.  A lot of hard work and many hours were spent to prepare for this, and in the end, it was very successful.  We wouldn’t have been as successful if you weren’t involved in some way. 

On Saturday, October 13th, we celebrated the wedding of Dan & Cindy Greene at our church. 

Our Prayer Warriors continue to draw names the second Sunday of each month from our Prayer Hat, you give generously to our general fund, deacon fund, missions, bringing pennies for the Heifer Project, non-perishable food item(s) for the food pantry, and come to the Lord’s Table for communion each month.  We began a Bible Study on October 14th, Sunday Nights and October 18th, Thursday Mornings entitled “Grace is Greater” by Kyle Idleman.  We have 19 enrolled in this study.  Thank you for your faithfulness.

On October 15th We hosted a Roast Beef dinner for the Old Brutus Historical Society Museum Members in the Fellowship Hall.  Thank you to everyone that assisted in any way.

On Sunday Night, October 21st, we attended the Hymn Sing at the Meridian First Baptist Church. It was a good night of singing hymns and having fellowship with one another.

I also want to thank Mr. Louie McIntyre for filling in at the organ / piano on October 28th while Jenn Cerio was away.

As we go into the month of November, we’re brought face to face with many of the paradoxes that keep life wonderful, mysterious, painful, uncertainty and reminds us of continuous cycles that have been created in our lives, cultures, spiritual lives, and even in our national life. Our landscapes become a blaze with all the brilliance of the season, only to shed that brilliance and settle into what often seems a bareness of winter hues.  This serves as a reminder of the cycles of life and death built into the scheme of creation.  We reflect on seasons of our lives, and pause to ponder the changes they bring.

October gives way to November, as we pause on November the 11th to remember and honor those men and women that have served our nation in various branches of military service.  For many, those remembrances are painful for many we are touched by memories of those who have paid the ultimate price for their service.  Many of our yearly observances and celebrations are tempered by realities of the cost of freedom and safety, rightly so.

On Thanksgiving Day, we “Give Thanks To God” for everything He has done and provided for us, and just after Thanksgiving, we’re assaulted by harbingers of the Christmas Season, usually put forth by the retail establishment seeking to remove us from a significant portion of our financial assets.  However, before that happens we’re called to make political choices for our municipalities, and nation.  We become bombarded with ads, slogans, debates, posters, flyers, and signs that makes the Christmas onslaught seem like a walk in the park!  As with the Christmas Season, the election season is a time when truth is often overshadowed by glitter, legends, misinformation, greed, and private agendas.  Social Media, the newspapers, TV, and Radio, etc., refers to it as a “mean season” to put it mildly. For many Americans, the incredible privilege of participating in the electoral process brings with it a passion that gives way to an ugliness of spirit, which produces attacks on other people, not policies; intentional mistruths, and half-truths, designed to deceive not convince; disagreements on political agendas, that lead to hatred and disrespect; loss of ability to work out disagreements to the attitude of “my way or no way.”   It indeed can be a mean season.  As Christians, such seasons challenge our own attitudes, conduct, and call to be loving, even toward those whom we might disagree. We’re called to participate in earthly living with a view of the kingdom as our foundation.  We’re reminded that faith can’t be legislated, and no political party has a monopoly on God’s agenda for our people.  Also, God’s righteous purposes are never attained through hatred, personal attacks, deceptions, and the like.

Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, remember there are deeply committed lovers of Jesus that stand at various other points of the spectrum.  In this so called “mean season” the gospel of the Prince of Peace calls on believers to set and follow heavenly standards of love, communication, and tolerance for varying points of view.  It’s my prayer that we’ll be above all peacemakers, allowing God’s spirit to shine in all conversations and attitudes.  If your candidates win, rejoice!  If the opposition wins, handle it with in ways suited to child of the King.  The Apostle Paul told this to the Colossians: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as one body you were called to peace.”  Colossians 3:15 (NIV).  From our hearts may the peace of Jesus Christ extend to our minds, be offered from our lips, and be seen through our actions.  PRAY for our Nation, NOT your agenda for our Nation, but for those that are chosen to lead at various levels of public service.  Be sure to Vote on November 6th.   Remember we remain ONE NATION UNDER GOD!

Keep inviting others to attend church with you. 

God Bless You and have a Safe and Enjoyable Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

In His Service

Pastor Doug

Pastor’s Message October 2018

Fall has arrived, and we feel the coolness in the air.  This change feels good after the hot summer we had. The beautiful creation and colors of fall that God created will soon be visible as the leaves change to their beautiful colors.  The famers will begin harvesting the crops they planted in the spring.  Apple picking has begun, Sweet cider being made.  Children looking forward to going to the pumpkin patch to pick that one special pumpkin to take home to carve for Halloween, then off to the store to find a good costume to wear on Halloween night.  The fall sports are in full swing.  The Nascar and Dirt racing season is winding down. How fast time seems to go by and still so much to do.  However, our schedules continue to be pretty full.  Let me ask you this question about your schedule: “Are you on schedule to become who you want to be?”  Most of us put into our weekly schedules various meetings, appointments, tasks, sporting events, and the list could go on and on.  These are things we need to get done for our jobs, church responsibilities, and family activities etc.

But how many of us put into our schedules what we need to do in order to become who we want to become?    Bill Hybels said to schedule your life according to who or what you want to become, and he gives the following example: One day when his daughter was about three or four years old, she very innocently asked, “Daddy, are you going to be at church again tonight?”  A perfectly innocent question became the catalyst for some serious soul-searching.  Bill grew up with a father who was gone too much.  He was determined not to repeat that pattern.  He wanted to be a great dad, not just a good dad, but a great dad. So he asked himself this question:  If I want to become a great dad, how many nights a week will I need to schedule to be at home to spend time with my family?  His answer was four nights a week at home.  Up until that time, he would schedule meetings and other things he needed to get done to fulfill his church responsibilities, and then his family would get the “leftovers.”  He changed his schedule in order to become who he wanted to become.  He began to schedule four nights a week at home with his family.  He would actually write into his weekly schedule “home” four nights a week (when he was in town).  Four is not a magic number for every man.  But here’s the point:  We don’t become who we want to become by accident.  We don’t become who we want to become by committing the “leftovers’ to that goal.   

So I ask again, “Are you on schedule to become who you want to become?”  Do you want to enjoy good health, fitness and energy when you’re in your 40s,50’s,60s,70s?  Physical fitness doesn’t just happen, you have to schedule exercise and workouts into your daily and weekly schedule.  Putting in 30 minutes of exercise three – five times a week can change your life.  Good relationships and marriages also take work.  That may not sound too exciting, but it’s essential in order for it to last for many years and will grow deeper over time.  Spiritual fitness and spiritual maturity don’t just happen either.  Most Christians that love the Lord would like to become more like Christ, but it just doesn’t happen.  Even with good intentions and a good heart, it doesn’t just happen.  There’s more to growing in Christ-like than scheduling certain spiritual disciplines and good habits into your schedule, but there’s not less than that.  There are certain habits and disciplines that are essential to becoming spiritually mature and more Christ-like. So many people today think of the spiritual disciplines (Bible meditation, prayer, personal worship and daily quiet time, fasting, , solitude, simplicity, submission, etc.) as spiritual activities that we must do in a highly disciplined and structured manner in order to reach God and grow stronger spiritually.  While that’s not entirely wrong, I would propose a healthier and perhaps more accurate way of looking at the spiritual disciplines.  What if we regarded the spiritual disciplines as means God has provided for us to become more Christ-like?  God’s ultimate purpose for our lives is to conform us to the likeness of His Son, Jesus.  In order to act like Jesus outwardly, we must become like Jesus inwardly.  We can’t simply ask “What would Jesus do?” in a particular situation and then go out and do it consistently any more than we can imitate a Michael Phelps, David Beckham, LeBron James or others without practicing.

In His Service,

Pastor Doug

Pastor’s Message September 2018

September quickly approaching. Summer is winding down, vacations are ending, colleges are back in session, elementary and high schools will be back in session in within the next two weeks. The church officers, and committees will be holding their monthly meetings, as well as our choir will be back singing. We’ll begin to feel the chill in the air as we approach the fall season on September 23rd . The baseball season is winding down as the football season is kicking up. Soon grass will slow down its growing and leaves on the trees will change into their Technicolor dream coats, preparing for a winter’s rest. Our church marches on for the Glory of God!

We want to thank Lou McIntyre, Elinor Fults, and Barbara Ward for filling in at the piano and organ during the month of August while our organist Jenn Cerio took some well-deserved time off. I also want to thank everyone for their faithfulness to our church during these past summer months.

As you know, we have talked about Prayer, Waiting for God to answer and Studying God’s Word. Our Prayer Warriors have been faithful in praying for the parishioners attending this church. We’ve had many petitions for prayer and many prayers answered. Praise the Lord! As I was pondering what to write, the question came to me “Who is your source of power?” Here’s my answer: My sources of power is Jesus Christ and God’s Word. It’s my prayer it’s yours as well. Prayer and studying God’s Word are meant to encourage you in your daily living. Ask God in prayer for the wisdom and discernment to teach you how he wants you to pray and what he wants you to pray for. I believe the strongest way of communication with God is through prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says “ 6  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all

understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. As Christians we’re to “pray without ceasing.” There are times when I receive a prayer request by text or email, I’m lead by the Holy Spirit to write out a prayer and send it back to the one that sent me the request. These are prayers for any situation or need one has at the time. Writing out a prayer is like sending God a letter but then taking it to him in prayer. Sometimes it hard to know what to say to God and you may find your prayer life is enhanced by writing out your prayer for those in need. You could compose prayers for healing, stewardship, spreading the Gospel message, praying for the needy, and praying to seek a deeper knowledge of God. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray so he taught them the “Lord’s Prayer.” It’s a model prayer He gave us to teach us how to pray. There are times when answers don’t always come easy to prayer.

So, let me ask you a question: If you could give any particular gift to the people of this church, what would it be? Take time to think about this. What do you suppose is needed here? If we we were all together right now I’m sure we would receive very many good answers. What would my answer be? That’s a tough question. There are many things I thought about. If I had it to give to everyone in the church, I would give the gift of a deep desire to pray. I don’t mean just to pray a little bit, or to pray for one particular thing. I really mean to have a daily, deep period of time spent with God and only God, waiting on God’s presence to become real, waiting to know that you are loved, forgiven, gifted and wanted in God’s Kingdom. Luke 11:1-4 (NIV) says “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.” His prayer life wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t because of a crisis, it wasn’t because the camel stopped at a traffic light and he had a brief moment. Mark 1:35 (NIV) says “Jesus went off to a solitary place to pray.” Jesus prayer life was regular, planned and solitary. Look what happened after Jesus times of prayer in the Bible: Mark 1:35-38 Jesus prayed before going out to preach, and then he knew where to go. Luke 4:1-13 After Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit; Luke 5:1-1. He knew whom to call as his disciples. Luke 22:39-46 Before his arrest, Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Luke 23:33-34. Knowing where to go, with whom to go, forgiving his enemies, these things followed Jesus purposeful, regularly times of solitary prayer.

What would happen to us and in us if we all prayed as Jesus prayed in purposeful, solitary times with God? I think the same things as resulted from Jesus prayer time. We would know more clearly what to do, with whom to minister, and we would be filled with more forgiveness towards others. Good things happen following prayer time!

We don’t talk much with others about our deep prayer time. Maybe it’s because it’s private, or we just don’t want to talk about and not because most of us have not found the time and place to meet God daily in prayer. If purposeful, regular, solitary time spent with God is missing, and if I could I would give the gift of discovering joy reward that comes through this kind of prayer life.

God Bless You! Take Time to Pray and Study God’s Word. You will be Amazed What God Will Do!

Pastor Doug