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

Pastor’s Message August 2018

We’re coming to the end of the month of August with 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 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 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 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