October 2021

As always, I greet you in the amazing and marvelous name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May the grace and love of God saturate your life to overflowing. This is the time of year that most pastors I know
start looking at the next year coming up. On November 14th, we plan to have a Planning
Session to schedule events for 2022. I can’t wait that long to get started. There may be a monumental decision made in 2022. If all goes to plan, the United Methodist Church will convene a global assembly at the end of August to vote on the possible split of the United Methodist Church. If that happens, we will have some decisions to make. Taking no action is an action in itself. I hope we will be proactive instead of reactive. Barbara and I recently went to a very informative gathering of people to discuss this prospect about being proactive. The gist of what I got from it is “Why wait?” If we know what God is calling us to do, then why wait for a formal directive? We can (and should) start doing now, what God has always called us to do and be. For example: Of all the greatest people who ever lived, none was greater than the grave, except one.
Only one man, hero, leader, was greater than death. If Christ is not raised, we are fools. If he did conquer death, we have a global mission. The command was something like this “As you go about your life, as you go about teaching, as you go about baptizing, make disciples of all “ethnos”. Ethnos means people groups; i.e. the world. What directive are we waiting for? People of faith recognize the book of Romans to be one of the
premier talks about theology. It spells out so much about our faith. What people often fail to see is that it was written with a missionary heart about a missionary venture. It is about evangelism. What are
we waiting for? The enemy has a vested interest in keeping us from moving through the threshold of witnessing. If we reach out, we will offend some people, we will confuse others, and we will move out of our comfort zone. I forget who first said this, but mainline American churches have been accused of “pandering to the over churched and ignoring the under churched”. What are we waiting for? We live in a culture unknown to our parents. I personally have a problem just watching the TV ads. This is the culture we live in, like it or not. How do we function. Here’s some advice I got. If something in culture is good – like family bowling night – we embrace it. If something in culture is bad – like spreading hate and division – we embody the alternative. “How to live in this culture: Embrace the same good. Embody the alternative.” That’s how the early church did it. That’s how the true church has done it through the ages. What are we waiting for?
In His Service – Pastor Brian

September 2021

Once more I greet you in the magnificent name of our Lord and Savior. As
the summer draws down and the fall approaches, may you feel God’s blessings through all the seasons of your life.

This month, I am pondering the Restart of Things. Some things we can control, others we cannot.
The seasons always bring some part of the cycle to a close and refresh other things. I look forward
to the men’s group starting up again. Watch for details. Also, it is with great anticipation that we
look the restart of our choirs, both vocal and bells. They will meet on Wednesdays, as before. As before, we will move the Bible Study to 6:15, in order to accommodate those who wish to practice in the bell choir. If you can lend your musical talent to the bells or the vocal choir, I encourage you to pray about it. Perhaps this is a good year for you to be a part of that. Perhaps, also, it is a good year for you to get involved with the Bible Study that precedes the choirs. I have been anticipating this study for some time and am eager for us to get together again. There has been some interest in a day time Bible Study besides the Wednesday night study. By now, you should know that I love to study the Bible, and I would love to lead others if there is a good time during the day. Please contact the office if you are interested in a day time Bible Study. But, what book will we study? I’m glad you asked!

I have always loved the notion that the Apostle John wrote so much about love. In my personal studies, I recently read 1 John again, and was struck by how much he insisted on love being a marker for Christianity. As I started looking at it for a Bible study, I came across some other interesting notions. 1 John is a study of contrasts, all of which must be considered in love. Christ versus the antichrist, light versus darkness, truth versus falsehood, righteousness versus sin, love of the Father versus love of the world, and the Spirit of God versus the spirit of the antichrist. How very timely for our day! It is a striking contrast between truth and error, that must always be done in the spirit of LOVE. We set aside our selfish desires and pursue God’s desire. I hope that excites you. I hope that you will join us for the introduction to 1 John, on Wednesday the 15th, at 6:15, in the Spiritual Java classroom.

There is so much tension in this world today. We have forgotten how to laugh and much of our love has grown cold. We are so much caught up in the conflicts polarizing the culture. We need to return to our first love, to languish in its grace, to see the world through love, as God does. Let’s pray that this will be a season of continued blessings, for the men’s group, the choirs and the Bible Study (Studies?)— and for who knows what other blessings are coming our way.

In His Service- Pastor Brian

August 2021

Brothers and sisters, I greet you once more in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As the year rolls on, may your blessings multiply. This month, my ponderings go to Leadership. We all know how Jesus took a mixed bag of disciples, all of whom would have been rejected by the Board of Ordained Ministry, and crafted them into world changing evangelists! Understand that I am not picking on the Board of Ordained Ministry. Anyone of us would have thought Jesus could do better. The point is that Jesus saw their potential. He instructed them, challenged them, re-buked them, grew them until they were ready for graduation from Rabbi Jesus’ school. They lacked one thing. When the Holy Spirit of God infused them with power and wisdom, they… well, you know what they did. There is an old saying that “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” I personally know that to be true. I have no pastoral pedigree in my family tree. I had plenty of reasons to feel unqualified for the job. Yet, when God called, I said yes. It didn’t change the world, but it sure changed my world. How could I do otherwise? A very wise person (not me) once said that if Jesus is your Lord and Master, how could anyone say “No” to their master? You see, the moment that we declare our will over His, we declare that he is not our Lord. He is not our Master if we willfully re-fuse to do his bidding.
So how does this tie into Leadership? In any organized effort, there are people who are the basic workers, people who manage the workers, and leaders who do something quite different. Managers are important because they organize workers and facilitate communication. Everybody needs a team of good, qualified managers. However, good managers do not all make good leaders. Leadership is a quality, a gift that many possess, but few develop. It requires a willingness to take risks, to try new things, to venture into uncharted territory. Good leaders have a history of making qualified choices when there are no manuals to consult.

With the Great Reset in motion, with a potential change in the United Methodist Church, and with internet expansion and missional concerns, we need to develop leaders who can and will take the risks needed to advance God’s kingdom, now and into our future. Few people still think that we can do business as usual and see success. The time to cultivate leaders is now. Please make this prayer part of your daily prayers: “God give us the young people who have the potential to lead your church into unknown territory. Call them, qualify them, infuse their being with power from the Holy Spirit, and give us the courage to follow them.”
God has great plans for his church. God sees the potential that many of us deny. May we be encouraging, prayerful, welcoming and receptive to the many things God is already doing in our midst. God give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

In His service- Pastor Brian