December 2019

Greetings my friends, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ! As the year draws to a close and the new one is about to begin, I have been praying about where I should direct my sermons in 2020. My mind went to 2nd Peter. I feel like he summed it up well. Most of you grew up in the church. I acknowledge that most scripture is familiar to you. That’s why 2nd Peter 1:12 and 13 was on my mind. Peter wrote: “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body,” (NIV) Peter finishes the verse by saying that he knows he will soon die. (I don’t normally include that because I hope that is not my case.) However, I do feel it is my duty to remind you of things you already know. It is my prayer that we continue to know more of and grow deeper in love with God. John Wesley confirmed that this only happens through the Holy Spirit, but he also reasoned that there are practices (ordinances) that we should do if we expect the Holy Spirit to help us. These practices don’t make us better Christians, but they put us in a position to benefit. In other words, I don’t get bonus points with God because I read my Bible, but knowing my Bible makes me better equipped to serve God. If it’s still not clear, try this: It is basketball season. Mike Scott is the Power Forward for the Philadelphia 76ers. He leads the 76ers with 100% from the free throw line. Now, when he’s out there, the ref doesn’t give him any extra points for all the time he spent practicing free throws, but you know it pays off at game time! See my point? There are things we can do that make us better equipped at “game time”. Attention to Scripture, dedicated time of prayer and fasting, attendance to public worship, and frequently enjoying holy communion. These are what Wesley called the Ordinances of God, which prepare us to receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit. I think he was on to something. It will be my privilege to remind you of these things (although you already know them), as long as I am able. It boggles my mind to think of what God could do at Glossbrenner next year. Merry Christmas… in His service,

Pastor Brian

November 2019

Greetings once again on the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I am writing this article on the day after our Vison Casting Meeting. When I went home, I felt good about it, but something was nagging me. Today I remembered a sentence that helped me put it in perspective. Here it is. “I know that you think you understood what you thought I said, but I am not sure that what you heard was what I meant to say.” When I was a teenager, those words were on a poster in my room. It talks about how difficult communication can be sometimes. What does that have to do with the meeting? Well, at the meeting, we accomplished two distinct tasks. In the first thirty minutes, we marked the calendar with everything we were planning to do next year. The last thirty minutes were spent discussing things we would like to see happen in 2020. How could we improve our worship, fellowship, and witness to the world around us? We came up with a pretty ambitious and exciting list of events. Here’s my concern: If people left that meeting, thinking “Wow, the preacher’s gonna be really busy making all those things happen next year.”, then they missed the point. You see, the first thirty minutes was what we planned to do in 2020. The second thirty minutes was what we’d like to do in 2020. When I was a kid, I had a list of things I’d like to get for Christmas. I didn’t think I’d get them, but it was what I’d like to get. We would like to offer more events at Glossbrenner that would bless our community. We also would like to have more events that strengthen our fellowship within our church. And, we’d like to have more events that focus on the young people. We talked about having movies, family nights, concerts, games and meals. There are events we could have by ourselves and events with other churches. That is where we want to go. Will we do it all in 2020? Did I get my Christmas wishes? (In case you are wondering, the answer to both is no.) But, unlike me and my Christmas wish list, we have hope! We now have a direction to move toward, new adventures to help us to grow into the unique church God created us to be. That is great. If I confused anyone at the meeting, or if I seemed too quick to move on and I ignored details, I do apologize. I know that you think you understood what you thought I said, but I’m not sure that what you heard was what I meant to say. Please forgive me.

Have a blessed day!

October 2019

Pastor’s Pondering Fall’s here, school has started, wardrobes are changing, and Christmas is like,… right around the corner. That’s kinda what it might feel like, especially if you’ve got children, or grandchildren in your life. For the staff, here at Glossbrenner, we are already discussing the Christmas programs. It has begun! Hold that thought. Yesterday, Matthew and I were talking about how both of us just had a busy run of weeks that just didn’t seem to end. While talking about missing our “Sabbath rest”, he commented that that topic would make for a good sermon. I totally agree. The thing is, my sermon topics are lined out through Christmas. But now, moving into Christmas, is exactly the time we all need to remember the Sabbath rest! We are getting ready to welcome the Christ Child once more, to remember the outrageous gift of himself that Jesus gave to us, to reflect on the eternal gift that so many ignore, once more, at Christmas. We can do all that, or we can get caught up in the crazy cultural business of parties, gifts, obligatory socials, school events, relatives, etc., etc., etc. Don’t forget the Christmas Cards! Sabbath rest. It is a great gift from God that compels us to stop. Stop. Just stop. God says go ahead, work your tail off six days of the week if you want to, need to, or think you have to. But one day out of seven, stop. The author Marva Dawn says for her, the Sabbath is “a day without a watch”. Think about it. One day out of the week where time is not in command, schedules do not dictate, and you honor the real Commander and the Benevolent Dictator, Jesus the Christ. What? You think Sabbath rest is a punishment? Remember that every Sabbath is a gift from God, meant for us to restore, reboot, refresh. (C’mon, even your computer needs to do that, and you are infinitely more valuable!) I certainly plan to deliver more than one sermon on the Sabbath Rest in the future, but with Christmas “next week”, I wanted to share those ponderings with you. May your days be merry and bight, and may all your Sabbath rests be a delight. In His service… Pastor Brian