Finding Our Way in the Dark

Last Wednesday I headed home from all the Wednesday night activities.  As I left the lights of Broken Bow behind, I set about watching for roving bands of deer and other varmints that might want to impede my otherwise routine trip home. As I headed east and then south, it occurred to me how dependent we are on the the car headlights as we drive at night.

With even one headlight out it is difficult to see.  Using the high beam lights help but one can’t always have those on when another car is approaching.  I always find a sense of relief when the car passes and I can turn on the high beams to see a broader field of roadway.

As I continued to head home, I paid attention to the sound of the tires on the pavement.  The different intonations depending on the surface and the cracks and potholes in the road.  The sound of the tires was actually a bit soothing as I reflected on all the great things that had happened at church earlier that day and the great things to come on Sunday.

I thought about how Jesus is that bright shining light in the darkness of the sin and fear of this world.  As long as we seek him, he will be there.  He will always shine a light on our path and soothe our fears of the unknown.

I said a prayer as I continued home, thanking Jesus for being the light along the path and always being there when I have sought him.

Jesus can be your light in a world of darkness.  You need only ask for him to be with you.  If you would like to talk about your walk with Jesus, please feel free to contact me here or call our office to schedule a time to meet.

Blessings

Pastor Gary

“Splash the “Coach”


superbowl shower

De and Roger Loehr sent me a message last Saturday stating that church should be just as important as the Super Bowl and that any time I made a good point, somebody should dump Gatorade on me. I figured it was a figurative suggestion but I did bring an umbrella just in case.

 
Pastor Gary

Coming of Age

It is so exciting for me to witness young folks who reach the point in their lives that they know there is something more to God than stories in Sunday School and the concepts that often left them confused in an adult world that seldom thinks of how to communicate the meaning of the gospel to those seeking and those who are growing into young adults committed to Christ’s ministry.

Last Sunday (February 7) I met with four such people.  I won’t mention their names because I didn’t ask permission and I don’t want to embarrass them them.  Originally we had planned on meeting the Wednesday before to practice the worship service and their participation in helping with worship and the celebration of the Eucharist.  Mother Nature had other plans and we could not meet on Wednesday.

All four of our young folks came early on Sunday morning so I could meet with them and run over how things were going to happen.  Never once did they voice concern or fear.  It was short notice and they had a lot of things to do in the service.  We used a different format that we had discussed that involved them in a lot of the various aspects of the worship that day.

Never once, did they voice any concern or fear of taking part in the worship service.  I was so proud of them as they participated in the readings, the offering and helping me with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. They did a great job and I was thrilled when everyone thanked them for their presence at worship.  Not just that they helped but that they were there and they mattered.

The Spirit was present in a big way that Sunday.  The music was great and the voices from the congregation singing, blended with the choir was inspiring.  We ran out of bulletins and had to print more.  Many shared joys and concerns.  When it came time to share the elements with the congregation, the Spirit was there as always during the celebration of Christ’s victory over death.  I sensed that this Sunday, Jesus was proud of these young folks and their commitment to his ministry.  It may seem strange to say Jesus was proud but I think that is an accurate statement.  Nothing is more important to God than children and watching them grow into believing adults who love and are dedicated to God’s Kingdom.  I hope that those of you who were there last Sunday sensed the same feeling of joy and happiness as we watch our younger folks work toward greater understanding of God’s Kingdom and their commitment to dedicate their lives to God.

Blessings and Joy to You All

Pastor Gary

10 Elements of a Healthy Church

Here are the 10 elements of a healthy church that I shared with you on January 31st.

A healthy church is prayerful in all of the following aspects of church life and ministry, is reliant upon God’s power and the authority of His Word, and values:

  1. God’s Empowering Presence

The healthy church actively seeks the Holy Spirit’s direction and empowerment for its shared life and ministry.

Romans 8:16, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

  1. God-Exalting Worship

The healthy church gathers regularly as the local expression of the Body of Christ to worship God in ways that engage the heart, mind, soul, and strength of the people.

John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

  1. Spiritual Disciplines

The healthy church provides training, models, and resources for members of all ages to develop their daily spiritual disciplines. (CE is so much more than simply Sunday school classes)

James 3:17, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven if first of all pure, then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

  1. Learning & Growing in Community

The healthy church encourages believers to grow in their walk with God and with one another in the context of a safe, affirming environment.

Romans 14:19, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

  1. A Commitment to Loving & Caring Relationships

The healthy church is intentional in its efforts to build loving, caring relationships within families, between members and within the community we serve.

I John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

In some instances, this is a literal statement but also a figurative one in that we should be intentional about helping one another when others in our church are in peril, under attack or facing crisis in their lives.

  1. Servant-Leadership Development

The healthy church identifies and develops individuals whom God has called and given the gift of leadership and challenges them to be servant-leaders.

Ephesians 4:16, “From Him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Preparation for church leadership roles involves more than a phone call to see if an individual can be encouraged to serve. It takes time for reflection, prayer and a path of Spiritual awakening to be able to serve at the direction of the Spirit.

  1. An Outward Focus

The healthy church places high priority on communicating the truth of Jesus and demonstrating the love of Jesus to those outside the faith.

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

  1. Wise Administration & Accountability

The healthy church utilizes appropriate facilities, equipment, and systems to provide maximum support for the growth and development of its ministries.

Luke 16:11, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

  1. Networking with the Body of Christ

The healthy church reaches out to others in the Body of Christ for collaboration, resource sharing, learning opportunities, and united celebrations of worship.

John 17:23, “May they (the church) be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

  1. Stewardship & Generosity

The healthy church teaches its members that they are stewards of their God-given resources and challenges them to be sacrificially generous in sharing with others.

2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”