• Pastor Drew

We have entered a time between Ash Wednesday and Resurrection Sunday or Easter. For Christians, it is a journey from Transfiguration Sunday, where we remember the disciples seeing Jesus in a new way, a fuller way. Then we move on to Ash Wednesday, where we recognize our mortality and that God is sovereign over us even in death. Then is the time of Lent. This is a time of reflection, of focus on the path Christ took to the cross, and of meditation on God’s grand plan for humanity.

For some, Lent becomes a time where they give up something to focus more on God. Some add a new spiritual practice or discipline during the Lenten season. For myself, I have done both. I have given up desserts or meat, and whenever I think about eating these things, I spend a few moments in prayer. Not just about removing the temptation from my thoughts and mind but also focusing on Christ. But what I have often found more impactful in my spiritual journey is not giving some like sweets or meat up is adding a practice.

Adding a spiritual practice during Lent is a great way to reconnect with God and remember Christ’s journey to the cross. I have done simple things like reading a different Psalm each morning and spending some time in reflection. I have added the practice of journaling to my daily routine and saw how God was speaking to me through my thoughts as expressed on the screen. I have added different practices of prayer or scripture reading as well.

I believe that adding something to your spiritual life during the time of Lent is a great way to celebrate the season. Because of the great mysteries of the faith is that Lent, which seems like such a dark time, that culminates in Good Friday and Holy Saturday, two of the darkest days of the liturgical year, lead us to Resurrection Sunday! When it seemed like death had the final word, life sprang forth. When it seemed like chaos and decay were going to win, order and renewal came out of the grave. It seemed like hatred and violence were the only tools, but love and harmony showed they had a distinctive, mysterious power because we worship a God of life and peace.

My challenge to you this Lenten season is to add something to your spiritual routine that adds life, energy, and hope to you and your world. Add the practice of painting the beautiful creation that God has given us. Add more time in prayer to connect with the sustainer of life. Add inviting whomever you meet to church. Add something to remind yourself that the season of Lent does not end with Good Friday but with Resurrection Sunday! A day when death was defeated. And now love rules the new day!

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  • Pastor Drew

As we enter the month of February, we start to see hearts all over the place. Whether they are decorations around our houses, at work, or school, we know that February is the month that we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Our kids and grandkids pick out their Valentine cards to hand out to their classmates. We are telling stories about how we fell in love and thinking about what big or little gift we will get our partner or someone else special in our lives.

While this might be a Hallmark holiday, it is a good time for us to remember our call to love as Christian. Did you know the command to “love one another” appears over 100 times in the New Testament? And about 60 of these appearances teach us what it means to love. Jesus says in John 13, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Jesus uses the phrase “love one another” 16 times in John’s Gospel. How is the world going to know who these followers of Christ are? By their love one for another!

In his first letter to the church, John says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” Our love for one another shows how well connected we are to our Creator.

Finally, Paul keeps this same theme going in his letter to the church in Galatia when he writes, “For you were called to freedom, sisters and brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Because of what Christ has done for us, we are free to love and serve more fully.

We, as Christians, ought to be known for our love. Our love for one another, our love for the world, our love for our neighbors, and our love for our enemies. Let us reflect on what it means to love all those God puts in our lives. Let us love in deep and meaningful ways. Let us love as Christ has loved us so that the world might see Christ in us and fall in love with him.

~Pastor Drew

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  • Pastor Drew

From Church Goer to Church Grower

The leaves have started to change. The nights have become cooler. And you get to do that great Michigan thing of running the heat on your way to work and the AC on your way home. The kids have been in school for a while now, and many of them are playing sports. This means that we are all busy. Busy with work or retirement. Busy with kids or grandkids. Busy with our responsibilities of life.

Fall to me means moving away from the laissez-faire attitude of the summer into the routine-driven life of autumn. It also means it is harvest time for our farmers, and for many people, it means getting back into a classroom. Well, I want us thinking about classes and harvesting.

I will be running a Sunday School class called, From Church Goer to Church Grower for six weeks. In our sessions, we will explore who we are in Christ Jesus, how we see ourselves in the church's work, share our faith, and invite people to church in our current culture.

We have heard about the “nones” those who don’t affiliate with any religious group. Interestingly, though, people are looking for ways of exploring their spirituality and faith. They haven’t given up on their spirituality. They want places and people who will allow them to bring all their questions, doubts, and concerns with them. They want to have authentic conversations about what it means to follow this ancient man from Palestine. Many people are searching for meaning, hope, and joy in their lives, and we can be one of those places to find it.

In Matthew’s Gospel, it says, “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”

This story reminds us that we are called to invite people to an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. And to do that well, we often need to spend some time preparing to go into the harvest field. This course will give you the tools to share your faith with others. Join me starting, October 17 directly following the service in the choir room. I hope you take a bit of time in your busy schedule to join me for this course.

Pastor Drew

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