From the Pastor’s Desk – May 2017

Peace be with you! We recently started taking time for intentional breathing at our house. With two young kids learning to manage emotions, and two young parents learning how to manage the emotions of youngkids…and our own, we need to do a lot of breathing. Hectic schedules, obligations, and commitments can make the life after the resurrection feel like anything but the resurrected life. Taking time to slow down and breathe seems like a luxury. And if not that, time wasted. It is interesting that in the Gospel of John, one of the first things Jesus does after his resurrection is wish peace upon the disciples and breathe into them the Holy Spirit, the breath of life. The language used in the Greek is the same breath that God breathes into the lump of clay in Genesis to create Adam. This breathing is anything but a luxury. It is part of the very act of creation. This breathing doesn’t come when we need a time out, when we are already out of breath. It comes at the beginning. It is the first breath. Just now, as I am writing this, my smartwatch reminded me to breathe. I told it to remind me in 30 minutes. Cause you know, I need to finish this article ASAP or this newsletter will be delayed a day and arrive on May 2nd instead of May 1st. Perhaps you laugh. But how many times have you thought something similar this week? Irony can sometimes be the best teacher. So if you’ve read this far, please, breathe. Breathe deep enough that it feels like your...

From the Interim Pastor’s Desk – November 2015

Where are We in this Transition Process? December 12th will be the one-year mark for my beginning with you as your interim lead pastor. As far as I know, it’s been a happy journey. And, “What have you been doing for eleven months?” you might ask. That is a question I’m happy to answer. From the perspective of the pew, you have probably noticed that the programs of the church, such as worship, education, visitation, etc. have gone along very smoothly, and attendance is robust. But my work has been equally devoted to work among the leadership of the congregation. There are two groups that I have been working with in particular: The congregation council has been reviewing the overall leadership structure of our congregation, with an eye to making it even more efficient and productive than it has been over the years. The council is very close to a decision to enact a subtle but significant restructuring of the form and function of the council and committees as they now stand. Rather than a larger group, made up of committee chairs, officers and pastors. The council would be made up of fewer than eight people, elected to represent the congregation at large. This group would spend the bulk of its time conceptualizing, planning, and guiding the overall and long-range mission of the congregation. Rather than having static committees, responsibility for the day-to-day functions of the congregation would be left to staff members and groups (whether called teams or committees, or something else has not been decided) that would be shaped around more specific tasks and objectives. Some of...

From the Interim Pastor’s Desk – August 2015

Where Do We Go From Here? Ask Yogi. Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” For five months our transition team at Good Shepherd has been meeting weekly to, in a sense, take these humorous words very seriously. They are trying to give honest thought and due diligence and prayer to our path toward the future. They are very much aware that their efforts might have a large effect on the long-term future of the congregation. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness they had a clever system of navigation. The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. –Exodus 13:20-22 Leading a great migration through trackless wilderness was no easy feat. Keeping a large population moving together, and in the same direction, required some form of rapid communication It’s reasonable to believe that Moses and Aaron and the other leaders arranged to have some kind of burning, smoking vessel to be moved along with them, so that the smoke would be seen by day and the fire by night. People miles away would have a very clear indication of the path forward. In those signs the people saw, not only the leadership of Moses, but also of God. To those in the rear...

From the Interim Pastor’s Desk – June 2015

Quick–Answer this question, “Why do we go to worship?” How many of you missed the answer that the question the question itself implies—to worship? Most often we would hear it phrased, “why do we go to church?” They may seem, on the surface, to be the same question, but I think they can generate very different answers. If I ask, “why go to church?” I expect to hear things like, “because–it’s good for us– God wants us to—Jesus did—it’s where our ‘family’ is—our family has always gone to church–it’s a good habit—it’s how we set an example for others—it’s good fellowship—to grow spiritually—to ask and receive forgiveness—because my life is so ‘screwed up, etc.” What was your answer? Whatever answer we give, it seems that more and more people around us are worshiping less often, and fewer and fewer people are worshiping at all. Perhaps we gain some clarity by focusing especially on the word “worship,” as opposed to “going to church.” What does it mean to worship? I love the answer I found on the internet, the source to which I won’t bother to give credit: “We worship God for God is who God is. We worship because of who God is and what God has done. Our worship is a response to God, to God’s nature and activity.” Huh? What is worship, and why should we be doing it? According to Merriam-Webster: Origin of WORSHIP Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorthworthy, worth + -scipe –ship First Known Use: before 12th century. Synonyms: adulation, deification,...