Thursday, August 7, 2008

Good Shepherd Update

Dear Good Shepherd,

It is so good to be home and to know I don't have to go anywhere else for a good long time. There are lots of loose ends that need to be tied and I've been anxious to tie them.

I've heard many good things about Micah while I've been gone and as a result I’ve decided to fire him. I need job security. Sorry Micah, you're out.

Just kidding.
Thank you, Micah, for your splendid work.

It is a great comfort and blessing to see so many people at Good Shepherd, Micah of course included, using their God given gifts of leadership, teaching, preaching, evangelism and serving. This is precisely the way the church is supposed to run. Pastors are supposed to equip Christians for ministry and then step out of the way so that they can minister. You are doing that. I can leave for two weeks without worry that the place will shut down.

Most recently, I've been taken back by your enthusiasm for evangelism. Two years ago, you wouldn’t have pulled off the Block Party or the Speidie fest booth without a pastor pushing it from behind. Now you not only pulled it off, but you pulled it off with very little help from Anne or from me. You organized, planned, directed and participated in these things yourselves with the insight, wisdom and strength the Spirit of God has given you. That is the Holy Spirit. It does not happen naturally. It tells me that God is here and his purposes and plans for Good Shepherd

We'll face many challenges and trials this year. We've trudged along through some difficult times since the lawsuit was filed in April. The external pressures have produced internal pressures. We’ve lost some members and gained others. At times anger, sorrow, impatience, despair, anxiety have produced conflict and a sense of hopelessness. At other times, the exhilaration, joy, and boldness that comes from standing as one body for the truth of the gospel.

It’s been a wild ride.

It is important during this time to maintain the basics.

Stay connected with Christ: Spend time with him every day in prayer. Listen to his voice daily by studying your bible. If there is an aspect of your life displeasing to God, repent and ask for his help in setting whatever it is aside. If God has called you to some work or service, do it. If you hold any grudges or harbor any anger, forgive as you have been forgiven. Put Jesus first and everything else will fall into place.

Stay connected with the body: Worship the Lord with your brothers and sisters on Sunday. Attend bible study. Go to Adult education and take your kids to Sunday school. Spend time with your brothers and sisters after Church. Share your faith and invite non-believing people to church. Do what you have committed to do and if you’ve committed to nothing, start doing something.

Staying connected to Christ and to his body is the recipe for rich and contented life in every circumstance. These are things that no one can take away.

I have no idea what God has in store for Good Shepherd for the remainder of this year, but I know that he is here. I know he loves Good Shepherd, and I know that whatever comes, whatever we lose or gain, we have all that we need since we’ve been made rich in Jesus Christ.

News and a Few Notes:
I am exhausted. I’m having a difficult time putting one thought in front of another this week so there will not be an Update apart from this. I’ll post it on the website as the Weekly Update and it will be printed in your bulletins on Sunday (by the way, if I haven’t said it, I’ve missed you all and I’m really looking forward to seeing you). Let me run quickly down a list of brief notes:

  1. All of the bible studies are back up and running this week and next. The Women’s Bible Study that meets on Saturday morning will start up for the fall next Saturday, the 16th of August.
  1. The Noon Communion service that has been held every Wednesday will be moving to Thursday beginning next week.
  1. In Adult Christian Education this week (every Sunday between services beginning at 9:15 am in the parish hall) will continue our discussion on the nature of Anglincanism, this time taking a closer look at the 39 Articles. You can find them in your prayerbook or google them online. I encourage everyone to read them through this week before class.
  1. Tom is cooking for Men’s Breakfast tomorrow morning (August 8th)
  1. Open Doors (office hours) will continue from 9:00-1:00pm Tues-Thurs every week. Open Doors hours are the times when you are welcome to come by the church and talk to me about anything without calling or making an appointment. You can meet with me at other times too of course, but you may not catch me without setting up a time.
  1. Website problems: our website has been infected by a virus. This blogspot website is just a temporary fix while we work to resolve the difficulties
Okay, that’s all I can think of to announce. If you have something I’ve forgotten, please shoot me an email.

Thank you,
In Christ

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