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Pastor's Blog
Posted on June 8, 2018 9:00 AM by Matt
Categories: Editorials
June 8, 2018
 
Greetings from Pastor Matt,
 
I’d like to share a thank you this week to all those who quietly serve this church and people in need.  I am blessed each week by the example of our faithful prayer team who gathers together on bended knee (literally) to offer up prayers for our sick, injured, and grieving friends and family, and the humble deacons and members who pay visits to the nursing homes and home-bound, delivering food, conversation, hope and joy.  Thank you to those who make or buy food for our Komfort Kitchen assisting those in our church and community with nourishment and love.   I have been honored to call and visit alongside you these last 5 weeks and to share in your ministry.  Perhaps there are others out there who would like to join us in a ministry of compassion and prayer.  I’d love to talk with you more about it.
 
So far, in my series, “A Church Defined by…” I’ve discussed,
  • Genuineness over Perfection
  • Substance over Image
  • Ministry over Business
  • Community over Individual
Finding the right balance in all these topics is a challenge for any church.  We don’t necessarily need to completely exclude the second side of the equation but emphasize that which brings health to our Church and allows for ministry to thrive.  I have been very pleased in my interactions with our church’s committees and leadership in that we seem to operate balanced and rightly focused on our ministry priorities.
 
Today’s description of a healthy church focuses on “Experience over Intellect.”   This is the definitive Presbyterian struggle.  We Reformed Christians are both a reasoned and reasonable people.  We enjoy healthy theological dialogue and strive for sermons that make us think.  We are a people who are defined by 1 Corinthians 14’s exhortation to live lives “decently and in order.”  We take pride in our emphasis on education and have long-supported learning for all ages.  We shy away from the unrestrained passion of our sister churches who seem to sing those “7-11” choruses: seven words repeated 11 times.
 
Yet, it is the case in many Presbyterian churches that the effort to maintain our orderly decency may cause us to also become the “Frozen Chosen.”   We stand dispassionately and recite the Lord’s prayer, quietly sing from our hymnals, and barely smile throughout the service unless the benediction comes a surprising few minutes before the hour.  Where is the joy?  Where is our heart?  We have become such a head-focused family that we leave our hearts at home when we gather on Sundays.  How can we bring all that we are – body, soul, mind and strength – to our worshipping and service?
 
What if we dropped a little bit of our walls of self-protection and allowed ourselves to feel and experience what God is doing?  What if we weren’t so guarded?  You may have noticed that we occasionally change the Doxology and that the response to forgiveness is sometimes different than the old Gloria Patri.  These are intentional efforts to engage us all in a more meaningful, intentional and less automatic and rote participation.  What if we went beyond that?  What if we experienced worship on Sunday morning, not just witnessed it. 
 
I’ve proposed that we celebrate not only the day of Pentecost, which was May 20th, but a season of Pentecost!  Let us acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is not only unleashed once a year – but active and moving and transforming lives every day!  If we are open to the working of God’s Spirit within our lives – our lives will show it.  We will experience joy, peace, love, and all the fruits of the Spirit.  The Spirit doesn’t just illumine our minds – but awakens our hearts. 
 
Do you know why those contemporary choruses are repeated so often?   It is so the words can penetrate the heart; that the words become meaningful, experienced and felt.  I’m not encouraging us to abandon our hymnals but am praying that when we worship together we will offer our whole selves, not just our minds and intellect, but our hearts, emotions, and body too.  Don’t be afraid of clapping, by the way.  You won’t explode into a ball of fire by letting your hands express what your heart feels.  God is good!  Let us be free to say thank you to God!
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