Pastor's Letter

 

August/September 2017

             “...The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...”

             One of the highlights of this summer was serving alongside our youth during our mission trip to The House of the Carpenter in West Virginia this past June.  While we were there we all spent some time helping to build a handicap ramp for Carol Higgenbotham at her home in Moundsville, West Virginia (the hometown of our former bishop, Thomas Bickerton!). Carol’s mobility had reached the point where she could barely navigate a single stair, but that didn’t stop her from getting out on her front porch to cheer us on as we did our work.

The main supervisor of this ramp-build and other projects was a man by the name of Gary Bryant.  Gary is on the staff of The House of the Carpenter as a volunteer project coordinator. He is a retired engineer in his mid seventies and in great physical shape.  I really appreciated the way he worked with our youth, kindly showing them how to use all kinds of power tools and gently overseeing their work.  He had a genuine servant’s heart and clearly enjoyed helping others.  His patience was tested again and again as our project met with one obstacle

after another, but he kept his composure and caring demeanor throughout.  It was a joy and an honor to work alongside him.

It is a wonderful thing to see a genuine Christian servant in action.  Someone who is not only willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty to help others, but does so in a cheerful way. For it is not only what we do in the service of the gospel, but HOW we do it that matters. 

I am grateful that Park UM Church is populated by many servants of Christ, including our youth who served well on our mission trip!  Servants are simply believers who are willing to expend and extend themselves graciously and in concrete ways.  It is my hope that more of our members will find opportunities to discover the deep seated joy of serving Christ in some hands-on ministry!

In Christ,

Pastor Eric

 


May 2017

“Let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus...”

                                                                                                        (Hebrews 12:1-2)

             Pretend for a moment you are contemplating running in a marathon (26.2 miles!).  Trained runners suggest that first you would need to honestly answer some straightforward questions?

 

First, do you enjoy a challenge?  Marathon running takes dedication and discipline, and often the journey to starting line can be harder than the race itself.  You have to be prepared to change your eating habits, increase your water intake, get plenty of sleep, and “pound the pavement.”

 

Second, are you prepared to train?  The standard plan is that 16 weeks before the race you begin running an average of five miles, four times per week.  Third, do you have the time? Building up to marathon distance takes 6 to 10 hours a week for months.

 

We expect that running in a marathon would require dedication and discipline.  We know you can’t just show up the day of the race and hope to complete it!  What if we thought similarly about our life of faith?  Is not our faith journey like a “race” that requires perseverance and training?  Could not the above three questions apply to discipleship?

 

We have been talking quite a bit lately about Covenant Discipleship.  The reason for this is that it is a proven way to dedicate and discipline ourselves for the task of being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ in a world where “sin so easily entangles.”  It is not the only way, but it is an excellent way to assure we maintain the measure of accountability and encouragement we need to stay the course.

 

My one-hour, weekly interaction with my covenant group is something I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to (Like training with a friend to run a marathon!).  In that setting I am reminded that I am not alone in facing challenges to my faith, while striving to take Jesus seriously.  That hour sharpens and trains my faith perspective by keeping me focused on prayer, gratitude and service.

 

But it is not easy to live into the “covenant” in Covenant Discipleship. So before you commit to such a course of faith, you may want to ask yourself some straightforward questions: Do I enjoy a challenge?  Am I prepared to train?  Do I have the time?

 

As your pastor, I continue to pray that all aspire to be disciples: “followers of Jesus whose life is centering on loving God and loving others.” Discipleship is one marathon we are all capable of running, by the grace of God.  So let us “run with perseverance the race... while looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith...”

 

 

 

In Christ,

 

 

Pastor Eric


 

 

© 2017 Park United Methodist Church
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community