Keep my steps steady according to your promise, and never let iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133
Keep moving forward will be our theme as we begin 2018! At Westminster we enjoyed a wonderful 2017 and as your Senior Pastor I am so thankful for each of the gifts you all shared over the past 12 months. Between your financial gifts and the gifts of your time, we were able to bring much glory to God and make a difference in our neighborhood and wider world. A woman at the Christmas dinner asked me, "How do you do this every year?" My immediate response included two facts, God's amazing faithfulness and the team work so evident at Westminster.
So now we move forward into 2018 and I challenge us all to keep our steps in line with God's plan for us. The Sunday that I candidated for the Associate Pastor position back in March of 2004 the choir sang the anthem, "Order My Steps"; those lyrics have stayed with me over the years.
Order my steps in Your word dear Lord
Lead me, guide me every day
Send Your anointing, Father I pray;
Order my steps in Your word
Please, order my steps in Your word
May we all be challenged to move forward and let God guide us. Let us rejoice in our Seeking New Paths progress with the addition taking shape literally and our new beautiful chancel stained glass window. We also have a new laser projector in the Shared Life Center.
Thank you for your support and prayers as we move to the New Year!!
1. see or observe (a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one).
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
This is the verse we've heard repeatedly over our lifetimes on Christmas Eve. I can hear my pastor reading it with great excitement and I can also see Linus reciting it every year as I would watch A Charlie Brown Christmas; always a favorite night of my childhood. The word that stands out to me is Behold. Ironically that word is not even used in most modern translations of the Bible. In the King James' version Behold is used 1,298 times, the New Revised Standard version Behold is used 27 times and in the paraphrase the Message Behold is not used at all. I realize that it is rare that this word comes into our everyday language. Have you uttered lately, "Behold, here is your Christmas present."?
So here is your December challenge. Take time to look around at all of the impressive things and people in your life. Stand outside the front door and see the addition which will be our new Welcome Center. Stand in the Sanctuary and gaze at the beautiful decorations and the installation of the chancel stained glass window. Find a child and behold their joy and anticipation of Christmas. The list could go on ... I think you get the idea. There is much for which we should be impressed!
I hope you will also prayerfully consider contributing a year end gift to Westminster. There are many requests at this time of year so please know how much your extra gift to Westminster is appreciated. We've had an abundant year thus far and this most beautiful month of December is a gift to behold!
"Jesus told His followers, I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last." (John 15:16).
October brings us to the season in which we all pause to consider how blessed we are to be in the midst of God's Kingdom at Westminster. This year our theme for Stewardship is Bearing Fruit for Jesus. Our committee has prepared materials that we hope you will study carefully and prayerfully commit your time, your talents and your treasures once again to the ministries we all seek to provide together.
I would specifically ask you to consider what it means to be chosen to bear fruit for Jesus. There is a reason God has brought you to 1301 Kimball Ave, perhaps years ago or just a few months ago. We are all called to contribute so how will you do that for 2018?
I love apples. I remember my Dad taking me to our favorite orchard every fall, Highland Orchards. It was our special time together. The day before my wedding my Dad and I traveled the 20 minutes to the orchard to purchase cider for the wedding toast (Baptist wedding). I felt chosen by my groom and also by my Dad as he spoke of his love for me and Bruce. It was a life giving moment and I felt blessed. I trust that you also feel especially blessed to be in the midst of all that is happening at Westminster.
We will celebrate together on Sunday, October 22 with one service at 10 am and a brunch to follow provided by our Stewardship Committee. Some steps to follow:
October 8: Pick up your Apple and Devotional Book
October 10-11: Look for your Stewardship Materials in the mail which includes your pledge card
October 15: Return your pledge card in Worship
October 22: Attend Worship at 10 am and enjoy our celebratory brunch together.
We have much to be grateful for and let us be persistent in our prayer for the ministries of our congregation and also the world which so desperately needs to know the love of Christ.
As procrastination is my middle name, I am writing this article on the eve of August 31. I've just returned home from our Launch party for our Come Together year of Discovery Night. We had a great turnout, delicious dinner, fun worship and a great time tie-dying our t-shirts on a beautiful summer evening. If you missed out please join us next Wednesday, we would love to see you.
The words from Romans fit our theme so well as we come together, we all lift up each other. It is so important to support one another through the changes that life brings.
One of my first texts from our college age daughter, Hannah, informed me that she was joining the bell choir at William Jewell. I immediately thought back to all the teachers, pastors, and so many of you who have been there for Hannah teaching her unique skills and loving her through the ups and downs of her life.
It is truly a privilege to be a faith community together, deepen your commitment in the days ahead as we Come Together!!
It is with great anticipation that I invite you to our fall kick off as we'll worship together at 10 am on September 10 in the sanctuary. Lots of planning has gone into this day and we'll have the added bonus of breaking ground for our Welcome Center expansion that will occur this fall. Huge thanks to the committee and all of you who continue to sacrifice to make this vision a reality.
We will also soon welcome our new music director, Patrick Marchant. I know you will so appreciate Patrick's amazing musical talent and outgoing personality. The search committee did an incredible job and much thanks to all who came out to sing with our candidates. Lastly, this new month will bring the opening of our Promise Music Academy, such a joy to see it all come together! Register your child if you haven't already.
To God be the Glory, great things God has done!!
(Picture is from the August 30 Launch worship service)
It has been a full and wonderful summer. As we turn the page to August, we start to think about back to school sales and the routine of fall.
Our staff has been working hard to create some creative times for us as a community as we Come Together for the launch of the 2017-2018 school year. We hope you'll join us on Wednesday, August 30 for our Launch party which will feature dinner, worship and a great activity for all of us.
Hebrews 10:25 speaks of the importance of meeting together and as much as I love summer I also struggle as I miss so many of you who are absent during the summer months in Worship. I look forward to learning more about our faith in the coming months and deepening our love of God.
As we review the summer, special thanks to those who have helped so much with our summer events whether it be BBQ and Blessings, the golf/swim outing, VBS, Music Camp, Great Escape, Puerto Rico Mission trip and the Destination trip. Also thank you to our Seeking New Paths team that continues to work towards our capital campaign goals. Please see Dean Thede's report with our progress!
Lastly, our music director search committee has been meeting regularly this summer and we're excited to bring in three candidates to meet with our musical groups during the month of August. Please keep this process in your prayers as we seek to call the person most suited for our congregation and our worship needs.
Always know that I consider it a great privilege to serve Westminster and always welcome your feedback and ideas!
With great hope,
2 Peter 1:2-4
"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."
Welcome to the month of July! We are in the thick of summer and rejoicing in the great promises of God which are so evident as we review the first six months of 2017. Six months from now we'll be making our resolutions for 2018, hard to believe right?
The pictures above are from our Senior High youth group who are currently living in Ponce as they interact with the people of the village. All reports are that the week has been incredible and full of God's promises fulfilled. Please come and hear our youth as they report on their trip on Sunday, July 16 at 10:10 am.
Each year I ask our staff members to set goals for the year ahead and one of Scott's goals was to offer our Senior highs an international mission experience. It has been a true delight to see this goal unfold, huge thanks to all who made this possible. Praise God!
Another goal for me personally was the creation of our Promise Academy of Music. In a few weeks we'll welcome children from our community to a week of music camp as we prepare to open officially the academy this fall. Such gratefulness for our task force which has been working for two years to make this academy happen. Again, Praise God for promises fulfilled.
So I ask you, what are your goals? How can God help you to make those goals a reality? A helpful goal for our faith community would be to attend Worship weekly. When you are absent, you are so missed! Also, make a goal of attending BBQ and Blessings during this month of July. Begin praying about participating in a JOURNEY group this fall. Perhaps a goal of joining the choir when the program year begins? (Please continue to pray for the music director search committee who are now meeting regularly and reviewing resumes.) The list can go on and on. Please consider your goals and I would love to hear them!!
God is amazing, let us live out our lives with great purpose and love!
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against such things. Galatians 5:22-23
On the first Sunday of June we'll celebrate the Birthday of the Church, Pentecost, 50 days since Easter. Be sure to wear your red as we recognize the giving of the Holy Spirit to help us build the Church. Just imagine for a minute with me how different our lives would be if everyone in our world could live each day in a spirit of love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Consider how the Church would be different and in the wider picture the entire population. There would be no wars, no murders, no bullying, no harsh words between family members or even weight watchers as we would all exhibit self-control! Sadly, even our preschool students could teach us about the lack of the fruits of the spirit in our world. It is easy to become disillusioned and yet I hope with all of my heart that we don't lose heart or hope. Instead let us work on our own hearts and be a role model to those around us of how important it is to live by the Spirit both in and out of Church.
Lots of great opportunities for growth and joy in this upcoming month. Check out the articles!
Huge thanks to all of you for your tremendous support for our daughter Hannah's senior recital and open house. Your love and nurture of her is a priceless gift to our family.
With Hope and Joy,
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.