Bishop Letter To Churches Regarding Closure

In light of the many pressures and reasons to be cautious, our Bishop Sue has asked all churches to cancel worship services through the end of the month to be part of the solution to halt the spread of the Corona virus. Her letter is attached below.
You should have received a note this morning detailing practices we will be taking to keep us as healthy as possible.  We will institute these practices when we resume gathering for worship and other events.

The Bishop plans to review the situation on March 22 regarding further actions. We will follow her lead. Until then, lets cancel all group meetings too.

 However:
Let’s be true to our Methodist roots: pray, witness, reach out (maybe it is by phone…) comfort, and share the love of God.  Many find this time to be fearful.  That is not of God.  May we as people who hold the assurance of God with us, carry our faith foremost into these challenging days.  God is with us, these days will pass.
I am praying for you, for our church as it remains a constant source of strength even when it is placed on pause for a short time.

Guess what?  In spite of these earthly circumstances, Easter is still coming!  Jesus Christ will face death to give us life!  We will celebrate our life and live in joy that yes – our Lord and Shepherd  has us all in within God’s hand.

Peace and good health,
Pastor Lisa

p.s. look for more communications as we address these times apart in the body – still remaining faithful to God and one another in our community.

Letter from Bishop Sue 3/13/2020

Dear North Georgia Conference Clergy and Church Members,

As we receive information regarding the COVID-19 virus and hear of the increasing number of cases reported in our state, I strongly urge that Sunday worship services be cancelled through the end of the month. We will closely monitor this situation and be back in touch after Sunday, March 22.  

Please use your discretion in deciding whether to hold smaller gatherings like small groups and Bible studies.

Your Cabinet, as long-time United Methodists and shepherds of churches, recognizes that weekly public worship is an essential part of our method and a vital spiritual discipline. We also recognize our need to gather for worship in times of anxiety and uncertainly. Now, however, our public gathering may violate Wesley’s first general rule, which is “Do no harm.”

We know from healthcare officials that the virus is highly contagious but that with effort we might slow the rate of infection in order to allow our health care services to respond appropriately.

Under these highly unusual circumstances, the safe course of action is to stay home and avoid exposure. Please call a friend or a prayer partner, and read comforting Scripture or devotional materials to calm your spirit. Be sure to call your pastor if you are especially troubled.

We all need to be good stewards and keep tithes and offerings current even when we are not present at worship. We are compiling a list of live-streamed or recorded worship services at ngumc.org so that you can watch online.

Know that you are in my prayers.

With gratitude for you and your leadership,
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson 



Cokes Chapel, Corona Virus, And You

Dear Cokes Family,

With current concerns for health and safety, I want to offer a few practical considerations to you.  The intention is to provide a safe environment to worship and grow in Christ, to reduce unproductive fear and keep us mission-forward focused. Using prayer, wisdom and (guidelines from CDC) we can expect to keep illness at bay!
 
Always: Practice the golden rule of health: if you do not feel well, stay home! Don’t risk other people’s health.
 
1) CLEANLINESS AND DISINFECTION: 

  • We encourage regular hand washing (20 seconds).
  • Use hand sanitizer (one provided in each pew) before/after worship
  • Groups using meeting space are asked to sanitize table tops and other surfaces, including door knobs, etc. following meeting. Bring your cleaning wipes – we are currently unable to provide them!
  • When offering food, have a gloved volunteer hand out food instead of self serve. 
  • Communion 
    • The communion rail will be sanitized before and after worship.
    • Pastor & servers will continue to use hand washing/sanitizer as part of table preparation for you.
    • Those who receive are asked to use hand sanitizer beforehand. (Available in each pew)
    • Those preparing the sacrament will use precautions when handling elements.
    • Those with compromised immunity are invited to receive first or decline to participate.
  • Hug Alternatives: use elbow/fist bumps, waves, other ways of acknowledging one other

2) COMMUNICATION: 

  • Read emails/announcements that are sent to keep you informed.
  • Call or email Pastor Lisa if you have concerns, want prayer or other needs. Contact Lisa @ (770) 598-5066 or email jndlkd@comcast.net.
  • Prayer team always welcomes your requests! Contact Debbie Carter @ (678) 233-4980 (text) or debbiecarter@30263@charter.net  

3) COMMUNITY

  • Did you know you can watch 9 am worship on U-Tube (usually the same Sunday after 2pm?)  It’s as easy as going to cokeschapel.org, click on Worship and then on U-Tube to get the most recent message.
  • Cokes Care: Everyone can take part! Break out the old phone tree, reach out to one another, check in on everyone! Start with the homebound, the hospitalized, those who live alone, and those currently on the prayer lists. Imagine if during this time, every single person in the church got a phone call from someone at the church just checking in to say hello!
  • Giving. A practical concern for lowered attendance is the potential for lowered giving.  This spiritual discipline makes a weekly impact in our ministry “here, there and everywhere”. Please continue to practice generosity: online giving, gifts by mail and other creative ways to support your church.
  • Cokes finances are stable and in good order. Your Christian practice of giving is an act of faith and devotion to God. Whether in church, or at home keeping up with us, you make a difference! Thank you!

 
4) PRACTICE YOUR FAITH
Pray. Pray for the health of friends and strangers alike. Pray against the spirit of fear. Pray that God would use this season to deepen your dependence upon and obedience to God, your delight in God’s presence, and your appreciation for small blessings. Pray for our church. Pray for our mission. For children, and families if schools are closed. Pray for the vulnerable: the elderly, the infirm, those undergoing cancer treatments, and others with compromised immune systems. Pray for the food and housing unstable, those with limited access to clean drinking water, let alone hand washing supplies. Pray for those serving on the front lines of illness and disaster response including medical professionals, civil servants, caregivers, and custodial staff.  And then pray again: pray for your own courageous faith in uncertain times.
 
Practice faithful stewardship in every way: your prayers, presence, service, giving, witness all create the best circumstance for Cokes to thrive in all circumstances.

Read Luke 12. In this passage, Jesus addresses finding a balance between preparedness and worry. He warns against worry that presses us into hoarding goods out of fear. Take a look at the supplies you have collected. Then consider: what does this say about the amount of control fear has over me right now? Consider, how could you conquer fear by practicing generosity? Who around you could benefit from your preparedness?
 
Adapted from 3-11-20 North Georgia Conference special notice 
 
Looking inward to see with Christ’s eyes around us!                                

In Christ, Pastor Lisa                         3-12-20 
 



School Report – Blog from Pastor Lisa

Not long after arriving at Cokes Chapel, someone asked me if I knew what these stacked stones were, that are located on the front lawn of the church.  I had to admit, I hadn’t noticed them.  I am not sure that speaks well of me – it’s pretty obvious once I slowed down and looked where I was directed.

You need to know that Cokes Chapel was founded in 1833, and the current Chapel was constructed in 1855.  That’s a long time past!  Even though I knew how long this community has worshiped on this hill in Sharpsburg, the stones made no sense to me.  My guide then told me that these stones were placed here for carriages and horses to pull along side and for worshippers to disembark.  Who knew!

I have reflected on how many feet went up and down these stones, how many children played on them while folks talked after service, and how today these stones are a beautiful reminder of a way that people came to worship. 

Stepping stones that allowed folks to come into the presence of the Lord.  People came away from demanding farm life, preparing meals ahead of time so there was food ready to eat when they returned home, children and all able hands got up early to finish chores and feed animals so they could come to thank God, pray to God and listen to God.  They came with concerns, fears, hopes, and anticipation, ready to be together for their spiritual sustenance.

After worship, after greeting, laughing, sharing the news of the day and community, they stepped back on these same stones to continue life.

Holy Ground.  Holy Stones.  Not icons or idols, but real, beautiful reminders of life in Christ, whether in the here and now, or well over 100 years ago.  This season of preparation, we are called to slow down, look at the stepping stones we have been using.  Are we looking where Christ is directing us?  Are we coming with anticipation, thankfulness and open to the Holy Spirit forming us anew?   Are we growing closer in heart and life to our Savior?

Sometimes the “old ways” can be powerful, silent, soul shaking reminders of the true reason we are still coming together to worship as a community.  May these stones remind us of the growth that is always before us.  May these stones remind us of the stone that was rolled away from the tomb.  Step into the holy life that awaits us.

See you Sunday,   Pastor Lisa



Lenten Reflection: Week 1

 

Lenten Reflection: Week 1

Everyone likes to win! I admit, I entered the HGTV contest every day (two places!!) to win the home at Saint Simons
… I haven’t heard from them yet – have you? I enjoy information from emails that I signed up for while entering (I wonder, do they know that I signed up for contact and does that help??). One article caught my attention: “Thirteen Weeds to Watch For”. Oh yeah – I want to get ahead of the weed industry that will begin sprouting. There are some sneaking in already with this warm weather!
 
Weeds are the Bain of a Gardner’s life. They send deep roots, mar the smooth canvas of a lawn, or mess with the symmetry of a flower bed, and they steal nutrients from the soil we carefully feed and amend for our flowers. Weeds mask their intent to take over by going under the landscape for a yard or two, then emerging away from the root bed, playing with your confidence that you “got it all”. They have genius engineering built into their DNA, so they can pop off seeds like missiles or fly with the wind to corners yet discovered in the landscape (think dandelions).
 
Yes, I have an awareness of weeds and all the damage they can do. There is a whole industry created around weed control and the mark of a successful Gardner is more garden, less weeds, right?
 
Sort of like sin, I am thinking…. we know the sins that separate us from a beautiful life in Christ. We may even practice
some of the known ways to avoid sin – we pray, seek out ways to be kind, serve others, give. Still
the potential remains always around us, in us, to slip into the easy way of separation from God.
 
Jesus spoke often about seeds, growth and potential – always with the deeper context of how we allow God’s Word and our life flourish through Him. This Lent season, perhaps there are some weeds (sins) you have noticed that you want to pull or remove in your soul landscape. Trust that God has just the right formula to give you power over the things that hinder your spiritual life and growth. Pray, fast, listen, study God’s Word, love, show mercy, forgive as you have been forgiven.
 
Quiz Corner: Did you recognize the weeds above and to the left? 1) Henbit – reproduce by seed, but can also root from stem pieces. Hand-pull when soil is moist 2) Dandelion – a perennial weed. Dig or spot-spray if you only have a few offenders. Apply pre-emergent herbicide in fall to interrupt seed germination 3) White Clover – a perennial weed that spreads rapidly by stems that creep both above and underground. You can hand-pull or spot spray plant with herbicide that kills weeds, not grass.
 
Can you recognize spiritual offenders? Greed, envy, jealousy, pride, selfishness, anger, evil intentions, dissension, lust… anything that separates us from God.
 
“So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” James 4:7-10 The Message


The Practice of Lent

 


The Practice of Lent

Spiritual practices are an opportunity to open us up to the mystery of faith, the life of Christ and the potential we have to become more Christ-like. Lent may not be a liturgical season that you are familiar with. I wasn’t raised with ashes and 40 days of preparation for Holy Week. Yet now I find that I long for this season. This time of reflection, preparation and discernment allows Easter to become a deeper recognition of all that God did in Jesus Christ for us.
Someone has said that “Easter can’t be Easter unless we take part in the preparation of our souls.” The celebration and joy that we lift to God on Easter Sunday is richer and fuller when we walk the path to the Cross, and face the empty tomb, and meet the risen Savior behind the doors we close in life as a spiritual discipline.I want to be an Easter person in the best way possible! Not for me, but for the glory of God. I invite you to journey with me, with your faith community, as we give ourselves intentionally to some space to hear, reflect and sit into the journey that Christ made for us. As obedience, faith and God’s presence were with Christ in these days before his suffering, may we strive for that same holiness of heart and life.First step: join together in our Ash Wednesday Service, this Wednesday, March 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary for worship, reflection, repentance, and preparation to make this season of Lent. Look for more to come in your weekly emails, our website and in the bulletin as encouragement and suggestions to connect to our Lord.Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16: 24
 
Peace,
Pastor Lisa


A note from Pastor Lisa February 1, 2017

 

A Sign of Hope

On a cool, windy morning last week, I hurried into the office.  In the last few weeks, small beginnings of daffodils someone planted, who knows how many years ago, began peeking out of the ground.  By early afternoon that same day, a first bud had presented its full beauty. 

I paused to enjoy the sight, reveling in the wonder that within a short time, this bright statement of promise could go from a sheltered bud to a shining statement of seasons yet to come. A hint of spring!  Hope!

It just so happened this was a day I needed to be reminded that God is always at work, generating hope, promise,
and change.  Sometimes that change is done in my heart, sometimes that promise is all I need to remember, and yes, sometimes I need to trust that while I might not see it, God is at work preparing, creating and ultimately revealing the good plan for all God’s creation.
 
Do you ever need to be reminded of hope?  Are there days when you long to see God’s affirmation?  Look outward, listen
for
 the song of God’s great love in the stories of one another, in the very movement of seasons, in worship, prayer, serving, and giving.  Look inward and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Honor the growth and new life that is at work in you through Jesus Christ. God has a part of each of these holy works. 

Yes, you are a holy work in progress. 

Join me this Sunday in worship at 9 or 11 for more on grace. Folks, sanctification is more than just a word – its a way of life, it represents the disciples  journey of hope, promise, and wonder!  Yes, grace is amazing! 

Peace, Pastor Lisa

Acts 20.32

And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.




Bishop Letter To Churches Regarding Closure

In light of the many pressures and reasons to be cautious, our Bishop Sue has asked all churches to cancel worship services through the end of the month to be part of the solution to halt the spread of the Corona virus. Her letter is attached below.
You should have received a note this morning detailing practices we will be taking to keep us as healthy as possible.  We will institute these practices when we resume gathering for worship and other events.

The Bishop plans to review the situation on March 22 regarding further actions. We will follow her lead. Until then, lets cancel all group meetings too.

 However:
Let’s be true to our Methodist roots: pray, witness, reach out (maybe it is by phone…) comfort, and share the love of God.  Many find this time to be fearful.  That is not of God.  May we as people who hold the assurance of God with us, carry our faith foremost into these challenging days.  God is with us, these days will pass.
I am praying for you, for our church as it remains a constant source of strength even when it is placed on pause for a short time.

Guess what?  In spite of these earthly circumstances, Easter is still coming!  Jesus Christ will face death to give us life!  We will celebrate our life and live in joy that yes – our Lord and Shepherd  has us all in within God’s hand.

Peace and good health,
Pastor Lisa

p.s. look for more communications as we address these times apart in the body – still remaining faithful to God and one another in our community.

Letter from Bishop Sue 3/13/2020

Dear North Georgia Conference Clergy and Church Members,

As we receive information regarding the COVID-19 virus and hear of the increasing number of cases reported in our state, I strongly urge that Sunday worship services be cancelled through the end of the month. We will closely monitor this situation and be back in touch after Sunday, March 22.  

Please use your discretion in deciding whether to hold smaller gatherings like small groups and Bible studies.

Your Cabinet, as long-time United Methodists and shepherds of churches, recognizes that weekly public worship is an essential part of our method and a vital spiritual discipline. We also recognize our need to gather for worship in times of anxiety and uncertainly. Now, however, our public gathering may violate Wesley’s first general rule, which is “Do no harm.”

We know from healthcare officials that the virus is highly contagious but that with effort we might slow the rate of infection in order to allow our health care services to respond appropriately.

Under these highly unusual circumstances, the safe course of action is to stay home and avoid exposure. Please call a friend or a prayer partner, and read comforting Scripture or devotional materials to calm your spirit. Be sure to call your pastor if you are especially troubled.

We all need to be good stewards and keep tithes and offerings current even when we are not present at worship. We are compiling a list of live-streamed or recorded worship services at ngumc.org so that you can watch online.

Know that you are in my prayers.

With gratitude for you and your leadership,
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson 



Cokes Chapel, Corona Virus, And You

Dear Cokes Family,

With current concerns for health and safety, I want to offer a few practical considerations to you.  The intention is to provide a safe environment to worship and grow in Christ, to reduce unproductive fear and keep us mission-forward focused. Using prayer, wisdom and (guidelines from CDC) we can expect to keep illness at bay!
 
Always: Practice the golden rule of health: if you do not feel well, stay home! Don’t risk other people’s health.
 
1) CLEANLINESS AND DISINFECTION: 

  • We encourage regular hand washing (20 seconds).
  • Use hand sanitizer (one provided in each pew) before/after worship
  • Groups using meeting space are asked to sanitize table tops and other surfaces, including door knobs, etc. following meeting. Bring your cleaning wipes – we are currently unable to provide them!
  • When offering food, have a gloved volunteer hand out food instead of self serve. 
  • Communion 
    • The communion rail will be sanitized before and after worship.
    • Pastor & servers will continue to use hand washing/sanitizer as part of table preparation for you.
    • Those who receive are asked to use hand sanitizer beforehand. (Available in each pew)
    • Those preparing the sacrament will use precautions when handling elements.
    • Those with compromised immunity are invited to receive first or decline to participate.
  • Hug Alternatives: use elbow/fist bumps, waves, other ways of acknowledging one other

2) COMMUNICATION: 

  • Read emails/announcements that are sent to keep you informed.
  • Call or email Pastor Lisa if you have concerns, want prayer or other needs. Contact Lisa @ (770) 598-5066 or email jndlkd@comcast.net.
  • Prayer team always welcomes your requests! Contact Debbie Carter @ (678) 233-4980 (text) or debbiecarter@30263@charter.net  

3) COMMUNITY

  • Did you know you can watch 9 am worship on U-Tube (usually the same Sunday after 2pm?)  It’s as easy as going to cokeschapel.org, click on Worship and then on U-Tube to get the most recent message.
  • Cokes Care: Everyone can take part! Break out the old phone tree, reach out to one another, check in on everyone! Start with the homebound, the hospitalized, those who live alone, and those currently on the prayer lists. Imagine if during this time, every single person in the church got a phone call from someone at the church just checking in to say hello!
  • Giving. A practical concern for lowered attendance is the potential for lowered giving.  This spiritual discipline makes a weekly impact in our ministry “here, there and everywhere”. Please continue to practice generosity: online giving, gifts by mail and other creative ways to support your church.
  • Cokes finances are stable and in good order. Your Christian practice of giving is an act of faith and devotion to God. Whether in church, or at home keeping up with us, you make a difference! Thank you!

 
4) PRACTICE YOUR FAITH
Pray. Pray for the health of friends and strangers alike. Pray against the spirit of fear. Pray that God would use this season to deepen your dependence upon and obedience to God, your delight in God’s presence, and your appreciation for small blessings. Pray for our church. Pray for our mission. For children, and families if schools are closed. Pray for the vulnerable: the elderly, the infirm, those undergoing cancer treatments, and others with compromised immune systems. Pray for the food and housing unstable, those with limited access to clean drinking water, let alone hand washing supplies. Pray for those serving on the front lines of illness and disaster response including medical professionals, civil servants, caregivers, and custodial staff.  And then pray again: pray for your own courageous faith in uncertain times.
 
Practice faithful stewardship in every way: your prayers, presence, service, giving, witness all create the best circumstance for Cokes to thrive in all circumstances.

Read Luke 12. In this passage, Jesus addresses finding a balance between preparedness and worry. He warns against worry that presses us into hoarding goods out of fear. Take a look at the supplies you have collected. Then consider: what does this say about the amount of control fear has over me right now? Consider, how could you conquer fear by practicing generosity? Who around you could benefit from your preparedness?
 
Adapted from 3-11-20 North Georgia Conference special notice 
 
Looking inward to see with Christ’s eyes around us!                                

In Christ, Pastor Lisa                         3-12-20 
 



School Report – Blog from Pastor Lisa

Not long after arriving at Cokes Chapel, someone asked me if I knew what these stacked stones were, that are located on the front lawn of the church.  I had to admit, I hadn’t noticed them.  I am not sure that speaks well of me – it’s pretty obvious once I slowed down and looked where I was directed.

You need to know that Cokes Chapel was founded in 1833, and the current Chapel was constructed in 1855.  That’s a long time past!  Even though I knew how long this community has worshiped on this hill in Sharpsburg, the stones made no sense to me.  My guide then told me that these stones were placed here for carriages and horses to pull along side and for worshippers to disembark.  Who knew!

I have reflected on how many feet went up and down these stones, how many children played on them while folks talked after service, and how today these stones are a beautiful reminder of a way that people came to worship. 

Stepping stones that allowed folks to come into the presence of the Lord.  People came away from demanding farm life, preparing meals ahead of time so there was food ready to eat when they returned home, children and all able hands got up early to finish chores and feed animals so they could come to thank God, pray to God and listen to God.  They came with concerns, fears, hopes, and anticipation, ready to be together for their spiritual sustenance.

After worship, after greeting, laughing, sharing the news of the day and community, they stepped back on these same stones to continue life.

Holy Ground.  Holy Stones.  Not icons or idols, but real, beautiful reminders of life in Christ, whether in the here and now, or well over 100 years ago.  This season of preparation, we are called to slow down, look at the stepping stones we have been using.  Are we looking where Christ is directing us?  Are we coming with anticipation, thankfulness and open to the Holy Spirit forming us anew?   Are we growing closer in heart and life to our Savior?

Sometimes the “old ways” can be powerful, silent, soul shaking reminders of the true reason we are still coming together to worship as a community.  May these stones remind us of the growth that is always before us.  May these stones remind us of the stone that was rolled away from the tomb.  Step into the holy life that awaits us.

See you Sunday,   Pastor Lisa



Lenten Reflection: Week 1

 

Lenten Reflection: Week 1

Everyone likes to win! I admit, I entered the HGTV contest every day (two places!!) to win the home at Saint Simons
… I haven’t heard from them yet – have you? I enjoy information from emails that I signed up for while entering (I wonder, do they know that I signed up for contact and does that help??). One article caught my attention: “Thirteen Weeds to Watch For”. Oh yeah – I want to get ahead of the weed industry that will begin sprouting. There are some sneaking in already with this warm weather!
 
Weeds are the Bain of a Gardner’s life. They send deep roots, mar the smooth canvas of a lawn, or mess with the symmetry of a flower bed, and they steal nutrients from the soil we carefully feed and amend for our flowers. Weeds mask their intent to take over by going under the landscape for a yard or two, then emerging away from the root bed, playing with your confidence that you “got it all”. They have genius engineering built into their DNA, so they can pop off seeds like missiles or fly with the wind to corners yet discovered in the landscape (think dandelions).
 
Yes, I have an awareness of weeds and all the damage they can do. There is a whole industry created around weed control and the mark of a successful Gardner is more garden, less weeds, right?
 
Sort of like sin, I am thinking…. we know the sins that separate us from a beautiful life in Christ. We may even practice
some of the known ways to avoid sin – we pray, seek out ways to be kind, serve others, give. Still
the potential remains always around us, in us, to slip into the easy way of separation from God.
 
Jesus spoke often about seeds, growth and potential – always with the deeper context of how we allow God’s Word and our life flourish through Him. This Lent season, perhaps there are some weeds (sins) you have noticed that you want to pull or remove in your soul landscape. Trust that God has just the right formula to give you power over the things that hinder your spiritual life and growth. Pray, fast, listen, study God’s Word, love, show mercy, forgive as you have been forgiven.
 
Quiz Corner: Did you recognize the weeds above and to the left? 1) Henbit – reproduce by seed, but can also root from stem pieces. Hand-pull when soil is moist 2) Dandelion – a perennial weed. Dig or spot-spray if you only have a few offenders. Apply pre-emergent herbicide in fall to interrupt seed germination 3) White Clover – a perennial weed that spreads rapidly by stems that creep both above and underground. You can hand-pull or spot spray plant with herbicide that kills weeds, not grass.
 
Can you recognize spiritual offenders? Greed, envy, jealousy, pride, selfishness, anger, evil intentions, dissension, lust… anything that separates us from God.
 
“So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” James 4:7-10 The Message


The Practice of Lent

 


The Practice of Lent

Spiritual practices are an opportunity to open us up to the mystery of faith, the life of Christ and the potential we have to become more Christ-like. Lent may not be a liturgical season that you are familiar with. I wasn’t raised with ashes and 40 days of preparation for Holy Week. Yet now I find that I long for this season. This time of reflection, preparation and discernment allows Easter to become a deeper recognition of all that God did in Jesus Christ for us.
Someone has said that “Easter can’t be Easter unless we take part in the preparation of our souls.” The celebration and joy that we lift to God on Easter Sunday is richer and fuller when we walk the path to the Cross, and face the empty tomb, and meet the risen Savior behind the doors we close in life as a spiritual discipline.I want to be an Easter person in the best way possible! Not for me, but for the glory of God. I invite you to journey with me, with your faith community, as we give ourselves intentionally to some space to hear, reflect and sit into the journey that Christ made for us. As obedience, faith and God’s presence were with Christ in these days before his suffering, may we strive for that same holiness of heart and life.First step: join together in our Ash Wednesday Service, this Wednesday, March 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary for worship, reflection, repentance, and preparation to make this season of Lent. Look for more to come in your weekly emails, our website and in the bulletin as encouragement and suggestions to connect to our Lord.Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16: 24
 
Peace,
Pastor Lisa


A note from Pastor Lisa February 1, 2017

 

A Sign of Hope

On a cool, windy morning last week, I hurried into the office.  In the last few weeks, small beginnings of daffodils someone planted, who knows how many years ago, began peeking out of the ground.  By early afternoon that same day, a first bud had presented its full beauty. 

I paused to enjoy the sight, reveling in the wonder that within a short time, this bright statement of promise could go from a sheltered bud to a shining statement of seasons yet to come. A hint of spring!  Hope!

It just so happened this was a day I needed to be reminded that God is always at work, generating hope, promise,
and change.  Sometimes that change is done in my heart, sometimes that promise is all I need to remember, and yes, sometimes I need to trust that while I might not see it, God is at work preparing, creating and ultimately revealing the good plan for all God’s creation.
 
Do you ever need to be reminded of hope?  Are there days when you long to see God’s affirmation?  Look outward, listen
for
 the song of God’s great love in the stories of one another, in the very movement of seasons, in worship, prayer, serving, and giving.  Look inward and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Honor the growth and new life that is at work in you through Jesus Christ. God has a part of each of these holy works. 

Yes, you are a holy work in progress. 

Join me this Sunday in worship at 9 or 11 for more on grace. Folks, sanctification is more than just a word – its a way of life, it represents the disciples  journey of hope, promise, and wonder!  Yes, grace is amazing! 

Peace, Pastor Lisa

Acts 20.32

And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified.