Pastor Lee's blog

God's Light Shines

One of the most beloved passages of scripture is Psalm 23. The image of God as the shepherd who cares for his sheep has comforted and encouraged many people; and who cannot identify with the one who walks through the valley of the shadow of death.
In this life there will be times when we are in places of shadow where we feel that the darkness will overwhelm us. The valley is deep; and the walls are steep; and we wonder if there will ever be light again.
When we find ourselves in these places, we can hold fast to the promise that God is with us and that God’s powerful presence will protect us and guide us; and we can remind ourselves of the truth expressed in Psalm 139:12 that “even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” There is no place of darkness that the light of God cannot penetrate.
So, let us take comfort in Jesus who is the light of the world and trust in the brilliant radiance of the Morning Star.

May the Lord bless you this week.

Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Three Resolutions for the New Year

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? - Isaiah 43:19

Well it is that time of year when people use the change of the calendar to make resolutions for the new year. There is something about a fresh year that inspires us to try something different to break out of a rut or to start something new.

As I look forward to 2017 as a church, I would like to suggest three resolutions for each one of us in our congregation.

There is More that Unites Us!

By the time you read this, we should know who will be the 45th President of the United States. While I can’t predict who it will be on this Monday morning that I am writing, the one thing I can be sure of is that nearly 50% of people will not be happy with the outcome.

It sure seems that more than ever we are a divided people over economics, race, politics, and many other issues. It also appears that many relationships are defined by differences rather than things held in common. The prevailing attitude among some people is that “you are either with me or against me.”

Twenty-five Years and Counting!

Twenty five years ago on October 20th I was ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. I remember that day well. It was a Sunday afternoon at the Lexington Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Virginia. My brothers and my parents had joined me for that important day. The Presbyterian Campus Minister from my sophomore year, John Schneider, the pastor of my home church, Gary Charles, and the pastor of the church I attended in college, John Sloop, all participated in the service. Dr. Charles preached a sermon based on the call of Moses entitled, “Barefoot on Holy Ground,” and Dr. Sloop charged me with the words “be in touch” - in touch with God and in touch with the people I serve.

The Power of Transformation

There is no greater proof of the resurrection of Jesus than a life transformed. I believe this with my whole heart. Over the years I have seen many people transformed because they met Jesus and responded by following with their whole hearts, minds, and wills. It is because of my belief in the resurrection power of Jesus that I dedicated my life to following him and serving those who follow.

The ministry of the church of Jesus Christ is one of the most important ways that God uses to introduce people to the person of Jesus. Through our worship, our fellowship, our discipleship, and our mission, we bear witness to the transforming power of Jesus and invite people to come into His presence. We are the body of Christ, and it is through us that God has chosen to impact the world.

A Great Start!

We had a wonderful kick-off to our fall ministries on Sunday! It started with a meaningful early worship service in the Fellowship Hall. Followed by a nice fellowship time put together by our Education Ministry Team. Two new Sunday School classes were added to our regular offerings for adults and children: one for the choir in the library, and another for adults which met in one of our classrooms upstairs in the administration building. (I promise the A/C will be fixed for next week!). All our classrooms were full of eager disciples! Then our 11 a.m. worship service in the sanctuary welcomed back our choir and was enhanced with a special musician and participation by many church members. It was a good day! I encourage you to invite your non-churched friends to join you in worship for next week!

Three Priorities

As we look forward to beginning our fall programming, I am filled with much anticipation and excitement. The momentum created by our summer reflection on the direction of worship is providing great opportunities to recommit ourselves to full engagement with the gospel of Jesus.

Our various ministry teams are thinking creatively as they seek to encourage our congregation to worship regularly, to study intently, and to serve faithfully. Yet while they are hard at work doing the tasks set before them, they cannot worship, study, and serve for you. Only you can do that!

I am encouraging every person connected with our church to recommit himself or herself to worshiping as often as possible, finding a way to develop his or her discipleship, and getting involved with some kind of service to our community.

The 31st Summer Olympics have begun!

I look forward to the Summer Olympics every four years, and I have already watched a great deal of the Archery competition in just the first few days. I am thankful for online streaming that allows the lessor known sports to gain a television audience.

As I watched the opening ceremonies with the teams of the countries of the world walking into the stadium with smiles, excitement, and the promise of victory to come, I was stuck by the thought that this is how the world ought to be - peaceful, exuberant, and hopeful. There is no doubt that all the athletes will bring their best and compete with one another with all the strength of their being; but at the end, they will stream back into the stadium not separated by country to celebrate what they have in common - their love of sport and their humanity. I can’t help but think that this is how God intends for our world to work.

With all of the hate and violence that has been present in the world over the last few years which gives us the feeling that evil is winning, the Olympics is a reminder that it is possible to dwell together in peace even in the midst of fierce competition.

I hope that the spirit of our common humanity on display in Rio this August will inspire the countries of the world to join together to defeat those who are intent on spreading death and hate; and it is my prayer that God will empower each of us to be a beacon of hope and light shining in the world around us.

May the Lord bless each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Don't Put Your Trust in Princes

This past week’s Republican National Convention and this coming week’s Democratic National Convention signal the beginning of the final push to November’s presidential election.
As I reflect on the choices the American people have, I am reminded of the words of Psalm 146: “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God” - Psalm 146:3-5.

Let There Be Peace On Earth, And Let It Begin With Me

I remember as a youth in church singing this song at youth gatherings and at camp in the summer. In college, when I led worship for the Presbyterian Fellowship, I often picked this song for its simple and clear message. Today, as we are bombarded with daily stories of violence and division, it remains as relevant as when it was written in 1955.

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