Pastor Lee's blog

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.

Maranatha!

It seems that every day there is another news story that brings bad news. Most recently it is the bombing in Istanbul, Turkey which follows Orlando, Brussels, San Bernadino, and Paris. We also read about flood ravaged West Virginia, storm damaged mid-west, and the loss of life and property that goes along with such stories.

Don't Go on Vacation!

Well summer is just about here, and most everyone is making plans for some time away from the rush of normal life. I am looking forward to a week with my family at my parent’s house on Hatteras. I know other people are planning trips to the North Carolina mountains or to Florida or out west.

The change of pace of summer is something that many people look forward to. Life in the summer is a little slower with many of the activities we are involved in on hiatus. This different pace provides a much needed breather in the midst of a hectic world.

Leaving a Legacy, Securing the Future

The United States is in the midst of a major demographic shift. In 2013 the older population - persons aged 65 or older - represented 14.1% of the U.S. population. In the next 20 years that percentage is expected to rise to 21% of the population.

The Baby Boom Generation (born 1945 - 1964) is nearing retirement age and accounts for the expected growth in the retired age group. Interestingly, the birth rates for those generations following the Baby Boom Generations were not as robust, and so there will be fewer workers available to replace those retiring Baby Boomers. This presents a challenge to the business sector in the coming years, but it will also effect participation and giving in the church at large.

Recognizing Staff

What a special day we had yesterday as we honored Jeanna Carlton for 20 years of service and Alma Carlton for 30 years of service. Each one, in their unique way, helps keep the nuts and bolts of the administration of our church going strong.

Jeanna is the first face and first voice many people see and hear. She presents a welcoming presence for our church. If you receive something in the mail from the church, you can be confident that Jeanna had something to do with it. Bulletins, Newsletters, Website, and phone tree messages all flow through Jeanna. She keeps the office humming!

You most likely will only see Alma on Sunday mornings in one of the back pews, but her unseen work is the oil that helps the gears of the church move smoothly. Anything financial or stewardship related is handled by Alma. Thank you notes for memorials, giving statements, financial statements, and checks all flow through her! She is meticulous and thorough!

God has blessed our church with an outstanding staff all the way around. They are committed to helping us as a church fulfill the calling we have been given by Christ. Each of the staff cares deeply for each of you, and together we will continue doing great things for the Lord!
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The month of May will be filled with lots of activity here at the church. We will celebrate communion on May 1st; the Presbyterian Women will have their Spring gathering on May 2nd; on May 12th, we will have a dinner and speaker surrounding the topic of new trends in advance medical directives; on May 15th, we will recognize our graduating seniors; After 11 a.m. worship on May 29th we will have our annual Memorial Day Luncheon.

The member care team will be sponsoring Lay Pastor Training on May 22nd and June 5th immediately following worship. If you are interested in becoming a part of this ministry or would like to find out more information, contact Emelie North and plan to attend our training sessions. There is no commitment requested until after the training sessions.

Please continue to pray for each other and the work of our church!
May the Lord bless each of you this May!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

I Finally Choose!

Ten years ago when the congregation was made aware that the Pastor Nominating Committee was going to present their recommendation for your new pastor, the big question on everyone’s mind was “who does he ‘pull’ for?” Was it Carolina? State? App? Surely not Duke!? You were assured that your new pastor did not have any North Carolina college loyalties. Ten years later, that is no longer the case.

After a long and involved college application and search process, my twins, Madison and Kinsley, have decided on Wake Forest University! We feel blessed that they were both accepted to Wake, and that Wake has recognized their academic aptitude with scholarships that made going there feasible and the decision easy. So from this day on, I am pulling for Wake!

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