Pastor Lee's blog

High Velocity, post-modern, post-Christian

Over the next few months, I will be sharing with you some insights that have come from our church’s engagement with the Acts 16:5 initiative. Theses thoughts will somewhat parallel what I will be preaching on during the same time frame. My desire is that we can take a thoughtful look at how we can go about ministry in a time of great change.
Speaking of change - what are we facing in the 21st century?

Transformation Sermon Series

I am very excited about a series of sermons I have planned for the month of January. Building on the themes which the Acts 16:5 Vision Team and the Session have been studying, I’ll be leading us through an exploration of what it means to be in “transformational” ministry as a church.

On January 3rd, we will reflect on where we are as a culture, as a church in general, and in particular as First Presbyterian Church. I will be showing a very interesting video that clearly illustrates the pace of change we are experiencing at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. On January 10th, we will discover what God desires for His children and look at what “transformation” actually and practically means for our lives and the ministry of our church. Then for the next three Sundays, we will explore what the transformational ministry cycle is and how it can help us become “a community of believers where people are being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the image of Christ.”

My hope is that God will excite us and inspire us to reach out more intentionally to people who need to hear the good news, grow in our knowledge and love of God, and become better able to see the world through the eyes of Jesus!

May God bless you all!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

What I Want for Christmas

As long as I can remember, I have been asked the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” When I was younger, that question started my mind wondering and wandering at all the many things that I could ask for — a new bike, a new guitar, a train set, a Corvette. (When I was sixteen, I asked for a Corvette so many times, my father did give me one — a match-box one!)

Now, even at age 44, the question still starts my mind to wondering and wandering at all the many things I could ask for. The only difference is that the things are more expensive (except of course for the Corvette.)

I Am Thankful for...

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. - Psalm 106:1

As I reflect on what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving, near the top of the list is God bringing me here to Lexington. This week marks the completion of four years as your pastor. Our church has become such a part of my family that I can almost not remember what my life was like before coming here. When we arrived in 2005, my children were still small; now I have middle schoolers and one half way through third grade! Time does fly.

"With Me"

"Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.” - Luke 9:28

There is so much clamoring for our attention these days. Whether it is leaves that need raking, or meetings to go to, or errands that need running. I don’t watch much television because I just don’t have time to. By the time I get the kids to bed there is about enough time to get my clothes ready for the next day before I have to go to bed, because 6 a.m. comes very early. I wonder if you feel as pulled in many different directions as I do.

The Mission Continues

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

What a difference 24 hours makes. On Saturday around noon, I was in the airport in Santo Domingo waiting for my flight home. The temperature was in the 90's. On Sunday after church, the temperature for our "Lunch on the Grounds" was a very chilly 63. It was a brisk homecoming for me and the other participants in our mission trip.


Why Mission?

This Saturday, Walt Rouse, Tom Lackey, Craig & Cathy Koontz, Margaret King, Megan Wetherill Ziglar, and myself will head down to Mission Emanuel in the Dominican Republic for our fourth adult mission trip and the sixth trip overall as a church. What is it that keeps us going back?

My first answer to that question has to be “relationships.” After six years, we have formed friendships with many of the Dominicans of Cielo and Nazaret. The mission staff are wonderful. Lalo is the construction chief who is always smiling. Marco is the onsite job supervisor who puts up with us amateur construction workers with patience and grace. Javier is the director of the mission who has a deep commitment to Jesus Christ and to living out his faith. Jack is the man of vision who with Javier got this mission started over 13 years ago.

The people for whom we have built houses have become cherished friends as well. Bralio and Raina are always happy to see anyone from First Presbyterian Lexington, and they continue to remain thankful for the house in which they live. Raphael and Enelcida light up when they know that we are coming to visit. Their son Raphael Jr has become a tall and handsome young man.

Our relationships with the other Americans who are regulars on these trips are special too. I look forward to reconnecting with friends from Ohio and Florida as well as Winston-Salem. It is a joy to work hard with people who share your faith and commitment to doing the Lord’s work.

My second answer to my question is, “it is the call of God.” The work that we do is a tangible expression of the love of Jesus to a community that really needs the love of Jesus. When I am serving and working through Mission Emanuel, I am sure I am in the will of God; and it is a powerful thing to know that you are 100% in the will of God.

My final answer to the question is “because of the growth my faith always experiences.” God is doing a marvelous work through the mission, and it is inspiring to see God at work. The lives of people in these communities are being transformed because of Jesus Christ and the faithful people who are ministering in his name. Participating in this mission is like taking a long drink of cold water on a very hot day. It is refreshing, inspiring, and uplifting.

Please pray for our safe travel and that God would speak to each of us in a profound way. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you once more when we return. Grace and peace be with you.
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Many Thanks

In any organization, it is important to recognize milestones in the work lives of its employees. This is especially true in churches. In September we celebrated the work anniversaries of four members of our church staff, and I wanted to say thank you to each of them.

The Acts 16:5 Initiative

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.” - Acts 16:5

You may have heard the phrase “Acts 16:5” used around church by the elders and deacons and been wondering what it is. Well, it is obviously a reference to a verse in the book of Acts which is quoted above, but it is also an initiative sponsored by Salem Presbytery in which the churches take disciplined and intentional steps toward creating new ministries to reach new people while honoring and strengthening the work of present ministry.

Financial Peace

Proverbs 22:7 states: “The borrower is slave to the lender,” and I believe it. Those who are in debt are indeed beholden to the lender, and debt can become an incredible burden in one’s life. Jesus himself said that you cannot serve God and wealth for only one can be the master. It is estimated that more than 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and over 35% of Christian marriages end in divorce with money problems being the number one cause. How one manages and uses money can be a source of many difficulties.

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