Pastor Lee's blog

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.

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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.

You Have to Have a Plan!

All of us know that reading our Bible is one of the fundamental practices of the Christian life. Through our reading, God places His word in our hearts, and we grow as a result. We read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”

While I Was Away

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

I had a wonderful time away on vacation, but it was sure great to be back in
worship on Sunday. I have missed you all and have missed worshiping with you.

Some of you have asked what I was up to over my three weeks away, so I
thought I'd give you a quick run down.

2009 Adult Trip to the Dominican Republic

Our church is planning another adult mission trip to the Dominican Republic this October. This will be our 4th adult trip and our 6th trip over all as a church. It surely has been a blessing to develop a 6 year relationship with Mission Emanuel. For me the people of Cielo and Nazaret have become like family, and my annual trip to visit them has become like going home. I am looking forward to visiting Sheila - the young girl that my family sponsors - and catching up with Raphael and Bralio - the men whose homes we helped build. This year, I am making a concerted effort to learn Spanish before I go!

Numbering Our Days

“For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night....So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” Ps 90:4, 12

I know that it is a truism that time flies, but I certainly experienced that this week.

Growing in Jesus

Over the past 6 weeks in worship, I have given you a question to think about: Are you just jostling around Jesus in all the “religious” activity you undertake, occasionally bumping into him OR are you willfully and intentionally reaching out to touch Jesus expecting healing and transformation in your life? The answer to this question is crucially important.

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