Pastor Lee's blog

Looking Toward 2015

I am posting this right before Christmas day, so let me wish each of you a very holy and blessed Christmas celebration! For those of you who will be traveling, I will be praying for safe journeys for you.

As I look toward 2015, I am excited about what God is going to do in and through our church. We are continuing our engagement with “The Story.” I continue to hear very positive comments about reading through the Bible in this way. If you haven’t had an opportunity to view “The Story” the videos on I encourage you to do so. Each video is only about 10 minutes long for each chapter, and they help you understand the main point of each chapter. In fact, the Right Now Media library is full of great teaching videos across many topic areas. This is a service for our members, and the more people take advantage of it, the greater value we get out of our subscription fee. If you do not have an account, please contact Jeanna at the church office. She will get you started.

Of course, the big addition that I am most looking forward to is the beginning of our early service. I am excited about the possibilities this service will provide us as we create this new entry point into the ministry of our church. Those who attended the Very Special Gathering Band Christmas event last Sunday got a taste of how this new early service will feel and run.

As we move forward with the plans for this service, we will need help in a number of areas. We are looking for volunteers who can be trained to run some of the technical aspects of the service including sound, lighting, and video projection. We will also need people to serve as greeters and ushers. If you are interested in helping, please let me know. More information about the new service will be coming in early January as plans are firmed up.

May each of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Looking Toward the Sky...

"For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6

Advent is that four week period preceding Christmas when we prepare to remember and celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus in a manger more than 2000 years ago. The challenge of celebrating Advent in today’s world is to get past all of the secularization and commercialization of Christmas. If we do this, we can focus on the "real meaning" of Christmas.

Now while it is important to celebrate Jesus’s arrival on earth as a baby, we sometimes forget that Advent is also the time when we prepare our hearts for the second coming of Jesus as Lord of all the earth. This Christmas in particular, I am looking toward the sky, not for the Star of Bethlehem, but for cloud upon which Jesus will return.

Returning Thanks

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

Each year when the time for the Thanksgiving breakfast rolls around, I am reminded of my first “official” event as your pastor. It was nine years ago during the week of Thanksgiving breakfast that I began my ministry with you, and the first “worship” service I led was the devotional service at that Thanksgiving breakfast. My first Sunday was three days later, and I remember Beckey Griffith bringing a birthday cake to Christmas Family Night to celebrate my 40th birthday.

In those nine years, our church has baptized 35 children and adults, confirmed 36 youth into the faith, hosted more than 14 weddings, received 79 new adult members, and lost 42 members to death. We have collected more than 12,000 jars of peanut butter, and more than $18,000 - 2 cents at a time - for our hunger offering!

But of course the church is so much more than statistics. We have had many wonderful fellowship events, meaningful family retreats to Montreat, and Sunday school classes and small group gatherings that have stretched our faith. We have had special worship services and started the Gathering ministry. It was during these last nine years that we began taking adult mission trips to the Dominican Republic, had at least two domestic mission trips to West Virginia, and been committed partners in Touching Davidson County With Love. We have cried together, laughed together, rejoiced and worshiped together.

I think it is true that attending to the demands of present living has a way of narrowing one’s focus to such a degree that one can miss the big picture. The only way not to miss it is to have the discipline to step out of the rush of life to reflect on journey. When I step back to look at all that we have accomplished together on our journey, I have to give God the glory for it all. God has truly blessed our church and blessed me with the privilege of serving alongside you over these years.

My first sermon with you was called “Returning Thanks,” and it explored the story of the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus but of whom only one returned to give thanks. As we celebrate another Thanksgiving together, I just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives. As you gather around your Thanksgiving tables this year, I encourage you to take a step back, reflect on the journey, and give thanks as well.

May you each have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

2nd Worship Survey Results

Back in August I shared with you the Session’s discussion about expanding the Gathering into a whole hour of worship. Part of their exploration was to develop a survey of the congregation to get input on the desire and openness of the congregation to such an endeavor. In addition, two informational / listening meetings were held to inform the congregation about the findings and offer an opportunity for questions.

Before I delve into the results of the survey, I want to reflect on the journey we have taken so far.

Great Kick Off

We had a wonderful kick-off to the church educational year yesterday. The Gathering returned for the start of it’s fifth year. The energy level was high, and people were glad to see each other after the summer break. The Gathering Band was happy to be back together and led every one in joyful singing!

Our Sunday school time was packed as we began our study of “The Story.” We learned that God created us because he wanted to be relationship with us.

The Story is a chronological condensed Bible which we will be using as a church wide resource for the whole year. If you have not joined us in this journey, you can pick up a copy at the church office after Wednesday. (We had to order more!) If you cannot make it to Sunday school, you can watch the weekly video on If you do not have a logon ID and Password, you can contact the church office with your email, and you will be sent instructions on how to sign up. Once signed in, you will see “The Story” in the first position under “Pastor’s Picks”

The Consideration of a New Worship Service

In September of 2010, we began “The Gathering” as a time for fellowship, food, and worship. When I looked at the calendar, I could not believe we have had four years of the Gathering. Time sure has flown by.

One major part of The Gathering has been the time of worship led by the Gathering band. Many people in the church have grown to love the kind of music shared in the Gathering and have asked if our church would ever consider expanding “The Gathering” into a full service of worship with more music.

Controversial Decisions at the 2014 PCUSA General Assembly

Well, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) did it again and made a number of very controversial decisions at its latest meeting in Detroit. Before I explain what those decisions are, let me remind you of the structure of the PCUSA.

Are You Ready for "The Story?"

What if I told you there was a simple way for you to grow much closer to God and in the process be empowered to tell others more about the God you love and be encouraged to be more active in serving others in Christ’s name? Would you be willing to try? What if I told you that it would take less than 30 minutes a week? Would that make a difference? (click on 'read more' to read on)

Returning from the Dominican Republic

Greetings in the name of Christ!

I have just returned from the Acts Alive Work Camp mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This trip was the 3rd for Acts Alive (2005, 2009, 2014) and the 10th over all for our church (Adult 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) to work with Mission Emanuel.

This trip was as moving and meaningful as I have come to expect. The difference for me on this trip was sharing it with the youth and advisors of Acts Alive. It truly was a privilege to be a part of the Acts Alive work camp experience, and I came away more convinced than ever that our youth group ministry is special. Our leaders have a deep faith in Christ and a commitment to sharing that faith with our youth. Our youth are receptive to the guidance of the leaders and truly seek to serve those they minister too.

That's Whats Good About the Church!

In the month of May in worship, we spent some time looking at what is good about the church of Jesus Christ. Sometimes the perception of the church by those outside of the church is not very positive. (Sometimes even by those inside the church!) So, I wanted to remind us a number of positive results that have come from God calling the church into being. Some of you missed a Sunday or two, so I thought I’d summarize the four good things that I lifted up.

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