Pastor Lee's blog

"Calling People to Faith"

During worship in January, I explored our vision statement which guides our work here at First Presbyterian. It reads, “First Presbyterian Church is a loving community in Christ where we
Call People to Faith, Develop them as Disciples, and Send them to Serve.”

This vision is based on the three movements of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Jesus 1) proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God; 2) taught people how to live; 3) ministered to the needs of those around him. This week I want to write a few words about proclamation.

Jesus had an important message to share, and he went all over Judea and Galilee telling people about that message; After sharing the good news that the Kingdom was near, he invited people to follow. Some followed; some didn't; but he moved on to the next town to proclaim again.

The "Netflix" of Bible Study

I am excited to announce a new way that First Presbyterian Church can help you develop as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We have partnered with RightNow Media to make available to you a large library of free video resources. It's essentially the "Netflix of Video Bible Studies" because you will have instant access to thousands of great videos for kids, youth, parents, married couples and more. You can view these videos from your phone, tablet or computer. You can also view them in a group setting through a TV or projector. There are over 2000 videos from some great teachers including Max Lucado, Francis Chan, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, and more.

5 Resolutions for 2014

In my first sermon of 2014, I used the New Years tradition of setting resolutions to suggest five practices to draw us closer to Jesus. A number of people asked me for the list, so here they are:

My first suggested resolution is to Better One’s Health.
We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “... do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” The body is the temple of the holy spirit, and Paul instructs the Corinthians not to abuse the body by any means. To do so is to disrespect the work of Christ. Since we were bought with a price, we ought to “glorify God in our body.” To the Romans, he says to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. So we can make a pleasing offering to God by making one positive change in our health.

What Can I Give Him?

If you have ever given a children’s sermon and wondered if anything you said will be remembered by the children or make a difference in their lives, let me tell you this story.

I Am Thankful

As we approach Thanksgiving, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on what I am thankful for:

• I am thankful that God loved me enough to place in me an emptiness that made me seek him out.
• I am thankful for all the people who cared enough about me to point me to the One who could fill that emptiness.
• I am thankful that Jesus came into my life and has been working on transforming me over these last 29 years since I yielded to him.

Wholeness and Healing

Just a surface reading of the Gospels will reveal to you that three primary aspects of Jesus’ ministry were Preaching, Teaching, and Healing. He was constantly proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was near; He spent a lot of time teaching about what the kingdom was like and how his listeners should live their faith; Everywhere he went he healed people.

Not Your Parent's Idols

On Sunday, in my first stewardship sermon of the fall, I spent a lot of time reflecting on what idolatry looks like in the 21st century. It is not about golden calves anymore, but involves those things that draw our attention and passion away from what should be our primary focus: loving and serving God. An idol is anything or anyone that receives the primary focus of our energy or resources which should first belong to God. Any number of things could be idols for us: relationships, food, possessions, and certainly money.

An Objective Observation

Many years ago when my twins were less than one year old, Brooke and I took a parenting class. In that class the parenting expert said, “the real question is not if you enjoy your children; it’s whether other people enjoy your children.” The point he was making is that we can easily overlook behavior within the family that would not be overlooked by others. What parent hasn’t beamed with pride when receiving a complement by a total stranger about his or her children.

I'm Off!

Well, the time has finally arrived. This will be my last web article and the May 26th service was my last one with you until September. I am looking forward to all I have planned for my sabbatical break, but I will miss you all. However, I know that you are in good hands with Rob Evans.

A number of you have asked about my schedule so here is a brief look:
* I’ll start with a week at my parent’s house on Hatteras Island.
* We leave for Scotland after school lets out and we will be there for two weeks.
* In mid-July, we will spend a week at family camp in Missouri.
* At the first of August, I will spend some time with Stan Ott in Washington D.C.
* My last week of sabbatical will once again be at my parent’s house on Hatteras.

When I am not out of town, I’ll be working on writing and recording music at an office in town. I also have a number of books I want to read, and I am sure I will get some flying in. Brooke and I will take a couple of week-end trips, since we are usually never able to do that.

I will be keeping an online journal that you are welcome to follow to see what I am doing. You can find it at A Season of Sabbath

If you happen to see me out and about, you don’t have to ignore me. Please say "Hi." And if I am eating at Café 35, you are welcome to pick up the ticket! :-) However, I will not be at worship or in the office, and I ask that pastoral concerns be taken to Rob.

Thank you for caring enough about my family and me to encourage me to take this sabbatical break. I know that this time will refresh and renew me for the years to come.

So until September...may the Lord bless and keep you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Spreading Your Wings

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Is 43:19).

In the last article, I shared with you the theme of my sabbatical break which is “Roots and Wings.” I mentioned that some of my time will be looking back and reflecting on where I have been. The second part of the theme is about looking forward and stretching my wings.

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