Pastor Lee's blog

A New Leadership Structure Proposal

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

As you may know, last January the Session formed a restructuring task force to look at streamlining our leadership structures in order to become more efficient and effective at ministry. At the November meeting, the Session unanimously approved the recommendation of the task force to bring a restructuring plan before the congregation for its approval on January 27th.

Link to Restructuring Plan

Process to get to plan:

Fear God

Fear God
For the first time since I moved here in 2005, I was able to attend the Lexington Barbecue Festival. In all my previous years here, on Barbecue Saturday, I was either coming home from or going to the Dominican Republic for our Adult Mission Trip.

As a first timer, I was impressed with the sheer size of the festival. It truly was shoulder to shoulder, and the only way to move forward was to waddle. Music filled the air, as did the smell of barbecue! I made my way to the square and came across what you see in the picture. I couldn’t help but comment on this...so here goes.

FPC is Selected for a Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Grant

The Session is excited to announce that First Presbyterian Church has been awarded a 2012 Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment for Pastor Lee. Now in its 13th year, the program invites Christian congregations and ministers to plan a period of intentional reflection and renewal. It gives ministers time to take a break from their daily obligations and gain the fresh perspective and renewed energy that a carefully considered “sabbath time” of travel, study, rest and prayer can provide.

In Full Swing

Activities have picked up around the church as fall begins in earnest. Here are just a few to highlight:

Our Acts Alive and Young Disciples Youth Ministries are in full swing and are being enjoyed by participants and leaders alike. Sara Ramirez, Mac Ingraham, and Brian Turlington are leading the YD’s this year; and the Acts Alive Advisors are: Fran & Lane Morton, Mike & Ann Kiefer, Ryan & Joy Harman, and Margaret King. Thanks to all for their ministry.

Our adult choir is hard at work preparing music for each Sunday as well as looking forward to December 9th for our Christmas Music Program with guest orchestra. There is an article in the newsletter about recruiting new choir members, so I encourage you to read it and consider participating in this meaningful ministry.

The search committee for the Director of Music position has received 6 applications so far and have chosen a few to follow up with by checking references. The committee will be getting together soon to review those references and schedule first interviews. Please be praying for the search committee who are: Jimmy Holsehouser, Lisa Horne, Margaret King, Cathy Fulp, and Jack Harman.

Achieving the Goal

"Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12–14).

Goals are important. They give focus and motivation during the journey and fulfillment and satisfaction when achieved. Just this past Friday, I finally achieved a goal that I have been dreaming about for 20 years. I successfully passed my oral and practical exam for the Private Pilot Certificate. It has been a long journey.
When I graduated seminary and went to my first church in Lexington, Virginia, I looked into beginning my flight training, but it was just not convenient. The closest flight school was an hour drive away, and I just didn’t have the time to tack on two hours of driving to each lesson.
When I went to my second church outside of Charlotte, there was a closer airport and I did inquire about it. However, three new children and a burned up transmission made it financially impossible.
When I came here, I had put the dream behind me and put my efforts into other endeavors. I nearly forgot that I wanted to learn to fly. A flight with a friend rekindled my desire to achieve this goal. For the next two years, I began studying. Then last February, with the prompting and encouragement of my wife, I began lessons. All this culminated last Friday.

The Fall is Almost Upon Us

Activity around the church is about to ramp up as September rolls around. I am looking forward to a great fall. Here are just a few things we have to look forward to:

• First Wednesday Supper Fellowship starts again on Wednesday, September 5th at 6:15 p.m. We will have a special guest Tom Corbell, who will share about caring ministry done by lay people.

• Children’s Choir starts on September 5th as well. The Adult Choir will be back in worship on September 9th.

• The Gathering begins on September 9th at 9:30 a.m. with the Gathering Band back leading us in worship. I encourage everyone to join us for light refreshments and singing. Following the Gathering, the fall Sunday School classes begin at 10 a.m.

• Our stewardship emphasis will happen in the month of October. I am very excited about the program we will be using. It will be informative and inspiring.

• The Pig Pickin’, Thanksgiving Breakfast, and Christmas Family Night are all in the planning stages.

• Finally, the tentative date for our Sunday Morning Christmas Music program with Choir and Instrumentalists will be on December 9th. This will be firmed up in the next month, but you might want to pencil this in on your calendars.

Thirty Two Years

How long does it take to become an institution? Five, Ten, Fifteen? How about thirty-two years?
In just two weeks, we will recognize the retirement of our Director of Music Jo Ann Poston, and in our region, she certainly is an institution!

Jo Ann arrived at the church in the fall of 1978 after having been hired by the Rev. Dick Sommers to lead the children’s choirs. Shortly thereafter, Dick left for another church. Before long, Jo Ann moved into the Director of Music position and remained there until 1997. After a two year break and on the occasion of beginning her Doctor of Music studies at UNCG, she returned to take up the mantel of Director once more. That is, until August 26, 2012, when she lays it down for good in retirement.

Olympic Training

“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.” (1 Co 9:24).

The 30th Summer Olympiad has begun! I am already tired from staying up too late! I love watching the Olympics, and it doesn’t matter what sport. Certainly I like the well known sports like track and field, gymnastics, and swimming; but I also like the less covered sports like water polo and archery

What always strikes me about any sports competition but particularly the Olympics, is the dedication and the discipline that the athletes must commit to in order to be the best in the world. They spend hours every day, running, diving, jumping, vaulting, swimming, shooting. They are on strict diets, strict sleep schedules, strict training guidelines. In order to be an Olympic caliber athlete you must commit your life to the pursuit of the goal.

What is your "Work Portfolio?"

At the beginning of June I went to an eight day conference for Presbyterian Pastors called “Credo.” This conference was sponsored by the pension / medical wing of the national church. It was an opportunity to spend some time reflecting on where I have been in my ministry and life and to discover ways to strengthen four areas: vocational, emotional, spiritual, and physical.

Our "Stuff" is No Match

After 20 years in the ministry, the one thing that I am sure of is that every single person has “stuff” to deal with. Even those who seem to have it all together, who seem to live charmed lives, are dealing with “stuff.” It could be health issues, financial issues, or relationship problems. It could be a hidden addiction, an unresolved conflict, or the loss of a job. Every person has struggles to deal with and obstacles to overcome, whether others see it or not.

Sometimes these things seem insurmountable. They are like prison walls keeping us in or a locked door keeping us out. This “stuff” can suck the life right out of a person. It can bring despair and hopelessness.

Yet, the message of Easter is that through the power of God obstacles can be overcome. There is hope even in the most hopeless of circumstances. The disciples and the women truly believed that Jesus was dead and gone. Their hope of a Messiah for Israel had died. They were despondent and fearful. When they approached the grave on that Sunday morning, they were going to say their final good byes.

However, the stone was rolled away; the tomb was empty; the message was clear: “He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’” (Mt 28:6–7). (Click 'Read More' to continue).

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