March Pastor’s Pen

A few years ago, our church got a new first name – Open Hearts! As we think about what’s in a name and what our new name means, it’s exciting and a little scary. Going by the name Open Hearts, we have a lot to live up to, to live into.

This is indeed a place where people of all kinds are welcomed, accepted and loved. I am convinced this is why we are seeing so many new faces. In a world where so many feel judged, criticized and condemned, the unconditional love of Christ is a breath of fresh air. People are dying for what we offer here. Once a God-seeker experiences the love of Christ, everything changes. Never again will they have reason to feel lost, alone, condemned or hopeless. How awesome it is to be entrusted by God to share in this mission of loving people into a new or renewed relationship with Christ!

Almost daily, I am blessed to see examples of us opening our hearts to others. Never, though, have I witnessed hearts opened wider than at our recent Night to Shine event. We made an impact on our special guests to be sure. But more than that, they impacted us. We saw Christ in them. The blessings flowed both ways. It was a defining moment. We will never be the same.  It makes us want to do this again and to look for other opportunities to love and serve in Jesus’ name. This bodes well for the future of the church and the people God is calling us to serve.

Blessed and proud to serve with you,



February Pastor’s Pen

These are exciting days! There’s enough ministry going on around here to make our heads spin. This month’s newsletter offers a whirlwind tour of upcoming opportunities. I’m encouraged that so many of you are involved in our various ministries, that you are wholly devoted to our mission and that you enjoy being busy about the Lord’s work.
Along with a word of thanks and appreciation for all you do, I want to offer a word of advice. Please tend carefully to your own soul. Seek every opportunity to be fed, filled and energized for the work God has for you. Spend much time in prayer. Read the Word daily. Take your Sabbath rest. If you are not in a Sunday school class or small group, join one now.
The season of Lent is nearly upon us. This is the season to stop and do a quick (or not-so-quick) spiritual self-inventory. Ask yourself:
-Am I happy in the Lord and the Lord’s work? If so, how can I keep the joy flowing? If    not, what can I do to get it back?
-How do I re-charge and re-energize so I can be at my best in ministry?
-How’s my prayer life? Am I devoting adequate time to worship, study, fellowship?
-Am I trying to do too much on my own, or am I fully relying on God?
-What do I need to start (or stop) doing to be more in step with God’s will, purposes        and timing?
-Who is God calling me to connect with, encourage, partner with, learn from and/or      minister to today?
Our church is blessed with an amazing number of willing workers, and for that I thank God. Sometimes I get a bit concerned that we are too busy, and yet my sense is that if we will carefully tend to our soul, especially during the season of Lent, God will help us to not grow weary, and we will see God do even more exciting works in and through us.
P.S. One way to do a spiritual self-inventory would be to join me for our Five Cups of Coffee series starting Wed, Feb. 21. I look forward to sharing this time of holy conversation with all who are eager to explore the path of discipleship as well as God’s unique call upon their lives.