Newsletter from Pastor Aug1, 2017

Newsletter, August, 2017

As I sit at my desk in my office at the church, or even in my recliner in the evening, all kinds of things to read come across my phone—yes, my phone. At times, I do not know if I am a willing participant in the information movement, or a victim. Nonetheless, I cannot help but read some of the material that piques my interest. I ran across an article the other day by Bob D’Ambrosio of Loveland, Colorado, that listed three things that all folks need to hear or feel or perceive when they walk through the doors of your church. I hope that we are perceived as making folks feel these things when they come through our church doors. I hope you experience these three things every time you enter First Christian Church:

Thank you for being here…appreciation for those who attend, regardless of when they last showed up. No guilt. No shame. Just thankfulness for the people who have gathered to worship Jesus.

We’ve all messed up. Jesus told the righteous crowds when they confronted the women caught in adultery, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” It was his way of letting them know that they, too, had sinned. It’s a comforting thought to know that sin is the great equalizer.

God’s grace is for everyone. When you realize that you’ve messed up, you need to hear the message of grace. God sent Jesus for everyone. The Pharisees had a difficult time understanding this message, and so do some church people today. Creating a culture that says “you belong” means that God’s grace is for everyone.

These three concepts show us, visitors, folks in the community, everybody, that church is about the relationships built with God, with Jesus, and with each other. Wouldn’t it be great if people felt as comfortable walking into church as they do walking into Wal-Mart? What would happen if the church was known as the one place people felt respected and accepted? A safe place where people are welcome just as they are?

You don’t need anything in the lobby of your church other that good, affirming folks to make people feel welcome. A culture of belonging begins when we create a place that communicates we’re all in this together.

In the coming days, our church has two great opportunities to “be the church,” to “live the Gospel.” This Saturday, July 29, “Operation: Serve” takes place once again in our community—the city-wide clean-up/fix-up campaign sponsored by First Methodist Church. Our youth will take part in Operation: Serve again this year. It will be a great chance to give of yourself to help folks you don’t even know, to help those in need. I would love to see you there.

And then on Thursday evening, August 10, at 6:30 PM, First Christian Church will participate in the Annual Backpack Giveaway, sponsored by our evangelism and outreach folks, and coordinated by our kids. We will need all kinds of help. There is more information about both of these opportunities throughout the CAHL.

Finally, Sarah and I are glad to be home. We are appreciative in all that you have done to finalize being in our parsonage home. Folks have already got Sarah busy volunteering in town. Don’t hesitate to let either of us know of opportunities for ministry in our community. Again, thanks for all you have done for us.

Blessings and peace,

Richard+

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