Sunday, January 22, 2017

Keeping It Simple (And Guess What? We Have A New Pastor)

Today is theoretically the last day Interim Pastor Terry White will be with us. After the service there will be a congregational meeting in which the church members will vote to have Terry become the actual, official pastor. Before the service we gathered in the Fireside Room for an informal time of Q&A regarding Terry's faith, life, vision.

During the Sunday school hour we had a special time with Terry White in which he shared some of who he is, how he came to Christ, and what makes him tick. Two verses which have been important in his life are Galatians 2:20 and the first verses of Isaiah 61.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me." Isaiah 61:1-3 was the passage that Jesus read from when He began His ministry.

We talked a little bit about music, music styles and worship. A question was asked about books and authors. A.W. Tozer was listed first. I also like authors in different periods in history and from different countries. Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster... You can look at the bookshelf in my office.

When you thnk of what your family needs from us... what is your prayer that we can give back? "I love movement..." He described his motorcycle. It's mean to move. The church is meant to move. What's tired for me personally is when a church is stagnant so it becomes like having to move an 800 pound motorcycle around in a garage.

What is your vision? That we all come and worship together on Sunday... Also needed is a place to speak honestly about one's life. Small groups give us a chance to connect and grow. Third, that we each find our gifts and begin to use them to contribute. Leadership is certainly a need.

Are we going to be a church inwardly focused or outwardly, an inny or an outty? Terry suggested that one good way to see our focus would be to read the bulletin.

We asked what he reads? "Check out my bookshelf." Solid.
How comfortable are you with family/marriage counselling? Terry does counsel people, but some issues require specialist skills and he would be able to make referrals, but he has done plenty of listening and counselling. Our lives are the sum total of all the choices we have made.

Structures and muscles... Some churches have so much structure, but there is not enough muscle to make it work. Other churches are growing, have strength but not enough structure.

A question was asked about missions. Terry had yesterday talked about Mission Friends, a concept that came out of Scandinavia. There's always a possibility of getting out of balance. What does it look like to be involved in Mission? Terry told the story of Cornelius, a godly man who wanted to hear more and sent for Peter. In many of our lives there is a Cornelius who is hungry for more, who we could share with.

God invites us to live a life of faith, to live trusting Him. God does different things in different ways, and ultimately it is a faith walk, not a matter of learning answers to all the questions. The questions come at us in different ways and yesterday's answers don't always work today.

* * * *
Pastor Terry and the worship team welcomed us and our service commenced in the sanctuary with a time of worship. After an offering was taken, and a time of prayer Terry came forward.

Keeping It Simple

Pastor Terry began by noting that sharing one's testimony is not necessarily just "how I became a follower of Christ" but can also be about what God is doing in one's life now.

Eight years ago Terry experienced a time in his life in which he was feeling winded and out of shape spiritually. There are times when life gets weighty and you feel like checking out. What he learned was a little about worshiping even when you don't feel it. Psalm 16:5 "Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places..."

A lot of times we try to convince people about the Gospel with facts. But a better approach might be to begin this way: "It's been my experience..."

The topic for today is worship. What does it mean to worship?

Terminology creates theology. For example, many churches call this a worship center. But does that imply that outside the church building it is not a place for worship? Some churches have "worship pastor."

Definition of "worship": Worship is a response to God.

Terry elaborated on how football fandom operates. Based on the way people spend time and money on the fave teams,

-- We all want to identify with something bigger than ourselves.

-- We want to identify with winners.

Isaiah 26.8 declares, "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."

If you really want to identify with something bigger than yourself, the Kingdom of God is just what you are looking for. And if you want to identify with a winner, the Kingdom of God is the thing.

Praise the Lord.

All through the Psalms the exclamation is repeated. "Praise the Lord!"

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord,
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

The worship team was invited forward and we concluded the service with worship.

* * * *
At the end of the service we remained in the sanctuary to conduct a congregational meeting. Pam Johnson opened the meeting, and then Walt was called forward to explain the process that that resulted in our pastoral search team making a unanimous recommendation to the congregation to elect Terry White to serve as our pastor.

After Chuck read to Terry the requirements and responsibilities of the position, Carol then read the nomination. Ballots were handed out while an invitation to discuss the process was invited. A few explanations followed regarding compensation.

After we broke for snacks, including pie and ice cream, Walt announced that the votes were overwhelming in favor to extend the call to Terry to become our pastor. There was much applause. An official installation service will be held in two weeks.

Congratulations, Terry.

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