Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Here is my October newsletter article, written September 27, 2007:

Dear friends,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

God speaks to us in many and various ways. Sometimes, our ears are ready to hear what God wants to say. Sometimes, our ears are plugged up, closed, distracted by the many voices and sounds around us, and God has to do something dramatic to get our attention. Sometimes, Jesus has to knock pretty hard on our doors for us to hear, and open the door. That’s not just something we do once in our lives, but something we need to do daily, to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ.

That’s a situation I’ve been in lately. I have many demands on my time, an unending list of good things to do, and I sometimes get lost in the details—but what are the best, the most important, priorities? What does God want me to focus on? I go back to Micah 6:8— “God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Jesus has been knocking pretty hard on my heart lately, and I have finally heard and, by grace, opened the door!

I remember some good advice that a seasoned pastor gave to a young pastor. When the young pastor asked, “What is your secret to effective ministry throughout your many years in one congregation?”

The older pastor answered simply, “Do good worship and visit the people.”

Do good worship and visit the people. It is not that the pastor did not do anything else as a pastor other than worship and visitation. But he made sure that the center of the church’s life—worship—was inspiring, and he kept in touch with his congregation by visiting people regularly, by building relationships with people and connecting them to the life of the church. That is wise advice for me—Do good, inspiring worship, that involves and connects all of us to our God; and visit the people, building relationships, connecting people not just to me but to the community of faith that is Grace.

Back to Micah 6:8, it all starts with prayer, walking humbly with God, seeking God’s will for me, for my family, for our church. I am committed to walk with God as we seek to be God’s faithful people together, doing justice and loving kindness as we reach out to our neighbors faithfully and consistently with the love of Christ. Will you walk with me on this journey?

Walking with you in God’s amazing grace,

Pastor Eric Lemonholm

2 comments:

  1. This is a great newsletter article. Much like your seasoned pastor, my mentor once told me that in order to do be an effective pastor, one needs to do worship well and to love the people one at a time. Thsi is advice I followed during my internship and I will continue to follow in ministry.

    Your congregation is certainly blessed to have a pastor who cares about such things as you do.

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  2. David, thank you. I wrote that because I don’t think I’ve done a good job focusing on worship and visiting people lately, and God has put it on my heart – through wise caring words of others. At the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall, I got so wrapped up in getting confirmation, Sunday School and senior high ministry going that I neglected some of those ‘big rocks’ that are so necessary for the life of faith and the life of the church. My prayer and devotional life have suffered too. I can be so busy doing good things – too busy – that I forget to do what’s best for the moment, which may include doing less! Just this Monday morning, I was working in my office and listening to a sermon by Barbara Brown Taylor about how pastors violate the commandment to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy – was I ever convicted! So, I am trying to work more efficiently and spend more time each day visiting people and reaching out to others. The good news, too, is that our youth and family ministries are growing and improving, with good volunteers and good programs in place. So, that frees me up to build relationships and improve the quality of our church life, step by step. And, hopefully, have Sabbath time alone and with my family!

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