PASTOR PAT’S BLOG

 
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5 Ways to Respond When Tragedy Strikes

All of us are appalled at the events that took place in Las Vegas last night, where over 50 people were killed and over 500 people injured by a lone gunman. While we still don’t know a whole lot about his motives, the one thing we can say unequivocally is that the gunman was driven by pure evil. This morning, I’ve been reading some of the responses to this event from both Christians and non-Christians and it got me to thinking about what we can learn from the Bible about how to respond in these situations. While these ideas were developed in response to yesterday’s events, I think they are relevant any time where this kind of evil results in such tragedy.


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Why I love the Old Testament

There was a time early in my relationship with Jesus where I thought the Old Testament was really boring. Perhaps that is, like many of you I suspect, I started reading my Bible at the beginning and by the time I got to Leviticus and Numbers, I got bogged down and decided I’d just skip forward to the New Testament. But fortunately, once I was in seminary I had a professor who obviously loved the Old Testament and helped me to begin to understand its richness.

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5 Reasons a “verse a day” might be hazardous to your spiritual health

I know that I haven’t written a new blog post in a while. Really no good excuses for that, but I suppose I got distracted by some vacation time and getting our church set up with our Faithlife groups. But something that I saw this morning prompted me to post today.
 

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Staying connected

One of the great things about being a disciple of Jesus is that He doesn’t leave us to try and live out the life of a disciple on our own. He places each believer into His body, the church, for the purpose of growing to maturity and to help others in that process.
 
 
For a while now, we’ve been looking for an online platform that will help us stay connected during the week, a place where we can share prayer requests, keep up do date on the latest news and just keep in touch. So we’re encouraging all who are part of our church family to join the Thornydale group on Faithlife. It’s actually a very simple process. Just
to go to that page. Once you’re there, click on the “Ask to Join” button. Then you will either need to Register or to Sign In
with your existing Faithlife or Logos account if you already have one. Once you do that one of our administrators will approve you as a member and you can begin to use all the features on the site. I’ll be sharing more on those features in the coming days. If you have questions, just reply to this blog post or email me.

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The awe of God

On my vacation, I read a great book titled
Dangerous Calling – Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry
. I figured this book would be just like a lot of other books on how to be a good pastor. But instead, it ended up challenging me personally when it comes to my awe of God.
 
 
On Sunday, I’m going to be sharing some of the things I learned and how they might also be helpful to others in their walk with Jesus. So over the next few days, I’d challenge you to consider whether you’re still in awe of God or whether maybe that awe has waned just a bit, or maybe even a lot. And then come on Sunday and together we’ll learn how we can restore that awe.

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Serving – Part 4

When I was still a baby Christian, I completed some surveys/tests that promised to help me discover my spiritual gifts. And I do believe there was some value in those tools. But as I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that there is probably a better way to discover those gifts.
 
 
The main drawback of those kinds of tools, in my opinion, is that they provide some knowledge, but they don’t really help a person put his or her gifts to work. And I also believe that our gifts change as God continually equips us with the gifts we need for each season in life. And, not surprisingly, since those surveys ask about my current activities and feelings, they tend to return results that are consistent with what I’m already doing.
 
So then, what is the best way to discover my gifts?
Just start serving.
Try out a number of different ministries and look to see where God seems to be using you most effectively. I know that I never discovered God’s gift for teaching His Word until I actually started leading some Bible studies. And until I actually started teaching, I’m pretty sure none of these tools would have revealed that I had the gift of teaching.
 
The other thing to keep in mind is that the same gift can be used in a number of different ways. I know that I have had the gift of giving ever since I became a disciple of Jesus. But during the seasons in our life when Mary and I survived with little or no income, I had to manifest that gift in a way other than providing financial assistance to others.
 
So go ahead – just start serving somewhere. Try out some different places of service and see where God leads you.

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Serving – Part 3

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares the church to a body. Both have many “members” which all have different functions, but which are all indispensable to the proper functioning of the body. We all know what happens when one part of our physical body doesn’t work properly due to illness or injury, or even due to a lack of use. But have you ever stopped to think about how the same thing occurs within the church?
 
 
It’s easy for us to think that the local church really doesn’t need me and that it can get along just fine without me. But just because someone does not have a visible position in the local church does not mean that the church doesn’t need him or her. That would be like our bodies trying to operate without a heart or veins and arteries or our lungs. We can’t see any of those organs but they are all critical to the health of the body.
 
The same is true in the church. Those who work behind the scenes to minister to our children in Children’s Church or the nursery or who clean up after our refreshment time on Sunday mornings or those who pray for our church or those who encourage others are just as vital to the health of our church as the more visible roles like the pastor or Elders or the Worship Team.
 
So the key is to find out what role God has given to you and then to make sure you do it the very best you can. And if you’d like some help figuring that out, just let me or any of our Elders know – we’re here to help!

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Serving – Part 2

One of the huge common misconceptions in the church is that the church staff is paid to do all the ministry. This idea flows out of another common misconception – the distinction between “clergy” and “laity” – two terms that are not found anywhere in the Bible. Even that concept is foreign to the Scriptures.
 
 
There are a number of passages that indicate that every Christian is to “do ministry” and we’ll be looking at several of them over the next couple of weeks. Let’s begin today with this fundamental passage:
 

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.(Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV)

 
Jesus does gift His church with certain individuals who He has gifted to lead within the church. But their primary role is not to do all the ministry, but rather to equip every member to do the “work of ministry”. So, as we often say “
Every member is a minister
.” Several years ago to drive that point home, we put up a sign in front of every parking spot at the church that said “Minister Parking Only”. Boy, did that cause a lot of confusion. But hopefully it reinforced the idea that everyone is responsible for the ministry of the church.
 
What are you doing to be equipped to minister? How are you putting your gifts and talents to work for the benefit of the Kingdom? We have a great group of Elders who are here to help you. Just let us know how we can help.

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Serving – Part 1

This next series of blog posts is going to focus on
serving within the church. So far this year I’ve focused a lot on personal spiritual growth in these blog posts – covering topics like Bible reading and prayer. Obviously personal spiritual growth is important, but it is not an end in itself. We are to grow not just for our own good, but so that we can serve others.
 
That is why in the New Testament, Paul often describes the church as a body which consists of various parts that are all to work together for the good of the body.
 

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.(Romans 12:4-5 ESV) To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.(1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV)

 
That is why “Serve” is included as one of the “next steps” on our Discipleship Path:
 
 
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some ideas about how you can take the next step to serve others in the name of Jesus. But for today, what I hope you’ll take away is the idea that my spiritual growth is not just for my own personal benefit, but that it also equips me to serve others in Jesus’ name.

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