That Pastor Thing
As we were travelling to Georgia over fall break a couple of weeks ago, we approached everyone's favorite part of a trip: making our way through the airport security line. Before we could go through the scanners, we had to show our IDs to an agent at the entrance. Courtney had made it through with one of our sons, and I stepped forward with our other son. As we offered the agent our IDs, I said in a cheerful voice, "How are you today?" As the agent looked over our pictures and then gazed up to confirm we were who we claimed to be, he replied, "Not too great." "Having a rough day, huh?" "Yes, I am." Reaching out to take our IDs back as he waved us through, I wished him well, "I hope your day gets better. Thanks for all that you are doing!" As we walked to catch up with the rest of the family at the line to enter the scanner, my son said perhaps with a bit of embarrassment, "Of course you would be the one to do that pastor thing." "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, you get that voice that says you care and try to cheer people up. I guess he probably appreciated it though. It seems like he needed it today. It probably made his day better."
As I thought about my son's perception of "that pastor thing" I do, I am not only thankful that he has grown to understand the value of small acts of kindness but also challenged because it appears as something I do because I am a pastor. I hope that one day my pastor thing will simply be a "Jim thing" - something that is so deeply rooted in me that it comes out in everything I do and not just when I am acting as a pastor. I hope that one day my pastor thing will simply be a "Jesus thing" - something that reveals more about who Jesus is than about who I am and what I do. And I hope the same thing for you - that kindness and caring will flow from your life so strongly that everyone will come to know who Jesus is through you.
May it be so! Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Promises to God: Gifts (2 Corinthians 8:7-15)
When we are baptized and join the church, we vow to faithfully participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, presence, and our gifts. When we speak of gifts in church, we most often mean one of two things: the money we put in the offering plate or the spiritual gifts we use to do ministry. Gifts are, we think, what we give to others. Yet there is something more to these gifts. Gifts are what are first given to us by God: our money, our spiritual gifts, our time, our health, etc. God blesses us, gives us these gifts, and calls us to use them to accomplish the work of Christ through them. So how do we faithfully participate in ministry through our gifts? To explore, we consider what Paul instructed the Corinthians to do regarding their gifts of money.
A gift is acceptable, he wrote, when it is given according to what one has not according to what one does not have. This is good news for us. Instead of being held to an impossible standard of giving more than we have, faithfulness in giving is giving according to what we have. There is, however, a temptation here for us. We often mistake what we have leftover for what we have to give and thus justify giving only a little of what we have. We think of what we want, spend our gifts on that, and then give a little of what remains. This is not faithful according to Paul's standard. Another temptation comes in the way we equate money with our vote and speech. Giving to something means we support it completely, or so we think. When the church decides to engage in a ministry we do not think is the one it should do, we think about withholding our giving or designating the giving to only the things we like. We wind up giving according to our opinion rather than according to what God has given us. This is like refusing to sing a song in worship because it's not our favorite one, and we wish a different one had been chosen. This is not faithful either. We have made a vow to faithfully participate in the ministries of the church through our gifts. We give even when we disagree because we have made a promise to God and one another to be in this together.
Giving according to what we have also raises the bar above one we often set - giving according to the need of the church's budget. That is, if the church is good enough, there is no need to give anything more; if the church gets behind, we will give a little more. While this makes logical sense, it falls short of the faithfulness of giving according to what we have. If we all give according to what we have, the church can move beyond good enough to the amazing work God dreams of for us. At our church, we are doing good enough and meet most of our budget (although we do need a push by the end of the year to meet our missional apportionment goals). How much more could we do, however, if we gave according to what we have rather than what the church "needs"? We could hire someone to coordinate and grow our children's ministries just as we have done for our youth. We could fill another 100 shoeboxes without even thinking about it. We would have so much more energy for actual ministry because we would not have to worry where the money was going to come from for each thing we want to do.
God calls us to share the gifts we have and to let blessings flow through our lives! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Pledging Our Gifts
Last month, we included a pledge sheet along with our quarterly giving statements. The pledge sheets are an opportunity to commit to the level of financial support we want to provide for the coming year's ministries. This Sunday, we are asking that you return your completed pledge sheets during worship as a part of your faithful participation in the ministries of our church through the offering of gifts. Please prayerfully consider your giving towards our ministry budget, sponsoring children at Vacation Bible School, and support of our ongoing building projects, and bring your form this Sunday or return them to the church office at any time. Copies will be available Sunday morning if you have misplaced yours. Thanks for your faithful participation in our ministries!
Living in Community
Thank you, Lee, for your hard work preparing for our charge conference!
Thank you to all of our leaders who completed the reports needed for our conference!
We had a wonderful time reflecting on our vision
for ministry with Rev. Gomez at our conference.
Thank you to Mary, Sue, Hannah, and Steve
for leading our Operation Christmas Child and Packing Party efforts!
Thank you to everyone who purchased items for the boxes
and those who have brought in boxes!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, November 14
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, November 15
Sunday, November 18
9:30 am - Worship: Promises to God - Service
11:00 am - Sunday School
2:30 pm - District Conference at Bridgewater UMC
Workshops to follow at 4:15 pm
See flyer for more details
Drive-thru Nativity - December 14 & 15, 7-9 pm
Christmas Cantata - December 23, 7 pm
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!
8525 Water Street
PO Box 116
Port Republic, VA 24471