Welcome to Northminster

We are a biblically-based Presbyterian church seeking to experience and share God’s love to transform our homes, community and the world. We hope you will join us.
 

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We have wonderful Sunday School opportunities for all ages at 9:45am. Our worship service is at 11am. We look forward to seeing you!  Click here to find out where we are and get in touch.

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The Latest from our blogs…

Pastor’s Corner – April 2019

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matt. 11:28-30 THE MESSAGE

Out of Rhythm

About 5 years ago, my kids and I were swimming at a friend’s house and I found I couldn’t catch my breath.  Even sitting still, I was breathing heavily and my heart was racing.  I had no idea what was going on.  Erring on the side of caution, my wife took me to the ER and we found out my heart was in atrial fibrillation.  The ER staff took great care of me, and a few hours later we were on our way home.  A couple of years later, my family went to Sliding Rock in North Carolina (pictured).  I’ve never experienced water as cold as that.  Hitting that water was such a shock that it not only knocked the wind out of me, it sent my heart into a.fib a second time. Just like the first time, I couldn’t catch my breath even standing still and my heart was racing.  Having experienced it before, I knew immediately what the problem was. This trip to the ER resulted in an overnight stay, and somewhere around 15 hours later, my heart returned to normal rhythm on its own.  Fortunately, other than these two instances, I have a very healthy heart and haven’t had any further issues.  Some folks go into a.fib and aren’t aware of what’s going on for several days.  When your heart gets out of rhythm, it affects everything else.  

Life Arrhythmia

I think many of us spend our lives in a kind of “life arrhythmia.”  Our lives are out of rhythm and we often don’t even realize it.  We live and move and work in something of a semi-frenzy, desperately trying to keep up just enough to catch our breath every now and then.  We yearn for rest, but find that even in the moments of rest (whether a couple of hours or a week of vacation), we still can’t catch our breath.  Our souls weren’t meant to live like this, and when we spend our lives out of rhythm, it affects everything else. Sometimes we know what the problem is; often we don’t. If we continue to try to force ourselves to live according to the rhythm of the world around us, we’ll never get in sync and will be constantly racing to keep up.  We need to look for a different way.

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

That different way is the way of Jesus and of grace.  This is the natural rhythm in which we were created “to live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  It is a rhythm that enables us, as the passage above says, to find true rest.  Following the unforced rhythms of grace isn’t about another burden, or rule, or expectation placed upon us, but rather finding ourselves synchronized with Christ in such a way that we are able to live freely and lightly regardless of the rhythm of the world around us.  A part of our goal in our worship services is to provide an opportunity to get out of the frenetic pace of our lives in order to connect with the unforced rhythms of the grace of Jesus Christ, if only for a few moments.  Initially it feels discordant, even boring.  But as we take the time to settle into the moment, we begin to feel the new rhythm and experience the rest and freedom Christ offers.
 
As we continue to move through this season of Lent and prepare for the joyous celebration of Easter, may you hear the gentle invitation of Jesus to ‘walk with Him and work with Him — watch how He does it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace’ and find yourself living freely and lightly.
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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Pastor’s Corner – March 2019

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.” — Psalm 55:22
 

Teach Us To Pray

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been exploring the Lord’s Prayer, asking Jesus to do the very thing He did for the disciples: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). We have seen that this somewhat simple and very well-known prayer is loaded with depth and meaning. The Lord’s Prayer is incredibly profound, especially considering how succinct it is, and it certainly provides an excellent template for our prayers, let alone making it part of our daily prayer routine.
 

More Than Knowing How

But knowing “how” doesn’t always get us to the point of actually “doing.” We all know how to eat well, but still eat too many French fries. We all know how to exercise, but we still watch too much TV. Over time, we get stuck in routines and habits that unintentionally create hurdles and obstacles that keep us from doing what we know we ought to do. Or we find ourselves facing a difficult situation (like a large pizza) that keeps us from doing what we know we ought to do (not eat an entire large pizza). There comes a time when we need to hit a “reset” button and start over. Cultivating a habit and lifestyle of prayer is no different. It’s far too easy to allow the busy-ness and stress of our daily lives to fill our schedules, leaving us with the feeling that we’re too busy to pray. Or we run into a situation where we really have no idea how to lift up in prayer.
 

A Spiritual “Reset” Button

That’s one of the reasons why Lent is one of my favorite seasons of the liturgical year. It’s an opportunity to hit that spiritual “reset” button. Lent is an Old English word that means “springtime.” Spring is a season where we clean up the muck of the past year to prepare our yards for new growth and to freshen and straighten our homes. Spiritually, the season of Lent provides the same opportunity. It’s an opportunity to restart some old habits that have been lost or begin new habits out of a desire to clean the spiritual muck out of our hearts and souls to make room for the new spiritual growth the Holy Spirit has in store for us. We take advantage of this season by setting aside some bad habits that are keeping us from praying, or starting new habits to enable us to pray more effectively.
On Sundays during Lent, we’ll use the prayer book of the Hebrews, the Psalms, as our guide to praying through some of the more challenging things that come up in our lives. Over the course of this series, we’ll look at the problem of prayer, how to approach the Inapproachable, how to pray when we’ve done wrong, how to cultivate a trust that never stops, how to pray when there is no hope, and what rejoicing really looks like.
 
May this season of Lent and our time spent in the Psalms nurture and encourage your soul.
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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Hope Springs Eternal

Tomorrow is March 1st.  Here in Central Virginia, there’s a Winter Weather Advisory for tonight and talk of a couple of possible snowstorms both early and late next week. Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent.  This is almost as late as Ash Wednesday can be, so usually by this time we’re a few weeks into Lent and already looking forward to Holy Week and Easter Sunday.  Lent is an Old English word that means “springtime.”  Apparently, spring is taking it’s sweet time coming this year.
 
I’ve found that it doesn’t take much to give me hope. Did the sun come out in February?  Time to break out the shorts and t-shirts, even if the temperature is in the 30s and there’s snow in the forecast.  Did the Redskins score a touchdown?  Pretty sure they’re going to the Super Bowl.  Did the Cardinals win a spring training game?  The World Series is a lock.  I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
 
There’s a great story in the Bible about this kind of ridiculous hope.  Israel has been locked in a nasty drought for about three years.  Elijah has just won an incredible victory over Ahab and the prophets of Ba’al, and then this happens:
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
 
“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
 
“There is nothing there,” he said.
 
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
 
The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
 
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” (1 Kings 18:41–44)
 
I wonder how many times over those three years of drought had folks looked and seen a cloud, the size of a man’s fist, on the horizon and wondered if this might be the cloud that brings the rain.  But no rain came.  And I wonder how the servant felt being told to go look seven different times.  But then there is a cloud, and Elijah knows that the rain is coming – torrents of rain, in fact (1 Kings 18:45-46).  I am sure that Ahab, Elijah’s servant and everyone else thought Elijah’s hope was ridiculous.
 
Of course, God had already told Elijah that the rain was coming, so his ridiculous hope was grounded in knowledge and trust (1 Kings 18:1).  But is our hope any less so?  Far from it.  Well, hoping the Redskins will go to the Super Bowl because they score a touchdown…yeah, that’s ridiculous.  But seeing a new crocus plant breaking through the snow and being hopeful for spring?  That’s a hope grounded in knowledge and trust.  As the prophet Jeremiah writes,
Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lam. 3:22–26)
 
Much like feeling a warm breath of wind on an otherwise cold winter day, or seeing the tulips beginning to break forth out of the ground, or the leaf buds on the trees, it is right and good to wait and hope for the salvation of the Lord.  This is the way God often works.  Spring has started long before we see any signs of it, even while everything we see is locked in the frozen cold of winter.
 
You may find yourself yearning for spring in your life, but locked in the frozen cold of depression, or the hurts of life, or a mess that maybe you had nothing to do with but swallowed you up anyway.  Right now, trying to hold on to hope might seem ridiculous to you.  But I promise, God is at work in ways you can not yet see and spring is coming.  “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18)  Don’t give up hoping and trusting in the Lord – He hasn’t given up on saving and healing you.
 

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What 21st-Century Christians Can Learn From The Early Church – A Lent 2019 Table Talk Series

Those who study and observe the ebb and flow of culture say that we are no longer a “post-Christian” culture but have actually returned to a “pre-Christian” state.  If that is true, we would do well to take a closer look at the Early Church and see what we can learn in order to more faithfully live and effectively share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Table Talk meets each Wednesday from 5:30-6:45pm.
 
Here’s what each week of this series will focus on:
 

March 13: “How the Early Church Was Made”

Acts gives us the “formula” for how the early church was made: the ministry of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. This first session will look at God’s blueprint for the church as laid out in scripture and illustrated in the first century. In matters as diverse as apostolic authority, church organization and discipline, and the confession of doctrine through creeds and hymns, we’ll explore how the “apostolic” and “sub apostolic” church was established. Whether it’s making a church, growing a church, or running a church, the divine formula is still the same today—prayer and the Holy Spirit.
 

March 20: “Going, Loving, Dying: The Missionary Church in Action”

The early church was a missionary church. It was a church that went to the ends of the earth, just as Jesus had commanded. The early church was also known for its love. In a groundbreaking study in 1996, American sociologist Rodney Stark argued that the early church grew in direct proportion to its love for others. Finally, the church evangelized by dying—that is, through the ultimate witness of martyrdom. Just as Jesus had commanded, the first believers “took up their cross” and followed Him. Christians today have been called to the same missionary task of going, loving, and dying to self.
 

March 27: “Lessons from the Catacombs”

Were you taught that the catacombs were places of refuge in times of persecution? Did you learn that the fish symbol was a secret message? Well, think again! There are many persistent myths about the catacombs. These burial places did, in fact, serve an important purpose in the early church—but it’s not entirely what you think. This session will explore the surprisingly rich world of catacomb art that will model for us a dynamic way of reading and applying scripture as we live for Christ in an ungodly world. The message of the catacombs is the message of Easter: Christ has triumphed over death!
 

April 3: “Contending for the Faith: Heresy and Orthodoxy”

The battle over “sound doctrine” was the defining challenge of the early church. To this day, we recite creeds that were formulated in direct response to false teachings. Docetism, gnosticism, Arianism—these heresies struck at the very heart of the gospel by redefining the person and work of Jesus Christ. In this session, we’ll not only explore these heresies in their historical setting; we’ll also see that these ancient heresies continue to rear their ugly head in the contemporary church in America. Christians today, no less than the earliest believers, have been called to contend earnestly for the faith.
 

April 10: “Constantine: The Church’s Worst Nightmare?”

On the evening of October 27, 312, Constantine was standing near the Milvian Bridge in Rome. As armies positioned themselves for a decisive battle, the emperor saw a vision that forever changed his life, the Christian Church, and the western world. But did he really see a vision? To this day, historians debate the facts and the significance of what happened—but the results were unmistakable. Constantine dramatically “converted” to Christianity and the status of the western church would never be the same. This session will explore what happens when the church makes common cause with politics.
 

April 17: “The Death Throes of Paganism”

By the end of the Roman period, Christianity had triumphed over paganism in Europe. Temples and idols were destroyed. Pagan institutions were shut down. Profane literature was censored and burned. But paganism proved to be remarkably resilient. The goddess Venus was repackaged as the Virgin Mary. Devotion to the pantheon of gods was replaced by prayers to the saints. This session will explore how Christians of every age must be vigilant in defending the purity of the church. This is particularly true for 21st-century Christians, who find themselves living in an increasingly neo-pagan society.

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Crumrine Update – January 2019

 
Dear Family and Friends,
 
As we start this New Year, we are reminded again of these familiar verses in Proverbs: Trust in the Lord with all those heart, and lean not into thine own understanding. In all thine ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct the paths.
 
The work God has called each one of us to do is not our own but His. We are so grateful to be a part of His plan. Thank you to all of you who faithfully pray and support us. You a vital part of the ministry here. We are excited to work together with you because God has blessed here in so many ways. Let us share some of the ways God has been working here in Tirokave.
 
Souls Saved:
We have had some souls come to Christ this past month. One man, Beno, has been coming to the church here for years but has never made a commitment to salvation. He has been under the preaching since Ben and Lauren first came. He finally decided to leave his sin and come to Christ the first part of this year. Another lady, Lena, has been searching for some time now to find the Truth through her own good works, but finally realized that she needed to bow before the Lord and accept His True Peace. These two have been such an added blessing to the ministry here. Beno, even before he came to Christ, thought himself to be Keith’s personal bodyguard as he traveled around preaching at the markets.
 
Karafa and Taveo
One blessing we encountered this past month during our service at Karafa was the heavy conviction of the Holy Spirit on the leader ( Toba) there. He has asked the men to come and sit down with him and explain the Scriptures to him. Please pray that God would make this meeting possible this weekend. Keith and the men have tried to set up something but the man had gone to town. We also had an excellent service at Taveo as well. Because of the abundance of rain, everyone had to walk more than an hour to get to this houseline.
School Situation:
Many of our youth have left for surrounding towns and cities for school because of the uncertainty of the school reopening here in the village. We have truly missed each one of them. They have been one faithful group of young people. May God continue to grow them and help them to follow Jesus!
The younger children up to eighth grade will start school here tomorrow if the roads are passable again. Because of the rain and earthquakes it has made it difficult for people to get around.
 
Yababi:
The Lord allowed Keith an unique opportunity to preach at church about 30 minutes away for a three day revival meetings. Some of our church went and stayed for this time, while we traveled back and forth for the services. We really felt the working of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of people that attended. This church at Yababi has had some serious issues within their church, but we believe His spirit was working to change the people involved. Deana and Hudson were able to tell the story of Mary Slessor and do some crafts with the kids, so the adults could focus on the messages. Please continue to pray for the growth of this church.
 
Other Opportunities:
Keith has been able to have a carpentry class with the men of the church teaching them the basics of building. Many of them are preparing to build new homes, and they are learning good skills to help them accomplish this task. Deana is attempting to have a few classes in cooking for the ladies. She was approached by one lady who wanted to learn some different recipes, so Deana is going to attempt to do this about two times a month. The ladies would like to sell some of these baked goods. Although these two classes are not necessary to the ministry, we are trying to build relationships and help give opportunities to the church people here, we also use this time for a bible study. We do so enjoy spending time with them and encouraging them to live for Jesus.
 
Pray 1. Toba, the leader of Karafa, to come to Christ
2. Christians would stand strong in the faith and be good witnesses in their local area and the surrounding houselines.
3. A certain fighting village ( Famu) Keith had the opportunity to share the Gospel with to come to Christ.
4. Taveo and Karafa ministries
5. Continued funds to finish our stay here.
 
Praises:
1. God has provided money to purchase plane tickets to go back home in May. Lord willing, we should be home in the 3rd of May.
2. Souls Saved this past month.
3. We have had many “impossible situations” that God has answered throughout this past year. All praise goes to our Heavenly Father . May God continue to bless you all as you serve Him with JOY in your side of the world!
 
For His Glory,
The Crumrines

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