Pastor’s Corner – March 2018

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6–8

Too Good to be True?

On Sunday mornings the past few weeks we’ve been exploring the idea of Lent as an opportunity for us to have “Springtime for our Soul” (you can get caught up on that idea by reading last month’s article and listening to the sermons at One of the central themes running through this series is that God loves us, delights in us, knows us, and desires for us to abide in Him (John 15). For many of us, this idea sounds good in theory, but in reality we suspect too good to be true. There’s no way God could love me that much. In fact, just the other day someone asked me, “Doesn’t God sometimes just turn His love off?” What a fantastic question! And aren’t there times when we all feel that way? Maybe God loves me in general, but he’s sure turned it off lately!

God is Love

Thank goodness for the apostles and the Bible! In 1 John 4:8 and again in 16 it says, “God is love.” God is entirely made up of love, so it would be impossible for God to “turn off” His love. If He were to do that, He would cease to exist. Paul writes in Romans 8, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39)

Yeah, But You Don’t Know…

No, I don’t know. I don’t know what you’ve done, I don’t know what’s in your heart. I don’t know the hurts and wounds you carry. But I know that God does. And I know this: that God loved you this much even before you were saved (see verse 8 at the beginning of this article). And I know that the verses from Romans 8 say that there’s nothing in heaven or on earth that could separate you from His love. How wonderful that God’s amazing love for us doesn’t depend on our believing or accepting it!
As the temperature slowly warms up over this month, may the warmth of God’s love saturate your heart and soul as well.
Rev. David Garrison


Christian Faith & Other Faiths: Judaism

Beginning Wednesday, February 21, Table Talk will resume the series Christian Faith and Other Faiths: Understanding and Outreach. Our focus will be on Judaism, emphasizing how our understanding of Jewish history and theology shapes our understanding of Christianity. On the first two evenings, Michael Babcock will highlight Jewish history from the biblical era until today. For the next two weeks, Bob Mills will help us explore three distinctive Jewish doctrines – monotheism, covenant, and law – and consider how those doctrines are foundational to, and have been transformed by, Christianity. Our final evening will return to the topic of outreach, specifically looking at the local church as the base for evangelism.


Keeping up with Northminster on Facebook

One of the tools we, and many other churches, use to stay connected with our members and the community is Facebook.  Recently, Facebook has made some much needed changes to what appears in your news feed.  While these changes are necessary and important, one of the consequences is that our posts to our Facebook Page aren’t pushed out to those who “like” our page as much as they used to be.  Here are some helpful tips on how to ensure that you are seeing our posts:
  • Make sure you click “See First”. As shown in the picture above, this will prioritize Northminster’s posts in your news feed.  Hover over the “Following” button near the cover photo, then select “See First.”
  • Edit your News Feed Preferences.  On a desktop computer, click the Down Arrow next to the Help icon (a ‘?’) in the upper right corner, then click “News Feed Preferences.”  In the Facebook app on your phone or tablet, click the Menu icon in the bottom right corner (looks like three lines), then scroll down to “News Feed Preferences.”  From here, you can choose which pages you would like to see more frequently in your news feed.
  • Like, Comment and Share posts.  The more folks interact with posts on the church’s Page, the more people will be reached with those posts.  You can also share any posts or sermons from our website by clicking the blue “Share” button included in each post.
We hope these tips will be helpful for you.  Let us know if you have any questions!


Pastor’s Corner – February 2018

Most folks really struggle with February. Even though the days are getting longer, it’s often the month that winter really kicks into gear – the coldest temperatures and messiest weather. I think part of what makes it worse is the “indian summer” that so often happens in mid- to late-January. Having been teased a taste of spring, to have winter make a comeback just makes it so much worse. Added to the mix is the reality that, in most years, Lent kicks off in February. So not only is it still cold and dark weather-wise, but the church kicks off what is often considered to be it’s most drab and drear season. At least, that’s how I always viewed Lent when I was a child.  Maybe for you as well.

Lent = Lencten = “Springtime”

So it’s probably not too hard for you to imagine my surprise when I found out that the word “Lent” comes from an Old English word, lencten, which is best translated as “springtime.” Chuck DeGroat writes, “In this season, one begins to see the goodness which emerges from the darkness of Winter. But the darkness of Winter is necessary for the greening of Spring.” There is, and ought to be, a somberness associated with the season of Lent, but that’s not all that there should be.

Spring Cleaning for your Soul

As we transition from winter to spring, most of us will celebrate the annual ritual known as “spring cleaning.” We clean out the cruft, muck, dust and general detritus that’s built up in our homes and yards over the past year in preparation for the warmth and growth of spring. Spring cleaning isn’t usually fun, and it’s often messy, but it’s worth the work because we know what is to come. Lent is the season of the year when we do the same thing spiritually. What happens physically in and around our homes happens spiritually in our hearts and souls as well. It is my hope and prayer that the season of Lent would be an opportunity for you to have “Springtime for your Soul.”
This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, February 14 (how ironic). We have a variety of ways for you take time for spiritual spring cleaning, from new devotionals, to a Sunday sermon series, to Wednesday Lenten services shared with churches around the area. Keep your eyes and ears open for special worship opportunities during Holy Week as well. May God bless you and enrich your soul this Lent!
Rev. David Garrison


Truth, Understanding, Purpose and the Five Living Generations

For the first time in human history, we have five generations alive, interacting, and shaping our world at the same time. Actually, we have an unprecedented SIX generations, although the youngest is just now finishing their first decade. Each of these generations has very different values, priorities, understandings of truth and meaning, and approach life in very different ways. What does that mean for us, individually? What does it mean for us, as a church?
With each passing year, these questions and the challenges these generations face in understanding each other only grows. And yet, we are called to be a people of many generations, and if we want to effectively pass the faith on to the generations to come, we need to build bridges and relationships across generational lines. There is much each generation can learn from the others, and much each generation has to offer the others.
Join us at Table Talk, beginning January 10 at 5:30pm.


Join us for Table Talk, beginning January 10.

We invite you to join us for a new weekly opportunity to fellowship together, explore how culture and God’s Word connect, and enjoy a great dinner.  Each Wednesday, beginning at 5:30, we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner and then have a time of teach and discussion.  Some weeks we’ll hear from missions and missionaries we support.  Some weeks we’ll pray for one another and our community.  While exactly what goes on might change, what will be consistent is the opportunity we have to grow as a community and as individual disciples of Christ.
Dinner is $5 per person, $15 per family. RSVPs (contact the church office) are appreciated, so we can make sure to have enough food.  But don’t worry, if you don’t RSVP, come anyway, we’ll always make sure to have plenty.
We’ll wrap up around 6:45 each week, so those of you who are in the choir will have plenty of time to get ready.
We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, January 10 for our first Table Talk!


Pastor’s Corner – December 2017

Waiting for What?

Each year, the month of December is marked by the Christian season of Advent. The word “advent” comes from the latin word, adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” It’s a season of preparation, of “expectant waiting.” Waiting for what, exactly? Well, somewhat obviously, we’re waiting and preparing for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Why are we preparing for something that’s already happened?

Remembering and Anticipating

With each passing year, it is getting easier to lose our focus on Jesus’ birth over the course of a month filled with shopping, Christmas parties, family gatherings and the general chaos and hustle of the month. Taking time to reflect carefully on hopeful anticipation of the Hebrew people waiting for their Messiah and the wonder of the incarnation provides an antidote to the rampant consumerism of this season.
But more than just remembering Christ’s first Advent, we look forward with hopeful anticipation for His second coming. As Philip Reindeers writes,
Advent is a season of expectant waiting, tapping into the sense we have that all is not well, the longing for the world to be made right again. It’s a season for restless hearts and people weary of a broken world who want, with all our being, to know there’s more than this.
Advent cultivates in us a discerning eye, helping us to spot the sin that clutters our lives and notice all the ways we need to be saved. By helping us to hope intensely for restoration, to feel our own need to be saved, Advent prepares us for genuine Christmas joy and faith in the One who saves us from our sin, Jesus.
Obviously we don’t need to be saved over and over again – Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection from the dead has atoned, paid for, all of our sins once and for all. But the Christian life is one of growing deeper in our relationship to God and realizing that there is more sinful clutter in our soul than we might’ve realized. This Advent, may we all be filled with joy in knowing that our Savior knows us better than we know ourselves, came 2,000 years ago to redeem us from our sins, and is going to come back one day soon and make all that is broken right.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen!
Rev. David Garrison


Pastor’s Corner – November 2017

Envisioning The Future

As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, there will be a Leadership Retreat the weekend of November 10-12. The Session and I are really excited about this opportunity, and want to share a bit more about it with you. While Friday night is particularly for staff and elders, we are encouraging anyone who is interested to join us Saturday (8:30am-4:00pm – lunch included!) as we explore how we can more effectively and intentionally live out The Great Commission at Northminster EPC and in Madison Heights and Amherst County. Dr. Ken Priddy from the EPC’s Go Center will be joining us for this weekend. In addition to the sessions Friday night and Saturday, Dr. Priddy will also be teaching Sunday school and preaching in worship on November 12.

Should You Come?

You might be wondering if you should plan to attend on Saturday. If you are wondering how God might be planning to work in and through Northminster in the years to come, then yes, you should come. If you want to be part of how God is going to work in and through Northminster in the years to come, then yes, you should come. If you have been actively involved in Northminster in the past and have been hoping and praying for her future, yes, you should come. I firmly believe that God has some amazing things in store for this congregation in the years to come, and I think we’ll start to get a glimpse of that over this weekend.
I know lives are busy, and only getting busier this time of year, but we think this is an important opportunity and hope you’ll carve some time out for it. After all, we’re providing lunch!
If you can’t make it Saturday, be sure to be here for Sunday school and worship on Sunday morning, November 12. It’ll be a great opportunity to get a taste of what we talked about on Sunday, as well as being encouraged in knowing that God is still at work in and through us.

Thank You, Once Again

Thank you all for the wonderful service and reception celebrating my installation as your pastor. My family and I continue to be overwhelmed by the warm and loving welcome you have extended to us. Special thanks go out to Anne Wilkins and all who helped coordinate and decorate the Fellowship Hall. It was an amazing evening!
Rev. David Garrison


Pastor’s Corner – October 2017

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matt 24:3–8)


There’s been a lot of talk lately about the “End Times” and when Jesus is coming back. Christians have been trying to figure that out since Jesus first ascended into heaven. This always happens when we have an abnormal pattern of highly destructive natural disasters, or when unusual events occur in the heavens (such as eclipses, or comets, etc.), or when wars break out around our planet. Most recently, a report made the news that the “End Times” would begin on Saturday, September 23. Saturday came and went, and all is well – if not a little bit hotter than we usually expect for late September.
I’ll be honest, there’s a lot about the “End Times” that I don’t know or understand. In fact, Jesus himself said that there’s a lot about this that we’re not going to know or understand: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matt 24:36) Here’s what we do know: Jesus is coming back (Revelation 22:20). When he comes back, all that is broken will be made right (Revelation 21:1,5). Until Jesus comes back, we will have suffering and persecution for His name’s sake (John 15:18-25). Outside of those things, Jesus invites us to trust and abide in Him (John 15:1-17).
The Thessalonians were swept up in waiting for Jesus’ return. They fully believed his return was so imminent that they stopped doing the work of the Kingdom. We should be diligent in avoiding the same mistake. So what should we do as we wait for Christ’s return? The same thing Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to do:

And we urge you, brothers & sisters, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22)

Note particularly verses 23 & 24:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

In other words, be about the work of the Kingdom, and trust in the God who’s name is Faithful. He is true to his promises, and He is true to you. Amen!


Pastor’s Corner – September 2017

Thank You!

My family and I would like to thank you all for the incredibly warm welcome you’ve extended to us. We are overwhelmed with the love and welcome gifts you’ve shared. Moving to a new community and church is always challenging, but you have made us feel at home. I wish we could give a personal thank you for every gift, but many of them didn’t say who they were from, so please accept this note, knowing that the sentiment behind it is far deeper than our words could ever convey.

Hurricanes, Floods, and What We Can Do

As I write this, the rain continues to fall on southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast. The quantities of rain are mind-boggling, and the images and videos are heartbreaking. With the water levels still rising, we don’t yet know how bad the damage will be or what relief efforts would look like. While we encourage you to be praying for those who need rescue as well as those doing the rescuing, we also want to be thinking about practical ways we can help. We have posted links to ministries and organizations we support that are already receiving donations to aid their efforts in recovery on our website ( and Facebook (

What does the future hold?

Isn’t that what we all want to know? The truth is that, no matter how much we plan or prepare, no matter what we think the future will hold, ultimately only God knows the future. But I know this, I am very excited about what God has done over the past 59 years through Northminster, and I can’t wait to see what God has yet to do in and through us over the years to come. From the conversations I’ve had with many of you, I know you are as excited as I am. While I don’t know what the future holds, I know who holds the future. So I invite you to join me in setting our focus on Him, and Him alone.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2)