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.
 

Join us this Sunday!

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 – February 2019

If you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn. — English proverb
 
But Jesus answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” — Matthew 4:4
 
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” — 2 Timothy 3:16–17
 

Learning to Study the Scriptures

One of the core beliefs we hold as Christians is the authority and importance of the Bible. We believe it is divinely inspired, without error and fully authoritative for us and our lives. We also believe that Christians should regularly study and learn from the Bible. But much of how we do that is through sermons and Sunday school lessons, which usually involve someone (the preacher, for example) reading a passage, telling us (the congregation) what it means, and then how to apply it to our lives. It is, in many respects, a passive learning experience – knowledge and information is given to us to receive and absorb, and hopefully live. But we all learn best by doing ourselves, rather than someone doing the work for us (see the English proverb above).
 

Getting SOAPy

On Sunday evenings, the youth have started studying the books of the Bible. In doing so, we’re seeking to teach them not simply what the Bible says and means, but more importantly how to study the Bible for themselves. I think the technique we’re teaching them might be of benefit to you, particularly if you’ve struggled with how to study the Bible on your own. The method we’re teaching is an acronym called SOAPScripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Here’s how it works:
 

Scripture

The first step is to identify a Scripture passage for study. It is generally good to Study one or two paragraphs – or about 6-10 verses — at a time. After selecting a passage, it is good to identify what Testament you are in (before or after Christ’s birth), and what kind of literature you are reading (history, law, prophets, poetry, gospel, letters). It is helpful to copy the passage or key verses into a journal, as this increases comprehension and sets the stage for learning. Remember: You can Google any book of the Bible for answers to simple questions about that book.
 

Observation

Observation is taking time to look at the passage and ask questions to learn what it is saying. What are the commands to obey or examples to follow? What are the promises to claim? What does it teach me about God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit? Take time to identify questions you may have that will lead to additional study. Write your observations and questions in your journal. Consider using a Bible handbook or simple commentary for further study.
 

Application

Do not stop with observations; take time to make applications. Ask: How will this truth change me or my family? Where do I fall short and who can help me? What will I change in my attitudes, relationships, and behaviors? What must I do today as a result of this study? How am I strengthened and encouraged by this passage? Record your applications in your journal.
 

Prayer

Conclude your Bible study with prayer. Ask God to help you apply the passage to life. Where do you need God’s help or forgiveness? What are you thankful for in this passage of Scripture? Write the answers to these questions in your journal.
 
Learning to study the Bible is not difficult, but it takes practice and commitment. Like any good habit, the benefits of practicing regular Bible study, by yourself and in groups, make the effort of cultivating it worthwhile. It is my prayer that using a little SOAP in your study of the Bible will help you know God’s Word and its importance for your life.
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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New Sunday School Opportunity – Beginning Sunday, January 27

Let me be up front: If you aren’t already attending a Sunday School class at Northminster, we’re inviting you (and your kids) to come to Sunday school.  I suppose it’s kind of obvious that a pastor would make that request, but there’s more to it than that.. Let me explain.
 
I think most of us would agree that our faith is important to us, but when push comes to shove, we (yep, even me) tend to let the hustle-and-bustle of life crowd out the rhythms and practices of our faith. Before we know it, while still important, our faith has been moved to the back seat.
 
Jesus says in John 10:10 that he came so we might “have more and better life than we’ve ever dreamed of.” Being in the back seat of our life likely isn’t what he had in mind. And I think most of us would agree that while our lives might not be terrible, they probably aren’t exactly “more and better than we’ve ever dreamed” either.
 
Here are some things I know, mostly from what I’ve experienced in my own life:
  • The closer I walk with Jesus, the closer I come to that “more and better life.”
  • The more time I spend in God’s Word, the more grounded I am.
  • The more I connect with other believers, the more hope I have.
 
I also know that, as parents, we want to pass on a faith to our children that is meaningful and valuable to them. Along those lines, I also know (again, from my own experience, but also from 20+ years of youth ministry) that there are three key components to passing the faith to our children effectively. They are:
  • Teaching the full gospel of Jesus Christ (more than just “sin management” or whatnot),
  • Parents being the primary ministers to their own children (don’t let this scare you), and
  • Building as many intergenerational connections into kids lives as possible.
 
All of the above is why I’m inviting you to come to Sunday school. Beginning January 6, from 9:45-10:30, I’ll be teaching a new class that will meet in the Tatman Room. But actually, I would think of this as more of a “small group” type thing than “Sunday school.” There will be more discussion than lecture, more questions than dissertation. It’s an opportunity for us to dig into God’s Word together, to understand what it meant back then so we can better understand what it means right now, and to apply it to the nitty-gritty of our lives right now. The better we know God’s Word, the more we will know and live the Gospel, the easier it’ll be to share our faith with our kids through our lives.  We’ll be starting out studying Paul’s letter to the Romans.
 
And that intergenerational part? Well, we happen to have a whole lot of folks in this church who would love the opportunity to love your kids in Jesus’ name. While we’re growing as disciples together, your kids will be being taught the Gospel as well and building those intergenerational relationships I mentioned a moment ago.
 
I know for many of you, Sunday morning is one of the few, precious opportunities you have to sleep in. I also know that getting the kids out the door to be at church by 9:45 can be a hassle. My intent is to make this class, as well as your children’s classes, worth the effort to be here.
 
I hope you’ll join us Sundays at 9:45 in the Tatman Room.

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Pastor’s Corner – January 2019

Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Tim. 4:7–8 ESV)
 

What’s Your Resolution?

 
This is the time of year that gyms and diet programs love, because we all seek to take advantage of the new year and the “fresh start” it provides. Year after year, at the top of the list sits resolutions to get healthier and lose weight. We know we need to take care of our bodies, that we just spent a month (or more) overeating and indulging, and that summer is just a few months away. Taking care of our physical health is important, and I applaud you if you’ve made such a resolution. But as Paul says in the passage above, are we as equally resolved regarding our spiritual health and well-being?
 

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

 
Just as with physical health, our spiritual health takes intentionality and commitment, and it begins with prayer. Prayer is a funny thing — most everyone has prayed at some point in time since they were a little child, and yet it’s also the one thing I hear that people struggle with more than most anything else. In fact, at one point even the disciples had to ask Jesus to teach them to pray: Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1 ESV)
 

Praying Like Jesus

We’re going to be intentional in learning to pray like Jesus prayed. On Sunday mornings through the course of the season of Epiphany, we’ll dig deeply into The Lord’s Prayer – a prayer we all say every Sunday, but many of us don’t fully understand what we’re saying about or asking of God. Then, through Lent and leading up to Easter, we’ll explore the prayer book of the Hebrews, the Psalms, and find guidance for some of the problem areas of prayer.
 
If you, like the disciples (and most of us if we’re honest), are looking for someone to teach you to pray, or maybe you could use some encouragement in your prayer life, I hope you’ll join us. May God bless you in this new year!
Blessings, Rev. David Garrison

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Pastor’s Corner – December 2018

Consumed by Consuming

I received my first email announcing Black Friday, the annual celebration of greed and gluttony that defines the day after Thanksgiving (a day of gratitude for all God has provided for us), on November 2. Not only that, but the email announced that the Black Friday deals were available NOW! Of course, for years the stores have been opening on Thanksgiving to offer Black Friday “doorbuster” sales (full confession: I went shopping on Thanksgiving to get one of those deals). The mentality that comes from shopping for the best deal leads to two consequences. First, we live in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction and discontent. Second, we apply the consumer mindset to other areas of life – we just keep looking for the best “deal” that will better meet our “needs.” We are a consumer-based culture. And we are being consumed by it. One might say we are literally selling our souls to satisfy our consuming.
 

A Prescription for A Better Way

There are times when something happens to our bodies, maybe a deep-set illness is discovered, and the doctor issues us a prescription for medicine to help return us to physical health. It often doesn’t happen overnight, but through faithfully following the prescription, over time we begin to notice a difference and feel better. Eventually, we are restored to full health. The prescription to our rampant consumerism is the Christian season of Advent. Advent comes from a Latin word that means “coming.” It is a 4-week season that leads up to Christmas and is meant to be a time of intentional reflection and preparation for the coming of the Messiah – both celebrating his first Advent 2,000 years ago, and hopefully anticipating his second coming. The giving of gifts (started by the Magi that first Christmas) is a good tradition, but this one aspect has taken over the entire season.
 
There are rituals and traditions surrounding our celebrations of Advent and Christmas. Some of those are particular to our families, others are more broadly practiced by churches or communities. Many of them have their roots in centuries past, or maybe they are new traditions only a few years old. The rituals of putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, of lighting the Advent candles (both in worship and at home as a family), of going caroling are all great ways to slow down this holiday (holy-day) season. Consider other activities and start new traditions that your family (both nuclear and extended) can practice and celebrate each year to move us deeper in our understanding of what this season is supposed to be about and find ourselves moving away from consuming and toward joy and contentment in Christ.
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11–13)
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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December Table Talk Series: Aspects of Advent

Our December Table Talk series will be “Aspects of Advent.” There is a lot of nuance and “hidden” depths to the Advent and Christmas stories that we miss because the biblical authors assumed certain cultural, historical and prophetic knowledge that has been lost in the 2,000 years since the stories were recorded. Michael Babcock and Pastor David will explore several of these different facets in an effort to enrich and deepen our understanding and celebration of the incarnation of our Savior. Upcoming topics include:
November 28: Fulfilling Prophecy – Dr. Michael Babcock
December 5: Politics of the Times – Rev. David Garrison
December 12: No Room in the Inn – Rev. David Garrison
December 19: Questioning Christmas – Dr. Michael Babcock
December 26 & January 2: No Table Talk

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