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 Sunday school for all ages at 9:45, and the worship service is at 11am. We look forward to seeing you! Click here to find out where we are and get in touch. If you are not able to join us in person, we invite you to follow our livestream, which you can find here.

Upcoming Events

October 2022

Sunday, October 2

9:45 am – 10:45 am
Adult Sunday School: Adult Sunday School
9:45 am – 10:45 am
Sunday School (children & youth)
11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Online Worship
11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Sunday Worship

Monday, October 3

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Canoeing The Mountains Study: Study 2: The World in Front of You Is Nothing Like the World Behind You

Tuesday, October 4

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
Lynchburg Daily Bread Meal Distribution

Wednesday, October 5

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Midweek Prayer Time
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Nominating Committee: Nominating Committee Meeting
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Choir Practice

The Latest from our blogs…

September 2022 Pastor’s Corner – Left On ‘Read’

 “O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.

 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.

 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?” (Psa. 6:1–3)

If you are looking for a way to annoy a teenager (and really, who isn’t?  It’s so much fun!), one of the best ways is to read a text they send you and not respond to it.  This might be a trick that only works on iPhones, but here’s the basic idea.  iPhones can send a status update for texts sent to other iPhones, letting the sender know when the message was delivered and read (you can see an example in the picture, look below the text bubble that says “on”).  It absolutely drives my daughter crazy when I read her text messages and don’t reply promptly.  It upsets her because she knows I’ve received her message, and I’ve even read it, but I haven’t yet answered her.  The first time she called me out on it, she exclaimed, “Dad, you left me on ‘read’!” I had no idea what she meant until she explained it to me.  While that time was accidental, I now do it all the time, just to annoy her.

The thing is, though, I always respond to her messages, but I don’t always do so via text.  I might wait until the next time I see her.  I might choose to respond with actions instead of words.  I might respond to the text message with an email or a phone call.  Sometimes, I’ll respond through her mother or brother.  I don’t actually do this to annoy her (most of the time), but because I think those might be better or more efficient ways to respond in the moment.

This has been on my mind lately, because I think there are a lot of times when it feels like God has left us on ‘read.’ We pray, but we don’t hear an answer… or maybe the better way to say it is that we don’t receive an answer from Him in the way we would prefer.  If my daughter texts me, she would like a text message back.  Promptly.  Sometimes, God answers our prayers in very different ways from what we might prefer or desire.  Sometimes, He answers our prayers weeks, months, sometimes even years after we lift them up to Him.  We know God hears our prayers, the Psalms remind us of that all the time (see Psalm 3:4, 4:3 17:6, 55:17, and 116:1), but it seems like God leaves us on ‘read’ when He doesn’t answer our prayers when or how we would like.

But God does, in fact, always hear our prayers.  And He always answers them.  Our task is to trust in Him and wait patiently for His answer.  His timing is always perfect, and His methods are precisely what we need.  The question is, when God seemingly leaves us on ‘read,’ will we continue to trust in Him?

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. — Psalm 40:1–3 

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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August 2022 Pastor’s Corner – The Fifth Gospel

 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)

This picture is taken from inside the chapel of the Dominus Flevit (Latin for “The Lord wept”).  According to Luke, as Jesus came over the Mount of Olives on Palm Sunday and saw the city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount before him, he wept over it.  The chapel is in the shape of a teardrop, and is one of the only catholic chapels to be oriented west-east (most are east-west).  It’s amazing how well the architecture of the place carries the emotive weight of the location.

If anything becomes clear when visiting the Holy Land, it’s how precious this particular place is to the Lord.  While “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1), God has chosen this particular portion of land on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean Sea and made it holy unto Him, and given it to the people He has chosen for Himself.  We know that God has worked purposefully and intentionally throughout history, but you see that when you visit these incredible places we’ve read so much about in our Bibles.  Faith comes alive in a visceral way.

As I mentioned in my sermon on July 17 after I returned, “What becomes abundantly clear as you tour the Promised Land is how much the land itself proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ, hence why it has earned the name, ‘The Fifth Gospel.’”  As another pastor friend of mine has said, after visiting the Holy Land, you’ll never read your Bible the same again.  It really is as transformative an experience as they say.

I hope to pass along as much of my experiences and the things I learned in the weeks and months to come, but mostly I want to encourage you to make plans to visit the Holy Land at least once in your life.  My friend, Cameron Smith (who took that picture) is planning a trip for February, and I’m working on putting one together for next July.  I promise you, it’s worth every penny it costs to go.  This land has a special place in God’s heart, and it should in ours as well, even as we wait eagerly for the new heavens and new earth to come down with Christ when He returns.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:1–4)

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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July 2022 Pastor’s Corner – Pilgrimage

For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
“This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”
— Psalm 132:13–14
 
A faithful Hebrew was expected to make the trek to the temple in Jerusalem three times a year for the Festivals of Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot) and Tabernacles (Succoth). In Islam, one of the pillars is Pilgrimage, in which a faithful Muslim is expected to travel to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. In both cases, these pilgrimages are a necessary part of the sanctification of the Hebrew or Muslim. However, there is no such expectation or requirement in Christianity. Have you ever wondered why?
 
The short answer, which you can probably guess, is because of Jesus. The longer answer is this:
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:24–26)
 
In other words, because of Jesus, we no longer need to make sacrifices and pilgrimages to an earthly, geographically bound and physically located temple. We are the temple of God (1 Peter 2:4-5), and Jesus offered the last and final sacrifice through his death on the cross (see above, and Hebrews 10:12-14). We don’t have to make a pilgrimage because our salvation is through faith in Christ alone, not through any work or effort on our part (Ephesians 2:8-10).
 
However, that doesn’t mean that going on pilgrimage isn’t worthwhile for the Christian. Doing so can’t and won’t affect your salvation, but it could well be of great benefit to your spiritual walk with the Lord. Just like reading a book about a place is different from actually visiting it, when we actually go and walk in the same places that Jesus and the disciples walked, when we stand where King David stood, when we see what Moses and Joshua saw, it can transform our understanding of Scripture.
 
To be honest, I don’t know how transformative it can be. Many have told me that it’s invaluable. But by the time you read this, I’ll be doing that very thing. Thanks to your generous provision of study leave funds and time, I’ll spend ten days in Israel, visiting many of the places you see in the map above. I look forward to sharing with you what I’ve seen, experienced and learned. And who knows? Maybe you’ll have an opportunity to take a pilgrimage to Israel yourself Not because it’s necessary to save your soul, but to help you grow in fulness, grace and truth. Keep me in your prayers while I’m gone (from June 27-July 6), and I look forward to seeing you when I get back.
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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June 2022 Pastor’s Corner – Change

 “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” — Ben Franklin

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” — Hebrews 13:8

The past several years has taught us how quickly things can change, and change drastically.  Some of these changes have been good, many of them have been difficult, if not very hard.  Just about every area of our lives has been shaken and challenged.  Most of these changes have been as unexpected as they were unprecedented; some of them we could see coming.

I’ve been reflecting on change a lot lately.  Part of that has been stirred by the cultural changes we’re seeing around us, but closer to home it’s been triggered by my son’s graduation from high school and preparation for college.  Our family is moving into a season of change we’ve not experienced since my son was born.  Many of you have experienced that transition yourselves, some of you have a few more years.  When facing changes like these, it’s easy to begin to feel “unmoored.”  But, as my (great x6) uncle Ben Franklin said above, everything changes, except death and taxes.

There’s a lot of wisdom and a lot of truth in my uncle’s observation…but he missed something crucial.  As the author of Hebrews reminds us, Jesus Christ never changes either.  As part of the Holy Trinity, God the Son has always existed.  God the Son is as much the same before the incarnation as after it, as before his death and resurrection as after it, as before his ascension into heaven as after it, as before his ultimate return as after it.  His nature, his mission, his work, his hesed (steadfast lovingkindness — see the sermons on Ruth) is all exactly the same yesterday, today and forever.

We depend on consistency and stability to keep us anchored in our lives.  But if we anchor ourselves to something that will move or change, we can’t rely on that mooring.  Everything moves and changes — relationships, jobs, people, family, the stock market, politics, the weather, even church.  The only true certainty in life is Jesus Christ.  When we anchor ourselves to Christ, we can weather whatever storm may whip up around us, whatever change and transition might come our way.  How do we anchor ourselves to Jesus Christ?  He tells us that himself:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24–25)

Knowing the Word of God through Christ in Scripture and doing what He says is how we secure ourselves to Jesus Christ.  We “hear these words” of His by spending time reading the Bible and in prayer every day, by going to Sunday school and Bible studies each week, and by worshipping with the body of Christ each Sunday morning.  We “do what it says” when we put what we hear into practice each and every day.  

If there is any particular way we can help you work through the changes and challenges you are navigating by helping you hear His word and doing it, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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May 2022 Pastor’s Corner – Irritating

 “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:21–24)

We are deep in the throes of pollen season.  You can’t really miss it, since we’re all driving greenish-yellow cars right now.  It is arguably the most singularly irritating season of the entire year.  If you suffer from allergies, it’s torture.  If you don’t, it’s irritating.  The pollen gets everywhere and covers everything.  Occasionally you can even see clouds of the stuff blowing out of the trees, but even when you can’t, you can taste it every time you step outside.  Constant sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes are part and parcel these days.  Considering how small pollen particles are, it’s pretty impressive how much trouble they cause.

The only relief we can look forward to is the next rain shower.  For a brief moment, perhaps a few hours or even a day if we’re lucky, the rain will wash the pollen away.  Our cars return to their usual colors, our decks and homes are washed clean, and the air doesn’t attack our nasal passages.  For a little while, at least.  Of course, that very rain triggers even more pollen to come, but I’m working on an analogy here so let’s not push things farther than they’re meant to go.

We focus a lot of our time and energy on avoiding the “big” sins (such as sexual immorality, rage, jealousy, envy, drunkenness and the others listed in Galatians 5:19-21), which we should.  But sometimes I think we forget about the “small” sins, or we think they’re not that big of a deal.  As long as we’re not “too bad” then we should be ok, right?  However, kind of like pollen, those small sins can become big irritants.  If we don’t attend to the small sins in addition to the big ones, they can irritate our faith and our walk with the Lord.  The simple truth is that sin is sin, regardless of its size.

Just like we yearn for rain to wash the pollen away, we can rest assured that, through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Heb. 10:22)  Jesus didn’t just cleanse us of the “big” sins, but the “small” ones too.  The pure water of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God wash us clean.  May we take all of our sins to the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit so that we can be refreshed, renewed and restored.

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25–27)
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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