Neighbors Helping Neighbors Community Meal – November 26, 4:30-7pm

Neighbors Helping Neighbors will start having a FREE evening meal (5:00-7:00) on Tuesdays beginning in November.  They are looking for volunteers.  We would bring the food already prepared and then warm it up upon arrival.  Jimmy Price has opened his building located on route 29, near Dixie Airport Road, for this purpose.  We (MOE committee) invited Garry Friend to speak at Northminster and explain in detail what would be expected of an organization willing to help. 

We have agreed to serve one meal, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, November 26.   We will serve about 50 people – about the size of a church covered-dish meal.  This may be the only Thanksgiving dinner for our guests.  

NHN provides plates, napkins, cups and eating utensil and they clean up.   

The menu is listed here: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, rolls and butter, cranberry salad, pie and whipped cream, coffee, sweet tea, and water. 

We need people to serve, greet, cook, pray, and help with a little clean up.  (Donations are helpful as well.)

Please contact Judy Reyburn if you can help prepare and serve food, or if you can prepare food but cannot attend the meal.  

Missions, Evangelism, Outreach Committee


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Operation Christmas Child 2019 is Underway!

The Sunday School classes will be taking up items for our shoeboxes through Sunday, November 17.  We will put together as many shoeboxes as we can during SS on November 17.  However, we will continue to put boxes together during that week should we have more items come in later.
 
Operation Christmas Child suggests that we have one WOW item per box such as a doll, a stuffed animal, an outfit of clothes, a small musical instrument, or a backpack.  Our boxes are divided by gender and the following age groups:  2 – 4, 5 – 9, 10 – 14.
 
Some suggested items are: combs, hairbrushes, chapstick, bandages, toothbrush, watch, packaged soap, washcloth, stick deodorant, reusable plastic containers (cups, plates, bowls), blunt edged utensils, blanket, nail clipper, finger nail file, shirts/pants, loose fitting sundress, underwear, shoes, socks, flip-flops, hat, scarf, mittens, sunglasses, tote bag/purse, hair bows, pencils, manual pencil sharpener, colored pencils, pencil case, crayons, markers, pens, ruler, scissors, coloring pads/books, picture books, notebooks, glue sticks, tape, water color set, play doh with plastic cookie cutters, sewing kit, stickers, chalkboard and chalk, jump rope, foam ball, finger puppets, slinky, etch a sketch, yo-yo, marbles, costume jewelry, small Frisbee, small kite, solar powered calculator, puzzles, binoculars, plastic tools, plastic dinosaurs, small cars/trucks/boats, flashlight (if battery powered – an extra set of batteries), and compact mirror.
 
The things that are not allowed in the shoeboxes are as follows:  candy, toothpaste, gum, used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures, chocolate or food, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes (powdered or liquid), liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes, or glass containers, and aerosol cans.
Please bring any donations to church by Sunday, November 17. There will be a collection bin in the church foyer for your donations. If you choose to pack your own shoebox, please bring it to church that Sunday morning as well.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Bryant.

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Pastor’s Corner – November 2019

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col. 2:6–7)
 
“Continue to live in him, rooted and built up, strengthened in the faith as you were taught”
 
Each year, as part of my benefits package, I am given two weeks of study leave.  This isn’t two extra weeks of vacation; it’s an intentional time for pastors to do exactly what Paul says in this verse, to be ‘rooted and built up [in Christ], strengthened in the faith.”  Just as we need exercise to keep our bodies healthy, we also need to be intentional in strengthening our faith. That is what study leave is meant to provide.  I spent the time reading several books about pastoring in our current cultural reality, meeting with a spiritual director for my own spiritual growth and well-being, and sketching out a sermon plan for next year.  Thank you for letting me have the time away, and I look forward to sharing with you what God has been sharing with me!
 
“Overflowing with Thankfulness”
 
Thank you, also, for the wonderful cards and expressions of appreciation you all shared this past weekend.  What an unexpected surprise to receive upon my return from study leave!  One of my greatest joys is being able to tell others about what a blessing you all are to my family and me and how thankful we are to get to serve alongside you.  So many pastors serve places that are hard and challenging, but serving Northminster is a joy and delight.  We truly are “overflowing with thankfulness” for each one of you.

 

For what are you “overflowing with thankfulness”?  In the midst of the craziness of the holiday season, it can be easy to forget to reflect on that question.  I encourage you to be intentional in taking time to reflect on the things for which you are thankful.  Yes, expressing gratitude in the moment when we’ve received a gift is somewhat easy, but to “overflow with thankfulness” requires intentional thought and perhaps even prayer.  How different might our thanksgiving celebrations be if we take as much time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for as we do cleaning, cooking and preparing for those celebrations?

 

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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Pastor’s Corner – October 2019

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about lately:
 
What difference does Jesus make in your life?
 
Not long ago, I came across an interview with a pastor who said that it wouldn’t affect her faith in the least if there were definitive proof that Jesus Christ never existed or wasn’t resurrected from the dead and certainly wasn’t God. In fact, this pastor argued, such belief takes greater faith than holding to the orthodox beliefs about Jesus (that he is fully God and the second member of the Trinity, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, was raised from the dead on the third day and is now seated at God’s right hand, to name a few). The Apostle Paul has some pretty strong words for such a view:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:13–14, 17–19)
 
Everything we believe and are as Christians hinges on the resurrection of Christ — in this life and the life to come. For a long time, much of Christian hope and faith was placed in the promise of eternal life with God in Heaven. Over the past century or so, however, that focus has shifted toward the benefits of believing in Christ in this present life. That, in my opinion, has been a necessary correction. However, now it seems even that is fading away. It seems to me that there are a lot of people who claim to believe in Jesus, but for whom Jesus makes no practical difference in their daily lives whatsoever. I wonder if in losing our focus on the former (our hope for eternal life), we started to lose our focus on the latter (the change in our daily lives).
 
But think about what Jesus said about why he came: “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10) Our faith in Christ brings us “real and eternal life.” It’s absolutely about the life to come. The greatest hope of our eternal life is that we will see God face-to-face. Holding to that hope, through Christ we are able to have “more and better life than we’ve ever dreamed of” in this present life. How I live my life today is formed and shaped by the sure knowledge that one day, because of Christ, I will see God face-to-face.
 
There’s an old saying that someone is “so heavenly minded, they’re no early good.” We’ve all known people like that. But that’s not how it actually works. If I’m focusing on eternity rightly, then the present is molded and shaped by it. It is that sure and certain hope that enables me to live sacrificially and fully for Christ today. The saying should more be like, “I’m only earthly good because I’m so heavenly minded.”
 
It is my prayer that, because we know we will one day see Him face-to-face, we would all know Jesus so fully and deeply that we can’t imagine living a day or a moment without Him.
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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Church Picnic – Sunday, Sept 15 @ 5PM

The annual church picnic will be held on Sept 15 starting at 5 pm. Hotdogs, hamburgers and all the fixings will be provided. Everyone is invited to come and bring family, friends and neighbors. Please sign up on a sheet that is on the bulletin board. Everyone is asked to bring a favorite side dish or dessert to share. There will be games and entertainment. Music will be provided by the Country Proud Bluegrass Band.

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Parenting in the Pew – A New Sunday school class beginning 10/6

One of the questions we’re asked on a regular basis is, “How do I teach my children how to worship?  How do we help them understand what the different parts of the worship service mean and why they matter?”  These are great questions, so we’re offering this new Sunday School class to help find some answers together.  
 
Karey Garrison will be leading a study of the book, Parenting in the Pew, by Robbie Castleman.  From the back cover:

“Daddy, I’d like you to meet my children.” That’s Robbie Castleman’s attitude about taking her children to church. She believes that Sunday morning isn’t a success if she has only managed to keep the kids quiet. And she knows there’s more to church for kids than trying out their new coloring books. Children are at church for the same reason as their parents: for the privilege of worshiping God. Worship, Castleman writes, is “the most important thing you can ever train your child to do.” So with infectious passion, nitty-gritty advice and a touch of humor, she shows you how to help your children (from toddlers to teenagers) enter into worship. In this significantly revised and updated edition Castleman includes a new preface and two new appendices that provide new perspectives on children’s sermons and intergenerational community. She also provides a study guide for personal reflection or group discussion. More than ever, Parenting in the Pew is essential reading for parents and worship leaders who want to help children make joyful noises unto the Lord.

 
This class is open to all parents, grandparents and great-grandparents – anyone who would like to help their children, grandchildren or even nieces and nephews learn how to love and worship God will all of their heart, mind, soul and strength.
 
Books cost $10 each.  Please click here to RSVP if you plan to attend or would like a book so we order the proper amount.
 

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Pastor’s Corner – September 2019

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Tim. 6:10)

My parents raised me to believe that there are three things you don’t talk about in polite company: religion, politics and money.  We can’t (and probably shouldn’t) avoid talking about that first one in church, and while this usually hasn’t kept me from talking about the other two, but every time I do, I hesitate…particularly when it comes to talking about money.  Especially when it comes to preaching about money.  Not only do I not like preaching about money, I’ve never met a church member who likes or wants to hear sermons on money.  As someone once told Bob Mills after a sermon, “Now you’ve gone from preaching to meddling.”

However, there are two truths about money that I think ensures it’s worthy of our time and attention on a Sunday morning.  First, the reality is that everyone is always talking or thinking about money.  As Carey Nieuwhof writes, “People talk about it, argue about it, and try to make their plans around it. Almost everyone in your church and community thinks about money daily and talks about it daily. They may even struggle with it daily. It’s just that few people step up to help them with it” (underlined reference links can be found in the online version of this article).  If it gets that much of our mental energy and time, isn’t it something we should seek biblical guidance regarding?

Which leads us to the second truth: Did you know that the Bible talks about money more than any other subject?  As an article at crosswalk.com points out, “It is worth noting that money is such an important topic in the Bible that it is the main subject of nearly half of the parables Jesus told. In addition, one in every seven verses in the New Testament deals with this topic. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith, and more than 2,000 verses on money.”  As the article states, “Why such an emphasis on money and possessions? There is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.”

So for the next six weeks, beginning September 8, we’re going to be talking about money.  We’ll spend the first three weeks talking about the connection between our spiritual lives and our focus on money and the second three weeks understanding what the Bible says about why and how our giving to the Lord is an important part of our growth as disciples of Jesus Christ.  While certainly a subject no one wants to talk or hear sermons about, I think we’ll find a way to a deeper, richer life in Christ as a result.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Tim. 6:11)

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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NEPC Student Ministries News & Info – August 2019

Things for the youth ministry at Northminster slowed down over the summer, but we’re cranking things back up as we get ready for the fall!

Welcome Rising 6th Graders!

We’re excited to have you join us!  You are welcome to join us for Sunday school on Sunday mornings any time!  John Lange and Sharon Bryant are our teachers, and they’d love to see you at 9:45 on Sundays.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, August 7, ~6:30 @ Venue Cinemas — We’ll meet at Venue Cinemas around 6:30 to catch a fun summer movie!  Which one?  No idea – the schedule isn’t out yet.  We’ll email once it is with specifics.  Interested?  Be sure to let Pastor Dave know! 

Sunday, August 18, 5:30-7:30 — It’s time to bid adieu to summer.  Join us at the Garrisons for a fun-filled game night, dinner included.  This will be a great way to de-stress after the first few days of school and as you prepare for your first full week.  This is also a particularly good event for folks who haven’t been to youth group before to come and meet the other students and get a sense for what we’re all about!

Sunday, September 8, 6:00-7:15pm — We officially kick off our fall semester and weekly youth group meetings on the 8th.  We’ll start the fall with a series called, “Rescued from an Ordinary Life.”
 
Keep up to date on all the Student Ministries doings by clicking here!

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Pastor’s Corner – August 2019

“Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18)

Summer doesn’t officially end for another month and a half, and given that we live in central Virginia, it won’t begin to feel like fall until sometime in October, but with kids going back to school in just a few weeks, it seems like fall is already here.  And with the fall comes the  harvest season.  In our summer sermon series, Do Something, we’ve seen that James uses the image of the harvest a lot throughout his letter.  

I’ve been amazed at the way the flowers and plants in our yard have absolutely blossomed and exploded this year.  As much as we’d like to take credit, this isn’t really because of anything my wife and I have done.  Someone else put these plants in the ground long before we moved in, and last year’s incredible rainfall nourished the soil richly over the winter and into the spring.  We put a lot of effort into weeding and mulching early on, but haven’t done a good job keeping up with it.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:5–9)

Such it is with our spiritual lives.  Often we find that spiritual growth happens, regardless of what we do or don’t do.  But some simple truths are still central.  First, you harvest what you plant.  Second, while the seeds grow naturally, there are things we can do to encourage their growth, such as watering, weeding and fertilizing that create an environment conducive to their flourishing.

Much of what we seek to do here at Northminster is help you with those two aspects of your walk with the Lord – planting seeds of faith and spiritual growth, and cultivating the soil of your heart and soul to nourish those seeds.  As we head into the harvest season, be on the lookout for opportunities to check the health of the soil of your soul as well as opportunities to “do something” with the growth that God has been doing in you.  If there is a particular way you’d like some help in your spiritual growth, be sure to let one of our elders or me know.

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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Pastor’s Corner – July 2019

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (James 2:14) 

One of the central truths of our faith is that we are saved by grace alone, that there is nothing we can do to earn or merit our salvation.  It is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ.  This is the hallmark of the Reformation and essential to what we believe as Reformed, protestant, Presbyterian Christians.  It is also the doctrine that separates Christianity from all other religions on earth.  Every other religion involves humanity having to earn their salvation.  What they do determines whether they are saved.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22–23)

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to do anything with our faith.  In fact, the things we do become even more important.  We don’t seek to do acts of love, mercy, kindness and justice so that we can be saved; rather, because of the salvation we’ve been given, we serve God and others.  Just as the health of a tree is shown in the fruit it bears, our acts of love and service are the fruit of our salvation.

“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:18–19)

Over the first 400 years or so, the Christian faith grew through a radical and counter-cultural love for others and service to “the least of these.”  It wasn’t “radical” in the sense of being offensive, but a kind of loving others that was so profoundly different from what anyone expected.  The early Christians sought out the loveless, the rejected, the despised, the hopeless and offered them love, relationship, presence, identity, hope – in short, they offered them Jesus Christ.  Those acts of love transformed their communities and the world.  Their works, their deeds, proved the real change that salvation by faith through Jesus Christ brought about in their lives.  We might grieve the loss of cultural influence we’re experiencing in our time, but it is also an opportunity to get back to the roots of our faith and do something to love others in Jesus’ name in order to share the hope and life that can only be found through Him.
 
As we head through the ‘dog days of summer,’ look for opportunities to love and serve others.  It doesn’t always have to be something big.  Sometimes the greatest act of love we can do for someone else is to give them a glass of cold water on a hot summer day. 
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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