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 2018

What’s in a logo?

 
Now that our logo is prominently displayed on the front of the church, I’ve found myself thinking about it every day as I arrive. A good logo is simple and evocative, easy to recognize and remember, but bringing to mind multiple layers of images and meanings as you study it. Our logo accomplishes both of these things very well.
 

In the Beginning was the Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. — John 1:1–4
The first thing your eye catches is the open Bible, at the bottom of the image. Visually we are reminded that the Word of God is our beginning and our foundation. All of what we believe and know is grounded in and flows out of the Bible. But a closed book doesn’t do any good. It needs to be opened and read in order for the words within to bring life and light. And of course, as the passage from John implies, the image of the Bible in the logo points to the Word of God, and that Word of God is Jesus Christ. But these aren’t just old, stagnant, dead words, Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that the Word of God is “living and active.” What is it that keeps the Word of God alive today?
 

The Spirit Gives Life

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. — John 6:63
The eye naturally moves upward from the open Bible and sees the dove, with wings spread, rising out of the center. The dove has long been a visual representation of the Holy Spirit (see Luke 3:21-22), and as it prepares to take flight it gives the image of being alive and free. Being centered in the Word, the dove also reminds us that the Spirit is the seal of our salvation and our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). And as the Spirit fills the Word, so also it fills us. The Holy Spirit gives life to believers and empowers us to take the Word of God into the world through our actions and our words.
 
May God bless each of us as we seek to be a community of faith that are “hearers and doers” of the Word (James 1:22) and “strengthened with power through his Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16) to serve others in Christ’s name!
 
Blessings, Rev. David Garrison

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Pastor’s Corner – September 2018

For [the sacraments] are visible signs and seals of an inward and invisible thing, by means whereof God worketh in us by the power of the Holy Ghost.
– Belgic Confession Article 33
 

A New Sign…

Have you noticed there’s a new sign on the front of the church? It’s kind of hard to miss. Read more…

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Pastor’s Corner – August 2018

One Year Ago…

Do you remember a year ago?  You were wondering just what this new pastor you’d called would be like; and we were wondering about this new congregation and community we’d been called to serve.  There were so many unknowns and questions for us all.  But just behind all of that uncertainty was our God, who holds all of us in His hands, who knows the future as certainly as the past.  God has shown all of us that He knows exactly what He is doing.  Without a doubt, it has been a wonderful year.  One of the things I enjoyed most at the EPC General Assembly in June was being able to brag about the wonderful congregation I’ve been blessed to serve as pastor for the past year.  As I told several friends and mentors, I couldn’t imagine a better congregation to serve for my first solo pastorate. It’s hard to find the words to express how thankful I am for how you’ve welcomed and loved my family over the past year.   The picture to the right was taken the day we moved into our new home.

…But There’s More To Come!

As great as the past year has been, I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for the year(s!) to come.  The various ministries of the church and the Session are hard at work prayerfully discerning how God is already at work in and around us, and how He is inviting us to join Him in that work.  Plans are being laid for some pretty cool things in Christian Education, Missions & Outreach, Worship and Fellowship over the months to come.  The best part is that you get a sneak peek at what’s ahead on Rally Day, coming up Sunday, August 26.  How is God inviting you to continue growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ and what opportunities is He providing for you to serve as Jesus’ hands and feet?  Plan to join us for Rally Day and you just might find out.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Blessings,

Rev. David Garrison


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Ways to Help With Tornado Cleanup

There are several ways to provide assistance and aid to those impacted by the tornado in Lynchburg and Elon.
 
If you would like to volunteer, please to go www.amherststrong.com.  Volunteers must be 16 years or older, and will have to sign a liability waiver.
 
Amherst County Chamber of Commerce is accepting disaster relief donations for individuals and families affected by the tornado.  You can find a list of what to donate and where to take it here: http://www.facebook.com/AmherstVAChamber/posts/10156431846504470.
 
Gleaning for the World is also actively involved in bringing aid to those affected.  If you would like to donate to Gleaning, please see the following link: https://gftw.org/central-va-tornado/.
 
We will update this post as more opportunities become available.
 
Thank you for caring and supporting our community!

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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!
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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