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 – 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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Now I See – A Spring 2019 Sermon Series

Throughout his Gospel, John is constantly bringing forward a contrast between light and darkness, belief and unbelief, and sight and blindness. Sometimes John talks about these themes individually (such as John 1:5). Often, these three contrasts are brought together (take, for example, John 3:16-21). In John 9, he weaves these contrasting themes together into one of the most compelling stories in in his Gospel and in Scripture.
 
Over the course of the season of Easter (which runs from Easter Sunday through Pentecost), we’ll be exploring the richness of the story of the man born blind. In this story, John contrasts a man who was born physically blind yet could see better than anyone else with people who could physically see but were actually blind. Along the way, we’ll explore why bad things happen, how to find healing in Jesus, the power of a changed life, the importance of the sabbath, family matters, how to defend your faith, and what it really means to believe and see.
 
The story is only one chapter in John’s Gospel, yet could almost be a book unto itself. We invite you to join us as we discover that, because of Jesus, we once were blind, but now we see. We look forward to seeing you in worship, Sundays at 11am.

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Hymn Sing & Ice Cream Sundaes! – Wednesday, August 15, 6pm

join us for a time to sing our favorite hymns and be introduced to some new praise songs.  Afterwards, we’ll enjoy ice cream sundaes together.  Few things bring us together as well as singing praises to our God and eating ice cream!  We look forward to seeing you there.

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Pastor’s Corner – June 2018

“Ordinary” Time

Beginning the day after Pentecost, the church calendar begins it’s longest season of the year: Ordinary Time. After the past six months of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter; and given that it coincides with the beginning of summer; it can be easy to think of “Ordinary Time” as “vacation time,” or “back to our regularly scheduled lives time.” But that would actually miss the opportunity that Ordinary Time gives to us, a gift the Early Church recognized in making this the longest season of the year.
 
Philip Reinders writes, “With all the big holidays and celebrations over, Ordinary Time offers us the space to find our place in God’s story. We’ve celebrated and taken in the momentous life of Jesus; now we need a long stretch of days to absorb and assimilate it. In Ordinary Time, we fully take in the gospel, allowing it to take shape in our daily living, making connections between Jesus’ story and our lives.” (Seeking God’s Face, pg 431)
 
To that end, we begin this season with a brief look at the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is a masterful book that, at first glance, can seem like a pessimistic pile of skepticism and futility. But in reality, it provides an opportunity to wash us clean of our pretensions and false spiritualities that keep us from knowing Jesus as He really is and following Him as closely as He invites us to do. After a 3 week break, we’ll then take a deep dive into a book of the Bible to see how God’s word is as applicable to our lives today as it was when it was written, 2,000 years ago. Speaking of that 3 week break…
 

“Where’d Pastor David go?”

Due to an unusual and unexpected confluence of events, the Session has been kind enough to grant me 3 Sundays off in a row, June 24 – July 8. Over those three weeks, I’ll be heading to the EPC General Assembly meeting in Memphis, celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary with our extended family in North Carolina, and heading back to St. Louis to preside over the wedding of one of the youth from our time ministering there. I’m looking forward to each of these events, but know that I’ll miss worshipping and partnering with you all in mission and ministry over that time as well. While I’m gone, you will be blessed with the opportunity to hear the Word of God expounded by our own Michael Babcock and Bob Mills, as well as Lowell Sykes. With their excellent preaching, you’ll hardly have an opportunity to know that I was gone!
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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Community Service of Prayer and Praise

Sunday Evening, April 22nd at 7 p.m. we are going to have a service of prayer and praise for the Elon Community! Even in the midst of the storm, maybe especially in the midst of the storm, God’s hand has been protecting and loving His people. We want to praise God for our community and praise Him for being with us through it all! We will join with Elon Baptist, Elon Presbyterian and other churches as well as our entire community to give thanks to God for His great faithfulness and for each other. Area pastors will help lead the service.  The service will be held at Elon Baptist Church, 145 Younger Drive, Madison Heights, VA 24572 (Next to Elon Elementary School – click here for map and directions).
 
Please note that Youth Group/Confirmation Class will meet from 5:00-6:30PM this Sunday.

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Pastor’s Corner – April 2018

Easter is HERE!

The forty days of spiritual house-cleaning has come to a glorious conclusion! Springtime for our souls, and in our lives, has finally arrived! All that kept us from God – our sinfulness, our insecurities, our doubts and so much more – has been swept away through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The wonder of this is more than can be comprehended in a day, and so with Easter Sunday we also begin the fifty day season of Easter. “The Easter season is a time to let the implications of the resurrection sink in deeper, inviting us to realign our worldview and conform our living to the reality that we have been raised with Christ to new life” (Philip Reinders, Seeking God’s Face pg 329).

The Centrality of the Atonement

But that is the crux of our modern struggle – realigning our worldview and conforming our lives to the reality of new life in Christ through his sacrifice on the cross. In short, we struggle to believe and accept the doctrine of the Atonement – so much so that many Christians have rejected it outright. But as Emil Brunner once wrote, the atonement “is the Christian religion itself; it is the main point; it is not something alongside of the center, it is the substance and kernel, not the husk.” To that end, on Sunday mornings through the season of Easter, we will seek to explore and unpack the wonder and glory of the atonement in order to “realign our worldview and conform our living” to our new life in Christ.

Tiptoeing Through the TULIPs

 
As Presbyterians, we are a part of a “stream” of Christianity known as Reformed Theology, which is itself heavily inspired by the writings and teachings of John Calvin. If you want to kill the mood at a party, just casually mention you’re a “Calvinist.” Most people view Calvin and the theology named after him with something of a stuffy, negative intellectual light. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Calvin and his theology is very passionate and full of life and Spirit, as evidenced by his logo and slogan, pictured at right. We hope you’ll consider joining us for Table Talk on Wednesday evenings beginning at 5:30 on April 11 as we “tiptoe through the TULIPs” and see just what Calvin taught and what it means for us today.
 

 

 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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LENTEN SERVICES Begin Feb. 14, Ash Wednesday

During Lent, we share services with other church neighbors for a time of community worship.  Services begin at 12 Noon and at about 12:30, lunch is served by the host church.  To help defray expenses, a donation for lunch is appreciated.

The offering taken at each service is in support of The Helping Hands Ministry of this part of Amherst County. The Helping Hands is administered through Madison Heights Baptist Church and assists our neighbors in need.

SCHEDULE

Feb 14 Union Christian Church                    

Feb 21  Elon Baptist Church                        

Feb 28  Monroe United Methodist

March 7 Elon Presbyterian

March 14 First Baptist Church-Monroe

Mar 21      NORTHMINSTER EPC         

 (No Lenten Service during Holy Week)

 Mar 25-Palm Sunday        April 1-EASTER


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Christmas Decorating – December 2

It’s that exciting time of year when we dress up our homes for Christmas. And, we also delight in being able to dress up God’s house, too. We would love for you to join us Saturday, December 2, from 9am – noon (or whenever during that time you are available), as we put up beautiful trees, candles, wreaths, banners, and more! Morning snacks and a light lunch will hopefully make things even more enjoyable! Hope to see you there!

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