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 9:00, and the worship service is at 10:30am. We look forward to seeing you! 

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The Latest from our blogs…

August 2023 Pastor’s Corner — Faith & Prayer

 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” — Matt. 17:19–20

And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” — Mark 9:28–29

Sometimes you come across something in the Bible that seems small and innocuous at first, but over time you realize what you thought was little is actually a lot bigger.  Jesus is really good at doing that when he is teaching us things.  In this case, the little thing I came across was a small difference in how Matthew and Mark relate the healing of an epileptic, demon-possessed boy.  This scene takes places immediately after the transfiguration of Jesus.  The disciples were not able to cast the demon out, and the Pharisees mocked them for it.  Jesus, of course, was able.  After Jesus and the disciples entered the privacy of the house they were staying in, they asked Jesus why they weren’t able to drive the demon out.  That’s where the difference in the stories comes in, as well as the revelation the Holy Spirit impressed upon me.

As you can see above, Jesus gives a different answer in Matthew compared to Mark.  But it’s not actually a different answer, and that’s the part that’s stuck with me for the past few days.  What did the disciples need to drive the demon out, more faith or more prayer?  Yes.  You see, faith and prayer are intrinsically linked together.  As William Hendriksen writes, “Where there is little faith, there is little prayer. Conversely, where there is an abundance of genuine, persevering faith, there is also fervent, unrelenting prayer.”  When our faith lags, our trust in God erodes.  If we aren’t trusting in God, then why would we pray, for is not prayer itself an act and expression of trust?  The more deeply I trust in God, the stronger my faith will be, the more constant will then be my prayers. 

It is hard, sometimes, to know how our walk with the Lord is going. If someone were to ask you, “how strong is your faith today?” how would you know what to say? It’s such a subjective question.  We can often think our faith in God is strong, when we aren’t actually trusting in Him very much at all.  However, being asked, “how is your prayer life going?” is much more concrete and objective.  As the Holy Spirit has needled at me about this, I’ve come to see a strong and direct correlation between my prayer life and my trust in God.  I encourage you to look at your prayer life as well.  Are you trusting in the Lord as much as you say or think you are?  Does your prayer life reflect that trust and faith?  There’s no time like right now to pray! 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. — 1 Th. 5:16–19


Rev. David Garrison


Upcoming Sunday Morning Schedule Change


Beginning Sunday, August 27

Sunday School moves to 9:00 AM

Worship moves to 10:30 AM

Beginning on Sunday, August 27, we are changing the Sunday morning schedule. Sunday School will now start at 9 AM, and the worship service will start at 10:30AM. We believe this will enable us to be more effective in our discipleship, fellowship and worship.

Discipleship: With a Sunday school time of 9-10am, we are able to provide a full, unhurried hour of discipling opportunities. While we currently schedule an hour of Sunday school each week, practically speaking it’s usually 30-40 minutes. By spreading out the end of Sunday school and the beginning of the worship service, we will be able to focus more fully on our study and application of the Word of God to our lives.

Fellowship: With a “break” in the schedule from 10-10:30, we are able to offer a time of “purposefully unstructured” fellowship to the congregation. This provides time for those who attended Sunday school and those who are arriving for worship to visit together prior to the start of the worship service. This is separate from the regular fellowship receptions we offer, since with the earlier start time for worship, there will be ample opportunity for the receptions after the service without feeling like we need to dash off to lunch.

Worship: One of the challenges we face every Sunday is the transition from Sunday school to worship.Many of those attending Sunday school are also involved in leading the service, and often the transition is rushed and harried.By starting the service at 10:30, those who need to prepare for worship are able to do so without missing out on Sunday School and without feeling rushed. This also provides a better opportunity for us to be fully present in worship, knowing that the service will end earlier, leaving us with the sense that most of the day is still available to them.The service itself will also feel less harried as a result.

Sometimes when we settle into a routine, it becomes comfortable. This change provides us with an opportunity to think intentionally about the rhythms of how they seek to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). There are a lot of things in our lives that “compete” with Sundays — such as chores, sports, family gatherings, and the always important Sunday nap. Nevertheless, Sunday is meant to be given to the Lord and to worshipping Him first and foremost. Please let us know if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you at 10:30am for worship on August 27!


July 2023 Pastor’s Corner – Priceless

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

— Matt. 13:44–46

Much like a pearl inside an oyster, sometimes the greatest and most profound truths come in the pithiest of sayings.  These two sayings of Jesus are definitely fantastic examples of that.  They are very simple parables that are easy to grasp and understand.  And yet, just like the point they are making, there is so much more within once we slow down and enter the story.

Imagine yourself as the man or the merchant.  Smell the soil of the field or the salty water where the oysters are.  Visualize coming across the treasure in the field — did you have to dig to find it, or was it poking out of the ground?  What was it about the pearl that caught your eye as it sat under the water?  What could possibly be found in that treasure, how large must that pearl have been, to motivate you to (don’t miss this) sell everything you have in order to purchase the field or the treasure? Not just doing that, but doing it with great joy and excitement?  Take a moment more — when was the last time you felt that kind of joy about, well, anything?  Honestly, this is a ridiculous story, almost ludicrous.  No one in their right mind would actually do anything like that, right? Which is exactly the point, but not the entire point.

Now consider what Jesus says is the treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great value.  Jesus is talking about the kingdom of Heaven.  Often, we think the treasure being spoken of is salvation, which it is.  But it’s also so much more.  The treasure that’s worth more than anything else in our lives is more than just accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, it’s embracing the way of life that Jesus introduced to us and the world.  Walking in the way of Jesus — loving God with all our being (Matt. 22:37-38), loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39), loving even our enemies and praying for those who persecute us (Matt 5:43-48), living a life of Christ-like service to the rejected and hurting (James 1:27), resting in the grace of Christ (Matt 11:28-30) — that is the treasure beyond all value.  That is worth more than all of our earthly possessions or dreams.

The apostles and countless saints throughout the centuries have experienced the truth of these parables.  Paul experienced this so viscerally he proclaims, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.   For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Phil. 3:8)  Most of us, though, are scared off by that idea.  As Brennan Manning once said, “We want to draw close enough to the blazing inferno of the love of God that we stay warm, but not so close that we might get burned.”  It makes you wonder if we’re missing something, doesn’t it?

As we continue through this summer, be intentional in reflecting on your walk with the Lord.  Have you found your relationship with Jesus to be a treasure worth selling everything you have to gain?  What is holding you back from knowing Jesus so well that everything else becomes “rubbish”?  How would it actually feel to let yourself be burned by the blazing inferno of the love of God?  There’s more to this life than just living and dying, waking and sleeping.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross so you could merely be forgiven of your sins and receive the promise of eternal life, He meant for you to have more and better life than you’ve ever dreamed of (John 10:10), and that life is best found and pursued together (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 

— Psa. 51:12


Rev. David Garrison


June 2023 Pastor’s Corner – Always Only Jesus

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. — Hebrews 1:1–4

I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about faith and spirituality.  He was sharing with me the story of his own faith journey and how he’d come to believe in the divine spirit, that sense of love, peace and acceptance that is so essential to human existence.  It was an impersonal spirit that accepts no matter who we are, loves no matter what we’ve done, is always present no matter how far we run.  It was an interesting conversation because it was so full of half truths, while missing some of the most important truths of all.  It’s actually kind of marvelous, because you get all the benefits of a personal relationship with God, without any of the pesky things that come along with a God that is actually intimately, personally present in our lives and actually expects anything of us.

We live in a time where “spirituality” is perhaps more important to people now than ever before.  It’s a somewhat unexpected development, given modernity’s efforts to eradicate the spiritual from all areas of life.  Where many feared what postmodernism might do to matters of faith, it turns out that the door has been opened in many unexpected ways.  The door hasn’t just been opened, it’s actually been flung wide, so that it’s almost an “anything goes” spirituality.  When people talk about their faith and spiritual journey, like my friend above, it’s almost always a belief in a non-specific, impersonal “deity” that only loves and never rebukes, always accepts and never holds accountable.  If we’re honest, many of us have allowed these kinds of ideas to get woven into the fabric of our faith as well.  While we say it’s “always only Jesus,” in practice our faith is a lot of “Jesus and…”

That’s why the Letter to the Hebrews was written.  As Eugene Peterson writes, 

In the letter, it is Jesus and angels, or Jesus and Moses, or Jesus and priesthood.  In our time it is more likely to be Jesus and politics, or Jesus and education, or even Jesus and Buddha.  This letter deletes the hyphens, the add-ons.  The focus becomes clear and sharp again.  God’s action in Jesus.  And we are free once more for the acts of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way.

This summer, we’re going to get back to Always Only Jesus, with the book of Hebrews as our guide.  We’ve all added on to our faith, probably without even realizing it.  Let’s shed the extra baggage and get back to living the free and light life of faith Jesus died to bring us.  We look forward to worshipping with you.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

— Hebrews 13:20-21


Rev. David Garrison


May 2023 Pastor’s Corner — The Valley of Death

 Even though I walk through the valley
      of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

— Psalm 23:4

The last week of April was bookended with memorial services.  I officiated a funeral on Monday, and attended my uncle’s memorial service on Saturday.  Not surprisingly, I’ve been thinking about “the valley of the shadow of death” quite a bit.  Pictured to the right is the Wadi Qelt on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, which is likely the inspiration for the Psalm.  Notice the depth of the gorge and the dark shadows toward the bottom.  It is a visceral experience of “the valley of the shadow of death.”

Often we think of “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” during seasons of grief and loss, such as when a family member or dear friend passes away.  That is certainly a time when we are in that valley.  In addition to the inevitable sadness, the loss of a loved one is a reminder of our own mortality.  As Psalm 103 declares, “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” (Psa. 103:15–16)  Knowing that God is present with us in our grief, actively and proactively comforting us, is a great assurance during these seasons.

There’s more to the valley of the shadow of death.  As many of you know, my uncle took his own life a month ago.  For many, including my uncle, to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” is to wrestle through seasons of depression and sorrow, where the shadow of death whispers our fears of inadequacy, unworthiness, failures, and brokenness.  It offers seemingly sweet promises of relief and peace, the tender lie that one’s family and friends would be better off without you.  When we are in this valley, it feels as if the darkness of the shadow of death is our only friend; all we can see and hear are our fears.  But the Psalm reminds us that even in this valley we are not alone in the shadows.  Even when the whispers of the shadow of death speak louder than anything else, we are not alone; we need not be afraid because God is with us.

Of course sometimes the valley of the shadow of death comes during seasons of trial and tribulation, when it feels like every one and every thing is attacking us.  In Psalm 18, David says, “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me.” (Psa. 18:3–4)  The shepherd uses his rod and staff not just to guide the sheep along safe paths, but also to beat off wild animals that attack the flock.  Even then, God is present with us, protecting us from that which would bring us harm, saving us from our enemies.

The thing, though, is that God’s presence with us in “the shadow of the valley of death” does not necessarily mean that we won’t die while in the valley.  That might not seem like much comfort, but that’s only because our faith is so small.  We forget where we started, that our bodies are mortal and temporary things.  What’s ultimately at stake isn’t our physical bodies, but our eternal souls.  God will be present with us, up to and beyond the point of our physical death.  This should not fill us with fear or dread either, because of what we talked about last month.  Since Christ has been raised from the dead, the power of death is broken.  We can rest assured that we too shall be raised with Christ! After we shed our mortal coil, we will then see God face-to-face and He shall wipe every tear from our eye.  Death does not, and can not, have the final victory.  Praise be to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

— 1 Peter 1:3–5


Rev. David Garrison