Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The air I breathe…

I love hyperboles.  They’re the best things in existence.  But it isn’t hyperbole to suggest this month will be my most transforming ever.  I’ll be married on the 26th.  I will change my surname to Isner.  It is possible the Denver Nuggets (my childhood basketball heroes) will win the NBA Championship.  If that happens, Hell might freeze over.  Hold on tight; we’ve got an adventurous ride ahead!

And, of course, this will be my first MN summer, and our first together as pastor and church.  Some churches think summers are too slow.  Families spend weekends at lakeside cabins or on Carolina beaches.  Maybe you’ve planned a Mission Trip, and are committing some of time to help people in need.  If so, go with our blessing, and strong encouragement.  With all that happens during summer, we may miss one another occasionally.  I’ll be gone for three of June’s four Sundays.  On the seventh, I’m conducting a dear friend’s wedding in Idaho.  The next week, my almost-wife graduates and gets ordained.  June 21st (please mark your calendars), we will hold a congregational meeting to vote on next year’s budget and a new slate of congregational leaders.  And then, five days later, I get married in Chicago and go honeymooning in Panama (not a bad way to start the adventure of marriage!).  I will miss my Sunday mornings at our cozy corner on Vicksburg Lane, but we will stay connected, regardless of where the summer winds blow.  That’s part of the deep truth that Christian faith teaches.

Don’t, however, come to think that with all that going on, we’re taking the summer off as a church.  For starters, we’ve lined up some wonderful guest ministers to preach the Sundays I’m gone.  Because variety is the spice of life, I’m sure you’ll be richly nourished and moved by these diverse and creative voices.  There’s the Unbinding the Gospel process, which you will notice elsewhere in this Creeksider we’re undertaking with a different approach and renewed focus.  The Adopt-a-Room program that began last January is nearing completion, but there’s still work to do.  Please take some time this month to thank Donna Jarvi for her strong and consistent leadership in this regard, and while you’re at it, offer to help her finish strong by painting a room or cleaning a closet some Saturday in June.

      And, of course, we have an annual theme, “A Table Before Me: God’s Open-Armed Adventure,” which continues, and will take new form this summer.  Specifically, I want summer 2009 at Plymouth Creek to be a season of preparation.  Because come fall, a new adventure will begin: Community Outreach and Hospitality to Families.  That’s right, there’s a goal before us.  This adventure includes both stuff we’ve long cared about, as well as a shift in perspective that will focus our church mission in clearer, more life-giving ways.  As the summer unfolds, you will learn more about programming ideas that will occur this fall.  These will include reoccurring ‘community invite events’ (low-cost, family-oriented fun), deeper engagement with the places and people in our neighborhood in need of compassion and a community that cares, as well as a Fall Adventure in Mission that will be big, risky and maybe a bit uncomfortable.  But we will be bold in showing our neighborhood that their lives and families matter to us, and that we want to use our gifts to love our neighbors (and help them serve one another).

       Doing this well will take effort, and good effort, of course, requires careful preparation.  So you’ll hear me say more as the summer progresses, from the pulpit, in newsletters, during classes, when we gather for training events.  And I will look forward to the insights and leadership you will share, since Plymouth Creek works best when we’re all empowered to add our unique voices to a common effort.  To everything there is a season, Scripture claims, and summer is a great season to breathe deeply.  Or to spin it differently, a perfect chance to prepare.  For the adventure continues, and I’m overjoyed to share that with you.  In all things, 

Grace and Peace,


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