Pastor’s Blog (Page 3)

Pastor’s Blog (Page 3)

April 2, 2020 | Coronavirus Update

Dear Friends,  Governor Northam recently extended the coronavirus shutdown in Virginia to June 10.  Out of respect for our government authorities, and to safeguard public health, we will continue streaming our services, and will not hold large group gatherings, until this order has expired.  Please continue to participate in online worship, take advantage of small group opportunities via Zoom, and generally exercise your creativity to stay connected to each other during this season of diminished contact.  Let’s remain confident that…

March 19, 2020 | Coronavirus Update

Dear church family, We trust the Lord is sustaining you through the many challenges of the coronavirus response.  This note comes to update you on how Grace Church is adapting to the ongoing shutdown.  We want you to know our plans and assumptions so that you can also plan accordingly.  Church services and activities:  We will generally follow the guidance of state and federal officials regarding the shutdown, while monitoring the situation in order to resume normal activities as soon…

May 14, 2020 | Pastoral Thoughts on Contentment

Dear friends, When I was young, I remember seeing a poster of a person dunking a basketball. Philippians 4:13 was written underneath – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But that picture only captured one aspect of this verse. The picture could just as easily show someone getting his shot blocked instead. Jesus strengthens us to be content not only in success but also in trials. Consider the full context of Philippians 4:11-13: “…I have learned…

March 13, 2020 | Coronavirus Update

Dear Friends, The onset of the coronavirus has made it necessary for Grace Church and many other organizations to decide on a response.  Based on guidance from the administration of President Trump and also at the urging of Governor Northam, we will scale back our large group gatherings in the near future.  This includes not holding regular, on-site Sunday activities at least on March 15, and not holding any other kind of large group gathering at all from now into…

May 7, 2020 | Pastoral Thoughts on God’s Plans for Us

Dear friends, Since mid-March I’ve had many of my plans interrupted. Some of this has been quite disappointing. Among other changes, we had to cancel a family trip to Luray Caverns I was looking forward to. I know I’m not alone. Field trips, graduation ceremonies, weddings, vacations, and many things we were looking forward to have been canceled or postponed. A giant question mark, if not a big red X, has been stamped over our summer plans. How should we…

April 30, 2020 | Pastoral Thoughts: The Importance of Sharing Our Lives

Dear church family, “Look out the window!”  I said this to Kelli the other day when I spotted a pileated woodpecker on the bird feeder.  (Here is Kelli’s photo.)  When we experience something remarkable, we like to share it with others – whether a beautiful bird or a funny video.  Somehow sharing it makes it more meaningful.  Whatever we admire, laugh about, or stew over – it feels undigested unless we tell somebody. Our urge to experience events in the…

April 23, 2020 | Pastoral Thoughts on What We’re Personally Learning in Month Two

Dear church family, Marks on the walls really stand out when you start moving furniture.  Maybe you have noticed this when rearranging rooms as part of shutdown adjustments at home.  The scratches and smudges outlining the former position of a couch or desk may take us by surprise.  Suddenly the wall seems to beg for washing if not repainting.   What we thought would be a blank space turned out to be a dirty space. So it is with our…

April 15, 2020 | Pastoral Thoughts on God’s Grace for Tired People

Dear Friends, Some shakiness and weakness showed up in my right hand the other day.  Immediately I began to think of diseases that might be the cause. Then I remembered that earlier I had been doing yard work involving repetitive motion with my right hand (using clippers, I think).  With relief, I pegged the shakiness to an ordinary case of muscle fatigue. Once I understood the cause, I could smile at myself and carry on.  At this moment, most of…

April 8, 2020 | Pastoral Thoughts on Trouble’s Limits

Dear Friends, What’s the horizon of this shutdown?  It seems to keep expanding – two weeks, a month, two months, three months.  We have tried to stay positive –as we should! – about how God is working, what we are learning, and how we can serve others.  But now we plod into week three (or is it four?).  The cumulative strain of missed opportunities, contracted lives, financial hardships, and maybe illness among loved ones weighs on us.  We wish we…

April 1, 2020 | Pastoral Note about Losing and Winning

Dear Friends, Learning to lose gracefully is one of our earliest and hardest lessons.  As kids, when we lost at Sorry! or Chutes and Ladders, we may have wanted to flip the board in a rage.  Maybe sometimes we did!  Growing a little older, we had to learn to say “good game” to sports teams that beat us.  And as we have matured as Christians, we have grappled with what Paul said – “I know how to be brought low,…