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From the Pastor's Pen — 2009 Archive
 




Bob

 Bob Kerr

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January 2009: "Christmas — Prelude to a New Beginning"

Dear Friends in Christ,

It was an absolutely wonderful experience! Linda and I had been invited by friends to attend the Gaither Family Christmas Gathering in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago, and it was such a blessing to us. We consider the Gaithers to be the premier Christian song writers of our generation and love performing their songs in many of the programs we present. "Something Beautiful" and "Because He Lives" are in our United Methodist Hymnal, a testimony to how deeply their music has touched the lives of believers today. And singing Christmas Carols with them and the thousands of other believers in attendance was a joy!

As I write this column, I'm preparing for our own special Christmas Eve Service tonight, where again we'll be singing the songs that celebrate this wondrous intervention in human history, sharing in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, which emphasizes the reason for this miraculous birth, and how I'm looking forward to looking out over a sea of candles raised high above our heads as we sing "Silent Night" together.

I think it's a beautiful way to prepare for the coming New Year. Jesus is born in Bethlehem as the beginning of God's new covenant in love for all who receive him as Savior and Lord. And as we stand on the threshold of the New Year, it's good to have been reminded that God so loved the world (that means each and every one of us) that he sent His only son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That means God is for us, God loves us, God is with us ("Emmanuel"), and God provides the means we need to find Abundance in Joy in life.

As we begin this New Year, let us face the future together, bound together in Christian love by His Spirit. And as we face the uncertainties that are out there, let us remember the words of Scripture that the Lord will "neither leave us nor forsake us." How beautifully God underscored the truth of that when Jesus came to dwell among us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! We have His living presence and we have each other in the Body of Christ.

Linda and I want to express our deepest appreciation for the love, the cards, the gifts, and the many kindnesses you have extended to us during this holiday season — and all year through. It continues to be a blessing for us to have the opportunity to be part of the Rehobeth Church family. We wish each of you a Happy New Year!

Yours in the Love of Christ,

Bob

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February 2009: "A Lesson from a Poor Boy in Nigeria"

Dear Friends in Christ,

February is upon us, and I find myself wondering where January went! We've had our Leadership Orientation, our ministry teams (committees) are gearing up to meet and set their agendas for the year, and we've just finished our financial brochure and will be mailing it out within the week. So to some degree, January has been a month to pray, organize, roll up our shirtsleeves, and get ready to find ways to more effectively "follow Jesus, make disciples, and transform the world."

Some of you may remember my referring to my friend from Nigeria, Israel Ola Oyatunde, shortly after Linda and I moved here to Rehobeth. As we start to get busy, a part of his story can be helpful to us.

When Israel was a young boy in Nigeria he lived in a village with his widowed mother and several siblings. One day, she gathered the children together and told them there would not be enough money to pay for them to go to school to get an education. All of them were going to have to get jobs and pool their money and pay for one among them to receive an education. Israel was a second generation Christian, his parents having been led to Christ by missionaries, and he had a burning desire to read what was in "The Book" for himself. But without an education, all seemed lost. So after he finished working his day job like his siblings, he went into the fields and set traps to catch small animals to sell in the market, and then kept those pennies aside to one day pay for his education.

When his cache was discovered by his siblings, they beat him up, took his money, and put it with the other money they were earning.  That did not deter Israel.  He kept with his plan, and after having endured several beatings and repeated loss of money, his mother finally told the other children that Israel was doing his part, like the rest of them, and that he could keep his extra pennies.  The day came when Israel was finally able to pay to start school.  He started in the first grade at age 15!

Always at the top of his class, he studied and read voraciously, and finally made his way to the United States to attend Greensboro College.  It was my privilege to attend the graduation ceremony and watch him walk across the stage to receive his diploma in Business Administration.  Why that field?  Because back home, he wanted to lead people to Jesus Christ, and lay people with business degrees talking about Jesus were viewed more credible than trained religious people talking about Jesus, and he wanted to be as effective as possible.

Israel believed "Whatever you conceive in your mind, believe with all your heart, and surrender to the Lord, He will accomplish."  That's his way of quoting Paul, who said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Let that be your guiding principle as we move on into this new year, and I have no doubt, God will bless us all.

Yours in the Love of Christ,

Bob

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March 2009: "Continuing the Ministry of Jesus"

Dear Friends in Christ,

Since our celebration of the birth of Jesus this past Christmas, we've been journeying with him toward Jerusalem, sharing the stories about encounters he had with so many different people along the way. And as we share that journey with him, we find that Jesus always did one of four things: He healed the sick, he fed the hungry, he withdrew for prayer, and he proclaimed the kingdom. During Lent (the forty days prior to Easter) I'd like to invite you to consider how important it is for each of us to continue that ministry.

Healing Ministries

We pray for those who are sick and we stand by their side. We wait with the family for the surgeon to bring a report to them regarding their loved one; we are intentional about finding ways to minister to them in accord with their needs. We visit with them in their homes. Our need for healing is not always physical, so we provide Stephen Ministers to stand along side of those who are having greater difficulty finding healing and wholeness in their lives, especially when tragedy strikes. Our parish nurses have just put together a new post-hospitalization ministry as well. We offer pastoral counsel for those who need healing in relationships as well. Our ministries of healing are an extension of the healing ministry of Jesus.

Feeding the Hungry

When I get the report that the Rehobeth people have contributed nearly 500 pounds of food stuffs at one time to the Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, or that many of our folks have participated in the "Backpacks for Kids" program, I am so thankful that at the heart of this congregation is a desire to continue that part of Jesus' ministry as well.

Withdrawing for Prayer

There were significant times when Jesus withdrew from the crowds and his disciples for times of prayer and reflection. How important it is for us to do that as well. Prayer is the most underused gift God has given us, yet it has tremendously transforming power! How thankful I am that in our worship services we are intentional about praying for the needs of others. It is important during Lent, however, for us to take to heart the importance of spending personal time alone in prayer with God. Every time Jesus did, he came back into the midst of crowds empowered afresh with the Spirit of God! Personal prayer, reflection, devotion can have the same effect on us.

Proclaiming the Kingdom

How many ways are available for us to continue this part of Jesus' ministry as well! In music--our praise team at early service, our Chancel and children and youth choirs and handbells at the later service — all proclaim the kingdom in songs of praise! We preach the word, we study the Bible, we share with others the good news of God's love in so many ways. And of course the chief way we proclaim the kingdom is through love. Jesus said that "by this all will know you are my disciples, by the love you have one for another."

So during this season of Lent, as we continue our Journey with Jesus toward Jerusalem, let me invite you to reflect on the ways you personally participate in His ongoing ministry in the world. Any may God continue to bless you with Grace and Peace.

Yours in the Love of Christ and the Church,

Bob

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April 2009: "Mysteries and Miracles"

Dear Friends in Christ,

The season of Lent is a time of reflection and personal preparation for our observance of Holy Week and the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. During this season we've shared a Bible Study journey entitled "The Passion and the People: The Last Weeks in Jesus' Life," and I've thoroughly enjoyed our discussions as we explored together the profound mysteries and miracles surrounding Jesus' ministry of grace, love, and forgiveness.

During Sunday worship, both in the music the choir has presented and in the messages we've shared, we've journeyed along the way as Jesus set his course toward Jerusalem, knowing well what awaited him there. Yet he made the journey. For those who have not yet experienced the depth of God's love and grace, for those who feel the universe should revolve around them, that's a real mystery. Why would anyone willingly expose themselves to such a death as Jesus experienced on the cross? That "mystery" is only understood when we come to recognize the "miracle" of God's steadfast love toward us.

The Psalms are filled with passages that celebrate that steadfast love and that acknowledge God's willingness to forgive the contrite and repentant heart. There is only one thing required to move from "mystery" to "miracle" and that is to open one's heart to accept the free gift of salvation that God has made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Sometimes the gospel that people have heard proclaimed has sounded like "bad news." But the scriptures refer to the message as "good news," and for a reason: God's great desire is not to condemn the world. God's great desire is that grace and forgiveness will redeem us and we will be restored to right relationship with God. Jesus came "that through him the world might be saved."

This month we will share the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday, we'll participate in the Service of Darkness (Tenebrae) on Friday, share in a prayer vigil from the conclusion of that service until Easter Sunrise Service, and then on Easter Sunday we'll gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. We'll move from wondering about the mystery to celebrating the miracle of such a love!s

I pray that you will be blessed abundantly this Easter Season with the assurance of God's love and grace.

Yours in the Love of Christ and the Church,

Bob

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May 2009: "Crossing Over the Threshold"

Dear Friends in Christ,

It's a wonderful image, isn't it? A young couple, newly married, standing at the threshold of their first home, and he picks her up and carries her across, and that ushers in their new life together. In much the same way, through the Resurrection, Jesus carries his bride, the church, across the threshold of death and into a new life, empowered by the Spirit, and commissioned to share the good news of salvation with all the world. So today a full third of earth's population claims the name "Christian," and the telling of the story goes on!

There are other "thresholds" we cross all through life. A new baby is born into a young family's life, and their whole world changes dramatically. (Stacy Ballard was so-o-o pleased recently to be able to say that her new baby, Eastyn, had actually slept an entire night!) The first day of kindergarten is a real threshold too, one that is sometimes difficult for a child — or a parent. Soon our young people will be graduating from high school and college and will step across another threshold. As time goes on, retirement nears and another threshold appears on the horizon. And so it goes, all our life long.

Even in the life of the church we find ourselves confronted with thresholds inviting us to cross. A new mission vision, a realization of change, an exciting new opportunity, pastoral transition (no, Linda and I are not going anywhere), a great challenge thrust upon the church; all of these things present us with an opportunity to cross a threshold into a new and exciting experience in faith and life.

I've been pondering such a threshold for us here at Rehobeth over these past few weeks. We are of course going to be embracing the Natural Church Development process, and I'm excited about that and will be sharing more about it with you in worship soon. But in addition to that, I am convinced that we are standing on a threshold between being a "pastoral" church and "program" church. The difference? Growth. To date the focus of my ministry among you has largely been pastoral — preaching, visitation, encouragement, healing, comfort, counseling, administering sacraments, performing weddings, and officiating at memorial services. But as we have grown, so have the needs in the congregation for additional nurturing ministries. So in these next few months, I will be meeting with our various committees to address this threshold and to encourage the implementation of some new opportunities for nurture, outreach, witness, missions, and ministries. I suspect our Natural Church Development process will be an important component in all of this as well. Now, please change the threshold image in your mind a bit. I'm not planning to carry you across the threshold … You are too many and I am just a little guy! But I will be inviting you to step across it with me, and together, we will taste the goodness of the Lord on the other side!

Yours in the Love of Christ and the Church,

Bob

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June 2009: "From Many We Are One"

Dear Friends in Christ,

What a wonderful privilege I count it that Linda and I have the opportunity to begin a fourth year among the people of Rehobeth United Methodist Church! It hardly seems possible that three years have already flown by. It has been said "Time flies when you're having fun," and I'll say without reservation, it has been a joyful experience for us to be here with you. Thank you for all your encouragement, your prayers, support, and vision.

This past weekend we celebrated Memorial Day, and together we remembered those fallen men and women who have given the "last full measure of devotion" to serving their country in the armed forces. Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, and White — citizens, and not citizens — all believed in a country that in the midst of its diversity continues to find common cause in its dream of freedom and justice for all. I reached in my pocket and took out a handful of change. On a quarter, just above the eagle's head we find the words "E Pluribus Unum," which means "from many we are one." That unity is critical to our being a strong country, and sadly, there are deep divisions in our nation presently, magnified by what we see happening in Congress day to day. The divisiveness and bitter contention we often see there weakens the nation.

In much the same way this motto would fit the church as well. "From many we are one." Paul writes about that in his letters to the church in Corinth:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so it is with Christ … 
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together
. (From I Corinthians 12:12-26)

Annual Conference will be held in a few short weeks, where from across the Western North Carolina Conference representatives of our almost 300,000 members will come together for what Bishop Goodpaster calls "Holy Conferencing." It can happen only when the delegates open themselves to the indwelling presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their deliberations together. So pray for our Bishop, our delegates, and for the unity of our church that this annual conference will bear a powerful witness to our oneness in the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

I pray that God will continue to bless you and your loved ones with Grace and Peace.

Yours in the Love of Christ and the Church,

Bob

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July 2009: "The Deepest Yearnings of the Human Heart"

Dear Friends in Christ,

We all watched as events unfolded in Iran in the aftermath of its much-disputed presidential election recently. We watched as hundreds of thousands of primarily peaceful protesters lined the streets for as far as the eye could see before the State shut down all communication with the outside world. The images of the violent response by the government were galvanized for us all as we watched a young woman named Neda lying in the street, dying of a gunshot wound as friends tried desperately to save her life.

Why would demonstrators risk that same fate and continue to come out in the thousands to demand an investigation into what may have been massive voter fraud and a stolen election? Having lived under a repressive government for years, surely they knew what response would be inevitable should they challenge that authoritarian regime. Yet still they poured into the streets, still they asked for a new election, not because they didn't like the outcome, but because they believe the outcome had been predetermined and their votes did not matter. Something basic had been denied them. They kept coming until the repression became severe, because among the deepest yearnings of the human spirit is the yearning for freedom — freedom to express a different opinion; freedom of speech and assembly; freedom to call government actions into accountability. Along with a yearning for peace, freed is a God-given desire in all of us, and we in America are blessed beyond measure to have it!

As is often the case, these deep yearnings of the human spirit can be thwarted by dictatorial regimes and madmen, and they can be suppressed when people are willing to exchange their freedoms for a false sense of security. The freedoms we so enjoy, right here in America, are freedoms that can also be lost. The Bible speaks of freedom when it quotes Jesus: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Paul writes, "It is for freedom that you have been set free. However, do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil." Even our faith affirms this deep yearning in our hearts. So, this fourth of July, celebrate the freedom you have as an American, but even more importantly, celebrate the freedom you have as a child of God — the freedom to become all that God has in mind for you to be; the freedom to express your faith and share it with others; the freedom to bear witness to the only truth that can make anyone truly and forever free!

Yours in the Love of Christ and the Church,

Bob

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August 2009: "It's All About Relationships"

Dear Friends in Christ,

I received an interesting notice from the county tax collector's office this past week notifying me that my homemade wood and fiberglass boat, all nine feet and seven inches of it, had been  appraised for county taxes in the amount of $3,125! Now that's really remarkable. The materials cost about $350 and then lots of sweat and hard work, but my grandson Cody and I have had lots of fun times on that little craft over the last two years---caught some nice fish, seen some beautiful scenery, watched some gorgeous sunrises, and observed deer, ospreys, and blue herons back in those little coves around the lake. So, one way of looking at the assessment is that it's really low, given the amount of enjoyment Cody and I have had using it since we gave it birth two summers ago! It's enhanced our relationship, and what price tag could ever be attached to something like that?

You see, the most valuable thing in the world is relationships. Even in the church we recognize that people who join a church because they have a relationship with someone in the congregation, and yearn for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, tend to stay longer than those who don't know anyone in the congregation. And the most recent statistics tell us that people who develop friendships with four or five other people in the church also tend to remain a vital part of the church's life and ministry much longer than those who don't establish those friendships. Undergirding that truth is the statement that Jesus made, "By this all will know that you are my disciples, by the love you have one for another."

In the August issue of the newsletter you'll find an article about "Bring a Friend Sunday" on August 30th. It's going to be a great day celebrating life and relationships at Rehobeth, and I hope you'll be intentional about inviting a friend, relative, associate, or neighbor to be your guest on that day for worship and fellowship. What a wonderful opportunity it will be for making new friends as well! In the meantime, I think I'll take a picture or two of the boat and take it up to Hickory and have a pleasant chat with the folks in the county tax office. Maybe I'll make a new friend there …

Yours in the Love of Christ and the Church,

Bob

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September 2009: "Natural Church Development (The Church Growing All by Itself)"

Dear Friends in Christ,

Well, it was several months ago that a group of our leaders came together to participate in a presentation called "Natural Church Development.&quoqt; It's a process that focuses on church health, not growth, because of the conviction that healthy churches will experience the growth God intends them to have. We're about ready now to embark on this journey and I thought this newsletter format would be a great way to bring everyone on board. So let me share this explanation with you.

In the beginning, 1,000 growing churches were researched. None were "mega" churches, none had "name" pastors. Mid-size churches, they were experiencing significant and sustained growth. Researchers asked members why they were growing, and responses ranged from "Because we have a great music program," to "We have a wonderful ministry to children and youth," and even included "We have a really good pastor" (I liked that one). But alas, their growth had nothing to do with any of those reasons. Researchers discovered there were eight Quality Characteristics in all churches. In growing churches they are well developed. In declining churches, they are not so well developed.

A survey was created that enables a local church to determine how well-developed those characteristics are in their own church. The one that is least well-developed becomes the one the church really works on for the following year, setting goals that address that particular need. Eighty-five percent of the churches that work diligently on the goals they set for themselves experience growth, not only in that one area, but in other areas as well. At the end of the year, the church takes the survey again to measure that growth.

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Nancy Rankin will be our coach for this process, meeting with our team to guide us each step along the way. Many of you know Nancy from her days as the Statesville District Superintendent and the Director of Congregational Development for our Conference. She is currently pastoring Blair Road UMC in Charlotte.

So, how will we proceed? I have selected 29 persons to take the survey. They are representative of every group in the church. We will meet in mid-September to take the survey, and then Dr. Rankin will meet with us to go over the results. We'll select a "Church Health Team" of about 9 persons to meet with her for an "Action Planning Retreat" in October and there we will set 3 to 5 goals to work on for the next 12-18 months that address the one characteristic we need to work on the most (our regular church activities, programs, and ministries will also continue as usual). This "Health Team" will serve as a steering committee for the process.

     This process holds some wonderful promise for us and I'm excited about it. Please pray for Dr. Rankin as she guides us, and for the success of our journey into Natural Church Development.

Yours in Christ,

Bob

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October 2009: "That Great Ranger Car Lot in the Sky"

Dear Friends in Christ,

Well, folks say you shouldn't get emotionally attached to "stuff," and in general, I'm in complete agreement with that. With one exception. I've had a faithful companion for eleven years: my 1997 Ford Ranger step-side gloss-black pickup truck, and last week I had to bid it goodbye. Not by choice, I grant you. I met some marvelous folks from up in the mountains on my way to Winston-Salem for a doctor's appointment, and we met by accident, the end result of which was the total loss of my faithful source of transportation. And it seems I'm not the only one missing it. Baine Ballard has been wandering around the Rehobeth parking lot and yard since he was a baby, of course accompanied by one or both of his grandparents, Kenton and Janice Stutts. I had no idea that over these past three years he had been taking note of the fact that if that Black Ranger was in the parking lot, I was in the office.

Young kids are wonderful in the things they pick up. Somewhere along the way, Baine heard someone refer to me as "Preacher Bob" and it sounded to him like "Bigger Bob." So that's what he calls me. I kind of like that, being all of 5'7" tall (I tell folks that I used to be six feet tall and that gravity has just pulled me down, but alas, no one believes my tall tale.) When Baine came to church the Sunday following my Ranger's demise, he took notice of its absence. "Where's Bigger Bob Truck?" he asked.

I guess I miss my Ranger for a few really good reasons. It was always dependable, comfortable to be with, helped me get where I needed to to, and was able to handle whatever I asked of it. For 246,000 miles it ran smoothly, all the way to Florida and back more times that I can count. How is it that it was so dependable? Well, I'm going to tell you, and there are some spiritual life lessons to be found in this as well. (Why doesn't that surprise you?)

The first reason it was so dependable was because I maintained it well. Every 3,000 miles, out with the old oil, in with the new, changing the filter as well. It's what kept the internal parts working smoothly and well. When a little something did go wrong, I had it repaired immediately before it could damage any other internal parts. And when I washed it (black really shows dirt), it just seemed to run and ride better. And, when I needed it to protect me, it was equipped to cushion me against injury. Wow! Can't you just hear the spiritual parallels about to come next?

Spiritually, our hearts beg for the same attention. If we neglect to maintain our spiritual balance, all kinds of difficulties can arise in life, and we will be ill equipped to handle the challenges that we may face from time to time. Bible study, fellowship and other believers, worship — all these are like changing the oil and they provide a means to filter out those things that are destructive to our commitment to live our lives as children of God. When something does go wrong (we sin, slip and fall, or aren't our best selves), forgiveness and renewal are available to repair our broken spirits and get us back on the right track. And when we hit the wall, something so powerful and hurtful threatens our very lives, prayer is there to cushion us, protect us, and enable us to not only survive but overcome. And some times, we just need to be washed clean, don't we?

I'm looking for a replacement for my Ranger. But there is no replacement for a vital, well-nurtured relationship with Jesus Christ. Seek it with all your heart. You'll find it. And he will be with you forever.

May God bless you with Grace and Peace,

Bob

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November 2009: "The Difference Gratitude Makes"

Dear Friends in Christ,

We've just completed our first series of Bible Study sessions on Interpreting the Writings of Paul in the 21st Century, and I thoroughly enjoyed the five-week journey we took through 1st Corinthians. We dealt with some heavy stuff like predestination, marriage and divorce, the gifts of the spirit, love, and what Paul really meant when he said "Women, keep silent in the church." (Boy, I'll bet some of you wish you had been there that night for that discussion!)

But as I reflect on that journey, there is one discussion above all the others that remains in my mind. It was Paul's sense of what God's grace had accomplished in his life. You see, before Paul became a Christian, he was a devout religious person who was persecuting the church so violently that large numbers of persons had been arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and no doubt killed as the result of his actions. Even when he became a Christian, the other believers weren't sure they could trust him. They knew him by name and by reputation. Maybe even some of their kinfolk had perished in that persecution.

But as time goes by, and largely due to the encouragement and intervention of Barnabas, Paul eventually becomes the great apostle to the non-Jews of his world, taking three missionary journeys to share Jesus Christ with the people of his day. Having done what he did, how could he face those former adversaries without overwhelming shame? How could he possibly hold himself together in front of them, bearing the heavy burden of what he had done?

Well, simply because he had discovered the grace and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. He readily admits in his writing that he was the "least worthy" person to be called a child of God because of what he had done to the church in his former life. Yet, in His love for him, God had reached down and called him by name. That's grace. Paul responded by faith and received Jesus into his heart. And from that day forward, God replaced Paul's shame with gratitude for the immeasurable gift of grace and forgiveness that would lead him to write one day, "I have learned in all circumstances to give thanks to God."

     This month we will celebrate Thanksgiving. I hope that you, like Paul, have discovered that God's love and grace are bigger than all your troubles, failures, shortcomings, or sins. And if you carry shame over something in your past, I pray you'll let Him flood your soul with Grace, forgiving all that is past and granting you a new life, a second chance. It's a free offer — a gift — something for which I've always been grateful. When we live with gratitude in our hearts, it changes everything; it changes us, and starts the process of "becoming all that God has in mind for us to be."

     Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

Yours in the Love of Christ,

Bob

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December 2009: "The Importance of Trusting the Team"

Dear Friends in Christ,

Update on Linda

First, let me express my deepest appreciation to all of you for your loving concern for my wife, Linda, as she recently underwent surgery to relieve pressure on her spinal cord and replace four disks in her neck. (She did ask the surgeon if there were any chance he could make her any taller while he was working on her, being all of five feet tall at present! We'll check when she gets home, and give you an update …) She came through her surgery with flying colors and will now be on the mend for several weeks. Thank you for your continuing prayers.

We Decorate Together — We're a Team

As you read this, we will have started our journey through Advent in preparation for our celebration of Christmas later this month. We've had some interesting discussion at our house about the tree. At first, because she will be restricted in what she will be able to do for a few weeks, she thought we'd just skip a tree this year. Yet the more she thought about the house not having beautiful reminders of the birth of our Savior, the more she feared she'd be depressed without them. So upstairs I went to retrieve the tree, and it's set up in the den. By the time you read this, she will have directed me how to decorate it, where to hang each ornament, and then we will have journeyed around the house placing other decorations out as well. I will not have minded at all, because you see, we're a team. We do these things together.

The Importance of Trusting the Team

One of the things I was reminded of during her surgery was how important it is to "trust the team." A surgeon and physician's assistant we had known only a few months, anesthesiologists we had known all of five minutes, nurses we met after the fact, administrators and care givers — all strangers to us. And in that short span of time we had to make a decision — Do we trust them with Linda's life? That's really what it comes down to, isn't it? We made that decision, and they have proven to be worthy of that trust.

Can Seekers Trust Our "Team?"

It occurred to me that this is a lot like what folks who don't have a church home, and have never committed their lives to Christ, face as they wrestle with what God has to do with them; what Christmas has to do with them. We in the faith have to ask ourselves the question, "Do we evoke trust in them? Is the genuineness of our love for Christ — and for them — obvious in all we say and do, and in the way we do it?" You see, they're wrestling with the same questions, "Can I trust this message about the Christ whose birth they're celebrating? Can I trust these people — His people — with my life and with the lives of my loved ones?"

In the Church, we are the body of Christ, His team, and the world needs to know they can trust what we say to be true. As we invite them to live within the circle of His love, we need to be certain they see that love in us. Especially during this wondrous season when God's love is so wonderfully proclaimed!

Linda and I wish you a wonderful Christmas Season and a Happy New Year as well. May God bless you and your loved ones with Grace, Peace, Health, and Happiness.

Yours in the Love of Christ,

Bob

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Rehobeth United Methodist Church • 9297 Sherrills Ford Road • P.O. Box 356 • Terrell, NC 28682
Copyright © 2009 Robert L. Kerr, D.Min
Used by permission