Pastor's E-Letter

Pastor's E-Letter

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Original Research in Unexplored Territory

Growing up, either my mom or dad would tuck my brother and me into bed and we would “say our prayers” before bedtime. We would pray for things like peace, health, family, and friends. Sometimes we prayed for fun things like pets, birthdays, and toys! “Saying our prayers” became one of my favorite parts of our bedtime routine. This would happen almost every single night until I became old enough to do it on my own. It was because of my parents that I learned to pray on my own and that I developed a practice of prayer. It is also something that I am excited to share and instill in my daughters as they get older. I owe the prayer practices that I have now to my parents because they are the ones who taught me to pray.

In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster talks about prayer as “original research in unexplored territory” (Foster, 30). While we have many models of prayer found in scripture, especially the ones that came from Jesus found in the Gospels. Prayer isn’t a “science”. There is no magic formula or words that we need to say, especially in our private prayer. There is nothing that we say that makes some prayers “heard” and some prayers not. Personal prayer is how we connect to God. Prayer can be life-changing and life-giving. That is also because is not a one-sided conversation. Prayer is a part of sanctifying grace because the more that we pray and have these conversations with God, the more that we become like God. We begin to see things through God’s eyes and our hearts begin to reflect God’s heart. Healthy prayer life can lead to inward transformation!

This week in worship we are continuing our worship message series “Finish Strong” as we talk about being “Revealed in Prayer”. As we continue to move forward in this campaign, the main question we are asking everyone to consider is “Lord, what do you want to do through me?”. This is a question that requires prayer! It requires us to talk to God and to seek wisdom and guidance, to find that “unexplored territory”. For us to “Finish Strong” we must first start with prayer. It starts with our personal connection and communication with God, which can lead us into great things. So, let’s Finish Strong together as we continue in this campaign!

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Mike

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The Beauty of Holy Week

Growing up, Holy Week was not a big focus for my family. The faith tradition that I grew up in did not offer the typical Lenten services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, or Good Friday. We did not talk about the season of Lent or even use the term “Holy Week”. As far as I knew, Lent was something that only my Catholic friends talked about, and the only thing I knew about Good Friday is sometimes they canceled school because of it.

The first time I ever experienced one of the services was years later after I joined a United Methodist Church. I remember going to my first Good Friday service and being in awe of the raw emotion that I felt after seeing the altar stripped, the last words of Jesus spoken, and the words of the hymn “Were You There” ringing in the sanctuary. I also remember the service ending in darkness, with no “hope” to be offered. 

Was it pleasant? Not really. But it was necessary. More importantly, I remember experiencing Easter Sunday in a way I never had. What a celebration! What started as darkness and silence on Friday was now joy and light on Sunday morning. This is the beauty of Holy Week.  Experiencing the journey of Jesus’ last days on earth. Celebrating the sacrament of holy communion on Maundy Thursday, experiencing the darkness of Good Friday, and the joy and triumph that comes with Easter Sunday. I find that my own Easter experience isn’t complete without Holy Week!

Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, which is this Sunday. This week in worship we are continuing our sermon series Hope: Ashes to Life as we journey into Jerusalem and encounter Jesus’ triumphal entry. I encourage all of you to consider making Holy Week a part of your own Easter experience.

See you on Sunday!
Mke Mayes

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