What a Rich Legacy
Sunday afternoon, I pulled an old paperback off of one of my study’s shelves. It had been years since I read it. As I flipped through the pages, in an effort to recall the book’s themes, a bookmark fell out. Not just any bookmark, but a very special one. On one side, I saw the quote “One is nearer to God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth.” Nice, but not particularly meaningful to me. I’ve seen that particular quote hundreds of times, often on garden plaques.
It is what I found on the reverse side that caused me pause. Carefully written in handwriting I readily recognized were these words: “Keep preaching the Word. Love, Grandma 5/84.”
I was holding a bookmark my Grandma Logan gave me thirty years ago this May. I was a young pastor when she handed it to me; I still had a full head of hair! The edges of the bookmark are carefully crocheted, patiently adorned by a loving grandmother’s hands. My grandmother passed away at the age of 86 in 1994, just a decade after she finished that bookmark. She has been gone for twenty years, but her impact lives on in me and in the lives of many others.
Holding the bookmark prompted me to consider what legacy I am leaving behind. Whose life am I impacting for Christ and His Kingdom? Let’s commit ourselves to invest in the lives of those around us. Who knows, maybe I should take up crocheting! But, on second thought, I think I’ll find something else to leave as my legacy. Do you think I could make a bookmark out of crushed coffee beans? Just a thought!
What’s the Buzz?
March 9 is Freedom Sunday, a day to unite in prayer on behalf of the more than 30 million men, women, and children around the world who are enslaved today. In this weekend’s services at Pearce, we will join the thousands of churches across the United States in praying for captives to be set free.
One very practical step you can take to help in this movement is to sponsor a child.Christianity Today magazine published an article last June regarding the benefits of child sponsorship. Among their findings was this: “Overall, sponsorship makes children 27 to 40 percent more likely to complete secondary school, and 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education.” The impact of sponsorship is dramatic, often changing not only the life of that child, but impacting their entire family as well. All of this makes them less vulnerable to human traffickers.
Debbie McClarin will be in Pearce’s lobby this weekend to help those of you interested in sponsoring a child to have that opportunity. If you aren’t presently sponsoring a child, I encourage you to find the joy by sponsoring a child this weekend!
By the way, the picture of the bee was drawn on the back of a recent letter by Pallem Purushotam, one of the children Mary and I are privileged to sponsor!
Jesus Then, Jesus Now
N.T. Wright, one of the world’s leading biblical scholars, prefaces his book, Simply Jesus, with this statement: “Jesus of Nazareth poses a question and a challenge two thousand years after his lifetime.” The question Wright refers to is simple: “Who exactly was he?” The challenge is also fairly simple: “What might ‘following him’ entail?” That question and that challenge will be the focus of the sermon series “Jesus Then, Jesus Now,” beginning this weekend at Pearce. The first message will center on the start of Jesus’ public ministry as found in Luke 4:16-30.
Dr. Tim Dwyer, Christian Scriptures Professor at Roberts, will preach the second message in this series, focusing on the temptation of Jesus as found in Matthew 4:1-11. Tim is one of the best expositors of God’s Word I have ever encountered and you won’t want to miss his handling of this important text.
Walking into a new church can be pretty daunting, can’t it? Everything is a bit strange. You aren’t quite sure how to navigate, even finding the sanctuary can be challenging. Then there are all those people! They all seem to know about this place and you feel like the outsider.
Well, I want to help you feel like Pearce is your home. One way I can do that is by encouraging you to spend Saturday, March 15, with me. On that day, I will lead a Discovery Class from 9am to 3pm in the Friendship Center. In this seminar we’ll cover a host of topics, all geared to help you to be better acquainted with Pearce and its ministry.
Reservations are requested. Call the church office at 594-9488 to reserve your spot, or sign up on our website at pearcechurch.org/discovery.
Beginning next Wednesday evening, March 12, Dr. Doug Cullum will be teaching a five-week course on Wesleyan theology entitled “Grace Unfolding: The Journey of Faith from a Wesleyan Perspective.” Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a theologian. Doug has a marvelous way of taking deep theological concepts and making them readily understandable and applicable to daily life. I invite you to join him in Room 81 (lower level, education wing) at 6:30pm.
The Floods Came Up
Members of Pearce’s maintenance crew encountered a burst pipe when they entered our facility this past Tuesday morning. The extremely cold temperatures early Tuesday morning prompted a small split, less than a half inch long, in the radiator coil in one of the heating units in Room 141 of our education wing. The resulting spray of 140 degree water caused damage in both classrooms (Room 141 and Room 80 in the lower level of the education wing). ServPro has been “drying out” the classrooms and we are continuing to assess damages, which at this point appear to be primarily carpet, ceiling tiles, and drywall damage. Mold will not be an issue, as ServPro is eliminating all the excess moisture caused by the heated water.
I am grateful for our fine facility crew that reacted promptly and efficiently upon discovering the problem. Also, I applaud the great job that Honna Lusk, our administrator, has been doing as she works with our insurer to address the damage and get the classrooms back in use. All of us appreciate the fact that damage was limited.
A SWAG Milestone
I am excited about a SWAG milestone that I anticipate we will reach this weekend. Hopefully, we will fund another $10,000 payment on our loan principal. Between last year and thus far in 2014, this will bring us to a total of paying down $50,000 on the principal of Pearce’s debt on the 2001 building expansion. That means we will have saved approximately $125,000 on future interest payments! That’s significant, isn’t it?
So far this year, you have given $9,555 towards this first project for SWAG 2014. Giving $445 this weekend will enable us to put a check for $10,000 in the mail to the Free Methodist Foundation, the holder of our loan.
The $9,555 received these first couple of months represents sacrificial giving from 64 individuals or families. I’d love to see the participation grow in this vital stewardship opportunity as we move through 2014. Our goal is to see 300 individuals or families participate in SWAG this year. Will you join us and help us continue to make significant progress on reducing our debt and maintaining our beautiful facility?
No Dangling Next Week
Next week, I’ll be in Seattle to meet with other Free Methodist pastors of college-related churches. Bishops David Roller and Matt Thomas will be meeting with five of us from across the country. I appreciate your prayers as we gather to discuss ways to better disciple those in our congregations, as well as reach out to those outside of the church. Due to this meeting, I won’t be sending out a Dangling next Thursday. Look for the conversation to pick up on March 20.