“I eat your cooking, don’t I?”
Out of desperation, they sat across from their pastor on either end of the couch. They leaned away from one another, legs crossed, and arms folded in a most protective posture. This husband and wife were deep into marital struggles.
The pastor listened and gently responded with probing questions, trying to find the source of their pain. The pastor asked of the wife, “What is the most important thing you would like from your husband?” She quickly responded with a muffled sob, “I just wish he would tell me that he loved me.” To which, the husband drew himself upright and scoffed, “I eat your cooking, don’t I?”
I’m still asking our God of unfailing love to teach me how to love Him more. Am I still in love with Jesus? The church in Ephesus, just like this couple, had forsaken their first love. Has our love for Jesus faded, grown lukewarm, or even gone cold? How do we fall in love with Jesus, and grow deeper and deeper in love with Him?
I love our Christmas series this year—The Table. It invites us back to a time and place when we used to dance with joyful expectancy as Christmas drew near each year. “The Table” invites us to a time and place where we spend less on ourselves and instead give more of ourselves. “The Table” invites us to a time and place where we can know more of God’s love and then share more of God’s love—with family, friends, and neighbors.
Walking in the door every day doesn’t necessarily tell my wife that I love her, any more than walking into church every week tells God that I love Him. Ellen wants me to tell her. She wants me to show her. Love undemonstrated is love unfulfilled. It’s the same with God.
Father, teach us how to love You more. May our love for You grow deeper and stronger with each passing day. May You fill us with Your love, that we might share Your love all through the Christmas season and this new year.
Worship Fully: Bringing your all, and giving your all”
From Luke 7:36-50
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Pastor Bill Gibbons
Greetings from Haiti. The sun is bright; the air is hot, and God’s people here are so gracious. I am at Emmaus University, teaching a five-day intensive graduate course on “Ethical Challenges of Leadership.” I have 16 students and a most gracious translator. I divided our class into four groups. One of those groups has been praying over and studying Revelation 2:1-7—the Church in Ephesus that has many positives but is called out because they have “lost their first love.” The assignment for this group is this: “How do we help the church and leaders to fall in love with Jesus (again)?”
As I think about this in my own life, and for our church, I begin to wonder if this is at the heart of our Vision to look, live, and love like Jesus. One has little to no motivation to look, live, and love like Jesus, unless, or until, they fall in love with Jesus (again).
If I may adjust the focus, I am apart from my beautiful bride for these ten days. I am very much in love with Ellen. Saying goodbye at the end of our end-of-the-day WhatsApp video call can still bring a tear to my eye. I miss her dearly and am counting down the days until we are reunited.
The challenge is to have—not the same, but—an even greater longing for Jesus than I do for my bride. I have learned that when I am struggling in my relationship with the Lod, my problem isn’t so much my devotions but my devotion.
I am eager to rejoin my church family for this Advent season. As we come together to “The Table” (our Christmas message series), I pray that the joy of Christmas will rekindle our hearts and that we fall in love with Jesus (again). I pray that we will not be called out like the Church in Ephesus was. While there are many positives about our beloved church, I pray that the greatest of these will be the strength of our love for Jesus.
Falling in love with Jesus (again)! May it be God’s blessing to each of us, as well as family, friends, and neighbors who join us at The Table!
The Christmas Dinner Table! It’s a staple of our holiday season here in America, but there’s an even more important table Christmas invites us to gather around: the table of Jesus. However, too many people in our world don’t know they have a seat at this table. Some feel they belong at the kids’ table; others like they belong under the table. However, when Jesus stepped down to earth as a baby born into poverty, He pulled out a chair, and declared to all, “You are welcome here.” This Christmas, let’s come together as a church to welcome people to the ultimate Christmas Table where they can encounter the love of Jesus.
Throughout all of Advent, we will be engaging in churchwide outreach projects as ways for us to pull out a chair for someone else, as we all gather around The Table.
This weekend, Saturday, December 1, after the 5 pm worship service, and Sunday, December 2, during the 10 am Journey Group hour, you’re invited to join our Pearce church family as we distribute gifts to our neighbors by walking house to house. (Remember to dress for the weather!)
On Wednesday, December 12, at 5 pm in our Family Life Center, you’re invited to a family-style dinner to meet students from the city of Rochester who are looking for mentors. This is our opportunity to learn about how to get involved in the mentoring process through the Urban League of Rochester. You’re invited to sign up in the lobby to make a difference in a student’s life this Christmas and beyond.
And on Monday, December 17, from 7 to 9 am, you’re invited to join Heart and Soul Church for “A Little Bit of Coffee and A Whole Lot of Jesus.” This is our “sister” church, located at 1185 N. Clinton Avenue in the city. Each Monday morning, they share free coffee and offer to pray with neighbors who come to the church. You can sign up to carpool or even stop by Heart and Soul Church on your way to work that morning.
Pull out a chair! Invite family, friends, and neighbors to join us as we come to the Christmas Table to celebrate the birth of our Jesus. We hope you will join us in these opportunities to share God’s unfailing love through this Christmas season!
Winter weather is here and that means it’s time to plan snow removal teams for our weekend worship services. This labor of love is a very practical way that we can look, live, and love like Jesus by simply making sure our sidewalks are clear and safe for guests and attendees. Shovels and a snow blower are provided, as well as instructions on what to do. Sign up at the Reception desk in the lobby. If you’d like to learn more or have questions, contact our Facility Director, Bob Antes, at antes_robert @pearcechurch.org or 594-9488.
“Celebrate Recovery: Recycling Our Pain”
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Pastor Roger Haskins
“Celebrate Recovery: Maintaining Momentum”
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Pastor Roger Haskins
“How long have you lived in your home?” I asked a friend, as we shared the couch in his living room. He said, “Since Rev. Parmerter.” I assumed he meant Rev. Parmerter’s second stint as our pastor, from 1946-1955. His home felt warm and comfortable, yet incomplete. His wife had recently suffered a stroke and was now resting/ recovering at a nearby care facility. At the end of our conversation, we prayed together. My prayer was not long, but longer than his. His prayer was tender and to the point.
After I returned to the office, I phoned one of their daughters. She told me that her mother, staying at the care facility, had “seen Jesus” and was excited to go to be with Jesus. A precious encounter indeed! We talked of the care needs of both parents and closed our conversation with prayer. I later paused to reflect. An awkward place in life. One spouse, after 71 years of faithful marriage, excited to leave her frail and failing body to be with Jesus. The other spouse happy for his wife but already processing the burden of life alone in a house meant for more.
I am filled with gratitude for these friends. Since Rev. Parmerter, 47 pastors have served on staff at Pearce Memorial Church. Our two dear friends have loved and encouraged and prayed for everyone, without exception.
The line of those who have been blessed and are being blessed by the faithful friendship and encouragement of these two saints is longer than our line of sight. Those awaiting them in their heavenly reward, to thank them for the many blessings of their full and faithful lives, will be countless.
And I reflect further. My longing for heaven has been strengthened and refreshed. My longing to live a life of purpose has been strengthened and refreshed. As the lives of these two friends have blessed, and are yet blessing so many, how might I give my life this very day to be a blessing to others—family, friends, and neighbors? How might I—how might we—live this day to better encourage family, friends, and neighbors on the journey to Jesus?
“Celebrate Recovery: Where to Get Help When You Hurt”
from Hebrews 11:6; Philippians 2:13
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Pastor Roger Haskins