The Tour Continues
Hope you are continuing to enjoy your summer. It’s hard to believe this is the last day of July! I’m still in summer mode this week, so I’m making this Dangling very brief.
Our summer tour of life in the Kingdom, based on the Sermon on the Mount, continues this weekend at Pearce. Dr. Doug Cullum, the Dean of Northeastern Seminary, will be helping us better understand Jesus’ teaching on prayer as found in Matthew 6:5-15; 7:7-11. Doug is a gifted teacher, marvelously gifted in understanding the Word of God, and I’m excited that he is serving as our guest speaker.
As a part of this weekend’s worship services, Communion will be served. I invite you to begin preparing your heart to receive the bread and the cup.
Be sure and take some time to pause and consider the many ways God is at work in your life!
A Guided Tour of Life
July 27, 2014
A Very Special Shipment Has Arrived!
A box of children’s books arrived at Pearce this week. As you may know, we have invited kids from the ages of two to twelve to join in our “Kids Treasure Quest” by reading Christian books during this summer. To help make sure our library is well stocked for this summer’s quest, Pearce’s librarians ordered 30 new books. So I encourage our kids to check out our church library and pick up another book!
The Tour Continues
Dr. Matt Hill will be preaching at Pearce this weekend. He’ll continue our tour of life in the Kingdom by walking us through Matthew 6:1-4. The title of his message is “Being the RightKind of Christian.”
Matt grew up in our congregation and is presently an assistant professor of philosophy at Spring Arbor College in Michigan. After graduating from RWC in 2004, Matt attended Asbury Theological Seminary, graduating in 2007 with his M. Div. degree. Last year, he completed his Ph. D. from Durham University in England. Prior to his vocation as a professor, Matt served for four years as a pastor of a Free Methodist church in western New York.
It will be great to have Matt, his wife, Helene, and their children with us this weekend at Pearce!
A Sibling Get Together
On a more personal note, this weekend my four siblings will be joining Mary and me for the weekend. Last Thanksgiving, we planned to reunite until the stormy winter weather of that week prompted flight cancellations around the country and the postponement of our get together. It has been more than seven years since we were all together and I am looking forward to spending time with my brother and three sisters (two of my sisters are pictured above, with my father). The older I get, the more I value these times with family!
Our Stewardship with a Goal (SWAG) continues to help us accomplish some important projects around Pearce. Presently, we are raising $20,000 to enable a large payment on the principal of our loan incurred in 2001, when the latest addition to Pearce’s facility was completed. To date, we have received $2,913 towards this payment.
The resurfacing of the Orchard Street parking lot, originally scheduled for this week, has been postponed by the contractor until August 1. Evidently the rainy weather thus far this summer has pushed things back a few days.
I hope you’ll consider contributing to SWAG and help us reduce our debt.
A Guided Tour of Life
July 20, 2014
The Language of the Kingdom
This weekend, I’ll be continuing our series on the Sermon on the Mount with a consideration of Matthew 5:33-48. I’ve titled the message “The Language of the Kingdom” because it’s clear from this passage that followers of Jesus speak a different language, both in our words and our actions. I hope you’ll join me as we continue our “Guided Tour of Life!”
It’s a Jungle This Week
My Dangling is rather abbreviated this week because, as you know, it’s a jungle here at Pearce. We are in the middle of Vacation Bible School and, to put it mildly, the place is filled with the sounds of wild creatures moving through the jungle canopy. Okay, maybe I’m hyping things a bit, but you get the picture. Thanks for praying for the VBS team as they continue to walk beside our children this week. I’ll try and catch up more with you next Thursday!
A Guided Tour of Life
July 13, 2014
This past weekend, as part of our sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, I encouraged people to write their own beatitudes. I received several responses and thought you might be interested in seeing some of them.
One person wrote, “Blessed are the depressed….” I like that the writer of this beatitude left it open ended. It carries with it the heavy despair of dealing with depression and of being afraid to hope for God’s acceptance.
On a light and humorous note, I received this one, “Blessed are those who live in Ogden, for one day they will have a home in Heaven!”
Joyce Wagner, the primary therapist at Restoration Counseling, put together a list of beatitudes based on her experiences with clients. I was moved by Joyce’s list as I thought of the pain that lies behind such beatitudes. It also reminded me of what Christ’s welcoming acceptance can do to bring transformation and healing. Here are just a few of the ones she came up with.
- Blessed are the widows, because yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all difficult.
- Blessed are the sexually promiscuous, while they know God loves them, sometimes it’s hard to wait for His best.
- Blessed are those who struggle with eating and weight (in one way or another), it’s arduous to break an addiction when food is everywhere but you can’t enjoy it.
- Blessed are those young adults who struggle with their sexual identity and don’t want to embarrass their family, it’s a bumpy, lonely road.
- Blessed are the teenagers whose parents don’t understand him/her, it’s hard, especially when you don’t accept yourself.
Blessed are those who write new beatitudes, for they prompt me to be more aware of the marvel of God’s gracious love for outsiders!
Welcome Back Quizzers
Last week, the Pearce Bible Quiz Team was in Greenville, Illinois for the National Quiz Tournament. I asked Laura Cockrell to summarize the team’s experience. Here’s what she gave me:
The Pearce Bible Quiz Team, made up of 10 quizzers and 3 adults, had a great week of fellowship, competition, and worship during Bible Quiz National Finals in Greenville, IL. Pastor Brenda Young, the founder of the Clear Blue Global Water Project, was our chapel speaker each day and she reminded us to get the WHY right and to live out our faith by DOING something for the kingdom. It was a great opportunity to further apply the gospel of Matthew that we have been studying all year. The week ended with a communion service featuring testimonies from the quizzers of how God has been working in their lives through Bible quizzing. Although Pearce did not take home big trophies this year, our Conference was well represented in the National standings.
Some acknowledgements: Our Senior Teen Veteran team of Melanie Cockrell, Hannah Distaffen, and Rebekah Distaffen qualified for the Alpha and Omega division to compete for the top award. Only 16 of the 39 teams in their age bracket qualified for this. They finished 9th in the country. In the Senior Teen Rookie Individuals, Noah Spencer finished 3rd.
We are so grateful for the support and encouragement of Pearce Church all year and we look forward to another great year. We’ll be studying Romans and James next year and would love to have anyone in 6th-12th grade join us.
I am excited to report that the new sidewalk project along the east side of Orchard Street is now funded! Thanks to your generosity, those parking along Orchard Street will have a safe way of accessing our building. The installation of this new, lighted sidewalk is anticipated to be completed by September.
You may also notice that another SWAG project has been completed. This past Monday and Tuesday, the drive along the east side of Pearce’s sanctuary was resurfaced. (See the photo above of the preparation on Monday.) This drive has long been in disrepair, complete with some rather jarring potholes. It is now a beautiful, smooth surface and improves the appearance of our property.
So on to Project #4, which is a $20,000 payment on the principle of our debt. As of July 9, we owe $2,553,115 on the 2001 addition to our facility. A payment of an additional $20,000 on our debt will save us, according to our administrator, $22,903.81 in interest payments and shorten the life of our loan by nine weeks. (Note that our savings in interest payments is not as dramatic as it was last year, as the terms of our loan were recently renegotiated. The interest rate on our loan was reduced from 6.7% to 5.45%.) As of this week, it will take us 743 weeks (or a little more than 14 years) to pay off Pearce’s debt. I would like to see us continue to accelerate the reduction of this financial burden.
I invite you to participate in SWAG this summer and help us save a significant amount of pocket change by paying an additional $20,000 on our loan’s principle.
Study Tour in Israel
This spring, Pearce announced plans for a study tour in Israel February 14-23, 2015. To date, 27 people from our congregation have signed up to be a part of this tour that includes, interesting in light of our current sermon series, a visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes. (The photo above is taken from this location.) If you are interested in being a part of this tour, a deposit of $400 is due by the end of August. For more information, contact Pastor Mike at the church or Kristen Ockrin at email@example.com.
Next Week at VBS
Walking out of my office on Tuesday, I encountered Pastor Kathy and Lynette Sykora in deep discussion. They were working on some final details for next weeks’ Vacation Bible School. Lynette (who, along with her husband serves as a missionary in Slovakia) was meeting with Pastor Kathy, because Pearce’s VBS will be raising money this year to help fund projects at The Church School Narnia. Narnia is a bi-lingual church school with the mission of developing the potential of each student by fostering critical and creative thinking from a Christian world view. The inspiration for the school’s name comes, of course, from the fertile imagination of C. S. Lewis, who exemplified creative Christian thought in his Chronicles of Narniaseries of books. It was great to see Pastor Kathy working with Lynette to come alongside this vital ministry in Slovakia.
I encourage you to be praying for the staff of this year’s VBS, and for the many children who will be gathering each day to learn more about the wonderful Creator God who desires to inspire His creativity in our lives.
A Guided Tour of Life
July 6, 2014
A Day to Remember
At her baptism, Christy remarked, “Through my growing relationship with Jesus Christ, He has shown me love, faithfulness, security, and protection greater than anything I’ve ever known. His love and grace fulfill me and make me want to strengthen my walk with Him more each day. I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to share this love with Him and glorify the name of Jesus, the Lord of my life, today and always!”
I celebrate these baptisms and invite you to join with me in praying for Jamie, Don, Sarah, and Christy as they continue to follow Jesus.
Our New Director of Adult Education
I am pleased to announce that Laura Cockrell has accepted the position of Director of Adult Education at Pearce. Serving in this non-paid, volunteer position, Laura will seek to strengthen our congregation’s adult education programs, including ABFs (Adult Bible Fellowships) and occasional seminars.
Laura graduated in May from Northeastern Seminary with her Master of Divinity degree and is well qualified to serve in this position. For many years, Laura served as Teaching Director in the Community Bible Study ministry of Rochester. She has a passion for helping adults come to a deeper understanding of their faith in Christ. Laura said, “My heart is to see people transformed as they study God’s word and understand better God’s plan. I think we can enhance the educational ministry at Pearce to ground and grow God’s people here. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to serving.”
I’ve enjoyed working with Laura during the past academic year as she served as a seminary intern at Pearce.
I look forward to collaborating with Laura to provide excellent educational opportunities. One such opportunity, on the schedule for April 2015, is a three-week-seminar with Dr. Rebecca Letterman, Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation at Northeastern. Previously announced on Pearce’s schedule is the nine-week “Financial Peace University” beginning September 17. These and many other educational events will be the focus of Laura’s energies.
This Weekend’s Message
Last weekend, I began our summer sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount entitled “A Guided Tour of Life.” I am convinced that in chapters five, six, and seven of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us what life is to be like, right here and right now.
Dallas Willard writes in The Divine Conspiracy, “Jesus came among us to show and teach the life for which we were made.”
This weekend, I’ll walk us through the first 16 verses of Matthew’s fifth chapter. These are the well-known Beatitudes, an often misunderstood passage of Scripture. I hope you’ll join us!
Looking for Mission Trip?
Have you been looking for an opportunity to participate in a short-term mission team? If so, Pearce is encouraging individuals and families (ages 13 and up) to join one of four mission teams being sent out next summer. Teams will be traveling to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Antigua, and Haiti from July 8-16, 2015.
Find more information athttp://fmcusa.org/generalconference15demo/mission-trips/. Or, you can talk with Karen Hopkins, the chair of Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT).
Thanks for Supporting Pearce
During these hot weeks of summer, many people take time to get away and savor this wonderful season of the year. I hope you are able to get away and soak up some sun. May I remind you that your faithful financial support of Pearce is deeply appreciated?
By the way, we are rapidly closing in on finishing up Project #4 of this year’s SWAG (Stewardship With A Goal). An additional $1,450 will completely fund the installation of a new sidewalk along the east side of Orchard Street.
Next Monday and Tuesday, the driveway on the east side of Pearce’s sanctuary will be resurfaced, a project also funded by this year’s SWAG (Project #2). And, I’m pleased to announce, the sanctuary roof project was completed this past Tuesday! This major project was funded by last year’s SWAG contributions.
Thanks for your continued financial support!
The End of a Chapter, and The Start of a New One
Each year at Pearce we celebrate the graduation of our High School Seniors and welcome the first graders by giving each student a new bible. This year we added a new tradition. Our sixth graders will be moving up to the junior high ministry and in recent years it has become apparent that our seventh graders need “more age appropriate” bibles. Starting this year our first graders, sixth graders and senior all received new bibles. Once the sixth graders reach their senior year, we will replace “bibles” with a different gift.
The Sunday service included a focus on the need for scripture as a foundation in our lives. This was accomplished through wonderful music, the reading of God’s word, and a moving ceremony in which the students received their new bibles. I was incredibly touched by the way Pearce expressed love to these students and the high value placed on being in God’s word. Congratulations to all of our first graders, sixth graders, and seniors. May God’s love, truth, blessing always be on you.
Swinging with a Mission
A number of years ago the Men’s Ministry at Pearce decided it no longer could host the annual golf tournament. It fell in my lap and I agreed to do it, but only if we could change the tournament and re-purpose it. We decided to place the tournament under the auspices of the teen missions. Our goal has been to provide a great day of golf and fellowship, while also raising funds to help offset the costs of our mission trips. The 2014 tournament was our most successful to date. Wonderful weather, an increase in participants, increased underwriting, and excellent food all made for a fantastic experience. Golfers ranging in age from 11 to 80 came out to support this great cause, and helped us raise about $3500. The Pearce teens travel internationally every three years for missions. By hosting this tournament, even on the years in between we have been able to place over $9,000 in our account before we have even begun to organize the trip. Next year’s trip to Romania will cost approximately $48,000. This fundraising will go a long way to making the trip a possibility. Thank you to all the golfers and businesses that supported us. Special thanks to the golf committee who did all the work behind the scenes: Karen Hopkins, Maurice Hopkins, Jordan Eich and Ron Sadler.
Up For Adoption
As many of you know about six years ago our family joined the Tassone family in adopting a village in Senegal, Africa. Four of the last six years, I have been blessed to be able to travel to Senegal and visit my family there. Each time we go, I am struck with the fact that we “adopted” them, and yet we always feel like we were the ones truly adopted. While we are there to provide finances, diplomatic assistance and to demonstrate the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I always feel like I have been the one who has been helped. Our family in the village is so kind, generous and giving. They literally have almost nothing, and yet they are willing to give whatever they can. This year they fed us, they took my son Jacob in as one of their own, and they welcomed us into their homes and hearts. We brought small gifts for them, and they returned the favor by sewing Jacob and new outfit, feeding us from their small food supply, and Emily’s namesake even sent home one of her own outfits to Emily as a gift. As always, we had a wonderful experience and had opportunities to share the gospel, but I think what we left with is as valuable. One evening, Jake and I were talking, and he said “dad, I am amazed at home generous these people are. They live in dirt huts, have no toys and a single set of clothes, and yet they have so much joy.” I was pierced by how true this statement was, and how we in the states have lost sight of what really matters. Jake went on to say “I have every toy, game, electronic gadget you could imagine, and yet it’s never enough.” Pretty profound for a 13 year old. How much in enough? To our family in Ndidor “enough” is measured in joy and not in material. Please pray for Ndidor; the rainy season is just getting started and, with it the growing season as well as the extreme desert heat. They will receive about 3 inches of rain this summer while enduring temperatures between 120-130F. In these conditions they will need to grow enough millet and peanuts to last the entire year. Pray too, that the bondage of animism and Islam will be loosened and that they will see the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Stay in the Loop
Every year, we see a new group of 7th graders come into the Pearce Teens, along with numerous folks from outside of Pearce. And each year I am asked, “how do I find out about what’s going on?” For your convenience we have devised a number of ways to disseminate information. First, if you are on Facebook, search for the Pearce Parents page, and have your child look for the Pearce Teen page. We post information, relevant articles and occasional pictures to these pages weekly. Second, continue to follow this blog. “Mike’s Musings” is posted every month on the Pearce Church web page at pearcehurch.org and often contains photos and updates regarding various events. You may also contact me at Pearce Church by calling 585-594-9488 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, take a moment to sign up for our texting service. Simply text the word “pearceteens” to 68398. We send out reminders and cancelations through this service. In addition we use occasional letters, postcards, parent information meetings, the Pearce Facebook Page, and the Pearce NEUs to keep you up to date with the Teen program here at Pearce. Our goal is to keep everyone informed – we would hate for anyone to miss out on the fun because they didn’t know about something.