Tag Archives: west valley

galatians 2.11-14

This Sunday I am preaching from Galatians 2.11-14, the oft discussed collision between Paul and Peter in Antioch.  It is a fascinating scene that understandably flows out of the previous sections even as it captures the magnitude of the theme of Galatians as a book (what it means to have an identity rooted in Jesus and his righteousness, adding nothing else that restricts our freedom).

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Here are a few thoughts that will likely not be a major part of my sermon, or mentioned at all.

If you desire to listen to our series in Galatians, visit http://www.westvalleypres.org.

For your consideration:

The flow up to this text could be summarized like this…

In 1.11-24 – A GOSPEL NOT FROM MAN.  Paul is adamant that his gospel did not come from man, but from God by revelation of Christ.

In 2.1-10  – A GOSPEL CONFIRMED BY MAN.  Paul expands his declaration to include an acknowledgment that, while his gospel did not come from any man, he went up to Jerusalem after more than a decade of fruitful ministry (again by revelation) and received confirmation by man that indeed his gospel was from God!   He was affirmed in that the apostles added nothing to his gospel, and he was privileged to preserve it in their midst (2.4-5).

Now, in 2.11-14 – A GOSPEL WORTHY OF CONFRONTATION WITH MAN. Paul recounts a story in which Paul confronted his fellow Christian man (Peter of all people!) in defense of the truth of the gospel and the necessity that one walk in it, adding nothing to it.

Two questions that are worthy of thought…

First, was Peter acting with good intentions in his breaking table fellowship with the Gentiles upon the arrival of the “certain men from James” (which I take to be a delegation of Jerusalem Christian leaders)?

Some cannot fathom that Peter could so boldly deny his revelation in Acts 10, that he is not to call unclean that which God has made clean.  Thus, they propose that Peter was trying to do the right thing by way of the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem, who may have been dealing with factions of zealots who were opposed to the unrestricted table fellowship happening in places like Antioch, where the gospel of Jesus had taken root among Gentile and Jewish “Christians.”  See Acts 11 for clarification on how Gentile/Jew followers of Jesus were first called Christians.

Richard Longenecker, in his brilliantly technical commentary, makes the case that: It was simply a misguided tactical maneuver made under pressure, he became confused under pressure, could not bring himself to express his true convictions, and so found himself retreating from what he knew to be right.

Maybe.  To me, that sounds a bit minimizing.  Paul does not mince words in Galatians 2.11 when he says that he opposed Peter to his face, because he stood condemned (assumedly before God, in Paul’s view).  Even more, Paul describes Peter’s withdrawal from table fellowship as “separating” himself, a theological description of what happened (v.12).  And again, twice in v.13 Paul labels the behavior of Peter, Barnabas and others as hypocrisy.  This all was not in step with the truth of the  gospel (v.14).  There is hardly a minimization, dismissal, qualification by Paul for Peter’s actions!   Rather he uses the strongest semantics possible (condemnation, separation, hypocrisy, non-gospel) to make his case for the gravity of Peter’s actions.

Thus, I will be preaching and applying this from the vantage point that – IN THE MOMENT – something else ruled Peter’s heart/actions other than the magnificent gospel of Jesus that had also been revealed to him.  In the moment, Peter caved to an alternative passion.  This is not unlike our testimony of passionate Peter in other stages of his journey (consider Matthew 16 and his standing toe-to-toe to obstruct Jesus on the way to the cross; also Matthew 26 in his denial of Jesus at the cross).  I am all too like Peter.  In spite of what I believe to be true, confess to be true, long to be true … at unguarded moments I live my life guided by sabotaging “ruling passions” that are not in step with the truth of the gospel.  I need the body of Christ in relationship to show me my blindness.  My guess is that my congregation is no different. We need to weigh this text vis-a-vis our ruling passions as well.  God give us relationships under the umbrella of the truth of the gospel to uncover our deception and blindness for Jesus sake!

Second, why did Paul wait so long to call Peter out in front of other Antiochan Gentile/Jew Christians?  How long did Paul let this un-gospel separation continue before he spoke up?

On one level, we simply do not know how long Paul observed Peter’s “separation” before he publicly spoke up.  We do know, however, that sufficient time elapsed such that Barnabas and “the rest of the Jews” could fall in line with the hypocrisy.  Perhaps Paul waited to watch matters unfold to discern whether he should go to Peter privately (Matthew 18.15-18) or to pursue things publicly due to the communal defection at play.  We do not know.  I simply point out to you that on first read, it appears this whole incident occurs in one lunchroom encounter.  Having examined the text and extant reading, I am now convinced that this situation went on for some while such that it had time to permeate Barnabas and others before Paul was compelled to speak up on behalf of the gospel.

May God work through his Word studied and preached and heard in his local church, such that we will walk in step with the gospel and not bow IN THE MOMENT to our own ruling passions that sabotage what we know to be true in Jesus!

Peace.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

the sound of renewal

What is the sound of renewal?

What should we be listening for when God’s people gather as a collection of individuals all uniquely exposed to the renewal of the gospel in their lives? Or, what should I be listening for when I sit across a table at Starbucks, or Perk on Main (our local coffee shop), talking to a broken person whom God is redeeming in the present through the past work of Christ and the continual work of the Spirit?

I have been thinking about this.

I have been wrestling.

As regards West Valley PCA… we are a church that is growing.  Every Sunday when we gather, the critical mass is expanding such that the SOUND of our gathering should crescendo just the same.  But what is that sound?  What is the sound of a people gathered by God, whom he has been renewing daily, personally, and thus corporately?  How does renewal sound when we call to God in worship, or sing in celebration, or collectively repent in liturgical prayers?  How does renewal sound in small groups and coffee shop meetings?

I want to know the sound of renewal that grumbles within people.

We should know the sound of renewal that the gathered of God should be known for.

While pondering all this, I happened upon Ezra 3.  Immediately, I knew I was being informed by the Word of God about the SOUND of RENEWAL.  This is the hope of my soul… that I would pastor a church that has the acoustics of redemption.  That my family would sound this way… and be part of the sound.

It’s an honest sound, to say the least.  But let me not analyze it…I will leave the Word of God to you.  The context of Ezra 3 is simple: God’s people have been brought back from exile, and are privileged (by the decree of Cyrus) to rebuild the temple which had been destroyed.  Upon the completion of the new foundation, the people all gathered in worship.  They were back in the land promised them by God!  They were together!  They were experiencing a renewal of God’s plan and place and presence!  What was that sound???

Ezra 3.10-13 – And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord… they sang responsively, praising God and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”  And all the people SHOUTED with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, WEPT with a loud voice… so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.

Yep.  That sounds about right.  God’s people, renewed by God yet struggling because it is all still so broken, so imperfect, so not quite finished.  Yeah, to me as the pastor of West Valley PCA and as a man and husband and father… what I hear from the renewed is all so, indistinguishable.  People weeping as they long for MORE, God, please MORE!  People shouting as they taste freedom and see the glory of God in their lives for the first time.  That is the life.

Sounds like renewal to me.  Sounds like reality til Jesus returns and the weeping fades away (Revelation 21)…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

retreat (without running away)

this is a  “retreat week” for me.  I find it to be very ironic, that the more I intentionalize “retreating” from the regular demands of church work, the more my heart is engaged.  Hmm. 

What I mean is this – tomorrow I leave for a retreat in the Poconos with pastors.  To make it a retreat week, I am “pulpit swapping” with our mother church pastor so that he and I can both “retreat” from sermon prep work and preach a recycled sermon in one another’s pulpits.  That has allowed me 15-20 hours extra this week – to meet with men from our church, to read, to clear the desk of the last 4 months debri, etc.  And in so doing, I feel I am running toward the ministry of West Valley with clarity and joy.  Weird, retreating away from the daily tasks and yet more intune with the task of ministry itself.  It must take a “retreat” week to step back and see things clearly… 

It gets even better.  What a week for a snow storm… RETREAT home to play in the snow with kids, etc…

Some pastoral buddies of mine are on their “sabbatical year” – getting to take 4 month retreats with their family.  Well deserved and very important, so I see.  I guess that, technically, I am 4 1/2 years from earning that sort of retreat.  But I’ll take a week here and there… to run from it all that I might run toward it with joyous submission. 

I guess all I am saying is that exhaustion from ministry is not necessary linked to intentionality in ministry.  Good lesson to learn young man.

Tagged , , ,

what God is doing

A friend of mine recently said to me that he thinks faith is what broken and unbelieving people (whom we have seen at West Valley PCA church plant) are curious about.  Faith… what to believe in?  Then he made the observation that hope is what believers long for… people who attend our churches, who sit in our small groups, who maybe read the Bible daily and pray before meals – they long for hope… “Show me God that this is making a transforming change in my life…”  I hope, anyway.  Transforming me from the inside-out – my anxieties, addictions, depressions, obsessions… I hope, anyway.

Well, I blog today filled with hope that has renewed my faith.  How’s that for a combo?  God is at work!  He is at work in his church through Christ, through his Word, and through his people.  He is at work in family and self… 

A few weeks ago I attended my favorite – the Workshop on Biblical Expostion (Simeon Trust, see links), and since my return, my Word-work for Sunday sermons has been transforming.  Actually ,the times in the Word are slower, filled with more struggle, checking and rechecking context… slow to apply to modern life – and God, through the work, has given POWERFUL textual links to my life and family and our congregation.  God is at work in his Word!  O, and Ecclesiastes is an awesome mess of a book – mirroring its message, and connecting with the magnanimous mess of the people/world to which we are seeking to engage with the gospel.  God is at work!

He is so at work in our family and personal life – bringing us glimpses of new life out of the funk for his glory and service… that I am content to say nothing in reflection.  How’s that for different.  Yeah, I know. 

We were told that church planting would put us in the line of fire and that spiritual attack would be unlike any we knew… Wish they would’ve told us more.  But thanks to God for showing us personal immaturity, giving us new patterns, and now we open our eyes and realize that the gospel is our HOPE of transformation, even as our faith has been tested more than I thought possible as a “pastor/church planter.”   Hope is… well, not just a word. 

Truly, it is as if (Ephes. 1:18ff) “we have had the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what is the hope to which we have been called…”  And you know what, the whole “weak christian” concept I have wrestled with over the years – am I being too emphatic on the power and discovery of the gospel in moments of weakness?  It has proved realistic for me these past 4 months.  There is a God whose gospel of transformation is real.  It is not real for me apart from my being so desperate, so parched, so scared, so worried, so pushed, so attacked, and so weak – as we have been in these launching days of West Valley.

Today do I feel strong and ready for the glorious task of where God is taking West Valley PCA?  No, I don’t feel strong!  I do have HOPE that transformation in this life under the sun is possible according to the work of God, through his Word and his revelation/power shown us in Christ! 

Amen and Amen.  Come Lord Jesus.

Below is a snipet from our recent prayerletter sent to the prayer and financial partners of WVPC – if you are desirous of learning a bit more of God’s work on the churchplant front.

  __________________

Allow me to share this update.  We are still meeting at our Main Street store-front location, and are in process of reconfiguring the space to fit 150 rather than 100 chairs.  Very needed!  We have been blessed of late to have web-connected, friend-connected, and not-so-random-connected visitors who have returned time and again.  We continue to study the sobering book of Ecclesiastes, salivating more and more for the redemption promised us in Christ from a world filled with futility, vanity and suffering.  We currently have four Community Groups gathering weekly in homes with approximately 25 family units represented.  The goal of our Community Groups is transformation through the Word in a context of safety and exposure among God’s people.   In tandem with our Community Groups, our ladies have begun multiple small groups to study “Gospel Transformation” (World Harvest Mission) and we have finally begun our College Student Adoption as 5-6 families have been linked to pairs of students.   

 

Organizationally, we are on the front end of reassessing our Sunday morning Kids Ministry (due to energy-stewardship and discipleship-effectiveness).  What to do with the responsibility of 40+ kids?!   To help with this and other strategic decisions, we are forming an Advisory Team of men and women who will help “assess and advise” the needs and direction of West Valley, giving on-the-ground thoughts to our provisional session, which is made up of sacrificial elders from regional presbytery churches.  This Advisory group will be a brain-Spirit trust to discuss issues such as our rented facility (Is it working?  Is there a better option?), kids ministry discipleship (Are we effective? Are we burning people out?), etc.  In addition to the strategic formation of an Advisory Team, our session of elders is also prayerfully discussing how to effectively shepherd God’s people as needs and people are mounting (beyond what I have wisdom/capacity/experience for)!  It is not easy for a plurality of elders to shepherd God’s people, when the majority of the plurality are not in the vicinity!  Please pray for us.  In one respect, however, my pastoral role of shepherding and textual study has already been greatly enhanced.  We have hired a part-time Administrative Manager!   Alex is finishing his Bachelor’s degree in business, and while in school, he is using his budding business acumen to organize our office for the sake of stewardship and effectiveness.  Already, this has enabled me to rediscover and prioritize the prayer, expositional preaching (study!) and shepherding tasks of this glorious calling.  Will you pray for wisdom as we discern the changing stages of West Valley’s maturation – that we might structure and prioritize ourselves in a way that enhances our obedience to Christ and helps fulfill our vision for his glory?  These are exciting and uncharted organizational waters (at least for me)!

 

So, having said all that, where are we as a church?  We are in the wilderness.  You may find us in coffee shops, the grocery store, our places of work (hospitals, banks, offices, shops), out sledding if the weather’s right, or at our homes among a myriad of children.  You surely can find us at 322 Main Street in Emmaus on Sunday mornings!  But make no mistake by the thankful and exciting report above… we are in the wilderness.  An artsy-town/sprawling suburban wilderness.   Revelation 12:6 describes the wilderness like this: “and the woman (church) fled to the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished.”  So there you have it.  We are in the nourishing wilderness.  Right now it happens to look like a Main Street church plant of people who meet in Community Groups to study the Word and who are in process of organizing…  But in a deeper sense, we are simply being nourished and preserved by God in our corner of this earthly wilderness where, indeed, there is a tumult of pain and brokenness and temptation and sin.  God is nourishing us by his gospel, by his Word, and by his people until the day when Christ who has ascended to the throne of God (Rev. 12:5) returns to set up his kingdom.  Come Lord Jesus Come!

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

learning where I’ve been

Monday night, I took out the trash – and like in the movies – looked to my right, and my neighbor Wil and I were synchronized in our husbandry.  Two dads simultaneously taking out the trash at 10:45pm.

“I like your beard,”  he said.  “It makes your eyes pop.”

To which I said, “Don’t ever tell me that again.” (or something)

Then I told him that it has nothing to do with a beard.  Maybe its because I haven’t been a person for about the past 6 months.  You see that in peoples eyes, right?  Distance, disengaged, empty.  So now my eyes pop, and neighborhood men have noticed.  Sweet.

Actually, he’s right.  I feel a bit like Paul in Acts 9, after his conversion encounter with the resurrected Christ (not conveying that I have recently been converted).  After he had been stricken with blindness at the appearance of Christ, Ananias was sent to say to him, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  After which Scripture says, immediately something like scales fell from his eyes.  Maybe passerbys taking out their trash noticed the change in his eyes.  Or was it the beard?

Seriously, I am daily learning where I have been.  Something like scales are coming off of my spiritual eyes as I feel like the calcification of my heart is chipping away.  I can weep for people, pray with people, study Scripture to preach to people… and all to discover Christ who alone can cure blindess. 

It’s weird to feel like I can see again, because now I want to look back to figure out where Ive been in the months of launching out West Valley PCA (www.westvalleypres.org).  But its hard to look back to where you’ve been when – at the time – I wasn’t seeing much of anything.

O God, help my eyes to pop.  My tears to flow.  Your heart to care.  My eyes to read.  Your Word to convict. 

Maybe the patchy beard is here to stay…

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

home is where the hard is

ok, so i haven’t blogged in 2 weeks.  Longest draught, I think. 

May I simply say that God is gracious and good.  He has given us a promise of his finished work in Christ – and life is well… hard as we anticipate the final fulfillment of that finished work!  The grace of God has hit home over the past 2 weeks.   Literally.  Before we went on vacation to South Carolina, I was tired and joyless, judgmental and and anxious…  it was hard.  By proxy, the hardness of churchplanting details that revealed the hardness of my heart made it so that “home is where the hard is.”  It seemed that in every conversation, Kori and I were tracking through something difficult and distressing… deceived into thinking that life has to be this HARD! 

Well, since vacation God has revealed something profound.  In the home, hardness of life is the catalyst of true heart-to-heart honesty and dependence!  Home is where our hearts are dependently one, precisely because home is where the HARD things in life are meant to be dealt with.  I confess that prior to our needed rest and relax, the hard details of people and planning and pride (not always in that order) associated with West Valley Church Plant made life in the home of Jim Powell unbearably hard.  But now, by seeking to give ourselves to one another – seeing we NEED one another, confessing our sighs and groans toward the complexity of one another … the home has been where the heart is.  Thank you God.  You are greater than the heart (1 John 3:20).  Jesus, thank you that you are interceding right now for your people… in our congregations, in our homes, in our jobs, in our churchplants!

More info will be coming… but pray for the Powells and West Valley PCA church plant.  We are launching our preview services (aka family worship) with 70-80 people on Sunday Sept. 14.  Much to do before then… and even more dependent prayer to be given.  There are forty adults and forty kids who are weak and needy of a God who will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.  Many of the homes of these folks are hard right now – kids in new schools, family distress, relational angst in moving out from the mother church and her security… pray for our homes and hearts and humility to surrender to God in this season of flexibility. 

Time to be done.  My allotted time to blog is now ove

Tagged , , ,

yes he did

I have a good friend who is a pca licentiate.  He filled the pulpit this weekend at Cornerstone pca, the mother church of West Valley pca… the church for which I am on staff for another 27 days and counting.  Yes he did… yes, he preached from the book of Numbers.  (quite a narrative book but rarely exposited)  What a text, what a sermon – and why did he have to preach such an obvious God-ordained text for my needs and fears and rebellion?!!

Numbers 14 is a narrative about God’s people on the edge of the promiseland, griping about why God should have just left them enslaved in Egypt.  Then Caleb and Joshua stand among them and declare a simple message:  “Do not rebel.  Do not fear.  The Lord is with us.”   The people didn’t want to hear the message of reminder, so they sought to stone them.  “But the glory of the Lord appeared.”  As my friend John preached: the fortunate thing for us is that whenever we are in the place of rebellion, the glory of God does not diminish.  The nature of the KING is unchanged. 

More than once in his sermon, John paralleled the promiseland to the “West Valley” – the target area of our church plant.  The application was startlingly simple and offensive – we have scouted the land.  We have done our demographic research.  We have sought the Lord for a vision of his kingdom through his local church…  BUT I feel like I am now standing on the edge saying, “Wouldn’t it just have been easier to not sought God for such a big vision.”  “Wouldn’t it be better just to fold up and not try – this churchplanting thing might crush us.”  “Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay at Cornerstone and not venture out on this faith risk.  Have you seen it out there?  There are giants in the land!!!” 

Then the message comes through.  The Lord is with us.  Do not fear.  Do not rebel, but step out in faith – for God has given us his glory such that he is ahead of us, behind us, over us and in us.  He has been faithful in the past – so move out in faith anticipating his faithfulness in the present!

Thankyou God for your Word.  Thank you for your Word preached.  Thank you for calling us to the edge to take us by faith into the unknown.  The time is now.  May I not rebel in fear.  May we not rebel in fear.  Show us your glory.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

authority, what authority?

This morning I was reading in Titus. 

To young Titus, Paul gives an interesting instruction: “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority” (2:15).  What authority does Titus possess?  And what are “these things” which he was to declare?  

Perhaps he was to declare what follows in the subsequent verses.  Paul clearly instructs Titus with the kinds of exhortations he ought to prepare himself to give to God’s people – to be obedient, to avoid quareling, to be gentle, to be kind toward all people (especially the foolish and disobedient, who are just as we once were before the grace of God saved us).   He may be young.  He may be inexperienced.  However, such were the words of exhortation and even rebuke that Titus the minister of God must declare “with all authority.”  Indeed, the only authority in the church is declarative.

But, as I check the text, I wonder if it is not the paragraph that precedes 2:15 which chronicles what Titus was to declare with all authority… they are words SOLELY about the grace of the gospel.  The gospel which has brought salvation.  The gospel that trains God’s people to renounce ungodliness and worldliness, the gospel that trains us to responsively live self-controlled lives as we anticipate the consummation of the gospel – the blessed hope of Christ’s return to call his children home and to FULLY redeem us from all lawlessness.  The gospel that we are a people of God’s own possession… who in gracious thankfulness for grace are to be zealous for good works!  That is the task of Titus – to declare the fullness of the gospel with all authority!   Whose authority?  The authority of Christ who possess us! 

I only blog this because at the present moment, I am finding myself wrestling uncomfortably with the ‘authority’ position in which I find myself.  I am a church planter leading a people to establish a gospel-centered and dependent local church in the west valley of the Lehigh Valley.  I am – in this moment of my life’s short history – called by God to “declare things, to exhort and rebuke, with all authority.”  “With all authority” means “without trying to make people like you.”  It means, “without trying to be visibly successful, just faithful.” 

What a reminder to people in pastoral ministry… our role is to declare the gospel with all authority because the authority of the gospel is what sandwiches us in our calling, just as the gospel sandwiches Paul’s word to Titus in Titus 2:15 (consider 2:11-14 and 3:1-7).

It is only when I rest fully on the gospel to deliver me from my sin and wickedness that I have a chance of speaking authoritatively in conformity to God’s Word… because only through the gospel is there no looking over my shoulder to see who likes me or pets me or scratches my selfish-itch. 

I praise God with confidence today.  Confidence in my pastoral/planting role…  “all authority” was given to Jesus to send his church out (Mt. 28:19-20) … and now I am to join Christ’s church throughout the ages as I declare “with all authority” his name, his news, his gospel to this time, this people, this place, this church plant in the West Valley!  

 

Tagged , , , ,

new bible and a timeless assessment tool

I have this thing for new Bibles.  Kind of like a shoe fettish – as a man, I apparently have that too.  Well, yesterday I was in Westminster Seminary’s gargantuan book store and I found it.  The ESV has finally put out a small (smaller than the thinline) personal sized reference Bible.  One column, not two.  References in the middle.  Not excessively small print.  Fits in my computer bag without breaking my back.  Very nice. 

It is really very sad that I get excited to study from my new Bible, as if I expect to find anything new.  But I am.  I have been assessing Bibles for a time, looking for that ‘smaller computer bag-sized reference Bible.’  My assessment and patience has paid off.  OR has it? 

Interesting enough – I am not qualified as a sinner to assess Scripture.  I can assess Bible covers, but that’s about it.  What I can do is assess the world and its spiritual state with Scripture.  Even more, I am called of God to let Scripture assess me.  Daily.  All of me.  (Is this NOT a purpose for which God has effectively sent his Word – Isaiah 55:11?)

Which brings up another intersting point.  Assessment.  Most of you know that Kori and I went to the PCA Assessment Center in February.  We are still reeling and growing.  When I returned and shared with some close confidants all that God ‘assessed of me’ – many people said, “I wish I (or my marriage) could go through an honest assessment to discover much more of who I really am (not just who I think I am).”  My rersponse is – are you sure?!?!?! 

Assessment should be experienced by all of us in Christ’s body.  And, for one – Scripture is our assessment tool if we would let God, through his Spirit, convict us and show us ourselves in his Word.  But secondarily, I think it’ll work!  I have recently discovered some spiritual health assessment tools that, if combined with other things – might lend themselves to a local church personal and marriage proctology exam (I mean assessment). 

Wouldn’t that be something – for West Valley Presbyterian Church Plant to begin as a kingdom body that isn’t just the NEW and exciting thing (kind of like my new Bible) but rather a body that does something new with God’s timeless grace-centered assessment tool – his Word.  And we ACTUALLY intentionally create an environment where we help one another assess blind spots, and marital break-down points, and foundational-parenting-cracks as we all together – learning more and more of our weakness, depend more and more on the gospel that is only discovered through God’s assessment tool – his Word of LIFE.

I need to stop now.  I am not even thinking.   in,   sentences

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

West Valley Presbyterian Church Plant

west valley church plant office

Check it out… there we will be.  The first floor office on the left (slightly hidden)!  We are so thankful for the opportunity to already be “in” the downtown as Emmaus is renovating its artsy center.  New retail spaces.  Newly renovated store exteriors.  A newly landscaped “triangle.”

We are in the process of painting and designing the space – such that it will be useful and warm and a place for community rest.  My hope is that we will be able to host the work of various local artists inside our office, such that we get walkthru traffic simply by saying: “come check out our local art.”  What an opportunity to display the creation of those in our community who are reflecting the image of their Creator.   What an inroad for conveying the gospel that redeems all things! 

I have spent the week working on my fundraising “packet” – letters and funding plans and demographic/personal bios.  If all goes as planned, we will mail many out next week!  If you know of anyone who would desire to participate in a kingdom church plant in the North East, please send them my way!  jim@cornerstonepca.net

God is at work in the admistrating this HUGE transition.  Pray for Cornerstone families who are praying about surrendering to the call of church planting.  Pray for a sacrificial spirit to suppress all of our “preferences” as we jointly prefer to plant a church to God’s liking!  A church OF the broken that is FOR the broken in our community BEFORE him who binds up the broken hearted! 

Tagged , , , , ,