Pastor's Note

September 5, 2020

Would you consider joining me in praying for all of the teachers and kids going back to school this week? The start of the school year is already challenging for so many young people (and their teachers) and I cannot imagine the added stress and complexity trying to readjust in the midst of a pandemic. We’re praying for you! 
I think we’re all a little surprised to see the ripples of COVID-19 last this long. And it’s not only made the opening of schools complex... it’s made life as a whole more complex. I know I haven’t been at my best (but that might be the stress of wedding planning) and I’m guessing you don’t feel like you’ve been the best you, either. We’re all feeling it.
That’s why we’re starting a new sermon series called “How to Have a Bad Time in a Pandemic.” Why this title, you might ask? Well, despite the fact that we would most likely prefer not have a bad time in a pandemic, many of us end up unintentionally or accidentally making decisions in our lives that lead to an even worse time! We’ll be talking about four key areas in our lives that have the potential to lead to bad times... or good times. It’s all in how we approach it. 
I’m excited to be tackling this topic, and hope to see you online!
Posted by Chris Abel

July 18

Have you ever had a “right place, right time” moment? This week Beth, Reeses (our Miniature Dachshund) and I were walking out at Lake Remembrance (which is beautiful!) and a little girl came running up to us screaming “Weiner Dog!” Mom, of course, was right behind and it turns out they’re obsessed with Doxie’s too! Long story short, they connected us with a friend who just had puppies and before the end of our walk, we had reserved a 3-day old little girl to add to our little dog family. We’ll be getting her right after our honeymoon in late September! 
I drove home after this thinking how different my life looks now that I’m engaged and about to be married. I never thought I’d have a dog (or two half dogs), a garden, or the responsibilities that come with considering how your decisions impact another person! But sometimes events happen in our lives that change us. Not just with puppies, but with who we are as people. And I had this realization: The commitments we make shape us into different versions of ourselves. 
This is the same reason I require any couple I marry to go through some sort of pre-marital counseling. Beth and I are doing this, and I’m even requiring her sister and future brother-in-law to do this when I officiate their ceremony in October! Why? Because the commitments we make shape us into different versions of ourselves. And that process can be messy. And challenging. And I’m guessing that getting married doesn’t turn you into the perfect husband or wife overnight. (You married folks can confirm or deny). It takes work—and might even be considered a struggle!
And faith can be like this, too. Being a Christian is a commitment that transforms and shapes you into a different version of yourself. But that process isn’t necessarily easy, either. It takes work—and might also be considered a struggle. Which is what we’re looking at this weekend for part three of our series, How to Fight. How do we fight ourselves? How do we become the people we need to be? 
I hope you’ll be joining us online or in-person as we tackle this important topic! 
Pastor Chris
Posted by Chris Abel

July 12, 2020

I’m writing this pastors note in-between two funerals this weekend. Truth is, when I found out I’d be coming to our church last year, it was the funerals that intimidated me more than anything else. Not only did it seem depressing, but I was worried about making mistakes in the midst of a family’s grief. No one needs an amateur pastor when they’ve just lost a loved one! 
But to my surprise, I’ve actually come to cherish these moments. There’s something beautiful about sitting down with the family and friends of a person, of hearing stories of their life and how much of an impact they made, and helping capture their spirit for a simple service. Even in the face of a family’s grief and loss, it can be some of the most authentic and meaningful parts of being a pastor. 
These moments also make me see my own life through a different lens. The conflicts I have seem more trivial. The grudges, easier to let go of. The stresses I carry suddenly seem lighter, and my relationships more important. Solomon actually writes in the book of Ecclesiastes that it’s better to go to a funeral than a party… and I think this is why. Every time I experience these moments, I become more intentional with my own life. 
Which is also why our sermon series is so important. Assuming you don’t get to plan funerals on a regular basis, you probably don’t get the advantage of seeing the end of people’s lives often, and you also probably don’t get the constant reminder that the things we so often fight about… aren’t as important at the end of our lives. Now imagine if you could handle your current conflicts with that mindset. Your life would most likely look different than it currently does!
But good news, you don’t have to grow old or become a pastor to get that perspective! Join us this weekend as we dive into Jacob’s story and learn from his life about How to Fight. This week’s topic? The father-in-law… You might just be surprised at the family conflict Jacob gets himself into… again. 
Much love!
P.S. Have you had a chance to sign up for our Zoom Bible study? It’s just 3 weeks and begins Tuesday! Hope you’ll join us!
P.P.S. School might look different this year, but that’s not stopping us from collecting supplies for kids in need. Consider dropping off some school supplies tomorrow morning from 9am-12! (Details below)
Posted by Chris Abel