September 6, 2020

Paul’s Road Map

Passage: Romans 12:9-21

Only four more weeks and I will no longer be your pastor.

So, this is probably a good time for some reminiscing on our time together.

A good time to reflect on what God has given us the grace to accomplish over the past seven years of serving our God together.

So, let’s do that, let’s reflect together on what God’s grace has enabled to do as a Christian community:

We grew numerically, thankfully our Sunday worship attendance has grown slowly but steadily over the years.

During our time together paid ministry time grew.

Growing from 50% to 90%, and next year, God willing, you will call a full-time minister.

Another important marker of the progress of our ministry together is the establishment of the LPC Enduring Legacy Fund, which will help support the ongoing ministry of LPC.

Our support of the many ministries of the PCC has grown through the increases in our contributions to Presbyterians Sharing.

Our congregation has generously funded Shepherd’s House and supported this important ministry to the marginalized with willing volunteers.

We have also funded LMH, a hospital in Malawi, VST our local theological college, and many more worthy causes.

But these are all numbers, numbers that have thankfully all been moving in the right direction – up.

And these numbers are meaningful in that they point to the increase in the blessing of God on our ministry together.

But let’s not just think about the numerical changes that we have been through together.

Let’s ask ourselves, “Have there been any other changes here at LPC?”

Changes like an increase in our love, joy and peace?

Changes like growth in our hope for our future as a congregation?

Changes like a renewal in our energy for ministry?

The short answer to all these questions is, “Yes!”

When you called me to be your pastor, I found a congregation still in the process of healing from the pain of past conflicts.

Under the ministry of the Rev. Terry Hibbert things here were on the up-swing, much healing had happened.

But many in the congregation, not all, felt like as a group we were: too old, too few and too tired to take on any new challenges.

Many of us felt that we had “been there done” and that it was someone else’s turn to do the heavy lifting of ministry.

Over the years, this feeling has lifted from our midst.

Today, thanks to God’s grace, we live together as an encouraged congregation, one willing to step out in faith and take on the challenge of doing ministry together.

We have been blessed with new brothers and sisters in our midst.

In fact we have a whole new congregation, the folks from the Restoration Community Church who work with us; help us meet our budget and increase our ability to bless our neighbours with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Together we have found new energy for ministry.

Energy that manifests itself in our expanded congregational life in the form of events such as: Men’s Breakfast, Shrove Tuesday worship and pancake supper, youth group (before our youth aged out of the program), our congregational picnic.

Bible study became part of our life together.

A spiritual formation group gelled and met faithfully until the pandemic struck.

Our pastoral care team formed and actively served those in need of encouragement and care.

All of these events, gatherings and groups have added to our sense of community, have built up the cohesiveness of our congregation and have advanced us down the path of what I am calling today, “Paul’s Road Map” to finding blessed congregational life.

In the twelve short verses that we just read from the book of Romans, the apostle Paul lays out a perfect plan, an excellent road map for living together as the Body of Christ.

It is my prayer for this congregation, already well on your way on the journey, already showing great progress in living into Paul’s roadmap, that you “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”

In so doing God will continue to bless the life and work of LPC as you reach out in love to one another, to your community and to God’s good but broken world.

In the coming months God will assuredly send you a new pastor who you can love and support as you have loved and supported my family and I.

To that end an interim moderator has been appointed for you, the Rev. Willem van de Wall, of Cooke’s Church Chilliwack.

Rev. Willem will work with your session to establish a search committee, who will do the work of discerning who God is even now calling to be your new minister.

Now is a time of great hope and renewal for LPC.

You are on the verge of an exciting new era in your life together.

This week I ask that you spend time reflecting on Paul’s words for us today.

Pause each day to examine your heart in light of Paul’s wise and healing words.

Prayerfully dedicate yourself anew to learning and doing all that Paul taught us in today’s lesson.

Pray this week and seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit as to how you may humble yourself by doing God’s will in blessing your sisters and brothers.

Wait and pray with me over the remaining few weeks of my tenure here.

In the days to come, let the Lord speak his peace to you.

Let Jesus touch you again with his tender love.

In prayer and solitude bow before your God asking the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart for that which is about to happen in your life and in the life of this congregation, which is so beloved of God.

Wait with your Lord and watch in faith and hope as your God continues to lead you in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.