Pastor's Blog
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October 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

What a Weekend!

What a weekend we just had! Two weddings, two funerals, and three worship services in 48 hours! I feel tired just reading what I've typed! Congratulations to Mike and Georgia and Kurtis and Alyssa - newly weds on this Tuesday morning! Deep sympathy and many prayers for Lane Grafton and family, and the family of Earl Alt as they adjust to living without loved ones who were so central to life. And thanks to more people than I can name here for enabling our worship experiences to be filled with love and joy, compassion and care. 

Someone asked me yesterday if I went home on Sunday and collapsed after the busy weekend. I confess I expected to, but that's not what happened. Oh I was tired - but not as tired as I thought I'd be. I actually did not take a nap - I had a bite to eat and then started reading an assignment for an online continuing education class I am taking. Imagine that!

Part of me is celebrating and crediting being in a good place health-wise at the moment as the reason for my "not-completely-spent-ness." But as I think about it, the bigger part of me celebrates and credits the church being the church as the reason I was not entirely exhausted. The church as Bev Lehman and the funeral meal teams. The church as Luann Valdesalice and Katie Aaron who made sure the wedding details were cared for. The church as Sam Wagner who, as always, provided extraordinary care and support for grieving families and celebrated the life of Ginni Grafton with joy, sensitivity and excellence. The church as musicians - choir and pianists and organists - and servants to run the audio/visual equipment - all who willing gave of themselves in response to God's goodness and grace in their lives. The church as Amy Dick who added two additional bulletins to an already busy week. The church as Bill Latchaw who made sure the building was perfectly presentable for each event. 

See that's how the church as the body of Christ is intended to work: "Now to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good...The body is a unit, though it's made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ....If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." (1Cor. 12:7,12,26) 

That's what I saw at work this weekend - the church being the church. Yes I was tired - but I was more energized by watching the church be the church - have been for 30 years now. The most rewarding and awe inspiring thing about ministry for me is watching YOU live as the people Jesus redeemed you to be. 

What a weekend we had.................indeed..........

Keep Lookin' Up!

Pastor D.



Comments

10-15-2014 at 5:46 PM
Dick Shaner
God bless you and our work! Pray persistently!
10-15-2014 at 1:37 PM
Pam Kilgore
Continued prayers from WV for strength, stamina and the unction of God to all from Dave to the sweet smiles on the children of the Christ church family, that minister to the community and the world. Your reach is far more that you can know, carry on brothers and sisters in Jesus.
10-15-2014 at 7:47 AM
Katie Aaron
I am always amazed and thankful as I see how our people look out for each other and work together in ways that could only come from the love of Jesus Christ they have in their hearts. It WAS an amazing weekend. We all needed each other.... an encouraging word and smile, a hug, praying together, and knowing that we are the hands and feet of Jesus...these are just a few of the ties that holds us together as a church with a strong foundation. Thank you Pastors David and Sam for being good leaders and examples of what it means to really care about each other and work together as the body of Christ.
10-14-2014 at 3:14 PM
Sharon
BEAUTIFULLY written!! BUT you MUST take care of yourself, too!!

Thank you for being you!!
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October 1, 2014, 8:00 PM

Urgent Things...

I have had writing this blog on my to do list for about three weeks now. When we made the move to this new website I intended to write a new entry at least once a week - twice if possible. But as I type these words it's been almost a full month since I've put anything new on here. I could offer any number of excuses, I suppose - family things, denominational responsibilities, an active and growing church...

But when it comes right down to it, I've simply allowed other things to take precedence over writing. Some of those things undoubtedly could have waited - postponed at the least. But then there are the things that will not - and at times can not - be ignored: persons in crisis, marriages collapsing, families dealing with the death of a loved one, still other families facing serious economic challenges, and the ever present battle with illnesses. These types of things do not come "on schedule" and when they arrive, they are often in the "urgent" category: they require immediate attention, meaning other things have to be laid aside. 

But here's the challenge: the things I often lay aside are the very things that nurture my connection to the One in whom I find wisdom and strength to deal with the urgent matters that come my way. Things like prayer and time in scripture. "God will understand," I tell myself. "After all, I'm doing his work, caring for his people."  And because we serve a God of unlimited and unconditional  grace, he does understand. BUT he usually finds creative ways to remind me that my ability to handle the tyranny of the urgent is absolutely connected to the strength of my connection to him - a connection rooted in and nourished by faithfully practicing the means of grace. 

It comes back to an image we looked at over the summer - a plastic fishing tackle box with multiple compartments. If our God-connection is one of many compartments in our lives, then it becomes easily laid aside for other things, some urgent, but many not so much. But the Bible is pretty clear - our God connection is not to be a compartment of our lives - it is intended to be the box in which all compartments of our lives reside and find their meaning (take a look at Matthew 22:34-40). 

So is your God-connection a life compartment, or is it the box in which your life resides? The answer to that question will have huge impact on how you handle the tyranny of the urgent that finds its way into all of our lives, sooner or later............

Think on these things, and remember...

Keep Lookin' Up!

Pastor D. 



Comments

10-02-2014 at 4:32 PM
Pat Mann
Excellent blog. I've found that when the "unexpected" comes into my life, and I deal with it; God rewards me with "unexpected" blessings for tuning in to him. Thanks, Pastor.
10-02-2014 at 6:52 AM
Sharon Chandler
I've been tracking the "visitors" to your blog--folks are reading them!! Thank you for your faithfulness to Christ and the church!!
10-02-2014 at 4:31 AM
Joy
Thank you cause I have been doing this a lot lately!!!! Thanks for the insight
10-01-2014 at 10:19 PM
Dick
Enjoyed you comments as usual. Keep them coming! God bless.
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September 4, 2014, 8:00 PM

Funny People...

Joan Rivers died today - the second "funny person" we've lost in the last 30 days, Robin Williams being the first. One of the many quotes from Joan that's been floating around Facebook today is this one: "I've had so much plastic surgery, when I die they'll donate my body to Tupperware." (I can see the smile on your face......)  

Why do we love people who can make us laugh?

Even when those people's personal lives seem filled with "demons." Robin Williams battled addiction and severe depression, and let's face it, Joan was down right mean at times. But those things fade in the presence of a gift that can create such a deep "belly laugh" that our faces turn red, tears run down our cheeks and a stitch develops in our side. Maybe laughter is a release we all need sometimes. Maybe things that make us laugh take our minds off of life that has gotten too serious. Maybe people who make us laugh are cherished because they can take the ordinary parts of our stress filled lives and help us see them with a twist - and the "perform perfectly" pressure we put on ourselves much of the time eases, even if it's just for a few seconds. 

Or is it deeper than that?

I guess I sense joy present when God created the world. Is it possible that laughter allows the joy that was in the heart of God when he created us to surface every once in a while? Remember, Genesis tells us that God created human beings "in the image of God." (Gen. 1:27) How many different Psalms call us to "sing for JOY to the Lord?" (see Psalm 95) Joy is a fruit - evidence of - the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) Read the final two chapters of Revelation and try not to feel joyful about the ultimate victory of God and his purpose for creation.  So if joy is part of God, it's reasonable to think it's part of us, too...and maybe laughter is actually a gift from God that plugs us into a core component of what it means to be human. 

Maybe more on this later.......but what do YOU think? As always...

Keep Lookin' Up!

Pastor D.



Comments

12-09-2014 at 12:40 PM
Lynn H.
laughter is good medicine! Gods creation I'm sure.
10-01-2014 at 10:02 PM
shannon hoffman
You have given all of us this gift many times, Pastor David! I can think of several occasions when i have laughed myself into tears at Christ Church! What a blessing! It's the best feeling in the world to just let go and laugh once in a while, especially nowadays when life has a way of dragging us down into dark places. Thank you for the laughter!
09-18-2014 at 3:18 PM
Colleen Holtz
I got on the website to request prayer for Beth Stanish. While on the site I read both Message From the Pastor and The Pastor's Blog. How refreshing they both are. I'm going to see a friend tonight that I've asked over and over again to come to church. I'm going to tell her to read your message and that I hope to see her Sunday! Thank you for another opportunity!
09-05-2014 at 11:16 PM
Stephen J. "Steve" Osgood
I think at times the Lord himself slaps his leg and laughs, and tries in vain to speak to us and say something like, "Steve, what in the world were you thinking of?" Laughter is good for the soul. Smile, Do something good, and make the day count.
09-05-2014 at 11:44 AM
Sharon Chandler
I LOVE being around folks that are happy and make me laugh. Thank you for making me think about this!!

God's blessings to all who read this.
09-05-2014 at 9:53 AM
Chuck Porter
When we make someone else laugh, we laugh with them. So we both benefit from the laughter, and we enjoy it together.
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August 11, 2014, 9:23 AM

Soaring...

So it's the first day of our 2014 summer vacation. I'm sitting on the front porch enjoying the morning. I hear a "screech," look up, and see some type of bird of prey riding the thermals circling above the trees. I know we have an ample supply of red tail hawks in our area, so I figured that's what I was seeing. But then the bird circled closer, and I realized it was bigger than a hawk. I moved from the porch to the front sidewalk to get a better look. Now I can see that the bird - by this time circling directly over our front yard - is an eagle! When I was growing up in the southwestern corner of our state, eagles were something you had to travel a ways to see - some place far away like Alaska. Now, living in northwestern Pa - for reasons far more complex than I understand - eagle sitings are a much more regular part of our everyday lives. But this is the first time I have seen one directly over our house.

The majestic, magnificent, powerful animal - calling consistently to something - soared effortlessly, I imagine searching for one minute movement that might indicate "breakfast." What has always fascinated me about birds that ride the thermals is the way they use the power the processes of the earth provide to give them the energy they need to soar and see the landscape before them. Using the "mechanics" God has given them (wings, feathers...etc) they connect with the winds always in action around them, and allow those breezes to provide the platform for them to engage their world.

Reminds me of familiar words from the prophet Isaiah:.. "those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (40:31) God invites you and me to direct our hope (other translations use the word "trust") to Him - to connect with the winds of His Spirit always in action around us - and in response, God will help us see our lives from His perspective - to soar above the ordinary and connect with the extraordinary things God's grace is working on in and through our lives. Like the eage who must spread his wings to engage the thermals, you and I must invite the Lord to lift us into His embrace if we are to engage the Spirit's work around us. And as we do, we too will soar.........

With a lesson like this on morning number one, vacation is shaping up to be spectacular!!!! Until next time, remember....

Keep Lookin' Up!

Pastor D.




August 5, 2014, 3:00 PM

AND HERE WE GO!!!!!!

WELL…………..here it is!

The revamped, reorganized, reconfigured Christ Church website! It has taken a while to get to this point. Sharon Chandler and her team (aided faithfully and with excellence by Katie Aaron) have spent numerous hours and days setting up all of the details that make up an informative and user friendly website. I am deeply grateful for the dedication and attention these folks have given to this project. This group of devoted servants will continue to tweak and refine this new ministry tool, but right now you’ll find interactive calendars, opportunities to share prayer requests and/or receive email reminders for meetings and activities, links to online giving resources, Bible study tools, ways to access recordings of our weekly worship experiences, how to connect with our staff and ministry leaders – and there’s much more to come! Even what you are reading is new – a “Pastor’s Blog” – a place where we can dialogue about the journey of following Jesus day by day. I will do my best to post “conversation starters” often so that we can learn from and with each other, allowing the Spirit to transform us more completely into the people God saved us to be.

Waiting for this new tool to go “live,” I’ve been reminded of a dialogue between Frodo Baggins and the wizard Gandalph in the movie “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” Gandalph is on his way to a birthday party and Frodo accuses him of being late. Gandalph replies, “A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Neither is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.” The Bible conveys a similar idea about the activity of God in the world. The older translations use the phrase, “in the fullness of time.” The New International Version uses the phrase, “at just the right time,” such as this from the apostle Paul: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6) The sense conveyed here is not a random event but a purpose-full moment. God acts according to His plan, precisely when He means to. That’s good news for us, don’t you think? God is not bound to our timelines or by our deadlines. God – seeing the full picture of His purpose in the world – acts in Jesus Christ on behalf of humankind and all of creation at just the right time. When it seems like God is silent, or lazy, or away on vacation somewhere, He is actually busy setting up the details for an encounter that can be life-changing, if we’re willing to trust and wait.

So you see, we have waited patiently for this new website to go live – and I believe it has gone live at just the right time. God acts precisely when He means to – at just the right time. Trust His plan, and His heart……….

Until next time, remember…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.



Comments

08-11-2014 at 8:55 PM
Stephen J. "Steve" Osgood
Rev. Janz, you have a tremendous talent of putting thoughts into word.... and "Thank you" so much for sharing this..
08-11-2014 at 11:56 AM
Jane Hoover
Looking forward to sharing this part of the journey!
08-10-2014 at 9:50 PM
Karen Bingman
Great website. Thanks!!
08-07-2014 at 2:34 PM
David Janz
The "team" referenced above included Jan Hines and Sandy Homer, with great support from Rob Woods. Thanks to ALL!
08-06-2014 at 8:47 PM
Lois Carr
Thank you to all those that made this website possible. What a awesome way to stay connected to our church family throughout the week! I look forward to the Pastor's blog!
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