Thursday, September 13, 2012

traveling mercies

New Providence Presbyterian Church
or me, and for Rebekah, attending church on Sunday morning is so much more than something we do because it’s expected, because it’s a part of the “Christian” job description, or because it’s force of habit. Attending worship is foundational to both the experience and the expression of our faith.
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (Psalm 122:1)
Consequently (rather than skip out on church when we’re on vacation) finding a local faith community, attending worship with other believers, and enjoying sitting in a pew together is a highlight Rebekah and I always go out of our way to experience.
SEARCH: Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find a house of worship where abundant life is overflowing, where the preaching is dynamic, and where the power and presence of the Spirit of God is impossible to miss.
But we found such a place in Maryville, Tennessee, and we broke our standard vacation rule and returned to the same church – New Providence Presbyterian – two Sundays in succession.
NPP’s Senior Pastor, Emily Anderson (pic borrowed from her facebook page)
PROVIDENCE: NPP’s senior pastor, Emily Anderson, now joins my (informal) catalog of female clergy who are vibrant preachers, engaging personalities, and effective heads of staff in cutting-edge congregations.
God is up to some exciting work in the Presbyterian Church (USA)! But we tend to waste so much valuable energy complaining about what’s wrong in failing congregations, when it would be so much more productive (and beneficial to the Kingdom of God) to take a look at people like Emily (and Rebekah), who are leaders in ministries where God is glorified and people are routinely introduced to The New and Living Way of following Jesus.
New Providence PC(USA)
WHAT’s YOUR STORY? Rebekah is constantly challenging our congregation to visit other churches when they travel. She asks for souvenir bulletins, and jokingly suggests our folk get their copy signed by the pastor. But she’s genuinely interested to see what’s going on in congregations across the USA and the world. And – most importantly – Rebekah knows how powerful it is to be connected to the extended Body of Christ, and to experience worship wherever we are.
Rebekah waves her bulletin for any doubters!
So, what’s your experience when you travel? And, when you’re anywhere near West Central Florida, why not plan to stop in at First Presbyterian of Brandon for worship? You’ll be glad you did.
In love, and because of love- DEREK

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