Easter, April 5

Easter Sunrise Service 6 AM at Lamoine Beach
Morning Worship, April 5, 10:30 AM at church

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pastoral Thoughts

Recently, I was asked to give a reading from the Koran at an upcoming public prayer breakfast.  The breakfast will have, of course, times of prayer.  It will also have scripture readings from Jewish scripture (the Tanak), Islamic scripture (the Koran), and Christian scripture (the New Testament).

If the U.S. was once a Christian nation, it has changed.  This prayer breakfast displays that reality.  Religious pluralism is here.  We now have:  bumper stickers using the symbols of the major world religions to spell "co-exist";  news anchors hosting pictures of people laughing, stating, "An hour of Laughter Yoga ... was just the thing for body and soul";  a Christian pastor being asked to read from the Koran at a public prayer event.

This is a confused and challenging time.  But it is also a time for Christian hope and witness.  I will not be reading from the Koran at the prayer breakfast.  Yes, I plan on attending it.  And, in this case, I think to do so is the right path.

The culture wars are concerned with demarcating the battle lines.  The care and energy of the Christian is not to be on marking lines, but mercy and peace (Matt 5:7, 9).  And yet, that is mercy and peace rightly understood.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ draws us toward something other than (supposed) polite and civil co-existence (Mattt 5:13; see 5:1-12).

Yours,
Pastor Brooks

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"do you remember..."

Memory is important.  Gathering together and remembering together are vital ingredients in loving relationships  From family reunions to funeral receptions we often hear those words spoken:  "Do you remember..."

The other day I read an article about the recently built 9/11 museum at Ground Zero.  Central to the purpose of this museum is remembrance.  But, in recounting her journey through the museum, the author laments the complete lack of an underlying hope or even message.  Simple documentation displayed with grandiose style takes the place of a message and hope.. The author wonders if we have lost our ability to remember.

The Advent season is about remembrance.  Christians, during this season, are not just recounting once again that old story from the past  We are not just reading an ancient document because of a yearly tradition.  Rather, as we read prophetic Advent passages, we hear the deep hope of God's people as they await his coming - a hope which profoundly resounds in us.  We sing songs of such significance and beauty that they fit no other season.  We decorate the church, not with grandiosity of glamour - for Jesus was born in a manger - but for that special time, Christmas Eve, when we gather together to remember in joyful song, in prayer and in hearing again - and anew - the very Word of God, words of hope.

"I will remember the deeds of the LORD;  yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago"  (Psalm 77:11)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April 21, 2014 Church Planning Meeting
The following dates for 2014 upcoming events were scheduled:
Spring Clean Up - May 10
Barn Sale - May 24 (8am-noon)
Church Picnic/Graduation Day - June 8
Time change for summer service/Father's Day - June 15
Carriere's cookout - June 27 (5 pm)
Camp Cuff cookout - July 19
Church summer fair - July 26
Harris' cookout - August 8
Service at East Lamoine church/Potluck concert - August 17
Time change for fall service - Sept.14

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pastoral Thoughts
Today I came across an article on eonlin.com entitled "What are you giving up for Lent?"  For the readers who do not know what Lent is, the author starts out by giving a summary:  "...during Lent, people usually give up something they like doing or eating (like junk food or coffee) or pledge to do something to better themselves or the lives of other for 40 days an 40 nights."  Right under the title of the article is a close-up picture of tasty doughnuts, each with its own colorful frosting and sprinkles.

It takes an effort of mind and will to catch and discard the childish perceptions and barren observations that are often presented to us by our broader culture.  Lent is not about skipping Dunkin' Donuts drive-through for a few weeks.  Nor is it a few weeks of any obligation for the sake of the greater good.  Rather, Lent is a time of preparation.  On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, in particular, we remember through community worship the amazing love and glory of our Lord.  Lent is about worshiping god;  it is about taking the time to prepare oneself and one's family for the yearly gathering of the community of God, who gather together to remember our Lord's last days with contrition and then with joy and peace.

Let us take time this Lenten season to read the Gospels with a heart and mind of devotion.  Let us be prayerful and prepare ourselves, so that when Good Friday and Easter Sunday come, we are not caught off guard, but rather are eager to gather with brothers and sisters in the house of the Lord and give him devotion and praise.

Yours,
Pastor Brooks

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pastoral Thoughts
In the month of December there is a certain feeling "in the air."  I'd say this feeling comes from a long history of December being a month where the usual business, tasks, and aspirations of the year are taken off  "center stage" and replaced for a short time with something else.  The things that take center stage are spending quality time with family and friends and partaking in traditions like drinking eggnog, giving gifts, and decorating the home.  The December tradition of focusing on these things brings real joy into our lives, for friendship - real friendship - is our heart's true desire.  This life is not about  making a lot of money.  It's not about fun parties.  It's not about being cooler or smarter than those around you.   It's definitely not about getting your way.  And it's not even about having great physical health.  Life has nothing to do with our January through November mentalities. Rather, this life is about friendship.  It's about quality time and good activities which nurture the joy that comes through being appreciated  and appreciating others.  For all of us, I hope, Decembers past have given us a taste of this.

In the Christian tradition we hold this conviction about the centrality of friendship in a particular way.  It is being part of the family of God and the friendships therein that bring joy in its natural form.  And not only joy, but also a deep, abiding and pure hope.  For while quality time and good activities we have, they are disturbed by the January through November" world that still has a hold on us.  And so our hope is in the One who has come and will come again, the One who will take the beauty of this season and bring it to maturity.  The certain feeling that comes with December then, we say, is just a distant sense of the future.  And as such it is a gift to be enjoyed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pastoral Thoughts:
     Recently I have been thinking about mission statements.  Like many groups, Christian-based organizations often have mission statements.  For example, ABCUSA's is "Serving as the hands and feet of Christ."  The seminary I graduaed form, with boldness has the mission statement, "To advance Christ's Kingdom in every sphere of life by equippin Church leaders to think theologically, engage globally and live biblically."  LBC has something like a mission statement.  Our constitution states that the "purpose of this organization" is to "(a) win people to a personal allegiance to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, (b) train them in Christian living and develop Christian character, (c) help spread the gospel of Christ."
     I like all of these statements.  They speak well to our convictions and remind us why we are here.  But the broad picture they paint is not only a strength, but also a weakness.  How do we today "win people to a personal allegiance to Jesus Christ,"  "train in Christian living,"  "spread the gospel?"  This is not a question that has a simple, singular, and time-proven answer.  For we today live in a world that is not what is was a generation or two ago.  And as Americans, the majority of our culture is "post-Christian."  This can be seen very clearly.  One illustration:  go to a bookstore and look for the Bibles.  You will not only find the Holy Bible but many other kinds.  Let's naarrrow our eamples to the so-called "food bibles."  You will find:  The Cook's Bible, Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible, The Cake Bible, The Healthy Juicer's Bible, just to name a few. 
     These titles may first strike us as funny but they also point to a very serious matter.  We are part of a society which no longer treats the word "Bible" as distinct (let alone as a designator of what is holy.) The word "Bible" is publicly (ab)used for financial profit and the exultation of the culinary arts.  And our society is fine with it.  One thinks of the Apostle Paul's words to the Philippians, "their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things."  (3:19)
     How are we to carry out our mission/purpose statement in such a world?  First, as God's people, we have to know the Bible as well.  And second, but just as important, we have to be "wise as serpents" (Matthew 10:16).  It is our duty and privilege to be keen toward the newness and difference of the present times.  In a post-Christian society, God's Word sits right next to The Cake Bible on the bookshelf.  What is it that we can do to help people bypass grabbing the book with all he pretty pictures and, instead, grasp the Word of Truth?
    
Yours, Brooks