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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

February 2014

~A Good Start~

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything with prayer…let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds…”  ~Philippians 4:6, 7

Dear Members and Friends,
Think of all the activities that traditionally begin with prayer: mealtimes, bedtimes, church committee meetings.  In school, I always used to begin math tests with a quiet, desperate prayer—though the results were consistently less than miraculous.  In Russia, people embarking on a journey used to sit down on their steamer trunks and recite a traveler’s prayer.  One line of that lengthy prayer said, “I am a pilgrim before you, as my ancestors have been…Help me to see the beauty and wonder of your truth in everything I encounter.”  Wolves, and blizzards, and swollen rivers must have seemed a little less daunting in the light of God’s calm eternity.  It’s not a bad idea to begin our new ventures with a little prayer.  In the face of the unknown, prayer can have a calming effect.  But more than that, it can help put things into proper perspective. 

Some people are surprised to learn that my workday begins with solitary prayer.  I pray for our world and our church, its future, its people.  I’m often amazed by the faces and the situations that come to mind when I’m praying.  Of course, not all prayers are the same.  Some say “please,” and others say “thanks,” and others just say “help.”  My favorite prayers don’t say anything at all; they drift quietly through stray thoughts, and recurring memories, and abiding hopes, opening all these things wordlessly to “God’s calm eternity.”

By now you’ve received a letter in the mail telling you that Bower Hill Church is embarking on a capital campaign.  Many of you have traveled this road before, but a capital campaign is an entirely new venture for me!  I’ve already received communications from some goodhearted folks who say, “Oh, the church needs money?  How about this fundraiser or that?”  I’m grateful for the good ideas, and we may get around to them at some point!  But for the moment, we are still sitting on our steamer trunks, reflecting on the journey ahead of us. It’s not yet time to start talking about money.  It’s not yet time to search between the couch cushions for nickels and pennies.  We don’t want anyone to make any financial decisions just yet.  For the moment, prayer is the only thing that we ask.  Specifically, we are asking each person who loves Bower Hill Church to say the same prayer daily for one month: “Lord, what would you do through me to accomplish your vision for Bower Hill Church?  Help me to discern a sacrifice for our capital campaign that is meaningful and joyful.  Amen.”  

Prayer itself becomes a journey.  There’s no telling where it might lead.  It can change our hearts and minds in ways we never expected.  It can open doors we didn’t even see.  It can amaze us with new possibilities.  Whatever new venture you are facing, prayer is a good start.

In Christ’s Peace,