The June 2022 Mission Briefing

June is the month we mark our halfway point in reading through the scriptures together. For some of you this is your second year. Whether this is your first year or your tenth, let me ask: Are you finding new and powerful ideas? The Holy Spirit is consistently able to impress upon us His anciently revealed truth in very relevant ways. This is partly explained through what is called the hermeneutical spiral. This is better illustrated than simply described and it can be illustrated in various ways. I like this one below. We begin with pre-understanding but through study, reflection, and/or experience gain some new understanding about a particular subject. We bring this insight into our daily lives as changed people. Yet, there is more to learn. (There is always something to learn.) Perhaps, a year later we read the passage again but now having combined our new understanding with our previous understanding, we gain something deeper or broader than what we learned before.

This just keeps happening almost everyday year-after-year. Each time you get that deeper or broader understanding it feels like God put it there just for you to find, and perhaps He did. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read through the scriptures, I marvel at God’s wisdom and grace. He gives old stories new significance and tells them to me just when I need them most. This year He has guided me through some storms and mazes just by listening to His words almost every day. (Yeah, I miss days too.) If you haven’t yet jumped into experiencing the hermeneutical spiral or if you got busy and put your Bible reading aside for a season, I encourage you to pick it up again. Based on my own experience, I can vouch that there will be something meaningful for you every day. God still speaks to those who will listen. There is no more direct way of listening to the Lord than reading His inspired and infallible messages to us. You will see your own life in the stories. You will hear sage advice in the proverbs. You will be given the words for your prayers in the psalms. The prophets’ and apostles’ letters will encourage you all through the year. If you are a reader, printed Bibles are available in the sanctuary and the church office. If you prefer to read or listen online, go to: https://oneyearbibleonline.com/daily-oyb/?version=51&startmmdd=0101.

That’s a lot to type, so here is a QR code for you to scan to get there quicker on your mobile device. Just open your camera and point it at the bar code on the left. (You may need to touch the screen to cue your device to direct you to the website.) I encourage you to stay in the word, good people. Our Lord has some wonderful truths to whisper into your lives.

With much love,

 

Pastor Kyle

 

 

The May 2022 Mission Briefing

Life is so busy. It’s so easy to fill our plates so full, moments pass into months and months into years. I want to report on the business of our ministry but before doing so, it is important to first encourage you to slow down and smell the flowers around you. One truth I’m living into more and more is life improves with awareness.

Mindful eating improves our diets. Being attentive to other peoples’ feelings improves our relationships. Admiring the views, makes us grateful to our mighty Creator. There is much happening on display but also behind the scenes at the Community Church. We want to be busy for the Lord,but do be mindfully busy, appreciating His grace all along the way. After all, our busyness happens in relationship with the Almighty God of grace. I pray you can rejoice in it along the way. With that disclaimer,let me update you on what is happening in our fellowship.

This month the governance review committee will begin looking at our governance structure and governing policies. This work will culminate in a new constitution or governance policy manual next year.In conjunction with this review, we are filing new documentation with the federal government to have ourown tax-exempt status apart from the American Baptist Churches, USA. Until this is finalized, we remain tax-exempt through the denomination. Pray for this behind-the-scenes work because there is wonderful potential here for improving organizational health across the board. The committee is strongly gifted for this task, pray for God’s wisdom to be expressed through them.

The Christian Education Board is drafting up their own vision for what a Christian disciple who formed through the ministries of the Community Church should look like. What do they know? What can they do?Who are they really? Based on this, we will draft a more intentional disciple making process that 1) Prepares young people for the challenges of college/adult life and 2) Prepares residents with the maturity to advance the Kingdom of Jesus effectively here. Look for new ministries in the coming months to address these. Until the programming is more developed, I invite you not to wait. Please make an appointment to come in for an hour to write up an individual spiritual learning plan with me. Together we will look at your person needs, find resources to address them, and look at the new habits and behaviors that bring what you are learning to life.We all need to take initiative in our own spiritual formation and remember that the Church is here to help.The diaconate (Deacons and Deaconess Boards) this month will be working on how to integrate visitors and new members into the fellowship. We call this the onboarding process. This process will walk first time visitors through steps to become fully engaged ministers for Christ through and in connection with others at the Community Church. Along with this, they will be looking at ways to move attenders toward membership, members toward serving, and inactive folks toward more engagement. Pray for the wisdom they need to do this important work.

There is more going on you can pray for generically. God is on the move! Talking about growth and engagement, most often our greatest spiritual growth and transformation comes in the struggles of life. We don’t need to look for struggles to grow our faith, just don’t shy away from them. God will give us exactly what we need to form us for His purposes. Remember Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character,hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

With you in the struggle,

 

Pastor Kyle

 

 

The April 2022 Mission Briefing

In Moab, Easter week is THE week! The town has been busy for a month already but here it comes, JEEP Safari. This is when Moab, is above all, the place to be for outdoor adventure on four wheels. Easter week is not just about outdoor adventure. Long before the masses assembled for rock crawling, the masses assembled to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Many, not all, of our immediate culture has traded the Christ adventure and celebration for the outdoor adventure and celebration. While enjoying both is a possibility, as the Church, we want to keep first things first in our lives. I would encourage you to give 100% at your jobs, give the visitors something to remember, enjoy creation, shout and sing with joy doing what you do, but in doing that remember the joy of the resurrected Christ and the adventure He calls us on that far overshadows anything else in this world. We rejoice because sin is defeated. Our past, present, and future sins were all paid for on the cross, decisively. We rejoice that death is no longer something to be feared because after death comes new life. We rejoice in a new path to walk, one in partnership and in unity with Christ, full of hope and purpose. We rejoice not just because we are no longer cut off from God, we rejoice because we are no longer cut off from each other. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:13-18, 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Easter is the time to rejoice and celebrate, but it is also the peak of adventure. Without the guilt of sin holding you back, you can run free. You can be the you Jesus has created you to be. You can live every day with the thrill of being in a relationship with the Creator, Redeemer, and King of all. You can walk in His holy and awesome purposes. We can do this adventure with the people we love and who love us. This is the week Christ is on peoples’ minds more than usual. Easter provides an opportunity for us to declare boldly that we are on the side of the guy who defeated death. Pray the Spirit of God would touch people this month. Pray He would give a powerful hunger to people, who have walked away from their faith, to come back. Pray He would orchestrate the reorganization of some peoples’ priorities so they would seek the biggest adventure of all. Pray He would be energizing our services so that the joy and excitement of Jesus may be experienced by all. Pray He would bring those who have never heard the gospel to saving faith. This is a good month, one of the best. It has a good week, one of the best. Don’t’ miss what God is going to do. In addition, invite your friends, family and neighbors so they do not miss out either. The adventure is here. We will have some special programming this month. Dr. John Delancey will be here for a Palm Sunday weekend. Details of his sessions are listed in this newsletter. We will be hosting a new Good Friday service including prayer and scripture readings at 6:30 pm. We will continue to host the Easter Sunrise service in Arches National Park at 6:20 am. (Busses leave the park visitor’s center at 5:45 a.m.) Lastly, we will have our regular worship 10:00 to come back to our regular worship service and celebrate Christ.

 

 

The March 2022 Mission Briefing

In last Sunday’s message (02/27/2022), I mentioned that we all have blind spots in our lives. A blind spot is an area of our thinking, character, and behavior that we do not see in us. They could be glaringly obvious and destructive or subtle and tolerable, but for some reason go unnoticed, and therefore are not dealt with. These blind spots prohibit us from seeing the bigger picture or important details up close.

If they are so invisible, why look for them at all? The truth is blind spots are never good. In a vehicle, failing to scrape frost completely off your windshield could lead you to colliding into another vehicle. The same can happen if your mirror gets fogged. Blind spots in your thinking, character, and behavior can take you in wrong directions, lead you to say and do the wrong things, rob you of efficiency and cause great strain in your relationships with other people. It is important to shine light on these for all these reasons. So, what are some common blind spots in people like us? They may be theological. Perhaps there is something about God’s attributes that are foggy. Viewing God as less than all powerful and all good will affect your trust and the outworking of your faith. This would be a blind spot to correct. Blind spots might deal with our personalities. Maybe you are egocentric. Everything is perceived through how it affects you. Perhaps you are compulsive and cannot keep yourself from unhealthy things. In cases of personality, it is quite helpful to acknowledge our tendencies, so they do not become too destructive. Another blind spot is our culture. The way we grew up, who are friends are, what generation we are in powerfully shape what we see and especially what we care about. Boomers (1946-1964) have very different blind spots (and perceptions in general) than Millennials (1981-1996). It’s like these two groups see an entirely different world. That’s because they are so culturally different.

We could go on about the many reasons for differing blind spots but let’s move on by asking how we discover our own. If we are blind to our spots, then how do we see them? They can be elusive but not impossible to find. If we paused to reflect on our lives, perhaps just slowing down would help us discover these. We might pray and trust the Holy Spirit to point these out to us. I’ve found many of my blind spots reading the scriptures. Whenever the inspired writings say something I’m uncomfortable with or challenged by, it is probably a great time to stop and reflect, asking, “What about this truth is shining light on some darkness in me or my views?” When this happens, congratulations, you just found a blind spot!

These are good ways of surfacing things about us but the fastest, easiest, and most relevant to us is to get feedback from other people. Friends, family, and especially the church know things about your thinking, your character, and your behavior that you do not have a clue about. (Can I get an Amen?) If you ask these folks for feedback, they will probably give you the truth in love. Go ahead as ask them, 1) What do you see in me that could be holding me back from effective ministry or intimacy with Jesus? 2) What about me offends or annoys you? 3) If you were me, what would you work on? If you ask several people, one or two suggestions will be repeated, and you can be sure that this is your blind spot area.

Once you have isolated a blind spot, attack it. Be intentional about it. Pray for it. Write up a learning contract. (See Mission Briefing from March 2021 for more about this.) Get help. You might need a coach, a role model, an accountability partner, or a subject expert. Your help can be in a direct relationship with these people or more indirectly through teaching videos or books. Others have been where you are. Find someone to who has been through the obstacle you find in your life. If you read books, I would still encourage you to engage with another person about your learning, someone who is patient, loves you, and wants to see you grow. Blind spots might be something in our lives that can be eliminated immediately through insight. Some, however, take a lot of time, attention, and perseverance. Just remember that you are not alone. Jesus is the One on the path that we follow. He is our Subject Expert as well as our personal Intercessor. Commit your journey to Him in prayer and plug into His body the Church. Eventually, you will see the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Entering into Christ’s light with you,

 

Pastor Kyle

 

 

The February 2022 Mission Briefing

The Community Church of Moab is on mission to advance the Kingdom of Jesus. This has many concrete expressions but “advancing the Kingdom” basically means that we are God’s nation of royal priests representing Him and His Good News to the world, as such we take ground wherever and whenever we can. As we have been learning at Connection Class in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, no church is perfect or
comfortable. This reality gives us two subjects to reflect on.

First, we have blind spots and inconsistencies in what we do and how we do it that need to be repented of. This is key to a healthy church. It is absolutely vital that we, as a church, keep listening to Jesus. By His Spirit, He will continually guide us toward faithfulness expressed in healthy functioning, that is, if we listen and allow change to take place. These changes might include returning to our first love, doing the good we did at first, and not tolerating obvious sins in various forms. Repentance was the way forward for most of the
Revelation churches.

Second, the churches were encouraged to overcome many forms of suffering. This suffering came through spiritual forces, state persecutions, and hostile religious groups. We may find it somewhat surprising that Christ’s church had to suffer in order to advance the Kingdom. I like to think that when we do the right things, for the right reasons, good things will come. This wasn’t the case in the first century and we shouldn’t always expect it today either. Being on mission for Jesus, includes loss and heartache on the way to a
victorious reward.

This reward is what keeps us going through the inconsistencies and the sufferings. Jesus promises those who press through: 1) The right to eat from the tree of life, 2) Freedom from harm by the second death, 3) The hidden manna and a white stone with a new name, 4) Authority to rule over the nations and the gift of the morning star, 5) White clothes and their names in the book of life, 6) Being made into a pillar in the future temple, and 7) The right to sit with Christ on His throne. These all describe eternal and abundant life as gifts to those who don’t quit despite internal and external pressures.

This description had led some to believe that Christians need to be militant in their taking ground, like soldiers of God. Let’s admit that we need the mental fortitude of well-trained soldiers, yet we take ground very differently from the world. Our reading in Exodus has an important point for us. In chapter 14, here the Egyptian chariots and horsemen are closing in on Israel. Some of the Israelites then began to panic. Then Moses passed on this message: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Be faithful through listening, repenting, persevering, and let the Lord part the waters.

Be Blessed as you are also a Blessing,

Pastor Kyle

 

 

The January 2022 Mission Briefing

Happy New Year! It’s that time when we get to start again. It’s a little strange that I get excited about a new year because there isn’t a big metaphysical difference between December 31st and January 1st. Yet, it seems like starting a new calendaris a good time to reflect for a moment at where I have been and then look forward to what is coming down the pipe. If there is ever a natural time to do this, it’s now. I invite you, especially because you read through your Bible this year, to reflect on what you have read and how you have grown. This is a beneficial exercise for us individually but also as couples, families, and even as the church. As a family, the church is going to do this together on January 23rd. This “night of worship” is going to serve as our annual member business meeting but we are going to surround “business” with praises, prayers and plans followed by pleasant provisions (food). (Isn’t that how Christian should do business?) It will be something new, but please put it on your calendar and plan on participating. We will announce the results of the denomination affiliation vote, look back at God’s accomplishments, and look forward to where God is leadings us in 2022. This meeting is open to everyone. If you know someone who is looking for a church, this meeting would give them good exposure to who we are. Invite them to check it out and worship the Lord with us.

As you look forward to 2022, perhaps you would like some resource ideas. I had a delightful couple come into my office this morning who shared a couple of resources that they are benefiting from. I couple of which I also use regularly. As we visited, I was reminded that there has never been a time in history with as many discipleship resources and ways to grow our faith than today. We have One Year Bibles, apps that can read to us, videos, podcasts, and an entire archive of sermons from pastors all over the world. If you are looking for something to add to your daily Bible reading, let me suggest a few I benefit from almost every week.

The one-stop shop for Bible resources is Right Now! Media. The Community Church has subscribed to this OnDemand service for over a decade. It is the “Netflix” of Christian resources, with Bible studies, topical studies, conferences, and children’s programming. If there is something you want to know more about, I encourage you to dust off your Right Now! Media subscription. If you are new to the church grab your phone and text the words MOAB to 49775. Right Now! Media will send you a link to activate an account completely free to you. Or you could use this link to join. https://app.rightnowmedia.org/join/Community And because of our license agreement, you are free to share that with anyone in your life as well. Host a viewing party with those you know and expose them to some top-notch teachers.

One resource you need to consider is the Bible Project. In these resources, a leading Old Testament scholar and pastor teams up with a Christian videographer and animator to teach the Bible through graphic illustrations. They have book overviews, word studies, and topical themes. There are a number of places you can find their videos besides Right Now! Media. Use whatever is most familiar to you.

Right Now! Media – Log in and search “Bible Project”
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/bibleproject
Website: https://bibleproject.com/explore/
App: Go to your App Store and search “Bible Project”

If you like to listen to podcasts, I would recommend the Daily Audio Bible. This resource is also available in an app or online. Brian reads through our One Year Bible readings and provides commentary and prayer to go with it. Also, try the “Ask NT Wright Anything” podcast. In this one, one of the leading New Testament scholars answers listener questions about the Bible and Christian practices. You can find that wherever you get your podcasts. Next, I would recommend “Gospel in Life,” a podcast format of Tim Keller’s sermons at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. Pastor Keller is an intellectual but communicates the gospel clearly and powerfully. Lastly, I would encourage you to go to your church’s website and review messages from the past. There are 101 messages there dating back two years. (You can even listen to pastor Keith teach through the end of Romans and the entirety of Philippians!) Here is the link: http://moabcommunitychurch.com/sermon-archive/ 2022 is so much potential. I pray that you will use regular time in your day or night to quiet your heart in prayer, engage your mind with God’s gracious revelation, and find a place to contribute to something great.

With you in Christ,

Pastor Kyle

 

 

The December 2021 Mission Briefing

The Holiday Season is here! It’s a wonderful time of year to move from a focus on thanks into the greatest reason for giving thanks! December marks our one-year anniversary for being home. As I write this, I still get a little choked up with how good God has been to me and my family. We are so thankful for you. God uses you in so many ways in our lives. For example, it is through you that He sent His call to us to serve Him in Moab. It is through you that He puts gas in our car, food on our table, and Christmas presents under our tree. It is through you that He has given us a house to make into a home. It is through you that He helps guide our priorities. It is through you that He fills our hearts with love. It is through you that He give us the encouragement necessary to persevere. We are so thankful to God because of all of you. Thank you for expressing God’s love and grace to us in powerful, concrete ways. This is what the Church is intended to do.

Our Lord Jesus needs to be celebrated. This is what we hope to do together in December. On the 12th after worship, we will host our birthday party for Jesus. We will have pizza, crafts, and games for all ages. Then, on December 17th, we will watch the entertaining and informative documentary on the real Star of Bethlehem. This will start at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary. I short discussion and prayer will follow. Finally, on December 24th, we will host our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Look for the start time in the bulletin and other advertising. We will not have a registration for this event, so come early to reserve your seat. Capacity may be limited depending on the COVID-19 level in the community. Lastly, we will close out the year in the sanctuary with the Year-End Hour of Prayer. Come at 6:00 pm on December 31st .

Looking Ahead To January We are going to go through the One Year Bible together again. My Sunday messages will be totally different but track along with the weekly readings. We will have paperback One Year Bible’s available again in the NIV. We encourage you to take one to help facilitate your reading. (They really do make it a lot easier.) You do not need a new one if you already have one. You may want to purchase your own in a different translation just to mix it up a little. This year we invite you to give one Bible away to a loved one or a friend in the community. Tell them it is a gift from the Community Church to help grow their relationship with Jesus. Let’s aim to double our participation this year, growing both deeper and wider as followers of Jesus.

Merry Christmas, Pastor Kyle

 

 

The November 2021 Mission Briefing

November is traditionally the season for gratefulness, which means letting others know by words and actions how they have benefited your life. One of the important stories of gratefulness in the scriptures comes from Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers. The story is in Luke 17:11-19.

Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

This passage tells us several helpful things about gratefulness. First, Jesus has compassion for the outcasts. He ate with sinners. He rescued prostitutes and adulterers. He touched lepers. No one is beyond Jesus’ love. Second, Jesus’ power is unparalleled. He didn’t even have to say a word to cleanse them of their diseases. Instead, He just told them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Jesus jumped right to an action that would confirm they were totally healed. Third, at the end of the story Jesus makes clear that the leper’s faith is what saved him. The NIV translates the Greek word “saved” as “made well” but it means saved, rescued, and healed. Lastly, we see in this story that Jesus is very easily taken for granted. In fact, 90% of those Jesus rescued didn’t show any gratefulness. Do you think that sounds about right these days too? It appears from this story that Jesus was somewhat surprised that only one returned to thank Him. Gratitude is the reasonable and proper response to Jesus in our lives. Let’s practice gratitude all the time.

So, how do you thank Jesus? The Samaritan man threw himself down at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. This wasn’t just a casual, “thank-you.” This foreigner gave Jesus an unmistakable expression of worship. He knew that he owed his reclaimed life to Jesus as Lord. How much more Jesus has done for us than this Samaritan leper! He bore our sins, paid for our redemption with His life, frees us from our pasts, and gives us a glorious inheritance with Him in the future. Not only is our life made better in this world but also unimaginably better in the life to come. As you sit together with family and friends at different occasions this month, remember to “throw yourself down at Jesus’ feet” with adoration and love. Tell Him often, with words and actions, how He has benefited your life. Gratefulness is our default attitude as Christians and the motivation for all we do.

Love,

Pastor Kyle

 

 

The October 2021 Mission Briefing

The message from Galatians 6:1-10, emphasized that the person, who is filled with the Holy Spirit has both individual awareness and community responsibilities. These are held in a glorious tension as we enter other peoples’ messes while guarding our own hearts and as we take on other peoples’ burdens while never putting down our own loads. The Christian life is not only for solitary spiritual disciplines, nor is it exclusively about community engagement. In other words, there is both a vertical, personal relationship with the Lord and a horizontal, corporate relationship with others. Remember the conversation in Matthew 22:36-40 36:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The healthy spiritual life will have both loves, a love for God and a love for people. Your mission this month is to identify how your life is involving both in a healthy balance. To discern what is a “healthy balance,” we need to consider where God is applying pressure in our lives. Where is your fulcrum? The fulcrum is the point where a lever rests and divides the load on two sides. A spiritual life that is divided evenly between the private and corporate aspects will have a fulcrum directly in the middle, as in figure 1 below. All things being equal this is the balanced life of both personal and corporate spiritual disciplines. What if the place God is working in your life demands a lot more personal attention? In that case, a balanced and healthy spiritual life will require you move the fulcrum in order to find balance. Look at figure 2. In this diagram God is applying pressure on your life that requires you to focus more on the personal aspects. This too is a balanced life. However, in figure 2, the Spirit might be causing you to work on your prayer life, your thoughts, and your heart issues. Sometimes He will lead us to pay a lot more attention to these. Other times, He puts pressure on the other end of life where we need to pay a lot more attention to caring for others, investing in someone else, and listening to our friends.

This month, I encourage you to take an inventory of your life. Ask yourself if your life has both personal and corporate disciplines? Do you read the Bible alone and with others? (The One Year Bible allows you to do both!) Do you worship alone and with others? Do you confess your sins to God and to others? Do you bear your own load with others? Are you right with God and living at peace with everyone? Keep asking yourself these questions, God will guide you to the right balance of both.

Pastor Kyle

 

The July 2021 Mission Briefing

The Fourth of July is upon us. On this great day we celebrate our national independence with barbeques, water games, and fireworks. I truly appreciate the patriots who fought for freedoms and the legal representation eventually everyone in this country received. I can’t help comparing these freedoms to the freedoms Christ has given us in Him. The other day in our readings, we encountered Acts 19:13-20, here we read about the Christian movement gaining momentum in Ephesus.

The Holy Spirit was powerfully at work demonstrating to that community that the name of Jesus is formidable and more powerful than any other name. In fact, because of what happened to the local Jewish exorcists, many practicing witches and sorcerers confessed their sins, abandoned their practices, and turned to Jesus. They eagerly upgraded their spiritual lives without looking back. Luke says, they burned their magic books worth around 50,000 drachmas. This is more than two lifetimes of wages, no small fortune. Why this public statement? Because there was no doubt in their minds that Jesus was superior to their divinations, incantations, and other magic practices.

I have two thoughts on this story regarding freedom. First, freedom consists of being released from something. Those who turned to Jesus were released from the burdens of sin, which their magic was helpless to lift off. As we celebrate our freedom this month, let us be mindful and responsive to the Lord, who has freed us from the same burdens. Burdens no political leader, national legislation, amount of money, or other spiritual allegiances can free us from. This is truly one freedom that is worth burning some meat over in celebration with your family and friends.

Second, freedom consists of being released for something. As the gospel communicates to us, those who turned from magic had a new relationship with the Giver of all power. (According to C.S. Lewis and N.T. Wright, magic attempts to gain power without paying the price of humble submission to God, whose power it is.) We can celebrate that we are free from sin and free to live in God’s goodness and power through a personal relationship with Him. Paul wraps up a prayer in his letter to the Ephesians saying, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generation, forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21). When the power of God is at work in us, we don’t need anything else. That’s true freedom! The new believers didn’t need their magic books or the money they could have profited from them, because they had the greatest power in the world, God’s powerful presence in them. It’s one thing to be free, it’s another thing to have the power to use our freedom for the greatest good.

Celebrate these. As you bite into a cool slice of watermelon or a juicy burger, relish what you have been given in Christ and draw on your freedoms to make this world a better place to live.

In the power of Christ,
Pastor Kyle

The June 2021 Mission Briefing

People warn us when we became new parents that, “The days are long, but the years are short.” The older I become the more wisdom that saying seems to communicate. After four months, in one sense it feels we just arrived and in another that we never left. I give thanks every day for your encouragement that comes from your love for Jesus and mission-oriented lives. I can’t tell you how exciting it has been to see God’s Spirit at work in you. Here are some of the ways I’ve seen God showing up in you.

1) Many of you are reading the Scriptures daily and you are getting hungrier all the time!
2) Some of you are looking for new ways to share your lives together.
3) We have not one, but two new youth ministries started. We are also starting a MOPS group.
4) Leadership teams are still gathering to dream up what could and should be next.
5) Several of you have rededicated their lives to Jesus.
6) As a church, I sense a heightened expectation of God doing something significant through us.
7) The most vulnerable of us are beginning to return to meeting for Sunday morning services.
8) The number of kids attending on Sunday morning is steadily growing.
9) Those of you suffering through physical illness are recovering while also growing in faith.
10) More of you are offering your gifts, resources, and time to serve others.

These are just the things coming to mind right now. I’m sure there is even more. Recognizing all this is evidence that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. While locked up, John began to waiver in his trust in Jesus. He sent some of his followers to question Jesus about His identity and purpose.
In response, Jesus told them just to look around and report to John what they saw. They saw the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the unclean cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dead raised, and the gospel proclaimed to the poor (Luke 7:22).

Sometimes we can be like John, wondering if Jesus is all He promised us to be, whether He sees us, and if our hope is in the right place. When that happens, all we need to do is look around. The evidences of God power and presence are everywhere. We just occasionally need someone to point them out. Thanks for giving me that honor this month!

Where do you see God at work? As I reflect on this season of mission, we are in a time of listening. This is an active listening though, a time to earnestly seek Jesus. Those who do, will find Him. (Hebrews 11:6; Luke 11:9-10). Seek Him in prayer, seek Him in Scripture, seek Him in acts of kindness. As we seek Him in all things, He will host us on a journey of love and light. He will open our eyes to the wonder that is always around His Church at work.

Seeking Him with you,
Pastor Kyle

The May 2021 Mission Briefing

People warn us when we became new parents that, “The days are long, but the years are short.” The older I become the more wisdom that saying seems to communicate. After four months, in one sense it feels we just arrived and in another that we never left. I give thanks every day for your encouragement that comes from your love for Jesus and mission-oriented lives. I can’t tell you how exciting it has been to see God’s Spirit at work in you. Here are some of the ways I’ve seen God showing up in you.

1) Many of you are reading the Scriptures daily and you are getting hungrier all the time!
2) Some of you are looking for new ways to share your lives together.
3) We have not one, but two new youth ministries started. We are also starting a MOPS group.
4) Leadership teams are still gathering to dream up what could and should be next.
5) Several of you have rededicated their lives to Jesus.
6) As a church, I sense a heightened expectation of God doing something significant through us.
7) The most vulnerable of us are beginning to return to meeting for Sunday morning services.
8) The number of kids attending on Sunday morning is steadily growing.
9) Those of you suffering through physical illness are recovering while also growing in faith.
10) More of you are offering your gifts, resources, and time to serve others.

These are just the things coming to mind right now. I’m sure there is even more. Recognizing all this is evidence that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. While locked up, John began to waiver in his trust in Jesus. He sent some of his followers to question Jesus about His identity and purpose. In response, Jesus told them just to look around and report to John what they saw. They saw the blind receiving sight, the lame walking, the unclean cleansed, the deaf hearing, the dead raised, and the gospel proclaimed to the poor (Luke 7:22).

Sometimes we can be like John, wondering if Jesus is all He promised us to be, whether He sees us, and if our hope is in the right place. When that happens, all we need to do is look around. The evidences of God power and presence are everywhere. We just occasionally need someone to point them out. Thanks for giving me that honor this month!

Where do you see God at work? As I reflect on this season of mission, we are in a time of listening. This is an active listening though, a time to earnestly seek Jesus. Those who do, will find Him. (Hebrews 11:6; Luke 11:9-10). Seek Him in prayer, seek Him in Scripture, seek Him in acts of kindness. As we seek Him in all things, He will host us on a journey of love and light. He will open our eyes to the wonder that is always around His Church at work.

Seeking Him with you,

Pastor Kyle

The April 2021 Mission Briefing

April 2021 is going to be a big month in the history of The Community Church. I’m excited to see how God has lit a fire in the hearts of many leaders following our Christian Education Board’s meeting with parents. We now have a whole list of good ideas to pursue in the coming months. Yet, for some of our people, the thought of slowing down even by a a step was incomprehensible. My heart leaps for a couple reasons. First, I see that the spiritual discipleship of your kids was too important for our leaders to wait for. (Yay leaders!) Second, I’m beginning to see signs of greatness in this congregation. (Yay God!) This energy is the beginning of God changing this community to align more with His purposes and His glorious character.

Your mission this month is to pray and/or participate. Here are the plans to pray for This month we are doing a type of “soft launch” for all the kids ministries. We will test out a few leading ideas heading into the summer in order to be in a better position to put together high quality and consistent programming in the Fall. April and May will include two new opportunities: 1)

The Parable Quest and 2) The Teen and Tween Bible Study Night. The Parable Quest is our afterschool program for grades 1st – 6 th. This will start April 7th . It will be hosted at the Community Church facilities every Wednesday from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. The time will be spent with snacks doing songs, games, Bible stories, and crafts. Bernie
and Paula are taking a lead on this ministry for now, if you have questions or want to volunteer, please text Paula at 260-2244.

The Teen and Tween Bible Study will also be on Wednesday nights starting on April 14th . This ministry is designed for those in 5th -12th grades. We will probably break this range of students into two distinct groups for some activities (5th -8 th and 9th -12th). Our first meeting will be at the Community Church facilities and include pizza. Tracy Renn and Amber Hughes are taking point on this ministry. Please contact them with questions, encouragements or to ask about volunteer support.

As we think about youth programming, remember VBS is scheduled for June 14th – 18th . This is a great opportunity for your younger kids to either attend or volunteer. Contact Tracy Renn for that information. Also, consider registering the kids in your life for Grand Mesa Baptist Camps. The Trailhead Camp (for those entering 3rd – 5 th grades) overlaps with our VBS (June 16th -19th), but The Ascent (6th – 8 th) and The Alpine Zone (9th – 12th) start later. The Ascent is June 19th – the 22nd and The Alpine Zone Camp is June 22nd – 25th. I will be camp pastor for The Alpine Zone and would be thrilled to bring a van load of students to camp this year. Registration forms are available in the church office or at the camp website, www.grandmesabaptistcamp.org.

Rejoicing to be a part of all God is doing,
Pastor Kyle

The March 2021 Mission Briefing

Last March was a strange month of fear and uncertainty. We were all thrown into a new world; one with masks, closures and empty grocery store isles. As we return to March a year later, the virus is still around but so is immunity. This March, schools and businesses are open. We are able to assemble for worship and Bible study. We are not out of this yet, but life is looking a lot better today than it did a year ago.
 
How has this fading pandemic changed you? For me, I will not take things for granted as much as before. Over the last year, we’ve lost hugs, smiles, handshakes, potlucks, close fellowship and many of our freedoms. Lose may not be the best word, we chose to give these up for the sake of the most vulnerable in our society, and you should be commended for that. As Christians, we are the people who willingly and regularly give up rights and freedoms to preserve the lives and dignity of the most fragile and needy. As things begin to ease up in the coming months and the most vulnerable in the population gain immunity, we can begin to re-envision what our calling to follow Jesus might look like the rest of the year. I can’t say when we will be wearing our uncovered smiles or freely hugging one another again, but we are committed to moving wisely in that direction, and it feels good.
 
There are a couple events happening this month, I would like to highlight. On March 18th the Board of Christian Education will be hosting a meeting with parents and interested members of the community to discuss what your dreams and concerns are going forward. This will be a night to gather to express your hopes for the kids inside the congregation and to prayerfully dream together about what God is laying on your heart to provide for these younger followers of Jesus. If you feel the Spirit leading you to participate, join us at 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Then, on Palm Sunday, March 28th, we will host an evening performance of our Living Last Supper. The guys are working on their lines and it should be a great experience for you as we enter into Holy Week. Lastly, Crystal is working on Easter Sunrise in the Park service, we should be hearing back about permits and buses with a definitive answer about those plans soon.
 
As I mentioned in last month’s briefing, this is a time to go deeper with fewer people. If you do that, you will be ahead after all this. This is also an ideal time to work on yourself.
 
Growth Contracts
How’s your relationship with Jesus? Is there a need you should be working on or a Christian skill you should acquire? If so, let me introduce a method to you that will lead you on a journey of spiritual growth. Let’s call them Growth Contracts. They have four simple steps.
 
1) Determine your need. What is one specific thing you need to work on? This could be a ministry skill like learning to share your faith or a personal weakness like telling the truth when it is difficult. Choose what you need to work on most. Pray over this and lean into that thing that will make the biggest difference right away.
 
2) Reframe your need as a goal. What would you like God to do in your life for the next couple of months? Remember the bigger the goal, the further your finish line should we away. Try to make your goal SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). The most important is to be specific and give all this a goal line at which point you can reassess.
 
3) Determine how you will get there. Ask the following questions and list at two or three responses to each question. Together these questions address the whole person. They are summed up as Knowing, Being, Doing and Relating. A) What do I need to know? There is likely a book to read or a video to watch that will give you new insights. I would always include some Scripture in this part to find what the Bible says about your need. B) Who do I need to be? This question deals more with your thinking, attitudes, and the internal dialog that is always happening inside of us. Spend some time reflecting on your inner life and, if possible, journal a little about what God is doing inside of you through this learning process. C) What do I need to do? Think through some actions or practices you can learn. This is part is about action. What skills might you acquire? What behaviors do you need to adopt? D) Who will go on this journey with me? Include others in your learning. Look for someone who is further along on the path and present your questions. Think of someone else who might share your goals and values and bring them along with you on your learning.
 
4) Share your growth. Prepare a summary of where you were and where you are now. Must people think that spiritual growth is difficult to measure but it is actually very easy in this format. This is the time to thank God for His work in your life and begin to think through your next step. Will it be in a new area or built upon the last project? Do you need a new ministry skill or spiritual growth?
 
This is a proven, intentional model of individualize spiritual growth that works with limited community. I was going to use this as a basis for a small group in the future, but I wanted to introduce it now as we continue to wait for restrictions to be lifted. I would encourage you, early adopters, to make an appointment to come into the office this month. I would love to help you write your first growth contract. I have several samples here to give you inspiration. Contracts written with others are usually much more effective.
 
With Highest Regards, Pastor Kyle

The February Mission Briefing

What color is February? I know it’s a strange question, but we all have associations like this. For me, February is a rich red; it’s a month characterized by love. We have Valentine’s Day on the 14th. The VanArsdol family has a lot of birthdays in February. Needless-to-say this is a great month for connection for us. Let me suggest that our mission focus for February will be connections.
 
Relationships are core to being human and also core to the Christian faith. How are your relationships doing? I expect a variety of responses about this.
 
Recently, many of you have experienced painful losses, some a daughter, others a sister, and still others a father. A chunk of our family is hurting today. The reason loss is so painful is because connection is an essential aspect of living. If loss is the season you are in, know that your church family loves you and our prayers are with you. My counsel is to continue to lean into your hope in Christ and to embrace those who are still with you. Those connections: Jesus, the church, family, and friends are the ways God provides for us in times like these.
 
We are all going to experience relational loss. Knowing that, the wise thing to do is to prepare the best we can. It’s really hard to prepare emotionally but we can prepare otherwise. This means that now is the time to do theological preparation, now is the time to build our trust in Jesus, now is the time to plug into the family of God, now is the time be with family, and invest in friends. If you have these, though grief rocks your world, you will have the resources to weather the storm and grow through it.
 
That’s your homework this month:
Theological Preparation: There are all kinds of ways to do this. I would encourage you to keep it simple. Read through your One Year Bible prayerfully. Think about the redemptive story that God is telling. Relate to the characters. Apply what the Holy Spirit lays on your heart. Unlike other stories we read or watch on television, these stories will ground you in reality more.
 
Build your trust in Jesus: Start the morning by surrendering your day to Him. Commit to doing what He says, whatever that might be. Then, listen. This is going to stretch you and make you more mindful of His presence in your life. Go out of your comfort zone a little. You may find yourself walking on water.
 
Plug into the family of God: To some extend the pandemic has hampered this for us, but not entirely. The beauty of the church is its relational nature, which is bigger than any pandemic. If you cannot get with the whole Body of Christ in worship, then find a way to get with one or two. Call someone, Zoom, meet for coffee. You need that connection and so do others. In fact, every time I reach out to connect with someone, I end up feeling like the one God blessed.
 
Be with family and friends: Again, the pandemic is going to effect how you do this. Practice caution, use technology, yet also remember there is no reason to ration your hugs with those in your immediate household. Perhaps one fruit of the social distancing is the opportunity to refocus time and attention on those closest to us already. Spend time with your inner circle until you can branch out further later.
 
I have a theory about humanity that comes out of the Christian worldview. I think that those who connect with others, in consistently loving ways, feel the most alive. Why don’t we test that this month? Love God and love others and see if, despite the circumstances, you sense more life in you. Jesus told us, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). Jesus doesn’t promise the abundance of possession or immunity to sickness and loss. Jesus promises Himself. He promises to love you and be with you until the very end of age. He promises to enfold you into His forever family. This is true life in its fullness, this is connection!
 
Love you, Pastor Kyle

The January Mission Briefing

by: Pastor Kyle.
 

The Mission Briefing I hope this letter finds you all refreshed and revitalized following the Christmas celebrations. Our Christmas was a little different than past years, I wouldn’t say that we are refreshed but the newness of returning to Moab is generating excitement and life in us. We are eager to start a new year with all of you, continuing God’s call for us to be a blessing and share the good news of Jesus.

January will be a month of acclimation and socialization for us. We hope to be able to connect with everybody in some way immediately. Many of you probably know that I’m working on my Doctor of Ministry degree through Denver Seminary. This continued education involves two to three weeks per year in classes. This semester, due to COVID, classes will be on Zoom. I’m planning to attend these from my office. So, January 4th through 8th, I will be in the office, but likely tied to a computer, should you happen to stop by. Please leave a message with Crystal or on my cell phone (970-640-3061) and I will get back to you later that evening. The following week, I will be much more accessible for you should you want to visit.

I hope everyone who wants to participate in the One Year Bible reading in 2021 has acquired a printed Bible or visited the webpage. Here is the site if you still need to check it out, oneyearbibleonline.com. If you need a printed Bible, we will keep getting more as needed. Some of you may wonder why we are doing this. I would like to address a couple aspects of what we are doing in this month’s briefing. In order to keep it brief, let’s focus on the “Why” and the “How” questions this month.

 

Why? As your pastor, my desire is to see you continually drawing closer to Jesus and each other through Him. A few of the foundational disciplines of a growing Christian are 1) regular prayer, 2) engagement with God’s revelation of Himself through the scriptures, and 3) somehow connecting with others through what God is sharing with you. These are what we will call vital behaviors. You probably already practice these in some form or at least did in that season you felt closest to the Lord. I want to make doing this as easy and natural as possible for you, but also encourage others to join in with you.

How? Set aside at least 20 minutes a day for personal worship. This is often referred to as a “quiet time,” but it’s personal worship. Start with 2-3 minutes of prayer. This could be unstructured prayer, but if this is fairly new use a structure like the Lord’s Prayer (as found in Matthew 6.9-13) or a prayer acronym like ACTS (Adore, Confess, Thank and Supplicate [Ask]) to help you. If you need more ideas, let me know. The point of beginning with prayer is to open up the dialogue with God and to start listening. After some prayer, spend 15 minutes reading through your One Year Bible passages. Reading speeds vary of course some will need less than 15 minutes and some more. The time isn’t as important as the actual engagement with God’s word, so don’t rush. You will find the required time to finish the readings to be very consistent from day to day, so establish your schedule as needed. After reading, take 2-3 minutes to think about something you just heard and what impact it should have on your life. This is the easiest step to skip, but don’t. It’s so valuable to review and begin to apply what you just read. Close with more prayer or at least a quick petition for God to work His truth into your life and those doing this with you. When your time is finished, go through your day looking for God moments and opportunities to share what you are hearing from Him. Jesus will give you opportunities to pour out what He is pouring in. I would say that the conversations we are going to have, as we do this together, is one of the most rewarding parts.

We will go over more about this next month. Until then, get started and enjoy your time fellowshipping with the Spirit of Truth (John 16.13). May the Lord be preparing us for great things together!

Happy New Year, Pastor Kyle
 

November 2020

As I began to work on this months Quill, I decided to look up last year newsletter. In doing so, read “Keith’s Quill”, from November 2019…. It is profoundly for us at this time! Please prayerfully read it. Even though it was to prepare us for his retirement, it still pertains to us currently… and our future! Thank You Pastor Keith!

 

Keith’s Quill

It seems like we have gone from summer to winter. I know that all of you living in Moab and most every other place in the country have the same feeling. There is just something about change that makes us uncomfortable. Most of us are not even happy with changing the time forward and back every year. However, change is constantly happening around us. The better we adapt to it the better off we will be. Most of you know that our church will be headed for a change next fall. I will be retiring so there will need to be a change of pastor and all the things that change with such an event. This can be and we hope will be, a good change for the church. It is impossible for us to estimate the blessings of being in Moab for all these years. We certainly hope that you reading this have felt the same way. Moving on to new leadership and new, fresh ideas and energy will be exciting for the church. I hope that you will all join me in praying for these next ten months and for the work that will be done to prepare for this transition in our church. Prayer is the key to seeing a wonderful thing happen, as you find a new person to come and share your lives and encourage your faith.
I will be working diligently in these last months to make this time very profitable for you. May I encourage you to get even more engaged in this church’s life? We are going to need every person being a part of this new thing that God will be doing. God has gifted each of you with a gift that you can use to make the ministry here a strong and healthy one. We do need you. I know that it is a temptation to withdraw at times like these and just wait to see what is going to happen. I hope none of you do that. Now is the time to build new excitement about the future of this church. The best gift you can give me as I leave the leadership of Community Church is a commitment to make this church very successful in the future.
Let me say a word to those of you under fifty. The future of this church ultimately rests in your hands. Much of the leadership now is well over sixty. They are still active and very much the heart of our leadership now. But they will not be able to carry the load for much longer. They need younger people with families and with families that are growing up to come and take your place at the head of the table. I have been here long enough to have watched that happen in the past. It has to happen again. Moab Community Church is a church that needs to help lead this community in the causes God holds dear. We are an important part of what God is doing and what He is able to do for this community. I just pray that many of you will catch the vision of who the church can be, what an influence it has had, and can have in the future.
So let’s work together without fear, but with great hope for what the Lord is going to do in the next decade in the life of our church. I am so excited about where you as a body of Christ will go from here. I am committed to you for the next ten months to getting us ready for the next big thing. Now is the time for each of you to pray about your part and come together to see God do great things. Have an amazing, Thanksgiving!
In love and great hope, Pastor Keith.

Crystal Center, Office AdministratorThe Quill Monthly Column – October 2020

Change is in the air! Seems most of the time changes in our lives can be  challenging, uncomfortable and even unwelcome.

So how do we deal with it? How do we respond to the changing circumstances that we  are facing? Daniel, Chapter 2 vs.21 says this,

“He changes times and seasons: He sets up kings and deposes them. He  gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”   

The first statement made here, is in the word “He”. He, or God, is in control.  (Breathing a sigh of relief here) Doesn’t it do our hearts good to know “He” is in  charge? “He” is the one who provides the change. “He” is the one who sets those in  power.   

It’s not an easy thing to endure changes in our lives, especially when it concerns  saying goodbye to Pastor Keith, who has been the shepherd of this flock for the past 34  years. Pastor Keith has been a faithful, trustworthy teacher of God’s word and a great  example of God’s love to this community and our fellowship. We will miss him here at  Community Church.   

The season is changing.   

As we wish Pastor Keith and Dianne a great retirement, and although they will be  missed, we should be encouraged and even excited to enter this new season. We will  welcome a new Shepherd. It is good to know that God gives Wisdom to the wise and  knowledge to the discerning. We can be asking the Lord for wisdom and knowledge  for ourselves, for our leaders, and for those in the Pastoral Search Committee.   

We can trust the Lord. Jesus is our strength and the glue that holds us together as  family. Seems as we face these changes, however uncomfortable at times, they are  causing us to seek Him more, and that’s always a good thing!   

1 Chronicles 16:10-12 Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. 

Rejoice!   Even in these uncertain times. The Lord hears us, loves us and answers our  prayers. I’m grateful for our fellowship, and grateful for those who are willing to give  of their time and resources, regardless of the curve balls life seems to throw. In this  new season, let’s work to draw closer than ever! Let’s call and encourage one another  with our new calling ministry (Thanks Linda!) Let’s pray with each other, or just  listen. Maybe send a card to someone… You will know, as the Lord leads and as we  seek Him for His Wisdom, Knowledge and Discernment.

In Gratitude,  

Crystal (Administrative Assistant, Community Church of Moab)

Keith’s Quill – September 2020

A very wise pastor and a very good man visited me during my first month of my first full time pastorate. He shared with me a verse from I Timothy. Actually he wrote it long hand in a handbook that he also gave me. His name was Marshall Shirer. In the New English translation the verse reminds us of this. “The aim of our charge (ministry) is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

This has been my mission statement over all these years of ministry. For me, to help people on to love has been my purpose and prayer. I know that means love that comes as a result of one’s faith in Jesus and the virtues that then surface in a faithful believer’s life. As I end my professional ministry it really is my prayer that God has enabled me to help believers to be loving servants of our Lord Jesus. I know that I have seen that in your lives as we have lived our lives together in the context of Christ’s Church. May love will continue to dominate everything we do.

Since this is the last quill that I will be writing it is important to me that I spend some time here thanking you that have served our church. What an amazingly wonderful people you are. There are far too many to thank each person individually. I wish I could. It is a very long list. You have gone far beyond normal to help and support Dianne and I through these years of ministry. And sense this article may very well go beyond Moab to a number who have supported and encouraged me over the years this thank you is for you too. I don’t feel like I have deserved the blessing that have come my way because of you. But know that as long as the Lord gives me the ability to remember anything I will be remembering you. If you could do one more thing for me, would you continue to serve our Lord with all your hearts and all your minds.

The next pastor of this church will be a very fortunate person. The reason that is, is because of you. Continue to seek the face of our Lord in all things. Be happy. We have gone through some deep water together over the years, but the Lord has brought us through every time, and He will continue to be faithful. Dianne and I want you all to know that we love each of you and that each one of you have been a blessing to our lives in some way. We plan for the time being to be around Moab until the Lord gives us a new plan. I will not be your pastor, but I will always be your friend. Give to your new pastoral family all the love and support that you have given to us.

The church will continue to be a light to the Moab community and a blessing to God. “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”

PK

Keith’s Quill – August 2020

Have you ever considered the importance of making good decisions? Decisions actually determine the direction of our lives and often our success or failure. It is very important when making a decision that it takes into consideration a great number of factors. The one element that I would like to lift up in this article is the will of God. Of course, knowing the will of God is often the dilemma. The problem lies not in that God would hide this from us but that we are not in a position to allow God to disclose it to us. Paul knew that this would be a major issue in every Christian’s success as a follower of Jesus. He, through the Spirit of God, gives us what is necessary to know God’s will and to make the best decisions from that information. Hear the Word of the Lord from Romans chapter 12 verses 1 and 2.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NIV)

Do you see the steps we all need to take to know or prove the will of God for our lives? The first is to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices. Knowing God’s will takes commitment from us. In fact it takes total commitment from us. Paul believes and teaches here that this sacrifice of ourselves to God is actually the normal thing to do for those who belong to Christ. Many of us never get beyond step one. We do wish a relationship with God but on our own terms, not His. This will keep us in the dark about His will. The next step, if we are able to get this far, is avoiding the world’s evil influence in our lives. This is all about our thinking and our minds. Once we begin to think like the world the will of God is probably lost to us. Yet most of us are heavily influenced by what is around us. We do allow the world, as some translations put it, to” squeeze us into its mold”. So we have this need to resist thinking like the world. The next step is helpful with this second step. We are to be in the continual process of having our minds renewed so that we can be transformed from what the world would have us believe to what God has revealed to us in His Son and in His Word. If we are not walking with Jesus every day and listening attentively to what God says in the Bible we will fail at this last step. Our human natures will lead us in the wrong direction every time. It is why Jesus big request to all of us is to follow Him. It is in this following that we will find His way and be able to discern the will of God for our own lives. Jesus said he that loses his life shall actually find it. We can make great decisions that will put us in a great place to be who God desires us to be. We can’t do it without following the plan. We need to stop asking what should I do? And start following the one who actually knows what we are to do. I really think this will make a great difference in how we live our lives and how fruitful we will be for the Kingdom of God.

PK

Keith’s Quill – July 2020

We are getting ready this week to celebrate our Independence as a nation. It seems like only a while back that I was graduating from seminary in 1976. It was the bi-centennial year. I still have a bag of bi-centennial money that I collected during that year and a few years beyond. That two hundredth year anniversary has now come to be two hundred and forty-four. Those years have seen our country live through a lot. We have made tremendous progress in some areas. Who would have thought you could talk to someone around the world from just about anywhere else. The internet is still a puzzle to most of us, but we use it every day and would be lost without it. Very few if any knew. How could we have imagined that sitting in Moab, Utah we could order most anything for sale and have it delivered to our door in two days. Most of us are not good at photography, yet most all of us can now take a great picture using a phone. That picture can be sent anywhere to another phone or computer instantly. Who knew that we would be able to chat with our family and watch our grandchildren take their first steps live and in beautiful color right from our couch hundreds of miles away? Who would have thought when I graduated from seminary that all the books I could possible ever want to read or study would be available on my computer screen or on my phone? And just think that you can have any word spelled for you and about any bit of information you might desire just by asking a little digital assistant we call Alexa. Or for that matter, Googling it. I have satellite receiver in my car and in my house. And they are not very large dishes anymore but very capable of amazing things. Yet with all these advancements we are still struggling to have a civil discussion on anything the slight bit controversial. Technology keeps growing but people keep growing apart. Now we have a problem with a virus that we can’t seem to solve that is tearing us further apart. I might be so bold to write here that forty-four years ago I finished 20 years of school believing that I had the answer to everything. I just knew that Jesus could solve any problem and fix any situation if we would allow Him to do so. I still think so. My pessimism comes from watching so many for so long not turning His direction even when they know they should. Our confidence in our science and technology has taken over our minds and our hearts. When they fail we are so lost! There is hope. We are constantly reminded in Scripture to turn back to the Lord. If we do so He will hear us and heal our hearts. I wonder if our culture might be racing toward a break, but even so we don’t need to be. God can save us one person at a time. We must be born again. The same message that I began with forth-four years ago is still the solution. Without personal faith in Jesus there is really no hope for us. Let’s continue to be the light even if the world hides it’s face from it. Never give up and never give in.
God is transcendent and He will prevail.

-PK

Keith’s Quill – June 2020

Greetings everyone! We are now beginning the thirteenth week of the shutdown due to the coved-19 Coronavirus. We have now met on three weeks with a limited program and a few attendees. I thought I would take my space in the Newsletter to assess how we are doing as a church through this time. The general atmosphere among our people is good.We all wish to be back at church in a normal service schedule. The praise team is practicing and providing worship in their normal pattern. I am still working on Sunday messages and we are getting those to you either in video or audio formats.

At this time we are not having any youth activities. We do provide each week a Sunday School lesson from Group Publishing. As of May 31st packets are available for children to use during the worship service. The Boards met for the first time on May 27th. The main topic of discussion was the pastoral search. Arrangements are being made and a search committee will be formed in the next few weeks. Your prayers are asked for this important committee as they begin their work. The virus will make it more difficult for the committee as they seek a new pastor.

We did cancel Vacation Bible School this year. It is the first year in many, many years that we have not had a vibrant Bible School. I read the other day that Cheyenne Frontier Days is cancelled this year. They have not had to do that for 124 years. These days are definitely challenging for many people. We surprisingly have not had many requests for aid during this crisis. It could be that when the workman’s compensation ends that we will. It is hoped by then that people in our community will be back to their normal jobs and incomes.

Our financial situation in the church is still very good. Thank you to all of you who have kept up with your giving to the church during this time. Mark Curnutte continues to keep our church property in wonderful shape during this time. He works very hard at it and puts in many hours each week. Be sure and thank him when you see him. I am sure that this crisis has been difficult for our missionaries. It not only has kept them from their work but has additionally caused a drop in their support. They also need our prayers. With the loosening of the government restrictions we anticipate opening back up our church office to normal operations.

If you would like to drop by and chat feel free to do so. This is going to be a crazy and perhaps a difficult summer. We do need to stay together as a family even though we might see less of each other for this season. I would suggest that we make it a priority to keep in touch with those people we know in our church. It is okay at this time to get together in small groups for study and prayer or just as an encouragement. A phone call or text is another great way to stay connected. I trust we will be willing to do so. God is good.God is good, all the time!

-PK

Keith’s Quill – May 2020

These have been weird and strange days! Especially for the church. We have been worshipping in new ways now for seven weeks. There have been some blessings that have come out of this for us as a church. We are learning to do online worship. This we hope to continue in the future even when we are able to come together again. This ministry has reached people that we have never been able to minister to before. I even have family members that have never seen me preach that are tuning in. The messages are available on our Facebook page at Moab Community Church on Sunday’s at 8:00 a.m. They are also placed on our webpage, moabcommunitychurch.com, where they remain for you to access.

Of course, all of us wish for the regular services to begin again. We are preparing for this to happen. As long as the virus is a threat we will need to make a number of modifications to how we meet. Social distancing needs to stay in affect so sitting together with friends takes on a new challenge. We will not pass out bulletins or really pass anything that requires anyone to touch it. This changes how we receive offerings and take communion. For a while I am sure that we will be required to wear masks. I’m talking about the ones that cover the nose and mouth now! It will be difficult to be together and not have our usual hugs and handshakes but refraining from them will be a necessity. Also I feel like I must caution those in the older age brackets to think about their participation. With the wave of tourists that begin to come back to Moab this weekend we will be at higher risk then has been true for the first two months of this crisis.

The last thing I want to happen is for our older congregants to get sick with this virus. Since I am actually in the age group at jeopardy I will try to be careful of my interactions as well. Initially we will opt out of Children’s church and fellowship time. We will have something for the kids during the worship service. Everyone will be invited to bring their own coffee. Extra cleaning and sanitizing will be done, and the use of restrooms might be limited. (Maybe we should rethink bringing coffee.) Our plan at the moment is to see how the new normal with tourists back in town affects the amount of positive cases. If there is nominal affect we might be able to begin with services by mid-May. This will be in some regard dictated by the state and local authorities.

We have been put into a position by this situation to either grow or diminish in our faith. My prayer is that we all grow and develop during this time. God is still good and good all the time. May Jesus bring us all comfort, peace and great hope as we wait upon Him. Love to each of you. -PK

Keith’s Quill – March 2020

As I am writing this quill, it is the Tuesday before what we call Ash Wednesday. Some people celebrate today as “Fat Tuesday”. It is called that I suppose because of the practice of eating very high calorie desserts on this day. Of course, it is Mardi Gras also with all the celebrating that goes along with it. All of this festivity and eating of sweets is to prepare folks for the sacrifices called for during the Lenten season. Lent is a time of repentance and dedication that is to prepare the hearts of Christians for Easter and the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. A number of Christian groups have ashes put on their foreheads as a symbol of repentance and as a reminder that life is short and there is a need to prepare for eternity. Ash Wednesday to Easter is a reminder of the forty days that Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert while dealing with the great temptations. There are obviously more than forty days between Easter and Ash Wednesday. The churches that participate in these liturgical rituals generally will not count the Sundays that occur during the Lenten season thus the forty days. Even though as a church we do not observe the Lenten season we do like to remind each other that these days approaching the Resurrection Day can be very special to us and occasions for us to seek a more intentional relationship with the Lord through repentance and faith.

Some of us have actually had times in our lives when during this season we gave something we really liked up as a sacrifice to the Lord. I gave up chocolate one year. I don’t know that this induced anything in me but perhaps pride. Here is a list of things we might give up in preparation of our resurrection celebration that might actually encourage us and bless others. We might give up gossip, lying, unforgiveness, hate, greed, malice, envy, and cursing. You may add to the list of those evil actions that tear people down and do nothing to add to anyone’s spiritual growth. It is necessary when we are giving things up to add something to our lives. So a short list of those actions might be helpful here. How about adding to our lives love, faith, hope, joy, prayer, fellowshipping with others, walking with Jesus daily, and sharing our faith.

One of the reasons that people walk around with ashes on their foreheads when it would be quite acceptable to immediately wash them off is to have people ask them what is going on with their messy faces. It is an opportunity to witness to the love of Christ and His wonderful gift of redemption by His death and Resurrection. I think that when we sacrifice something for the Lord during Lent there is a tendency to look at ourselves with pride in what we have done. The purpose of Lent, if we are indeed to celebrate it at all, should be to give glory to the Lord. The Apostle Peter in his second letter writes this to the church concerning adding things to their lives. “To your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8) Have a wonderful month. Make it profitable for you and for the kingdom. -PK

Keith’s Quill – February 2020

Love is in the air! Do you sense it? Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to express our love to the people in our lives. I know that it is one of those commercialized days that make chocolate makers and card distributors, and florists very happy. But still, even those folks give us a way to express our affection. Love is the way we show ourselves loyal to Jesus too. Christians are to be identified in the world by showing love to people.

This includes everyone. It is not about showing love to the people we like but even the people who we don’t. Jesus taught us to love our enemies. I think we have probably forgotten how to do this. Most of us are more skilled at taking advantage of our enemies then we are at loving them.

Our polarized world puts us into different camps. Loving the opposition party or the people we differ with theologically is an easy fail. When we think of what it means to love those who we don’t actually like we need to consider what our faith teaches us. Turning the other check or going the extra mile are concepts that Jesus taught us. He instructed us in this behavior in the context of those who abuse us, or seek to take advantage of us. It is during these testing times that our love for people and their broken condition stands out to them and to the world around us. We are also to have compassion upon those who are struggling. When we see anyone hurting it really should be very difficult for a believer to look away.

Although we have read and heard the message of 1 Corinthians 13 many, many times it is still important that we buy into the real essence of love. It has very little to do with feelings, and very much to do with our actions toward others.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-8

If you could pick one of those virtues to practice that Paul tells us de- scribes love, what would you pick? I think I would like to be identified with kindness. It just seems to me that if we are kind then we probably
will demonstrate most of those other virtues also. May you give and receive love in these days. And may it extend far beyond this month. Be kind.

PK

 

Keith’s Quill – November 2019

It seems like we have gone from summer to winter. I know that all of you living in Moab and most every other place in the country have the same feeling. There is just something about change that makes us uncomfortable. Most of us are not even happy with changing the time forward and back every year. However, change is constantly happening around us. The better we adapt to it the better off we will be. Most of you know that our church will be headed for a change next fall. I will be retiring so there will need to be a change of pastor and all the things that change with such an event. This can be and we hope will be, a good change for the church. It is impossible for us to estimate the blessings of being in Moab for all these years. We certainly hope that you reading this have felt the same way. Moving on to new leadership and new, fresh ideas and energy will be exciting for the church. I hope that you will all join me in praying for these next ten months and for the work that will be done to prepare for this transition in our church. Prayer is the key to seeing a wonderful thing happen, as you find a new person to come and share your lives and encourage your faith. I will be working diligently in these last months to make this time very profitable for you. May I encourage you to get even more engaged in this church’s life? We are going to need every person being a part of this new thing that God will be doing. God has gifted each of you with a gift that you can use to make the ministry here a strong and healthy one. We do need you. I know that it is a temptation to withdraw at times like these and just wait to see what is going to happen. I hope none of you do that. Now is the time to build new excitement about the future of this church. The best gift you can give me as I leave the leadership of Community Church is a commitment to make this church very successful in the future. Let me say a word to those of you under fifty. The future of this church ultimately rests in your hands. Much of the leadership now is well over sixty. They are still active and very much the heart of our leadership now. But they will not be able to carry the load for much longer. They need younger people with families and with families that are growing up to come and take your place at the head of the table. I have been here long enough to have watched that happen in the past. It has to happen again. Moab Community Church is a church that needs to help lead this community in the causes God holds dear. We are an important part of what God is doing and what He is able to do for this community. I just pray that many of you will catch the vision of who the church can be, what an influence it has had, and can have in the future.

So let’s work together without fear, but with great hope for what the Lord is going to do in the next decade in the life of our church. I am so excited about where you as a body of Christ will go from here. I am committed to you for the next ten months to getting us ready for the next big thing. Now is the time for each of you to pray about your part and come together to see God do great things. Have an amazing, Thanksgiving! In love and great hope, Pastor Keith.

Keith’s Quill – September 2019

September has always been one of my favorite months. This is especially true since coming to Moab. The weather turns really nice here for a rather long time now. Going outside anytime of the day is comfortable and doing whatever you wish to do is generally possible.
So now that we have choices concerning what we will do with our time? I know that some of you are looking forward to a hunt or two. Some of us are signed up for Fantasy football so that wonderful season is underway. High school sports will take up some of our time and for some of you most of your time. So we have all these choices and all this time.
God has given us these gifts. We won’t always have them. For everyone time runs out. For most of us the choices we are making now will be made for us. I have been so privileged to have walked with so many of our church family through this transition. I know that most of those who have passed through it generally wish they had some of those days back. It wasn’t that the choices of how they used their time was bad or immoral in any way. It generally comes down to having chosen selfishly and spent their time doing their own thing.

That in itself is sometimes important to do. But a life spent entirely on oneself is a life wasted. We are not called to please ourselves and indulge ourselves at every turn. We are to be sacrificial with both our time and the choices we make in this world. Those who make these kinds of choices generally end up with little regret.
So, in this amazing season that we are into this year. It will be easy to choose to be self-absorbed. Being able to do what we want is a gift that is better given away and exchanged for doing what God has called us to do. If we have one common psychological problem as a nation it is Narcissism.

The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Do we wish to see our own image or the image of God within us reflected to our world? Absolutely, do enjoy your fall! I plan to! It is great to have this season. My point is that we can be productive for the Kingdom of God while we enjoy His world. It is wrong for us who know Him to enjoy His world without being productive for His Kingdom.

  • PK