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