From the Pastor:
There are somedays that I just cannot believe it. I cannot believe that my family and I have been privileged to serve alongside of you here in Trough Creek Valley for seven years. We have completed year six; it is officially in the books and we are one month into year seven. This milestone of our relationship has left this pastor deep in reflection. We have witnessed a lot of change over the course of these years. You received a pastor that was brand new to the ministry when this charge was used to having a full elder of the conference behind its leadership. Our arrival was in the face of controversy and in some cases anger. Positive change has taken place in other areas, we have changed our service times, sanctuary layouts, components and structures, special services, ministries opportunities, we have brought on paid staff for the parish and church level assignments, including new associate pastors. We have celebrated great success in welcoming some amazing new people to our midst and shook with the deepest of grief at the loss of those closest to our hearts. We have certainly come a long way. We have changed who we are and what our imprint in our community looks like, we are shaping a legacy.
It is in the wake of these experiences that I am hopeful. I continue to pray and search for God’s will with our church’s direction. God’s will, I can’t help but to chuckle, how often do we actually seek God’s will apart from our own? If we are willing to be honest how often does God’s will align to our own agenda’s and preferences, yes even as Christians, we are swayed toward our own selfishness. Have you ever pondered the impact of those words should they be prayed in the purest sense? We pray these words every time we pray the “Our Father” prayer. “Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The prayer is taught by Jesus to his followers- his disciples in Matt. 6.
God’s grace is at work helping our hearts to say this prayer. When we do we experience true freedom. We have the opportunity to exercise our given authority over our lives by giving that authority over to another- The one Father of Creation, who loves us and searches for us. One might say there is not a stronger, more authentic example of living a life in the freedom of Christ than in this practice. This is God’s will for our lives; we freely trust in Him so much, with the fullness of our being that we place our lives under Divine care. You see this is the hang up. The deal breaker for even the most faithful of believers. When we decide that we do not know best and give ourselves over to the one who does.
Let’s take a brief moment to be objective and pray these words without any preconceived notions. These words are the epitome of taking up our cross, allowing God to lead our lives, and following Christ. In every way possible. They are the doorway to a new future. A future that is bright and brilliant. Brought about in our freedom to act faithfully toward God. Can we as United Methodist Churches in this valley open ourselves to that will? What will it look like? What can it accomplish? It’s a risk depending on God, because when we do that we have to trust in what God is
doing, and that work is greater than ourselves. There is a vibrant future for the church in Trough Creek Valley and I wonder what it will look like? There may be change, and things may not look the same, but ultimately, will we seek to be faithful to God’s mission for the kingdom of God, and not our own? I can’t help but be reminded of a scene from Braveheart. This scene toward the climax of the film between Hamish, and William Wallace, Hamish scolds William for taking a risk in a situation that might not work out. William responds with the most brilliant line of the film, “do you know what’ll happen if we don’t? Nothing”.
Pastor Todd Christine