Dear Church Family,

Today’s blog doesn’t have a theme. It’s just a letter of some things I wanted to write to you. I hope you’ll read.

If all of you would not just continue in the faith, but grow in faithfulness and fruitfulness, my joy would abound. I mean that sincerely. When God gives me the honor of noticing His work in you, my heart leaps. It makes the anxiety, panic attacks, separation from biological family/lifelong friends, and spiritual opposition worth it.

As we continue to go through a quasi “merger” with several from a sister church, I want to encourage you to make an intentional effort to inter-mingle before or after service with someone outside of your bubble. If we are going to be one church, that needs to start happening. If we are one in Christ, I’m confident you will take this and run with it. There will be a contact list this Sunday with folks’ names and contact information. Also, please use the name badges on the gray table this Sunday.

A Personal Challenge I’m Making Public

This year I’ve taken a personal challenge to invite 10 people to church every week. So far, I’ve invited 30 people over the last three weeks. But the Lord reminded me that I’m not supposed to do all this work myself. I’m supposed to equip you to do the work as well. So, this Sunday there will be invite cards on the back of the pews. Every week the emcee will be challenging you all to take one invite card and give it to someone that week to invite them to Jesus’ worship service the next week.

NOTE: The invite cards don’t have information about everything God is doing at our church. It’s geared for someone who’s not involved at all to invite them just to the 11 AM service. That service is the “front door” of our church. The Lord will lead them to where they need to plug in from there.

I’m Proud Of . . .

Rob Seymour. Rob is not currently a deacon. But he continues to volunteer in A/V at the church. He purchased a new camera and updated the software for those watching online. We had an issue with the sound and he has been here trying to fix it. All of this is happening while he is waiting for God to give him a new job. It would be easy to sit at home and mope, but Rob hasn’t done that. Well done, Rob.

Chris Walker. Chris and Joanna stayed after church Sunday, working several hours to install a new router for the internet here. (It had been giving us trouble for a while.) Chris is qualified to work for the Geek Squad at Best Buy, but he works for the Lord for free. Chris, thank you.

Vern Morehouse. In the Riggs Growth Group, we take turns praying for one another. One person from each family will pray for another family. Usually, Lisa prays for the Morehouse family. Vern didn’t grow up in a church environment where praying out loud was something the laity did. But when Lisa wasn’t at GG a few weeks ago, Vern had to pray. He stepped up, got over his fear, and prayed a sincere prayer for the Fortune family. Awesome, Vern!

Who have you noticed doing something awesome for the Lord? Reach out to them and brag on ‘em! It will encourage them!

A New Song Sunday

We stumbled upon this song by the group CityAlight. It’s called “God Is For Us.” If the Lord wills, we will sing it together for the next few Sundays. Give Lynsey and me some feedback if it resonates with your heart. It’s really fun, and has some wonderful truths from Romans 8. Listen to it here.

Pour Out Your Heart

Part of me is a little fearful telling you what I’m about to write. Whether it’s true or not, I feel there’s an expectation that a pastor be more . . . put together? Often I do not feel put together. And I certainly haven’t so far this year. Straight up—many, if not all pastors often feel as I do. But they don’t have the freedom to express it to their people. Paul seemed to. For me, your willingness to either put up with my honesty or pray me through it is one of the reasons I’m still a pastor, or perhaps a Christian altogether.

So here it is:

The other day I got under a pew in the auditorium and talked to God like a child. It was not something I would have been comfortable doing in front of anyone except Him. But He has given me freedom to let things go from my heart into His hands. Sometimes it’s loud, sometimes there are tears, sometimes I yell. Not because I’m mad but because it seems like that’s what it takes to get it out.

I push past my desire to hide this because if I’m feeling the weight of all the craziness going on, I suspect you may too. You may need to get alone with God in a place no one can hear or see you and get all of the things off your heart and into His hands.

If you know there’s some serious alone time with God you need right now, let me encourage you to:

  1. Make sure the location is secure. You don’t want any fear of someone walking in.
  2. Get in a physical position that reflects your heart. I’m not sure this is biblically mandated, but for some reason it helps me.
  3. Be completely honest with Him. You are not there to impress Him. You are there for removal of a growth. Sometimes surgery is messy or even ugly. Whatever you’re afraid to tell him, remember—He already knows.
  4. Use a psalm. Almost any will do. Psalm 39 is great. Read a phrase, tell God what comes to mind—questions, statements, concerns, whatever. When you’re done, go to the next phrase. When your heart is free and mind is at rest, you’re finished. Thank God and move on.

I pray that our great God would give you the freedom to cast all your anxieties on Him. He cares for you.

Closing Thoughts

Pray for me. I haven’t been sleeping well. Sunday’s message is one that has great potential for good or confusion. Ask the Holy Spirit to give me great clarity and compassion. My heart is for your good.

Thanks to Diane Howard for taking over the mid-week email for us. In your inbox it will say it’s from me but she’s really sending it on my behalf.

The Lord has given me an open door with some people at the McDonald’s drive through on Rochester. I long for them to be saved. One of them now has a “Two Ways to Live” booklet. Ask God to be merciful to them.

You need to be in a growth group. Start Sunday.

Pastor Jacob