A Message from your Associate Pastor

First and foremost - to all our veterans: THANK YOU! Sacrifice: "an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy." Thank you to all veterans who have served and ARE SERVING; have given and ARE GIVING of themselves in so many ways for the sake of freedom and liberty in our nation. Your sacrifice allows for the things we know and love, but also take for granted from sea to shining sea. Today reminds us not to take YOU for granted...

May God bless you and your families! - Brother Greg, all our clergy, and staff of St. James!


Second and, er, fivemost - - (well, what's after FOREmost if not five?)

Friends, I very rarely TGIF "Thank God It's Friday" because I'm more of a "Thank God for EVERY day" kinda guy. But THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY! Can I get an AMEN?! : )

Some would say it's been a long week (although not really because no day, week, or year is noticeable enough to be longer than any other [even though approximately one millionth of a second is added to the earth's rotation cycle each day according to scientists {don't ask me how, but I'm pretty sure it's with miniature robotic nano-fleas using very small microscopes and counting "one Mississippi, two Mississippi" as accurately as one can expect!}.].).

I'm starting with humor - or an attempt to - because y'all: it's been a long week. Or "tough" week. Yes. "Tough" week is what we mean when we say it's been a "long" week, day or year. And as many have said, it's been a tough year+.

Now, of course I'm referring to the political season. Not sure I've heard ANYBODY disagree that our political discourse has elevated to a level that is undesirable. And embarrassing. And scary sometimes. It makes the nation our veterans sacrifice for seem less worthy. And that hurts EVERYone. If "freedom isn't free" then OMGosh this is costing us too much. I know this freedom stuff is difficult. I know politics are messy. Like in sports though, someone always has to lose (an election). As a Christian/pastor/father/husband/one-time-competitive athlete (and this is totally Biblical*) "it's not whether you win or lose, but (say it with me) how you play the game. So whether we win or lose, will people "know we are Christians by our love"? Hmmm...


Post election day, I've seen and read many things from all sides that can be helpful or thought-provoking...

"A mirror is harder to look into than a window."

"What happens in your own house is more important than what happens in the White House."

"We have to agree to disagree in love."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

...and so many more.

And many from all sides that were not helpful...

...and so many more that I, of course, cannot print here.

My heart breaks for the "better angels of our nature" from non-believers but especially believers. Our call is to - ----- 

OK, wait... let me pause right here for a second. I was going to make a list of unknown size to tell you what you already know about "Letting your conversation/speech be full of grace" Colossians 4:6 and "Let your gentleness be evident to all...do not be anxious about anything" Philippians 4:5-6 ...Etc.etc.

But should I have to tell you what you already know? (The answer to that is yes AND no : )

I saw a lot of pastors - and Christians (as if those designations are different) - get on social media to say what they are supposed to say in times of crisis (see examples above). But the internet is known for not being the best place to have a meaningful conversation. Before you even finish writing the second word in the phrase "I think..." online, you already have a large number of people that disagree with you. So I didn't say much (which, in many cases, is the BEST thing to do {maybe another "Amen"?})

So why didn't I write anything substantive online this week? Because I do that every week.

It's called Sunday.

Worship - on Sunday - is where we go to point to the most beautiful things imaginable! (make a list)

And give thanks.

Sundays are where we go to find there's Good News when we think there's only bad.

And give thanks.

It's where we go to "wrestle with the messy" in ourselves and in others to try to figure out how to "live and move and have our existence." Acts 17:28

And give thanks.

Sundays are where we prepare for the "Tuesdays" of our lives - whether you were hurt by the outcome of the election 4 days ago - or 4 YEARS ago.

And give thanks.

Sundays are where to prepare for difficult election seasons. Or the unkind treatment from others. Or the loss of any kind. Or the really. Long. TOUGH week or year we're having.

And find a way - with others - to give thanks.

I - like all clergy - am called to lead a blue and red congregation
(also green, lavender and teal (if I remember

right from seminary). I preach in front of people that are conservative AND liberal (whatever those are). There are people in the congregation that go to Oaklawn and people that do not. There are sports fans and others who could care less "where the ball goes".  I preach in front of people who liked the book and people who preferred the movie. Some of you are carnivores (meat eaters) and others herbivores (veggies only). Different kinds of people trying to "Acts 17:28" above. And as Christians, we do that "...in Him." In Christ!

Each day this week I didn't "say" much. I just posted a picture of the weather app on my phone and noted the time of the sunrise. I didn't get all preachy every day like I have here and add more "1"s and "0"s to the digital code of the internet. I simply tried to remind you/me/everyone that today is a new day. Christians place their hope in Christ. Nowhere else. "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." ~ Jesus

Take heart.

I hope to see you Sunday.

Special Words here, Brother Greg

Posted by Debbie Kelly at 10:48 AM


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