Pastor’s Corner (12/16/2021)
“If you realize how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
In a recent “Minute with Maxwell,” John Maxwell shared the above quote as one of his statements of strength. He shared the recognition that we cannot totally eliminate negative thoughts, but we can choose to not dwell on them. In this time of year, we are well aware of the focus on positive and joyous thoughts. But, for many of us, it is a challenge to recognize our negative thoughts and not dwell on them. As we approach the end of the year, we are constantly invited to look back on the past year. While it might be tempting to focus on all the bad things that happened to us this year, I would invite us to reflect on all that was good in the past year, particularly here at FCC. We have struggled in many ways, but many good and exciting things have happened.
One of the most exciting things in my opinion has been the ministry of our two Seminarians in Residence. Kelly Tyrrell and Leigh Lestina have added a lot to our life and ministry here at FCC. I think some of my colleagues have been a bit jealous, as well they might be. They have participated in worship through worship leadership and preaching. They have also done a lot behind the scenes. Kelly has added to our educational life by teaching a couple of adult classes during our “What’s on Wednesdays.” She has led us in deeper explorations of the Gospel of Matthew and deepened our understanding of Native American spirituality. She took the lead in creating our Stewardship campaign in consultation with the Stewardship and Finance Team. She has done a lot behind the scenes that has deepened our ministry together.
Leigh has been active in working with D’Arcy Blossser in leading our Youth Group. She has helped our youth prepare for their upcoming baptisms. She has also done a lot behind the scenes. Perhaps the most exciting thing in working with them has been the energy and enthusiasm they bring to our life and ministry. The congregation has responded well to their leadership. They have expressed their gratitude and a sense of being welcomed and appreciated. Many of you have given them concrete and helpful feedback which is an important part of their formation. It has been a joy to work with them and help facilitate their formation in ministry. We are blessed to have them throughout the spring and I know they welcome the ongoing opportunities to grow and serve.
Another positive element of our life together this past year has been our ability to resume some of the activities that have been a part of our life here at FCC. While COVID has necessitated a lot of accommodations and changes, we have continued to love and serve. We are one of the few Protestant congregations in Lincoln that has offered in person worship non-stop since June of 2020. We have also been able to offer live-streamed worship. We continue to prepare weekly written worship bulletins in an effort to reach as many people as possible. The Elders have worked hard to keep in touch with our members and friends. People have made the effort to remain socially connected while respecting the need to be physically distant. Worship continues to be the heart of our life and ministry. We are blessed to have a gifted Music Director, Mark Miller, who has drawn out the gifts of our musicians, and at the same time, kept our music fresh and vibrant. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful and talented musicians in our midst who revel in sharing their gifts.
Although it might be tempting to focus on the negatives in our lives, we can acknowledge our negative thoughts without dwelling on them. We have much to celebrate here at FCC! In this season of joy, may we celebrate all the good that surrounds us. May we rejoice as we await the coming of God in our midst. God is truly with us, Emmanuel comes and has come. Emmanuel is in our midst and brings us many reasons to rejoice and focus on all that is good!
With love and joy,