A Message from Pastor Scott

A Thank You Note

I am already missing Westminster Wednesday evenings. I miss seeing everyone each week. One of my favorite parts of the night is sitting with the elementary age children (and some childlike adults) and singing the songs and dancing while Grant plays his ukulele and Kendra accompanies on the piano. I also miss my class. Each person makes the commitment to come every week, taking time to pray for those in need, offering each other support, and learning more about God’s sacred Scripture.

The discipline of meeting and studying each week has been a gift to me. One of the overarching themes my class has taught me over time is that God is less concerned about our making a personal decision for Jesus Christ, and more about showing God our gratitude. I also learned that gratitude is a foundational key to understanding the mind of God.

Throughout my time in Waterloo, I had more theologically conservative members regularly quoting John Piper to me. John Piper is a nationally popular pastor and writer. John Piper is a Reformed Baptist pastor from Minnesota. Over the past few years I am surprised to read that John Piper’s theology is transforming. Piper was a conservative Baptist who emphasized a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as the means of obtaining eternal life.

In one recent article, John Piper, surprisingly wrote, “The effort of this dominant viewpoint in American evangelicalism to define saving faith apart from the spiritual affections is biblically futile. To define saving faith apart from feelings of dependence, thankful trust, fervent admiration, pleased submission, contented resting, thrilled treasuring, eager reverence, heartfelt adoration is futile.” While I doubt John Piper and I will ever affirm the same understanding of Scripture, or theological confession, I do appreciate the understanding he describes.

Traditionally, evangelicalism focused primarily on creating a “saving faith” in someone to gain eternal life. Now, even those conservative evangelicals are recognizing that this is a manipulative and unsuccessful means of engendering lasting faith. These adjectives of “dependence, thankful trust, fervent admiration…” describe feelings of a loving relationship. Throughout the year, our class studied God’s Scripture and found not a God needing to be pacified so as not to cast us into hell, but a loving God, worthy of our deepest gratitude and love. We should not be afraid to approach this God or feel the need to offer the right salvation prayer to be included, but to develop a relationship based on gratitude for all God has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
Thank you, Wednesday group, for allowing me to learn anew, the love and blessings of God, in Jesus Christ.

An Opportunity to say “Thank You”

As I’ve said before, I’ve never served a congregation as committed to caring for their Seniors than Westminster. Our Deacons are each assigned a shut-in. They make regular communications with their shut-in and make personal visits, as well. I am touched by how often I go to visit a shut-in at the hospital and the person requests that I call their Deacon. In those moments when there is a death, I almost always see the deceased person’s Deacon at the funeral, continuing their call by offering support to the family. It is not unusual for Deacons, who are no longer on the board, to continue going to visit their shut-in because their friendships have become so deep.

Along with Deacon care, we have the blessing of three individuals in our congregation who give so much of themselves in providing ongoing care and offering the sacrament of Holy Communion. Rev. Dick Kiefer, Linda Blair and Jan Bannister make regular visits to our shut-ins and keep up with their lives and spiritual needs. These three are also great communicators, sharing information with the pastors and the Board of Deacons, so we can remain regularly informed of a person’s needs.

Our congregation is also blessed with Rev. Ken Arentson’s continued pastoral care. Ken volunteers part time making hospital visits, performing some funerals, and responding to other pastoral issues that arise. His knowledge of the church’s families and their histories makes him an invaluable resource. But most of all, his wisdom, faith, and compassion allows him to care in a uniquely meaningful way.

Finally, I am grateful for all of you. I cannot count the number of times members of our church family have come up to me, just to make sure I know about someone’s particular situation. Your love and concern for one another is moving. Please continue to watch out for one another. Get to know the people you sit near in worship. If they’ve been missing for a few weeks, ask around and make sure that all is well. Also, let me know if someone you know is hospitalized or struggling in any way. Never assume we know everyone’s situation. I would much rather be told ten times about someone, than miss an opportunity to offer care.

The ministry provided by those mentioned by name, and so many other members of our church, is an inspiration. Those I’ve mentioned today are a blessing, but they are not uniquely qualified to care. Any one of us can be a blessing - it just takes a little time and compassion. Even if you are not at a place where you can make visits, you can take a little time each day and offer prayers. It is as easy as going through the church directory. Go through the directory, and each day pray for two or three individuals or families. Your prayers can make a lasting difference.

Thank you, one and all, for the ways you offer care!


Previous12345678910 ... 1112