Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Holy Communion in Lowesville, Va at Central Baptist Church

Sunday, July 5th 2020

It was a great day at Central Baptist Church in Lowesville, Va! We observed Holy Communion together. Attendance was up from the previous couple weeks. I enjoyed sharing from Romans chapter 12. My sermon title was, "Dedicated Service." God's presence was very encouraging and parishioners offered kind words regarding my sermon. It was a good Sunday. 

In the afternoon, I took my youngest daughter with me to conduct Pastoral Home Visitations. In the evening I was able to get some Bible study in before retiring for the evening. 

Independence Day in Lowesville, Va

Saturday, July 4th 2020

It was a quiet morning in the parish. I spent the morning at my church office going over my sermon one last time and answering emails. I also devoted some time to spend in prayer for the Sunday service. 

The afternoon was spent with parishioners at a 4th of July celebration. I thank God for my congregation. They practice hospitality on a grand scale! A fun time was had by all.  

Being Kind to Our Future Selves

Journal entry for Friday, July 3, 2020

We got back from VA Beach late last Thursday, July 2nd. We wanted to get back a day early so we could have some time to transition back into our ordinary routine. Building in that margin allowed us time to unpack, wash clothes, and get things put away. But more importantly, it was about being kind to our future selves. Had we just rushed back home only to then rush back into our ordinary routine of working and moving about, our bodies, minds, and spirits would have paid the price. It's much like preparing the coffee pot the night before instead of waking up to the task. 

Planning ahead is a Biblical concept. Proverbs 27:12 says, "The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it." (ESV)

I hadn't always understood this concept. When I was in my early twenties, I recall always rushing about making coffee at the last minute only to rush out the door for work. In those days, you could've called me "last-minute-Gary. Thankfully over time I figured out small ways of being kind to my future self by doing small tasks each day to prepare the future. 

I could write more but suffice it to say that building in an extra day for transitioning back into my duties of being a Pastor made all the difference.  

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Friday Thoughts from Pastor Gary

June 26, 2020 

Looking back over the day I can see that I am inadvertently winding things down as I move towards vacation. For instance, I did not get a pastoral visit in the last couple days. However, I did compensate with more text messages, emails, and phone calls. Not out of obligation. I just utilized a different communication mode. As a Pastor, I like to stay connected as much as possible, part of shepherding the flock or keeping watch I suppose. Following is a summary of my pastoral meanderings/thoughts for the day.

Early morning I managed to get some reading, prayer, and mediation in before arriving at the church at 8:00 am to feed the cats and to work on a few things. I also helped the copy machine guy get our church copier out of the church so they can work on it over the weekend. While at church I emailed three parishioners. 

The afternoon and evening were pleasant. I texted the church treasurer to inquire about a few things. 

Just before dark I took a long walk. 

Overall, it was a great day. I am thankful for God's blessings. Before bedtime I worked on some gratitude exercises, reflecting on God's favor over my life & ministry. I try to do this every evening to clear my thoughts as a way to prepare myself for a good nights rest. As I did this I noted a concern at church which has been burdening me for some time. I sat with it for a few moments so as to not be dismissive but to accept it for its complexity. As a therapist, I am thankful for the ability to utilize such techniques. After some deep soul exploration over the issue, I set it aside. I reassured myself, much like David did in the Old Testament, that my God would take care of me and help me through. It was a comforting way to end another day of Pastoral Ministry at Central Baptist Church in Lowesville, VA.

A verse from the Psalm I used to reflect: 

    "Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of of my soul"

                                                                                Psalm 54:4

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Thankful Thursday

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Nothing but happy thoughts & gratitude as I look back over the day. I woke up at 6:00 am for morning prayer & coffee. I was able to get some reading in before heading over to the church at 8:00 am to feed the cats and check my emails along with making social media posts  

I spoke with some parishioners in the afternoon over the phone. Late afternoon I was able to get a long walk in before going by the church to check the doors. All was secure so I headed home for the evening. 

I am thankful for each day of pastoral ministry that God provides. 

Blessings my friends,

Pastor Gary

Keeping Watch

Wednesday June 24, 2020

It was a pleasant day. I woke up around 6:00 am. With coffee brewing I began the days work with prayer & reading. 

I went by the church at 8:00 am to feed the cats. While there I emailed a parishioner to ask a question about the hymns for the upcoming Sunday Church Service. We'll be out of town on vacation and will miss the service but I want to do what I can to make things go as smoothly as possible in my absence. I'm sure things will go well but we Pastors fret about such things. 

Later in the morning I spoke with a parishioner who had an urgent prayer concern. We talked and prayed. I did what I could to offer counsel. Later in the afternoon I learned that things had worked out! To God be the Glory I thought & said the same to myself. God has a way of intervening for His saints. 

The afternoon was relatively quiet. I managed to get some study in as well as a long walk. 

In the evening (10:30 pm) I went by the church to check the exterior doors. Everything was secure. I try to do this every evening but not so late on most nights. I guess it's a habit, part of my daily routine. Back when I worked at the college in security part of my job was to check doors and keep an eye on things. It was a daily practice I enjoyed. In life, we go through various life experiences where we acquire habits that can stick with us throughout the remainder of our time on Earth. Some are good. Others not so good. In this case, I'm thankful for having acquired the habit of keeping watch and checking to make sure the Church House is secure. So going by the Church each night to do one last check for the evening has become a part of my daily practices as Pastor of Central Baptist Church. 

Before I left the Church, I noticed the cats were doing their nightly security detail so I decided to call it a day. All was well in Lowesville. 

Until next time....

Blessings from Pastor Gary

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Tuesday's Gone

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 .

It's raining outside. A most ideal time to write. The day has gone well. I woke up at 4 am to study and then went by the church for morning prayers. It's a daily ritual, as much as feeding the church cats, Moses & ZZ. They are our welcoming committee and also moonlight as security detail. I took care of a few administrative things and then headed into to Lynchburg for a meeting. For some reason I had thought it would be raining for the entire day but to my surprise it was all sunshine! 

After my trip to Lynchburg I stopped in Amherst for a few errands and then went home for lunch. On my lunch break I mowed the grass, something that my oldest son usually takes care of. I found it therapeutic being out cutting grass. It was like the old days back in Metro Atlanta spending summers mowing lawns. 

I had a dental appointment late afternoon. It wasn't as bad as I had imagined. Never is. 

As far as parishioner check-ins... I emailed our property & maintenance man to let him know that the church copier had died and a new one was on its way. Thankful we purchased the protection plan. I also left a voicemail with the church treasurer to keep her in the loop. I also texted our chair of Deacons for a daily check-in and left a voice message with another parishioner I've been trying to get in touch with.
To close the day out, I had dinner with a couple from our church. It was a great way to end a day of pastoral ministry. 

So long for now.

Pastor Gary