Thursday, March 23, 2017

03-26-17



Tim’s Tidings


The Rev. Ralph Bronkema will be preaching this Sunday.  Ralph has a long history with Eastminster Presbyterian Church.  As a soon to be retiring Air Force Chaplain in 1986, a hospital call to visit a young boy put Ralph and then pastor of Eastminster, Roy McCormick, in the same room.  Roy and Ralph had good chemistry and Roy asked Ralph to be on staff at Eastminster upon his retirement from the chaplaincy.  Ralph agreed and served as an interim pastor for three years, the maximum allowed.  Ralph then went to serve a church in the Midwest for several years only to be called back to Eastminster.  For many years now, Ralph has served with distinction as the Visitation Pastor here.

 

One of the enduring vignettes of Ralph’s ministry is his care for his first wife, Louise.  After Louise had a stroke, Ralph lovingly cared for her through her years of illness in a way that many members hold up as a “gold standard” example of “compassion in action.”  Later, Ralph became reacquainted with Annette, the widow of his seminary roommate, to whom he is now happily married.  God’s goodness to them in times of grief and joy is a heartwarming story of faithfulness and God’s provision.

 

Currently Ralph visits hospitals and the homebound twice per week.  He teaches the Brown Bag Bible Bunch every Wednesday at noon.  Ralph also officiates at funerals and sends condolence booklets and letters to those who are grieving.  He helps with our Stephen Ministry in training situations, assists in worship, and sings in the choir with his wife, Annette, who is an active partner in ministry with him.  Ralph and Annette are seasonal residents who spend their summers in Michigan and travel to visit relatives and friends.

 

Last fall, as the staff formed goals for the coming year, Ralph indicated that he would like Eastminster to find a replacement for him as Visitation Pastor as his “bucket list” was growing.  Eastminster’s Personnel and Administration Team reviewed the Visitation Pastor description and sent a revised version to Session which approved it.  We know we can’t replace Ralph, but we can certainly appreciate his faithful ministry and strive to continue his legacy of loving pastoral care, insightful teaching and faithfulness to God and Christ’s Church.

 

Thank you Ralph and Annette for your ministry at Eastminster and your example as a Christian couple!  We are inspired by your presence and witness!

 

Blessings,
Pastor Tim

 

 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

03-19-17


Tim’s Tidings



For the next three Wednesday nights at 5:45 p.m. Eastminster will have Lenten Soup, Salad and Study events.  Last week 57 people attended an excellent meal and enjoyed great fellowship.  Participants had a great time, and I expect many more will enjoy these times together.  Personally, I enjoyed meeting people around the table, singing some of the great hymns of the church, and studying the Gospel of Luke together.  I enjoy teaching too!  I also was gratified that we got out before sunset, as this event is timed for those who need to get home before dark to be able to do so.  The bonus is that those who linger may enjoy a beautiful sunset over the river!  Hope to see you on one or more of these Wednesdays!

 

Last Wednesday, we looked at what many consider Jesus’ mission statement.  In Luke 19:10 he says, “I came to seek and save the lost.”  Today’s scripture gives a glimpse of what that mission looks like as many people go out into the world and gather God’s children (us) to enjoy a banquet together.

Eastminster’s Mission Statement is:

Eastminster joyously ministers

as a vital, growing congregation

of passionate followers of Jesus

extending our reach as a missional church

to transform our greater community.

 

One of the ways we will “extend our reach as a missional church” is a new initiative called Compassion in Action (CIA).  Being a “missional church” involves praying for God to show us where God’s heart breaks for others and joining God there in service.  Many do this naturally as we live with “hearts open to others.”  Compassion in Action (CIA) offers us ways to do that together.  Compassion in Action is volunteers sharing their gifts of time and talent to serve God in teams to meet needs in our community.  People of similar interests will gather to reach out to senior adults, kids, poor, and others who have need in groups of 5-8.

 

Today an Interest and Talent Survey for our larger church will be distributed.  The Interest and Talent Survey will help members and friends find places of meaningful involvement in ways that bring you life and energy and that glorify God.  If you are interested in learning more about Compassion in Action (CIA), I urge you to check that box on the Time and Talent Survey.  Of course, there are scores of other ways to serve in a church Eastminster’s size.  One or more are right for you and for me.  The Bible says that we are the body of Christ, that there are a variety of gifts given to us, a variety of ways to serve, and that we all serve the same Lord in ways that bring life to the body and light to the world.  May we fulfill our mission well in the name of Jesus!

Blessings,
Pastor Tim

Thursday, March 2, 2017

03-05-17


Today is the first Sunday in Lent.  Lent is the period of forty days, not counting Sundays, before Easter.  This forty day period mirrors the time Jesus was in the desert praying and fasting while being tempted to rely on other power and provision than God’s Spirit and God’s Word.

 

For us today, Lent is a time to for our “Spiritual GPS” to be redirected where it has gotten off track from the direction of God’s will for our lives and our church.  Where we have sinned we “repent” which literally means turn around.  Where we are lost in worry, doubt, anxiety and fear, we “come home” to a loving and welcoming God.  Where we are lax in studying God’s Word and abiding with God in prayer, we create space for more of God and less of “us” in our inner and outer lives.

 

In the March newsletter I give some suggestions for practicing a Holy Lent.  Another rich source of ideas is the article “Forty Things to Give Up for Lent” found at https://www.greaterthings.today/40-things-to-give-up-for-lent-the-list/.  Some people find it helpful to go without things that they normally enjoy to bring them closer to Christ and Christ’s sufferings on our behalf.  Others add a discipline to draw them closer to God and God’s will. 

 

There are three special events here at EPC that I encourage you to consider adding to bring you closer to God and one another:

1.      Beginning Wednesday March 15 at 5:45 p.m. there will four Wednesday “Soup, Salad and Study” evenings.  Enjoy good food, fellowship and a study of the Gospel of Luke.  I will lead the Bible study in a way that will help “flesh out” what we learn during worship.  Daylight Savings time begins March 12 (“Spring Forward”) so you will be able to get home before dark.

2.      Beginning Sunday March 19 at 9:00 a.m. there will be four Sunday times of Music and Meditation.  This is a time to be still and be inspired by excellent music and to learn a spiritual discipline each week.  This period of Music and Meditation will be followed by fellowship in the courtyard and Traditional Worship at 10:30 a.m. (note time change).  Worshippers may attend one or both of these times of praise.

3.      On Saturday March 25 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. there will be a Spiritual Retreat in the Prayer Chapel behind the Sanctuary.  This retreat is led by EPC’s Spiritual Formation Team.  I plan on attending for my benefit and hope you consider it too. 

May these forty days of Lent be a time of great growth for you and for Eastminster.  God is alive here, and I pray that we remove or rebuke anything that would try to separate us from living in right relationship with God.  If you would like counsel during this season don’t hesitate to contact one of your Pastors or Elders.  Our contact information is on the back of your worship guide. May God Guide You and EPC this Season!

 

Blessings,
Pastor Tim

 

Friday, February 17, 2017

02-19-2017


Tim’s Tidings

 

On March 1 Christians around the world begin the season of Lent.  Lent is the season 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays which are feast days) where believers repent of those things that are separating us from living in the fullness of God’s abiding presence and rededicate ourselves to doing those things that bring us closer to God.  Mirroring the 40 days Jesus was in the desert tempted to sin, we model Jesus’ life through focusing on Godly living informed by scripture, prayer and worship.

 

Here are some communal ways we are observing Lent:

On Wednesday March 1 at 7 p.m. Eastminster will mark the beginning of Lent with an Ash Wednesday Service.  This service will unite both our Saturday and Sunday worshipping community as we repent of sin and as those who desire receive a cross on our foreheads to remember, “From dust we come and to dust we return.”  It is a beautiful service of music and art which hopefully humbles us and focuses us on the road ahead, a road of introspection, fasting, service and prayer.

 

On Wednesday March 15 at 5:45 p.m. Eastminster will start a four Wednesday series of “Soup, Salad and Study of Luke.”  Our Congregational Care Committee will provide the Soup and Salad.  There will be a brief period of music and singing.  Then, I will lead a study “Unlocking the Wisdom of Luke” which will give added understanding to the “Ready … Set … Go!” series we are currently engaging in worship.

 

On Sunday March 19 for five weeks our worship schedule will change slightly for Lent and Easter to allow more opportunity for spiritual growth.  The Lent Schedule for March 19, 26, April 2 and 9 will be:

9:00 a.m.          Lenten Music and Meditation

9:45 a.m.          Fellowship

10:30 a.m.        Lenten Worship

11:30 a.m.        Fellowship

 

The addition of the Music and Meditation time on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. will bring some of the best music and spiritual practices to our church as we prepare our hearts to live as renewed Christians.  This time of worship will foster inward reflection through music meant to quiet the heart and mind, thereby preparing the soul for prayer and reflection. Children’s and Adult Christian Education will continue on their regular schedule and Fellowship will be offered after each worship event.

 

On Good Friday April 14 at 7:00 p.m. there will be a presentation of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ by the Eastminster and the Florida Institute of Technology Choir and String Orchestra.  This will be a worship highlight of the year.  Plan to arrive early and be blessed!

 

On April 16 we will celebrate Easter at 6:30 a.m. (Sunrise), 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. worship.  May these events and your personal lives of devotion and service prepare us all to mature as a Christian Community focused on Jesus Christ as “Led by the Holy Spirit Eastminster glorifies Christ by loving God and others in worship, word and deed.

 

Blessings,
Tim
 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

02-05-17

TIM'S TIDINGS

Today Eastminster will have its 67th Annual Congregational Meeting.  The meeting will be efficiently run, and I encourage all to remain for it. It is held for three purposes: 1. To begin the process for selecting our next class of church leaders, 2. To give a financial update and present the 2017 budget, and 3. To present a very high level view of Vision 2025, our emerging Strategic Plan that will enable us to go forward prudently as a congregation.

As you enter today each family unit will receive a 2016 Annual Report.  It is my hope that you enjoy reading and reflecting on what God has done through Eastminster in 2016.  This report, like the meeting, is designed so that visitors and seasonal residents can learn about Eastminster in the same manner that members are informed.  Through the meeting and report all may see what’s up at Eastminster and how Presbyterian churches function.

As for me, this has been an incredible year.  You may read my letter in the annual report.  What I want you to know is that my love for you and this church has grown.  I believe a lot of that is due to my faith growing as a result of our serving together.  Thanks for showing me Jesus in your sacrificial lives of worship and service.  You have immense talents, and as we offer them to God together, wonderful things are happening.  I trust that the future will be bright as we build on the momentum that we have.

I’ll close now with two thoughts from Vision 2025.  One is that our values will show us the way.  The others are that the goals you set through the congregational survey are solid.  Here they are:

   Values

 

God exalting worship incorporating the Biblical witness and worship arts.

 

Vital community life of fellowship, support, and spiritual formation.

 

Inspired service which transforms individuals and organizations through Christian love.

 

Goals

 

  1. Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.
  2. Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.
  3. Provide more opportunities for Christian education and spiritual formation at every age and stage of life.
  4. Work to renew and revitalize the community around the church by building coalitions with partners that share this vision and commitment.

 

I want you to know that I fully support the values and goals of Eastminster and the vision that: Led by the Holy Spirit Eastminster glorifies God by loving Christ and others in worship, word and deed.”  

 

May God bless Eastminster to the extent we have been and will be faithful in the adventure ahead!

 

Blessings,

 PASTOR TIM

Thursday, January 26, 2017

01-29-17


Tim’s Tidings

 

Imagine interviewing for a job and your prospective boss calls you into the office.

 “You are very important to this cause,” the boss begins.  “You were created wonderfully, you are gifted abundantly, and you have a purpose and destiny that can only be fulfilled if you take care of yourself and work in harmony with others.”

 By this time some questions might be forming in your mind, even as your heart is warmed.

 “This organization is all about health, wholeness, and hope.  For you to be a fruitful employee, I need you to model these values, to represent them in who you are and what you do.  I need you to take care of yourself and regularly regenerate, spending a day a week in contemplation, prayer, rest, rejoicing.  This is vital to success of our mission and is non-negotiable.”

 You think about this and respond, “And what about performance?’  How will I be evaluated?”

You will be evaluated not just by what you do but by who you are becoming as a human.  You will be evaluated by what you leave aside so that you focus on what is ultimate.  You will succeed to the extent that you are open to a power greater than yourself working in and through you in good times and in tough times—and there will be both!”

 “And what about our clients?,” you ask.

 “Our mission is to seek and save the least, lost, last and lonely.  This is counter-intuitive at first.  We do not discriminate but welcome all.  We are not in business for what we receive, but for what we can give as our organization spreads.  We seek to value all the resources with which we are provided and distribute them as there is need.”

“So what’s the bottom line?” I ask.

 “Care for yourself spiritually and physically.  Be available and open to be used.  Know that you will fail at times, but you will be forgiven as your heart opens to love. Trust me.  For I have plans for you.  Healthy plans not harmful ones, hopeful plans that open to a bright future

After a pause, the boss asks, “Can you do this?  Are you open to following me in this cause?  Are you able to embrace a rhythm of rest, renewal and service?  Do you trust me to equip you in every way?”

 

Will you take the job?

 

Blessings,
Pastor Tim
 

 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tim's Tidings 01-22-16


Tim’s Tidings

 

Happy 67th Birthday Eastminster!  It is exciting to be part of a church old enough to retire that still has lots of “gas in the tank.”  Like a human, Eastminster has gone through a lot in its 67 years.  It was born, grew quickly into adolescence, reproduced in founding other worshipping communities like Palm Bay Presbyterian locally and mission outposts abroad, and matured through the ups and downs in its life.  That Eastminster is healthy and vital today is a source of praise!

 

The first members drove across a rickety wooden bridge from Melbourne to get here.  The bridge was coated with chemicals that could catch on fire when a car backfired, so it had to have buckets of water along the shoulder so motorists could put out the fire and save the bridge!

 

Yet on January 22, 1950 Eastminster was dedicated and led Indialantic into the modern era.  The building we now know as Melvin Hall, named after our founding pastor, was the first air conditioned building on the island.  As such, it quickly became the hub of community life during the week as well as on Sundays.

There are many stories to be told about the life of Eastminster and the faith of its members. They are best told first hand.  Therefore, I will ask several long time members to give brief vignettes about their experiences in the coming weeks.  Suffice it to say God has been faithful and there are many “wonders to proclaim!”

 

We look back and praise God for God’s faithfulness.  We also look forward into a future filled with hope.  Today, we install the Rev. Kristy Ray as our Associate pastor.  Kristy is faithful, talented, creative, kind, selfless and called to serve with us as we seek to know and do God’s will.  We are blessed to have Kristy and Director of Music Ministries, Robert McBride, join our staff at this time as our congregation moves forward with faith in God and confidence that God will supply every need.

 

We are moving forward purposefully.  Last Tuesday the session adopted a strategic plan, “Vision 2025:  Into the Future with Hope.”  This plan is based on the recent congregational survey, prayer, and discernment led by a Steering Team of capable members.  As a rolling plan, there is much to be added as God gives insight, yet it keeps the question, “What would God have us be and do as a church on our 75th Birthday?” in front of us.  Elder Jack Rowley will give a synopsis of this plan on February 5.

 

The cornerstone of our original building is a quote from Isaiah 56:7.  It reads, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.”  May we always be led by the Holy Spirit, glorify God, and show our love of Christ and others in worship, word and deed.  May God’s Spirit “melt us, mold us, fill us, use us” just like it has in the past as we worship today and in the future. 

 

Happy 67th Birthday Eastminster!  You’ve got lots of gas in the tank!

 

Blessings,
Pastor Tim