Pastor’s Page

Thought for the week…

~Pentecost ~

We are now in the longest “Season” of the Church year, the “Season of Pentecost.”  This season runs from Pentecost, through “Christ the King Sunday,” which comes right before Advent.

As we begin this season, I invite you to think about the Holy Spirit in your life.  Perhaps read (or re-read) my Pentecost sermon “The Promise of God.”  In that sermon, I reminded us that the Holy Spirit is not a “feeling,” but rather a “promise” God has given us.  Just because we don’t “feel” like we have the Holy Spirit, does not mean we don’t have the Spirit!

We can rely on the promise from God that his Spirit is in us!  That’s a good starting point when we are seeking the guidance and sustenance of that Spirit in our lives.

Blessings!

Pastor Brecht.

(And now here are some of my thoughts from previous weeks…)

 

~ Easter ~

We now begin the “Season of Easter.”  May the message of God’s love shown in this event – this milestone in history, captivate our thoughts and give us joy, no matter what the circumstances of our lives.

Happy Easter!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Holy Week ~

This week is Holy Week.  It is that time of the Liturgical Year that we focus on the last stages of Jesus’ life here on earth.  It is the time we see him take his final journey down “the Road to the Cross,” which we’ve been thinking about throughout Lent.

May we be mindful of all that our savior went through this week.  May we know that everything happened for us.  And may we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter Sunday!

Have a blessed Holy Week!

Pastor Brecht

~ Lent ~

This is now the Season of Lent!  Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter – not including the Sundays.  It is the time of year we set aside for introspection and sacrifice.  It is the time we take an honest look at our lives of faith and try our best to see where we stand in relationship to the kingdom of God.

I encourage each of us to make this Lent a time of real spiritual renewal.  So far this year we’ve taken the time to think about our commitment to Jesus Christ, and the various ways we are called to “move forward” and grow in our faith.  So now let us take this time to see the things that might be standing in the way of all of that, and to take steps to get beyond those things.

As we look towards the glory of Holy Week and Easter, may it become more meaningful to us than ever, through a deep and meaningful season of Lent

Pastor Skip

 

(And now here are some of my thoughts from previous weeks.)

 

~ New Creations ~

On January 8th, we did what we have been doing for the last several years.  We used the Sunday designated “The Baptism of Our Lord” as a “Rededication Sunday.”  What better way to start a new year than to re-commit our lives to our Lord, Jesus Christ?

We all stood and re-affirmed our Baptismal Vows, and then I “re-introduced” all of us to the “Waters of Baptism.”  Please take some time and re-read my sermon entitled “God Speaks.”  And give some thought to that idea of “re-dedication.”

Now, I’m asking you to think about being the “New Creations” the Apostle Paul told us about in II Corinthians 5.  If we are in Christ, if we have dedicated ourselves to his kingdom, that’s what we are.  We are New Creations!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be thinking about what that means.  I hope you will be, too!

Pastor Brecht

~ Epiphany ~

We are now in the season of “Epiphany.”  And Epiphany is a word that means a “Sudden Realization” of something .  It is an “Aha Moment.”  Epiphany is personified in the persons of the Wise Men that visited the Christ Child.  It was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah who said, “Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”  (Isaiah 60)

The “Sudden realization” was that the Messiah had come, not just for the people of Israel, but because “God so loved the world.”  It was for all the world that the Good News was a “Great Joy.”

As we move into this new year may we realize – maybe suddenly – that God loves all of his people!  And may we strive to reach out with his love and his light to everyone in our world.

Blessings in the New Year

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Advent ~

We are now in the season of Advent.  This is the time we anticipate the coming again of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  But it’s more than that.  There are traditionally there are three themes of the Advent season.

The first is the one with which we are most familiar.  It is the celebration of the first coming of Christ to the world.  This is the one where look at the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, and see how they were fulfilled in Jesus.

The Second theme is the celebration of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.  This includes the ministry of John the Baptist, who came to “prepare the way of the Lord.”

The Third theme is the one we think of the least.  It is the recognition of Jesus’ promise to come again into the world – the “Second Advent of Christ.”  In this, we think of his promises to his people while he was here, and we think about when he will be here again!

May we be thinking of all three of these themes as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christmas.

In Christ,

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Liturgically Speaking… ~

 

Yeah, here I go talking liturgy again.  Well, I think it’s important… for many reasons, not the least of which is where we are in the year.

This Sunday (November 20th) is Christ the King Sunday.  It is the culmination of the liturgical year, which is that series of celebrations throughout the year, designed to celebrate the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.  The celebrations of his birth, his ministry, his death, his resurrection, and the coming of his promised Spirit, all culminate in Jesus Christ as King.

So we celebrate that this week.  But we celebrate Christ the King, not just as the culmination of the liturgical year, but as the end.  It is the last Sunday of the “Church Year,” because the following week, (November 27th) is the first Sunday of the liturgical year, which is the First Sunday of Advent.

That’s right my friends.  Advent is only days away!  So I encourage you to prepare your hearts and your minds for the important church events coming up, and also that you think of Jesus Christ coming, not just into the world 2000 years ago, but into your hearts!  Please read my sermon for this week, “Rest for Your Souls.”  Maybe that will give you some thoughts about what that means.

In Christ,

Pastor Brecht

P.S.  The first day of the calendar year is right around the corner, too.  And if you haven’t made a pledge for 2017, please do so!  Your support is vitally needed as we move into the new year!

 

~ The Way of Love~

In his famous “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”  (Matthew 5:44)  That had to be shocking to people in his day!  They didn’t want to love their enemies.  That was a tough choice for them to make.  They had “institutionalized” who it was proper to love and who it was proper to hate.

In our world it’s a shocking statement, but in a different way.  Too often in our word, people think love is a “warm fuzzy feeling.”  And to have warm fuzzy feelings about someone who is our “enemy” makes no sense!  But “Love”is not a feeling!  (Though love has wonderful feelings associated with it!)  Love is a way of treating people.  It is showing respect – by choice – because it is the right thing to do, not necessarily because we have warm feelings for someone.

As God’s people, we are called to love in that way.  The world has decided that it’s ok to hate someone else, especially if they have a different opinion than you.  It has told us that we are to take a “no holds barred” attitude toward them.  We are not to “give one inch” because of our dislike and disrespect for what they stand for.

One of my favorite expressions of Jesus is, “It shall not be so among you.”  I believe that expression is important in our world today!  While the world is fomenting hatred and dislike for enemies – such as Isis, or an opposing political party – “It should not be so among us.”   As God’s people we should be striving to love as Jesus loved.  We should be taking the hard road of choosing to respect and treat with dignity even those with whom we differ.

We are in a tough election year.  As I’ve looked at peoples words and reactions, it has been disturbing to me.  I believe more than ever that we need to step outside of our dislikes, our reactions, and our feelings, and explore what it means to “love enemies”, and to think about what Jesus really meant by that.

Good Luck… and God Bless!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ The Season of Pentecost ~

As the “Seasons” of the Church Year go, the Season of Pentecost is the longest.  It runs from Pentecost Sunday, through “Christ the King” Sunday – which is the Sunday right before the beginning of Advent.  And perhaps that’s appropriate.  Because the story of Pentecost is about the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the people of God, beginning the age of the Church, the age that has run for more than two thousand years, the age that includes us.

And all these years later, it is still the power of the Holy Spirit that makes the Church the Church!  As we celebrate this event and this season, perhaps all of us should consider how the Holy Spirit has manifested in our lives, making us the people of God.

I encourage you to think about that, to pray about that, and to be aware of God’s Spirit in your life, as you live as his people!

In his name, Pastor Brecht 

~ Post-Easter ~

I’d like to encourage you to read my sermon from the Sunday after Easter.  And if you have already, to read it again.  Because it’s about the fact that too often the Sunday after Easter is a “Low Sunday.”  (That’s actually how it’s listed in old liturgy books!)  Attendance is usually down – in all churches that day.  And, I might add, so is the attendance on subsequent Sundays!  I hope in the words of that sermon, you were encouraged to come to Church that day, and to help make it a “Not-s0-low Sunday.”

In that sermon I told again again the story of Thomas, who was not with the other disciples when they first saw the risen Christ.  And I said how he missed the glory of that moment.  I want us to try to see that we too “miss the glory” when we are not in church together.

So, if you haven’t already, please take time to read that sermon, entitled “Missing the Glory.”  And if you have, please re-read it.  It is my prayer that you will be challenged and inspired to be a regular part of the “Community of Faith” we call Eddington Presbyterian Church!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Easter ~

We are now in the season of Easter.  After that first Easter, this was a time of uncertainty, when the disciples were seeing their Lord again in his “Post Easter appearances.”  But they were still unsure of what it all meant.  They knew the glory, but not their direction.

At one point they decide to go fishing.  (John Chapter 21)  This was not so much a time of “recreation” as it was a thought that they would go back to “live as it was before.”  For them, and for the world, life would never be what it was before.

It’s the same for us.  We may not know all of the plan of God for us, but we know about Easter.  We know the Lord is risen!  We know of the Glory!  I hope we will continue in that light in the weeks to come, and not think, “Ok, phew!  Easter is over.  We can now relax and go back to ‘normal’ life.”   Easter means everything is new.  We don’t necessarily know what’s ahead of us, but we know the power of our God who is taking us there.

So my prayer is that we will know Easter’s glory and move forward in that glory in all the days to come.

Pastor Brecht

 

 

~ Holy Week ~

Holy week was a turning point.  Jesus was trying to get the people to see his spiritual kingdom, but they were more interested in the earthly kingdom they believed the Messiah would usher in.  When they hailed him king on Palm Sunday, and he did not take up the kingly crown, they abandoned him.  When he was going through his trial, the adoring crowds were no longer there for him.
Yet, somehow, this was all part of God’s plan.  I keep going back to that.  I don’t always understand how, and it boggles my mind to think about it.  But this is what Jesus had in mind all along.  When he told his disciples about it, they either downplayed it, or they dismissed it outright.  “Surely this will never happen to you, Jesus!”
But happen it did.  And those disciples would have to go through the devastation of Good Friday to learn how much greater God’s plan was than any plan they might have had.
May we know that, too…
Pastor Skip

~ Lent ~

We are now near the end of the Season of Lent!  Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday – not counting the Sundays.  It is that time of year traditionally given to reflection and self-examination.  It is the time we take a serious look at ourselves and try to see where we stand in relationship to God’s kingdom.  It is the time we ask, “Are we really striving to be the kind of people God wants us to be?”

If you aren’t sure how to do that, if you aren’t sure what standard by which to compare yourself, know this.  The easiest way to see the kind of people God wants us to be, is to look to the example he gave us – Jesus!  Throughout Lent, try to think of the kind of person Jesus was here on earth.  Try to think about his compassion, his connection with God, and the Joy he had as he gave himself to others.  He wasn’t always accepted by those in religious authority, but he was accepted and honored by God.  “Behold my son, in whom I am well pleased!”

May we strive to be people about whom those same words are spoken!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Rededication Sunday ~

On Sunday, December 10th, we celebrated “The Baptism of Our Lord.”  That celebration commemorates the day Jesus went to the Jordan river to be baptized by John.  As Jesus came up out of the water, the spirit of God descended upon him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God was heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son.”
It has become a tradition at Eddington Church to use this particular Sunday as a time of “Rededication.”  What better time than the first of a New Year to think about where we have come from in our faith, and to renew our commitment to God and his kingdom for the coming year.
I made that challenge that Sunday, and then together we shared the sacrament of Holy Communion.  I make that same challenge to you.  Consider making such a commitment at the story of a new year.  And I hope you will make a commitment to be a regular part of the life of the Church this year as well.  May you be blessed in knowing more fully the love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ.
In his name, Pastor Brecht

~ Happy New Year ~

Patty and I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year!  It is our prayer that 2016 will be a year of joy and peace.  May you feel yourself growing closer to God as he grows closer to you!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Advent ~

As you know, we are now in the season of Advent.  Advent is a time of anticipation, a time of waiting.  It is a time when we look forward to the coming of the Messiah, just as the world did two millennia ago.  As we think of this time, as the stories and the images run through our minds, we are called to think about what all of that means to us.  The coming of Jesus Christ into the world changed the course of history!  During Advent, I think we need to ask ourselves, has his coming changed our lives?

There are way too many things that would take our attention from all of that this time of year.  I would encourage you to make an effort not to let that happen.  See the joy in this season.  Know the presence of God, who truly is Emmanuel – “God with us!”

Blessings of the season!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Stewardship ~

Even as we draw near to the time of Advent, we are still thinking Stewardship.  We dedicated our pledges a few weeks ago.  (And if you haven’t had a chance yet to make a pledge, please consider doing so!  Everyone’s commitment is vitally important!)  Now we must carry out our commitment to support our congregation!

So I ask you to think about how important each one of us is in making this ministry work!  We can’t continue very long if we rely only on a few!  At the same time, please also pray for our Church.  Ask for God’s guidance and inspiration as we seek to continue to serve him.

In his name, Pastor Brecht

~ Stewardship ~

October is Stewardship Month.  This is the time of year we think about our part in the ministry of Eddington Church.  And as always, we encourage all of you to think about the three “T’s.”  We encourage you to be stewards in terms of your Time, your Talents, and your Treasure.

Certainly it’s important that we support this ministry in a significant way.  We have faced financial challenges over the years, and this year is no different.  We have had some great fund raisers, but we can never think that we don’t need to give as much because of them.  Those fund raisers have helped us to meet our goals along with our regular giving!  Please continue to be generous with your “Treasure.”

In addition, think about ways you will also give of your “Time” and your “Talents.”  I asked us as we began the fall season to consider what our part will be in the ongoing ministry of Eddington Church.  Not everyone can do every thing, but everyone can do something.  Find out what that something will be for you.

May God continue to bless us as we continue his ministry here in this place.

— Pastor Brecht

 

~ World Communion Sunday ~

This week we celebrated World Communion Sunday.  That’s the day set aside to celebrate the sacrament with all of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ around the world – the “Church Universal!”

As we celebrated the sacrament, I was still thinking of the wonderful celebration we had with our Roman Catholic Brothers and Sisters, as Pope Francis visited our city.  We celebrated with the great gathering of believers, who came from far and wide and rejoiced in being present with this humble and gracious leader of their faith.  I hope our celebration of World Communion Sunday was reminiscent of that gathering of believers!  I hope it moved us and inspired us to be the light of the world as Jesus called us to be!

In his name,

Pastor Brecht

 

~ “The Season of Autumn” ~

I know I have been remiss in giving weekly thoughts.  The Summer was good.  But it was also very busy, with camp and lots of family time.  I hope your Summer was as good as mine!  But now we are into the season of Autumn.  The Autumnal Equinox has now passed, and the days are now shorter than the nights – until December 21st!

I want to encourage you to be involved in your church.  I know that many things demand your time and attention this time of year.  But I encourage you to make your church a priority.  Eddington needs all of it’s members to be involved in ministry!  It’s not just about our leaders.  It’s about all of us!

So think about how you will be part of this ministry.  And may God bless and prosper our efforts!

Pastor Brecht

 

 

“The Season of Summer”

We are now in the “Season of Summer.”  This is a wonderful, warm, hopefully relaxing and enjoyable time of the year.  I hope many of you get some time away, some time to travel and see friends and family, and some time to enjoy the out of doors.

But I want to remind you that, even though you might not be coming to Church some of the time, the bills keep coming to the church all Summer long.  So please do you best to support the Church, even in this somewhat “slower” time of year.

May you have a great Summer!

Pastor Brecht

~ The Season of Pentecost! ~

Liturgically, we are now in the “Season of Pentecost.”  This is the longest season of the liturgical year!  It continues until “Christ the King Sunday,” which is the Sunday just before the beginning of Advent – the start of the new liturgical year.

I was thinking how appropriate it was for this to be the longest “season” of the Church year.  Because it represents the majority of church history since the first Advent of Jesus.  We are, and have been for the last 2000 years, in the “Age of the Church.”  The coming of the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost represents the beginning of that Age.

I hope we realize that we – each of us – are part of that Age.  And as such, I hope we realize that we must do our part in promoting and praying for the Church of Jesus Christ in our world.  The Church doesn’t have the greatest image these days.  And I think it is the job of every one of us to improve that image!  We all need to love as Jesus loved, to minister to others as he did, and to give the glory to God.

Pentecost wasn’t about that one glorious day.  It was about the “Start of something big!”  And that means us, too!  May God bless us all as we seek to know that that means in our lives!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Holy Week ~

The season of Lent is nearly over.  Lent is a time of introspection and prayer in which we seek to draw closer to God and prepare our hearts for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.  Lent began with Ash Wednesday on February 18th.  Like last year, we joined the congregation of Bensalem United Methodist Church for the Ash Wednesday service.  Also joining us this year were the congregations (and the choirs and the clergy!) from Wilkinson Methodist, and Cornwells Methodist.

Each Wednesday since then we have gathered for our annual Community Lenten Services, the first of which we hosted.  The last service, was this past Wednesday, March 25th.  It was held at the Cornwells United Church.  The theme of that service was “The Raising of Lazaeus.”

Now we turn to the celebration of Holy Week.  It begins this Sunday – Palm Sunday and recalls Jesus Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem.  Then on Thursday, which is Maundy Thursday, we will host the other churches at our traditional Agape celebration followed by Communion.  That will begin at 6:30pm.  Then on Good Friday, we will all gather at Bensalem United Methodist Church for a service at 7:30pm.

I hope to see you at these events!

Pastor Brecht.

 

~ Thank You! ~

Once again, I would like to thank all of you for your kind words, prayers, and condolences on the passing of my Mother.  We celebrated her life this past Saturday at her beloved home Church, Carmel Presbyterian in Glenside, were she was a member for 70 years and a member of the choir for over 60 years.  (As well as the Bell Choir organizer and leader for 10 years!)

It was a wonderful, uplifting service, during which my Dad, my sister, my brother, and I all spoke so wonderfully about our mother Millie.  We ended the service, as she herself wanted, with the Hallelujah Chorus!  It was magnificent!  …It was her Birthday!

Thank you to the Carmel Choir for singing at her service, I’m sure Mom loved it!

Pastor Brecht

 

 ~ Happy New Year!!! ~

As we welcome the year 2015, may it be joyous, and may you grow in faith and in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ!  And now, having recommitted our lives to him by renewing our Baptismal Vows, let us continue to consider what that means to us throughout the year!  (See my sermon “The Voice of God” from January 11th, in the “Past Sermons” page.)

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Thank You! ~

I would like to thank all of you for your kind words, prayers, and condolences on the passing of my Mother.  It has been a roller coaster ride lately, one of sadness in loss and joy in remembering.  I invite you to pray for myself and for all who have lost loved ones this year.  This will be the first Christmas season without that one who has passed!  May we know the peace and joy that Christmas brings – even to a darkened world!

Blessings!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Christ the King Sunday ~

This week, November 23rd is Christ the King Sunday.  That’s a “holiday” that doesn’t get a lot of recognition.  It tends to get overshadowed by the upcoming season of Advent.  But “Christ the King” is the culmination of the entire Liturgical Year – and it’s the last Sunday on the liturgical calendar.  The Liturgical Year begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

Think about it.  Everything we know about Jesus, his Advent, his birth, his life, his ministry, his death, resurrection, and ascension leads up to the fact that Jesus Christ is King!  “And he shall reign for ever and ever, Hallelujah!”

Come and celebrate this day together as we prepare for the Advent season.  As part of that celebration, we will share the sacrament of Holy Communion together at both services.

Hope to see you then!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ The Choice of Love ~

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on my sermon on I Corinthians 13, entitled “The Choice of Love.”  You can read that sermon (along with all of my other sermons) in the “Past Sermons” page under “Pastor’s Page.”

Of particular interest was my suggestion to “tweak” verses 4-7, substituting the word “I” for each time the word “love” appeared.  “I am patient and kind.  I am not jealous or boastful…” and so on.  My suggestion was to use “I” in the future tense.  This is how those verses would read:

I will be patient and kind.

I will not be jealous or boastful.

I will not be arrogant or rude.

I will not insist on my own way.

I will not be irritable or resentful.

I will not rejoice at wrong,

but will rejoice in the right.

I will bear all things,

believe all things,

hope all things,

endure all things.

As I said, this is a “proactive” way of thinking of this passage.  It is a way to start the day determined to choose to do and be those things that God calls us to be.  I commend them to you as you seek to be the kind of people God calls you to be!

In his name, Pastor Brecht

 

~ A New Church Year ~

As you know, the Church year tends to correspond with the School Year.  After a Summer hiatus, programs in the church traditionally begin after Labor Day.  Well, that day is fast approaching, and it’s time to think about the New Church Year.

What will that year be like for you?  I encourage you to read my sermon for August 24th, which contains a number of thoughts about that very question.  In it, my final challenge is for all of us to make preparations for the coming year.  I ask for us to decide now that this will be a year of active involvement in the life and ministry of the Church.  I ask us to decide now to live a more active life of faith, to share our lives more with God, to grow closer to him, and to see ourselves an important part of his kingdom!

Too many people fail to do those things, or they think they happen automatically.  (Which they don’t!)  And then they wonder why their faith is not meaningful in their lives.

I encourage you to make those positive choices.  I encourage you to be people determined to grow in faith.  I encourage you to be people who share yourselves with one another in this wonderful thing God has given us, the Church of Jesus Christ!

In his name, Pastor Brecht

 

 

~ The Season of…  Summer ~ 

 

We are now in the warm sunny (and sometimes humid and rainy!) days of Summer.  And I’d like to wish you all a safe, enjoyable season.  I’d also like to remind you that Summer is a time of year when people are away and Church attendance is down.  But the expenses of the church go on.

So please, if you are away, enjoy what you are doing and the people you are with.  But also try to make arrangements to continue the support of Eddington Church while you are gone!

May God continue to bless us all in this congregation

Pastor Brecht

~ The Season of Pentecost ~

 

On June 8th we celebrated Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles, and the Christian Church was born.  After that, the tradition is to count the Sundays of the year as the Sundays “after Pentecost.”  And that is appropriate, since, as I said on that Sunday, Pentecost is the day the world changed.  Easter changed everything, of course.  But when Pentecost came, the world changed and the Christian Church began.  And since that day, the Church of Jesus Christ has been the most influential force in human history!

So the question becomes, are you changed?  The world changed.  We started counting the years all over again.  That year was “The Year of Our Lord” – “Anno Domini.”  It is now the “The Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Fourteen.”  Does the Resurrection of our Lord, marked at that milestone in time, make the difference in your life?

I hope and pray it does.

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

~ The Season of Easter ~

Lent is over.  Easter has come.  It is now the season of Easter.  It is now the time of year when we think about what impact the Resurrection was having on the world in those early days.  And at the same time we might consider the same about ourselves.  What impact is the Resurrection of Jesus having on our lives?  Is our faith making a difference to us, or are we ready, like the disciples who “went fishing,” to return to “life as it was before?”

After that first Easter, the world would never be the same again.  What about us?

Pastor Brecht

~ Near the Journey’s End ~

The 40 Days are nearly over!  The season of Lent is nearly done!  Holy Week is almost upon us!

We’ve been going down the road to the cross with Jesus.  We’ve been thinking about the things that took him to that devastating, yet glorious end.  Hopefully this has been a challenging time for you.  Hopefully a time of introspection and of growth.  And hopefully, no matter what you’ve done throughout this season, you will plan to be part of the Holy Week and Easter events at Eddington Church!

The last of the Lenten Services took place in our Sanctuary on Wednesday April 9th at 7:30pm.  Now we look to Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, sparking the Holy Week events that changed the world.

On Holy Week, we will celebrate Maundy Thursday with our Agape Feast and Communion celebration at 6:00pm in the Fellowship Hall, followed by the Tenebrae Service in our Sanctuary.  On Good Friday, we will have a Contemporary Service of worship at 7:30pm.  Then on Easter Morning, we will celebrate our Lord’s resurrection and victory over the grave at our 9:00 and 11:00 services.

May this be a blessed time for you!  A time when you realize just how much your faith means to you, and how much God loves you!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 ~Lent ~

The Season of Lent is here!  Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, (Not including the Sundays!) and it is the season designated by the Church as a time for contemplation and introspection.  It is a time for each of us to think about our faith, how much it means to us, and how we might need to live it more fully.  It is a time to consider where we may have fallen short in our service in God’s kingdom, and to pledge ourselves to seek God’s kingdom more every day.  And ultimately, it is a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter, the most holy time of the year~

Interestingly enough, the Sundays are not part of Lent.  We even designate them the “Sundays in Lent” because they are not officially part of those 40 days.  Conversely, we designate the Sunday’s in December as the “Sundays of Advent.”  So in Lent, Sundays are still reserved as a time of worship and celebration.  Yes, we still feature Lenten readings and Lenten sermons on those Sundays.  We still emphasize the introspection of the season, even though it is the other 6 days of the week we should really be doing that introspection.  But we need that guidance and those reminders.  The real “work” of Lent is done on the other six days of the week we are not in Church!

So I encourage you to take up some “Lenten pursuits.”  At the very least, attend the Lenten services during Lent.  But also consider doing some extra reading, prayer, and meditation during the weeks before Easter.  Strive to make a closer connection with God and seek to hear the still, small voice of his Spirit.  Pour out your heart before him, and let his presence surround you.

May your Lenten season be one of blessedness and spiritual growth!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ True Worship ~

I hope you would take some time to read my sermon on “True Worship.”  it contains a couple of sayings that I would highlight here.  The first is that worship, to some people, “is something you go somewhere to watch other people do.”

That’s not worship.  Our worship centers (Sanctuaries and chapels) do tend to look like entertainment venues, with a stage and an audience area.  We need to realize that worship is something in which we all participate.  We all give praise to God.  We all make the connection with God, for that is what God wants.

The second statement is that “some people use worship as a way to feel good about themselves, trying to ignore the fact that they harbor grudges and ill will toward others.”

If we think we’re worshipping when in reality we still harbor ill will toward others, we’re missing the point.  Worship is where we try to cleanse our souls from that.  Because worship is about making the connection with God as much as it is making the connection with each other.  Jesus said (in the Sermon on the Mount) “If you are at the altar making your gift, and there remember you have a rift between you and someone else, leave your gift and go and be reconciled with the other person first.”

Worship is like that.  We need to be asking God in worship to help us with our relationships with each other, as we seek the fellowship with God.  For God calls us to a higher level of living.  And that involves  healing brokenness with each other.

So come to church.  Come to worship.  Come and be healed of all that, and to know the peace of God that passes all human understanding.

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Christian Fellowship ~

The Apostle Paul knew the importance of sharing this life together with other believers.  He told the Hebrews, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…”

Paul knew that God wants people to be together.  He wants them to love and encourage one another.  He wants them to celebrate together this life he has give us.  And he wants to celebrate with us.

This week’s worship service is about that.  It’s about Jesus’ first miracle, which took place in the context of a celebration and a community.  In John chapter 2, He and his disciples were part of a wedding feast in the town of Cana in Galilee.  And the fact that Jesus not only honored that celebration, but participated in it himself, is indicative of his understanding of the importance of community.

For years (Many years!) I’ve heard people ask the question, “Do I have to go to church in order to be a Christian?”  And I’ve answered that in many ways.  But my latest answer is “Yes, of course you can.  But, by the question, you’re missing the whole point of Christianity.”  Christianity is about being in fellowship with God through the atonement, and about being together with each other, through the community of faith.”

If you think about it, community is the “common denominator” of all people on earth.  Where ever there have ever been people, they have banded together in communities.  And that’s God’s design!  God wants us to be together!  And he wants us to share this life of faith together!  If any are like those described by Paul as “having the habit of not meeting together,” they are missing a great part of life.  It’s very hard to have a life of faith at all without having the encouragement of others who share a common belief.  (That used to be my answer to the aforementioned question!)

Now, do we all share that life together with love and encouragement all the time?  Of course not!  We blow it sometimes.  We ALL blow it sometimes!  That’s why Paul, in such writings, also emphasizes grace and forgiveness.  And those are uplifting things, too.  Aren’t they?  When we experience that grace among ourselves, when we forgive one another, when we encourage one another, by acts of caring, and by kind words, we help each other grow in that faith and hope and love.  I hope we see that! 

So then, how is your faith?  Does it seem like something’s missing?  Are you “out of the habit” of meeting together?  Do you need to find yourself back in the Christian Fellowship of the Church?  If so, we would be overjoyed to welcome you back!

(I’m going to leave these thoughts up for several weeks.  They are that important!)

Pastor Brecht

 

…And here are some of my thoughts from previous weeks…

 

~ Recommitment ~

Today at both services we read the story of the Baptism of Jesus.   And as we have in previous years, we took time to think of our own baptisms.  And we asked everyone to use this time at the beginning of the year to recommit their lives to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

If you were there, I hope you gave that challenge some serious thought.  If you weren’t I hope you will consider it now.  As we take stock of our lives at the beginning of a new year, make this a time when you renew your faith, and pledge to follow Jesus Christ more closely in the coming year.

“For if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation.  That past is finished and done, behold the new has come!”  (II Corinthians 5:17)  You are a new creation in Christ Jesus.  Live in his joy, share his love.

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Happy New Year ~

I hope you all had a wonderful celebration of the New Year!  It’s hard to believe it’s now the year 2014.  Having lived most of my life in the 1900’s that number seems surreal.  It doesn’t seem possible that I’m now living in my sixth decade, my second century, and my second millennium.  But I know I am.

We were thinking the other day about the things we have now that we didn’t grow up with – cell phones, personal computers, internet, flat screen tv’s, and hybrid cars.  Those are things that came to mind without even thinking much.  I’m sure you can think of many more.  I wonder what our children and our children’s children will have that they didn’t grow up with?

As we think about that, I hope at the start of a New Year, we will consider what we grew up that never changes – the Grace of God, the love of family, and the fellowship of people with whom we share this life.  As we think about that, let us resolve in this coming year never to substitute those things with… things!

May you have a Blessed New Year!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Merry Christmas ~

It seems hard to believe but it is now less than a week until Christmas Day!  Then a week later we welcome in a New Year!  I hope you will be part of the various Christmas events going on around the Church.

The weather-postponed All-Church Christmas Party is this Saturday evening at 6:00 pm.  Then this Sunday morning we will have our Christmas Nativity presentation by the children at the 9:00 am service,  (It will be a little different than other years.) followed by the Choir’s Cantata “Appalachian Winter” by Joseph Martin.  You will like that!

On Christmas Eve, there will be two services as usual.  At 9:00 pm there will be a Contemporary Service and at 10:00 pm there will be a traditional Service.  There will be no Services on Christmas Day.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Pastor Brecht

~ New Website ~

I hope you’ve noticed the new website!  Our old website, hosted by ForMinistry.com went out of the website business at the end of October.  So we had to scramble a bit and get a new site up and running.  And once again, I offer HUGE thanks to my longtime friend, and computer genius, Chuck!  Among other things, he helped by making our old web addresses access this new web site.  So if you type in “eddingtonpresbyterianchurch.org” or “epch.us,” you will arrive here!

Please know this is still a work in progress!  I haven’t figured out yet, for example, how to add text in anything other than this smaller, black font.  I’m sure there’s a way to make it look like the text below, but I don’t know that yet.  Also know that there are probably mistakes on this site, as well as omissions.  I ask your help in that.  If you see something wrong, or think of something we’ve left out, please let me know.  I’ll try to get it figured out as soon as I can.

Please know also that the web is a very important tool!  Eddington dropped it’s phone book advertising several years ago because when asked, people never said they found us because of that means.  Almost everyone said they found us on the web.  Some even said, “Oh yes, and I’ve read many of your sermons!”

That’s the way to go, my friends.  Here in the 21st Century, people are finding us this way, and I for one am very grateful for this media tool!  It never fails to amaze me how indeed “God works in mysterious ways!”

Hope to see you all very soon, now that Advent is nearly upon us.

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

 

~ Stewardship Stewardship Stewardship ~

That’s right, my friends, October is Stewardship month!  And I’d love to tell you that everything is wonderful budget-wise here at Eddington Church.  But of course I can’t.

Yes, we have done our first major fundraiser in 2013 – the first annual “Eddington Dinner Dance and Banquet.”  Yes, that event helped a lot – not only financially, but also in getting a lot of us inspired, or to use colloquial words, “psyched up!”  Yes, we have just come off of a great fall event, our “Flea Market Extravaganza,” which was a lot of fun, gave us good exposure in the community, and also helped out with the budget.  And yes, there are more projects “in the pipeline.”

However, we have a long way to go Stewardship-wise!  We are still not entirely making ends meet.  We are still making sacrifices in order not to spend what we don’t have.  We need all of our members involved in supporting the ministry of Eddington Church!  This is not the time to “sit back.”  We need everyone to consider prayerfully how they will do their part in helping the church move forward and prosper in the coming year(s)!

Will you do your part?  Will you consider giving even more this year so that our church can “get past the financial worry and get on to the glory?”  Please think carefully.  Please pray fervently for our Church.  Please know that your part is vitally important!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht 

 

~ World Communion Sunday ~

This week, October 6th is World Communion Sunday.  The Churches of the world have chosen the first Sunday in October as a time to celebrate the sacrament of communion together.  Please plan on being in worship this week!  We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper with our Christian brothers and sisters all around the world!

 Hope to see you then!  – Pastor Brecht

 

~ After the Autumnal Equinox ~

Well, the Fall is now “officially” here!  We actually had our last Summer worship services this past week, since the Equinox took place at 4:44 in the afternoon.  (How do they KNOW that?!)

Hopefully, we are all getting geared up for the many events that begin to take place this time of the Church year!  As you do so, I would encourage you to strive to be more involved in the life of the church.  God has placed us in congregations to share life together, to encourage and upbuild one another, and to share the joys and sorrows that come our way.

If you haven’t been as involved as you’d like to be, make this the year to do so!  If you’re visiting this site, and you’re seeking a church in which to be involved, or if you’ve never been involved, I invite you to become so!  While you’re at it, I also ask that you pray for Eddington Church.  When we are connected to God, we will be better connected to each other.  That’s the whole point of the Church!

So, I hope to see all of you in the coming weeks, and to rejoice with you in all that God has in store for us!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ The Summer’s Over ~

Well, not really…  As you know, I am always quick to point out that the Season of Summer goes from about the 21st of June to the 21st of September – depending on when the earth crosses those actual points in it’s orbit around the sun.  (June 21st is the Summer Solstice, where the north pole is tilted most directly at the sun and we have our longest day, and September 21st is the Autumnal equinox where the pole is half way from being tilted directly away from the sun and the day and night are exactly the same length.)   So despite when vacation seasons end and schools officially start, there are still neary three weeks of Summer left!  So enjoy!

If you’ve noticed, I’ve chosen this year to write just one thought for the Summer.  (Though I have kept up with posting my sermons!)  I haven’t added any new thoughts for a while, but I will now do so as the “post-Labor day” season begins.

So, let my first thought be “Come on back!”  Many of us have been away, we’ve had family in visiting, we’ve scaled back our activities for the Summer.  Now it’s time to get back to work, back to school, and back to our other “Fall activities.”  And I would encourage all of us to get “back to Church.”

I hope you’ll agree with me when I say that your church family is a valued part of your life.  God has placed us in churches to share the joys and sorrows of life together, to uphold and upbuild one another, and to encourage one another in the life of faith.  To answer the age old question, “Yes, you can be a christian on your own, but it’s much harder living the life of faith in a difficult world without the connection with others!”

So, I encourage yout to get “geared up” for all the various church events and activities!  And if you’ve been away, or if you’ve just “gotten out of the habit,” come on back!  Being together in the fellowship of the Church is one of the most important things we do as God’s people.

Blessings!  Pastor Brecht

 

~ Remember Your Church ~

As we pass Memorial Day, we move into the Summer Season.  (Even though astronomically, Summer doesn’t begin until the Solstice on June 21st!)  But this is the time when we enjoy long, warm, Summer days, and vacations and trips with families and friends.

All those things are wonderful!  But let me give you two thoughts.  First, look for God’s hand in the world around you.  As one author put it, God is almost “wasteful” with beauty in his creation!  This is an amazing planet he made for us!  When you’re out in creation, marvel at God’s power!  And while you’re at it, be sure to see his love in those around you.  He has given us one another to share this life.  Be sure to notice and give thanks for those relationships!

Second, don’t forget your Church.  Sometimes we take a vacation from Church in the Summer.  While you’re enjoying God’s creation, seek to be in fellowship with other believers, as we worship him together.  And if you’re away, seek the fellowship with other churches in other places.

But don’t forget your Church.  The Church needs your support even when you are not here.  Please do your best to be good stewards and to provide for the expenses of our congregation which go on, whether we are sitting in our sanctuary or not!

God has given us a beautiful place to worship and to gather as his people.  Remember that where ever you might be this Summer season!

God Bless you all.    Pastor Brecht

 

~ Pentecost ~

Traditionally, Pentecost is considered to be the “Birthday of the Church.”  The disciples of Jesus, who were in seclusion after the arrest and execution of their leader, suddenly became the bold, courageous leaders of that new movement called “the Church.

We can’t imagine what it was like for those disciples suddenly to be empowered as they were.  After Pentecost, they were now to be called “Apostles” – meaning, “ones who were sent!”  They would go out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, spreading the Good News of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

But perhaps the most amazing part of this was that it was not Jesus who was carrying on that ministry, it was them!  And through them, it is us!  And 2000 years later, the ministry of Jesus continues, and it is we who continue it!  That boggles the mind!

So ask yourself, what are you doing to continue the ministry of Jesus?  How are you living your life in a way that reflects God’s great love to the world?  It’s the job of all of us!

Pastor Brecht

 

Nudges…

Sometimes the Holy Spirit “nudges” us and leads us in gentle ways.  At other times, the Spirit hits us over the head!  This past week I experienced that.  When I was out spending a wonderful week with my kids, I got a call from and old friend about a funeral for his mother – the day after I was to get back!  My first inclination was that it wouldn’t work.  But then I felt that hit on the head, and realized it would not only work, it would be glorious!  As I look back, I’m glad I didn’t “insist on my own way with God.”  I would have missed out on that wonderful blessing!

So, how is God trying to lead you?  Are you standing in his way?  Are listening to his nudges?  Or does he need to hit you over the head?

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Now What Happens? ~

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration.  The Lord is indeed risen!

But what happens now?  The disciples wondered that at the end of John’s Gospel.  They had been through much.  In the end, they lost everything, but then Easter dawned, and they found they had won – in ways they never imagined.  But then some said, “I’m going fishing.”  In other words, “I guess now life goes back to normal.”  But life would never be the same again!  Those disciples would go out into the world and find the ministry of Jesus had only just begun!

As we have now entered the “Season of Easter,” let us learn the lesson they learned.  Let us know that Easter is only the beginning.  There is much work to do in God’s kingdom.  There is a great message of hope and grace to tell the world.  Let us never think, “Ok it’s time to get back to life as it was before.”  Life will, in fact, never be the same again!

May God bless you this Easter Season

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Easter Weekend ~

We are now nearing the end of the season of Lent, the time of year the Church has set aside for introspection and repentence.  During this time, I have been encouraging us to look at our lives to see where we have fallen short in the faith, and to find ways to become more faithful followers of Jesus our Lord.  The season concludes after Holy week, in which we celebrate two special days.  Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.

On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, a Passover meal which he changed forever into our sacrament of communion, and in which he gave a “New Commandment” – Maundatum in Latin – “that you love one another as I have loved you.”  (From which we get the word “Maundy”)  Then we commemorate Good Friday, the day in which Jesus hung on the cross and died.

These are some of the most sacred and solemn moments in all of the church year, and I invite you to celebrate them together as God’s people.  On Maundy Thursday, we will gather in Fellowship Hall and share our Agape meal, concluding with the Sacrament of Communion.  On Good Friday, it has been our tradition to have a Contemporary Service in the evening commemorating that solemn day.

We hope to see all of you there as we prepare for the celebration of Easter Day.

God Bless you all.    Pastor Brecht

 

~ Celebration Time ~

This evening is our long awaited Banquet!  We are thrilled that so many are coming.  We on the organizing committee are excited about it, and it looks like it’s going to be a great time!  And we hope that the energy and enthusiasm it has generated will propel us into the new year with great joy!

So… Keep selling your chances, and get them in for the drawing.  Bring your checkbooks and bid on great prizes.  And have a great time!!!!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Merry Christmas! ~

Patty and I would like to wish all of our beloved friends at Eddington Church a blessed Christmas season, and a New Year full of happiness and peace – no matter what the year holds!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Promise, Preparation, Joy, and Love ~

Those are our themes for the four Sunday’s of Advent this year.

Promise is the “hopeful expectation” felt by the world as the prophecies of the Messiah began to come to fruition.  It is about the promise we have in our lives because of the great gift of God at Christmas.

Preparation is about the ministry of John the Baptist as he came to “Prepare the way of the Lord.”  It is about the way we prepare our hearts and our lives to receive again the child of Bethlehem.

Joy is the feeling of great happiness and wonder the shepherds fel,t having heard the angelic chorus that dark desert night.  It is about the joy we have in this season, no matter what the circumstances of our lives.

And Love is the motivation by which God sent his son into our world.  “For God so loved the world…”  It is about knowing that God’s love is for us, and it is about the way we reflect that love to those around us!

Be part of Advent this year!  Come to church if you’ve been away.  Being in fellowship with each other isn’t about doing so only when our lives are whole and everything is going well.  It’s also about being present for one another and upholding each other when we feel broken and alone.  Christmas is about Jesus coming into a world of great need and bringing joy, hope, and love undeserved.

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Advent is Here! ~

We are now officially in the advent season, which is the beginning of the Liturgical year.  As you know, the Liturgical year is the series of celebrations throughout the year commemorating the various events in the life of Jesus Christ on earth.  So it’s natural to start with the events leading up to his birth.

As I always try to do, I encourage you to think about your faith throughout the upcoming season.  It’s far too easy for all of us, myself included, to get so caught up in the preparation and the celebration, that we forget what it is we’re really celebrating!

So I urge you to take some time each day and remember in some way the story of Jesus’ birth.  Read a few passages from the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke, get a good advent devotional like the Upper Room, or go to one of the many on-line devotionals.

Keep thinking of the importance of the event we’re celebrating.  You’ll be glad you did come December 25th!!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ What a Great Work Day! ~

Thank you all for your help on Work Day, this past Saturday!  You did a great job!  It’s always a good thing when we get together on projects!  There’s always such a great sence of dedication, accomplishment, and camraderie!  We always feel good about how we worked together for the greater good of our beautiful church building and grounds!

May we all remember that such feelings of dedication, accomplishment, and camaraderie happen when we join one another in our Stewardship efforts.  Together we support and uphold the ministry of our congregation as we serve one another and our community.  It is a great joy, knowing we are God’s people here in this place!

Keep up the good work you are already doing!  Love, support, and encourage one another in God’s work, and in Jesus’ name!

In him, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Stewardship Dedication ~

Sunday, November 4th, is Stewardship Dedication Sunday.  (If you’re reading this after that it was Stewardship Dedication Sunday!)  This is a crucial year for our church.  We need to close the deficit and live within our means!  And we can do it!

Your Stewardship Commitee will strive to design a budget for 2013 that will work – if we all do our best to support it!  So please pray carefully about your pledge for the coming year, and come and be part of the Dedication service on Sunday.  If you aren’t/weren’t able to be there, please add your pledge as soon as possible.

…And be sure to Keep Eddington Church in your prayers, this week and throughout the year!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Stewardship 2012/2013 ~

This year, Stewardship is as important as ever for our congregation!  As we look to the coming year, we have two options.  Either we close the deficit and continue our ministry as God’s people here at Edington, or we face some difficult choices!

As I have often observed, (with great encouragement!) we are fairly close to making our budget, we just fall short by a little bit.  The problem is, we cannot handle even that little shortfall any more.  We must make up the difference!

The good news is, we are launching into some major fund-raising efforts.  The biggest project, our Febrary banquet, has great potential, not only as a fund-raising event, but also as a great fellowship event for our congregation.  It can also a great outreach event that will put Eddington on the map!  Kudos for those organizing and running this event!

In the meantime, we must continue our regular stewardship efforts.  I must tell we that we have been doing better in recent years and we need to “keep up the good work.”  We must become successful in becoming self-sustaining, as we seek to serve the kingdom of God for the future!

Please join me in praying for our congregation and our futute ministry in this community.  May God continue to bless us as we seek to be his people!

In his name, Pastor Brecht

 

~ World Communion Sunday ~

This Sunday, October 7th is World Communion Sunday!  What a wonderful event this is!  Brothers and Sisters in Christ all over the world will be gathering – each in their own time zone – and celebrating the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – each in their own way!  The celebration will be sweeping across the globe from east to west, passing over our time zone between 9:00 and noon.  Then we will hand it off to the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones in this country.  (Alaska and Hawaii to follow!)

I hope you will get a sense of that global sweep!  And I hope you will get a sense of “The Body of Christ around the world” – Church Universal, or the Holy “catholic” Church.  (“catholic” with a small “c”)

I hope you will all plan on being in Church that day, and that you will be inspired to be there regularly throughout the year!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Doing Projects ~

I’ve always liked Church projects!  Ever since the beginning of my ministry, I’ve noticed that when people gather to do projects together they grow closer to one another, and get more excited about their Church.  They also take a higher level of pride in their church and are more motivated to tell others about their congregation.

There are a number of projects coming up at Eddington, and I encourage you to be involved!  There is a Blood Drive on October 13th.  There is a work day November 10th.  There is a Christmas Bazzar on November 17th.  And there is even a Fellowship Dinner and “Game Show Night” this Saturday!

One of the big projects for the year is our Fund Raising Banquet on February 9th.  This is a major effort for our congregation, and we hope everybody will be involved.  Not only will our ministry benefit from the financial support, but we’ll be getting the word out to the community about our Church!

So please plan on being involved this coming year.  It’s good for your faith!  It’s good for the Church!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ A New Year ~

It always seems funny saying it, but we have started a new year for the church.  I guess we say that because it coincides with the school year – and the end of vacation season.  (Even though I am on the last bit of vacation this week with my family and my kids in from Kansas!!)

I hope that this will be a good start to our “year.”  And I think we know that doing so always takes a certain “change of mind.”  We have to switch from “Summer mode” to “Involvement mode.”  We have to “gear up” for meetings, classes, organizations – whatever we’re involved in over the course of the year.

I hope “Church involvement” is right there at the top of the list for all of us.  It can easily get buried under the myriad of details that hit us at this time of year, and sometimes we need to be intentional about choosing to put it there.  And I would encourage all of us to do so!  Besides regular worship together, there are lots of other “Church things” to put onto our calendars, we need also to put them into our “mental calendars!”

So please do so!  Let’s all strive to make this a great church year – one of growth, one of joy, and one of growing closer to God and to each other!

In Christ,

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Ordination/Installation ~

This Sunday we ordained and installed our new church officers.  We’ve been doing this in recent years as a whole congregation.  That means we were all here together at 10:00.  During that service, we celebrated both of our worship styles, Traditional and Contemporary, and it was a great time of worship together!  I thank you for your grace and patience for those part of the service that were not your “prefence.”

Kudos also to those who planned the wonderful picnic that was held afterwards!  There was plenty of good food, fellowship, and fun!  It was the perfect way to kick off the new church year

Please continue to pray for our congregation and its leaders in the days to come.  We face certain challenges for the future, yet we do so with hope.  Our leaders (including myself!) need the guidance and grace of God as we move toward the New Year.  May we continue to serve God with joy here in this place!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

“And the Fruit of the Spirit is…


Love, joy, peace, patience…” Aaaah, there’s that wonderful word!!  Patience! I’ve had to have a lot of that lately – in the computer world.  As I mentioned before, I’ve switched to a Mac computer, and there have been a lot of things to learn!!  But the the most frustrating hing about learning them was that things that are supposed to work a certain way sometimes don’t! …like our Church’s website, for instance!

Well, after much patience and many phone calls, I’ve gotten to the point where I now have the right tools to do all the things I’ve done before!  For you computer people, that means running Windows in a “virtual machine” on my Mac desktop.   Aparantly our website functions best with Internet Explorer!  Well, it’s all good now, and I can give now you my thoughts, archive my sermons, and edit the various pages like I did before!

So, as always, check things out.  See what’s happening.  And tell your friends and family about us!

Pastor Brecht

…More on Kirkwood.

Thank you all for your prayers and your support of Kirkwood Camp.  I want to update you on the status of the camp, since it will have a bearing on our church for the Summer.

In order to maintain the leadership for the camp, in the absense of a Camp Director, the Board of Directors has asked me to take on that role for part of the Summer.  I have discussed this with the Session and with the Congregation at our meeting on Sunday.  It will involve my being at camp (and home on the weekends to lead worship) for the weeks of July 15th, 22nd, 29th, and August 12th.  I will be available by phone and email those weeks, and will return if any emergencies arise.  I have arranged for other pastoral needs to be handled by Rev. Ken Wonderland at Bensalem Presbyterian Church.  In addition, the camp will be giving a donation to the Eddington Church to help pay about half of my salary for those weeks.  This will help with our Summer financial picture.  …So this works out for all.

Since I usually spend one or two weeks at Kirkwood as Pastor-in-Residence, (and taking on this role constitutes 4 weeks) this is not all that unusual for me.  But I wanted to inform all of you, so that you may pray for me, the camp, the campers, the Kirkwood board of directors, and the whole program.

This is a way that Eddington can make a real difference in the ongoing ministry of Kirkwood camp!  Thank you for your support!  It is looking to be a great Summer so far…

Pastor Brecht

  

~ Send a Kid to Camp ~

Summer Camping season is fast approaching, and I never want to have a kid NOT go to camp because of financial reasons.  If you are able to make a donation to help a kid go to Kirkwood, please let me know!!!

And be in prayer for Kirkwood!  As many of you know, it is a special place!  It’s an amazing ministry!  And right now it’s going through a rough transition in leadership.  So pray for the continuation and growth of Kirkwood Camp!!!

Thank you!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Trinity Sunday ~

This week is Trinity Sunday, which always falls on the Sunday after Pentecost.  This is the Sunday when we recogize God in “Three Persons” – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

The Trinity is a difficult concept to understand, and no matter how much we think we know about it, there is still parts of it we can’t comprehend!  Sometimes we try to make it easier and say those three persons – Father, Son, and Spirit – are the Creater, Reedemer, and Sustainer.  But again, it’s not as simple as that.  For example, John tells us in the beginning of his Gospel that Jesus “was in the beginning and all things were created through him and without him was not anything was made that was made.”  (So he’s not just the Redeemer!)

The simplest explanation, I think, is simply that all three of those persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, are God.  They are not three separate Gods, but three expressions of the one God.  (I know, even that is confusing!)

Perhaps it’s best to think of God as doing all three of those things – creating, redeeming, and sustaining.  He does that for each of us.  He gives us this earth and the things he created, and he continues to create in the new life we see around us.  He redeems us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and he continues to redeem us, bringing us back to himself again and again.  And his strength sustains us in his Spirit living within us, reminding us over and over again of the promise Jesus gave to be with us “to the close of the age.” That is the God we worship, no matter how the Holy Trinity is understood!

May you know God’s blessing in all of those ways!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Pentecost! ~

This Sunday is Pentecost.  That’s the day we celebrate the “Birthday of the Church.”  But Pentecost was not a originally Christian Celebration.  It was a Jewish Celebration.  Pentecost was a Jewish festival, also referred to as “Shavout,” which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, fifty days after the Passover.  (The beginning of the “Exodus” from Egypt.)  The word “Pentecost” literally means “The 50th Day.”

So when Acts 2 begins with the words, “When the day of Pentecost had come…” it meant “the day the Jews traditionally celebrated as Pentecost had come.”  It did not mean, “the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, and they were empowered to start the Christian Church, and so they called the day ‘Pentecost.'”  The celebration already existed.  Does that clarify things?

But on that day when the Jews were about to celebrate Pentecost, something amazing happened.  The Holy Spirit did descend upon the Apostles, who were still waiting – hiding, actually – in Jerusalem after the Resurrection of Jesus.  And the lives of those Apostles was changed, and the world would never be the same again!

So the question on Pentecost – which, as in the days of Acts, already exists – how is your life changed?  Will you let it go on as any other celebration that already exists for “other people,” but doesn’t affect you?  Or will you seek the touch of the Holy Spirit, and be transformed to live the joyful life as God’s people with his power within you?

Think about it…

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Time:  a precious commodity ~ 

One of the most important commodities in our lives and in our world is Time.  We only have a certain amount of it, and it’s a precious thing.  In my sermon on Sunday (May 6th) I talked about how the “Dash between the Dates” on a tombstone represents a person’s entire life.  And we who are still on earth are “living in that dash.”  (You can read that sermon on my “This Week’s Sermon” page.)  The time we have on this earth is indeed a precious thing, and we should use it well.

Here are a few thoughts on time:

We should always cherish the time we get to spend with others.  It is an important part of every relationship!  When we look back over our lives – our recent lives, or our entire lives – those times we spend with others become very important!

When someone gives us their time, we should appreciate that and honor it!  It is a gift not to be taken lightly.  We can waste our own time, but it is disrespectful to waste someone else’s time.  Whenever I call a meeting, I endeavor to start on time.  If I don’t, it is a waste of the time for the people who have arrived on time and are waiting to begin.  I am compelled to honor that time!

Lastly, time moves quickly.  And seemingly the older we get, the faster it goes!  When we were kids, the time until Christmas, seemed to creep by!  Now there doesn’t seem to be enough time to prepare!  I lived in Kansas for 20 years.  That doesn’t seem too long looking back, but it was equivilant to most of the years of my childhood and formal education!  That seem like a “trick of time” somehow.

We could go on and on!  But as we think about time, may we remember that time is precious.  So, use it well.  Don’t waste it!  Honor the time of others.  Cherish the time with loved ones!  You won’t regret it!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ The Importance of Easter ~

As we now are in the season of Easter, let me suggest to you some things that Easter means.  I hope this will help you, in your understanding, and in your celebration of this great event.  These are the thoughts with which I ended my Easter sermon.  (You can read the entire sermon on our “This Week’s Sermon” page.)

          First, the resurrection means that God has the power.  Sometimes we forget that.  We think he is powerless to do anything in our lives.  On Easter he brought Jesus Christ back from the dead.  He showed us that he has the power! 

          Second, it means that Jesus is who he says he is.  If you believe in his resurrection, which I hope you do, you have to know that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God.  At the very least, the resurrection proves that. 

          Third, because Jesus is who he said he is, because God proved that by using his great power to raise him, we can knowthat our salvation is secure, that our sins are forgiven, and that God’s amazing grace is ours!  Sometimes that’s hard to believe.  Sometimes we think we are undeserving.  And the fact is that we are!  But the fact also is that God has given us grace – and that means we get something we don’t deserve! 

          Because of those three things, (and much more!) this event we celebrate today gives us hope and peace beyond imagination in this life – no matter what!  So, I urge you to believe that this Easter Day!  Believe that God loves you – each and every one of you, intimately and personally.  That’s why Easter happened!

The Lord is Risen! 

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Lenten Discipline ~

 

We are now in the season of Lent, and I’d like to remind you of the words we used as part of our Ash Wednesday Service that speak of the discipline of this time of year. 

 

Invitation to Observe a Lenten Discipline

Sisters and brothers in Christ, every year at Easter we celebrate with joy our redemption and renewal through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The season of Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to make room in our lives for the Spirit of God to renew us in this mystery.  We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ.  I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, and by reading and reflecting on God’s Holy Word.  Let us begin our Lenten journey by together confessing our sins and seeking the forgiveness and new life that is promised to us in Christ Jesus.

 

May we all observe and follow these words as we procede through this Lenten Season 

 

Pastor Brecht

 

Lent – now it’s serious!!

Wednesday of this week marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is the 40 days preceding Easter, not counting the Sundays.  (Sundays are not part of Lent!)  Lent is a time of year set up centuries ago by the “Church Fathers” as a time of preparation for Holy Week and Easter.  It is a time when we “get serious.”  It’s a time when we think of the importance of our faith and it’s also a time when we take a serious look at ourselves and try see where we may have failed.  It’s time to think about becoming more dedicated, more spiritual, and more “holy.”  It is a time we strive to grow closer to God

Yes, that’s a lot to think about!  And I hope you will!  So take time each day to think and to pray, and make the choice to “get serious” about your life in God’s kingdom.

Lenten Blessings to you all!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Annual Congregational Meeting ~

This past Sunday was our Annual Congregational Meeting.  It was the 125th such meeting in our Church’s history, and my 7th as your Pastor!  Thanks to all who helped set up, and provide for Lunch.  (If you feed them, they will come!)

I am encouraged as we begin a new year.  Financially, we are still in the red, but there are signs of closing the gap.  If we can remain diligent and generous, and if we can continue to increase our support of the Chruch, that day may yet come!  I’m hoping it will!

For my part, I continue to be blessed to be your Pastor.  This Church has so much going for it!  Just our distribution of ages alone puts us in a better place than many churches!  But I hope we realize that we have – in so many ways – what many, many churcheswish they had!

So, I will continue to be your biggest “Cheerleader.”  You are a great congregation – One of the best I’ve ever served!  I will continue to encourage you as you seek to be the people of God.  May God bless us in the year – and the years – ahead!

In his name, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Reading Scripture ~

As we approach the time of Lent, we will be looking at the earthly life and ministry of Jesus.  And I hope you will make it a point to read some of these stories.  But let me caution you.  Too often we read from the Bible and we read it in our “Bible Voice.”  That is we read it in a way that’s respectful and holy.  And that’s fine.  But sometimes that takes away from the emotion and power of these stories.

I challenge you to re-read those old familiar stories and try to hear them in your mind in a way that protrays the emotions involved.  Experience the fear, the wonder, the astonishment, the anger, and all the other emotions that are found throughout the Gospels.  Try to imagine, not just what the characters were saying, but how they were feeling!  Let the scriptures come alive to you in that way,

We are part of a wonderful story!  It’s a story of a time the world had never seen, before or since!  May God open up your eyes to the wonder of that time in history when he walked this earth.

Grace and Peace,  Pastor Brecht

 

~ Epiphany ~

Epiphany is the 12th day after Christmas.  (“12 Drummers Drumming”)  It commemorates the visit of the Maji – the “Wise Men” – to the Christ Child.  The word “epiphany” means “a sudden realization.”  You can have an epiphany about something you didn’r realize before, or something you finally understood that you never understood before.

In this case, the world realized that the “Good news of Great Joy” would indeed be “to all people.”  The people of Israel were to be the “light to the nations.”  But instead, they came to believe that they were the only people with God’s favor.  Here this story of the Gentiles coming to the Messiah, was written by Matthew.  He was the Gospel writer who wanted to prove to the Jews that Jesus was their Messiah, foreseen by their prophets.  Ironically, it was he who told us of this amazing scene with these Gentiles worshipping the King of the Jews.

That’s an amazing Epiphany!  May it inspire us to know that God loves all people and those who know and love him have the responsibility to tell that good news!

Happy New Year!!

Pastor Brecht

~ The Season of Christmas ~

In the Christian Tradition, December 25th is the beginning of the Season of Christmas.  I know that can sound strange because the stores all say the season of Christmas starts on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving!  (Actually they now just call it the “Holliday Shopping Season.”)

To clarify, that season in the Christian Tradition is the “Advent Season.”  It runs from the end of November through Christmas and it celebrates the anticipation of Christmas Day.  But the Season of Christmas starts December 25th, and it runs for 12 days until the day of Ephphany, which is January 6.  (That’s the source of the Song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.”)

I’ve known some pastors who refused to allow their congregations to sing any Christmas songs until December 25th.  They only allowed Advent Songs.  (Such as “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”.)  I don’t agree with that, but I understand the sentiment.  It’s not just that they are striving to be “liturgically correct,”  But they see a problem with the confusion of those words about the Month of December.  The other problem is that there is often so much hype, with Christmas music and TV “Specials” starting so early, that many people are tired of Christmas by the time December 25th rolls around!  I used to see people’s trees out by the road at noon on Christmas Day!!

This is the time we should be playing the music, giving the gifts, sharing fellowship, and reveling in the Christmas spirit!  So I encourage you to do so.  At the very least, leave your tree and your decorations up for all 12 days of Christmas!  Continue to play the music and keep the Christmas spirit into the New Year.

And may the love of the Child of Bethlehem stay in your heart all year long!

Merry Christmas, Pastor Brecht 

 

~ Advent Has Begun! ~

My friends, we are now officially in the season of Advent!  (Though the malls started two months ago!)  As we begin this time, as we think about all the things we need to be doing to prepare for Christmas, I’d like us to continue thinking about the new year as well.  Pledges are still being tabulated, and budgets are being crafted.  Please be in prayer for our Church.  And if you have yet to make a pledge, please do so!  The results of our Stewardship Campaign were good, but we still need all of our people to make a commitment to 2011!  You are being good stewards, and that’s exciting!  Be part of this good work!

Please take a moment to read my thoughts below, and lets continue in a good direction!

In the joy of the Advent Season,

Pastor Brecht

~ Stewardship Results! ~

A couple of weeks ago, we dedicateed our Stewardship Pledges for 2011.  And I’m plcased to tell you the results.  This has been the most successful Stewardship Campaign during my term as pastor!  Our Church has had needs and challenges at this difficult time, and you have responded!  You are being good Stewards of what God has given us in this place, to his glory!

Now, having said that, are we “out of the woods” yet?  No, we still have a way to go.  But it does appear that we are on that road to recovery.  We have even made up some lost ground on the year in the month of October.  Our overall deficit for the year has been cut!

I am encouraged by that.  And so should you be too!  But do not take this as a time when your support is not needed!  It is needed more than ever!  Our heating oil has gone up a dollar a gallon!  So we may be asking for special contributions to help with that expense.  But as I said, when there has been a special need this year, you have responded!  So, let’s be excited about the possibilities for the coming year, and give joyously and generously!

I’m proud of you!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Stewardship is Discipleship ~

October is Stewardshp time at Eddington Church.  And as I wrote last week, our theme for this year – and our challenge – is  “Stewardship is Discipleship.”  In other words, everything we do in our lives of faith, how we follow our Lord Jesus Christ, how we love and serve God, is our Stewardship.

This week you will be receiving your annual Stewardship letter.  And your Stewardship committee prays that you would read it and think carefully about how important it is to you that our Church be strong and grow in the spirit of Jesus Christ in the coming year.  That is the heart of the message, “Stewardship is Discipleship.”

As you think about making a pledge for 2012, know that the leadership of your church is challenging you, just as they have been challenged, to make a pledge, and to be committed as a whole to the ministry of Eddington Church.  Almost the entire board of elders is behind the stewardship effort and is committed to making pledges for the coming year.  It would be great if our whole congregation would respond in kind!

So, start now to think now about all God has done for you!  Think about your life of faith and how important it is to you – or should be to you.  And think about how you will support the ministry of God at Eddington Church in the coming year, as you seek to be Christ’s disciples.  We will dedicate our pledges together on Stewarship Sunday, which is November 6th.

In his love, Pastor Brecht

 

~ 30 Years of Ministry ~

As you may know, the 30th anniversary of my ordination to the ministry came on the 13th of September.  It goes without saying that it’s hard for me to imagine that so much time has passed!  Just to give you a hint of the changes that have taken place since that time, let me name just a few.

30 years ago, September 1981, there were no personal computers to speak of.  There were no cell phones.  There were no video games, except for Atari’s “Pong.”  The internet was unheard of.  The Phillies were still basking in the glow of winning their first ever World Series!  The Flyers hadn’t won a Stanly Cup in over 4 years!  In churches, things like computers, VCR’s, and Web sites were considered “luxuries.”  And when ministers sent their resumes to churches seeking pastors, it took careful typing, special paper, large envelopes, extra postage, and several days transit.  Now it’s 3 or four clicks on websites and email attachments!

We’ve seen a lot of changes!  And many things have become far easier than they ever were!  Even when I became computer literate and word processor oriented, I had several fairly powerful Bible search programs that I used.  Now I find the best tool to use is Google, and I can often do much of my research on my cell phone!  All I need is an internet signal!

I’m grateful for all these things.  But mostly, I’m grateful that God has given me this opportunity to serve him over these years, that he is still teaching me things, and that he has allowed me to reach this milestone!  And I’m glad he has allowed me to be with all of you – Eddington Church as part of his plan.

Let’s rejoice in what God is doing in our church.  Let’s rejoice in being together and being part of a history of ministry, and for our place in it at this time!  …and I thank all of you for giving me this opportunity!  I love you all!

In his service, Pastor Brecht

 

~The Equinox ~

…is passed!  From now until December 21st there will be more darkness each day than light.

That means Fall is officially here!  The Summer flew by!  But this is a wonderful time of the year!  The sights and smells of Autumn are both vivid and unique.  There’s a hint in the air of the changing of the leaves.  There’s a crispness, a chill, and a clarity around us that spells the end of Summer head and humidity.

There are also many Church programs starting up that coincide with return to school and work.  Sunday School is under way, youth groups are going.  Bible Study is beginning again.  Boards and Committees are meeting.  And this year some special events are happening to mark the 125th anniversary of our congregation.  I hope you have all gotten in your banquet reservations for October 22nd.  It should be a great event!

As we draw closer to that date, may we feel the anticipation grow within us!  May we be more proud of our heritage and our legacy.  May we be glad we are God’s people here in this place, part of a long succession of believers carying the torch of Jesus Christ from the time he walked on this earth!

Enjoy these days, my friends!  And speaking of “anticipation,”  It won’t be long until the anticipation of the Advent season!

God’s blessings on us as a congregation!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Thoughts on 9/12 ~

A very difficult day has passed.  I don’t know about you, but I was worried.  It has hard enough reliving the images and emotions of that terrible day 10 years ago, but it would have been much worse if something else had happened on that anniversary!  I for one have been praying for those whose job it is to protect us and to prevent anything like that from ever happening again!

But those who would do evil things are often very determined to do them.  And when we live in a free society, it is all too easy for them to succeed, unless we are vigilant.  And so my prayers go out for those who seek to deter those efforts.

In the meantime, may all of us seek to rise above such acts.  May we resist the temptation to sink to the level of those who would do them.  May we set aside the feelings of hatred and revenge that so naturally come at such times, and strive to uphold what is good and noble and beneficial to all humankind.

That is the test of character that our nation has always kept at the forfront of our society.  Let us keep to that course!  And, as Paul told the Romans, may we “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

God Bless you all, and God Bless America!

Pastor Brecht

 

~ Financial Update ~

On Sunday, we had a congregational meeting between services to receive an update on our church’s financial picture.  (You asked for this meeting at our regular meeting just after the first of the year.)  Thanks to all of you who attended!  The result of adding all the numbers is that we are doing better than this time last year.  Granted, it’s not tons better, but there is an improvement and that’s important.

Let me say first that I’m very proud of all of you!  These are tough economic times – especially for churches – and when special financial needs were put before you, you responded.  I told our treasurer, Donna, in June that it was time to begin to live as though we do not have reserve funds, in order to preserve those funds for real emergencies in the future!  So we have been attempting to do so.  And so far so good!

My word to you is, keep up the good work!  There are good things happening in our congregation!  Here are some of them:  This year’s Vacation Bible School was one of the best ever.  We sent more kids to Kirkwood than any year since I’ve been here.  (And many of them are talking about going for two weeks next year!!)  Our Sunday School and Youth Groups are gaining in strength and enthusiasm.  Our Bible Study is set to begin again soon.  And of course this is our 125th anniversary year!  There’s a big celebration coming!!  These are exciting things!  So I am very encouraged, and I will continue to encourage you!  (Just think of me as your “cheerleader!”)

But there is also a challenge.  Making up that shortfall we’ve been experiencing will not be easy, and it will take the ongoing generosity of everyone in our congregation.  I would encourage you with the words I used when I first came to this church.  “Let’s strive to get beyone the money worries and get on to the glory God has for us!”

So be encouraged, and challenged, my friends!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Kirkwood!! ~

We have a wonderful camp called Kirkwood!  It was my priveledge to be Pastor-in-Residence two weeks ago, and this past week I went up for a couple of days to help out however they needed it.  That ended up consisting of replacing light fixtures, and doing a lot of mowing!  But I was glad to do it!  Kirkwood is one of the most important ministries in our Presbytery!

So I ask you please, support Kirkwood!  Pray for Kirkwood!  Make plans to send your kids, grandkids, neices, nephews, grandkids, etc… to Kirkwood!  If you have any questions about Kirkwood, or just want to hear me tell my fun and experiences over the years, just let me know!

In the meantime, please pray for and support our Church here at Eddington.  It’s a great place, with great people, and I am priviledged to be your pastor!

God’s blessings on all of us!

Pastor Brecht

 

We hold these truths…

On Monday, I continued my “New Tradition” of reading the Declaration of Independence each July 4th.  It is an interesting document.  I think the thing that stood out the most this week was this statement.

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

What that means is that they knew they shouldn’t take the major action they took for light or minor reasons.  And they recognised the tendency of human beings to keep the status quo, and even suffer hardships, rather than change the things with which they have grown comfortable.

Doesn’t that describe us in the church?  “Change” is a difficult word for us to deal with sometimes.  We tend to be resistent to it.  Even when change is inevitable or even beneficial, we tend to hold on to that which we have been comfortable.

Can we even imagine what it was like for those men in Philadelphia to decide that the “long train of abuses and usurpations” had grown too much for them?  Can we imagine the huge step they were taking in deciding to “throw off such government, and provide new guards for their future security?”

What changes do we need to consider in our lives of faith, even though such change might make us uncomfortable?  That is always a hard question.  And like the founding Fathers, we should never make major changes for minor reasons.

As I quoted from the Apostle Paul on Sunday, “The law of the spirit of the life in Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)  May we know the major step God took to provide that safeguard for our future security!  As he told the Galatians, “For freedom Christ has set us free.  Stand fast, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

May we know that Christ changes our lives.  He sets us free.  May we know that, and may we never again submit to that yoke of slavery.  Because some of the “yokes of slavery” are very comfortable to us, aren’t they?

Remember your freedom in this country and in Christ.

In his name, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Summer IS Here!! ~

Well, now the Summer season is upon us.  Now I know many people think Summer begins on Memorial Day Weekend, but even the news and weather people are accurate in pointing out that that weekend is the “unofficial beginning of Summer.”  Astronomically, (and I’m a stickler for such things!) Summer begins around June 21st which is the longest day of the year.  And now it’s here!  But strangely enough, that means all the days are now getting shorter!  (the earth lags behind the length of daylight in building up the summer heat!)

As I did last week, let me remind you not to forget your church!  Be sure to attend worship throughout the Summer months – where ever you happen to be!  Always be ready to worship with your fellow belivers.

And don’t forget your stewardship support.  The obligations for your church continue and need to be paid throughout those months.  If you are away, please make arrangements to continue your support of the church and it’s programs.

…And have a great Summer!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Pentecost! ~

This Sunday is Pentecost.  That’s the day we celebrate the “Birthday of the Church.”  But Pentecost was not a originally Christian Celebration.  It was a Jewish Celebration.  Pentecost was a Jewish festival, also referred to as “Shavout,” which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, fifty days after the Passover.  (The beginning of the “Exodus” from Egypt.)  The word “Pentecost” literally means “The 50th Day.”

So when Acts 2 begins with the words, “When the day of Pentecost had come…” it meant “the day the Jews traditionally celebrated as Pentecost had come.”  It did not mean, “the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, and they were empowered to start the Christian Church, and so they called the day ‘Pentecost.'”  The celebration already existed.  Does that clarify things?

But on that day when the Jews were about to celebrate Pentecost, something amazing happened.  The Holy Spirit did descend upon the Apostles, who were still waiting – hiding, actually – in Jerusalem after the Resurrection of Jesus.  And the lives of those Apostles was changed, and the world would never be the same again!

So the question on Pentecost – which, as in the days of Acts, already exists – how is your life changed?  Will you let it go on as any other celebration that already exists for “other people,” but doesn’t affect you?  Or will you seek the touch of the Holy Spirit, and be transformed to live the joyful life as God’s people with his power within you?

Think about it…

Pastor Brecht

 

~ A Thief in the Night ~

By now you’ve heard all the buzz about the prediction that the end of the world was to have come this past Saturday.  Permit me to make a few comments.

First, what Harold Camping predicted would happen on Saturday was what Christians call “the Rapture.”  That word is NOT to be found in the Bible at all, but he event is described by Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians.  “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven… and the dead will rise in Christ first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”  (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)  Some time later, Christians started to use the word “Rapture” to describe this event.  This mysterious and supernatural “removal” of the Christians from the earth, has been described by many people over the years, the most recent of which was Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in their series of books entitled “Left Behind.”

Second, these passages in which Mr. Camping has claimed to have found the keys to the date of this event are very cryptic in nature.  Books like Revelation, and the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 24 have baffled Christians and Bible scholars for centuries.  Some of the things we find there were written to the church under the Roman persecution in order to give them hope in desperate times.  Some were written as a description of what would happen at the end of time.  But it’s often very hard to tell which is which.  The language is cryptic and symbolic, and it’s very difficult to figure out what is history and what is intended to be future.  Because of that, many of the people who have tried to figure all this out over the years have mistaken one for the other.

Third, it is interesting that a man, who is so obviously immersed in the scriptures and the passages about the end times, seems to have ignored the passage from Matthew that so many people have pointed out in recent days.  That passage states, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but the Father only.”  (Matthew 24:6)  In light of that, it’s also interesting that Harold Camping predicted not only the day but also the hour as well!

Now, let me ask this.  Is it good to think about these things?  Of course it is!  In fact, the church is too often silent about such things.  And we should be considering them!  Jesus said, “From the fig tree learn its lesson.  When its branch becomes tender and it puts forth its leaves, you know that Summer is near.  So also when you see all these things, you know that the Lord is near…”  (Matthew 24:32-33)  We should be considering the “signs of the times.”  They show us that we are drawing closer to that day.  But we should also consider that Jesus said the day would come “like a thief in the night.”  It would catch many people by surprise.  So, it’s our job to live as though every day is the day the Lord will return.

The other thing about all this is that there was certainly a buzz created this past week!  I think we have Mr. Camping to thank for that.  More discussions of Eschatology” (the study of the end times) have taken place amoung believers and non-believers than we have seen in a long time.  I think that’s a good thing.

So, I say we should keep up the discussion.  Be thinking about that event that we believe is coming some day.  And always be ready!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Work Day Thoughts… ~

This past Saturday was our annual Spring Work Day, organized and let by our Trustees.  And I want to say “Thank You” to all who participated!  It was a great day!  Something like 35 people came out, and much needed work got done – just before the rain!  But more than that, we shared good fellowship over some good projects.  And it’s been my experience that there’s something very special that goes on in the life of a church when people do that.  There’s something about working together that’s hard to put into words!

So perhaps you remember the old song, “One in the Spirit.  The song has two “verses.”  (Besides the first one, depending on how you sing it…)  The first is, “We shall walk with each other, we shall walk hand in hand…”  That’s important in the church, being together and sharing the Good News.  “…and together we’ll spread the news that God isn in our land.”  But the second is also important!  “We shall work with each other, we shall work side by side…”  There’s that idea of work and fellowship we shared at Work Day.

So, keep up the “good work,” and keep up the fellowship!  I’m very proud of you all!

Pastor Brecht

 

Kirkwood!

On Saturday, (while many of you were at the Flea Market) I was up at a Kirkwood “Work Day” with several of your youth, starting to get the camp ready for the Summer.  It’s time now to be thinking of that Summer camping season!  (There’s another Work Day, June 4th!  If anyone wants to go, let me know!)

As you may know, I am on the Kirkwood Board of Directors.  And we see this as a big year for Kirkwood!  It’s the 50th anniversary of the camp.  And it’s a year we are trying to “turn the corner” on increasing the participation of all of our churches, on making improvements in the facilities, and on making Kirkwood the successful, beautiful place that many of us know it is!

If you are able to help the camp financially, that would be great!  Just let me know, and I will see to it that your gift goes to the right place.  Right now, camp scholarships are needed, both for the youth of our church, and for the camp’s scholarship fund which helps all the campers who need it.  We don’t want anyone to miss going to camp because of finances!!!

There is a link to Kirkwood’s web page on our Home page.  Click on that link, and you can see pictures, and get lots of information.  Check it out!  Enjoy, reminisce, and remember! 

Pastor Brecht

 

The Season of Easter!

Starting with Easter Sunday, we celebrate the liturgical season of Easter.  I don’t know how you celebrated that, but I celebrated it by completely forgetting to update my web site!!!!  Silly me!  So, I’ll put both of the past two weeks’ sermons on my “This Week’s Sermon” page.

Well, I am grateful for this time of year, and the wonderful stories we read, celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive, and nothing can separate us from his love!  And what I want you to remember is that the people in those stories did not have our perspective!  They didn’t know what we have come to know about Jesus.  I’d likeyou to try to imagine the fear, the amazement, the disbelief, and all the other reactions they had that first Easter morning, and for all those days afterwards as Jesus continued to appear to them again and again.

It’s hard for us to understand that.  But of course, the other side of that coin is that it’s hard for us to imagine the joy and glory they experienced!  Too often our celebration of Easter has lost that, and we read these stories in our “bible voice” without any excitement or realization of what we’re saying.

Let me encourage you to go back and read again the resurrection stories and the post-resurrection stories from the Gospels and from Acts.  And as you do, try to capture the feeling and the wonder!!

May glory of Easter grow in you and fill you with joy!

In Christ,  Pastor Brecht

 

~ Holy Week! ~

This week is the most sacred time of the Christian year!  Holy Week begins with the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the day we know as Palm Sunday, and it ends on the celebration of his Resurrection – Easter Sunday.

All throughout the season of Lent (of which Holy Week is, of course, the last week!) we have been preparing ourselves – our hearts and our lives – for the events of this week.  And I hope you know that doesn’t mean just the services and commemorations.  Yes, I hope you will be part of our Maundy Thursday Agape Feast, which commemorates the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples.  Yes, I hope you will be present for the Tenebrae Service – the service of darkness – in which we remember the Passion of our Lord.  I hope you will be part of our Good Friday Service.  And even though that service is contemporary in format, it nonetheless commemorates the solemn and tragic time when Jesus died on the cross and was laid in the tomb.

But besides those “official” events, I hope you will be thinking all week about the events of 2,000 years ago.  I hope you will remember this week as being the last days of Jesus on earth.  It was a time he was in and around the city of Jerusalem.  He was drawing huge crowds where ever he went.  He was preaching, and teaching, and healing, and he was being confronted by those who had become his adversaries.

Perhaps read part of that story each day.  I would suggest the end of Matthew’s Gospel, starting at chapter 21.  Or, if you want more of the dialogue and emotion – particularly that of his arrest and trial – you might read the story from John’s Gospel, starting at chapter 13.  (or maybe read both!)

I encourage all of you to keep this Holy Week holy!  It is a solemn and sacred time.  Don’t let Easter day “sneak up on you.”  Don’t wake up that morning and think, “Oh, it’s Easter!  I wish I had thought about it before now!”  Easter certainly took the world by surprise!  But it was not without a solemn and dramatic build up!!!

Let Holy Week be that for you.

Pastor Brecht

 

Reminders…

As I’ve mentioned before, we sometimes think of the idea of “giving something up for Lent.”  And I know that’s not something we Presbyterians always do, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it this year.  Because when we make such “sacrifices,” I think they help us to remember that it’s Lent, and they help us to remember to think about God and our relationship with him.

So I hope you’ll consider doing that.  Make a sacrifice for the remainder of the Lenten season.  And let whatever it is you give up remind you of those things.  Whenever you think of that thing, or see whatever it is, let it remind you to think about your relationship with God.

And if you forget, don’t worry!  We’re not going for “perfection” here, we’re going for “devotion.”  We want these things to help us to grow closer to God.  That’s the idea.

So good luck with those Lenten “reminders.”

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ Thanks to All ~

My Thanks to all who helped make our Community Lenten Service so successful!  We did a great job hosting the other churches for worship and for fellowship afterwards!  And I want to remind you of the two comments Patty and I always hear from the people we greet after the service.  They say, “I may not make all of these services, but I never miss yours.”  And they say, “We wish we had what you have here!”

Be proud of what we have at Eddington!  This is a wonderful congregation with many gifts!

In Christ, Pastor Brecht

 

~ The Season of Lent ~

This is the season of Lent.  Lent consists of the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, not including the Sundays.  It is the time of year which the church fathers set aside centuries ago, for taking a good, honest look at ourselves, and for attempting to see where we stand in relationship to God and his kingdom.  It’s a time to see where we have fallen short, and where we need to be more faithful.

I hope you have stopped to make such assesments of your life.  Too many people let this time go by without giving it much of a thought.  They arrive at the celebration of Holy Week and Easter, and they look back wishing they had paid more attention! Whether or not you have chosen to make Lenten “sacrifices” – to “give something up for Lent” – this is still a time when all of us should take extra time to seek to know God better, and to draw closer to him.

So, think about Lent, now!!  Make physical, mental, and spiritual preparations for the celebration which is to come.  Know that you are loved by God, and that you are a new creation in Jesus Christ, our Lord!

In his name, Pastor Brecht

 

~ March ~

It comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb… or so they say.  I don’t know about that, but it does come in as Winter, and goes out as Spring – at least according to the astronomical calendar!

I do find it interesting that both of those images are used for Jesus.  He is the “Lion of Judah” and the “Lamb of God.”  So perhaps it is good to think in those terms this month!!  Because March is also the season of Lent – depending on when Easter falls.  And during Lent, we think about the ministry and the Passion of Christ.  In his ministry, his power is portrayed in the image of the Lion (Borrowed by C. S. Lewis in the great lion Aslan, the Christ figure in his “Chronicles of Narnia” series.)  And of course his sacrifice is symbolized in being the Passover Lamb.

March is full of rich and wonderful imagery, is it not!  So, enjoy the change of seasons.  Enjoy the new life around you.  And know through the “Lion” and the “Lamb” we too are changed, and we too have new life!!

In him,  Pastor Brecht

 

~ Get Excited! ~

My friends, sometimes I feel like my job is to be the head cheerleader of Eddington Church!  Think about what cheerleaders do.  They get people excited about the game they’re watching!  I want to do that for this congregation.  Because we have a lot to be excited about if only we will see it.  And because people rarely move toward prosperity by concentrating on what’s bad.  Things only get better when we look at the good we have and celebrate that!

And I will say again (and again and again…) that we have so much good going for us!!!  We have a great mix of ages in this Church.  We have lots of children.  We have worship experiences for everyone.  Other churches wish they had what we have!!  And though we have been operating at a deficit, (as have many congregations in this economy!!)  we are showing good signs of coming out of that deficit.

So I say, “Good show!”  (Rah, Rah, Rah!!)  I want you to see those good things, and celebrate, and be determined to keep up the good work!!  And yes, I certainly want you to look at your situation realistically!  I want you to to make good plans, and to look at solid numbers so that we can make it all work to the very best of our ability.  But I want you to concentrate on the good we have and the good we do!

I believe in all of you!  I know you have what it takes!  And believe me, I’ve been around people who didn’t!  I’ve known people for whom the glass is always “half empty” and they have no motivation to “fill it up.”  So I ask you to get excited!  Know that you are God’s people here in this place at this time!

Let’s pray for God’s blessings and prosperity in our Church

In Christ, Reverend Brecht

 

~ 40 years! ~

We are celebrating our 125th anniversary, and on Sunday we had a luncheon during which we honored those who have been members of Eddington Church for more than 40 years.  During that luncheon, Adrienne shared with us some trivia about life over the years of the lives of those honorees.

I got to thinking about that and I looked up some facts of my own.  I took the year 1971, 40 years ago.  I’ll leave these up for a couple of weeks just in case you didn’t get to read them yet.  For example:

How Much things cost in 1971:

  • Yearly Inflation Rate USA 4.3%
  • Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 890
  • Average Cost of new house $25,250.00
  • Average Income per year $10,600.00
  • Average Monthly Rent $150.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas 40 cents
  • Datsun 1200 Sports Coupe $1,866.00
  • United States postage Stamp 8 cents
  • Ladies 2 piece knit suites $9.98
  • Movie Ticket $1.50

Events in the world:

  • A new stock market index called the Nasdaq debuts
  • Sylmar earthquake hits the San Fernando Valley area of California.
  • The Voting Age in the United States is lowered to 18 yrs old when the 26th Amendment to the US constition is ratified
  • The U.S. Supreme Court upholds School Busing Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
  • Harris public opinion poll claims that 60% of Americans are against the war in Vietnam
  • The Walt Disney World Resort opens in Florida
  • Cigarette Advertising ends on Television in USA
  • The New York Times begins to publish sections of the Pentagon Papers showing the US Government had been lying to the American People.
  • Charles Manson and three of his followers receive the death penalty
  • Texas Instruments releases the first pocket calculator
  • Apollo 14 lands on the Moon.
  • Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover a day after landing on the surface.
  • First Soft Contact Lens became available commercially in the USA

…And, Patty and I were in 9th grade at Abington High School!  Think about where you were, too!  Have fun!!

Pastor Brecht