Faith Journey Rebooted

Our Faith Journey program is going through significant changes to provide more faith building activities for all ages.

The new program will take place the first Sunday of each month beginning with worship at 9:30am. Worship will lead into firsthand formation activities that include interactive learning for children and youth along with Bible study for adults. Following faith formation activities all with gather for a fellowship lunch.

Our inaugural program will take place October 3rd with intergenerational activities centered on the Reformation.

Everyone is welcome to join us as we journey together toward a deeper understanding of our faith.

Renewal Celebration

Everyone is invited to Good Shepherd’s

Renewal Celebration
Rally Day and Picnic

Come celebrate as we renew the torch of our ministries after quarantining.

We will have a special 9:30am service at the church and then picnic at Kirby Park (pavilion 3) from 11am to 5pm on September 12th.
There will be food, fellowship, and games for all ages.

The Return of Masks

It has been wonderful being able to see everyone’s face again but we now must go back to making sure everyone is protected. Our area is now at substantial risk of Covid transmission. Per CDC guidelines we are encouraging everyone to wear masks at all services and indoors gatherings whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

We ask that anyone who is not feeling well or has been exposed to remain home. Video recordings of worship will continue to be available online as soon as possible Sunday afternoons. If you are not receiving email notifications yet please submit your email to receive updates.

Teach Your Children Well

By Pastor Wes Poole

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  – NRSV

Proverbs 22:6

Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. – NRSV

Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t. – Folk singer Pete Seeger

Martin Luther, on Bible study:  I study my Bible like I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf. I search the Bible as a whole like shaking the whole tree. Then I shake every limb–study book after book. Then I shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters. Then I shake every twig, or a careful study of the paragraphs and sentences and words and their meanings.

Teach your children! It was one of God’s commandments to the ancient Hebrew peoples and it is still just as relevant and powerful a commandment all these millennia later. The continual nurturing of faith that we provide our children and ourselves throughout our lives is one of the most important responsibilities we have as God’s people and as a congregation. It’s also imperative to remember that when we commit to the discipline of studying scripture and growing in the understanding of our faith, we aren’t just cramming for some sort of “Divine Exam”. Our relationship with God in Jesus Christ is established through grace. As a result, “Christian Education”, as we often call it, is a matter of personal enrichment; empowering us to be better disciples and more effective agents of that grace in the world. As we continue to transition to a post-COVID world, your Faith Formation Team is in the process of visioning for the future of our educational ministries at Good Shepherd. There are any number of ideas being discussed, but one thing remains central, helping our people grow in understanding of our faith and devotion to God and neighbor. “Faith Formation” is not just something we do to help teach Bible stories to children. That’s immensely important, but only the beginning. Our faith, both individually and as a community, is constantly in formation; growing, changing, and hopefully deepening. Let us all, as a family of faith, commit to “shaking the apple tree” that is Holy Scripture, and to the life in service to God and neighbor that Jesus modeled for us.

Let us pray…

Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word. As we strive to teach our children “in the right way” and to keep your words in our hearts and souls, inspire us to take what we learn and put it to work in your Kingdom for the benefit of all people. Make us creative and engaged students and teachers; that your Word be made known to the world and transform the lives of those who experience it. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, be safe, and pick up that Bible! You never know what might happen!

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes Poole †

HELP IN THE PRESENT TENSE

By Pastor Wes Poole

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. – NRSV

He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity. – Ben Jonson.

The story is told about an elderly lady who was greatly disturbed by her many troubles–both real and imaginary.  Finally, her grandson, a pastor, tactfully told her, “Grandma, we’ve done all we can for you. You’ll just have to trust God for the rest.” A look of absolute despair spread over her face as she replied, “Oh dear, has it come to that?” Whereupon the pastor replied, “It always comes to that, so we might as well begin with that!”

“We might as well begin with that.” Yea verily…honest and forsooth! We all experience our share of life’s troubles. Some are undoubtedly bigger and more troubling than others. Regardless, God promises never to leave us to face them alone. That in itself is not all that controversial a thing to state. Of course, as people of faith we strive to place that faith as firmly in God as we can contrive. It is important to remember though that God almost always works through something, or someONE else. When we come to God for help through a time of trial or crisis, however great or small, we aren’t asking God to work “magic tricks” or to miraculously fix everything, but rather we are asking God to help guide us through. Often as not, it is our fellow sisters and brothers who serve as those guideposts. We see this quite clearly in the medical world. What is scarier than illness? Yet God asserts His presence through doctors and scientists, or the friends and loved ones who pray with us and for us. Whether we’re on the giving or receiving end of God’s Grace, it is in the face of our neighbor where we see God at work most clearly. For the modern day disciple of Jesus, it is vital that we not only acknowledge the grace and kindness shown us, but that we also become ourselves the agents and purveyors of that grace. Luther understood this when he penned his “greatest hit” A Mighty Fortress, which was based on Psalm 46. God is a very PRESENT help in trouble. Right here, right now, present tense, God is reaching out to us. May we always strive to be that present help for others. It is truly the perfect place to begin!

Let us pray…

God of mercy and comfort, help us to recognize your presence through the lives and actions of others. As we experience the grace you extend so lavishly, help us to continue being the agents of your grace in the world. For when we reach out to others in your name, we are all bound closer together, and your healing love is made known in life transforming ways. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you soon!

Blessings,

Pastor Wes Poole †

THE GOOD WORD

BY Pastor Wes Poole

Proverbs 6:25

Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up. – NRSV

Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, “but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”

Yea verily, Ms. Mamie! There is such power in those small “good words”. This week, I’m speaking from experience! I won’t weigh you down with the details, but we’ve had an ER visit, a long, difficult trip to SC, and an upcoming surgery as our primary stressors. Everyone is OK and healthy enough, but we’re feeling a bit frayed around the edges. Yet even through it all, there were various acts of kindness; some bigger, some smaller, all appreciated. We each have within us the truly awesome ability to make the lives of others better. It might be a hug, a cup of coffee and an attentive ear, or simply a random smile…but the potency of such acts, those “good words”, is immeasurable. It is also exactly the life into which we are called as Christians; exactly the life Jesus modeled for us during his earthly ministry. Jesus was able to affect the lives of others on a much grander scale. Indeed, his sacrifice for humanity is the greatest “good word” of all time. Still, the smaller acts of kindness he showed others, even those who were considered the lowest of the low, made just as powerful a difference in the lives of those people to whom he displayed caring and compassion. It is one of the cornerstone tenets of our faith that we are many members, yet still one body. When we look at each other and see the value in each unique individual, we finally start to realize another of the core teachings of our faith…that the Kingdom of God is at hand. For the Kingdom is at hand, and that hand is ours! As Jesus’ 21st century disciples, may we always choose to speak the good word. The impact we can make is profound. Let’s be the people who ask Ms. Mamie about her arthritis!

Let us pray…

God who spoke the cosmos into being, we know that our “words”, verbal and otherwise, can effect positive change in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Make of us a people who share the good word freely and with joyful hearts; that all may come to know the life that has been given to us in Jesus Christ. For it is in his name we pray. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe! See you at worship!

Your Partner in Christ,

Pastor Wes Poole †

THE GRAVITY OF GRATITUDE

By Pastor Wes Poole

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good;    his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. – NRSV

A 12 year old boy named David was born without an immune system. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in order to correct the deficiency. Up to that point he had spent his entire life in a plastic bubble in order to prevent exposure to common germs, bacteria, and viruses that could kill him. He lived without ever knowing human contact. When asked what he’d like to do if and when released from his protective bubble, he replied, “I want to walk barefoot on grass, and touch my mother’s hand.”

G.K. Chesterton once penned, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” As I sit here tapping away on a Tuesday in Holy Week, my head and my heart are fixed on gratitude. We have just returned to in-person worship on this past Palm Sunday. We will gather together on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday for the first time in 2 years, and for the very first time as pastor and congregation! Despite the dark road we must still walk with Jesus before we can celebrate the Empty Tomb, I just can’t muster the usual somber, Holy Week headspace. If COVID has taught us anything, it is that we should never take anything for granted. From hugs to handshakes to regular communion, we have had a yearlong lesson in just how many things can be taken from us in a relative instant. I pray that we can all find that spirit of gratitude and put it to work in the coming months as the world continues to open back up.

Of course, during this truly holy week, when we acknowledge once again what Christ’s sacrifice means to us, and how painful the road was that he took for our benefit, we embrace another sort of gratitude; that of a people who have been given so much by the God who cherishes them. Sure, we already know how the story “ends”…life and hope and resurrection joy, but experiencing Our Lord’s sacrifice with him makes the reality of the gift just that much sweeter. In Jesus Christ, God has claimed us once and for all. As we recall during this holy time the dark and difficult path Jesus walked for us, may we cultivate an even greater spirit of thankfulness and indeed awe at just how much Our God loves us in Jesus Christ. In the end, we are always an Easter People. Friday may look dark…but Sunday’s always coming! Thanks be to God!

Let us pray…

God of all Hope and Goodness, we pause during this Holy Week to ponder upon and give thanks for what you have done for us in Jesus Christ. As we take those steps with Jesus once again, through passion and pain to the foot of the cross and the wonder of an empty tomb, make us always ever more thankful to you, and appreciative of your lavish generosity. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you in church!!!!

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes Poole †

Holy Week/Easter Worship

Holy Week worship will be live in person at Good Shepherd. Services will be recorded and posted online as soon as possible after the end of each service for those who cannot attend.

Holy Week/Easter Worship Schedule

  • Mandy Thursday — 7:30pm
  • Good Friday — 7:30pm
  • Easter Sunday — 8:30 and 11:00am

Masks are required and social distancing will be observed. Capacity will be limited to allow for social distancing.