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This Sunday will be a bittersweet experience as Dr. Steve and Dianne share on their final Sunday. They have provided caring ministry for us since September 2001, arriving just as our country was facing the life-changing experience on 9-11. Dr. Steve is stepping aside as our Lead Pastor so someone with fresh passion and perspective can help us follow the Holy Spirit to the next level of ministry God has planned for the Church of God of Landisville.
When Dr. Steve arrived we had gone through great turmoil, but he quickly discovered that there were wonderful gifts and great vision, the latter needing focus and the former needing deployment. Within a year we had begun the journey to becoming an outward-focused church seeking be the best church for our community by serving them as their Spirit leads. Along the way we initiated a significant ministry of outreach and evangelism that included the building of the MPR, the launching of the FLOW and Agape Centers, the embracing of ministry to our schools through such things as Child Evangelism Fellowship, and connecting with missions through a sister church relationship with the Navajo congregation at Tsaile. At one time almost 25% of our active congregation had participated in a cross-cultural mission experience and we grew to the 13th largest worshiping congregation in the ERC and the church with the highest per capita giving in the ERC. In latter years we have averaged more than 30 new Christians per year. And Pastor Barry became our first Associate Pastor. So many, many things to be thankful for. Despite the challenges of the last 2-3 years, challenges not unlike those facing many middle-sized congregation, we today are thriving and fruitful people of God, with many, many dedicated disciples serving God and His Kingdom.
Dianne blessed us is so many ways–as a VBS Teacher, a Stephen Minister, the Children’s Choir Director, a Bible Study Leader, a worship leader and member of the Worship Band, a member of our Worship Commission, and as our Spiritual Gifts Counselor. Many persons have been blessed as she led us in prayer during worship, and many a troubled person found a caring counselor and friend.
Dr. Steve shares these words in this Sunday’s bulletin:
Dearly beloved Landisville family:
This is our final Sunday with you. This afternoon I will cease to be the Lead Pastor of the church. It is a bittersweet time, in one sense; but also a time of fresh beginnings, which I always see as God’s new opportunities. Dianne and I do not know where God is yet leading us, but we are confident that He has a place for us to serve Him and are eager to do so. We are simply praying that God will soon show us the next place where He desires to use our gifts and passions to help change lives for the Kingdom.
These years have had some great challenges, some frustrating disappointments; but also some powerful God stories, lives that have been transformed and continue to mature, and a traditional church took some exciting steps onto the front line and crossed some incredible frontiers for the Kingdom. There of things I would have done differently, but I do not regret even a single day spent as the Lead Pastor of this great church.
Dianne and I want to thank you for 11 of the best years of our lives and ministry. Our hearts have been thrilled over and over as we watched take the steps of faith as a church to follow the Holy Spirit in becoming an outward-focused church. And we have been blessed as we watched you as individuals chose a path of being authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. We have laughed with you, cried with you, prayed with you and for you – and it is our continuing prayer that you will discover the immeasurably more that God has planned for you.
Please understand that by both conference rules and by my personal ethical commitment, I will not be back to the church for at least a year, except by special request from the elders or your new pastor. This also means that Dianne and I will be moving away from Landisville, hopefully very soon. We are still friends. We will still communicate, but I will always encourage you to seek pastoral assistance from Pastor Barry and then, your new Lead Pastor.
The Church has great leadership, the current group being among the best I have ever served with. Trust them, pray for them, work with them, and together you will continue to be the blessing to this community that you have been blessed to be.
Yours in God’s amazing grace,
Dr. Steve and Dianne
Join us this Sunday at either worship service as we honor these two caring servant leaders and celebrate their time with us at Landisville.
Our Associate Pastor, Barry Sellers, will be in the pulpit this Sunday talking about one of our core values, worship clearly focused on Christ. Barry’s message borrow its title from AW Tozer, “Worship-The Crown Jewel. Our Youth Director Stacie Reber will be leading this week. Our new Agape and Student Ministry this fall focuses on “The Well” and this week you can help support that by buying their bottled Well Water.
Before Sunday, Saturday to be exact, drop by the church as our Commission on Outreach and Evangelism is holding a car wash to support the Hempfield Area Food Bank. There is no cost for the car wash, but you are asked to bring canned and boxed foods for the Food Bank. Volunteers to wash cars are also needed.
Note, this week our search team did a second round of interviews with the finalists for the position of Director of Children’s Ministry.
Next week is Dr. Steve’s final week as our Lead Pastor. Sunday, July 22nd is his final Sunday, and worship includes a celebration of the eleven years of ministry of Dr. Steve and Dianne at Landisville. A reception is planned during the Hospitality Times to honor them. There will be no Junior Church that Sunday so that the kids can be a part of this service. (There still will be Wee Church and Nursery).
Most of us see the dry, parched ground–hungry and thirsty for refreshing rain. The upside is no lawn mowing. The downside may be no lawn. The heat and it’s toll seems to be on everyone’s mind.
But something far more important should occupy our thoughts – The Incredible Power of Unconditional Love. This the topic of Dr. Steve’s message this Sunday. We will journey into the familiar territory of 1 Corinthians 13, but with a special insight that comes from understanding that this love comes from God who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
Please remember that Dr. Steve and Dianne are with us just two more Sundays–this Sunday and then on July 22nd, which will include a reception and celebration of their eleven years of ministry with us.
June is almost over and this Sunday begins for many the Independence Day Holiday Celebration. If you are not already headed out of town, be sure and join us in worship on July 1st as we focus on the gift of freedom that God provides and the blessing of freedom that comes to those who live in America.
Dr. Steve is with us until July 22nd and so this will be one of your final opportunities to share in his messages. This week he looks at the cost of freedom with a sermon called, “Freedom is Not Free.” Note that he is in the office most mornings if you want to stop by and chat.
Summer is here with all its heat, humidity, summer activities, and persons trying to grab some vacation time. We encourage you, however,to bring your focus (and yourself) to the Church this Sunday. Sunday is Visionary Sunday. Dr. Steve is sharing an important message from Hebrews 11:6 called “The Only Way to Please God.” Following worship, at noon, we will have a special potluck luncheon featuring Pastor Barry’s famous pulled pork. Then our Elders and staff will make an important presentation about our vision, where we believe the Lord is taking us, and what we need to be doing in this kairos time of commitment and growth. They will share plans for strengthening our worship ministry, the position of Children’s Director, and the unveiling of an exciting new direction for student ministries and Agape Center. All members and other church families need to be a part of this presentation. It will be a great time to connect with what God is doing in and through the Church of God of Landisville.
At both services we will honor Lisa Kilgore who on June 30th will complete 10 years of service as our Children’s Director. Lisa is the new Director of Good News Clubs for Lancaster County Child Evangelism Fellowship. Megan Coleman is joining the church at 8.15. We will have a prayer of consecration at 10:45 for Lauren Rogers, who leaves this week as a student ambassador to Europe. Exciting day. Be sure and be a part.
From blogger PC Walker comes counsel for a church that seeks to be the miracle that families need.
“Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
My girls can know the safety and security of refuge if I fear God with my life enough to find MY confidence in God alone. My fear of God is a fountain of life for myself and my family (vs 27).
Do my children know that I fear God?
Do they feel secure by my confidence in God?
Can I improve my confidence in God, and thus security for my family?
What is my attitude toward God TODAY?