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More Faith – St. Nick’s News May 17, 2024

Full St. Nick’s News for May 17, 2024

Dear friends,

This week I spent time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Festival of Homiletics (FOH) Preaching Conference. FOH is held annually and is in a different city each year. Preachers and ministers from all denominations come to hear leaders from seminaries and churches. We hear great sermons, are blessed to have workshops on the craft of preaching, and have time for fellowship and friendship. Thank you for covering small groups, bible studies, events, and happenings here at St. Nick’s while I have been away for an inspiring time of Continuing Education.

I felt like an excited child in a toy store when I was blessed to hear some of my favorite preachers! I wondered as we showed up for registration about the nuggets of wisdom God would gift me from so many faithful servants of God’s Kingdom. I was not disappointed! I am sure in the next few weeks you will hear me speak of some of what I have learned…

The opening worship was especially moving to me. Professor of Preaching, Karoline Lewis from Luther Seminary in Minnesota shared a sermon titled “When Little Faith is Enough.” She used Matthew 8:23-27 which is the story where Jesus calms the storm. She played around with the idea of how we hear Jesus say, “why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Do we hear it as scolding… rebuking…encouragement…exhortation…opportunity…challenge?

That evening, while praying, I spent time reflecting on the many times I have wanted Jesus to calm the storms of my life. I, much like the disciples in the story, have had times when I holler and wake Jesus up proclaiming, “Lord, I am perishing!”

Yet… still, I am here…

Yet… still, my faith is never enough…

I often joke that one of the biggest lessons Church Planting has taught me is that I have little faith. I want more faith than I have. That Monday evening, while praying, I heard Jesus whisper, if you had more faith, you probably wouldn’t need me. He’s right.

I am sad to admit – if I had more faith, I would think I could do everything on my own. And I know, since this is also a lesson Church Planting has blessed me with, is that I cannot do this work alone. I need Jesus. And I need you.

  • I need the person who places my red stole and my bible and prayer book on the altar – ready for me on Sunday morning.
  • I need the people who show up for workday month after month, inspiring me to continue to care for this space so we can have offices and meeting rooms for small groups, meet-ups, and recovery meetings.
  • I need the Dinner Church folks who remind me that having dinner and encouraging one another through prayer and friendship is what the early church did before worship became so fancy.
  • I need the 8:30am folks who praise and worship with me in all kinds of weather and love me even when I am still waking up at that time and tell groan-worthy priest jokes.
  • I need the 9:30am folks who sing and praise and bless our lives with copious amounts of grace as children are excited to receive Jesus and learn how to worship in our space.
  • I need the people who gather in small groups to grow their faith and are dedicated to becoming disciples themselves.
  • I need the people motivated to serve the community with love and generosity and show me the goodness of God through their actions.
  • I need the people who share their financial blessings in order for us to continue to grow in the vision of reaching out to everyone in need of God’s love.
  • I need the people who use their gifts and talents by helping with events and ministries in order to glorify God.
  • I need the people who are struggling with their faith and on their worst days come and are carried along by the faith of others.
  • I need the people who are confident in their faith and on their best days carry others along as they pray and praise our friend Jesus.

My list could go on and on – so many people I didn’t mention…

I can’t help but feel a little bit weird to admit my apparent neediness out loud! It goes against the grain of our American, Texan, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, mentality. But if I am honest with myself and you – I honestly have to admit – I need you.

Ministry and sharing our faith (even if it’s just a little faith) is a group activity. It is not meant to be done alone. The truth is, since our beginning, all the people who have come and visited and joined us – whether it is for a short while or a long while, I (we) have needed. Because they have been with us, because you are with us at St. Nick’s, you are forming us into what God wants us to be – a loving and generous community of faith where we creatively proclaim the love of Jesus Christ to one another and the world. All of us, together, make up the church – the Body of Christ.

What we do together is important work. We are doing the work of proclaiming that Jesus is and always will be pure love. We are doing the work of proclaiming that Jesus’ faith (his willingness to love all people and sacrifice himself on the cross for the sake of the world) is enough. We just need a little bit of our own faith in order to participate with Jesus. Thank you for being you. Thank you for saying yes to God through being part of St. Nick’s.

I hope you enjoy some of these pictures from our beginning days at St. Nick’s. I know I have rejoiced in thanking God for the many, many people who have joined us on the journey, and taught me to embrace the faith I have, and who have taught me that needing one another is not a liability but a gift.

You are a gift from God – to me, to the world, and for God’s Kingdom.

God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,