[This is an essay from an unpublished book of essays entitled Real Church. The author is the aging pastor himself.]
I decided on the title for this essay long before I ever put one word on paper. The name “Uphill” came to mind long ago. It well defines the journey of one aging Christian pastor; from the days of his earliest memory, to this very day. For some strange reason, for him, the journey has been all uphill. But maybe the reason is not so strange at all. Maybe God’s the reason. Maybe this is God’s way; that the journey be a hard one, because when we get to the end of the line … it’s heaven.
Long ago, this Christian pastor had a preaching professor who liked to remind her class of the phrase, The road to hell is paved with good intentions. She’d stress, that’s the easy road. That’s the one – that’s paved. The aging minister has come to conclude that the other road, the one less traveled, the one to heaven, that’s a rough one, unpaved; the hard road. Jesus spoke of this road when He said this: Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. [Matt. 7. 13-14]
Uphill. Let me provide an example. The aging minister received an invitation not long ago to return to a former church. To be an honored guest in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the building of that church. The celebration was to take place the following Sunday. Just five days from the day that the invitation arrived. The invitation was dated a week prior. This left him wondering, why invite me at all if you’re going to invite me too late to come? (I need way more than five days notice to take a Sunday off. And airfares are enormous when you buy your ticket five days before your flight.) And how will it look if I’m not there, after somebody, probably not the person who mailed the invitation, but somebody else, thought enough of me to invite me? Uphill.
So he sits and he wonders. But he doesn’t wonder very hard. Because as hard as the road may be, as strenuous as the climb uphill may be, he doesn’t travel alone. Because He’s always there. Him! He’s been there from the start. He lived His life uphill. And He understands, and He loves the aging one, and He helps him. Every step of the way. The few and the far-between that are easy. And all the rest as well. Those that are uphill.
And he thinks about the journey to Alabama. That took 60 years … uphill. But every step was worth it, if only because of Who walks beside him. (And always remember this: He walks with you too!)
CONGREGATIONAL CARE MEETING
A Congregational Care meeting will be held on Sunday, August 6, at 1:30pm. Anyone who is interested in serving on this committee is welcome to attend. If you have any questions, please contact Diana Lawrence.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
August’s Christian Education meeting has been moved to August 4 at 9:00am.
AFTER SCHOOL BIBLE STUDY VOLUNTEERS
We need you! The After School Bible Studies will be starting back September 5th. If you loved working with kids during Vacation Bible School, you might want to help in this ministry. We meet Mondays and Tuesdays during the regular Enterprise School Year. We have three wonderful teachers, but we need helpers in each room and someone to prepare snacks. In August, I need help with putting together the classroom props. If you can’t make a whole school year commitment, think about signing up to substitute as a helper or a snack provider or come help me put everything together. If you are interested, please contact April Seery.
AFTER SCHOOL BIBLE STUDY CLASSES
Our After School Bible Studies will be starting up soon! This year we will be offering three classes on Mondays:
• Jonah: a class for beginners to kid’s Inductive Bible Study; for 1st – 4th graders
• Revelation Part 2 (Revelation 8-22): a continuation class for 5th – 8th graders who have finished Revelation Part 1 (Revelation 1-7)
• Genesis Part 2 (Genesis 3-11): a class for 3rd-6th graders who have done inductive Bible Study before.
On Tuesdays, we will finish up the Gospel of John (John 17-21). Unfortunately, only those who have finished John 1-10 and John 11-16 can come to this class.
If you have any questions, please call April Seery at 393-3813. We look forward to teaching God’s Word again this year!
Do you have a meeting happening at the church? Don’t forget to let the church office know! We like to keep the main calendar as up-to-date as possible, and we like to know what events are coming up so we can make announcements in the bulletin and/or the newsletter. Thank you for keeping the office informed.
AFTER SCHOOL BIBLE STUDY PARENT MEETING/REGISTRATION
• When: August 22, 2017 at 7p.m.
• Where: Fellowship Hall
• Who: Parents who want to sign up their kids for the After School Bible Studies.
• Why: Attendance at this meeting is required to register your child/children.
• What: Important information will be provided and parents signing up will be expected to commit to having their child regularly attend class, save for illness or emergency situations.
• How: Class supplies will be ordered based upon the registrations taken this evening.
GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE
On August 21, 2017, millions of people across the United States will see nature’s most wondrous spectacle — a total eclipse of the Sun. It is a scene of unimaginable beauty; the Moon completely blocks the Sun, daytime becomes a deep twilight, and the Sun’s corona shimmers in the darkened sky. Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. In fact, if you have clear skies on eclipse day, the Moon will cover at least 48 percent of the Sun’s surface.
WINSHAPE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!
Thank you to everyone who supported WinShape Camp last month, either through time volunteered, financial assistance, or especially with prayer. Over 500 children are participating in camp this year! This year’s theme was “All” and the main Bible verse was Matthew 22:37, “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” We are so pleased that WinShape was able to return to Enterprise, to continue having an impact on the youth of our city. We look forward to them coming back next year (July 16-20, 2018)!
“The sermon is done?” asked the latecomer of the pastor at the church door.
“The sermon has been preached,” said the minister. “It remains to be done.”
After the pastor has preached, the work of the church begins. Our minds have been instructed, our souls have been nurtured and our emotions have been stirred.
When we pass beyond the four walls of the church building, we face a different environment; we breathe a different air. We can then no longer be passive. We are called to act. And we should act in accordance with our knowledge of God’s will.
GUATEMALA MISSION TRIP REPORT
Wednesday, August 16th
Pot Luck Meal 5:30pm