Monthly Archives

December 2019

Start Your Brave New Year Here!

By Intersections

“Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).

Happy Brave New Year!

2020 looks to be a significant year. Why? The start of every new year holds promise, but 2020? It’s the start of a new decade! Take a moment and re-read the verse above from Philippians.

For Paul, being a follower of Jesus Christ meant that he was paying attention to the signs Christ had placed before him. He was connected to spiritual energy moving him forward to the future. Like Jesus, he didn’t spend all of his time in religious assemblies, but out and about in the public square, in the neighborhood, with people from every walk of life, from every country, with diverse ideas and experiences. (Compare John 1:14 and Acts 17.)

The Mission Study Team and the session have invested a great deal of prayerful work over the past two years listening to the Spirit and the many voices in the congregation. Our congregational Focus Your Vision event and surveys last year were especially meaningful as we began to design our future-looking mission. All these inputs and discernment have produced clarity about our mission.

When we speak of “our mission,” we refer to our purpose put into action. Put into action that can be appreciated, accessed, and experienced by those we love and serve- our community of faith and the community at large. In other words, the measure of our success in fulfilling our mission is what our entire community says it is. We care about what our neighbors experience and we want them to experience God’s abundance and grace in 2020!

Every church of Jesus Christ can be assumed to worship Christ, proclaim the Bible, and serve others. But each of us, and each congregation, has a unique mission, a special call, as well. Why is Cold Spring Presbyterian Church at the corner of Seashore and Academy roads?

What has God called us to focus on in 2020?

We can’t do everything, because if everything is our priority, then nothing is a priority. If we focus on doing it all, we end up doing nothing at all. So our mission is what God has called us to do as a unique community of faith right now. For such a time as this, God has called Cold Spring Presbyterian Church, and all those participating in its worship and work, (thats you and me!) to celebrate, communicate, engage with, and promote our mission.

Similarly, when we refer to vision, we mean the imagined future we seek to see. Our vision describes the outcomes accomplished by God’s empowerment and grace.

VISION: Cold Spring Presbyterian Church

We believe that everyone deserves to experience God’s love in relevant and authentic ways. Our thriving faith community energizes spirits and transforms lives by putting God’s love into action to help make greater Cape May a better place. We invite others to join with us as we joyfully love and serve God and our neighbors through the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.

MISSION: Cold Spring Presbyterian Church

Cold Spring Presbyterian Church delivers spiritual resources and experiences that are centered in God’s love. We enthusiastically proclaim the abundant life through Jesus Christ. Our mission is to improve the spiritual vitality and wellness of our congregation and community throughout the Cape May region through inspiring worship, practical teaching from God’s word, innovative programs, and community-focused events and ministry.

You will find our vision and mission statements on our website, in each Connections and Brickette issue, in our weekly bulletin. Our mission helps us tell our story! Our clear vision helps us know when to say yes or no. Our clear mission guides every decision the session makes about by our resources, priorities, and values as we listen to God’s Spirit. Our mission informs our teams, committees, and all our work across our congregation. Even more, our compelling vision and mission will attract new individuals, families, resources, partnerships and opportunities!

We are beginning our 306th year of ministry! And you are an important part of its success! Member, friend, neighbor… you have a place at Cold Spring Church in 2020!

Join us on Sunday, January 26th, after worship in Price Hall when we hold our 2020 Annual Congregational Meeting. We will celebrate all that God has done in our midst in 2019! You are invited to participate and be energized during this very special gathering.

What’s ahead in 2020? With the apostle Paul, we know three important things about the future:

  1. We are learning and growing as we follow Jesus.
  2. We have a mission.
  3. God is calling us all to bravely fulfill our mission and move forward into the future.

Thank you for all you do…praying and supporting, engaging, and serving… in the name of Jesus Christ!

Let’s expect a brave new year in 2020 as we experience God’s abundance and grace, working together to achieve our mission in God’s emerging, hopeful future! That’s why we can confidently say, “Happy Brave New Year!”

Sincerely,

Pastor Kevin

2019-12-29 Message- Jesus the Immigrant, International, Inclusive Savior

By Intersections, Sermons

In the United States, a nation of immigrants, still swell with people from other countries, many fleeing persecution, fear, and poverty. Even in Cape May County we meet them in shops and restaurants, and welcome them to our communities and neighborhoods. Most of our families have immigrant stories, and our cemetery represents amazing immigrant stories of international travelers who came to the “new world” in search of freedom and to work and worship as they chose. This week, Pastor Kevin’s message continues the story of Jesus on the move as an infant from Matthew 2:13-23. Jesus was born in a borrowed Bethlehem barn in Asia and became an African refugee in Egypt, so the Christmas story is about an international migrant. Furthermore, a whole village full of baby boys died for Jesus before he had the opportunity to die for them on the cross. Surely this Jesus understands the pain of children who suffer and die for the sins of adults in our our communities. This week’s Gospel resonates loudly for our times and will equip and inspire us to participate in the transforming inbreaking of the divine that comes with the birth of Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Joy to your world can be realized for you and our entire community because if Jesus is not for everyone, he’s not for anyone. Jesus is for all of us!

2019-12-24 Message- 5 Lenses of Christmas, Macro Lens, Census Close-Up and You

By Intersections, Sermons

The National Retail Federation estimated the value of returned holiday gifts at up to $95 billion. Wow! That’s a lot of returns! You’d think that if we knew each other better, we’d give gifts that the recipient would really want!

What a gift worth to the giver may be different than the value of the gift to the recipient. In a classroom in New York, a room full of kids were given candy treats for free, distributed randomly. Then they asked the kids how they felt about their free gift. The results were not promising. But when they were asked to do some clever exchanges, the value increased because each kid got more of what they would really enjoy, what they valued.

God gave a gift and you can return it, sure. But God knows you more than you know yourself, and whats more, God loves you, just the way you are. Right now!

What is the gift of a living, present, Savior, Jesus, worth to you?

Loving us and sending Jesus to live in our midst show us love in action, to take upon himself our sins and our failures but also our hopes and dreams, and then with him, to rise to new life. Sending Jesus was God’s way of loving us and showing us how to love like Jesus. To receive Jesus. To follow Jesus. To be like Jesus. God shows us how to love.

That was God’s way of making the world not just better but redeemed, transformed, different.

That was God’s way of bringing joy to your world. What is yours?

2019-12-24 Message for Kids- Meet Me At the Manger

By Intersections, Sermons

Are you ready for Christmas? Tell me how you have been showing acts of kindness, giving gifts to others! Great. At the manger we add Jesus to the scene as we recall that Jesus was born as a gift to us! You are a gift to us, too! God loves you just the way you are and because we follow Jesus, (who is no longer a baby!) we can share his love with others every day. Merry Christmas!

2019-12-22 Message- 5 Lenses Of Christmas, 4- Telephoto, Zooming Into The Future

By Intersections, Sermons

Are people coming to your home for the holiday? As usual, you need your house to look like, you know, NOT your house as usual? Is your refrigerator stuffed with food items? And how’s the gift wrapping going? Oh, right, do you have last minute shopping to do? While Christmas falls on the same date every year, there always seems to be unexpected disturbances to our Christmas Force testing our best efforts to make the holiday memorable for our family and friends. Whew!

But this is a holy season that is driven by a holy purpose and a divine timeline. It’s “God’s time” — the end of Advent, the moment just before the miracle of Emmanuel’s birth into the world is upon us. Ready or not, here God comes. Into our best and worst of Christmas planning experiences, Sunday’s Gospel reading from Matthew 1:18-25 is all about God moving into our story through the mundane and chaos of our lives. Pastor Kevin  continues his camera metaphor as we pick up the telephoto lens in a message titled, “Zooming Towards the Future,” all about Joseph who takes center stage this fourth Sunday of Advent. God’s ways of redemption and reconciliation, relationship and righteousness do not align with our own, no matter how faithful and stalwart and well-intended we may be. God uses whomever God wants to further divine plans and often in ways none of us would readily choose. All this in this story and we have not even made it to the angel’s appearance!

When have you experienced divine guidance? What form did it take? What was it? What kind of guidance do you seek today? This week, we consider Joseph who took a risk and embraced God’s dream for an incredible future. Get ready to zoom into God’s story with you!