was successfully added to your cart.
Category

Intersections

Easter Is The Time To Release Your Gifts!

By | Intersections

Release Your Gifts! Easter Makes it Possible!
What is released when you combine Easter with technology? A strange question, right? But Christopher Lim, a 25-year old ruling elder at the Indonesian Presbyterian Church in Seattle referred me to an insight by the inventor of the printing press. Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced the world to his press. In 1455, he envisioned the printing press’ power when he wrote:

God suffers in the multitude of souls whom His word cannot reach. Religious truth is imprisoned in a small number of manuscript books which confine instead of spread that public treasure. Let us break the seal which seals up holy things and give wings to Truth so that she may win every soul that comes into the world by her word no longer written at great expense by hands easily palsied, and multiplied like the wind by an untiring machine. (Johann Gutenberg, 1455)


Technology is about tools. While we associate technology with our modern, digital, age, the first stone cutting tools developed tens of thousands of years ago, as well as today’s simple pair of scissors all describe the tools used to accomplish work. Tech has undoubtedly become more powerful and accessible since 1455!

Comparing technology in the 1980s to today is still shocking to me. In 1983, I had the pleasure of teaching ten pastors at Bloomfield College, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related school, while a pastor of a nearby congregation. I titled my course Ministers and Micros. Dragging their latest technology into the classroom underscored the students’ commitment.

The Osborne 1, a popular portable computer at the time, weighed in at 23 lbs.! I still recall the memory of the Rev. Ronald Johnson every week lugging his Compaq portable up flights of stairs and placing it on one of the classroom’s tiny desks. Power cords were everywhere since none of these early “portables” had long-lasting batteries! As a class of ministry trailblazers, we helped each other learn how to use the best available tech and techniques to produce the best ministry outcomes.

That class was important because church leaders have a responsibility to access and effectively use the best available technology to connect God’s love to the world. Gutenberg said, we must not allow “truth to be imprisoned” but released! Tools release God’s gifts!
Leaders in every walk of life, from the small business to the shore boutique, from nonprofits to community groups, have a similar responsibly today. Use the best available tools to release our best gifts. We are the sharers of the Good News! Content creators, network builders, storytellers, producers and directors, elders and deacons, supervisors and staff, artists and designers, musicians and performers, community developers, doers of justice and workers for Christ’s peace, all leaders in the church. We use tools of theology, and master the tools of technology.

In 1983, I referred to the intersection of theology and technology as TheoTech, and I believe the church now more than ever, needs to hang out at that same corner if the Good News of Jesus Christ is to widely seen and heard, and transform the lives of families and our neighborhoods!

In Spring’s Eastertide, consider what your life would be like today if Jesus never burst forth alive from the tomb? What if the earliest women and men who witnessed the risen Lord didn’t make a way to share the story? What if the Gospels were never written, copied, and published around the world? What impact would the Great Reformation have achieved without Gutenberg’s printing press?
Imagine what would happen if a chick never broke through its shell? That’s what Easter is all about, breaking through shells of isolation, barriers, and disinterest. What would Cape May be like if Cold Spring Presbyterian Church remained inside its red brick church for 300 years? Well, our doors are open! Everyone is welcome inside in order that everyone is equipped to be sent outside to release their gifts!
In person and online, from conversations across the street to advertisements in the Shoppe, we are releasing our gifts! And you, all of us, have gifts to offer! We all have TEA. Tea? Yes, an acronym that represents our Time, Energy, and Attention.

Sunday, April 7, during worship after the Offering for Local Missions, I added Honoring Time, Energy, and Attention in the Neighborhood. I want us to briefly share what we have seen or heard, or what you have said or done, that has helped, blessed, or encouraged others.

We don’t need names or circumstances, just brief portions of TEA? Did someone go out of their way to help? Have you witnessed anyone doing a special act of kindness? Maybe you visited someone feeling lonely, or on your Prayer Walk you prayed God’s blessings on who and what you encountered. Did you enjoy inviting someone to worship, or to dinner? It only takes a few minutes to inspire others to offer their own acts of kindness.

In what ways do you release the “imprisoned” truth and “spread” the “public treasure” Gutenberg wrote about so passionately more than 600 years ago? What seals need to be “broken” so that we become transformative neighbors? Let’s focus our efforts together to release our gifts to boldly transform our community using tools of every kind to share the Greatest Story ever told!

He is risen! Release your gifts!
Pastor Kevin

Are You Ready For Greater Things

By | Intersections

”Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

On a sunny day in March, just before Easter, a new church was starting. Energy and anticipation were running high. Over two hundred people signed the charter documents and publicly pledged their resources of mind, body, and spirit to achieve the mission of the new congregation. Neighbors got together and agreed that God has challenged them to make a positive difference in their community. They were committed to each other and their town. Denominational leaders, community leaders, supporters, and neighbors crowded the site as ceremonial shovels were placed into the soil. The founding pastor read scripture and preached the first sermon. Afterward, the celebration continued in songs and stories of faith. For years to come, the community was blessed because of the great things God did in their midst!

The beginning of Cold Spring Presbyterian Church was a bit like the church, above. For 305 years, we stillare: In the community. With the community. For the community.As we continue our transformational journey, we are re-doubling our commitment to deliver needed spiritual resources in the name of Jesus Christ, in new and effective ways, right here in greater Cape May. What an exciting journey! And, what’s more, you have an important and unique part to play adding your gifts, time, energy, attention and wonderful songs and stories of faith!

March is a great month to be moved by the winds of the Spirit! There are many ways to participate as a faith community this month. I am sure you will want to invite friends and family, too! I have included a few very special events, below:

Sunday, March 3, afterour 10:30 AM worship celebration in the red brick church, join us for Lunch and Conversations at the Back Bay Bistro. (RSVP to Lenore Bowne.)

Wednesday, March 6, we gather in Price Hall for our third annual Ash Wednesday Service. This year we have invited our friends from First Presbyterian in Cape May to join us. After a meaningful service, stay for a complimentary lunch. It’s the perfect start to your Lenten Journey!

Friday, March 29at 5:00 PM, you will enjoy our Spring Fling Roast Pork Dinner. Details are in this issue of the Brickette, or online. Visit bit.ly/CSPCSpringFlingfor details and to make your reservations.

Sunday, March 31from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, we are invited to join with the entire West Jersey Presbytery in this year’s Congregational Life Sundayat the Hammonton Presbyterian Church. Rides are provided. Its a great afternoon to learn and grow with others who want to make a difference in their community, too! (See details and RSVP online at coldspringchurch.com.)

Palm Sunday is April 14!You will want to join in this important worship celebration as we enjoy special music and experience the Gospel recalling Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem at our 10:30 AM service in the red brick church.

Maundy Thursday is 6:00 PM, April 18  Plan to attend this meaningful communion service in the red brick church at 6:00 PM. All are invited. Invite your neighbors to gather at the Table with Jesus as we remember the Last Supper.

Easter Sunrise at Sunset Beach begins at 6:15 AMThe third annual Easter service on the beach promises to be another energizing event! Details online. Complimentary coffee, tea, and breakfast treats. Come as you are and enjoy great music and an inspiring telling of the Good News that He Is Risen! Listen with neighbors and friends to the Cape May Point beach sounds of waves and seagulls as the sun rises!

Easter Worship Celebration, 10:30 AMA beautifully decorated sanctuary, special music, interactive message for kids, and inspiring message from God’s word await you as we retell the Greatest Story Ever Told. You and your family will want to arrive ready for what could be a life-transforming experience of hope!

God with usis the core motivation for our church’s mission. The motives of nonprofit and charitable organizations are fundamentally different from their for-profit counterparts. Charities, foundations, fraternal and affinity groups, and faith communities such as churches, are all driven by their motivations to benefit the community at large. Nonprofits are established to serve a socially valuable purpose for the public good. But, in addition, our church is established to serve a spiritually  valuable purpose, too, for the the public good. Though the interests of the public change over time based on shifting contexts and community needs, the motives of a worshipping and witnessing community should be clear even during tumultuous and disruptive change, and transformational journeys. Can a congregation fall in love with its neighborhood? Oh, absolutely! We have, and that’s our continuing job to do.

Our faith community is deeply rooted in the places and the people that call it home. How will they know God’s love and the forgiveness and hope Jesus provides if they don’t experience it here? How will those who struggle with the challenges of daily life find the resources they need if they don’t find those resources here? Are you looking for hope? Find it here! Do you want to live your very best life, the abundant life? Meet the God who loves you, here!

Show God’s abundant and unconditional love to neighbors, friends, family, strangers, and visitors this month because we are:

In the community.

With the community.

For the community.

Thank you for sharing and choosing to be an important part of our future. Jesus said, “Greater things you will do!” And we are!

We Have A Heart

By | Intersections

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whether you enjoy or avoid Valentine’s Day, we all have one inescapable need: to feel loved. Love is a core value of Cold Spring Church. God loves us more than we can possibly imagine.  “For God loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16-17). We seek to, “love one another with mutual affection…” and to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10). We want to belong to something meaningful and feel cared for. Each of us can fulfill our life’s mission of love that God has given us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10). God wants us to show that love to others every day of the year. 

“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”  (That is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:8b-13).

For many, special days like Valentine’s Day only reinforces that we either feel loved, or it reminds us that we feel unloved. While all of us are unlovable from time to time, all of us can count on God “lavishing his love on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). 

You are loved! All of us (and I mean all of us, including me!) struggle to consistently and authentically have a heart for everyone. Always listen and show respect to others. Jesus’ love for the world shows us that we will have heart-to-heart contact with neighbors we might not agree with, with people we may not like, or even fear. Our neighbors, young and old, deserve to experience the love of God. And Cold Spring Church continues to deliver spiritual resources to our neighbors. As Presbyterians, we are positively influenced by the great 16th Century Reformers like John Calvin. Our faith affects our entire being. Our Transformation Journey engages both our mind and heart.

To “have a heart” as a follower of Jesus, however, is not easy. It is not automatic. On our Transformation Journey, we want to thoughtfully reflect on our ministry as we move forward. How do we do that? One way is to remind each other to test all we do by asking ourselves:

“Does this idea show I have a heart?,”

“How does our project/ministry show the love of God?,”

“In what ways did our service/event/activity show God’s love?,”

“How could I improve and better show God’s love next time?”

The Apostle Paul reminded the community of faith in Rome:

“The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).”

As we embrace a We Have a Heart spirit this year, we will better reflect and demonstrate the love of God in greater Cape May because… (say it with me!):

I have a heart!

We have a heart!

Yes, we do, and we will!

And thank you for all you do!

Pastor Kevin

Our next Explorer’s Membership Orientation Begins February 10, 2019

By | Intersections

Are You Ready to Grow From Tourist to Explorer?

(More people are responding, “Yes!” to that question. How about you?) If you’re ready to say Yes!, our 2019 Explorer Membership Orientation begins February 10, 9:15 AM in the Red Brick Church.

Hello friend,

We are delighted that you have found many reasons to be involved at Cold Spring Church! You have worshipped with us, attended our events, volunteered in numerous ways, and have become an important part of our community of faith! We are honored by your current connection with us. But if you’re looking for something more, I have an opportunity for you to consider!

We hope now is the time for you to say “Yes!,” and attend our informal and informative Explorer Membership Orientation starting Sunday, February 10th.

We will gather for three Sundays in February: 10, 17, and 24. Our 45-minute sessions will begin at 9:15 on the 2nd floor of our Red Brick Church Worship Center!

Bring your questions, doubts, and stories as we get to know one another and the unique benefits and responsibilities afforded to members, as we consider the foundations of the Christian faith.

Let me know this week that you want to build a new future as an Explorer in 2019! This is the year of possibilities that starts right now! However you choose to connect, we are delighted that you are part of our community!

RSVP today! Call 609-884-4065, or email hello@coldspringchurch.com.

I hope to see you at 9:15 for our first class on February 10, 2019.

Dr. Kevin Yoho, Transformation Pastor

How to Use the Brickette and the Connections to be informed and share the news!

By | Intersections

Happy New Year! Thank you for being connected to Cold Spring Presbyterian Church. There are many ways to be involved in our community, and two of them are easy to access and share!

The Brickette- Monthly Newsletter—

(coldspringchurch.com/newsletters/)

The first week of each month, the Brickette will highlight upcoming events and tell the story of our community of faith as it enters its 305th year of ministry, witness, and mission.

Connections- Weekly Briefing

(coldspringchurch.com/email-campaigns)

Remember to sign-up to receive the weekly Connections news brief. While the Brickette is a monthly review and pre-view, receiving our Connections in your inbox (usually sent Thursday each week) will give you a timely, quick read of the weekend-ahead events including worship, activities, and lots of photos that help tell the amazing way people like you are making a difference in greater Cape May.

You can catch-up on past issues of both the Brickette and the Connections online, too. So get connected and share what God is doing in our community.

Open the Deck Chairs- TEA for the New Year!

By | Intersections

This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone (Titus 3:8, NIV).

Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” (Matthew 9:37-38, MSG).

SS Cold Spring Church– One of my favorite Peanuts cartoons shows Lucy, once again, lecturing Charlie Brown on the meaning of life: “Charlie Brown, life is like a deck chair on a cruise ship. Passengers open up these canvas deck chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they’ve been. Other people face their chairs forward – they want to see where they’re going. On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deck chair facing?” Charlie replies, feeling frustrated: “I’ve never been able to get one unfolded.”

Sometimes we can feel a lot like Charlie Brown. Getting stuck at getting started! It can consume our valuable time, energy, and attention to the point that we end up accomplishing very little, and even more importantly, could end up distressed, or depressed, figuring out the next step! For Charlie, which way his deck chair was facing, finding his place on the ship was secondary to getting the deck chair opened in the first place! 

Opening our own life’s deck chairs represent how we invest three gifts that God has given all of us to share. And I mean all of us; no matter our age or experience, whatever our talents or interests, or particular cycle of life, or our mobility. The three gifts are our Time, Energy, and Attention. (Think of it as our TEA, for short: Time, Energy, and Attention.) As the New Year begins, take a moment to review how your TEA is tasting! If you have lots of Energy and Attention, but no Time, you probably feel overwhelmed. If you have Time and Attention, but no Energy, you are likely exhausted. Or, maybe you have lots of Time and Energy, but no Attention. If that describes you, then you are probably distracted. But when our TEA is in balance, we can “open our deck chairs” to feeling more energized and engaged. And, we will feel more satisfied in doing good in the community in the name of Jesus Christ! We will find our own unique place on the ship called, Cold Spring Presbyterian Church. God commissioned us three hundred years ago to chart a course for blessing our community in the name of Jesus Christ. Do you need help with your deck chair?

Consider the scripture verses above for insight from God’s word about how we can find our place on board. The Apostle Paul wrote the letter to Titus, the New Testament book bearing his name, as a kind of instruction manual for the young pastor. Titus was concerned about what activities the new community of faith should focus on. The believers who met at Titus’ house church on the Island of Crete didn’t just to be busy. They wanted their Time, Energy, and Attention focused on the right priorities. Loving and glorifying God. Serving others. So Paul stressed— devote yourselves to doing good! That’s Titus’ bottom line as he followed Christ, and how Paul wanted every ministry and activity to be evaluated. Was it good for others? Did it accomplish good, or not? If so, do more of that. And if not, then stop doing that!

Jesus’ words inspire us to get involved in this New Year. He said, “What a huge harvest! How few workers!” When we look at the greater Cape May community of neighbors, friends, and family, do we see opportunities? Well, God does. And God has invited Cold Spring Presbyterian Church to “open our deck chairs” and do good! There’s work to accomplish. Love to demonstrate. Service to offer. Like it was said of Jesus who reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. Proclaiming the Good News about Jesus requires us to do good. To bless others. To respect others. To welcome everyone.

Once we figure out where we put our “opened deck chair” we will know how we fit in, join in, or serve by investing our Time, Energy, and Attention better. Some of us want to celebrate where we’ve been. We have lots of experience. That’s great. You would be a great encourager, prayer warrior, or contributor, and your source of wisdom can help us move forward. Or, perhaps you are called to face forward and help to set the course, grow, and help the ship bring its gifts to the community.

Our communities and neighborhoods deserve hope and wellness of mind, body and spirit. Cold Spring Presbyterian Church has the spiritual resources to do even more good in 2019. Will you consider your TEA this week and ask God how to best invest your Time, Energy, and Attention. Get those deck chairs opened and get ready, “striving what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13). I think 2019 is going to be an amazing adventure in our 305th year of doing good in Jesus’ name. Get your TEA ready! All aboard!

-Dr. Kevin Yoho, transformation pastor

Christmas- The Gift That Keeps Us Growing

By | Intersections

Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

 

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish(John 1:14).

 

Hello friends,

Every day of the year is special. To someone. Yourbirthday is special, for example! In fact, every single day of the year has been co-opted to celebrate or commemorate one thing or another. Did you know that January is “National Bath Safety Month” and “Penguin Awareness Day” is January 20? The list is endless! Among thousands of personal, regional, national, and religious special days, Christmas, December 25, is unique. It’s the day we have chosen to especially celebrate God’s Gift when long ago, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood”(John 1:14). What a day!

No doubt your memories of Christmas’ past are expressed through today’s traditions and customs. They help you unpack Christmas’ meaning. Seasonal food favorites. Special ornaments and events. Christmas movies and holiday music. Gatherings and gift-exchanges. Christmas Eve candlelight worship. The traditions go on and on. Sometimes the pastfamiliar traditions can overwhelm us as we miss loved ones, reminisce about by-gone days, or just feel a bit lonely during Christmas. Now is a great time to remember that from that First Noel, Christmas was always about the futureinvading our present.

Those former memories may be little more than nostalgic, but the real gift of Christmas is anything but! All things can become new…again. Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

We can incorporate and build upon Christmas memories when we invest time to learn and grow. We can create new memories, making this Christmas, and every Christmas to come, vitally different, better.

Can you imagine a thriving Christmas, not merely surviving it?! This year, let’s take all the best of Christmas’ pastand open our arms and spirits to new ways to receive God’s gift of Christmas now? And help others do the same. Our greater Cape May community needs to experience Christmas anew this year, and you can be a part of that experience.

And what is that Gift ready to be opened this year? Jesus. Jesus is the Gift. The Gift that keeps on giving. It’s Jesus moving into our neighborhood, now. Today. Sure, he was born in the pastto Mary and Joseph among the animals in crowded Bethlehem. But it’s (also) todaythat God is with us. Today, God can blossom afresh into our lives.

This week, all month, and as the new year unfolds, make time to talk with God. Pause long enough to listen, too. (Check out our online resources for your very own 30-Day Challenge.) Let God know you are grateful as you recall the best of your Christmas’ past, but that you want the Spirit to energize your life this Christmas!

God wants to inspire your thoughts. (Pick up the Bible and take fifteen minutes to read Nehemiah, chapter 1 and Romans, chapter 12. Consider how Nehemiah responded to the cries of his community and how the Apostle Paul urged the house churches to renew their minds for action.) Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

This Christmas, God can empower us to live our very best selves. Or, sure, we can remain stuck in Christmas’ past, repeating fine traditions but not learning or growing into God’s preferred future. Overhearing the Greatest Story Ever Told is O.K., but not letting the radical Good News transform our life is just a missed opportunity. God Is With Us, Emmanuel(Isaiah 7:14, 8:8; Matthew 1:23), as God’s emerging future unfolds with our every step. How exciting this Christmas could be!

The first New Testament letter was sent to the house churches in the city of Thessalonica, in modern-day Turkey. Paul begins his letter thanking God for the way their lives were changing. He praised them for how they let the Good News shape their community. Each believer responded to God’s invitation to faithfulness in their own, unique way. It was all good. And different. Their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” empowered them to revolutionize their neighborhoods, improve people’s lives, and it elicited some of Paul’s strongest affirmations and expressions of gratitude.

Be a Part of the Advent Adventure. It All Begins December 2

Cold Spring Presbyterian Church enjoys many wonderful traditions during Advent and Christmas that will provide a foundation for experiencing the presence of God in our lives today. Everyone is welcome to come and worship with us every Sunday in December. Enjoy special music, an interactive and inspiring message from God’s word, and a joyful community of faith! This year’s Advent Message Series is titled The All-Inclusive Storyfeaturing the animals of Christmas. Animals, you ask? Yes!

The pastor, Jerome (347-420 AD), helped early believers learn the four gospels using familiar creatures, each representing Mark (the Lion, 12/2), Luke (the Ox, 12/9), John (the Eagle, 12/16), and Matthew (men and women, 12/23). Let’s open God’s Gift of Christmas together using these traditional illustrations.

Melissa and I wish you a very merry Christmas. Remember: Once you open Christmas, God’s Gift, nothing remains the same.

Every. Single. Day. Our All-Season Mission

By | Intersections

Greater Cape May has enjoyed a remarkable 2018 Summer tourist season, according to tourist data. More visitors. More economic growth. More memorable family experiences. This Summer, Cold Spring Presbyterian Church has enjoyed many visitors and has made many new connections, as well.

With the Summer season officially ending with Labor Day, we have already noticed less traffic on the roads, more available parking spaces when we shop, getting a table at our favorite restaurant without reservations, and we have enjoyed saving money with seasonal discounts. Cape May has welcomed vacationers from near and far for an extraordinary experience. But according to New Jersey tourism officials, the season isn’t designed to be over at Labor Day. Commissioned studies have found that the modern tourist is increasingly upscale, desires shorter experiences because of a more demanding work and school schedule, and wants experiences that feel vibrant and exciting. I think Cold Spring Presbyterian Church can apply many of these tourism discoveries to its year-round mission. We have a call from God as a community of faith to achieve a positive impact on the communiuty at large in the name of Jesus Christ. God is on the move. Every. Single. Day. And we are uniquely positioned to serve our community in every season of the year.

The tourism study stated that it “isn’t enough to advertise the beach.” That is, to advertise the typical, expected, and in some respects ordinary beauty of the beach. Sure, the beach is beautiful. But the modern tourist wants active, unique experiences that capture the spirit of our seashore community. Similarly, its not enough to be the oldest church in the area, or have the largest campus, or be a resting place for our centuries of dearly departed. While these are blessing from God and ministry assets, our neighbors and visitors alike want to nurture their spirits with engaging, unique experiences that not only “capture the spirit of the community,” but offer unique experiences with the Spirit of God.

Modern tourists in the study want an “insider view” of wherever they visit. They want to connect. The study asked the question: “What could the county do by 2020 to attract that new kind of tourist? Creative, all-season activities that are more diversified and age-interest focused have attracted more participation in recent years. Our congregation’s ministry, likewise, has a year-round crowd, Summer-attending individuals, those who return in the Fall, and still others who leave in the Winter who return in the Spring. Each of these groups present a wonderful and challenging opportunity to deliver “experiences that feel vibrant and exciting” in our worship, community programs, Bible studies, weddings and other family-focused events, dinners, and connections with other community groups. Everything Cold Spring Presbyterian Church does will not be for everyone all the time. Some our our activities focus on our current congregation. Other events provide opportunities for our current congregation to bring friends and neighbors to enjoy. Other programs will be geared to a more youthful group while other ministries will be perfect for those who are older. Our interactions will be available onsite and also online which offer us amazing opportunities for impact.

Our leadership team is exploring ways to feature our “beaches” which represent our physical assets including our beautiful, historic, red brick building and 200-acre campus along with developing new programs and improvements that engage our community all year long. Our partnerships with community groups, support groups, the Lower Township Chamber of Commerce, the Historic Cold Spring Village, and other churches help us to learn and grow. We will increasingly provide spiritual resources for everyone to live the abundant life in Christ through seasonal attractions that seek to bring regulars, neighbors, and visitors back to experience the Spriit of God again, and again.

Be inspired at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church. There is a place for you to meaningfully learn, grow, and serve all year round!

Sincerely,
Pastor Kevin

The River Is Moving

By | Intersections, Uncategorized

“On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says’ (John 7:38).

Rivers of water are powerful. We know this power living at the shore. While it looks like the sandy beaches constrains the water, it is the power of the water that moves and shapes the beach. Jesus said that rivers of living water of the Spirit would flow from those who follow him, quenching every thirst. Our church was named for the cold spring nearby, a place of refreshment for all who pass by. But sometimes the rivers of life are hard to get to safely so we build bridges that make connections for us so that the river does not overwhelm, but remains accessible on our journey.

Take a look at the photo (above) of the Choluteca Bridge in Honduras. It was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1930. It survived many storms providing safe connections from one side of the river to another, and easy access to the river bed below. Until Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
Hurricane Mitch was a Category 5 storm that decimated Central America with more than 22,000 human lives lost and millions left without adequate shelter. Many lesser bridges were destroyed.

As you can see from the photo taken after the storm (above), the Choluteca Bridge survived unscathed. (Yes, that is the same bridge! It’s the river that moved!)

Where did the river go? The hurricane couldn’t move the bridge, but the hurricane picked-up and moved the river making the bridge a bridge to nowhere.

Sometimes we can recognize that our former “bridges” and “community connections” remain intact, but they are no longer anywhere near today’s community or its concerns. Since Jesus is the Living Water, the water of life, our mission as the bridge is to connect people in our communities to that Living Water. For the bridge to fulfill its purpose it must be in the river and connecting others to the river of life, too.


Cold Spring Presbyterian Church has withstood the seasons and storms of life for hundreds of years. We’re still standing! We were build on a solid foundation. Our structures are strong. We just may not always notice that the water has moved. Our neighbors may not even know they are thirsty, but the accessibility to the Living Water is out of reach… unless we extend our bridge in every direction to reach people who need to see God’s love in action.
We have the Living Water. We don’t want to be a beautiful bridge to nowhere. Instead, we have begin a transformation journey to let the Living Water flow and connect to our community’s rivers in Lower Township and Cape May that are flowing, moving, dynamically changing. Let’s work together to address the moving river:

(We’re the bridge!) Be Willing to Relocate the Bridge: When its really difficult to make new connections, what do you do? Stay rigidly in place, or adapt and grow until new connections are made.

Spirit Bridges Are Flexible: We have many wonderful structures, our bridges, that need to be flexible to stay connected to the Living Water and the rivers of life all around us.

Everyone is a Bridge-Builder, a People-Connector: Each of us has a gift, an interest, an experience, talent, or skill that can help relocate and reconnect our bridge to our community.

Oddly, the word “bridge” does not appear in the Bible, but remember that Jesus is the ultimate Bridge-Builder, “as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10).

The Apostle Paul again wrote, “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

The Choluteca Bridge was a marvel of engineering but lacked the capacity to keep up with the river waters. Let’s be sure our bridges are making contact with people where they are by getting in the water, the flow of the Spirit, so even more can drink and quench their thirst.

 

 

Focus Your Vision — 30-Day Challenge

By | Intersections

“If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith” (Gal. 6:8b-10, NRSV).

On June 24, about sixty people participated in our Focus Your Vision Day in Price Hall that included worship, luncheon, and conversations about the future. It was an engaging and energizing milestone on our transformation journey. A summary of our focused vision includes: 1) Hold on to the best of the past, 2) Explore the new, 3) Plant spiritual seeds, 4) Serve everyone in the community, 5) Grow the ministry. The session will be leading us in th next view months as we put this vision into action.

We are grateful to everyone who participated, offered comments, shared ideas, concerns, and hopes, and affirmed their visions for the future. We expressed thanks to the Mission Study Team, especially to Lenore Bowne for organizing the delicious luncheon and making Price Hall welcoming for everyone, including many first-time and returning visitors and guests.

Keep the best of what you have moving into the future.

Hold On To The Best, Let The Rest Fall Away

About forty-five remained after lunch to watch the Focus Your Vision video and table conversations led by Melissa and Pastor Kevin. We filled a dozen newsprint sheets with great ideas that included:

  1. Celebrated our congregation’s many strengths, staff, leadership, new members, 200 acres including our facilities, cemetery, and historic red brick church
  2. Identified the best of what we do that we want to keep doing as we move into the future including our Reformed worship, events, tours, and dinners, a history of service to veterans, families, and the community at large
  3. Proposed improvements to areas and facilities to make our ministry more welcoming, accessible, and able to serve youth, younger families, and older individuals
  4. Listed priorities to guide us as we follow Jesus Christ into the future to ensure that we do what we agree is important as we grow

Focusing our vision is not just a one day event. Every day we listen to God’s Spirit who is showing us where and how to become more engaged with our community through worship, witness, mission, and service. Our leadership team (Session), caring team (Deacons) and our many groups and committees will ensure that Cold Spring Presbyterian Church continues to learn and grow as we follow Jesus Christ.

Keeping the best of what we have was one of the seven key insights from the video. Blessings from God include tangible assets (people, location, property, buildings, and finances) and intangible assets such as our history, relationships, experiences, passions, hopes, talents, abilities, and our mental, physical, and spiritual gifts.

On June 17, the message Feed the World, Plant More Seeds considered the mustard seed. (Listen to the message by clicking here.) Though it is the smallest of seeds, it will grow into an incredibly large tree. The same is true of our faith. While we may think our faith is small compared to others, it is enough and it can grow. We are in the seed planting business. Not only in our ministry as a Farming Church, planting seeds and sharing the produce with the community at large, but we are planting spiritual seeds, as well. Whatever amount of faith you have, it is sufficient for God to bless and use us in amazing ways! But we don’t want to merely consume the spiritual fruit for ourselves. If we consume all our fruit, we not only will become overfed, but others are left hungry! We want God to produce fruit in abundance to feed us to feed others! So, how can we nurture our community of faith to have spiritual fruit to generously share with the community at large? One way is to accept the 30-Day Challenge.

The 30-Day Challenge I am passing on to you a gift given to me years ago by my mentor, the Rev. Chuck Reinhold, a Presbyterian minister and regional director for Young Life when I was on staff with that national youth ministry.

Like any gift, this gift comes free and is useless unless you use it. As Chuck said, this gift is also very expensive and actually cost Jesus Christ his life, which was his mission and his joy (Heb. 12:12). He died on the cross for our sins in order to bring us to God (John 3:16, John 1:12, 1 John 5:11–12). This gift comes alive to us when we accept the challenge every day.

We can know a lot about religion. We can recount historical facts about faith, the Bible, and might be able to tell wonderful stories about Cold Spring Presbyterian Church, but this gift is not to know more about Jesus Christ, it is to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. The gift is received when we accept this Challenge: decide to meet with God every day for thirty straight days by reading a portion of Scripture and asking the Lord for something specific to apply that day. That’s it!

If we miss a day, then we start the thirty-days over again until we read and apply what we read for thirty straight days. If you already set aside time to read Scripture daily, make sure that you actively try to internalize and apply it to your day. The 30-Day Challenge should be challenging! And practical. When we do this, chances are we’ll never quit, and the spiritual seeds planted in our life will continue to grow. What’s more, this gift becomes a gift to others through you!
As you read a portion of Scripture ask yourself, “What does God want me to be, feel, or do today?” Then as you pray, write out a sentence about what you discovered so you will remember to put it into practice. Repeat daily.

As we gathered around the Lord’s Table July 1, we recalled John 15:5 when Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” We are in the seed planting business at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church. Growing is what we do. Imagine the possibilities if each of us in our own way commit to the 30-Day Challenge. Remember, if you miss a day, there is no failure or judgement. Just renew your commitment the next day!

To bring our focused vision to life we need nourishment to grow. Let’s plant spiritual seeds. Let’s share God’s abundance and grace with others. It sounds pretty simple, but many things most treasured in life are just that, simple. So start the 30-Day Challenge today to spend time with God and you will enjoy renewed energy, insight, sensitivity, and love for yourself and others, too. You might want to share your experience, too. As you keep the gift going you will be amazed how your life, our congregation, and community are being transformed!

Let’s get growing!
Sincerely,