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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!

2019-02-24 Message- Invest In the Future

By Sermons

All of us want to invest in worthwhile activities because we will earn a proportional return. Paul, the apostle, in his letter to the house church in Galatia, used an agricultural analogy of planting and harvesting. Let’s consider his guidance if he used an analogy of investing and return, as follows: Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person earns an interest on their investment. Those who invest only for their own benefit will earn a return of devastation from their selfishness, but those who invest for the benefit of the Spirit will gain a future, eternal life from the Spirit. Let’s not get tired of investing in the future, because in time it will be worth it, if we don’t give up (based on Galatians 6:7-9). This week we will consider how investing in the future is a core principle in Scripture as we look at the story of Joseph and the powerful words of Jesus. You may remember Joseph as the favored son with the multi-colored coat, but his focus on the future gave him courage to forgive. The future was also in view when Jesus shocked his audience when he said things like, “Forgive your enemies. Pray for those who attack you.”

Across our country and around the corner, in classrooms and living rooms, there is a climate of rushing to judgment. When have you “turned the other cheek” or extended mercy? Can you recall a time you have  received mercy and forgiveness? There is a better way. We can find reconciliation and acceptance from Jesus. Find it here!

And thanks for listening to this important message, and trying with me, and all of us, to put it into practice!

2019-02-17 Message- The Largest Room of Our Lives

By Sermons

Imagine your life is composed of different rooms. Rooms to relax. Rooms to eat in. Places to exercise, and another to enjoy a hobby. Some rooms are especially equipped for making things, or assisting in meeting the needs of guests and taking resources from inside to share with others outside in the neighborhood. Andy Andrew’s in his book, The Traveler’s Gift (2002), writes about a room called Never Was. He calls it “a giant warehouse of a room that holds all of the things God was ready to deliver to people, had they only persevered in prayer a moment longer” (157). For many of us, the Never Was room is practically the largest room in our house. It doesn’t have to be that way.

This week we will visit our house of rooms in our lives as we hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he spoke to a war-torn and weary country about God’s hope. We will hear Jesus pronounce blessings available to all. Are you looking for a blessing? Do you need resources to move your hopes and dreams from Never Was, to It Is Now? The blessings Jesus gives are for everyone, especially those who don’t feel blessed; the hungry, the poor, and those who are cast aside by others.

2019-02-03 Message: Our Chart and Charter— Our Mission from God

By Sermons

God has given each of us a charter. Do you know what your charter is? This week, we will discover how to say “yes” not just to life—that’s the chart—but to our life mission, our life’s charter.

The chart, the path must adapt to changing opportunities and challenges.

How many stars are on this flag? No, not 50! That’s right, 48, before Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as states. Many of you were alive to witness the change. And it was not unanimous! Imagine hearing, ”48 is a perfect number.” “Why change something that’s not broken.” Yet, we opened our arms and extended our boarders. We courageously embraced 50. (And our friends in Puerto Rico think 51 is a nice improvement!

Our church’s chart has changed over time, but its chart, its core mission to be a blessing in this community empowers us to transform. The God-given charter brings us great adventures and excitements and joys that are beyond our imagining. And our charter will leave behind a legacy which will impact future generations in ways that we will never fully see or appreciate. Its our mission from God!


I was in Las Vegas last week. Wow. I traveled with Melissa whose health care company is making a difference in the health of individuals. She and her team are accomplishing amazing work.



What did I observe? In Las Vegas, they address their community “problems” by sweeping them off the street. Literally. Very little collaboration! The politicians, well, they may do what they can, but the casino’s pretty much control the life, and while there are many enjoyable fun entertaining and positive outcomes (you know, like Atlantic City?!) the too many families and individuals feel trapped and powerless to make a difference. Tens of thousands homeless, underemployed, forgotten older people; and kids who are trafficked and exploited. While it’s easy to attribute blame to behaviors like greed, immoral choices, and upside down life  priorities, where is the church and the promise of the abundant life in Christ? In Las Vegas there appears to be no collaboration of hope with thoughtful leaders from education, law enforcement, courts, politicians, and the faith community. Who are working together to change their chart, their course, to benefit all the citizens and visitors to that city?

Here in Cape May, we struggle too. There are cycles of abuse, fear, the opioid epidemic is called an epidemic because it’s is out of control! Individuals do what they can. Politicians do what they can, law enforcement, educators, business and commerce do what they can. So do many churches. We participate, as well.

But who is leading a collaboration of good thoughtful leadership that wants to do more than bandaging symptoms, and get at the underlying causes of these undesired and unpleasant life outcomes of hopelessness, despair, fear, and anxiety. Our health and wellness of mind body and spirit are outcomes of choices that are made. This is true for churches. This is true for communities.

Remember, it just takes one spark to get a fire going.

We said Yes to life! (As we observed on Sanctity of Life Sunday a few weeks ago.)

Today, let’s say “yes” not just to life—that’s the chart—but to our life mission, what we are called to do, that’s our charter?

Our church has a charter, too. The God-given charter bring us great adventures and excitements and joys that are beyond our imagining.

We have a chart of decisions and ministries to engage with in 2019! Let’s not be satisfied with what was or overwhelmed with what is, but consider what we will do to lead Cape May towards a better future and Good News.. Our legacy will impact future generations in amazing ways. Its our mission from God!


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!