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Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Jason Edwards

The first Sunday of Advent is December 2. This year's Advent Devotional Guide, written by church members and edited by Sue Wright, is available in print at church and will be posted on our blog each day of the Season so that every heart can prepare Him room.

Preparation is the essence of the Advent season, and Advent preparation has a double point. It’s meant to prepare us for the celebration of Christ’s first coming, while simultaneously preparing us to receive Christ’s second coming. This sometimes-missed double meaning in Advent is captured well in Isaac Watts’ popular hymn, “Joy to the World.” Our emotional memory and seasonal practice tell us it’s a Christmas carol, but a close review of its text and the author’s intent tells us Watts’ hymn is much more a celebration of Christ’s second coming than His first. It then becomes the perfect Advent carol – with its emotional embedding compelling celebratory singing for all Christ has done in the past, while its actual meaning prepares us to receive Christ anew in the future. In this way, Watts urges us to look to the future with a comfort rooted in God’s good past provision. 

During this Advent season, Watts’ words of acclamation will urge us onward as we ready ourselves to repeat the sounding joy with fields, floods, rocks, hills, plains - while all heaven and nature melodically proclaim together the wonders of God’s love and power to bring hope, peace, joy, and love far as the curse of sin is found.

May these days of worship together both remind us and revive us. And, may they truly make us more ready to receive our King. 
Let every heart prepare Him room….
With joy,

Jason Edwards

Posted by Jason Edwards at Monday, November 26, 2018
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Lent, a Time of Preparation by Blane Baker








Thinking of Lent as a time of preparation, I believe, is very appropriate, especially for 21st century Christians. I suspect that if we were honest, we would admit that we spend far less time on our faith than on many other affairs of our lives. In spite of these struggles, Jesus’ actions can guide us as we prepare during this Easter season.  

The gospel writers pay particular attention to three aspects of Jesus’ ministry, related to how Jesus spent time in preparation. Beginning from a young age, we know that Jesus sought to grow closer to God through study and dialogue. At the age of twelve, He was already “doing My Father’s business” by learning from others and engaging in questions concerning spiritual matters. Apparently, he was so deeply involved in these matters that once He was left behind in Jerusalem before His family found Him after three days of searching. From these descriptions, we know that Jesus pursued God through study and learning of scripture. Later, He taught, not only his closest disciples, but thousands of others who hungered for a new way to be in relationship with God. Given his extreme devotion to God, His words were marked not by emptiness and strife but by authority and conviction.

Jesus also gained comfort and strength through prayer. In many instances, Jesus went off by Himself to talk to God. Prior to enduring Satan’s temptations in the wilderness, Jesus had already prayed and fasted for some forty days. Despite being hungry, Jesus withstood three temptations and afterwards began His ministry in Galilee. At other times, Jesus distanced Himself from the crowds so that He could regain both physical and spiritual strength. The Bible often simply states that He went away to pray. Jesus continued to model prayer throughout His life, including during the time he spent in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion and even as He hung on the cross. We, as followers, can learn much from His example.       

Finally, Jesus engaged in service to all those He encountered along the way. We know that He served His own disciples on numerous occasions. He also healed, fed, and encouraged countless others. His way of service was not one that demanded recognition but one that encouraged the same of His followers. One clear example of this is when the disciples came to Him saying that the hungry crowd should be sent away to buy food. He responded simply, “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16b) Here, Jesus is challenging those who follow Him to meet the need at hand. We should do likewise.  

As we prepare during this season of Lent, I would encourage each of us to take Christ’s example seriously. During these days, strengthen your faith through study and meditation, pray to God for strength for the journey, and serve others with cheerful hearts. For in doing so, you serve our Savior Jesus Christ.   



at Tuesday, March 13, 2018
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A Note from Pastor Jason-September Newsletter

A Historic Move

I’m so proud of you.

At our July Church Conference, we made a historic move toward greater inclusion and ecumenism. After voting to accept the Deacon Baptism Task Force’s report and recommendations, we voted to amend our church membership policy. Until now, our policy (like the majority of Baptist churches in our world) has stated that only followers of Christ who have experienced believer’s baptism by immersion could be church members. At our meeting, you opened the doors wide for followers of Jesus from any Christian tradition to become full members of our church by affirming both their commitment to Jesus as Lord and the present meaningfulness of their Christian baptism. Baptists strongly value soul freedom, so this decision is quite baptistic.

I’m as proud of the way we came to this decision as I am enthused by the decision itself.

Our recent process has been well documented. Following a retreat focused on baptism, the Deacon body engaged in a year-long study of baptism and church membership, which prompted them to develop a process for our church to engage this topic deeply as well. This included a Sunday lunch presentation, a Sunday morning Bible study series, a Wednesday night study series, numerous distributed baptism stories from our congregation, a formal survey of our congregation’s views on the subject, multiple Q & A sessions, a reflection time for the Task Force and then a formal report with recommendations (still available to you) which was formally accepted by the Deacon body, the Church Council and finally, the Church.

The process alone was impressive. It was thoughtful and thorough. It took time, but difficult issues are worth our thorough, thoughtful attention. We are well aware that some churches have lost many members and experienced much pain as they wrestled with these issues. Your grace and openness throughout was beautiful. And honestly, I wasn’t surprised.

I wasn’t surprised because this way of being is part of our congregational ethos and I wasn’t surprised because this process was actually prompted by your empathy and compassion long before that Deacon retreat in 2014. I specifically remember your feedback during our 2010 visioning retreat with Tom Sine. In public share times, people mentioned concern about loved ones who could not be members here because they felt a second baptism would diminish the meaningfulness of their first. For them, not being baptized again was a matter of Christian conviction. Months later, after we adopted our mission statement, values, and the B’s (Belong. Believe. Become), some of you came to me (and I assume to each other) and said things like “if we really mean “belong,” shouldn’t we amend our membership policy?” Many of you have been wrestling with this for quite some time.

Relationship and reflection led to questions of concern, rooted in compassion. This prompted study. So much study. So many conversations. So much processing, filled with so much listening. Real listening. And it was all, from beginning to end, rooted and grounded in love.

I’m so proud of you.

From beginning to end our Deacons have said they wanted to develop a model for how our church might engage in any difficult dialogue. I think they have. And I hope it will serve as more than a model for future congregational conversations.

In the midst of potentially conflictual conversations, I have observed a Spirit in you, and between you, our world needs to experience more often. Concern. Compassion. Thoughtfulness. Listening. Real Listening. Love. Grace. Our world desperately needs so much more of this. And, this is how Jesus wants us to embody life in this world. If this is not our normal mode of operation, perhaps we need to amend our policy.

With a grateful heart,


Senior Pastor


Posted by Jason Edwards at Friday, August 25, 2017
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