Taking Risks

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” - Romans 16:3-4

Dear Friends, It is indeed, so good to be writing to you and to be back among you after a few weeks away! I’ll share more about that in future messages. I do want to thank Revs Skip Noftzger, Debbie Evanovich & Graham Standish for preaching & leading us in worship while I was away, along with some of our leaders for sharing some encouraging messages via e-mail with you! If you missed worship live, or their e-mail messages, I’d encourage you to go back via Facebook or YouTube to watch or our website or your e-mail to read - you’ll be blessed! This past Sunday, I began a new sermon series called The Risky Six, where we’re looking at six individuals who took faithful risks and how they paid off for themselves and others. We started with Abigail & the Apology from 1 Samuel 25 and this next Sunday we’re looking at David The Undignified from 2 Samuel 6. I encourage you to read the chapter sometime this week as we won’t have time to read it all during the service. As we look at the risks these people took, I’ve been thinking about the choices that each of us have made over the past year plus, during this pandemic. Way back on March 15, 2020, the sermon I preached on that last Sunday before the world paused & we paused gathering in-person, was Don’t Be Afraid… or Reckless. We looked at the twin extreme guardrails of life - and how we’re called to follow God between them. We need not be live crippled with fear because God is with us at all times - but we cannot be negligent or foolhardy, putting God to the test necessarily. That’s where we’re called to live, in between those two extremes… especially this past year. That’s where I’ve tried to live… and it’s been hard, hasn’t it? So this idea of taking risks, faithful risks, leapt at me from the pages of scripture. I believe we can learn so much from these men and women that is well-timed for this season of our lives. And I realized, there’s one risk that I’d especially like to invite you to consider - join us in-person for worship on Sunday! I admit, it’s a risk. It’s a risk for you to get out of bed, to take a shower, to drive in your car and to gather in public. It’s a risk. And as someone who has spent the last 15 months trying to keep from needlessly risking the lives of those I’ve been entrusted to care for… I honestly believe it’s a faithful risk that is well worth the reward! On Sunday, I saw several members who I haven’t seen gathered for in-person worship in months, a couple I haven’t seen here since March 15, 2020. The common theme, “Online is ok, but it’s not quite the same - It’s good to be back!As someone who has advocated for a more robust online presence and to be more accessible for people who can’t be in-person, I can’t agree more. I still remain a firm believer that our online footprint - from Sunday worship services to Kenton’s weekly concerts, from sharing inspirational bible verses to these weekly messages, from photos of our church family to updates on upcoming events - is crucial! It’s our new front door. Most people will simply not walk through our doors without first visiting us online - and they may do that for many months! But… The goal is eventually to gather in-person. And pandemic or not, that’s a risk. It’s a risk to be seen. It’s a risk to be known. It’s a risk that we take to be in relationship, in community, in fellowship with other people. It’s not unlike the risk God took in Jesus. And it’s a risk that I want to encourage you to take. If you’re sick, if you’re traveling, if you’re still just looking at Canonsburg UP, online is great. But gathering in-person is always better. And whether you can sing like canary or sound more like a frog, wherever your gifts, talents and passions like, I firmly believe, our worship is better with YOU! So today, I’m Welcoming YOU to Gather & GROW in Jesus, in-person, this Sunday, Pastor Don

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