First Congregational Church of Stanton, MI

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The Open Door

A monthly publication


From the Desk of Pastor Jamey:

Can I Get An Amen?

     I have become fond of reading old books. There’s something comforting I feel when King Solomon’s statement “nothing new under the sun” rings true from the dank pages and was written by a long-past pastor or theologian. In a strange way, it feels like I’m building relationships with dead people. I look forward to meeting them in person one day to say, “Thank you for a ministry that persisted even to one who was yet unborn on the day of your interment. You have blessed lives beyond your own and mine is one of them.” I hope that ends up being true of my own ministry, as well.  

      In 1894, Jonas O. Peck published a book entitled, The Revival and the Pastor.  He writes,

                What mountains are to a landscape, great revivals are to the kingdom of God on earth. Such were the reformations and revivals under Luther, Wesley, Whitefield,                         Edwards, the Tennents, Nettleton, and Finney. It was a changed world after their lives and labors. There were new inspirations and outlooks in human society. There                     was an upward trend in morals; there was more religion in the world; there was purer social life; there was greater stimulation to intellectual growth; there was a                       sweeter domestic life; there was reformation in the manifold relations of man, and in the thousands on thousands there was aspiration awakened for the highest and                     noblest attainments of character. All this unspeakable good, and much that is not even hinted, resulted from these great revivals (p. 18).

     I think it’s time for some new mountain vistas on Stanton’s landscape. Our community would benefit from “an upward trend in morals,” “more religion” in the county, “a purer social life,” and so on. However, before starting in on the way the world is “going to hell in a handbasket,” the honest curmudgeon must look in the mirror. After all, some of Jesus’ closest followers were in the crowd that day on the mountain when he asked, “Why do you look for the speck in your neighbor’s eye while ignoring the log sticking out of your own eye” (Matthew 7)? I think it’s time for some new vistas out my window and yours, too.

     If we’re going to see a moving of God’s Spirit among us, we must first look for the Spirit to move within us. Stimulation of one’s intellectual growth does not stop after formal education ends. Informal education is something we would all do well to continue. And, renewed attainments of noble character don’t just appear, they are first longed for in the heart of the individual, then the church community, then the wider community. In other words, as the church goes, so goes the town; as the Christian goes, so goes the church.

      As we begin the life of David I beg you . . . please, please, please do not let this sermon series be a mere exercise in informational exchange. More than learning data about David the man, learn the ways of David the man-after-God’s-own-heart. Don’t permit the time spent examining his biography deter you from the most valuable lesson of adopting his spiritual passion. What I’m talking about is the difference between information and transformation. Invite God to take the information (facts and trivia) and translate them into formulas for your own transformation (spiritual growth). Let’s look to God together for renewal of heart and mind that is in keeping with the great revivals. Let’s aim toward our own revival. Begin personally, then pray for the fire of the Holy Spirit to spread across FCC and the surrounding community. I pray that this flock under my care be not conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of your minds (Rom. 12:2). Let’s look to God together for this reformation blessing across Stanton, but let’s begin by allowing Him free reign over FCC as a community and each one of us individually.