Pastor’s Paragraph for July 26, 2020

Pastor's Paragraph for July 26, 2020

JULY 26, 2020


In each of my membership classes, I ask the group to share both good and bad experiences they have had in the churches they have attended. I have always been amazed at some of the answers, both good and bad. Answers ranged from great experiences that led individuals to following Christ to terrible experiences that made me wonder why they ever came back to church. When the leaders of a congregation make every effort to allow the Holy Spirit to lead all aspects of the church’s life, the living Jesus will be experienced in everything they do. Love, joy, and peace, the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22), will be evident within the congregation. Conversely, when humans ignore the leading of the Spirit, there will always be nasty friction undermining the life of the service. My new members spell this out very clearly.

One of my favorite books by Philip Yancey is entitled “Soul Survivor”. He shares with his readers his terrible experiences growing up in a white, fundamentalist, racist church in the south. As an adult, he stayed away from churches for many years and was terribly embarrassed by what he learned from his childhood church. His book traces his steps from the abuse of Scripture he learned as a child to his present Scriptural understanding of the freeing love and grace of Christ, which has radically changed his life. Most importantly, the Holy Spirit has led him to churches where the love, joy, and peace of Jesus Christ determine the congregation’s direction. (pg 269)

Shirley and I have experienced that love, joy, and peace of Christ as it has been shared with us by two different congregations. In 1997 Shirley underwent a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer. Our church in Mohnton, PA, ministered to us in beautiful, caring ways that kept us going. Here at Camp Hill UMC, we have felt your love for the last three years as our daughter Rafe’ struggled with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that finally took her life on March 26th. Your response as a congregation to us and our son-in-law and grandsons has been a beautiful display of love and concern that reminds us what a Christ-centered Church can do for people who are hurting. We thank you.


Rev. Dr. Jack Grove
New Members Ministry