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Awakening Holiness - Pastor Sommer's devotional blog
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Acts of Awakening
The Re-Doing Church: We Are The Church

How would you define the term family or what a family should be? Lives together, or at least stays in contact with one another, loves one another, or feeling comfortable with one another. A family has certain traditions or ways of doing things that they enjoy doing together. How else would you define a family?


The early church could have been considered a family. They all lived together. We read in Acts, that they sold their property, and lived together. Some of the early churches did this. Some were in constant contact with one another in many ways, maybe even multiple times a day. They ate together, learned together, cared for one another, and worshiped God together. Some of this was out of convenience and necessity because of the culture they were under at the time. Many would be in hiding together or had to hide what they were doing. Either way, through this they were very close to one another.


I like to think that you are my family. We fellowship with one another, learn from one another, care for one another, and worship God together. Yet, I think we need to realize it is time for us to evaluate our work together. Do we work like a church? What is our joint identity? What is it that identifies us as a family?


Pray and Read Romans 12:1-8


The first three verses tell us how we are to act as Christians. If we want to please God, then there are things that we should do or essentially be in order to be seen as followers of Christ. A living sacrifice is two-fold. First, we are alive because Jesus gave us life. Also, we are a sacrifice because we have given up our worldly desires for the will of God. This is how we worship God by giving Him this honor. Good parents, and good family members love to hear good news about those in their family. There may even be a sense of pride when a family member reaches a level of success. I know I am proud of my kids for every award they have and everything they enjoy doing. I think in this same way we make God proud when we live for Him and not of this world. 


When we deny this world of our soul, or when we refuse to allow the world to influence us, we begin to notice a renewing of our minds. We begin to think like Christ and feel with our emotions like Christ when we desire the influence of the Holy Spirit over us above the influence of the world. In this way, we become connected to our Heavenly Father. Personally, my anxiety is worse when I think that I have to please other people or do things in a certain way that may seem acceptable to others. However, when I am at peace with myself in whom God created me to be, or when I am confident in who I am, I find peace. That peace comes from seeking Christ and drawing near to the One who created me. 


When I am near to Christ, I am comfortable with others who are drawing near to Christ. This is how the early church renewed their minds to think, act, and most importantly, be Christian. They stuck together. They had common ground and a single focus which helped them to love one another and take care of one another. This connection helped them to understand that they were not alone in their faith. Not one of them wanted to be better than the other, for they wanted safety and security for one another. They wanted to learn more about Christ and also wanted to teach one another of their faith. They mentally and emotionally belonged to one another in Christ and in His grace.


Now I am sure things were not perfect. We all fall from grace and make mistakes. But that is another function of a good church. A good church family does not condemn or look down on anyone who fails. Instead, they strive to lift each other up and help each other be better as much as possible. 

I am sure that each one of them was different as well. “One Body, Many Functions”, Paul writes.  I am sure there were times where the church, like this one in Roman for example, didn’t get along. They may have seen times of disagreements and arguments as does any family or groups of close friends. Yet, they had the ability to pray together and discern God’s will together. They each had the Holy Spirit to help them move forward in a good direction. 


Yet still each one is different by design. Each one of us is given gifts unique to us personally. Some of us want to learn about God and be a part of a group or class that does just this. Some of us want to do ministry outside the walls of this building and think that this work is more important than anything. Some of us feel that coming together and worshipping God is the most important thing we can do. Some of us want to take care of each other and make sure that we are maintaining our relationships with one another. Some of us want to do that but want to ensure that everyone who visits feels welcome and encouraged. That is a lot of different opinions about what a church should be doing. Yet, it should not be a shock to you that it takes all of us. Each of those gifts and ministry needs are equally important. That is why it takes all of us working together.


My vision for this church is that we are using our gifts and our skills jointly to be like Christ. This is our Vision Statement:

›    “Offering Christ to a hurting world by being true disciples of Christ in the world”.


We must be growing as disciples of Christ, alongside each other so that we can together show the goodness of God to those who need Him most. I pray for this community to know Jesus. However, the answer to that prayer lies with each one of us doing that which God has created us and called us to do together.


So where do you fit? What is the cry of your heart? What do you believe God has gifted you to do? In what ways is the Holy Spirit equipping you? How can we accomplish these goals together in the power of the Holy Spirit? When we each lean into our strengths and also work with others who are leaning into their gifts and strengths, that is when ministry happens. When we are DOING the work of the church, then we are glorifying our Father and sharing Christ with the world. 


In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


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Summer of Awakening

Awake O Sleeper, and Rise From the Dead

This is a call to all of the church. The church is not what it once was. That is not a bad thing. In fact, there were changes that were made that needed to happen. There were truths brought to light that laid dormant for a long time. There are things that still need to be discovered, figured out, and organized. There are more opportunities for ministry than we currently have the people to make them a reality.


He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Luke 10:2 NRSV


There is no better time to invest in the wellbeing of this church than now. Spiritually speaking, the harvest could be bigger than we have ever seen. However, there will not be a harvest unless we have people who will sow the seeds or invest in ministries of this church. We are talking laboring, working, praying, fasting, participating as a church; this is what will bring the harvest. So, are you in?


Starting June 2nd, we will be livestreaming our Wednesday Night Bible Study at 6:30 pm and our Sunday morning 10:30 am worship services straight to our website, www.christumc-mcminnville.org, where we chat with one another and learn together. For twelve weeks we will be talking about how we are DOING church, and how we can do things differently or even better than before. This is why we need each other! We need a variety of viewpoints from different ages, gifts, and passions. 


Each week will have a flow:

Wednesday: Topical Bible Study on an area of church life. 

Thursday – Saturday: Pray/Fast/Pray. I, Pastor Sommer, will be fasting from 8pm on Thursday evening until 2pm Friday afternoon and I encourage you to join me.

Sunday: Worship Service will focus on that week’s topic with a “Call To Action.”

Monday and Tuesday: You will have a chance to respond with your thoughts, prayers, hopes and response to the “Call To Action” that was laid out on Sunday. 


These responses will be collected in a survey style that will be electronic and also mailed to those who get the physical copy of the newsletter. We just ask that you mail your responses back by September 3rd, or we could have someone pick them up from you if you wish. The more responses, the greater the hope!


6/2 – 6/8 Week 1: “The Church is the People”

6/9 – 6/15 Week 2: “Different Gifts, Same Church”

6/16 – 6/22 Week 3: “The Youth Taking Up the Mantle”

6/23 – 6/29 Week 4: “Disciples Making Disciples”

6/30 – 7/6 Week 5: “Reaching Out” This week we will hear a little from those who participated in the Habitat for Humanity Home Build on June 26th.

7/7 – 7/13 Week 6: “The Kingdom our Children will inherit” (VBS is July 5th – 9th, Children’s Sunday is July 11th)

7/14 – 7/20 Week 7: “Inviting”

7/21 – 7-27 Week 8: “Nurturing”

7/28 – 8/3 Week 9: “Gathering in Worship”

8/4 – 8/10 Week 10: “Administering to the Needs of the Church”

8/11 – 8/17 Week 11: “All Together Now”

8/18 – 8/24 Week 12: “Laity Week” What happens when the pastor is gone on vacation?

8/25 – 8/31 Bonus Week: “He Makes All Things New” and hopefully a dinner on the grounds on Sunday August 29th, to be planned.

You are a part of an extended family of Christ. You are a part of the shining city on a hill. You are prayed for and are loved!


…And may Christ shine on you! (Ephesians 5:14)

Pastor Sommer

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Moving Forward in May (our Phrase In)

Hello Church Family,

This period of quarantine has been unlike anything I ever thought I would experience. I have learned a lot about myself as a pastor, mom and a child of God. I have had to look at the many areas of life and the things I do, and ask myself why do I do them this way and do I really do things the way God wants me to do them? On the good side, I realize that my best times of doing any prayerful dreaming and planning is early mornings. So, for those who have gotten an e-mail or message from me at 5:30 or even earlier, I promise I am okay. I have seen God work in amazing ways in my life and in our church. Things that may go unnoticed by many. I am called to make hard decisions and realize that my best laid plans do not always happen the way I or even others may want them to and this is okay. I miss seeing each of you and I find myself longing for the days when I could count on seeing most of you at least weekly. I never knew that I would not have that option. I have had to learn how to do everything very differently than how I once got things done. 

I know some of you can’t wait to get back into our building, and some of you really question why we can’t just start back this Sunday. The truth is things are not the same and times are not easy. Things are not going to happen just as they once did. Most of us have been changed by this time, and I hope many of us can look at ourselves and see that we are becoming better people, stronger and closer to God then we once were. With that said, I have a plan but let me tell you what has informed this plan. First and foremost, prayer. Sometimes, God has been silent, which bothers me; but He was waiting for me to be silent. Again, the early morning and even in the middle of the night He speaks to me. Also, I listen to what the Governor and the President along with their experts have to say and what are their guidelines. I have talked with and asked many questions from some of our key leadership in the church. Finally, I also must listen to our Bishop who speaks to some of those same experts on the state level. 

Our Bishop has advised that we do not have open worship for the month of May. In all that would mean that we would miss ten Sunday’s and two communions. So, I am finding, prayerfully, a way to work around that. Like how our governor has a “Phase In” step-by-step process, and so will we. I need all hands-on deck! I need those who cannot come out right now to be praying! I need those who are going stir crazy and really needing to do something to help me in this process. 

Remember when I introduced to you our “Great Awakening Project”? It started with Regroup. This regrouping was divided into five areas, Discipleship, Outreach, Inviting, Nurturing, and Gathering. Amazingly God did this! We already have a Worship Team that have been focusing on our gatherings. Then our Prayer Team has taken the reigns to help lead us in nurturing one another. Then I got an e-mail from one of our members who really wanted to help us reach out in new ways. We have begun to pray and identify others in our congregation who also have the same passion and gifting; some of them have already been doing some outreach!

Then the pandemic hit, hard. This is not what I had in mind when I prayed for a way to move us into the replanting phase. God does indeed work in mysterious ways! I have read articles from ministry coaches and leaders who advise pastors to think of the new normal as a restart or to look at church life as a new church plant. Simply stated, what did not work before, is not working at all now and has changed. What did work, may not work the same as it once did. Change is not a bad thing, and not everything is changing. I still don’t know what the new normal will look like, and I am okay with that. I just want to see each of you again. I also know that we have new people coming to our church virtually, we have some who I have talked to on the phone that really want to come to see us in the building.  Things are different already. We can have both, church online and church in person. We can reach a whole new demographic and still be here for those of us who have been a part of this family for years. Therefore, there is much work to do over the course of the month of May. Are you with me?

Phase 1: Online worship with virtual and doorstep communion. I have spoken to our worship leaders and others from the forming Nurture Team to offer live-streaming of our worship services. This is complicated and will be developing over the next few weeks. Also, and this is important, we will be doing Communion this Sunday. I will be blessing the elements and then offer them to our worship team. We have ordered prepackaged individual communion elements to pass out to everyone who want them. They will be blessed along with our traditional elements on Sunday. Some from our Nurture Team will be going out two-by-two to deliver them to those who want them. Please call the church office if you want elements delivered to your house; leave your name, address and how many are in your household. Of course, we can do this “contact-less” like the restaurants by dropping them off and praying with you from outside your door. For those able to view our service online via Facebook and YouTube, have some bread and juice ready.

Phase 2: Online discipleship and the beginning of additional small group formation. I will be going live on Facebook at two times, Wednesdays starting May 13th at 6:00 pm for a study on 2 Peter that will run through May 27th. Then again, the same study on for those whose schedules are more open during the day on Thursdays at 11am starting May 14th through the 28th. During this second week, the NextGen team will meet to discuss celebrating our graduates and VBS. There will be other bible studies we will offer this Summer. Starting in June, we will begin a new small group for those with anxiety. In June, the young adults will start offering Alpha, a combined worship and discipleship weekly gathering. 

Phase 3: We will need to form the Invite team! I know we have individuals whose gifts are caring about those who visit our church and have a passion for hospitality. If this is you, please let me know! We will need to get us together, even over the phone, e-mail or virtually to talk about how we can welcome people when we are able to gather for worship as a big group!

Phase 4: Pull it all together. Tie up those loose ends. For better or for worse, we are ready! I would love nothing more than for us to be able to worship together on Pentecost which is May 31st. As I stated above, I have been talking with different people in the church on what we can do and what we need to do when we open the church building for large gatherings again. We have a nurse on our Trustees who has given us good guidelines. We already have some members who are cleaning the Sanctuary and will be cleaning the Fellowship Hall prior to opening as well. 

In summary, please remember that we will be taking Communion this Sunday together. Call the church if you wish to have the prepackaged wafer and juice delivered to you. Be praying about what we need to do this month as we prepare to meet for the first time as a big family, like a big Homecoming celebration! And please pray for me and pray for one another. May God keep blessing you, everyday!

Pastor Sommer Worley

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Prayer for those affected by Pandemic Rev. Sommer Worley

Lord be with those who are on the front lines of this virus, the doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, and medical personnel.  


           Lord Hear Our Prayer


Be with those are have been deemed essential employees, the truck drivers, the warehouse workers, those who work in repairs, those who work in convenient stores, grocery stores, restaurants, department stores, and the many others who we have taken for granted.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are working from home, trying to figure out new technology and a new way to complete their work.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with the teachers who are trying to stay connected with their students with the little time left in the school year. Be with the students who miss their friends, their teaches, and their routines.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are to graduate school this year. May they still have peace and joyful memories of this time. May they see this as a moment of great success that they were able to overcome such strong adversity and disappointments.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with the parents who are trying to teach their children in ways they never had to before. Those who are having to navigate new routines, and new ways to live a somewhat normal day to day life.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are lonely. Be with those whose lives feel tossed upside down due to limitation on activities and routines that once brought comfort and joy.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with the business owners who are not sure if their dreams, goals, and plans are as achievable as they once were.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who have been laid-off or let go due to the lack of work available.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are in the nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and hospitals who are not able to see family and friends.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are having to figure out the vastness of technology to reach those they care about in a time of physical distancing.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are bored, feeling lazy, eating all the snacks, and watching way too much TV and social media.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with the government leaders. Help them make the best choices that would benefit all those they serve, knowing that they are not able to please everyone.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Be with those who are overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, scared, worried and tired.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

Of course, God, be with those who are suffering from this virus, whether they are in the hospital on ventilators, or quarantined away from even their family that lives at home with them.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

God, this is all of us in one way or another. We all need healing, maybe in different ways. We need you. Our world needs you now more than ever before. Please God, be with us, your children, your creation.

Lord Hear Our Prayer

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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