The Blog of Gordon Pruitt the Pastor of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia

Friday, July 28, 2006

Down with the Old, Up with the New

On July 23rd we had one of the best services that we have had since I've been at St. Matthew's. We had a gospel band, "The Barkers" lead us in worship. I did not think I liked old school gospel but I connected with God through their music. It was awesome. My sermon was on Baptism as we were going to a have an adult baptism after the service. I talked about 3 dimensions of Baptism. First we have to die to self, second we have to bury our selves, and third we then experience new life. What helped me the most during preparation was how often I don't bury my sins. If you don't bury something, the stench is going to get you. I put my sins away but i will put them in a place where i know if i need them, or want them, or desire them, i can get to them. This is dangerous. What we need to do to experience the new life, and abundant life Christ offers us is with the help of the Holy Spirit is to bury our selves and our sins, not just put them away. Because if you just put them away they will eventually get you. At least that has been true in my life. After the sermon we had a remembering your baptism service and at both services many people came forward.

After the service we drove over to a church members' house who has a lake in their backyard and we had the baptism there. I was my first time doing an immersion baptism and it was cool. We hope to do this again. I hope to post some pictures of Serena's baptism in the upcoming days. Serena gave a testimony before she was baptised. She read Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." I thought what i perfect baptism verse. When we die to our selves we have to put our trust in Jesus and trust not our understanding. If not we won't get to experience what he has in store for us.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shadow Mission

On Sunday I wanted to people to leave thinking about their life mission. I believe that God has a mission for each and every one of us and this mission could be a multitude of things. Competing against our God mission is what i call a shadow mission. A shadow mission could be, television, Internet, a sport, a child, a spouse, popularity, wealth, and even blogging! Your shadow mission has the potential to keep you form realizing your God given mission. Many people go through their whole life only knowing their shadow mission. Many believers go through their life and spend more time, energy, and resources focusing on their shadow mission than they don on their God given mission. I wanted people to leave thinking about both their shadow mission and their God mission and be able to identify them, (one of the many flaws in the sermon was that i should follow this up with some kind of guidance on how to go about finding your God mission.)

My shadow mission is what i would call spiritual procrastination. I spend a lot of time reading, studding, and doing God's work. But when it comes to spending time in God's presence I believe i have much room for improvement. Say i sit down at my desk tomorrow and there is no urgent matter. I could easily take a moment like that to pray and be in God's word. What i usually do it that situation is find some kind of administrative work, make a phone call, or read something that's not of the devotional sort. This has been my shadow mission since i entered the ministry. My best defence against this has been mutual accountability. My former accounability partner Chris, (he moved several weeks ago) and I would hold each other accountable to this. We had to spend a minimum of an hour a day in prayer, Bible study, and jounaling. If not, we had to pay the other a 1$ for each day we failed to do this, (for the record no money ever excanged hands). This worked really well. Its amazing what accountability can do.

My God mission at this time is discipleship. I want people to realize that their is much more to Christianity than getting to heaven. We can experience God's Kingdom here and now but so many people don't know this. I believe my mission is to share and show this to others.

So, what is your shadow mission and what is your God mission?

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Holy Land?

The Holy Land?
My first Blog, i hope i do this right. For the first time in my life I am in Boston and as a result I have now experienced two parts of the baseball stadium trinity; Yankee Stadium and as of last night Fenway Park. Only Wriggly Field is left. I will make it some day.

Although i am a Yankee fan, Fenway Park is sacred ground. And as blasphemous as it sounds, I had a Holy experience. It was awesome.

Props to my main man Bob Welby for hooking us up in a first class way! You enable me to have one of the best experiences of my life. If anyone needs a new car get a Nissan. This picture is for you!!

I am in Boston as one of 25 young clergy from across the nation selected to be one of the Lewis Fellows. While this is a big honor the truth is there are only about 35 young clergy, (under 35) in the entire country. Slight exaggeration but not as much as you would think. While i am in Boston, my wife Leigh Ann, 8 months pregnant, and 2 daughters, 3 year old Jordan and almost 2 year old Karis are in Richmond Virginia. My wife is the joy of my life and i thank her being such a blessing to me and for encouraging me to come to Boston.

I am preaching about Esther this week. A great book if you have never read it. Esther is also my favorite Veggie Tales video. I heard a sermon by John Ortberg where he talks about your "shadow mission". A "shadow mission" is anything that gets in way of your real God created mission. An example of a shadow mission could be something like.....blogging!..... or sports......or television! Any thing that is taking you away from what God might what you to do. Kind of scary don't you think? I'm not saying we can't have hobbies or do things for fun but when they become our main focus or obsession they can and do take us way from our God given mission. In the story of Esther the characters have to decide if they are going to follow their God mission or their shadow mission. What might possible be your shadow mission.

If any of the one person that reads this (hi Ben) has any thoughts or opinions about this let me know. I guess i am now a member of the blogging universe!!