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Pastor's Pen September

Motivation is a slippery concept. There was a time when the motivation to come to church was based solely on the expectation of one's parents, or the fear of hell, or the cute youth group member you wanted to meet. These days our motivations to participate in the life of the church are as varied as our personalities. For many of us, church is a lifeline; it is a place to connect with a spiritual source of being, and a human source of support. If it were not for this church family, there would likely be fewer meaningful attachments and activities in your life.
We all live busy lives, there is no way around that. It's not easy to make time in our week for church between work, and family, and sports, and sleep. Yet, when we do find ways to make space, often we find that we have not lost the time for something else, and instead gained something more powerful and meaningful than a football game, a concert, a few extra hours of sleep.
As we enter into the Fall season, there will be opportunities to be part of this faith community and to reach out to others in the communities in which we live and work. Maybe you haven't been motivated yet to join us on a Wednesday evening for Caffeinated Conversations at Leonardo's Coffee shop, but we'd love to see you! Maybe this is the year when you will feel the pull to leave your pew and join the choir. Perhaps you will be motivated to volunteer your gifts and play an instrument for our worship. Have you volunteered to help with Vets in the Ville? Maybe you will be motivated to serve on Church Council.
Motivation isn't just about getting off your butt and doing something; it's also about listening to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. What is God asking of you? What is God prodding you to do? Maybe it's to join something that is already in existence; maybe it's to bring something new to life.
If you are seeking to discern what motivates you to be part of this faith community, if you are struggling to see what God is calling you to do, or you have been awoken in the night by that still, small, insistent voice of God, I invite you to give me a call, I would love to explore together where the Holy Spirit may be leading you.

 With the Greatest of Hope!

June Pastor's Pen

Ah, summer those wonderful months when the days are filled with sunshine, the nights with star-filled nights and our bellies with way too much food from the grill.
I'm sure all of us are looking forward to these next few months, for the somewhat more relaxed pace of life that comes with the hotter days. We might even be looking forward to getting away for a few days, or a few weeks. A vacation! Time to get away from work, time to spend more time with friends and family, time to recharge your batteries so you are better able to do the things required of you.
Did you know Jesus took a vacation (or at least tried to)? In the sixth chapter of Mark, Jesus says to his disciples, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” It didn't go too well, they got in a boat to go across to the other side of the lake, and by the time they got there a crowd had developed. Jesus got out of the boat and ministered to the people. His vacation had been very short-lived. There was simply too much to do.
The life of a community and a congregation often seems to be unending. Even though we may individually be taking time off here and there over the next few months, the life of the congregation continues to happen. This summer, we have several different events that we will be participating in.
First, the weekend of June 18-19 will be a busy one. On that Saturday we will be participating in Steubenville's Community Celebration with a booth downtown. During that afternoon John Diekmann will be offering tours of the church. Then, the next day we have our Parents and Pals dinner following worship. We will then be having our annual Hot dogs on the Lawn, July 21. Then on August 13, we will once again be serving a meal and providing a worship service at the Urban Mission. Lots of stuff going on, lots of opportunities for you to get involved in the communal life at Zion.
Take some time this summer to relax, sit on your porch and sip your sweet tea, but also remember that the work of the church never ends. The calling we have as disciples of Jesus to share and live out the good news doesn't take a vacation.
With the Greatest of Hope!