Emotional & Spiritual Health
I recently watched the 1997 movie, ‘The Apostle’ about a pastor who did a lot of good, but also had a dark side. This Hollywood version of Pentecostal faith was both fair and disturbing. While few pastors have as much propensity to evil as the man in the story, we who are pastors do have issues to work through.
A recent online Christianity Today article by Pastor Todd Wilson says,
Pastors can be godly and dysfunctional at the same time. They can be holy and not whole. They can be biblically faithful and psychologically broken. They can be prayer warriors and control freaks, spiritually mature and emotionally repressed. They can sincerely love Jesus yet be addicted to food or porn or pain meds. I know this to be true from experience.
While the article is about the need for pastors to work towards emotional and spiritual health, the principles could be applied to any Christian pursuing spiritual maturity. If we pursue holiness, without pursuing wholeness, we will be less than the people God has called us to be.
Our best example of emotional health is Jesus Christ. The description of his life from age 12 to 30 is in Luke 2:52 which says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” May we do the same.
As Jesus grew up, he grew in wisdom. Wisdom is the main focus of the book of Proverbs. We are well served in learning life lessons so that we can be people of wisdom.
Jesus grew in stature. We assume him to be physically healthy. While I cannot prove my point from the Bible, I find it hard to imagine Jesus eating junk food. Jesus was almost certainly healthy and we are called to good health choices as our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 6:19-20)
Jesus grew in favor with God. If we do not pursue spiritual health, all other health is unimportant. God loves us and is calling us to live in relationship with Him through faith in Jesus.
Jesus grew in favor with man. Jesus was likable. It has been said he was the most sought after dinner guest in Palestine. We as followers of Jesus are called to be people who find favor with others, even those without faith. Church leaders are called to “have a good reputation with outsiders.” (I Tim. 3:7)
My prayer for all called to lead the church is that we are both holy and whole. May we all strive towards emotional and spiritual health as we follow the example of Jesus. And keep church leaders in your prayers. Thank you!
Vacation Bible School: August 19—23
Plans are underway for our Annual Vacation Bible School during the mornings of August 19-23, 2019. We continue this tradition in teaching children, as our church has done for many years.
The history of Fort Lee Gospel Church includes Vacation Bible Schools in the 1950s and 60s where at times 60 or 70 children from the community would attend. The ‘modern’ version of VBS started in 1992 and has continued almost every year since then.
Our program includes crafts, music, skits, Bible stories, Bible studies and games. It combines fun, learning and activities. A key part of a successful VBS is that many in our church invite family members or neighbors. Over the years VBS has been a first step for a number of families becoming a part of our church.
As you continue to plan your summer schedule, consider joining us for our VBS which takes place from 9:30 AM until Noon for this one week. We welcome youth and adults to participate as leaders in this ministry. VBS is for children ages 3 through grade 6. Prayerfully consider who you will invite this year.
The theme for 2019 will be “The Incredible Race.” This theme reflects well on our diverse congregation.
The final preparation meeting will be Saturday, August 17th at 9:00 AM. Speak with Patricia Allen regarding details.
Summer Sermon Series on JOY
This summer the preaching series has been on the theme of JOY. Joy is a major theme in the Bible. The first message was on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th, and the series will finish on Labor Day Sunday, September 1st.
Two themes have emerged in the preparation of the messages. First, joy is seen as often arising after a season of sorrow, hardship, or time of need. As Psalm 30:5 says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
A second theme from this series on joy is that joy is rooted in our relationship with God. While every person will have times of happiness, the follower of Jesus will experience a joy beyond circumstances. Below are the coming messages in this JOY series:
8/4/19 JOY IN WEAKNESS II Cor. 12:1-10
– There are times when our greatest strength and effectiveness for God’s work comes out of our weakness.
8/11/19 JOY IN GOD’S DISCIPLINE Hebrews 12:1-13
– Parents lovingly discipline children for a greater good in similar ways to our Heavenly Father.
8/18/19 JOY IN WORSHIP Psalm 100
– Music and worship are a source of joy for the follower of Christ.
8/25/19 JOY IN GOD’S PRESENCE Psalm 16:11
– There is ‘fullness of joy’ in the presence of God, coming from our daily time with Him.
9/1/19 JOY & WORK Ecc. 2:24-26
– On Labor Day we remember that we are created to work and find pleasure in what we do.
August Events at Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, Aug 4 & 18 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service usually meets on the first and third Sunday of the month.
1:30 PM, Aug 11 & 25 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Aug 18 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is studying foundations of the faith..
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
9:30 AM—Noon, Aug 19-23 Vacation Bible School See page 2 for details
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
9:00 AM, Aug 17 VBS Prep Meeting Getting ready for the coming Vacation Bible School.
1:00 PM, Aug 17 Youth Group For those in 6th grade through their teens.
Pray for Other Summer Ministries
During the week of August 5—9, some from our church will be involved in ministry beyond our church.
First, Nancy Esposito, Yvonne Vitale, Adrian & Skylar Brown will will be joining Sonia Dobson in leading a Vacation Bible School in Sharon, Connecticut. Pray for God’s blessing upon this ministry in the small community of Sharon.
During the same week, Pastor David Kwon from our church will be a part of leading 150 Korean youth from various churches who will be doing ministry among Native Americans in the Midwest of our country. This ministry is a unique way of bringing the gospel from a non-Anglo voice to a culture with deep pain from the dominant culture.
Pray for these two ministries and those from our church, as they serve beyond our community.
How is Our Health?
The older I get the more I realize that I must take care of my health. There are parallels between our physical and spiritual health. When we take time for prayer, Bible reading, Bible studies, and ministry to others, we learn to exercise our spiritual muscles.
It is sad to see a Christian who has followed Jesus for many years and acts like they are new to the faith. You could say they are neglecting their spiritual health.
My question for us today is, ‘How are we doing with our spiritual diet and exercise?’ Are we feeding our souls with the meat of God’s Word? Are we committed to the exercise of daily prayer and Bible reading? Do we set aside a block of time to seek God in times of trouble or decision? Are the habits of our life building faith and trust in Jesus Christ?
It is always easier to watch TV or surf the Web than to read your Bible. It is usually more effort to talk to Jesus for 15 minutes than to speak with a friend on the phone. For some reason getting to church for 11:00 AM on Sunday seems earlier than getting to work at 9:00 AM on a weekday.
My prayer for all of us is the statement of the Apostle Paul when he said, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (II Cor 4:16) We cannot stop getting older, but we can become spiritually healthier than we have ever been before.