Category Archives: Pastor’s Ponderings

Pastor’s Ponderings

Learning Is A Lifelong Endeavor

When I was a senior in high school, I had a teacher who told us that education and learning was a lifelong endeavor. Now being a teenager who thought he knew most everything I could see finishing high school and then following four years of college. I would complete a 16 year plus learning experience, and I would know most everything. Little did I understand what additional learning experiences were in store for me throughout my life’s journey.

Following college and going to work for the YMCA, I was required to attend a number of weeklong YMCA training experiences. On a pretty regular basis for all the different positions I held in the workforce training events were quite regular. I also recognize that as the world would continue to change I needed to keep up with the changing world and learning about new things would keep me engaged in the world around me.
For me additional formal education became a very beneficial part of the learning experience. Over the many years in the workforce, I have come to recognize that a Master’s degree in Management and the Course Of Study I was required to participate in to become a united Methodist Pastor not only gave me knowledge but trained me to be more effective in what I was required to do in the workforce and in my service to God.

God has commanded us to grow. Not just in our walk with Him which is very important but also as we relate to each other. I remember my first Adult Sunday School Class, my first Disciple Bible Study and how they had a very spiritual and yes knowledgeable effect on me. From those experiences I am committed to teaching Sunday School and lead other educational opportunities that we have available to us as followers of Jesus Christ who are required to transform the world and make disciples for Jesus.

As your pastor I continue in retirement to avail myself to additional learning experiences. Whether it be annually attending Pastor’s School, leadership development for churches, family systems or any of a number of different educational opportunities that are offered to us as clergy or as United Methodist congregations.

Because learning is a lifelong experience, this September I challenge you to become a part of two learning experiences that we will offer at Claybanks United Methodist Church. The first is participating in the Emergency Action Plan sharing that will be offered following worship on Sunday, September 22nd. The second learning experience that will start in September and go through May is an Adult Sunday School Disciple Bible study “Fast Track” which will be offered in two sessions each 12 weeks in length. Each of these learning experiences will help us grow as individuals and as a church. Stay engaged and continue to learn and grow!

Pastor Gary

Upcoming Worship Schedule

Sunday August 4th – Hosea 11:1-11 / Luke 12:13-21
We Want Bigger, But What Do We Do With It?
Communion

August 11th – Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 / Luke 12:32-40
We Need To Be Ready

August 18th
Guest Message by Nancy Frye

August 25th – Psalm 7:1-6 / Luke 13:10-17
How do you see the Sabbath?

Pastor’s Ponderings

I am committed to the Keryx Ministry. Recently I had a conversation with our Mid-West District Superintendent. Our district superintendent Margie asked me why I was committed in my personal ministry to Keryx. It was an easy question for me to answer for I have thought about it numerous time during the past almost twenty years that I have been associated with Keryx. By being part of Keryx God has allowed me to use the gifts He gave me for what Jesus has commanded us to do in His name. Back in the mid-1990s Reba, Michelle and I were blessed to attend and participate in Walks to Emmaus as part of the United Methodist Church upper Room Ministries. The Cursillo Movement (of which Walk To Emmaus) is offered under a number of different names and associated with a number of denominations such as Via de Cristo, Tres Dias, Way of Christ, DeColores, Kairos, The Journey, Chrysalis Flights, and the Keryx which is a nondenominational Cursillo Movement specifically designed for those incarcerated in our prison systems.

These ministries are designed to renewing Christian Discipleship and strengthening local churches. Participants who desire a closer walk with our Lord are willing to commit not just 72 hours on the weekend but to take and use the spiritual gifts that God has given them in new ways to build up local church and Christianity as a whole. After participating in a Cursillo Moment you continue to develop a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are moved by the power of the Holy Spirit to share the gifts which God has given to each of us with all those who seek a relationship with our Lord and Savior.
For many years Reba, Michelle and I serve in a number of capacities to assist in providing Cursillo experiences for many who have begun their walk to Emmaus. After a number of years working within the Emmaus community I was asked to be a part of Keryx by a close and strong Christian brother Ron who at times had been a strong mentor to me as I continued to walk closer and closer with our Lord. Ron had been active in the Emmaus community and continued his ministry as a leader within the Keryx ministry and encouraged me to begin participating in that ministry. Ron knew that I had a social work background and cared deeply about social justice in our community and expressed to me the desire of Keryx Ministries to assist chaplains within our correctional system by offer experiences to men and women who want to continue a deep relationship with God as Christian brothers and sisters in a system where spiritual forces make it very difficult for them to be disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.

While our correctional system leaves much to be done in the rehabilitation of those incarcerated the work of chaplains and volunteers from outside the system walls can do much for those men and women who want to see a change in their life and are committed as Christians to follow Jesus Christ. Statistics have shown that those incarcerated who participate in Bible studies, attend worship and fellowship with other brothers and sisters as they meet for prayer and other activities that bring them closer to Jesus Christ return to prison at a much lower rate than the general population of our correctional systems today. I take the passage from Matthew 25 seriously where Jesus asked when did you give me water when I was thirsty and when did you visit me when I was sick and in prison. We as Christians must be willing to be in ministry with those who Jesus is very concerned about. Because the way the correctional system is set up today very few of us have an opportunity to have long-lasting effects on those that are incarcerated. So my Keryx ministry as a pastor and supported by you my congregation is important to me. It is my prayer that you will continue to support me in the future and allow me to continue to give when asked with my time and commitment to participate in Keryx weekends as your pastor.
I have seen what Christ has done in people’s lives and I know that Keryx has made a difference in so many men and women during their time of incarceration and in their lives after release. May we continue to visit the sick, welcome the stranger and be with those who are in prison.

July 7th Service

Indicates to stand as you are able
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song “Jesus, Name Above All Names” TFWS #2071

Prelude

*Processional
In this place, among these people,
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
the lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship

Leader: ​Sing praises to God, O faithful ones.
All: ​​Give thanks and proclaim God’s holy name.
Leader: ​Weeping or joyful, mourning or dancing,
All: ​​Come as you are, for all are welcome here.
Leader: ​Open your hearts to heal, to life restored.
All: ​​Let us worship God.

*Gloria Patri UMH #70

Opening Prayer

*Hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” UMH #382

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time–
After prayers, sing the Children out – “Jesus Loves Me.” Children 5 and under are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery at this time.

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology UMH #95

Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn “My Country Tis of Thee” UMH# 697

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading: ​​2 Kings 5:1-14 page 293
*Gospel Reading: ​​ ​Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 page 844

Message: Stomp Off Your Feet Pastor Gary

Words of Assurance

The Great Thanksgiving

Prayer

*Hymn “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” UMH#664

Benediction

Calendar and Announcements

Sunday, July 7, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship: Communion

Sunday July 14, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship:

Tuesday July 16, 2019
Worship Design Team 5:30 p.m.
Trustees 6:30 P.m.
Ad Council 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 18, 2019
United Methodist Women 1:00 p.m.

Sunday July 21, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship:

Email: glpeterson32@frontier.com
Office Telephone: 231-923-0573
Office email: ClaybanksUMC@gmail.com
Website: pwww.claybanksunitedmethodist.com

Pianist​​​​ – Suzanne Bouchard
Liturgist – Edith
Nursery – Carol Adams
Ministers​ – All People As We Live the Good New

Pastor’s Ponderings

A while back I came across an article written by Martin Goldsmith (A Psychotherapist) he listed ten things to improve your life. I believe these ten things are important but I will add my comments and also add three more Wesleyan points to the secular approach created by Martin Goldsmith.

1. Give up lying. The truth always comes out, and any ill-gotten gain will disappear. People you have tried to hurt are living better lives, and the act you lie about probably did not make a darn bit of difference in their lives. As Wesleyans we believe that we are not to gossip and by lying about someone we are gossiping.

2. Love is the one of the most valuable things worth holding onto. Many things can get in our way like greed, temptation, aging and illness. But love will make you whole, and nothing else will in the same way. As Christians we are to love one another, we find this over and over again in Scripture.

3. Release negative memories and thoughts. Tell yourself out loud that you do not want to think about this anymore. Sometimes just hear your thoughts spoken aloud can make a huge difference. I learned in a Psychology class years ago have always embraced the concept that it has been okay and very therapeutic to speak to yourself out loud and have a private conversation with oneself.

4. Give yourself a break. Being overly hard on yourself when you have made a mistake just makes matters worse, because the mistake then takes over your thoughts for a while. Life is a learning process. We are to forgive others and when we say that it also means scripturally that we are to forgive ourselves just as God has forgiven us.

5. Know that if you your basic necessities are covered, money can never be the most important thing. If making more money is your main drive, you will hurt yourself and others in the long game. And you will miss out on a lot of life. Jesus in Scripture talked about our desire for money more than any other topic and one of his best quotes was, “Does God not take care of the birds of the air, then he will take care of you too”.

6. Recognize that if you enjoy conflict there’s something unhealed inside of you. No matter how you expression your dislike for something by being passive aggressive or bullying it’s toxic for you as well. As Wesleyans we believe we are to do no harm.

7. Find one thing in the day to look forward to. Any amount of pleasure will do; you cannot live a life with zero happiness. Taking all things for granted will give you no excitement in life. As Christians we are to live with joy and hope and today does count as part of eternity.

8. Take at least one day off a week. By doing so do not bring home your work or the office with you. Pace yourself and just be. Allow yourself some time to be with yourself and when you are comfortable with that add God to the equation may that day be Sunday!

9. Listen to some music every day. Technology in our modern-day world allows much access to music, poetry or meditation. Find a favorite song and a favorite hymn and ask “Alexa” to play it for you. This will lower your stress and you will be taking care of yourself. God in Genesis commanded us to take care of the world he created and this includes oneself.

10. Make time for yourself to relax for a number of minutes each day. Start with ten minutes and then add minutes as you become more and more comfortable with meditation or reading Scripture or studying a devotion. Pause after the study and reflect on how the thoughts of the day can be a part of your life not just for that day but in the many days to come. A little time of quiet and relaxing can make a huge difference in our lives.

As Wesleyans and your pastor I encourage you to look at these ten items with contemplation using our “Three Simple Rules” that John Wesley has taught us.

11. Do no harm.

12. Do good.

13. Stay in love with God.

If we take these three simple rules of John Wesley and apply them each day in our lives as they relate to the ten previous ideas given to us by Mr. Goldsmith on how to improve our lives we as Christians can make a large difference not only in our own lives but the lives of our family, our friends, our church, our associates and the world.

Blessings

Pastor Gary.

June 30th Service

Indicates to stand as you are able
Third Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song “How Majestic is Your Name” TFWS#2023

Prelude

*Processional
In this place, among these people,
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
the lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship

Leader:​ God calls us to be people of the Spirit.
All: ​We are people of the whirlwind-riding fiery horses and chariot of fire.
Leader: ​God calls us to be heirs with Christ.
All: ​We are heirs of freedom-heirs of a love that will not let us go.
Leader: ​God calls us to be children of the Most High.
All: ​We are children of promise-people of God’s glorious hope.
Leader: ​Come! Let us worship.

*Gloria Patri UMH #70

Opening Prayer

*Hymn “Spirit Song” UMH#347

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time–
After prayers, sing the Children out – “Jesus Loves Me.” Children 5 and under are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery at this time. Shalom Sunday

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

Special Music: Janice Anderson & Richard Lindell

*Doxology UMH #95

Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn “Blessed Assurance” UMH# 369

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament:​​​2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 page 290
*Gospel Reading:​​​Luke 9:51-62 page 843

​​​​Message: “Your Last Day on Earth” Pastor Gary

Prayer

*Hymn “When We All Get To Heaven” UMH#701

Benediction

Calendar and Announcements

Sunday, June 30, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship: Shalom

Sunday, July 7, 2019
10:30 a.m. Worship: Communion Sunday

Sunday, July 14, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship

Email: glpeterson32@frontier.com
Office Telephone: 231-923-0573
Office email: ClaybanksUMC@gmail.com
Website: http://www.claybanksunitedmethodist.com

Pianist​​​​: ​​Shar Boerema
Liturgist: Mechelle Schneider
Nursery: Edith Bogart
Ministers​: All People As We Live the Good New

Pastor’s Ponderings

We Are Blessed!

About a year after coming to Claybanks United Methodist Church, I met another United Methodist pastor who shared a phrase with me that I now have adopted when introducing myself to someone new. I am, “Gary Peterson blessed to serve in retirement at Claybanks United Methodist Church”. You see I have the best of two worlds. The first world is being able to continue to serve God as a pastor within the United Methodist denomination through the Claybanks United Methodist Church congregational family, and what a blessed time it is for me for I will shortly be completing 15 years as a clergy person in service to God’s people. The second part of my introduction is that I get to now live in retirement for which I worked a number of years to get to this joyful and complete point in my life.

Now when I tell somebody I am serving in retirement as a clergy person appointed to the Claybanks United Methodist Church I get a lot of skeptical looks and questions, such as is it possible to be retired and still serve a church? Does time management really allow you to do those retirement things and still meet your obligations to your church family? How does that work for you!!! Or you must have an understanding congregation that allows you to serve and be retired, too! I love to respond and expand upon this last statement by stating that I have a church while small, is still very active and recognizes the demands that they placed upon me as a pastor and the balance that is needed so that retirement can be enjoy.

To live in Michigan is to appreciate our summer time. We go through a lot in the winter looking forward to spring and then the enjoyment and warmth of summer. For Reba and I, the summer holds much enjoyment and activity for us. We work hard to develop a calendar that allows us to both serve the Claybanks United Methodist Church and enjoy our summer time together and to include family and friends in many activities.

Early summer began for us in the beginning of May by taking a trip to the western side of the Upper Peninsula where we had not previously visited. We now have an appreciation of Lake Superior and that very beautiful part of Michigan. I can tell people with all honesty that I had been to all the parts of my home state of Michigan from north to south and east to west in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. I so very much appreciate and enjoy what our beautiful state has to offer us in its diversities and beauty. The first week of June always includes our Methodist Church Annual Conference and for the past few years it has been held in Traverse City where Reba, our children and I had once lived and still today love its northern charm and amenities. Following our visit to Traverse City my extended family begins to arrive in Pentwater, and we become engaged in many activities with family which includes many afternoons sitting on the beach, splashing in Lake Michigan (when it warms up) and taking in the beautiful sunsets over the lake. July arrives and like many of you we are in awe of fireworks and celebrations as we celebrate our country’s independence in our very proud communities.

For Reba and me, our grandchildren and their parents arrive on the last day of July this year, and they will be spending two weeks with us. We will pick blueberries, have campfires, be at the beach and swim in the waters of our inland lakes and Lake Michigan. We will introduced them to some new activities with the intent of bringing them to a new appreciation of our state of Michigan and all it can be to each of us. Shortly after their departure in the middle of August, I will be attending a Pastor School in East Lansing that is intended to help us as clergy better serve our local congregations.

September comes all too soon winding down our summer activities and as the cooler winds blow through our state slowly my family returns to their own homes and communities. Reba and I will have more time visiting friends and new places in our beautiful state while still enjoying the sunset over Lake Michigan.

So, you have an idea of what my summer will be like this year. I hope as we gather together on Sundays or other times you will share with me what this summer holds for you and your families! I appreciate what God has given us and our ability to take in all that God has provided for us as we share it with family and friends in the beauty of summers in Michigan. Enjoy your summer!

“I am blessed to be able to serve in retirement at the Claybanks United Methodist Church.”

Pastor Gary