Rev. Bob Amundsen
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Greetings to the congregation of Mount Pocono, it is wonderful to finally be here. Nancy and I are excited. We are all moved in and ready to get down to the business of the church.
But ... but before we do that; we need to address the immediate, we are in the midst of a pandemic, there is a social movement in our country, unemployment is at a record high, many do not have healthcare, there is housing and food insecurity and our denomination is in the midst of split, can we have an Amen?
An Amen, because although it sounds absurd, how exciting, and what a great time to do ministry.
If we look at the Bible stories that teach us the great lessons, they all took place during times of uncertainty, dread, anxiousness, and when there was nothing ahead but fear.
And the lesson is that over and over throughout the Bible, God proves to us that fear is an illusion put there by the devil to stop us from seeing what it is that God wants us to see.
Our purpose and our call by our God is to overcome the evil in this world. Which is why we are excited to be here, and to face the challenges ahead of us, because we never know what God is in store for us until we are obedient to Him.
Many might say, “I like it the way it was, boring is good, I am comfortable with the way things are, and I don’t like change.”
But you see God calls us to change, He calls us to turn our hearts from cold to open, He demands that we open our eyes to see the hurt in our world, and then comfort those who are hurting and to heal what is broken.
We are living today in a lost world, that is loudly anti-God, anti-Christian and the wrong message is influencing ours and the next generation with messages that are absent of God’s love.
Only the church, Jesus’ bride, the physical representation of His Kingdom on earth today can conquer what is wrong in the world and we as His people were given the task to do the work.
This past week assured me of this, as I had several incredible conversations with people who convinced me that God has called Nancy and I to this very place.
I know “we always think” that it was “us” that precipitated the moves in our lives that we were in control of our destiny. But as the days, weeks, months and years ahead begin to unfold we will understand that God is in control.
And so as a united church, over the next few weeks we need to become very busy, deciding what is the best way to open, the best way to do ministry in the times we are living in and the best way to reach a hurting world in need of healing.
We will soon be scheduling some town hall meetings with discussions on what is going on in our denomination at this time, and I would like us to begin a discussion on what the phrase we are hearing “Black Lives Matter” means and view a movie together called 13th to look at systemic racism. As the body of Christ, Jesus calls us to work together and to be of one mind and we begin that by getting to know each other and overcoming the obstacles that this world has created.
Galatians 3: 27-29 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
And so, in order to begin though, we need volunteers to help with re-opening; we need planners, doers, visionaries, safety personnel and a few people who can work as a team to create what worship needs to look like now. We also need a team of folks who can help us create an online presence for the things that have changed inside of our churches that has made this necessary.
My promise to you is this; if we work together, if we depend on God, if we trust in Him and we do not fear, He will continue do great things and even greater things here at the Mt. Pocono church.
Christine Scarfo, our SPR chair person will be scheduling small groups with all of you so Nancy and I can get to know everyone. Christine Collazo will also be scheduling individual meetings for me with all of you, so I can get to know your gifts, talents, concerns, joys etc. Please participate in these meetings as I need to know who you are, what you expect of your pastor and what it is that we can all do to create God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Once again, Nancy and I are excited to be here. Please keep us, our church, our community, our nation and our world in prayer. We look forward to meeting all of you soon.
Pastor Bob and Nancy