January 31, 2020
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope this note finds you well. We got off to a great start to the year through our worship series “Beyond Us vs. Them.” We considered four subjects (abortion, capital punishment, immigration, and euthanasia) that tend to divide us – in this country and in the church – and looked for ways to find common ground. Personally, I am gratified the series has impacted our lives in three or four ways:
- Maybe for the first time, folks have thought about what they believe on these subjects and why they believe it.
- Peachtree Road members now know that we have a section in the United Methodist Book of Discipline entitled “The Social Principles.” (Each week in my sermon I read from the “Social Principles” – the church’s teaching on that subject. I want you to know that members do not have to agree with every position expressed in the “Social Principles,” but these positions are not to be quickly dismissed, either. They serve as a guide we are encouraged to study, pay attention to, and prayerfully consider.)
- Family members are having good conversations about these subjects and maybe even making sure their wills are up-to-date and healthcare directives reflect their desires. These are very important discussions.
- Finally, and most importantly, folks are allowing their faith to inform their political opinions – either to give them pause about what they think or to find reinforcement for a long-held opinion.
I am grateful that we are having these kinds of conversations. It is healthy. And, I believe this is the method by which Christ intends for the kingdom of God to take root and produce good fruit in our world.
This Sunday promises to be another good day here at Peachtree Road. It is Youth Sunday, and our students will be leading us in worship. They will be present in great number, and several will speak to us about their faith. I am grateful to our youth director Chris Mucha and his associates Grace Nadeau and Ryan Holder for their leadership. They, along with a host of volunteers, do an amazing job to help our middle and high school students grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your support of our students.
During the month of February, we plan to focus upon maximizing good mental health. We live in a time of great stress. As I read the news and listen to our parents and youth talk about their struggles, I realize we are living through an epidemic of anxiety. As a church, we want to be a source of healing and hope:
- Dr. Tim Elmore – on Sunday, February 2, our student ministry is sponsoring a forum in the sanctuary at 10:00 am between the worship services to discuss the challenges adolescents, known as Generation Z, are experiencing. Noted author and speaker Dr. Tim Elmore will be present to lead us in a time designed to help us better understand, communicate, and resonate with this generation. I hope you will attend.
- Jamie Jenkins – on Sunday, February 9, Rev. Jamie Jenkins will be preaching on the topic “Enemies of the Mind: Depression.” I imagine there is not a single one of us who hasn’t been touched in some way by depression – either we have dealt with it ourselves or we have a loved one who has struggled with it. Jamie is a gifted pastor and he will offer a message of hope that will touch your heart.
- Larry Adams – on Sunday, February 16, Rev. Larry Adams will be preaching in the morning services on the topic “Enemies of the Mind: Anxiety.” I recently read that anxiety disorders began to spike about a dozen years ago (coinciding with the invention of the smart phone). I have heard it said that we have substituted healthy relational communities for digital networks and we are emotionally poorer for it. Larry will help us understand the debilitating effect anxiety can have on our lives and point us toward health. You know Larry as the founding director of Peachtree Road’s Pastoral Counseling Center, a “straight-shooter,” and a man with a compassionate heart for the people of this community.
- Ron Greer – we will bring our series on mental health to a close on Sunday, February 23, when Rev. Ron Greer preaches at the morning worship services on the topic “Maximizing Mental Health.” Sometimes I feel like a person who is frozen against a sheer cliff, holding on for dear life, and too anxious to make a move. Ron is one of those wise counselors who can coach me off the cliff: “Put your left foot here. Now lift your right hand there. Pull yourself to there…” You know Ron as the current director of the Counseling Center and one of the wisest persons in our congregation.
These are important messages. It goes without saying that I hope you will be present for each of every Sunday in February. I especially encourage you to invite someone you know who may find these to be a healing balm for their lives.
Finally, I want to make you aware that it is time for our annual Habitat for Humanity home build. Beginning on Saturday, February 8, and running each Saturday until March 28, folks from Peachtree Road will be meeting to build our 49th home in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. The homeowner with whom we are partnering is a pharmacy tech with two elementary school-aged boys. You may sign up to participate as an individual or you can spearhead a group from work or your neighborhood. No construction experience is required! I am grateful to Patty Harris and Cran Upshaw for heading up our teams this year. You may register here and someone will get back to you.
As you can see, good things are in store for us in the coming weeks. Thank you for all that you are doing. Let us strive to see Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly each and every day of our lives. See you in church Sunday!