The Mt Pisgah Mennonite Church is re-visioning their life and mission in their rural community of large farms in northeast Missouri. With young people moving away they need to reach out into the community. It is one of the oldest Mennonite Churches, and only conference congregation, in the state. They have a regular attendance of about 50. John Thomas is a the part time pastor.
On Sunday, January 24, 2016, Sandeep Thomas was installed as pastor of the Argentine Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Pastor Thomas is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh PA, and previously served as associate pastor of the Asian Indian Christian Church of Pittsburgh and then worked as a campus pastor in Pittsburgh. In Kansas City Sandeep works half-time for International Students Inc., a ministry to international students studying in Kansas City. The installation service included about 30 guests in addition to the regular attendees. Many of the guests are part of Sandeep’s extended Spiritual circle, largely as part of his student ministry. To learn more about the Thomas family (wife Sufi and children Ahia and Andrew) check out the bio at the Argentine Mennonite Church web site: http://www.argentinemennonite.org/about/staff/.
Regional Conference Minister, Kurt Horst, preached the installation sermon using 2 Peter 1 to encourage Pastor Thomas to: Keep Jesus at the Center, Make Disciples of Jesus, Love the Church and Keep a Balanced Life. The Argentine congregation has had a children’s Venture Club ministry for a number of years and are currently looking for a part-time youth pastor to continue this ministry as those children move into Jr. and Sr. High School.
I believe that this concept of “Waiting on the Lord” is one of the most fundamental practices to the Christian faith, and sadly is almost lost. In Psalms 25, David, who was known as a man after God’s own heart, puts it this way: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; . . . . Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” When is the last time you waited for God all day? Jesus uses this same model. If Jesus needed to take time to wait and hear the will of the Father, then how much more should we? There are lots of “good things” that we can busy ourselves with, but what does the Bible say about the “good things” we do of our own accord? Isaiah 64:6 “All our righteous deeds are like filthy rags”. What if the good things that you are doing are your things and not God’s? How can we know what things to do? Wait upon the Lord.
Conversations with our youth group students recently birthed the idea to have a youth center in town. We checked into a storefront that had been empty and for rent for some time and found it was available. We met there and prayed and asked God what He wanted us to do. We were silent and listened. After that I began to write down their Holy Spirit inspired ideas! They said, God said Do It!
I challenge you to wait on the Lord until you truly encounter Him. I think one of the biggest fears that stops us from really practicing this is: what if I wait and He doesn’t show up? My brothers and sisters, let’s not live in fear! Let’s pursue God the way He tells us and believe that He will keep His promise and bless us with His presence and direction. David says he waits all day, Jesus went to wait on the Lord for 40 days in the wilderness. How long will you wait to hear from God?
More verses for study: Psalms: 25:5, 27:14, 33:20-22, 37:7-9, 37:34, 40:1, 62:1, 62:5, 130:5-6; Isaiah: 8:17, 30:18, 40:31, 64:4; James 5:7-8; Lamentations 3:25; Micah 7:7
As we look around our communities and lament the “immigrant” fears that threaten the Biblical mandate to practice hospitality (Rom. 12:13; 1 Tim. 5:10; Heb. 13:2), we would do well to pay special attention to the variety of people that are already a part of our communities.
On November 21, Whitestone Mennonite Church, hosted a Thanksgiving meal for the assortment of persons who attend the Saturday and Monday worship settings and are part of the church’s Summer Feeding program, along with a mixture of friends and neighbors. The gathering of approximately 70 people was an evening of Thanks and Fellowship. The surprise of the evening was the international presence. Persons attending represented passports from four continents and at least seven countries in addition to the United States.
-Kurt Horst, Lead Pastor
Whitestone Mennonite Church