Pastor Perspective

Pastor Paul Mattson

June 2019

. . in Pastor’s Perspective:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1) 

I used to do a fair amount of running. In younger days, even training with the cross-country team during the summer to help get my legs in shape for basketball. 

It wasn’t THAT long ago, I could run a few miles, several times a week, and feel good about the workout. 

Now that summer is (finally?!) upon us—the season of getting back in shape after the long winter months, some days ago I thought to myself, “I’ll go run a mile—just ONE mile” to get back into the swing of running again. 

What happened surprised me. After some preliminary stretching, I set out doing more of a “jog” than a “run” and I couldn’t believe how short a distance it took, before I was huffing and puffing and unable to go on. I had no idea how badly out of shape I was—legs and lungs protesting every stride! 

But I am going to keep at it—if not running, then walking or hiking or biking or kayaking—staying active and trying to stay fit. 

Summer can also be a time of getting back in “spiritual shape.” As believers and followers of Jesus, we are called to be “disciples” – a word that has the same root as the word “discipline.” And if we are not practicing the disciplines of weekly worship, daily prayer and reading the Bible, fellowship with other believers, sharing, caring, reaching out to others, it is amazing how quickly we can become “out of shape” in our spiritual lives. 

Some of my best memories of running, were times when I ran with groups of others. In a group, we were there for each other to offer words of encouragement and support. This is true in our “running the race” as followers of Jesus—it is a race we are not meant to run alone. We need each other—to run along side each other—to offer words of encouragement, support and hope. 

And of course, God also gives us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to be our spiritual coach and guide in the race we are running—together. 

So let’s take advantage of these summer months, and practice the habits of “spiritual fitness” and GATH-ER (together) in worship, GROW (together) in God’s Word and grace, and to GO (together) and serve others in Jesus’ name. 

Thankful to have you all as running partners! 

Pastor Paul 

Please contact the church office if you, or someone you know from Immanuel, with their permission, is in the hospital. Due to confidentiality laws, the hospital does NOT contact the church (or pastor) when they are admitted, even if they designate a specific church/pastor on the intake form. At Immanuel, we hope and strive to provide timely and appropriate pastoral care to those who would desire and appreciate it. Too often, we are last to know about a member being (or having been) in the hospital. Thank you!