Pastor's Note

July 2, 2020

Dear Friends,
 
I’m so blessed to be in Blue Springs with y’all! I have never experienced the warmth, openness, and kindness that I have the first week of being here. Tara and I have talked multiple times about how thoughtful and giving everyone has been from reaching out through emails, welcoming us on Facebook, and even offering us furniture while we waited for our moving truck to arrive. We are so lucky to be welcomed with open arms. We want to give everyone a big… Thank You! 
 
I know I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting everyone yet, and because of the craziness and unknown of Covid, it may be difficult for me to meet everyone in person for a while. However, I am excited to get to know everyone and walk alongside you in this journey called life. 
 
Looking back over the last couple months, I have had a lot of change in my life. Everything from getting engaged, learning to deal with shelter in place, and moving 9 hours away has led me to start thinking about change and how many transitions we have in our lives. Have you ever experienced a big transition in your life? Whether that be from changing jobs, moving into a new house, going to college, or dealing with the new norm, I believe we have all had to deal with a transition in our life. 
 
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. Change can be a great opportunity for us to learn and grow into the person that God wants us to be. It’s all about our mindset going into the change. Let’s look at one of the first stories in the Bible that illustrates how scary and rewarding change can be. 
 
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives, And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
-Genesis 12:1-3
Abram (he also changes his name to Abraham later in the story, so he knows a thing or two about transitions) leaves his own house, friends, family, and way of life to follow God’s call and be a blessing to others. That takes some bold faith to step out and follow God like that. Was it easy? If you read the rest of his story in Genesis, certainly not. However, God led him to become the father of a great nation that has been a blessing to the earth. 
 
So what about you? What big change have you experienced in your life? How have you handled transitioning from one phase of life to another? If you have a change happening in your life, I hope that you look for the positives and how God can use you in this new season of life. You never know what might happen. You might find yourself as a pastor at an amazing, welcoming church who offers you a card table until your furniture arrives! 
 
The change doesn’t have to be scary, and I would love to learn about what change is happening in your life. Please reach out any time. 
 
I’m so excited and honored to call Blue Springs home. I’m looking forward to see how God will move and change our lives together. 
 
Blessings, 
Pastor Andrew 

April 17, 2020

I share about Beth fairly often in my sermons, but one fact about her you may not know is that she played Division 1 basketball in college! That’s right, and for Fordham University in New York City! Can you imagine that 20 year old Kansas gal stepping onto the streets of the Bronx? It makes me laugh every time I think about it.
 
Well after two years of playing ball, she graduated and... threw her basketball shoes in the trash as she left the dorm. And it wasn’t just because of their losing season. She had been playing basketball since 4th grade, and the path had run out. There was no more basketball in front of her. And for someone who ate, breathed, and lived ball, that wasn’t just a pair of shoes lost... it was a whole new world: A world where she didn’t know what to do next. 
 
I share this because it feels like the perfect example of those moments in life where we have NO IDEA what comes next. 
 
* How do I live without them? 
* How do I find another job?
* What am I supposed to do with this diagnosis?
* How do I take care of a baby?
* When is this pandemic ending?
 
We all have experienced moments where the path just... ends. And we have no idea what comes next. 
 
But neither did the disciples. See, they thought Jesus was here to stay—even after the resurrection. They thought they knew what they had signed up for and what was coming next. But then Jesus LEFT. And with very few directions for them! 
 
Sometimes we think the disciples were ready to create the church. But the reality is... that was the last thing they wanted or expected. What came after the resurrection was a group of people who had to push through the reality of ambiguity, confusion, and fear. But none of those things kept them from partnering with God and changing the world. 
 
So join us this weekend as we learn from the first Christians about how to make a path when there ISN’T ONE. I can’t wait to share the predicaments they get themselves into...
 
 
Chris
 
P.S... Oh and I proposed to that Div 1 athlete! See the photos below :)
 
Posted by Chris Abel

Easter

Dear Church,
 
When I found out I’d be the lead pastor at a church last fall, I was simultaneously ecstatic and sick to my stomach. On one hand, I’d felt the call to pastor for over 10 years and sometimes it felt like I had been pushing it off, over and over. On the other hand, I knew I had little experience in the finances of the church, administrative responsibilities, funerals, and pastoring the sick. But not only that... there was a daunting responsibility that seemed to be the true test of a pastor: 
 
EASTER. 
 
That’s right, Easter, AKA… the Super Bowl of the church calendar. Was I ready for that responsibility? Well, rather than just cross my fingers and hope, for the past few months, our worship staff spent hours and hours planning and dreaming up a way to celebrate Christ with all the energy and creativity we could muster! If I'm honest, I was terrified that I'd somehow "drop the ball" on the most important Sunday of the year.
 
And then everything changed: Coronavirus. COVID-19. "The Rona."
 
Whatever your preferred lingo, it turns out my first real pastoral Easter test isn’t about whether or not we could pull of an amazing Easter service, but about what it means to celebrate the Resurrection… when we’re surrounded with change and isolation like we’ve rarely experienced. 
 
So I've had to do what a lot of us have done: I’ve been praying and reflecting and asking God a lot of questions (and retired pastor Steve Cox, too.) One of those many question is what it means for us to still have Easter as a community when we're not physically together. And here’s what I’ve walked away with: 
 
Easter isn’t about candy. 
Easter isn’t about a church service. 
Easter isn’t about the family potluck.
Easter isn’t about dressing up nice. 
 
Easter, friends, is about having HOPE. 
 
Hope that God is with us, and that chaos doesn’t win. Hope that the worst thing is never the last thing. Hope that good can come from bad. Hope that we’re never truly alone. Hope that our mistakes don’t define us. Hope that we’re worthy of love. Hope that our lives matter. Hope that the impossible can be possible. Hope that Jesus brings us a life fuller and better than we could ever imagine, no matter what is happening in the world.
 
And that makes the service seem a lot less daunting. Now, we’ve still planned an amazing Easter service for this weekend. But whether or not you watch online with us at 10am this Sunday, or dress up in your Easter best, or eat some of those amazing Reese’s eggs (where my dog got his namesake)… the truth of Easter is that Christ rose. And rises. And lived. And lives. And that it wasn’t just a stunt, but an invitation for us to be part of a kingdom of people who life our of that hope
 
And so while it might be my first Easter as a lead Pastor, I’m just grateful I get to be part of this beautiful movement of hope side-by-side with YOU. 
 
So my prayer for you is that this Easter isn't just a service or potluck or a day of candy-induced stomach ache (maybe that's just me), but a day that truly reminds you of the Hope we have in Christ.
 
 
Pastor Chris 
 
P.S. If you have kiddos in the house, not only are we live-streaming Easter this Sunday, but we’ve got a special 20-minute EASTER JAM we’ve made just for families! You can tune in for games, stories, and family discussion questions as soon as Easter goes live! (Check out the details below in this newsletter to get your supply list ready for the games!)
 
P.P.S. And for everyone, I hope you’ll join us tonight for our Maundy Thursday service at 7pm. This is a church service that remembers the last moments leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. It’ll be powerful… and we’ve included a lot of faces from our church! You can watch at Bluespringsumc.org or tune into Facebook :) 
Posted by Chris Abel

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