Christ Church has been involved in Haiti for almost 5 years, pursing a vision to educate orphans in hopes of creating leaders who can transform Haiti. On this spring’s mission trip, our team drove past a church school that Christ Church built in 2013. At that time, 40-50 students were enrolled in the school at the church. Now, over 200 students are enrolled and two more classrooms have been added. On that same trip in 2013, I preached in a church with tarp walls (pictured below). This year, Pastor Mike Morgan from Marion preached to the same congregation. As you can see (pictured below), their facility has improved! We even built a building next door to accommodate the ever-growing number of children in the congregation.

When the team returned, Ryan preached a sermon in which he challenged us to focus on lives on the process more than the outcome. God’s timing hasn’t been what I expected. The outcomes of our involvement in Haiti are not what I expected. They’re better. More kids are hearing about Christ and receiving an education than I ever imagined. The process is taking us where we need to go and, once I let my timeline die, God could raise up HIS better outcomes. This kind of death and resurrection shows me what Easter is all about. Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Mike

Getting Ready

Soon, I will begin a 12-week renewal leave; I will be gone from May 17 until August 10. I am grateful to you for giving the time off and grateful to the Lilly Endowment for Clergy Renewal that is funding my travels. Most of the preparation is already complete.

The preaching over those 12 weeks will be covered by staff members of Christ Church, long-time members of Christ Church, people Christ Church has sent into full-time ministry, and the four surviving former pastors. When each former pastor preaches, we will have a social gathering like we did when each was pastor, and we will converse about what was strong in Christ Church during each pastor’s tenure, where we still see the strength and what opportunities we have to reclaim the strength.

Pastoral care, such as visitation for the very sick and any funerals, will be handled by Rev. Ron Carlson from Eldridge United Methodist Church. Please call the church office for instructions on reaching him. Kerri Tompkins, our Business Administrator, will handle policies, staff time-off, and so on. April Buske, our Director of Discipleship, will oversee the program of the church through the summer.

As you explore and celebrate Christ Church’s history, I will be studying my family’s long Methodist heritage, the highlight of which will be six weeks with my wife and kids in Europe, seeing where my ancestors lived and worked. I am so grateful for this opportunity and so excited to see you again in August!

*Pastor Mike

The Quick Fix

During Lent this year, we will study the first half of 1 Samuel. The nation of Israel had said that God was their King, but throughout the book of Judges, they did whatever they wanted as if they had no king. When neighboring armies crushed them, they would cry for help and God would send them a judge to deliver them. All was well until the judge died, then they would fall apart again. In 1 Samuel, Israel demanded a king, “like all the other nations have.” They sought security someplace other than God and they acted like it was God’s fault that they disobeyed, as if their problems would vanish if God did what God should do.

I think the connection to our time is obvious. All around, people search for a quick fix to their problems. People seek security apart from God and, in their search for security, usually believe their problems are caused by other people. Lent is a season of repentance, of taking responsibility for what we have done and going the right way. For those who give things up during Lent, you’ll quickly see where you have sought security other than God. You’ll start to see where you have blamed your problems on others. While it isn’t easy work, it bears fruit in being better connected to God, more at peace with your surroundings, and better able to make sound choices. The Lenten journey begins at the Ash Wednesday service on February 18 at 6:30; I hope to see you there!

Pastor Mike!