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Pastor's Note | Saturday, November 8th

It was one of those moments we weren't quite prepared for as parents.

It was just a couple weeks ago, when my family and I were in Santa Barbara for the weekend to attend my wife's college reunion. We were staying with good friends, Dana and Beth Allin (you may remember Beth, who served Good Shepherd as an Interim Youth Director, and her husband Dana, who serves as Synod Executive of ECO and preached at our last All Together Now gathering in July).

On Sunday morning, we worshiped with a wonderful church that has been thriving in Santa Barbara for years. At the outset of the gathering the band led the congregation in worship with the song 10,000 Reasons. Then it happened. And, as parents, we weren't ready for it.

Our son, just 3 1/2 years old, started singing along. Like actually singing. And not just because the words were on the screen (because, you know, he can't read). Our little Moses was joining in worship because he knew the song.

We weren't quite prepared for it. But we were as proud as we could be.

To be sure, Moses knows a lot of songs, especially theme songs: Thomas the Train, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and more recently, Veggie Tales. And now we can add 10,000 Reasons to that list of cartoon openings!

We were proud of our son. But we were also proud of our church family.

We wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if our son were bashful, even uncomfortable, visiting a different church. And yet, his unabashed singing, in an unfamiliar church, prompted us to think of our church back home - and were proud to be a part of a family of faith that is helping little ones like Moses learn how to live a life of worship.

Of course, our son doesn't quite yet understand all the implications of connecting with God, but Cassie and I are confident that as he continues to grow up in our family of faith, he will be given the best opportunity to learn how to follow Jesus through Good Shepherd's ministry. To paraphrase Proverbs 22.6, we're thrilled for the ways our church family is helping us "train up our children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it."

Last Saturday, a number of us from Good Shepherd attended our first official ECO presbytery meeting at Malibu Presbyterian Church. I continue to be grateful for ECO, and am more convinced than ever that our re-affiliation with this growing movement of churches will help guide Good Shepherd into the future God has for us. To be sure, joining ECO will not be "church as usual." Instead of remaining in our pews, waiting for people to come to us, we will be encouraged - and challenged! - to go out into our neighborhoods with the good news of Jesus.

Just as Cassie and I were surprised by our son's singing, sharing our faith may be something many of us aren't quite ready for! We have all been born and raised into a culture where those with spiritual yearnings came to church. But, as Bob Dylan sang, "the times they are a changin'." No longer do those with spiritual questions necessarily get up early on Sunday morning to join in a worship service. But we are called to be and become those who go out to them - into our communities, our schools, and our workplaces - to engage others with the truth of the gospel.

And just as my 3 1/2 year old son learns new songs of worship, I too need to learn new ways of following Jesus out into my neighborhood. While I know how to follow Him into church, I need to learn how to follow Him out into the world, joining Him in His mission to a broken and hurting world in need of His healing and grace.

May we be bold... Bold as my 3 1/2 year old, going into unfamiliar places to declare the good news of God's love!


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