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Emotions

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Emotions are very real and very powerful. This morning I packed up my church office in preparation for our move from Clayton back to Pittsburgh in just four days from now.  I felt deep emotion as I packed those boxes. In about three hours, the staff is hosting a luncheon for Tacey and me as a kind of final farewell.  It will be for us an emotional luncheon.

I think, too, of the emotions on display after the recent presidential election.  To love our neighbor well we must seek to understand and respect their emotions, even when we may not be able to relate to those

Scripture says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that includes our capacity for emotions.  The Christian life is more than mere emotion, but not less. God has created us as multi-faceted creatures made in his image. We are emotional (feelings), intellectual (minds), volitional (wills), relational, sexual, vocational, and temporal beings.  What is missing from this list?  Are we not, at our core, spiritual beings as well?

Often the intensity of our emotions reveals the spiritual reality of our hearts.  When I sense anxiety rising in my heart, it often reveals a weakness of my faith.  When I grow angry with my circumstances, that anger often reveals my refusal to accept God’s providence.   Emotions – especially unhealthy ones – are the means by which God reveals to me my heart and my need for the gospel every day.  Emotions are a blessing, but they can also be a cruel taskmaster and an idol.  When they rise to a place of power and control and supersede the lordship of Christ, they must be dethroned.

There is a power greater than emotions, greater than elections, greater than transitions – it is the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).  Deep in every human heart there is a trinity of need, a triangle of desire, and a three-fold perpetual hunger for significance, security, and belonging.  We want to believe that our life matters (significance), that we are safe (security), and that we are meaningfully connected to others (belonging).  The gospel provides us with all three, while the world and our flesh pursue imposters. 

Although God is the source of all three, he often grants us to experience all three through his body, his church.  We are the instrumental cause of providing these three essentials while the Lord is the ultimate cause.  I believe the Lord has used us in the life of Central and he has used Central in our lives to affirm the life-giving and life-directing truth that Jesus Christ provides us with ultimate significance (we are his children), security (no one can snatch us from his hand), and belonging (to Christ and his people).

Because our cup is full of his grace and truth, we then reach out, love our neighbor, and by word and deed point them to the only One who is the true source of significance, security, and belonging.  It was been a joy for Tacey and me to be part of this reality at Central Presbyterian Church. 

Thank you for your love and kindness,

Bob and Tacey

Posted by Bob Hopper

A Taste of Central

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Are you new to Central? Have you had questions like these?

Who are the pastors and other leaders in this church?

How can I find out more about what is happening at the church?

Where are the rooms and buildings I keeping hearing about?

What opportunities are there to connect with others?

What groups are available for me to join?

How can I volunteer and use my gifts to serve at Central?

How do I become a member of Central?

If any of these questions resonate or there are similar topics you are curious about, we invite you to attend "A Taste of Central" lunch on Sunday, August 21, from 12:15-1:15pm in the Fellowship Hall.  

You will have the opportunity to enjoy a meal and fellowship with pastors, ministry staff, and lay leaders who will answer your questions and provide an introduction to the core values and vision of the church. It is our desire to give you a “taste” of how you can connect and begin to know and be known by others in different ministry groups for adults and children of all ages. We promise a delicious meal and an opportunity to take the next step in knowing and being known at Central. An optional campus tour will follow lunch for those who would like to explore our campus and learn how to navigate its many twists and turns.

If you have ever wondered about why and how to become a member of Central, "A Taste of Central" also provides an introduction to Discovery, a four-week class providing an introduction to the basic beliefs, history, and ministry of Central. Discovery is a great chance to meet new people and to learn even more about Central. There is no requirement or expectation to continue to the Membership class after Discovery ends, but the course is a prerequisite for the eight-week membership class. Discovery begins September 11.

If you are interested in attending "A Taste of Central," please RSVP to Kate Spielman ( or 314-854-0178).  Childcare will be provided. Thank you for being at Central, and we look forward to getting to know you better!

Mission Update from France

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It was a joy to travel with a music and outreach team from Central on a ten day tour of France (July 8-18) sharing the Gospel in the streets, in churches, cafes and wherever the opportunity arose. We ministered to people in hotels, in the parks and town squares and we had a packed house for an outreach concert in Toulouse. 

It was providential to be in France as the terror attack took place in Nice as many people were open to talk and to hear of God’s grace and peace. One of the songs that we sang each night was “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens followed by “Amazing Grace.” Many in the audiences were not followers of Jesus. We know of at least one man who gave his life to Christ on the streets of Toulouse! One of the church members spoke with him for more than 2 hours and led him to Christ.

In Paris, we visited and encouraged the “World Team” missionaries, many who have been serving in a very difficult area for more than 25 years.  They are seeing small steps for the Gospel.  Suzy Grumelot, sister of Central member Tammy Holder, is a part of the leadership of World Team in Paris and we sang in her church. (Chapelle du Nesle) which we call the “Cave Church.”

We also ministered with church planters in an college town outside of Paris in a local Café. We shared music and the word to those both inside and outside of the café. One young man heard the music a mile away at a Burger King and came to the café! The young pastor, Manu, and his team were encouraged and we made great friends with some of the local vendors who loved the music, especially Johnny Cash!

In Toulouse, we partnered with a local Evangelical Christian church and our Central missionary, Malia Bridwell as we did some outreach events and open air concerts.  (A huge concert was planned in the town Capitole Square but it was cancelled due to the terrorist attack in Nice the night before in respect to those killed and as to not offend anyone with music following such an event.  We did however, do some acoustic outreach and it was well received. The next evening, the band also did a concert in a local church to a packed house.  There were many young people in attendance and the place was rocking with singing and dancing. Even the pastor joined in to the surprise of his congregation!

The next day we once again took to a local park to lead in music as the local church member shared with those who stopped to listen.  This is where one of the members led a man to Christ!

God moved, even in difficult situations.  He is glorified in all that we do to bless Him.  On our way home, we stopped in Nice and was the memorial sites where the 84 people were killed last week.  As we walked the streets, we prayed for the people of France and Nice.

 

Posted by Randy Mayfield

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