Pastor Carolyn Poteet

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February 16


Carolyn Poteet


"I Doubt It!"


Jude 1:17-25
John 20:24-26

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February 13, 2020

Thomas "said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks
in his hands and put my finger where the nails were,
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
John 20:25

Greetings in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Thank you for your prayers for Bruce Tenenbaum as he visits Sierra Leone.
One of his fellow travelers posted several pictures, including this visit to an elementary school. Our presbytery sponsors a ministry called Edunations, which builds Christian schools in largely Muslim areas. Many people have become Christians through the ministry, and multiple churches have been planted in each site. Bruce is teaching church elders while he is visiting. For more info, check out

It is too bad Bruce is away this Sunday - he wrote the study guide materials for this week. If you haven't read it yet, please do. The theme this week is about dealing with doubts, and Bruce shares his faith journey from a Jew to a skeptic to a follower of Christ. He kept trying to figure out Christianity, and at one point, he asked someone in an online chat room if there were any books that would prove it was true. The woman from Lubbock, Texas, responded that this wasn't about proof, it was about faith. Bruce went to bed that night not believing and woke up believing in Jesus.

How do we help people struggling with doubts about faith? The apostle Thomas, forever known as Doubting Thomas, could not believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead. It was not possible. He must have been related to people from Missouri, the "Show Me State." He refused to believe unless Jesus showed up in person. And of course, Jesus did show up in person. Can you imagine being Thomas, with your own words echoing in your ears, "unless I put my finger where the nails were...", as Jesus held out his hands to you?

As I have been studying for the sermon this week, one scripture passage popped out at me that I had never noticed before. You are probably familiar with practical James's admonition, "You must believe and not doubt" (James 1:6), but have you ever noticed Jude 22, "Be merciful to those who doubt"? I am grateful for Jude's compassionate stance for those who struggle. It is especially hard for teens, seekers, and skeptics to accept the teachings of and about Jesus Christ. We need to have compassion, creating space for them to share their struggles and questions, and gently sharing our own faith. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

A recent article in Christianity Today offers great advice specifically to parents who are trying to create room for their teenagers, and it is helpful for any of us who are speaking with people who are struggling with faith questions. I loved these questions parents can ask: "What is something you don't believe that you think I still believe?," "What is something you believe that you don't think I believe?," or ""When do you feel closest to God?" If someone says they don't believe in God anymore, the author suggests a response like, "Tell me about the God you don't believe in anymore." The article recommends sharing your own faith journey so they can understand why it is that you believe what you do. You can read more here:  Christianity Today Article

Opening a dialogue like this will create a space for the person to share those struggles and a chance for you to respond with compassion and grace. Pray lots and trust Jesus to show up!

We are all on a faith journey. There are days when doubts toss us around, and other days when we are resting firmly on the Solid Rock. I have always loved the father's response to Jesus in Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" As Jesus honored his request, He will honor ours as well. We can put our whole trust in our Rock and our Redeemer.

Pastor Carolyn

News and Notes


  • All-Church Retreat, March 13-15, you'll find brochures in this week's bulletin and people will be in the lobby to help you register this Sunday. Note: we want everyone to have an opportunity to go, and if you have a financial hardship, please do let one of the pastors or those at the table know. Scholarships are available.
  • The Church building will be closed on Monday, February 17 for Presidents' Day. 
  • Friday, February 21 is Family Fired-Up Friday! Bring the whole family! Details on the website, please preregister at
  • Join us on Ash Wednesday, February 26, for dinner at 6 p.m. followed by a worship service at 7 p.m., a service of repentance and reflection with the imposition of ashes.


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