Pastor Linda Pokrajac

Please join us!


June 23, 2019


Carolyn Poteet


"ACT"ing As
a Leader


Exodus 17:9-13
Numbers 11:16-17
Acts 6:1-15

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June 20, 2019
Linda Pokrajac

Dear MLEPC Members and Friends,

If you have asked me recently how I'm doing, you probably got one of two responses, either "I'm on a roller coaster" or "I'm happy to have my feet planted firmly on the ground again!" The Pokrajacs have had two major family events in the last few weeks. Nikolas Paul was born in Toledo on June 5, making big brothers out of 9-year old Noah and 11-month old Aleks. Many of you pray for Aleks, who was diagnosed in January with a severe form of hemophilia. We are grateful for answered prayer - that Nikolas is hemophilia free and Aleks is doing very well with weekly infusions of a synthetic clotting factor. On June 6, we traveled to Dover, Delaware for our older son's wedding on June 8. I was back at work for just two days then headed west to Toledo to spend four days being a grandma. Just ask me sometime what my top spiritual gift is - I can't imagine why grandparenting didn't make any of the lists in the New Testament! I came back home then last Saturday in time to say goodbye to dear church members moving to Florida and then was greeted with the news first thing Sunday morning that one of our precious seniors, Betty Lou Snyder, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday. Not only was my roller coaster physically going up and down through the hills of Pennsylvania and then through the flat farmlands of Ohio, but emotionally, it's been a roller coaster as well! And I don't like roller coasters!

Life and ministry in the early church was indeed a roller coaster; Acts is "ACT"ion packed as it tells the story of the gospel spreading. We saw the power of the Holy Spirit as Pastor Steve preached on Pentecost Sunday and then how that power showed itself in the disciples as Pastor Carolyn preached last week on the story of the healing of the lame beggar. This week, we see that leadership in the early church was characterized by ups and downs. Bold preaching and signs and wonders being done caused many to believe in Jesus, but there were hardships, persecution, arrests and imprisonments, themes that carry throughout Acts. Acts 5 begins with the story of Ananias and Sapphira, a couple whose deceit shows us how integrity as a characteristic of leadership is key to unity within the church. Continuing through Acts 5 and 6, we see that leadership can only be done with the strength that comes from God; we depend upon the resources of heaven. The third characteristic of leadership is service, and we are introduced to Stephen, known as the first Deacon as he is chosen as one of seven to "wait on tables" to allow the apostles the time they need to focus on preaching, teaching and healing. Next week we will read about Stephen's witness and testimony as he becomes the first martyr. And our Old Testament scriptures about Moses help us to see the importance of shared leadership as Moses was supported by many as he went about the work God called him to.

I confess that the spiritual gift of leadership is one of the lowest on my list. And that's where I'm grateful that Pastors Carolyn and Steve have that gift in a much higher place! As I was working at home on Wednesday, putting together session reports, funeral, and Sunday's sermon, I had a text message from Pastor Carolyn at the General Assembly conference in Denver, telling me she felt called to preach this Sunday. God obviously knew I was feeling overwhelmed this week and took the sermon burden off of me! You might wonder why Pastor Carolyn felt called to preach this week? She was sitting at the conference and listening to Andrew Brunson speak. You may remember that at the time of the GA last year, Andrew was imprisoned in Turkey and he underwent much persecution. He was released in October, 2018, and his story ties well into this week's text.

It's summer vacation season, and when you aren't on a physical roller coaster somewhere, we look forward to seeing you in worship where we will continue throughout the summer to study the ACTion-packed book of Acts. Join us on Sunday as we hear not only the amazing story of the early church but also the story of one of its leaders, Andrew Brunson, as he experienced firsthand persecution for his witness to the gospel.

Love, in Christ,
Pastor Linda

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