Lakeview Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Life Can Be Better!
Pastor Tim Pullin arrived at Lakeview on July 12, 2000 with his wife Karen and son John.
Pastor Tim is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having served in South Dakota and England, and a 1991 graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN with a B.A. in Religion. He has served in ministry full-time since January of 1991. "PT", as he is often called, loves to play, write and sing music (trumpet, keyboard, and guitar), he also loves sports of all types and is interested in science and technology as well as the fine arts.
Here is a greeting from Pastor Tim:
Greetings in the name of our victorious and soon-coming Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;
"I don't believe in organized religion!" That was the response I received in a previous assignment when offering the sympathy of the church I was then pastoring to a teenage boy who had just lost a brother in a house fire. I understood then and still do, that this was a time of great personal loss and so I didn't take the response personally. What I did do was to assure the young man that I wasn't trying to sell anything, just offering our church's sympathy, then offered to do what I could to help. He said he needed some aspirin. I told him I didn't have any, but that I would be happy to run home and bring him some Tylenol. He agreed, so that is what I did. When I returned to the same spot with a bottle of Tylenol and a glass of water, he and his friends were all gone. So I left the items on the side of the road. Later I returned to see that they had been picked up.
That was a troubling moment for me. It caused me to ask myself why this young man at such an early age had decided not to put any stock in any church, even at such a devastating time. I wish I could say that I have the answer to that question today. But I do believe that part of the answer has to do with whether or not a church has demonstrated that there is any real, practical benefit to its presence in its community. Several years ago, in a sermon here at Lakeview, I asked a challenging and somewhat troubling question: "If Lakeview Church was to suddenly cease to exists, who would notice?" I confessed then that the question troubled me, because at the time, I wasn't sure that many people would notice our sudden disappearance. Shortly thereafter our church began to answer the challenge laid down by our district mission arm (Nazarene Missions International, or NMI) to reach out into our "Jerusalem" (our home town) and make a difference.
What has followed has been a season of relevant, life-changing, soul-impacting ministry that has taken a wide variety of forms. And now, several years later, I can say without a doubt that Lakeview Church is indeed making a difference in her community. In fact if I was asked to summarize the basic character of Lakeviewers, I would have to say that their most noticeable quality is that of generosity. Whether it is by caring for people by taking them into one's home during a difficult time, or by sharing materially with those across town, across the state or around the world, Lakeviewers have truly "been there and done that". In truth, the ministry footprint of Lakeview is much larger than would be expected for a church her size.
o Giving hundreds of dollars in “spare change” to help build churches, school, hospitals, clinics, parsonages and more
o Financially supporting over 600 missionaries in over 150 world areas (countries) on every populated continent on the Earth
o Assisting in practical relief efforts to fight hunger, provide safe drinking water, sponsor needy children, support micro-economics in developing countries, respond to man-made and natural disasters
o Supporting our regional Nazarene institutions of higher learning, Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN, our Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO and our Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs, CO.
o Whether it is knitting hats for earthquake victims, or packing up baskets for the local battered women’s shelter, or offering practical assistance to needs that arise in the local church body, Lakeviewers, as you can see, are a very giving and generous group of Christians. We take to heart Christ’s commission to minister “unto the least of these, [His] brethren”, and thereby minister to Him.
Meanwhile Lakeviewers participate in ongoing and traditional seasonal activities like Wednesday Night Coffee Houses, featuring hot beverages, finger foods and lively spiritual conversation. She also offers:
· an annual Easter Egg Hunt
· an annual Easter Choir Cantata featuring new and traditional favorites
· annual patriotic services at Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Veterans Day
· Vacation Bible School
· a delicious Thanksgiving Banquet;
· Decking the halls of our church for the Christmas Season
· a unit in the local Christmas Parade;
· "Christmas Around the World" as part of the annual Christmas party;
· and a meaningful Choir Christmas Cantata.
All of this is just a snapshot of what life is like here at Lakeview. And while at times it stretches one's energy level to be involved in all of these efforts, it is always a joy because Lakeviewers are such a positive bunch of people.
That is not to say that Lakeviewers live charmed lives free of difficulty or personal issues. As pastor of Lakeview for over 14 years, I can assure you every family, if not every person deals or has dealt with significant life-issues from time to time and many do so on an on-going basis. But as we have become accustomed to affirming, we have found that "God is good - all the time." Jesus, Himself, promised us that "In this world, you will have trouble, but do not be afraid for I have overcome the world." And we have found time and again that His presence in our lives at such times is the difference-maker.
It is indeed a privilege to be leading in ministry at Lakeview in her 61st year of continuous ministry in the Western North Carolina area! Serving as the pastor of Lakeview Church for the last 14 years has become one of my life's most challenging and most rewarding endeavors. The friendships and collegiality that have been built in that time are truly the "lifelong" type. In the time I have been here, we have been through some very good times and some very challenging times. We have said some sad farewells to some who have moved on to other locations, or other churches, and some to their Heavenly reward. And we have welcomed many new friends who have become integral parts of Lakeview and her multifaceted ministry.
God alone knows what the future holds for Lakeview. But we believe that God who has made Himself known to us through His Word, through His Son, Jesus and through His Spirit also desires to make Himself known to our world through us. And one of the ways He does that is by taking care of us no matter what the situation may be. With our hands firmly clutching His, we walk boldly into the future in the strong assurance that He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him.
To that young man, now long-since an adult, who responded to my offer of sympathy now over a decade and a half ago I would say, "I don't believe in organized religion, either. But I do believe in Jesus. And Jesus told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Although it isn't necessary, sometimes being organized can help us to do that better." At Lakeview, we are still discovering this to be true.
If you are looking for a place to call your church home, consider Lakeview. Many have done so to their soul's delight. If you are visiting or travelling through the area, stop by and worship our wonderful Creator and Savior with us during one of our worship or study times. You will be glad you did. I know that I am! I look forward to seeing you there.
In His love,