Climb a Tree

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So Zaccheus ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, for He was about to pass through that way.                                                             Luke 19:4

Climbing a tree, typically reserved for the young and young at heart has something to reveal to us as we grow and prayerfully mature in our walk with Jesus.

To climb or not to climb. We survey the climb, the height, the available branches which will support our weight. We consider our own strengths and limitations. We then decide – or not – to begin.

Going up. It is not a race. It is a steady, thoughtful clamber up trunk and limbs. We size up distances to reach a branch or knot hole for our next toe or hand hold which will support us. It requires strength, stamina, and strategy. Once we reach our chosen perch, we rest and enjoy the scenery.

The view from up there. Perspective matters. Swaying in the branches we discover a breeze we did not create that effects us — the tree and our bodies. We make adjustments to our position and take in the larger view around us. In the canopy we see more than from the ground. There is an expanse to breathe in. When ready, we begin the journey back.

Returning to solid ground. The climb down is often just as careful and intentional as the climb up. Once we land again on terra firma we evaluate and celebrate. We evaluate the climb, assess the muscles, any scrapes we gained along the way. We also celebrate the renewed strength and the accomplishment of the climb.

This tree climbing is how we at times position ourselves — just like Zaccheus — to see Jesus. It takes deciding, climbing, strength, strategy, stamina. It involves gaining a larger view of the kingdom of God, resting long enough to enjoy and absorb what the Spirit reveals. It involves coming back to share with others. At times Jesus calls to us, “Hurry, come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5).

I share these things this month in an attempt to share about some things that I believe the Spirit has been revealing for us and to us. “Us” refers particularly to the Strategic Planning Team and the recent decision of the Council to bring on Karen Robison as our ministry intern.

The Strategic Planning team continues its work with Bob Baker from Lutherhaven. The team has regularly been climbing the tree to see Jesus — His vantage point in regard to Peace Lutheran as well as what Jesus’ mission and ministry for us may be for the season at hand and ahead, as well as in this community. The climbing has identified our core values which we shared with you this past summer: God’s Word, God’s Love, God’s Call, and God’s People. In October we will be considering our mission statement, celebrating current ministries and proposing some additional strategies as we want to be a people answering Jesus’ call. More sharing from the Team in the weeks ahead.

The council discussed and moved forward with bringing Karen Robison on for the coming months as a ministry intern at PLC. As I explained last month, our initial plan (approved by the congregation last January) to find and fund a person from Lutherhaven did not come to fruition. In the meantime, the ministry Karen has been sharing with us, teaching Bible study classes, working with VBS, and preaching on several occasions is one of those tree top moments. The view become clearer as we moved among the branches, adjusting from our original plan (Lutherhaven) and considering the view in front of us (PLC). The council’s decision to enlist Karen, with her demonstrated gifts and skills for furthering the ministry here at PLC fits well with the emerging strategies being developed by our Strategic Planning team. We are currently — a multi-generational congregation with a few young families. We are looking beyond to a time when God will be drawing more younger families to our fellowship. We believe Karen is part of God’s plan as we encourage and equip our current membership and prepare for those the Lord will add to our numbers. (Please read her article in this newsletter about a mid-week multi-generational event in the works).

I have a growing sense of Jesus’ urgency for us at this time and place. I hear Jesus’ saying, “Hurry today…” I sense Jesus beckoning us with His desire to stay with us, to dwell among us. While of course Jesus is always with us, the invitation is for us to linger with Him, on the ground, during the climb, and at times in the canopy so we will recognize His presence, get a larger view of His kingdom — His will and ways — and to return, sharing Jesus with others.

I love all of you deeply. May we together enjoy the climb of this time and place, continually devoting ourselves to Gods Word, Gods Love, Gods Call, and Gods People.

Pastor Jon


today i climbed a tree

who’s trunk like mine was thick in the middle

who’s leaves like the hairs of my head were thinning

who’s limbs as weary as mine

 creaked and groaned as i climbed

yet with my ascent rose a strength

in us both long forgotten

perched near the top

we danced in a breeze-born sway

yielding revelation that the life of God still flows

in the sap, in the blood

coursing through each ring and wrinkle

and when to earth i reluctantly returned

we saluted one another

yes today i climbed a tree

and both the tree and i are better for it


Verse of the Day

Pastor Jon can now add radio celebrity to his resume! Tune in to Spirit radio, 104.9 FM, during the entire month of November and listen as he reads the verse of the day! It will be broadcast at least 10 times per day and mentions Peace Lutheran!