Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel
Monday, June 17, 2019
Since 1951
 
 

Reflections

 
2019
MAY     Love One Another
2018
NOV     Giving Thanks
SEP     What is Worship?
FEB      Repent and Believe
2017
DEC     Happy New Year!?
MAY     The Easter Season
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Love One Another

Rich Pollock, Worship Committee Chair

May 2019

There are many events in the life of our chapel happening in May: Mother’s Day, our bi-monthly Board of Governors meeting, Choir Sunday, our first covered dish fellowship meal of the summer, our first 8 a.m. summer service, and Memorial Day. But before all these is our National Day of Prayer service at noon on May 2 in the Chapel. What an appropriate way to start the month and our summer season— in prayer.

 

The theme this year is Love One Another based on the words of Jesus in the upper room during the Last Supper that are recorded in John 13:34, which says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

 

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President of the National Day of Prayer, said in announcing the theme, “Love can change America.” And we certainly know— America needs changing! Dr. Floyd added, “From the church house to the state house and all the way to the White House, we need to learn to love one another.” 

 

 

 

So if you are on the island during the first week of May, I invite you to come to the chapel on May 2 for a brief service of prayer for our nation starting at noon. We will be asking God to empower us and our fellow Americans with His love. A love that is patient and kind. A love that does not envy or boast. That is not proud or self-seeking. A love that is not easily angered or quick to keep a record of wrongs. A love that does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. That always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (I Cor. 13:4-7)

 

Indeed prayer is a powerful agent for change. So perhaps now more than ever in our nation’s history, we need to follow Jesus’ command to love one another. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins”. (I Peter 4:8)

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a weekly guest minister is unavailable to lead us in Sunday worship.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What the Resurrection Means to Me
Rich Pollock, Worship Committee Chair
 
 
April 2019

        During our Lenten Lunches on the five Tuesdays before Easterwe have been hearing from various folks on what the Cross of Christ means to them. Reflecting on the significance of the Cross in our daily lives is a good thing to do during the season of Lent leading up to Easter. How does the death of Christ impact you and me?

 

But then comes Easter morn. How does the resurrection of Christ impact me? This is what I want to write about this month in my reflection.

 

Several years ago, Johnny Cash produced a film on the life of Jesus called The Gospel Road. One of the things that I remember from that movie was the emotional impact the news of the resurrection of their Lord had on the disciples. They went from the depths of despair to heights of jubilation in just three days.

 

Can I be as excited about that news as they were? Can I be as committed as they were to “go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and ev’ry-where” that Jesus Christ is risen and alive today?

 

We all get excited about Christmas, our families and friends look forward to the holiday, but what about Easter? Shouldn’t we be even more excited about it? No other single event in human history has done more to “turn the world upside down” than the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Many years ago while I was still in college, I had a near death experience while whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River in Western Pennsylvania. Five 

 

fraternity brothers (healthy, fit wrestlers and football players) went out in April for a little adventure. Only four of us returned after being caught in a whirlpool known as the “widow maker” in the middle of a set of rapids. At one point during our fight for survival on the river, I thought I was going to drown and I simply said, “Lord Jesus, I’m yours.”

 

The next thing I remember I was floating down river head first toward a steep waterfall. Fortunately, I was able to swim to shore and pull myself out of the water before going over the crest. It took me more than four hours to hike through the woods and reach safety.

 

We lost a good friend and the quarterback of our college football team that day, and all of us struggled with the true meaning of life. As tragic as this incident was— for drowning victim and survivors— it caused me to ask, “What’s it all about, anyhow?”

 

Later I came to realize that because Jesus Christ lives, I “can face tomorrow …all fear is gone”. Because He holds the future I know life is worth the living, “just because He lives.” 

 

AMEN.

 

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable to lead us in Sunday worship.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“In like a lion, out like a lamb." 

That’s the way we used to describe the weather in springtime. It meant that March brought stormy weather and May gave us warm gentle breezes.

Well, you could say just the opposite for the seasons of the church. We begin with Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent where we focus on Jesus as a lamb being led to the slaughter and end with the triumph of Easter morn where Jesus conquers death like a lion!

Our Lenten journey this year begins with a self-directed time of reflection and repentance on March 6 at the chapel. You may come any time between 9 and 10 a.m. and begin your own journey of repentance and faith by having the “ashes of death” placed on your forehead in the form of a cross. There will be a bulletin to guide you through a time of reading and prayer and then when you’re ready for the imposition, I will be at the communion table with the ashes.

This is a reminder for us that we must be willing to die to our old self— to turn around, to change direction, to repent— in order to receive the newness of life in Jesus. We acknowledge that it is through the Cross of Christ that we receive forgiveness of our sins and newness of life (Acts 26:18).

 

Again this year to help us reflect on the meaning of the Cross, we have the opportunity to hear from five individuals what the Cross means to them during our Lenten Luncheons every Tuesday beginning March 12 from 12 - 1 p.m. at the Assembly Building in Topsail Beach. You can find more info in flyers at church and around town, in this newsletter, and on our website. 

Jean Bell and Julia Sherron have done a great job preparing us for Lent this year with our weekly study of Adam Hamilton’s book, 24 Hours that Changed the World. I highly recommend this book. One of the many new perspectives it gave me about the Cross is the possibility that Jesus may have meditated on the Psalms to gain strength during his agonizing death. See especially Psalm 22, which he quotes while dying. This has challenged me to read and meditate on the Psalms more often in my own devotional time. This might be a good activity especially during Lent, don’t you agree?

In like a Lamb, out like a Lion. The Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah.


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday worship.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
As I sit here at my desk looking over the United Methodist Worship Planning Calendar for 2019 that the Board of Governors gives to various committee chairs each year, I am struck by the fact that there is no special religious day in February. There is no special Sunday like Epiphany or Christ’s Baptism in January, or Transfiguration Sunday or Lent in March, or Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday in April this year. Or is there?
 
Stuck in the middle of the month, and on a weekday this year, is a day called Valentine’s Day. It’s a secular day that celebrates romantic love, right? 
Commercially it has turned into the second largest card-selling day (second only to Christmas) every year. In fact, some say it dates back to the early days of the Roman Empire and is a pagan celebration of the founding of Rome. However, there are some churches— Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox— that celebrate it as Saint Valentine’s Day in honor of a bishop from Rome in the 4th century who was martyred for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to persecuted Christians.
 
So whether it’s a pagan or sacred day, it is a day that celebrates romantic love. But what is romantic love? Are there other kinds of love? A couple of years ago Cole Ryan, a Christian author, wrote an article entitled, Figuring Out What Love Really Is, in which he laid out two very different and contrary views of love. One was passive and the other was active. 
 
“Passive love is the kind of love that happens to you,” he wrote. “It’s the warm feeling you get when you are around someone you love– they make you feel good,…happy, they complete you. They consume your mind, steal your heart, and you’re addicted to them.” But he goes on to say that this love “is entirely self-centered. We love this person because they benefit us.
 
 
 
 
What happens when that other person can no longer do this for us? What happens when this person no longer makes us happy or feel good? This is often when couples give up and break up.
 
Active love is very different. “It persists despite,” says Ryan. Despite how he or she makes you feel, despite how he or she treats you. “Active love chooses to stick around even when it isn’t beneficial… when there is nothing to gain.”
 
This is God’s love. As I John 4:16 says, “God is love.” And “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us”. (I John 3:16) It is no longer seeking to be loved (passive), but seeking to love the one you found (active). “The goal,” says Ryan, “is to do for them what Jesus did for me-– to lower myself to lift them up, to die to myself to give them life.” And this is exactly what the rest of I John 3:16 says, “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
 
So there is a “religious” holiday in February after all. St. Valentine’s Day is God’s Love Day. For this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
 
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!
 
 
 
 
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday worship.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In 2018, our Board of Governors’ Chairman Frank Sherron asked us to be aware of “God Sightings” in our daily lives and report back to the board during our bi-monthly meetings. We might call these spiritual “aha!” moments when we recognize God working in our lives. Another word to describe these “spiritual revelations” is epiphany. It is a word that dates back to ancient Greece and means “appearance” or “manifestation” usually by the gods.

The modern American poet, Maya Angelou defines epiphany this way: “It’s the occurrence when the mind, the body, the heart, and the soul focus together and see an old thing in a new way.” Psychologist Elise Ballard sees epiphanies as “major, life-changing revelations that have had the greatest impact on our lives” (Psychology Today blog, January 25, 2011).

In the church, we observe the season of Epiphany as starting with the coming of the magi to see the

baby Jesus, celebrated on January 6 and lasting all the way until the first day of Lent on Ash Wednesday, this year on March 6. It is a season of new beginnings or new “God sightings” for us.

As we begin the new year of 2019 may we be aware of the “Counselor, …the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16, NIV) living with us and in us; teaching us and reminding us of everything Jesus has said to us (Jn.14: 26) so that in experiencing these “life-changing revelations” we may experience God’s peace and not be afraid (Jn. 14:27). 

May you have a joyful and revealing New Year!


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday worship.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we immediately start preparing for Christmas. There are decorations to hang, goodies to bake, packages to wrap, cards to be mailed, parades and flotillas to watch (not to mention the many football games). Oh, and if you didn’t get it all done on Black Friday, gifts to buy! So much to do and so little time to do it! Such is the Christmas season for many of us.

 

Hopefully we can all find time to pause and reflect upon the true reason for the season. 

 

When the God of creation found favor with a young Jewish girl named Mary and His Spirit “overshadowed” her (Luke 1:35), she gave birth to the “Son of God” who was to be called, “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1: 21). So we celebrate the birth of babe who became the Savior of the world. This is the real reason for Christmas.

 

But sometimes this meaning gets lost in the commercialization of this holiday (which literally means “holy day”). I saw on Facebook the following poem, which addresses this problem. I don’t know the author’s name so can’t give proper credit, but I wanted to share it with you anyway:

 

    

     'Twas the night before Christmas, God glanced      over the earth,

     He looked to and fro; all over its girth.

     “They missed it again,” He said with a sigh, 

     A heavy heart and a tear in His eye.

     “I gave them my son, so they could be free.

     My greatest gift, to them from me.

     They traded me in for a man in red,

     A little tree, and a horse drawn sled.

     How do I save them and make them see?

     My love is complete, my grace is free.

     How do I help them, when all they know

     Is a talking snowman, and a box with a bow.

     Maybe next year, they will stop and see

     The biggest gift of Christmas is the little child          from me.”

 

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a babe wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11,12)

 
Merry Christmas!
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday worship.
 
 

It’s hard to believe that it's November already! But, thank goodness, October is over. After Florence and Michael, I think most of us have had enough visits from “unwelcome visitors” recently. It will be great to see the end of hurricane season on November 30.

November is the month of Thanksgiving, and this year we have much to be thankful for. . .

November 4th is All Saints Sunday, when we will give thanks for all the saints of the church who have gone before us and made our lives a little richer because of their faithfulness. Just take a look at the many pictures in “God’s Grace” to see many of those saints, past and present who have had an impact on us through the “Little White Chapel” by the sea. Thank you, dear saints.

On November 11, Veterans Day, we will give thanks for all the men and women who have served in our armed forces who gave us a more peaceful place to live and worship. Thank you, veterans.

On Thanksgiving, November 22, all God’s people will come together to give thanks to “that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection…” (George Washington in his first presidential proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789).


After surviving two catastrophic hurricanes, indeed we can be thankful to God for “His kind care and protection.” Thank you, Lord God Almighty.

And finally, November 25 is Christ, the King Sunday when we will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is “Lord of Lords and King of Kings” (Rev. 17:14) and therefore has final authority in all things, both sacred and secular, church and state. (Perhaps this is a good thing to acknowledge before our political elections on November 6.)

When looking at Christ’s kingdom remember it is one marked by humility and service, for he told his disciples:

You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whomever wants to be first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:42-45

Thank you, Jesus!


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
No, I’m not referring to “Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic” but to Remembering, Recovering and Reforming.
 

Looking at our October calendar, both secular and sacred, three important events are highlighted for me. The first is World Communion Sunday on Oct. 7. On this particular Sunday we at EAMC join with many other Christian churches around the world to celebrate Communion. It is a time to join our hearts and minds with our brothers and sisters from around the globe to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for all of us. As the Apostle John wrote in his first letter: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world,” (I John 2:2).

 

The second significant event in October is the town's 30th annual Autumn With Topsail, October 20-21. In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we need to celebrate our coming together as a community helping our friends and neighbors recover from their loss. What an opportunity this year to say, “we may be eroded, but we’re not erased; flooded, but not finished”. With God’s help we will rebuild and recover, not just physically but spiritually as well.

 

 

This brings us to the third event in October, Reformation Sunday, October 28.  Five hundred years ago a young monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of his Wittenberg Church. This simple act began a firestorm within the Roman Catholic Church that became known as the Protestant Reformation. On this Sunday we pause to reflect on the core beliefs of our faith (see our Statement of Faith). As John Calvin once said, we Protestants “are reforming, always reforming”.

 

So perhaps this October we can remember, recover and reform our way back to God. Knowing that the all-surpassing power of God will sustain us, though we may be “hard pressed on every side, (we are) not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”. 

(II Corinthians 4:8-9).

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I don’t want to sound sacrilegious but, liturgically speaking, September is a slow month. We’re still in the weeks “after Pentecost” but there is no significant religious holiday in September. Plus the summer youth program is over. Vacations are over. School is back in session. There’s nothing to celebrate. Right? Or is there? 

 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about worship, and especially about worship at EAMC. What is it? Why do we do it? And how do we do it?  

 

In his book, Worship is a Verb (1992), Wheaton College professor Robert Webber writes, “Worship isn’t an entertaining showcase for a talented (choir) or a lecture on textual criticism or a pleasant weekly reunion of friends and family. Instead, true worship is a joyous celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

 

In this sense, worship from the heart can transform your life literally forever! So whether you are alone in your study or together with others in the midst of the chapel your worship should express more of what God has done for you, and less of what you will do for Him.

 

 

As the psalmist says, “Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day,” (Ps. 96:2). 

 

So maybe there is something to get excited about in September. Each day is a “day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” (Ps 118:24). As we say in our policy for use of the Chapel, “our services include worship in prayer, music, scripture reading and the spoken word.” So every time we gather in the chapel whether it is for a church service, for a wedding, for a baptism, for a memorial or for communion, we gather for worship— a joyous celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who was, and is, and is to come.  

 

Halleluiah!

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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On July Fourth we will be celebrating 242 years of independence from England. Many of us will be doing so with a picnic with family and friends. We might even watch some fireworks afterwards. But as we do, I’d like us to think about exactly what it is we are celebrating.

 

Robert J. McCracken, Scottish pastor of Riverside Church (1941-1967) in NYC, once wrote, “Men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure freedom for their souls.” And so they did.

 

But does it take a two or three month voyage across the sea to find freedom for our souls? I think not, but perhaps it does take a new beginning. Many people today are seeking freedom in this country and a new beginning. So how do we all find freedom?

 

In the Gospel of John he records these words of Jesus, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:31,32). And what is the truth?

 

The Continental Congress of 1776 said in its Declaration of Independence, “We hold 

 

 

 

these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Libertyand the pursuit of Happiness.” [emphasis mine]

 

Jesus told Pilate, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37).

 

“Now the Lord is the Spirit,” wrote the Apostle Paul. “And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (II Corinthians 3:17).

 

So there you have it! Freedom is found not in a place, but in a Person and that Person is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. On this Fourth of July may you find true freedom for your soul.  

 

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you look at the church’s liturgical calendar, there is not much happening in the month of June. But if you look at EAMC’s calendar a lot is going on-- youth ministry activities every week, two worship services every Sunday, and fellowship dinners every fourth Wednesday, along with our regular Sunday school classes and Friday Bible studies.

 

But there is one item on the liturgical calendar in the month of June and that is Father’s Day. “Wait a minute,” you say.  “Isn’t Father’s Day a national holiday, not a ‘religious’ holiday?” Well, yes and no. The Roman Catholic Church in Europe celebrated a father’s day in March way back in the Middle Ages, called “Saint Joseph’s Day” in honor of Jesus’ “foster father”.

 

Father’s Day in this country has its roots in a Methodist church in Fairmont, West Virginia, back in 1908 when they honored 250 fathers who were killed in a mining accident. President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech in Spokane, Washington, in 1916 at a Father’s Day Celebration. But it was not until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed it into law declaring it a national holiday on the third Sunday of June.

 

So what is the significance of Father’s Day for the modern church? Perhaps more than ever we need to see fatherhood as a God-ordained role in family life. Jesus referred to God as His heavenly father and said that we, too should address God as “our Father who art in heaven….” 

 

 

 

But Jesus also had an earthly father, Joseph from whom He learned a trade (carpentry), obedience and humility.  Both Matthew and Luke write that Joseph was a righteous, humble, loving, caring father; in other words, a God-fearing man of character. Aren’t these the qualities all good fathers should strive for?  Again God shows the importance He places on fatherhood by providing His son with a loving earthly father.

 

We don’t know much about Joseph outside of Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels, but we do know that he was present during Jesus’ formative years from birth to baptism by John, after which Jesus began His earthly ministry.  In other words, Joseph was there when “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).  And isn’t this the role of fathers even today: to help their children grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and others?  

 

Happy Father’s Day, to all you fathers. May God bless you and strengthen you for the task He has given you.

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Is Pentecost a Jewish or Christian celebration? The answer is Yes! It is both, but they do not always coincide. Let me explain. 

 

The Jews today celebrate Shavuot which is the receiving of the Torah on the 50th day after Passover. Christians on the other hand celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on the Seventh Sunday after Easter. With today’s calendar they don’t always coincide, but sometimes they do.

 

And one of those times was the first time in Jerusalem  when, after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them, the apostles began to speak in other languages. (Acts 2) This is when the celebration of the receiving of the Written Word coincides with the receiving of the Spirit of the Living Word.

 

That’s why Pentecost is important. It marks the day when the breath of life, the helper, the Holy Spirit 

 
descended upon men and women. It marks the day that so much of what Christ had done suddenly made sense to his people. It marks the day that the church was truly born and began its work of calling all peoples to itself.

Were it not for Pentecost, Christ’s followers never would have left Jerusalem, or else would have gone back to their boats in Galilee, and Christianity would have perished in Judaea. Instead, God sent His Spirit, and no power of The Evil One has been able to withstand it since.
 
 
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Why is the date for Easter different every year? 

 

The short answer to this question is that the early Christians wanted to keep their Easter celebration tied to the Jewish Passover and since the Jewish calendar in based on solar and lunar cycles, dates for Passover are always movable. Another problem for the early Christians was if they kept to the Biblical accounts (see Matthew 27:27-28:8; Mark 15:16-16:19; Luke 23:26-24:35; and John 19:16-20:30) with three days after Passover, Easter would fall on different days of the week rather than Sunday. So how do you keep the observance on Sunday, which was when the resurrection occurred?

 

Without going into a lot of detail, the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. established that Easter would be on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon (not the first full moon after the spring equinox). Basically, the western churches use the Gregorian calendar while the eastern churces use the Julian calendar.

 

 

So in some years Easter is the same for both and in some years they are seven days apart, like this year--April 1 and April 8, respectively.

 

All of this does not take away from the truth of the resurrection (see Paul’s argument in I Corinthians 15) and its historical fact as the most pivotal event in human history. For “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. …But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…!” (I Cor. 15: 14, 20).  So whether you celebrate Easter this year on April 1 or on April 8, shout out to the world:

 

“Hallelujah! He is risen!”

 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We often refer to the Christmas season as the “season of giving” for it is a time of giving gifts to one another. At other times we talk about “paying it forward” when we give a gift to someone and ask for nothing in return, but that the recipient “pay it forward” by giving to someone else.
 
But why not see Easter as a time of giving? For is not the cross of Christ the symbol of the ultimate gift to mankind? If so, how can we repay God for this gift of salvation? Or how can we “pay it forward”? In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul doesn’t talk about repaying God or paying it forward but rather suggests that there is a circle of giving in the family of faith (see II Cor. 9: 12-15).
 
An excellent example of this is EAMC’s Kingdom Crafters giving to the people of Puerto Rico. This is indeed what Paul was talking about when he wrote, “this service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but it is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” (II Cor. 9:12).
 
 
 
Because of what God has done for us here at EAMC, we are able to give to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and elsewhere, who in turn praise God for our obedience to the gospel of Christ and our generosity in sharing with them (v. 13). And so, their hearts go out to us “because of the surpassing grace God has given (us)” (v. 14) and we come full circle by thanking God “for His indescribable gift” (v. 15) to us – his only Son who died for our sins.
 
Indeed there is this circle of giving in the body of Christ to which there is no season.  It is done all the time by the people of faith in gratitude for what God through Christ has done for them. Hallelujah!
 
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

ASH WEDNESDAY, a day of fasting, is the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. It occurs 46 days (40 fasting days, if the six Sundays, which are not days of fast, are excluded) before Easter. This year it is observed on February 14. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics and some Baptists.

 

 

According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Lent originated as a mirroring of this, fasting 40 days as preparation for Easter. Every Sunday was seen as a commemoration of the Sunday of Christ's resurrection and therefore as a feast day on which fasting was inappropriate. Accordingly, Christians fasted from Monday to Saturday (six days) during the six weeks before  

 

 


Easter and from Wednesday to Saturday (four days) after Ash Wednesday, thus making up the number of 40 days.

 
 
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of making ashes from palm branches that were blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday (in our at-home devotional I suggest another source for your ashes) and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel". (Mark 1:15)
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.

 

 

Happy New Year!?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rich Pollock
Worship Committee Chair
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yes, Happy New Year to you all!

 

January 1, 2018, may be the first day of next calendar year, but December 3 is the first day of the coming Christian year (at least in the western church) for it marks the beginning of what we call Advent.

 

The word “Advent” is a Latin word meaning “coming” or “arrival”. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. The focus of the entire season is twofold: one, to celebrate the coming of the Babe in Bethlehem as the Savior of the world and, two, the anticipation of Christ’s return as King of Kings in His second coming (advent).


Advent also symbolizes our spiritual journey as individuals and as a people of faith in the meantime. We affirm that Jesus, the Son of God, has come into the world in human form, that He is present in the world today through His Holy Spirit and that He will come again in power and glory to establish His eternal kingdom.

 

The Advent symbol above is a combination of Hebrew and Greek letters identifying Jesus as the “first and the last” taken from Revelations 1:8 and 22:13—

 

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega (the first and the last, the beginning and the end)’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”


The blue letter is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, and the purple is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, omega. Not only does this symbolize the One who has come and will come again, it also emphasizes the continuity of God’s work in human history throughout both the Hebrew (Old) and the Greek (New) Testaments.

 

So my prayer for you this Advent season is that through your renewed relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior you will find hope, peace, joy and love. 

 

Have a Blessed New Year!

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Discipline of  
Gratitude  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rich Pollock   
Worship Committee Chair   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For many of us, Thanksgiving is a four-day weekend filled with football games, fantastic meals, festive parades, family reunions, and Friday shopping for Christmas.  All of this is a far cry from the “first Thanksgiving” in New England in 1621. Back then it was a simple gathering of less than 150 people (56 Pilgrims and 91 Indians) to partake in a harvest meal to thank their Creator for the bounty He had provided for them after they had survived their first cruel winter in the New World (46 of the original 102 colonists had died).
 

It wasn’t until 168 years later in 1789 that George Washington proclaimed it a national holiday. But still all Americans did not always celebrate it. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. But it was not until 1941 that Congress sanctioned the fourth Thursday in November as the legal Thanksgiving holiday for all Americans.

 

So what should Thanksgiving mean to us today? Is it or can it be more than games, meals, parades, and shopping? Perhaps the answer lies in the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers in Luke 17. Remember only one came back to thank Jesus— and he was a Samaritan! As a result, he received more from Jesus than just a healing. He also received a relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 

 

 
 
As Henri Nouwen wrote: 

“Gratitude …goes beyond the ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ and claims the truth that all life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought gratitude as a spontaneous response to awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude (italics mine) is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me (by God) as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”


 

So as we gather around our “harvest tables” with family and friends on the fourth Thursday of November to give thanks to God for all He has given us, let us remember the words of the psalmists: 

 

"Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever." (Psalm 106:1)

 

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.

 

 

 

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1st
Sunday
in October
 
 
 
 
Rich Pollock,
Worship Committee Chair
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

“Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks

judgment on himself”

(I Cor. 11:29, NIV).

 

 

 

The first Sunday in October, designated as World Communion Sunday, celebrates our oneness in Christ with all our brothers and sisters around the world.  The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to “recognize the body of the Lord” when we partake of Holy Communion, mindful of our relationship to all our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world from every nation, race and tribe. 

 

A Presbyterian Gift

World Communion Sunday (originally called Worldwide Communion Sunday) is a gift of the Presbyterian Church to the larger Christian church. The first celebration occurred at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Penn., in 1933 where Dr. Hugh Thompson Kerr served as pastor.

 

It was his attempt to bring churches together in a service of Christian unity—in which everyone might receive inspiration and know how important the Church of Jesus Christ is, and how each congregation is interconnected one with another.

 

 

 

A historian from the Shadyside church wrote:

“The concept spread very slowly at the start. People did not give it a whole lot  of thought. It was during the Second World War that the spirit caught hold, because we were trying to hold the world together. Worldwide Communion symbolized the effort to hold things together, in a spiritual sense. It emphasized that we are one in the Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 

Today, World Communion Sunday is celebrated around the world, by all denominations demonstrating that the church of Jesus Christ comes together as one body in the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine during the Lord’s Supper. 

 

So let us remember our oneness in Christ with all our brothers and sisters from around the world as we celebrate Communion on Sunday, October 1 regardless of where we are on that day (whether at EAMC, in our home church, or visiting a friend’s church).

 

“Do this in remembrance of me,” says the Lord Jesus.


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

For many of us, September is a return to “normalcy”. Summer vacations are over, the children are back in school, and everyone’s schedule returns to the routine. It is easy to see how some can even become depressed or at least discouraged as a result. There is nothing more boring than the mundane!  So how do we avoid falling into this pit of discouragement?


One thing that can help us is to reorient our focus. As the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians (4:23), “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitude.” Don’t let your problems be the focus of your thoughts, but rather focus on the promises of God to forgive and make you new (II Cor. 5:17).


Another step toward finding true joy in living is to look to the interests of others (Phil. 2:4). In other words, lend a helping hand to a friend or neighbor. It is amazing how our perspective of life changes when we help a
 
 
 

 

neighbor in need. Our problem somehow doesn’t seem so big anymore.


Finally, I would encourage you to read Philippians in one sitting. It’s only four chapters long and in my Bible that’s only four pages! It has often been referred to as the Epistle of Joy for that seems to be Paul’s main theme in writing the letter—to encourage us his readers to be joyful in all our relationships. And the end result will be peace (Phil. 4:9). 

 

So may God grant you peace this fall as your life returns to “normalcy” after a busy summer. Shalom. 

 


Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services. 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Rich Pollock
Worship Committee Chair
 
As I sit in front of my computer I feel like a person who is caught in an “in-between” time. Like a person who has started a journey but has not yet reached the final destination.
 
That’s very similar to where we are in the church calendar.  In June we celebrated Pentecost, the outpouring of God’s Spirit on the followers of Jesus Christ and in December we will celebrate Advent, the coming of Christ (first as a Babe in a Manger and finally as Lord of the Universe at the end of this age).  But now in August we are “in-between” these great events in human history.
 

So, one could ask, “How now shall we live?”

Seventeen years ago, Chuck Colson teamed up with 
 
 
 
 
Nancy Pearcey, a policy director of Wilberforce Forum, and wrote a book with this question as its title. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it for it will “demonstrate how to live a more fulfilling and satisfying life in line with the way God created us to live.”
 
Also, you can look at this year’s (Year A’s) Epistle readings of the common lectionary for June, July and August which are from Romans 5:1-15:13 and you will discover Paul’s answer to this same question-- “how now shall we live?” 
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
2011-07-17-hechingen-by-RalfR-046
 
Happy Birthday,
Church of
Jesus Christ!
  
 
 
 

 
Rich Pollock  
Worship Committee Chair  

PENTECOST

 
The English word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty”. Originally it was a Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Weeks. Today in Jewish synagogues it is simply called Shavuot (Weeks) in Hebrew.
 
For Jews, Pentecost commemorates the giving of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. But for Christians this day became especially significant because, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, during the Jewish celebration of Shavuot/Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his first followers, thus empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church (see this account in Acts 2). Thus, Pentecost is considered the Christian church’s birthday.
 
The spiritual significance of Pentecost is having the Spirit of Christ living in and empowering the individual follower of Jesus. Just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus warned his disciples not to leave
 
 

 
 
Jerusalem until they had "been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). For us this means that we do not have to try to live the Christian life through our own efforts, but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul gives us a practical explanation of how to do this in the 8th chapter of Romans.
 
So, on this one thousand, nine hundred and eightieth (give or take a few years) birthday of our church, let us rejoice in that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. (Rom. 8:37)
 
Happy Birthday, Church of Jesus Christ!
 
 

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Richhappily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 

The month of May is primarily the season of Easter in the liturgical church calendar. It is actually the 50 days from Easter Sunday (April 16 this year) to Pentecost Sunday (June 4). This represents the time that Jesus walked on the earth after the resurrection (of course we celebrate His ascension a week before Pentecost, May 28 this year).


During this time, the Scripture readings for this liturgical year are in Acts, I Peter, and the Gospel of John (2017 is Liturgical Year A). But I want to cite a passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church:

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which 

 

you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day…, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me.” [I Cor. 15: 1-7]


Paul wants to establish the resurrection of Jesus Christ as an historical fact based on eyewitness accounts. He goes on to say that this is the basis of our faith and our hope in the life to come. I invite you to read his entire argument in the rest of chapter 15 of I Corinthians.  

May is the season of Easter, a time to celebrate life over death and the hope of the resurrection from the dead to all who believe.

 

 

 

______________________________________________

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.

  
 
 

  

 LENT: It's not about giving up chocolate

  Rich Pollock, Worship Committee Chair

 

Should we observe Lent? 

First, let me say, that there is no Biblical mandate to do anything during the season of Lent. But it is still a good idea to focus on a time of repentance. To repent is to change one’s attitude, words and lifestyle. As Martin Luther taught, the Christian life is all about living a life of repentance. However, just as a baseball player may work at staying in shape year round but still give special attention to physical conditioning before the start of spring training, so, too, we may find great benefit in setting aside a few weeks before Easter to give special attention to our spiritual condition.

  

 

What is Lent?

People from different religious backgrounds have very different understandings of this season of the church year we call “Lent”. The word itself comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “lencten”, which means “Spring”. In the western church it is the 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays) starting with Ash Wednesday and ending on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. It is a period of preparation traditionally focusing on praying and fasting following the example of Jesus’ praying and fasting in the desert for 40 days before He began His public ministry.

 

 

So how can we observe Lent?

Well, it is not about giving up chocolate, it’s about giving up sin! And that is a lot harder. But let me suggest a few things that may be helpful. Historically in the church, these helpful tools are called “means of grace” — instruments through which God, the Holy Spirit helps us grow to be more 

Christ-like. They are the Scriptures, prayer and the sacraments of baptism and communion. If regular times of prayer and Bible study are not a part of your life at the moment, Lent is wonderful time to begin these life-changing practices.

 

We have three opportunities here at EMAC for you. There are the Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. Men meet in the upper room of the Fellowship House and women meet in the choir room of the Chapel. There is a coed Sunday School class at 8:50 a.m. also in the upper room. If you are not in Topsail during this time of year, your home church might have similar programs in which you could participate. 

  

 

Come to the Lord's table!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and have been baptized, then remember that you are part of the family of God and as such you are invited to His family meal, the Lord’s Supper, which we celebrate at EAMC on the first Sunday of each month as well as other special times during the church year.

 

My prayer for you is that this season of Lent will be a genuine time of spiritual growth for you and your family.


______________________________________________

Rich Pollock is a retired Presbyterian minister. He lives in Topsail Beach full-time with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unavailable for Sunday services.

 
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