CPC's Session is currently studying the book Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger.
Father Richard Rohr's Free Daily Meditations.
Richard Rohr is affiliated with The Center for Action and Contemplation. Learn more about the Center HERE.
Gulley's website has many other resources as well. You can find them HERE.
Rev. Don Makin
Don Makin has been serving as CPC's Lead Pastor since 1996. He is a graduate of King College (B.A.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University (D.Min.). Prior to coming to CPC, he served congregations in Nashville and Collierville, TN. Don and his wife, Jennifer, have three children and one grandchild.
If you are interested in accessing some resources that Don endorses, you can find those below his photo. His most recent GoodNews Letter column, "Parsonally Speaking...", can be found below as well.
If you are seeking spiritual guidance, Don can be reached at the church Sunday through Friday, or you may call or email to make an appointment.
Parsonally Speaking . . .
Many of you will remember Steve and Susie Hubbard and their children, Lauren and Philip. The Hubbards were very active and involved at CPC, until they moved away a number of years ago.
Philip just graduated from high school. We recently received a three-part email update about him from Steve and Susie, and I’d like to share it with you. It is lengthy, but well worth reading. I found it to be very moving, and I’m sure you will as well.
Part 1: Cover note from Steve and Susie
Dear Session and Members of CPC,
In November of 2000, Susie and I entered into a covenant with the congregation of Christiansburg Presbyterian Church and God to raise our son Philip to know and understand Jesus Christ, through the act of Baptism. As Philip is set to graduate, I think it important to share that this covenant has been met. As Susie and I started to bring children into this world, we found the need to find a church home to help us in this endeavor. CPC was an extremely welcoming home for us as we started this new chapter in our lives. And while your church family was instrumental in the foundation of both Philips’s and Lauren’s faith journey, they were even more impactful on a young couple finding their way back to God. We truly felt the love and grace of God within the walls of not your building, but in the community of members that choose that building for worship. For all of this, we will be forever grateful. I have enclosed Philip’s Faith Statement and his Senior Message he recently delivered to the congregation of Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Yours in Christ, Steve and Susie Hubbard
Part 2: Philip’s Faith Statement
I am a trombone. What are you?
I am a trombone in God’s orchestra. God has blessed everyone and made them as instruments as well. There are flutes, pianos, banjos, triangles, wind chimes, bagpipes, and any other instrument you can imagine. Each of us is used differently and has our own unique sound and purpose in the music God has created us for. God gives us the freedom to improvise. I can set my own tempo, I can play as fast as I like, or I can slow down. I can control my dynamic, I can blast as loud as I can play, or I can play as the sound of a whisper. I can choose the style in which I play, a smooth legato or a tight staccato. I can control my rhythm, a boring easy long note or a fun challenging fast 16th note run. Everyone is an instrument; we all can join the orchestra. We just have to ask Jesus to help let us in.
Philip Hubbard’s Faith Statement continues:
When I first started to learn how to play my trombone, I was awful. I had a horrible tone. I could not articulate, and I had bad technique. It took me a while to even play a true note. I got better with a lot of practice and hard work. I’m still not as good as I want to be, but I keep trying and seek help along the way when I get stuck or have a hard time. I have musical mentors.
When I first started to understand church, it was in Sunday school. I was 5 or 6 and had Miss Sunwall as a group leader. I couldn’t answer any questions. I did not know about God or faith. I didn’t want to go. My Mom says I cried when she said I had to go. But I learned about God in Vacation Bible School and Sunday school with Neil and the Webbs. I was confused when I first started to learn about faith. It has taken me a while to understand God and how he works in my life. I don’t understand everything yet, but I have faith mentors. I still need to practice to make my faith better.
I am a trombone. I am God’s Trombone. I am his instrument. My faith is changing; it is improving. I can play a note with it. Can I do a perfect solo with a fast tempo? No, not even close. But I can play now, when at one point the neighbors would tell you I could not. My skill and my faith are growing. They both need practice. I still need mentors, so I can continue to be the instrument God has made me to be, so I can understand how I can best be used to contribute to his orchestra, so I can let myself be conducted by his will.
I am a trombone in God’s orchestra.
Part 3: Philip’s Senior Message
Newsflash: God changes. Yes, you heard me right… God changes. And before anyone gets mad at me, let me explain to you how God has changed throughout my life. The first memories I had at this church – I’m going to be honest with you – were of not wanting to go to Sunday School, not wanting to go to choir, and not wanting to go to children's church. In my first years at Quaker, I had a resentful relationship with God.
As I grew older, I started to become closer to God through Vacation Bible School and Advent activities. These interactions help me see God lived out in other people's faith. Members like the Webbs, the Jennings, the Cawthorns, and many more were examples of lives lived within God’s faith. Through these interactions, God changed for me. I saw God through relationships. And through these relationships, my relationship with God changed. And my resentment towards God slowly went away.
As I moved into “big” I started a faith journey with a peer group that was on that same path. Laura Jones showed me how learning about God's ways can be fun. And I started to think of God almost as a friend.
When my family moved to Memphis, on our last Sunday at Quaker, Luke did a send-off for us. This was an emotional day for me and my family. It made me realize how strong a relationship I had with the members of this church, and how this church had helped me along my faith journey. By this time in my life, I started to see God more as a loving God. And that love was shown through the members of this church and their interactions with me.
When we moved to Memphis, my relationship with God changed drastically. I did not have a supporting group of people who shared the same memories that I once had at church. As we searched for a new church family, I found it harder and harder every Sunday to go to a new church. At this time in my life, I had a distant relationship with God. I missed the relationships I had at Quaker and forced myself into relationships that weren't entirely healthy for me. I formed a relationship with a group of friends who were really bad influences on me. At times I felt uncomfortable and I didn't feel like myself. At times I did things that I regretted and things that I felt ashamed to tell my parents about. I felt guilty towards God.
Moving from Memphis to Texas was a great thing for me in my life, because it helped me break away completely from those relationships which were not healthy for me at all. In Texas I got a clean start and developed some new friends in band. Right before we moved back to Virginia, I had started to get back into church and was playing trombone with the choir, which helped me understand how music and faith can be intertwined.
Philip Hubbard’s Senior Message continues:
Coming back to Quaker was like coming back to home. And all the old relationships came back. Going through Confirmation helped me understand the changes I had gone through since leaving and coming back. Once back at Quaker, I again saw God through his love.
So, through my life, God has changed from a God of blessings… to a God of power that is to be feared… to a God of relationships… to a friend… to a God of guilt… to a God of Second Chances… and then to a God of love.
Going to Montreat was a very eye-opening experience for me. I saw the faith of others openly displayed and their willingness to share. I saw that God was different for different people. I found that while my faith was unique, it was not wrong, because it was my faith. My second year at Montreat I signed up for the Jeremiah Project, and this brought everything together for me. I felt pride in my faith and was able to stand in front of a large group of people and express it. I felt the same loving relationships at Montreat that I felt at Quaker.
I told you that God changes… but the more I think about it, maybe God doesn’t change… maybe I’m the one who changes. Maybe it’s me who’s changing, and God’s the one who’s adapting to me. God adapts to us. God’s not the one that’s changing. God’s not changing us. God gives us the chance to change ourselves through the situations and relationships he gives us. God gives us the opportunity to be who we want to be, knowing that we will constantly change for better or worse. And though God gives us the opportunity to be who we want to be, he puts us in situations that strengthen our relationship with him and others around us. God shows his love for us through our relationships. Through our family. Through our friends. Through our congregation.
God doesn’t change. God has never changed. I’m the one that’s changing. We are all changing. Though we may not be going through the same level of change, we still are changing. And God adapts to change and supports us in different ways.
So, at this moment God for me might not be the same God that you have at this moment, but that’s okay. God can be whoever you need at any moment, a friend that you look up to or someone you cope with after a loss. God is a constant being who has the ability to adapt to our needs. And that he will do, the same for each and every one of you. And as I continue to grow in my faith, I know that God’s love will adapt and meet my changing needs. I know I will continue to grow in my changing faith.
This year’s youth theme is Change, and change can be a very scary word. But if we listen to the verse from James, we know that God can be a constant for us in our lives if we let him, and we know he brings gifts. I want to take the time to thank God for the gifts he has given me: the gift of a loving family that protects and supports me; the gift of TRUE friends who challenge me and keep me humble; the gift of this congregation that has taught and mentored me.
(Don again): What stirring words! It’s wonderful to know that CPC has played a positive role in the life and faith of the Hubbard family. And how good it is that we are ALL one in God’s family!
Peace and all good,