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United Church of Christ
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285 West National Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055
(740) 323-2407


February Pastor's message

Dear members and friends of St. John’s:

During my sabbatical, one of the things I did for self-care was to make an appointment at the YMCA with a personal trainer. Some of you know that I have been working out at the Y on a regular basis for years. There is nothing like a workout to refresh and renew the body, mind and spirit. After declaring my regimen to be a good one, my trainer did a little fine tuning adding new routines and machines.

One of my “new” exercises was to do leg lifts on a mat. It felt like I was back in high school gym class. And my muscles felt it too. That’s what happens when you stretch yourself and test your limits. But the effort is well worth it!

The same thing is true of our spiritual muscles. We all have our regimens for worship and ministry, prayer and reading the Bible. Scripture says that finding new ways to do these things can have lasting benefits:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2)

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

And Jesus said, “‘All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

As your pastor and teacher, I continue to be impressed with your good spiritual health and the many ways it shows. It is well with your souls!

Some of the spiritual exercises I have been doing lately include journaling, quiet contemplation, focused prayer, prayer walks, repetitive reading (scripture passages and “The Jesus Prayer”) and daily devotionals.

No matter how good your regimen is, it is important to stretch those muscles and try new things. It is even more important to keep up with the program.

God has blessed us with a personal trainer who watches over our spiritual exercises and keeps up with us while we run the good race. And when we believe in Jesus, keep the faith, and stay with the program, all things are possible!

In Christ’s love,

Rev. Mark

Rev. Mark Katrick