August 2019

Dear Westview UMC Family and Friends,


Pastors often hear, “I’ve done my time.” This is most commonly said in response to a request for volunteers. “I’ve done my time.” It seems that this saying equates volunteering and Kingdom Work with jail. I’ve done my time now I’m free to do whatever I want. I wonder what would have happened if Abraham had said to God, “I’ve done my time.” What if Mary, Moses, Noah, or any number of others had used this loophole?

Kingdom Work is work that we do to build up the Kingdom of God, to add to God’s family, and Good Works. These are behaviors that we as Christians should engage. At Westview we claim to be the hands of Christ right here for our community. God’s hands are anything but idle. God’s actions are purposeful and loving. Therefore as God’s hands we too must act with purpose and love.

“I’ve done my time.” Abraham and Sarah were around ninety years old when God moved them to and fro. They responded, “Here I am!” even though the how of what was to happen remained a mystery. Mary also responded with, “Here I am!” even though she was a young girl facing an uncertain path. Noah, Moses, David, and many more all responded, “Here I am.”

A woman from a previous church taught me a great deal about ministry. She was a cradle Methodist. That is she was born, raised, and grew old in Methodist churches. She was very active. She taught Sunday school, led the youth group, held leadership positions, and was a great Christian. This lady suffered many health issues later in life that caused her to be homebound unable to do the ministries that she loved so much. That didn’t stop her. God put a ministry on her heart and she responded, “Here I am.” She began writing notes of encouragement to the people in the church. She expanded that to the people in her neighborhood. She sent notes to elected officials simply giving encouragement. She wrote thousands of notes.

When she lost her eyesight people thought, “She’s done her time.” This wonderful lady turned that into, “Here I am!” She recruited her granddaughter to write the notes as she dictated them! This was a wonderful bonding experience for them and when this sweet lady passed over to glory her granddaughter continued writing those wonderful notes of encouragement.


Let us all turn, “I’ve done my time” into “Here I am Lord!


Blessings,
Pastor Tom

July 2019


As I was walking through Walmart this past week I noticed the back to school displays and realized how excited the children must be. After all how much freedom, fun, and fresh air can a child take before they go back to school?  It did make me realize that time has kept marching on and maybe even increased pace this summer. It seems that yesterday I was writing about summer vacations and family time and here it is the beginning of the school year.

Most of the children I have talked with are not excited about school. They have been enjoying their time away from a routine that keeps them busy at a school desk. I share with them that they can look at the start of school as a new beginning; a kind of do over. There will be new people to meet, challenges to face, and learning to accomplish. Looking back at the changes in the church I realize that we are very much a new church.

I do not mean that we are a new church start or that things will drastically change. As a new church we face certain challenges. We have people telling us we cannot do things this why or that because “we’ve never done it that way before.” We have people that are unsure how to plug in and get involved because new things can be messy and a bit confusing. We also have people waiting to hear about God and Jesus Christ; desperately needing to fill a void in their lives. Being a new church leaves us with questions. Who are we? What do we stand for? Why are we a church?

The mission statement of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our conference adds lines about empowering leaders to make disciples. Westview’s mission statement is to create, equip and send forth disciples to spread God’s love. How do we do this? Is this who we want to be? Is this enough? As a new church we have the opportunity to explore the answers to these questions and really look at what God is calling us to do in the mission field that is Fairview Tennessee.

God has called us to be the hands and feet of Jesus sent to a hurting world. The leadership of Westview will be meeting to discuss this theme on August 4th after the second service. If you are interested in being a part of leadership, ministry, or involved in a new beginning join us for lunch and conversation to see what Westview UMC will be doing for God in the coming months.

Blessings,

Pastor Tom

June 2019

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

Clergy and Lay Delegate members of the Tennessee Annual Conference met this past week in Brentwood Tennessee. Over the three days we participated in Holy Conferencing, a process of discerning God’s will for the United Methodist Churches of Middle Tennessee. At this Annual Conference we elected delegates to the next General Conference in 2020. We also approved direct billing of health insurance and pension of clergy serving local churches. We acknowledged and apologized for harm caused to LGBTQIA+ individuals by the church. The most exciting aspect of Annual Conference was the vote to form a new conference with the Memphis Annual Conference. Together we will be stronger in our Jurisdiction and the church as a whole. When more parts come together more can be accomplished because the many gifts combine to create a stronger whole. I look forward to working with our kinfolk from across the river.

In addition to Annual Conference news a date has been chosen to go to the Holy Lands. Join Brady Whitehead and me on January 13-22, 2020 as we set off on a life changing trip. We will visit sites like Petra, Qumran, Bethlehem, Jerusalem including the Garden Tomb and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. From Jerusalem we will travel to the Galilee region and visit Capernaum and many other sites! I am truly excited to share this opportunity with you. Brady has a vast knowledge of these sites and we will all learn a great deal from him and the guides as we travel. Brochures will be coming in the next week so keep an eye out and join us for a trip of a lifetime.

Blessings,
Pastor Tom

December 2017

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

Tis the season to be jolly fa la la la laaa laaaa… You know we must practice care at this time of year. The season of Advent is an amazing time. We look forward to the day our Lord and Savior was born that first Christmas over 2000 years ago. Today though we sometimes lose the specialness of that miraculous birth. Today it seems to simply be a busy time. We have increased traffic, stores are more crowded, cantatas, parties, shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, cooking, special services, socializing and etcetera.

Stop the Christmas parade! I want to get off. We must practice care not to get lost in the busyness of the season. We need to slow down, take a breath, and look for the ways in which God is working in the world. People are coming together and helping their neighbors. People seem to be smiling more. The Spirit of God in Three Persons is alive and well in our midst. We simply need to slow down enough to notice. This time of year also brings about promises of change in the form of New Year’s resolutions. I hope all of you resolve to grow in Christ and to live in peace. May God bless us each and every one.

Merry Christmas,
Pastor Tom

September 2017

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

Have you heard about…? Wait a minute somebody preached about gossip re-
cently. He said something about Socrates and the three questions of gossip. So let me

go through them. First, is what I want to tell you true? Yes. Second, is what I want to

share good or bad? It is very good. Third, is the information useful? It is useful, espe-
cially if you are concerned about the children of our church. We have hired a new pre-
school director. Her name is Joy Andrist and she is taking the foundation set in place

by Selene and moving forward!
You may have noticed the changes in the church. Offices have been moved and paint has gone
on the halls of the old office wing. The changes occurring ensure that the children in the preschool have
a great experience, prepare for kindergarten, and learn about God. New curriculum was purchased and
the year is off to an amazing start. With all this you may be wondering how to get involved with all this
great work.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Joy through the church office. Also we need
more mulch for the playground. Please consider giving to this worthy cause.
Westview UMC continues to reach out to our neighbors with the loving Spirit of God through
Jesus Christ! In addition to the preschool the garden has produced over 1600 pounds of vegetables this
year! Think of the smiles on people’s faces as they eat fresh veggies they cannot normally afford!

Blessings to You in Christ,
Pastor Tom

The Good News – July 2017

Dear Westview Family and Friends,

The summer seems to have just started and the stores are already having back
to school sales. I hope everyone is getting some good rest, fun, and relaxation this
summer! Westview Church has been busy preparing for the Music Machine as our
VBS next week. This extravaganza is being headed up by wonderful volunteers. More
volunteers are always appreciated see Jill Turpin or Sarah Timmons if interested.
Financial Peace University is also coming up. It will begin August 6th. This
class is for everyone that has ever had to deal with their finances. Learn to control of
your finances so that your finances don’t control you. Our Bible study is also starting
that week on August 9th
.

The study, “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” is based on Martin
Thielen’s book. It will meet twice a week. Once on Wednesday morning at First District Coffee at 9 am
and again at the church that evening at 6:30 following the Wonderful Westview Wednesday meal and
time of fellowship.
I ask each of you to commit to participating in as many church and fellowship events as possible.
We are working on becoming Christ’s disciples so that we can share the love of God with our neighbors
more fully and completely than ever before. One person may not make a difference in the life of the
world but one person can make a world of difference in the life of a neighbor.
Along that same line I ask that you prayerfully consider serving on committees. It takes us all
working together to make Westview UMC function properly. We are an active church and need all of
our voices to unite in call, witness, and love to our community and our church. I ask that you consider

leadership as a way to help develop discipleship not only in your own faith walk but in the walks of oth-
ers.

Blessings to you all, Pastor Tom