Keep Your Head Up

As we continue to journey with one another and with Jesus into Holy Week, I want to share a testimony from a courageous young woman who has been walking her own path toward Holy Week.  To respect her privacy, I will call her Sabrina.  Sabrina was rescued from sex trafficking four years ago, with the help of Street Grace, a ministry that seeks to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.  Until her rescue, Sabrina had been repeatedly bought and sold in the evil business of modern day slavery.  A few weeks ago, she was on her way to a Street Grace board meeting when she saw a former “buyer” on the street.

This sighting resulted in “nightmares, flashbacks, and memoriesand later, a trip to the hospital.  Sabrina’s encounter was unknown to all but two of the board members, yet the meeting ended with a time of prayer over her and other survivors.  Sabrina later said that her own prayer upon entering the board meeting had been, “Daddy God, I just need a hug.” God answered her prayers that day with multiple hugs from a female pastor. 

Sabrina is out of the hospital and doing well.  She said, “I push through; that’s what we do, that’s how we’ve survived.”  Her personal strength is incredibly inspiring, to be sure; but Sabrina recognizes that God is the ultimate source of her recovery: “I think all of your prayers, combined with all the others going up, helped me get through that process, and I’m so grateful.” 

Jesus’ journey to Holy Week led him into the face of evil, sin, and death.  For Jesus, and for all of us, those forces are never the end of the story.  In the power of the Resurrection, Jesus shows us that in the end, God is the One who triumphs over all things.  If Sabrina can recover, thrive, and find a new life in the face of such horrific pain and suffering, so too can we.  As Jesus said to his disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”  Let us remain strong in the power of our Lord.

In the hope of the Resurrection,


A Day to Remember

Dear North Avenue Family,

You'll be seeing this letter in the March edition of the North AveNews as well, but I truly want you all to know how grateful Cynthia and I are for last Sunday!

The last Sunday in February will be a day that Cynthia and I and our family will long remember. Even though I am often front and center in the midst of our congregational life, I’m not one who feels comfortable being the center of attention to receive affirmation. Even so, I must say that both Cynthia and I were greatly encouraged by the acknowledgment of our 20 years of service at North Avenue and for all your kind expressions of love.

During my brief remarks I did mention the remarkable gift that Cynthia is to me. Without her support, I wouldn’t be able to live fully into my calling. We support one another in each other’s calling, and for that I am forever grateful.  You as a congregation helped raise and nurture our children—Christen, James, and Justin—in the love of God.  They learned from you (and hopefully from us) that authentic faith is vibrant, dynamic, winsome, and Christ-centered.  

North Avenue is a very special community that excels in love. As the Apostle Paul says so eloquently in Colossians 3:14,
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Thank you for your readiness to love us and to love one another, and thank you for being a community that is willing to extend love to people who come into our midst from any walk of life. We admire you so very much for being, “Inwardly Strong and Outwardly Focused.”  

Thank you to our amazing staff—current and past—who share in the partnership of ministry and mission, together with church leaders and members, that forms the heart of our life together. 

As we were leaving the church after the celebration, a bright-eyed third grader came up to me and said, somewhat forlornly, “I thought you were going to thank me when you got up to speak.”  I loved that lament! To be perfectly honest, that comment was just all-the-more “icing on the cake” of an already fabulous day! To think that she felt that special to me was so uplifting, because she is! I told her that I had run out of time to thank everyone I wanted to thank. She said, “Well, please mention me next time!” I said, “Will you stick around for another 20 years?” She was pretty sure she would still be here. So, here’s to the next 20 years! (Don’t worry— just kidding!) 

Thanks be to God for every blessing from heaven above—especially for each of YOU!

With love and thanksgiving,

Scott  & Cynthia 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Dear North Avenue Family and Friends,

Over the next several weeks, Roger Young (Executive Director of Finance and Operations), the North Avenue Finance Ministry Team, and I will be communicating with North Avenue members and friends to say thank you, thank you, thank you for your extraordinary and extravagant financial generosity in 2017, and especially in the last part of December.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow—because of your year-end contributions, the church was able to fulfill every ministry and mission commitment for the glory of God. 
Each and every gift, no matter how small or large it may have seemed to the giver, was vitally important to the overall offering to God.  The image that kept coming to my mind in those last days of the year was the image of the young boy who gave his meager lunch of two fish and five small barley loaves to Jesus with eager expectation.  Jesus blessed that small gift and multiplied it, so that he and the disciples could feed 5,000 people. I love that story!  In a way that can only be explained by God’s grace and power, your year-end gifts accomplished a great work of faith.  Again, thank you, and thanks be to God!
While all of the above is completely inspiring and true, I do want to encourage you to take a few minutes when reading this column to reflect, along with Cynthia and me, on the importance of giving our gifts, as we are able, each step of the way throughout the year. Without a consistent and reasonable level of giving throughout the year, it sometimes becomes challenging for the staff and ministry leaders to know if we are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit’s leading, or if we are overreaching or under reaching in ministry and mission. I do want you to know that the Finance Ministry Team is prayerfully diligent in developing a budget to present to the session each year for approval.  In most cases in recent years, we can look back and say that we have almost hit the mark, by God’s grace.  Please keep our church leaders and staff in your prayers as we look toward approving the 2018 budget in early February. 
In the meantime, may the Lord continue to make his love known to you in countless expressions of his grace, so you may extend such love to the hurting world all around us.
To God be all glory and praise!
With gratitude and joy,


Are You All In?

One of my early heroes, Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal by the US Congress on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.  A lawyer and politician from a small town in western Kansas, Dole represented Kansas in Congress from 1961 to 1966.  He served as the Republican Leader of the US Senate from 1985 until 1996.  He previously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1997.  The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards in the United States. 
As a junior in college, I chaired a committee in my social fraternity called the Beta Forum Committee.  I was responsible for inviting distinguished guests to the fraternity house to engage the brothers in conversations of special interest.  I invited Senator Dole to be one of our speakers.  I remember reaching out to shake his hand, only to discover that his right hand was paralyzed from a life-threatening injury that he sustained on the front lines in Italy in World War II.  Although I can’t remember the specifics of our discussion that evening, I do remember that he said nothing about his war injury or his struggle with a disability.  I do remember taking note that his disability did not define who he was.  I was thus not surprised when he later became a co-sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act that was enacted in 1990.   As person after person spoke in his honor on Wednesday, I was once again struck by how his leadership was marked by a willingness to achieve legislative goals that required bi-partisanship and a willingness to engage the tough issues with civil discourse.  Along with so many others, I admire Senator Dole for his character, integrity, honesty, and respect for all persons.
Yes, character, integrity, honesty, and respect for all persons.  Although there is debate about what words were used in the recent White House discussion of immigration reform, I feel compelled to re-state North Avenue’s deep Christian belief in the love of God in Jesus Christ that shines on every single person, each of whom is created in the image of God.  “For God so love the WORLD that he gave his only son....” (John 3:16). Words that disparage any people group are deeply felt within our own community—members of North Avenue represent nationalities from around the world (including the countries specifically mentioned in that White House discussion). These beloved brothers and sisters enrich our lives, our church family, and our country every single day.  Even in this divisive political climate, may this church continue to be a place of love, welcome, kindness, character, integrity, honesty, and respect for all persons. I draw your attention to a letter from the Office of the General Assembly of the PC(USA) to the church’s mission partners in Africa.
We are blessed to have among us leaders who embody the values such as the ones exhibited by Senator Dole.  For the first time ever, we will observe the Ordination and Installation of our newest class of deacons and elders in each of the three worship services.  We have officers who normally attend each of the services, so they will be ordained and installed in the service they normally attend.  This is an important occasion of praying over those whom God has raised up in our midst to share in guiding the direction of our congregation. 
Also this Sunday, I encourage you to consider attending an important Parenting Conversation on how to speak with our children about sex in this challenging time in our cultural history.  The conversation will be co-led by long-time NAPC member and elder, Bill McClatchey, MD, and his daughter, Christy Gituku, also a NAPC member and a respected therapist in the Atlanta area.  Anyone and everyone is invited to attend. 
See you Sunday!


Grow Deep

Last Sunday in all three worship services, we invited each family to pick up a small green heart that contains a variety of tiny seeds.  Along with the heart of seeds is a green note card with instructions for planting these seeds at home.  As we continue with the new year sermon series Rooted: Grow Deep, Live Strong, we want you to watch the seeds grow as you plant them in rich soil, water them, and place them in sunlight.  Each day, we are asking you to consider the seeds of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love that God has planted in our hearts, as we place our faith in Jesus.  May we tend to the nurture of these spiritual seeds in our souls by daily drinking deeply from the living waters of God’s grace in Christ, by sitting quietly in the nourishing power of God’s Word, and by allowing these spiritual seeds to bear the fruit of God’s coming kingdom in and through our lives.  No one can nurture our souls for us; we must carefully nurture our own souls, even as we acknowledge that all good gifts come ultimately from God.  Our responsibility is to receive and to believe. 
This new year brings much anticipation of God’s abundant blessings in and through our congregation, by God’s grace.   We will complete the SHINE Building Project, move back into our renovated ministry spaces, and engage a brand-new day of ministry and mission from the corner of North Avenue and Peachtree Street.  The church leadership has adopted a new strategic plan that calls for our congregation to SHINE more brightly than ever before with the Good News of God’s love, grace, mercy, and justice in Jesus Christ.  The world around us is all too often spiritually broken and is crying out for hope, love, community, and reconciliation.  We have the answer to these deepest needs of the human condition, and it all begins and ends in Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. 
May this new year be filled with the light of Jesus Christ in your life, within your closest circle of relationships, throughout our congregation, and out into the community around us!
With much anticipation, 


P.S.  If you haven't planted your green heart of seeds yet, remember that it’s never too late to plant your seeds!  It’s never too late to receive the seeds of God’s grace in your own hearts and to nurture them by daily believing in the promises of God!

Rooted: Grow Deep. Live Strong.

Oh, my, it is sooooo cold!  I hope and trust that you are finding a way to stay warm!   I’ve never heard of what some meteorologists are calling this most recent blast of cold and snow that is hitting the east coast of the US—a “bomb cyclone.”  The term refers to the storm’s sharp drop in atmospheric pressure and accompanying blizzard conditions.  Despite the current temperatures, I’m pleased to inform you that the forecast for Sunday is a warming trend that will take the temperature all the way to 40° F! 
In anticipation of this Sunday’s return to our normal worship schedule of 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 5:45 p.m., I’m excited to announce a new sermon series called Rooted: Grow Deep, Live Strong.  The series will focus on the call of Jesus to grow deeply rooted in our relationship with the living God, so that we can face every challenge of life with spiritual depth and strength.  While God is always the One who gives the seed to the sower and the resources to nurture the growth of the seed, followers of Jesus are responsible for putting themselves in a posture to receive the seed and nurture its growth. 
As we begin a new calendar year together at North Avenue Presbyterian Church, let me invite you—who are able—to join us for worship services each Sunday and allow the seed of God’s Word to penetrate our hearts. May the Holy Spirit nurture each seed by the refreshing waters of God’s grace, mercy, and love.  At the conclusion of the worship services this Sunday, each family will be invited to take a heart-shaped packet of seeds to plant at home.  Then as the sermon series continues, take time to nurture these seeds so that they can grow into something truly beautiful. As we care for these tender seeds, let us also care for and nurture our own souls.  Together, by God’s grace, we will be firmly Rooted in spiritual depth and strength for the glory of God!
With joy,


Merry Christmas!

Join us for worship on Sunday, December 24 at 11 a.m. for the Fourth Sunday of Advent or at any of our Christmas Eve services: 3 and 5 p.m. Family Worship, 7 p.m. Acoustic Worship, or 11 p.m. Candlelight Communion Worship. All Christmas Eve services conclude with the lighting of candles.

As 2017 comes to a close, we ask you to remember NAPC in your year-end giving. You can give at any time at See more information about ways to give and year-end FAQ here. Thank you!

Third Sunday in Advent

Dear North Avenue Family & Friends,

On Sunday, we will be offering identical services of Lessons and Carols, with choirs and orchestra, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the Broyles Ministry Center Auditorium. The prelude at each service will begin a few minutes before the hour, and we expect that the services will last a few minutes more than a typical worship service.  Since we anticipate a large attendance at each service, we encourage you to arrive early to make sure that you find a place to sit. These services are beautifully planned and will be a true inspiration as we hear again the message of the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ through nine lessons of Scripture, glorious music, prayers, liturgy, and our fellowship with one another. This is a wonderful service for you to invite a neighbor or friend to join us in our worship. Please note that there will be no 5:45 p.m. service this Sunday. 
On Christmas Eve, you will notice below that we will offer five services of worship that day, beginning with 11 a.m. worship (Fourth Sunday of Advent), followed by two family friendly Christmas Eve services at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and concluding with 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. candlelight Christmas Eve communion services. 
Finally, I ask you very sincerely to prayerfully consider giving a year-end financial gift to help the church end the year in the black. If we all could fulfill our annual pledges and then give an additional gift, as we are able, North Avenue can fulfill all of the financial commitments we have made to one another and to our mission partners around the city and around the world. This is not a responsibility for someone else; rather, it is a joyful opportunity for every member to give according to our means, so that all can benefit from North Avenue’s dynamic ministry and mission to the glory of Jesus Christ! 
With eager anticipation,

Scott Weimer