Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I want to start out this edition of Pagh’s Blog by saying that I am so excited about what I see God doing at Christ Church in Otsego, MN.  Every week I am privileged to witness the amazing growth and transformation that is taking place in people’s lives through Jesus Christ.  I feel very blessed to begin my 24th year of serving this congregation and the people that I love.  God has been so faithful and he is not finished with us yet! 

This has been an excellent but challenging year of transitions at Christ Church.  Last Fall we said goodbye to our long-time Associate Pastor, Tom Ness, and he is still missed.  We have also experienced some transition in our membership.  Sometimes people leave a church because they are angry.  Sometimes people leave because they are not in alignment with its vision and mission or its staff and ministries are not meeting their personal needs.  Sometimes people are just in a season of life where they are looking for a change.  These transitions are always difficult in congregational life but they are to be expected.  We are all human beings learning to walk in the love, grace and forgiveness of God.

Brothers and sisters, when you are a follower of Jesus Christ, every “set-back” is a “set-up” for the future God has prepared.  At Christ Church this time of transition has been preparing us for an exciting new season of growth and impact.  We have already added 14 new families in 2014 and will welcome another large group this Fall.  These are wonderful new friends who love the Lord and have awesome gifts to share.  Every Sunday there are new faces in the congregation that are eager to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and grow in their faith.  Let’s be intentional about reaching out in love!  And when you think of someone that you haven’t seen for awhile, give them a call and invite them back.

One of the scriptures read at my ordination 34 years ago was 2 Timothy 4:2.  It says, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”  In other words, keep preaching the Word and loving the people.

Friends, God is calling Christ Church forward!  If I were to “correct, rebuke and encourage” you today I would say that we don’t have the luxury of longing for the past, clinging to religious tradition, or arguing about personal preferences.  Less than 20% of this generation of youth and young adults has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Most people under 50 consider the church irrelevant in today’s culture.  The problems that confront society require nothing less than a miracle-working God to solve them!

Why does Christ Church continue to innovate through worship, sermon series, life groups, youth and outreach ministries?  We are willing to change, grow and take risks because our calling is to reach this lost generation for Jesus Christ at all costs.  The status quo will not do!

Dear Christ Church family, you have a Spirit-filled staff and Church Council that are passionate about leading this congregation forward into an exciting new season of mission and ministry.  Will you follow our lead?  Will you trust us?  Will you engage with us?  Will you invite someone you know to come and join us?  Will you ask God to reinvigorate your calling as a member of Christ Church for the next part of the journey? 

We all need to step-up in response to God’s calling.  God has been preparing you for such a time as this! God is challenging us to trust him more than ever right now particularly in the area of finances.  The money is there but the breakthrough won’t come until we first lay everything that we are and everything that we have at his feet.  I am praying for nothing less than “Holy Spirit fire” to fall on Christ Church.  Without God we can’t, but without us he won’t!

I just turned 61 years old.  Many of my friends in ministry are starting to talk about retirement.  I could resign my Call to Christ Church, raise support and lead BlessMN for a few years and then ride off into the sunset.  Just so you know; that’s not even on my radar.  My Call to Christ Church burns even stronger now than it did 23 years ago when my family first arrived in Otsego.  This congregation has a calling from God; I will even say an apostolic anointing to lead a revival in the State of Minnesota that will touch the nations! 

And so the Lord continues to say to me, “Greg, preach the Word and love the people.  The best is yet to come!”  What is God saying to you?

Summer Blessings in Jesus!
Pastor Greg Pagh 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sowing Generously

A freshly plowed field is a beautiful sight.  I saw one yesterday and it made me smile.  The lines were perfect.  The colors were rich.  With all our recent rain the soil is moist and soon ready for seed to be sown.  Farming requires faith and lots of hard work. When God and man combine their talents there is a great harvest.

There is a farming principle lifted up in II Corinthians 9:6.  I wonder if you believe it for your own life?  The Apostle Paul says, “Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

I’ve observed that most people today want to reap generously but sow only sparingly… even reluctantly.  It’s one of the consequences of our materialistic society.  We’re schooled in the art of getting something for nothing.  We’re deal makers and bargain hunters who are quick to tell the stories of our conquests.  No matter how much we have, it’s never enough.  We dream of hitting it big!

But God’s economy requires generous sowing.  Remember the parable?  A farmer went out to sow… and some seed fell on good soil… and produced a harvest of 100, 60 and 30 times.  The first step?  Sowing generously!

I’m convinced that the life of a sincere believer will be characterized by generosity.  We will sow generously the seeds of love, time, finances and service because of a deep desire to reap a great harvest for the kingdom of God.  We aspire to a different kind of richness.

Are you a strategic planter or a sower?  Are you a deal maker or a risk taker, especially when it comes to your relationship with God?  The degree of our sowing can be an indication of the depth of our faith.

Take a moment and try this prayer:  “Dear God, is there an area in my life where you are calling me to sow more generously?  Where have I held back?  Why have I been afraid?”  Let the Holy Spirit speak to you and then go for it.  Take a risk and let your seeds fly.  There is a great harvest waiting!

Pastor Greg Pagh

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Christ is Still Risen!

It was an awesome Holy Week and Easter celebration at Christ Church as we lifted up the promise of “resurrection power” for all who receive Jesus as their Savior! There were more than 900 people in attendance on that beautiful morning and the spirit of worship and praise was electric!  109 people indicated either a “first time” commitment or a “recommitment” to Christ.  Praise God!  The worship, the Word, the flowers, the new altar and staging, the fresh coffee and delicious breakfast, the families and friends… it was a morning to be remembered!  I want to thank the dozens of dedicated volunteers who served so joyfully to make the whole weekend possible.  What a team!

I’ve got Good News for you!  “Christ is still risen!  He is still risen indeed!”  Easter is not for an hour or a day but for a lifetime for those who are followers of Jesus.  We serve a risen Savior who is in the world today; loving, caring and working in our church, communities, families and daily lives.  Since that first Easter Sunday, Christians have continued to worship on “the day of resurrection.”  Since that first Easter Sunday, we have known that it is only “resurrection power” that truly brings life!

I’m very excited to continue our Power Trip series during these next 8 weeks and press in to discover what that “resurrection power” is all about.  This Sunday, April 27, we will resume our regular schedule with both Worship and Sunday School at 9:00 and 10:30 AM.  My topic is “Power to Go!”  What direction has life been taking you lately?  Have you been going with God’s power?  A friendly greeting and a fresh cup of Dunn Bros. coffee will be awaiting your arrival.  Come early and hang around awhile.  Invite a friend to join you.

Next Thursday, May 1, is the National Day of Prayer.  I will be helping lead a prayer service in the State Capitol rotunda beginning outside on the steps at 2:30 PM.  All are welcome!  Our annual NDP Area Worship and Prayer service is once again at ERHS on Thursday night, May 1, at 7:00 PM. The offering this year will be presented to the Mayor of Elk River, John Dietz, to bless the city. I’ll be giving a BlessMN update too.

New Member Classes will be held on Saturday morning, May 3, from 8:30-10:30 AM and Monday, May 5, from 7:00-9:00 PM.  Choose the one that works best for you.  Child-care is available as needed.  Please come and make some new friends, meet members of our Church Council and staff and learn more about the Mission and Ministries of Christ Church!  We welcome you to join this congregation that is on fire for Jesus!

BlessMN continues to grow!  On Sunday, Pastor Jason Sorley from Elk River Baptist, one of our newest partners, will share the BlessMN opportunity with his congregation.  Next week, Zylstra Harley Davidson, Sportech Inc. and Integrity Insurance will all be launching special initiatives with their employees, clients and customers.  How can you network through your workplace, Facebook account, circles of friends etc. to encourage everyone you know to “adopt a street in prayer?”  Let’s help light a fire here that will continue all across the State of Minnesota!

Blessings in Jesus!
Pastor Greg Pagh

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moons and Easter Sunrises!

At 2:00 a.m. last night, Colleen and I stood in our bathrobes peering out a second story window at the total lunar eclipse being referred to by some as a “blood moon.”  Sure enough, as the earth temporarily blocked the sun from hitting any part of the moon’s surface, a reddish-orange glow appeared.  This phenomenon will now occur four consecutive times at 6-month intervals which any astronomer will tell you is highly unusual.

Others see this “lunar tetrad” as representing the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.  In Joel 2:31-32a it says, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Pastor John Hagee has written a New York Times best seller entitled, “Four Blood Moons – Something Is About to Change.”  Hagee finds special significance in these particular lunar eclipses because they coincide with the Jewish festivals of Passover and Tabernacles.

When asked about the end times, Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (Mk 13:5)  He went on to describe great testing and persecution for those who proclaim faith in God, along with calamities like wars, earthquakes and famines.  Then Jesus said, “So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.  ‘But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’  At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mk 13:23-27)

As we enter this Holy Week, 2014, of this we can be sure.  The second coming of Christ has never been closer than it is today!  The world is shaking.  Nations are at war.  Natural disasters abound.  That’s why we are so passionate about sharing the “Good News of the Gospel” and inviting everyone to be saved.  You see, the eyes of Jesus’ followers are not focused on a “blood moon” but on a blood-stained cross and an empty tomb!  These are the “signs” that give us hope in the face of these uncertain days.

How can you be prepared to meet Jesus face-to-face?  By receiving him as your Savior and trusting in his every promise!  “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (Jn 1:12)  Jesus’ followers place their confidence in a heavenly Father and choose to live every day as his children until he comes again.  For those whose hope is in the Lord, the second coming is not a “dreadful day” but one of great joy.

Who do you know who needs to hear this Good News?  Please invite them to join you on Holy Thursday at 7:00 p.m. as we remember the Last Supper, on Good Friday at 7:00 p.m. as we gather near the cross, or on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the victory of the resurrection at 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00 a.m., with an Easter breakfast and plenty of fellowship included. 

I believe that this Holy Week represents a “tipping point” for Christ Church.  Blood moons may be fascinating but God’s Word declares, “They triumphed over him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Rev. 12:11 – emphasis added) 

Bring your family!  Bring your relatives!  Bring a neighbor, co-worker or friend!  Easter is coming and we are going to party because the blood of Jesus has given us life!

Pastor Greg Pagh

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kitchen Table Talk

My mom has the gift of hospitality!  She loves to cook and bake, and now, even at 80 years of age, it is not uncommon for her and dad to welcome lunch or dinner guests, take a meal to someone in need, or serve coffee and refreshments to a whole group at their Eden Prairie high rise.  They love to serve and bless others with the love of Jesus and great food is just one of the vehicles!

When we were kids the kitchen table was a place of great food, family, laughter and conversation.  My dad had a rule:  “If your mother makes it, it’s good, and you will eat it.”  There was no criticizing or complaining about anything that was put on the table.  Of course, mom only made the meals that dad liked, so this was an easy rule for him to enforce.  Casseroles or “hot dishes” as we called them were a staple for a growing family in those days.

The Bible is full of “kitchen table talk.” Jesus broke bread with the highest and the lowest of society but always used the opportunity to build relationships, meet needs and share the message of God’s amazing love.  He visited the home of a fraudulent business man named Zacchaeus and turned his life around.  He multiplied a handful of loaves and fishes and turned a teaching seminar into an outdoor picnic.  He dined in the home of a member of the religious establishment but pointed to the sincere faith of the woman who washed his feet with her tears.  He had lunch with Lazarus and his sisters just a short time after raising him from the dead.  The night before his crucifixion, Jesus turned the Passover meal into a commemoration, or should I say a celebration of his impending death and resurrection.  Kitchen tables come in all shapes, sizes and locations!

So, do you welcome the Lord’s presence at your kitchen table, family gathering, coffee at Caribou, business lunch or dinner with friends?  Our meals are more on the move than ever today; however, one thing remains true.  Where two or three gather “in his name” he promises to show up!  Don’t forget to invite, welcome and acknowledge Jesus’ presence as your most honored guest.  And then listen, he just may have something to teach you!

When we gather for coffee, refreshments and conversation after worship on Sundays, remember that Jesus is in our midst.  His eyes are always open to welcome the guest, comfort the hurting, encourage the weary or celebrate with laughter.  Our eyes should be open too.

When we gather for fellowship with our Life Group, Teen Challenge guests, an all-church potluck, a funeral reception or an Easter Breakfast, let’s make sure that our “kitchen table talk” is up-building and glorifying to God.  Jesus is right there among us.

When we receive Holy Communion, let’s come with hearts prepared to both confess our sins and receive God’s amazing grace, mindful of the need to extend that forgiveness and grace to those around us.

When I was growing up I was blessed to be in a family where anything could be talked about openly and honestly.  There was lots of love and support with an appropriate amount of discipline and correction sprinkled in.  Meal times were happy times. God invites you to make every meal an opportunity for “kitchen table talk,” the kind that acknowledges and welcomes our most honored guest, Jesus.

Pastor Greg Pagh   

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bless Minnesota!

Psalm 133 is short but power-packed!  “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity… for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” (1, 3b)  We are about to experience the blessings of unity in the greater Elk River Area as never before!

During April, May and June, the “church of the city” is coming together at a level of unprecedented unity to participate in the state-wide prayer movement known as Bless Minnesota.  Currently there are 24 churches, more than 30 businesses and 14 community organizations along with key city leaders joining arms to see every street in this region “adopted in prayer.”

The process is simple but the impact will be profound!  Participants go to, plug in their home address, or a workplace address, for example, register a “pin-point” on the Google map of Minnesota as a point of inception and begin to pray for the people and places represented by their street adoption.  As they pray they follow Jesus’ teaching in Luke 10 to:

-        Speak Peace and Blessing
-        Reach-Out and Build Relationships
-        Respond to Needs
-        Share the Love, Presence and Power of Jesus Christ

We call it “prayer with legs” because it is action oriented!  It invites the people of God to open their eyes and their hearts to love this world as God loves it and respond to the needs of their neighbors, co-workers and class-mates with the tangible love of Jesus Christ.  It’s not a program.  It’s a lifestyle!
The local churches, businesses and organizations involved in BlessMN will start by encouraging their own members, employees, volunteers and supporters to “adopt a street in prayer.”  Then, through the circles of influence and various networks that each of us has the vision can be shared with others.  We are asking God to take BlessMN “viral in the Spirit!”

A “BlessMN Launch Lunch” is taking place next Wednesday, April 2, from 11:45 – 1:15 at Rockwood’s Banquet Center to officially begin this 3-month local initiative.  The goal is to bless the communities and people in this region through at least 1,000 new street adoptions during the next three months.  As we partner together we will also establish a “beachhead in the Spirit” and an example that other communities throughout Minnesota can follow.  I can’t wait to hear the testimonies!

If you have not yet “adopted a street in prayer,” please visit today and join this exciting move of God.  I believe that it is going to transform the State of Minnesota.  I am honored to serve as the Chair of BlessMN.  I want to especially ask our Christ Church family for your prayers and to strive for 100% participation as a congregation.  We have been blessed to be a blessing!

Pastor Greg Pagh



Thursday, March 20, 2014

MN Adult and Teen Challenge

Teen Challenge was started in Brooklyn in 1958 by Rev. David Wilkerson, an Assembly of God pastor who left a rural Pennsylvania church to work among teen gang members in New York City.  Wilkerson also founded the Times Square Church in New York City and is the author of several best-selling books including “The Cross and the Switchblade” which tells the story of the early development of Teen Challenge.
Today, Teen Challenge is the largest non-profit, faith-based drug and alcohol recovery program in the United States.  This ministry also serves world-wide in about 100 countries.  The official Statement of Purpose of Teen Challenge is “To provide youth, adults and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems in order to become productive members of society.”
Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge serves close to 450 residents on eight campuses around the state.  This Sunday, March 23, the Executive Director, Richard Scherber, along with about 40 men and women currently in treatment, will be leading worship at Christ Church as the Teen Challenge Choir.  They will share music and testimonies that will touch your heart and remind you that our God is in the transformation business!  I strongly encourage you to invite a friend!
Near the end of our worship services at 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. we will receive a “second offering” just for Teen Challenge.  Checks should also be made out to Christ Church.  We will combine the offerings and pass on one check to Teen Challenge.  Please give generously to this awesome state-wide ministry partner!
You are also invited to stay for lunch and fellowship with the choir.  This will give you an opportunity to thank them personally and encourage them in their journey of recovery.  
Friends, you may not be struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, however, the message of scripture is that we are all “addicted to sin” and in need of a Savior.  His name is Jesus!  Whatever sin or sorrow… whatever trial or temptation has a grip on your life; I encourage you to call him today.  Only Jesus has the power to truly set you free!
Pastor Greg Pagh