October 15, 2018

Dear FPC—It was fun for me to study and preach about being reconciled in Jesus—our unity in diversity.  I think that is one of the (many) things this congregation does well—we stick close to Jesus and avoid beating one another up about less central issues and ideas.  I’ve always found that if people are moving closer to Jesus they will inevitably end up closer together.  That is part of what unity in Christ means, I think.  The danger is always putting something else in Jesus’ place and moving towards it instead.  That separates us and leaves us following false gods instead of the true One.

              This Saturday is our Mini-retreat on Finding Your Place In God’s Plan.  Come join us!  (even if you haven’t signed up, come anyway!)—there will be light breakfast and coffee starting about 8:30 am in Geneva Hall, and we’ll go from 9 to 11:30.  This is a great way to learn about the various ways God gifts his people to bless others (yes—God’s gifts are ALWAYS for the benefit of others!) and discover what some of your own gifts are and how to put them to use.  It will be fun and practical!

              On Sunday at 12:15 pm we will have a congregational meeting to elect our Pastor Nominating Committee and fill an open elder spot on our session.  The PNC will be doing the lion’s share of the work to find a candidate to present to you as pastor.  So their work is critical for our future.  I hope you will come (or stay after the 11 am worship) for this important day.  We will also be giving you an update on our progress towards calling a new installed pastor. 

              Finally—don’t forget the following week—both “Fall Fun Days” on Saturday Oct 27 to clean up around our campus and the Kirkin’ O’ th’ Tartan service on Reformation Day on the 28th.

              Looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

              Pastor Steve

October 8, 2018

Dear FPC--- I am surprised at how excited I am to see snow on the mountains this morning!  We are getting some much needed water in the bank up there, and the cooler weather makes it feel like Halloween, I mean Reformation Sunday, will be here soon!  We are getting ready for our Kirkin’ on the 28th to kick off the holiday season.  But first our mini-retreat on Finding Your Place in God’s Plan is coming up on Saturday, Oct 20, from 9-11:30 (with light breakfast and coffee beforehand).  I hope you can join us!  Meanwhile, I know that many of you are enjoying reading Immerse.  If you need a book, please let the office know. 

              Here are some hints for your Immerse reading:  1)  Pray!  There is even a prayer on the first page of the book you can use if you want.  Invite God into your reading and thinking about His Word.  2) Try to keep up with the reading.  I find the podcast audio version a good way to catch up if needed.  If you feel too far behind, jump ahead to where the group is, you can always go back and catch up later.  3)  Mark up your book—note what is surprising, troubling, inspiring, confusing, etc.!  4)  Don’t forget to look at the short articles in the back too for more orientation. 

              I heard from some of you with some questions about Acts—here are some quick responses, I’m happy to talk with anyone in more depth: 

  • the book is addressed to Theophilus (lover of God)—that could be someone’s name but it also describes us! 

  • Yes, the times when the narrative shifts to the first person (“we”) probably reflects the personal experience of the author, Dr. Luke. 

  • How did the gospel get to Greece, etc. before Paul went?  Possibly other missionaries and probably some of the people who had been in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost went back to their homes and spread the good news.  The good news about Jesus has always primarily been spread by ordinary believers sharing what they know (being witnesses)—that is US!

  • What about Jesus’ return?  There is LOTS of speculation here, but the thrust of the Thessalonian Letters is that Jesus will come back at the right time and we don’t have worry.  I’m glad he waited until after I was born!

 I hope as you go through this week you are enjoying the fact that “You’ve Got Mail” from God!  See you in worship!

 Pastor Steve


October 1, 2018

Dear FPC—

                Sorry that this is coming late in the week.  On Monday and Tuesday I got to participate in a preaching seminar the presbytery hosted led by a nationally known preacher and teacher of preaching, Will Willimon.  It was a great time to spend time with colleagues and reflect on the most important task I get to do—bring God’s Word to you each week.  It is humbling to remember that the goal is to talk about what God wants, not what I want or what seems interesting or topical.  I hope you experience God in our worship together and hear from Him—in our music, singing, praying, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and even in the sermon.  Sunday is World Communion Sunday, which I love because we are remembering and enacting our unity with believers all over the world as we share in the meal Jesus gave us. 

                I am excited about Immerse and hope you are too.  It was interesting to hear people’s reactions to reading Luke last week.  One I heard a few times was surprise at how harsh Jesus seemed some of the time.  It is clear that Jesus was not wishy-washy and he felt that his message was of the very highest importance—beyond even life and death—it is of eternal importance.  It is good for us to remember that too!  Jesus was essentially throwing a bucket of cold water on people to get their attention.  Maybe we need to hear that warning too! 

                As you are reading Acts this week, notice how fast paced the story is and how it moves—from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth!  How can you be a witness to Jesus in your world?  Remember—you are an apostle, a “sent one” too!

 

Hallelujah for some rain!  

Pastor Steve