March 18, 2019

Dear FPC—

              It really feels like Spring is coming, doesn’t it?  That means Easter is coming!  I hope you will invite some friends to join us for our special worship opportunities in Holy Week—April 14 to 21  (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday service at 7, Good Friday at OCC, and Easter celebration on 4/21).  Another sign of Easter is the annual new TV event about Jesus.  This year the History Channel is showing a new four week event called “Jesus:  His Life.”  It starts this coming Monday, March 25 at 7 pm.  It combines dramatized scenes and input from a wide variety of scholars.  One of those scholars who I trust and respect,  Scot McKnight, has read the scripts and heartily endorses this.  Good enough for me!

              As we journey through the giving of the law in Leviticus (and there is more in Numbers—but also some important story coming next week!)—I wanted to share with you 5 Questions for Using Social Media.  This is a great way for us to behave in a more Christ-like way online.  Here are the questions to ask yourself before you post something on the Internet:

  1. Is it the truth?

  2. Have I talked TO the person before I talk ABOUT the person?

  3. Will it benefit all concerned?

  4. Do my words reflect well of Jesus Christ?

  5. Will I have to confess what I’ve written as a sin?

 This “Christian Code of Ethics” was posted last week by Anglican Bishop Foley Beach, and is a good way for us to practice loving our neighbors better.

As the sun shines on you, may you feel God’s pleasure! 

               Pastor Steve

March 12, 2019

Dear FPC—

              On Sunday we learned about living in God’s presence.  Just like getting ready for a house guest, we saw that it takes some preparation of our hearts.  Next week we’ll be looking at one of the most overlooked books of the entire Bible—Leviticus.  Its focus is on holiness.  That is a churchy word that we struggle with, but it basically means “set apart for a special purpose.”  God calls us to be holy—what would it look like for you to be set apart for a special purpose?  What special purpose do you think God might be calling you towards right now?  It could be something related to church, but it could also be some role in your neighborhood or at your work.  It is amazing that God chooses to use us in his rescue mission!  Spending some time in prayer and listening for what specific roles God is calling you to is a great way to prepare for Easter.

              Our FamilyPromise guests are here this week.  Alice and I had a wonderful time last night as evening hosts.  These three families (13 people all together!) could not be nicer folks.  It is humbling to see how hard they are working under such challenging circumstances, and encouraging to see the care and encouragement they give each other.  I am grateful for all of the gifts of time, hard work, food, prayers and more that you all give to support this ministry.  It is wonderful. 

As we look ahead, start planning for the World Vision Global 6K Walk for Water, which will be held on Saturday, May 4th.  We will be hosting it again.  Each person’s registration fee pays for one person to get a life time of clean water.  The average distance people (mostly women and children) walk each day to get water is 6 kilometers (about 3.75 miles)!  So—we walk one day so someone else doesn’t have to make that walk (while carrying water!!) EVERY day.  This is a great event to invite friends to.  A beautiful walk on a spring day for a great cause, with a party at the end!  What could be better? 

Blessings to you as you journey towards Easter!

Pastor Steve 

March 4, 2019

Dear FPC—

              Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a time of preparation as we move towards Easter.  It is a time to stop, take a breath, and turn our hearts to God.  Just as Jesus “set his face towards Jerusalem” and intentionally moved towards the cross, it is good for us to pay attention and prepare ourselves for Easter.  

              You can start this Lenten journey tonight with our Ash Wednesday service, at 7 pm in the Sanctuary.  I hope you can join us for this time of reflection. 

              Also, I encourage each of us to use Lent as a time for an intentional daily time of connecting with God.  We list three different ways to do that here.  You can also find it on our website under “Lenten Soul Training.”   May we all arrive at Easter with a renewed sense of God’s presence, action, and resurrection power in our lives!

              Our FamilyPromise guests arrive on Sunday (along with Daylight Savings Time!).  We still have a few spots available to help—hosting them on an evening or bringing a meal.  Sign up in the Lobby on Sunday! 

              It was wonderful to celebrate the gifts of women last Sunday as we looked at Miriam’s prophetic leadership during God’s rescue of his people at the Exodus.  This Sunday we turn to the second half of Exodus where the people start to learn what it means to be God’s people.  That is what we are learning to do as well—I hope you can join us! 

              Blessings to you this Lenten season!


              Pastor Steve