October 7, 2020 “What happens here, doesn’t stay here…”
Dear Church Family,
So often I hear people say, “Why are you on Facebook? It’s nothing but bad news and gossip and fighting and things nobody cares about.” I find it odd, though, as I mentioned to Chip recently, my Facebook or social media feed is mostly positive, thought-provoking commentary and many days even shared devotions from friends. This morning was one of those mornings where a devotion from a peer in one of the groups I follow really struck me and I wanted to share it with you all. The group is about Messy Conversations, and this conversation was between my peer and God:
“As I was meditating and studying and in prayerful dialog this evening, I was reminded of these words of Jesus....
John 14:12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."
I then heard in my minds ear, "you believe in me don't you Joe?"
I said, "yes of course."
Then I heard in my minds ear, “then why don't you really believe this?"
I read this and paused immediately. This is one, admittedly one of many, of my favorite texts. Jesus is talking to the Disciples, trying to reassure them before his final ascension and he says, “greater works than these will he do.” I’ve often read this text with hope and shared it and often heard and wondered, how can we do greater works? Jesus healed, he touched, he was a miracle worker for goodness sakes, “greater works?” And then he says, “…because I am going on to My Father.” And it struck me as I read it this time, Jesus said, I’m leaving here, I’ve shown you how to care for and love one another and now you are going to be here so you will have the opportunity to continue to do more and more of what I have shown you.
This brings me back to today’s reflection, “So are you Joe?” So, “are you Tim?” So, do you believe me? “So are you willing to believe this and make this a reality?”
Can we hear in our minds’ ear, “Do you believe in me?”
And how would we answer the question, then why don’t you believe in this, that you will go on to do greater things, because you are here and can, will you not make this a reality?
I mentioned this came from the group Messy Conversations, can you see why it’s called that? What messy conversations can we have with a real God? I mean, if we believe Jesus is a real Savior who believes in us, can we not trust in these words and live into them? Or do we question them and say well we believe mostly in Jesus, but…
And that’s the other side of this equation. Our bedrock faith is in a God who believed in us so much that God sent Jesus and if we believe in Jesus so much, can we believe in him to live in to the words, teachings, hopes and dreams for us? Then why don’t we? Instead, I’m afraid too often we want to hold on to a Hebrew belief in a God of vengeance and proverbial fire and brimstone, of our judgment and rallying around division but Jesus said I come to show you another way.
Talk about messy conversations.
So, let me ask you to wrestle with the questions then too: Can we believe in Jesus fully to live in to Jesus’ hope and words and expectations of us all?
You know the beauty of this is we get to keep trying over and over and Jesus cheers us on every step of the way. Here’s more grace, try again, here’s more grace, try again, here’s more grace, try again.
Would you join me in trying to follow once again? In listening for the same minds ear questions: “you believe in me don’t you, Tim?” “Then believe in this…”
Amen, Pastor Tim
In our daily prayers…
We have had many reasons to lift our voices in praise this week. Carolyn Wuerdeman came through surgery well and is home and starting rehab; Nancy Haven had surgery on Monday, is improving and hoping to be home possibly today; Kelly and David Kazibwe and big brother Cato welcomed Cora Emily to the world early Sunday morning; Jenn Litzy and Louise VanHorn are both celebrating good health news; and we are able to celebrate God’s great beauty of Fall around us! Additionally, we also lift others in healing prayers as friends and family prepare to celebrate the life of Matt Borys and the Bernard family remembers and celebrates the life of longtime family friend Dan Edelstein. So, for all these spoken and unspoken requests we lift them to God in joy and heart ache we come together in prayer.
Please remember to either join or update the prayers on St. Paul’s Love and Prayers Facebook page, send an email or call the church office with updates or requests that we together may pray as a community of faith.
Thank you to all who helped participate in any way in our birthday parade last week. All together we will have donations to feed a Thanksgiving meal to 15 area families thanks to your generosity!
Additionally, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Rev. Dr. Carrie Call for her and her husband Dr. Randall Zechman for being with us this past Sunday for our 120th Anniversary Celebration! Wow, what a Sunday it was and a special thanks as well to our own Russ Wynn, Crystal Reid, Michael Haven, and guests Rebecca Covert and Bob Beiber, what a beautiful gift of music they all provided.
Thank you everyone for once again, helping to celebrate #beingthechurch
The Soup & Bake Sale is ON! Help spread the word! Our annual Mission fundraiser Soup & Bake Sale will take place on Saturday, November 7 (pre-orders only), however it will look a little different this year! In order to keep everyone safe and keep this great tradition going…Here’s what you will need to know:
· We will offer 4 soups (Ham & Bean; Vegetable Beef; Chicken Corn and Chicken Tortellini)
· Soup will be $7 per quart
· Pre-orders are required
· No “day of” sales (any leftovers will be advertised on Sunday)
· Soup will be drive by and pick up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
· Prepay, check on day of or Easytithe are preferred (to reduce cash handling) and
· There are ways for everyone to continue to participate. If you would like to help in soup making or willing to donate towards ingredients, please reach out and contact the church office (570) 568-1433.
Christian Education (click on Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433)
· Sundays with Dave and Friends – 9:15 weekly (a Bible Study on Revelation)
· Monday Morning Preacher – 10:30 a. m. weekly (Let’s talk about Sunday’s text)
· Wednesday Musings and Theology – 6:30 p.m. weekly (Book study, see description below)
· Non-Zoom daily devotions with “Faithful Families”
What happens here doesn’t stay here (ways to connect in the community):
· Fresh Express (2nd & 4th Thursdays each month)
· Fall Lawn / Yard Clean-up
· Painting, Cleaning and Organizing at the Church
· Pantry Remodeling at the church
· Community Pumpkin Patch (late October)
· The Community Soup Sale (early November)
· Community Thanksgiving Baskets
· Equal Exchange Coffee Sale
· CARE team Goodies and Meals
Feeling burnt out or just looking to take a break? Check out: “Take My Life and Let it Be” with friends for Wednesdays Musings and Theology: 6:30 p.m. weekly. Jump right in wherever we are, electronic copies of the book are available as well as hard copies. Contact Pastor Tim or the church office to obtain a hard copy.
Saint Paul’s Coffee Club is currently taking orders for the Fair-Trade products. All proceeds benefit our Mission Fund and all purchases go to benefit independent farmers. Order forms are available to be emailed to you or you may download from the church website. You may then turn in your order form via email or to the church office. Orders will be filled with the stock we have, until we run out and then we will place a bulk order. Order cut-off each month is 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Payment is due when order is placed. We will notify you of the pick-up date and time.
You may pay for your orders via a check made to SPUCC or Easytithe.
Are you ready boots? Plans are underway to offer a Fall Hike, Sunday, October 25 in the afternoon, is the tentative date and time. Please mark your calendars now and check back here for additional information soon!