Helping Things Go Right

 

Happy 21st Sunday of Pentecost!

As we worship this coming Sunday, we come to the final part in our study of The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.  As we round this final corner, we’re going to look at how we do more than just learn about how to spot a heart at peace or a heart at war.  Today we look at how we can help things go right, rather than just avoid them going wrong.  This leads us to the tough question many of you have probably been wondering since I started: can you have a heart of peace when you’re at war?  In order to study that and look at how we can help things go right even amid a flaming conflict, we look at the story of David and King Saul, specifically in 1 Samuel 24:8-22.  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we worship and see how we can be peacemakers and people who help things to right, even in the midst of war.

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 10/25/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We are relaunching our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuary. The service will start at 9:00am. We are asking everyone to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum capacity. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building.

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday. This week they won’t be meeting because we are all excited about Trunk or Treat from 5:00-7:00pm! Please come decorate a car and join in the fun!

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


Someone Who Understands

 
 
 

Happy 20th Sunday of Pentecost!

We’re glad you’re here to worship with us as we continue to study the book The Anatomy of Peace and its connection with the message of Christ.  Today we’re going to focus on empathy, a virtue that is different from sympathy.  When we have sympathy, we feel for someone.  When we have empathy, we feel with someone.  We feel their pain, we understand their emotions, and we identify with them.  It’s easier for us to understand when we’ve been through a similar experience. The beautiful thing is, even if we haven’t been in someone’s situation, we can try to understand. We can look below the surface of words and actions to what’s really driving those words and actions. We can empathize. 

As we read from John 8:2-11 and Mark 6:30-34, we’ll look at instances of Jesus showing empathy.  Moving from a heart of war to a heart of peace first requires humility- admitting our brokenness, our wounds, the shards of sin in our heart. In humility, we admit our need for God’s help, healing, and forgiveness.  The next step is empathy. God’s healing and forgiveness give us eyes to see and hearts to understand.  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we look at empathy and learn how to be people of peace.

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 10/18/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We are relaunching our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuary. The service will start at 9:00am. We are asking everyone to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum capacity. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building.

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. For this week only the iClub is cancelled. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday. We’re looking forward to getting back to a every week schedule while still allowing time for family dinners!

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


Recognizing a Heart of War

 

Happy 19th Sunday of Pentecost!

Sunday’s sermon will be the second of our series on the book The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.  This week, following part 2 of the book, we’re looking at the bad side of the penny.  A heart at war is, in many ways, just what it sounds like: an attitude that promotes, engages, and even revels in conflict.  However, there are nuances to it that are important.  We can have a heart at war from four major angles, or “boxes.”  These boxes include an attitude of Better-than, Worse-than, I deserve, and the need-to-be-seen-as box.  It’s not about fighting as much as it is about mindset, and when can be in this mindset even when we’re trying to do the right things!  So I invite you to continue to read the book with me as we engage with Part 2 and recognizing a heart of war.  We’ll be reflecting on the heart at war accompanied by readings from James 3:13-18 and Luke 18:9-14.  These scriptures give us key points of reference as we look at Jesus’s and James’s teachings on avoiding a heart at war.  See you on Sunday!

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 10/11/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We are relaunching our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuary. The service will start at 9:00am. We are asking everyone to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum capacity. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building.

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday. We’re looking forward to getting back to a every week schedule while still allowing time for family dinners!

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


Cultivating a Heart of Peace

 
 

Happy 18th Sunday of Pentecost!

You’ve probably noticed that 2020 been a banner year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change its ways any time soon.  Like many of you during this time of chaos and disagreement, I’m always looking for a message of peace and hope, a message that preaches love and peace, justice and reconciliation, not anger and immature spitefulness.  One book that continues to help me not get discouraged is The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.  If you recognize the name, I preached on it about two years ago, and I think the message is one we could all use a refresher on.  It reminds us that we often misunderstand the causes of our differences and disagreements then shows us how to find true peace within ourselves and our relationships with each other.

For the first week in our series, we’re reading Matthew 5:43-48, looking at cultivating a heart of peace.  Our behaviors either come from a heart of peace or a heart of war.  That’s what is underneath our behaviors, so when we react to others, we need to remember that.  It’s about what is going on under the surface, not the behaviors we see in others that are only the tip of the iceberg.  It’s also the same with us.  When we have a heart of war, our behaviors reflect that.  We aren’t living in love as Christ commands, we’re not loving for and praying for our enemies, and we’ve all been there.  We’ll look at how to cultivate a heart of peace as we open our hearts, our minds and our Bibles in worship!

 

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 10/4/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We are relaunching our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuary. The service will start at 9:00am. We are asking people to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building.

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday. We’re looking forward to getting back to a every week schedule while still allowing time for family dinners!

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 
 


Speaking Truth to Power

 
 
 

Happy 17th Sunday of Pentecost!

During worship today, we’re ending our series on the Acts of the Apostles.  We’ve been in and out of Acts of the Apostles all Summer, studying how the church began in it’s own time of crisis and change, and how innovation, not nostalgia, helped the early Christians to be open to God working in amazing ways.  Through these stories preserved for us in the Bible we can see how those early Christians endured their own time of upheaval and uncertainty, and how they still focused on their core mission so that they could spread the Good News of Christ.  Because the truth about times like this in our human history is that they force us to choose what is really important.  These times take us deeper into our core purpose and it force us to ask hard questions–questions we often avoid at all costs when we’re comfortable.

To learn and grow during the new “normal” of COVID-19, we’re going to have to use the creativity that God has given us, leaning on God more than ever.  Wishing this were all over is not going to help us meet the challenge before us.

We’ll read from Acts Chapter 26 today, close to the final chapters of this epic story of the early church.  We’ll look at Paul explaining himself – making his defense – in front of the Roman Governor Festus and the Jewish King Herod Agrippa.  In Paul’s speech is a great course in the basics of the Christian faith and the core mission we are given from God.  This story also tells us of two people who are confronted with deep questions of faith: one of them changes course because of it, listening and learning from God, and the other is “almost” convinced.  Let’s look inside ourselves to see whether we are willing to listen when God’s truth speaks to our power, or whether we are still just almost convinced. 

 

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 9/27/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

Next week we will be relaunching our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuary. The service will start at 9:00am. We are asking people to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. The Children’s ministries will be meeting at 9:00am starting next week too!

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 8am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

Praise NG will be meeting this Sunday in the Sanctuary from 4:30-5:30pm. Starting next week, Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday. We’re looking forward to getting back to a every week schedule while still allowing time for family dinners!

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.



Who Can Rescue Me?

 
 

Happy 16th Sunday of Pentecost!

We re-join the story of the early church in Acts of the Apostles just after Paul and his traveling companions have reached the Macedonian city of Philippi.  Philippi was a Roman colony and the center of government, culture, and trade for Macedonia.  It was also close to an ancient center of pagan religion: the Oracle of Delphi.  So in addition to being the center of official business, Philippi was also a bustling center of tourism, as people came from near and far to have an Oracle tell their fortune at this ancient temple that was viewed by the ancient Greeks as the center of the universe.

After preaching Christ and beginning a Christian community with Lydia’s household, the Apostles begin to be harassed by the loud cry of a demon-possessed slave, a fortune-teller who follows them for days.  Somewhat ironically, she tells everyone around Philippi that Paul and Silas will tell people how to be saved.  Paul is so annoyed by this constant noise, even if it’s to their benefit, that he removes the demon from the slave girl, angering her owners who were making money hand over fist from her fortune-telling.  The slaveowners whip up the local people into a frenzy and have Paul and Silas thrown in prison, where they can be found singing hymns and praising God.  An earthquake splits open the prison walls and all the prisoners are released from their shackles.  

The jailer panics and plans to kill himself, but Paul and Silas bring him hope by talking about Jesus.  The jailer’s question rings true to our day – “who can rescue me?”  We’ve all felt a need to be rescued, and we all need a bigger reason to hope than just our personal success or pleasure.  We all find ourselves in some sort of prison if we’re not careful, and we all need a savior to rescue us from ourselves, or from the pressure of others.

The answer lies in faith, which theologian Paul Tillich defines as our “ultimate concern.”  We can have faith in many things, but only faith in Christ will rescue us and save us.  Jesus must be our ultimate concern, and if that is the case we will keep life in proper perspective.  We will believe in the promise of rescue, and live as a rescued person, not someone prone to fear and anger.  Let’s hear the story of a divine prison break with eternal consequences on Sunday from Acts 16:16-40.  We’ll also read a later writing of Paul to this same church in Philippi as we read from Philippians 1:12-20!

 

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 9/20/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 8am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

 

SPYouth will regularly meet every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. Praise NG will be meeting every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the Sanctuary from 4:30-5:30pm.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


Love is an Action

 

Happy 15th Sunday of Pentecost!

To his contemporaries, Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher of the law; such men were expected to spend their time interpreting the law. No wonder he frustrated the Pharisees so much, for instead of discussing the law, Jesus kept talking about love.

“Rabbi, is it okay to pull an ox out of the ditch on the Sabbath . . . or to pay taxes to Rome . . . and can we stone a woman caught in the act of adultery?” And each time, Jesus challenged them to quit focusing their mental microscopes on the letter of the Law, and to see the divine spirit of the Law. Jesus wants us to understand that you can keep the law in detail without loving, but you cannot love without being obedient to God’s law.

Jesus was motivated by love. It was the unifying principle of his earthly life. Jesus’s one commandment in John’s gospel is for the disciples to love one another as Jesus has loved them.  We’ll read that passage today in John 15:9-17.  And the message of John’s letter, as we’ll read from in 1 John 3:16-24 is that Christ’s followers must also choose love as a life principle if we are to walk in his steps. If we are to share his life, we must share his love.  How do we do that?  What’s the secret to this type of love?  On Sunday we’ll open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles to find out!

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 9/13/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 8am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

SPYouth will regularly meet every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. Praise NG will be meeting every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the Sanctuary from 4:30-5:30pm.

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


Sabbath…”Now that I have Your Attention…”

 
 

Happy 14th Sunday of Pentecost!

 

 Even on this Labor Day, created to honor workers in 1894 by giving them a day of rest, many of us will be unable or unwilling to stop working.  Did I tell you the story about the guy who got caught picking up firewood in the Israelite camp? Before you do anything else, read Num. 15:32-36.  Go ahead…I’ll wait…

Now that I have your attention…let’s talk about Sabbath, one of the most ignored commandments in the Bible.

The passage from Numbers seems strange and ugly to our ears—the community really executed someone for picking up sticks on the sabbath?  The same God that loves us unconditionally told them to do it?  We can’t deny or explain away the harshness of God’s advice to stone the man, other than for it to remind us that God takes the Sabbath very seriously, and we should check ourselves too—do we take the Sabbath as a matter of life or death?  Do we plan ahead to take Sabbath time, or do we get caught unprepared and break Sabbath like the man gathering firewood?

Then there’s Jesus in the Gospels: Mark 2:23-28 does not express the same death-penalty seriousness.  Why is Jesus so relaxed about the Sabbath?  Well, in reacting to the Pharisees extreme Sabbath observance, he points to the fact that human need (not want) can and does take precedence over strict Sabbath observance.  If you’re starving, God understands.  Break the sabbath so you can eat.  If you need to work to save someone, God will understand.  Save that person and break the sabbath.  The sabbath has a deeper meaning behind just strict work stoppage.  Just look at the promises Isaiah points out in 58:13-14—if we keep the sabbath, we will find that life is so much richer!

Genesis 2:1-3 solemnizes the Sabbath as a part of the rhythm of creation, and Exodus 20:8-11 uses this logic when the fourth commandment is given.  In Deuteronomy’s 10 Commandments, the reason given is remembrance of the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt. Both are important.  Tending to the rhythm we were created to live is crucial, helping us remember that we were created for more than just toil.  After all, what is all that work for if not to add value to our lives?  So trust God that the world will not fall apart if you take a day of rest per week, and trust God that connection is more important than production and ambition.  Schedule time to play with your new puppy (or your old one), sit down and read a good book, put together a puzzle, call an old friend.  Take Sabbath, even if you have to work for it.  We’ll go through a lot of scripture during the sermon, but it will be worth it.  Just like Sabbath.

 

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 9/6/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 8am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

 

The Youth is meeting for a work night on September 6th from 3:30-5:30pm. They will be painting the youth room! Please come and bring a friend! SPYouth will regularly meet every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. Praise NG will be meeting every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the Sanctuary.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.



The Verdict

Happy 13th Sunday of Pentecost!

As a pastor, I find there are generally three types of people: those who accept their faith passively and do not give much of it a second thought, there are those who study and learn the faith, but never grow beyond a certain point or perspective, and then there are those who are constantly growing and learning.  The third type of people may change their convictions over time, but they do so with deep reservoirs of thought and study.  They can talk to others who disagree and listen to their convictions without becoming argumentative.  They can take and apply Bible stories and verses and appreciate them from different angles.  They do not just read one side of a theological argument but try to see where everyone is coming from.  In the early church, James, the brother of Jesus and the understood leader of early Christianity, was just such a person.

On Sunday, we continue our walk through the Acts of the Apostles, backtracking a chapter to what happened before Paul met Timothy in Lystra.  Paul and Barnabas were arriving in Jerusalem to meet with the church leaders after some evangelists had arrived in Antioch and upset the believers there.  Antioch had a church community that was both Jew and Gentile, and this blended cultural environment had been successful until these folks showed up and told them that the Gentile Christians had to become Jewish before they could become Christian.  So in Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabus seek to finally put the issue to rest among the Christian church, so it could continue its expansion. 

While this may not seem like a big deal to us today, this was a huge decision to make as the early church was making up the limits and boundaries of Christianity in those early days.  After all, the 12 Disciples had all been Jewish, Jesus had been Jewish, raised in a Jewish family among a Jewish community in Nazareth.  On Sunday, our goal will not be to talk more about Gentile inclusion – we’ve already done that – but to look at how we can, like James and the Jerusalem Council, think theologically through life.  We’ll be talking about a four-fold way of thinking that is very near and dear to people who look to John Wesley and his example of faith.  Ever heard of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral?  We’ll talk about it today as we worship and meditate on God’s grace and James’s response to it in Romans 3:21-26 and Acts 15:1-2, 7-20.

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 8/30/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

Our Children’s ministries that include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub have relaunched their in-person meetings. They are currently meeting at 8am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together.

 

The Youth is meeting for a fun night on August 30th from 4:30-5:30pm. So many games and outdoor activities are planned! Please come and bring a friend! SPYouth will regularly meet every 1st and 3rd Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. Praise NG will be meeting every 2nd and 4th Sunday in the Sanctuary.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 
 


Passing the Salt

 
 

Happy 12th Sunday of Pentecost!

While Back-to-School Sunday will look much different this year, we will still celebrate the beginning of this important time as much as we can!  At the 8am service, part of this celebration will include the confirmation of 5 youth who completed our confirmation camp last month!  This service of new beginnings gives us a chance to study the Bible’s point of view on mentoring and carrying Christ to new generations.  A great example of this is the relationship between Paul and his protégé Timothy, whom he met in Lystra when he returned on his second missionary journey.  Timothy is an important figure, both literally in Christian history and also metaphorically as the son of a Jewish mother and a Greek father.  The Christian faith was struggling between these same two cultures at this time, between their Jewish roots and the Gentile, largely culturally “Greek” mission field. 

We’ll read from Acts 16:1-10, where Paul first meets Timothy and takes him along, right before Paul is called by the Holy Spirit to move into a new continent – Europe!  We’ll also look at the first 5 verses of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, where he reminds Timothy and us of the basics of all Christian instruction; of the “salt” that we are supposed to pass on to others..  Jesus told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount that they were to be salt and light to the world.  When we mentor others, we are passing the salt to new people so they can pass the salt to new places.  Where will it end?  Hopefully never!  Because as Christians we need to pass the salt everywhere!  God has a call for each of us, so how will you pass the salt to the world?

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 8/23/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  We will have communion at every 8am service.  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.    

This week we will be having our in-person nursery and SPKidz, during the 8am service. The kids are excited about getting back together in person even wearing masks and socially distancing. We can’t wait to see you!

We still have introductions to both our SPKidz Church and iClub lessons on our YouTube channel. After you watch the introductions to the lesson, be sure to download the packet with discussion questions and activities to do at home!

Check our YouTube channel for the SPKidz & iClub Video introductions: St. Paul’s YouTube

SPKidz Packet

iClub Packet

 

The Youth will be taking a break from regular meetings throughout the rest of the summer. Praise NG will not be meeting this Sunday as they prepare to go back to school.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.