Sunday Morning Worship July 31st

This weekend, our family will be in Utah celebrating a wedding that involves a family dear to us. Both Nan and I will be busy as she will be the photographer and I will lead the service. As I have begun to collect my thoughts for the wedding homily I have been struck, yet again, by the reminder of God’s Grace at work in ways both seen and unseen.

For context, the bride was one of my students at a church I served previously. When I met her she was precocious and confident, while at the same time obnoxious and hyperactive. Did I mention she was in eighth grade? In the years following our time in ministry together she worked to maintain a relationship with her faith and her local church. She had and still has questions, frustrations, hopes and possibilities – as we all do.

As she became an adult and launched a career her connection to a family of faith was not often prioritized. As I have watched her mature, lead, love and serve others I can honestly say – the Grace of Jesus Christ is alive and well in her. She has grown into an incredible woman whose work makes a great impact on others. We have stayed in contact with her and are honored to be a part of her wedding celebration. But most of all, I am grateful that God’s Grace has always been, and will always be sufficient. This young lady’s journey thus far points me back to this truth.

Having gotten to know her and her fiancée, I can honestly say that their faith in God and one another is moving them into a space where there is a sincere desire to connect with a Christian community again. For this, I rejoice!

I also know that there are countless others just like her, in our neighborhoods, schools, places of work that are waiting for a safe, welcoming, inclusive, non-judgmental place to connect in meaningful Christian community. How will we make space for them at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church?

I hope you will gather Sunday morning as we celebrate the Grace of God in Jesus Christ together at 10:30 a.m. Whether you can be here in person or online, we celebrate your life among us. What a gift we have in Christ-centered community!

My new friend, and someone many of you already know, Rev. Miquell Mack will be preaching in my absence. Please welcome him and the word he brings to us.

Grace and Peace,

Jeremy



Life of Generosity

“God made all of His creation to give. He made the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the earth, the plants to give. He also designed His supreme creation, man, to give. But fallen man is the most reluctant giver in all of God’s creation.”  – Author Unknown

I have to admit, I have been a ‘work-in-progress’ as it relates to generosity. I have tended to substitute being generous with my monetary resources for the giving of my time, energy and relational connections because those tend to be much easier to give. I have learned, over time, that one of many reasons my posture of stinginess prevails has been due to my misunderstanding of economics. Not economics in the academic sense, but what many have labeled “God’s Economy”.

Perhaps you are like me and you have experienced an economy based in scarcity, where there is a consistent fear of not having enough or not having access to particular things. These experiences are real and often aid us in being wise, discerning and at times stewardly with our resources. But there is often another side to this economy of scarcity. When our posture towards our resources is one of fear and scarcity, we tend to both cling to tightly and to identify to strongly to things that are not to own us but to aid us. St. Augustine knew about this struggle as he is attributed as writing the following, “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” In God’s economy there is always enough and in many cases, abundance.

 

I hope you will connect with us Sunday morning as we again visit a familiar miracle story that illustrates this contrast in detail. I invite you to read Matthew 14 if you want to prepare for Sunday’s sermon.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Jeremy



Life of Joy

A special thank you to the many folks who made the picnic Sunday a great success. Your desire to be together, connect and celebrate life with one another was very evident. We should definitely seek future opportunities to be together in fellowship.  

It is my sincerest prayer that as we continue to journey together, you will not only get to know me and my hopes for us as a family of faith but more importantly you will again be challenged to engage life found in Jesus Christ. A challenging, abundant, deep and meaningful life that is anchored in the love of God and love of neighbor. It is this apparent to me that many of us have “tasted and seen” this life. Many of us have encountered Grace and responded to it in our own ways. As we face the realities of our humanity and the challenges that come along with it, we often lose connection to the “fruit” produced by abundant life in Christ. 

Chief among these often lost fruits is Joy. This week, as we gather to again consider what life in Christ means for us personally and collectively I want to challenge you to ponder our scripture passage.  

Philippians 4:1-8  1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my coworkers, whose names are in the book of life. 

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 As for the things that you have learned and received and heard and noticed in me, do them, and the God of peace will be with you. 

 

I look forward to being with you all as we re-join ourselves to and re-commit to a practice of Joy. 

Grace and Peace, 

Jeremy 



Life of Movement

Happy Fourth Sunday after Pentecost!  

 We hope you can join us this Sunday in welcoming the Knight family to St. Paul’s! Below you will find all the information you need to access our service either online or in person. We look forward to worshipping with you. 

 Sunday’s In-Person Service at 10:30 –Our in-person, indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.  Please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  Masks are optional at worship, but there is still a section of pews in front of the sound booth reserved for those who wish to mask and keep a distance from others during worship. 

 Sunday’s Livestream Service at 10:30—You can now watch the Livestream on YouTube! We recommend logging into your account a few minutes before 10:30 am so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can access the YouTube livestream at stpaulsworship.org or you can log into your Facebook account and see the Livestream on the St. Paul’s Facebook page. You can chat once the Livestream service has started on either Facebook or YouTube.  

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15 am in the Fellowship Hall.  

Check the calendar at childrenandyouthcalendar.org for updated information on our SPYouth meetings. 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us. You may 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. We will get back to you as soon as possible. 



Report from Annual Conference

Happy Third Sunday after Pentecost!

We hope you can join us this week as we shine our lights as we move forward in the work of the church. The service will be led by laity and we will review our visioning process as part of the service. We look forward to seeing you there or hope you can watch during the livestream!

 

Sunday’s In-Person Service at 10:30 –Our in-person, indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.  Please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  Masks are optional at worship, but there is still a section of pews in front of the sound booth reserved for those who wish to mask and keep a distance from others during worship.

 

Sunday’s Livestream Service at 10:30—You can now watch the Livestream on YouTube! We recommend logging into your account a few minutes before 10:30 am so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can access the YouTube livestream at stpaulsworship.org or you can log into your Facebook account and see the Livestream on the St. Paul’s Facebook page. You can chat once the Livestream service has started on either Facebook or YouTube.

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15 am in the Fellowship Hall.

Check the calendar at childrenandyouthcalendar.org for updated information on our SPYouth meetings.

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us. You may 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. We will get back to you as soon as possible.