Welcome to Saint Paul’s

In coming to our website, I realize you might have many questions. You might be excited about finding a church to belong to, or you might be a bit fearful from bad church experiences in the past. If you are looking for a church that focuses on creating spiritual fruits, not religious nuts, then you have come to the right place.

I hope the information on this website will help you feel more comfortable with visiting us in person and knowing more about who we are. Feel free to email me if you have any further questions that are not covered here.
 
Our Mission statement at St. Paul’s says a lot about who we are and what we do:

 

As a Christian family of faith,
Saint Paul’s affirms God’s love by
transforming lives,
connecting generations,
impacting our community & world,
and
making disciples for Jesus Christ.

 
Affirming God’s Love by
transforming lives:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that we are supposed to transform peoples’ lives for the better because of our Christian faith. Whether it is feeding people who are hungry, giving hope to the hopeless, or voice to the voiceless, faith is not just for our own benefit, but is supposed to be for the whole world!
Matthew 25:31-46
 
Affirming God’s love by
connecting generations:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that connecting generations is a key part of how we affirm God’s love. We believe in ministry that serves the needs of particular age groups but also connects generations together. This can be seen when our Children & Youth make and deliver gifts to our homebound members, and when our younger members are welcomed to be a part of our adult ministries. We believe that it does take a village to raise a child, and that we all benefit when we are all involved in age-related ministries.
Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17
 
Affirming God’s love by
impacting our community & world:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that our faith needs to have an impact in our community (through local ministries such as Interfaith Emergency Services and Open Arms Village) and our world (through projects such as our Pillowcase Dresses, Prayer Quilts, and Stop Hunger Now).
Matthew 5:13-16
 
Affirming God’s love by
making disciples for Jesus Christ:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that the core mission of the church to which all our activities point is to make people into disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:18-20
 
St. Paul’s Christian School shares its campus with us and many of the families in our church and school come from the surrounding neighborhood. In this quiet, picturesque corner of Ocala we are kind of like the neighborhood park – you’re likely to see families playing on our playground, couples taking a stroll around the campus, someone sitting for a prayer in our Memorial Garden, or our Scouts having a meeting at the fire pit. This image is really the vision we have for St. Paul’s: a place that offers God’s grace, love and comfort to the people around us.
 
Want to know more?  Come and see what we’re all about!
 
In Christ,
 
Robert

Robert’s Blog

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.

 


The Starfish of Lystra

 

Happy 11th Sunday of Pentecost!

Studying through Acts over the last few months, we’ve covered a lot of historic and cultural ground, going from the last words of Jesus before he ascended, through both the Jewish (Acts 2) and the Gentile Pentecost in Acts 10.  We’ve watched the Holy Spirit work in those mysterious ways to bring more and more people into contact with the message of Christ.  We might be lulled into taking victory and heroic deeds for granted, and so coming to Barnabas and Paul’s first missionary journey feels a little jolting.  Things go well at first, but they encounter trouble as soon as they enter Pisidian Antioch.  In the small, out-of-the way town of Lystra, Paul is left for dead after being stoned outside the city walls.  The mission, especially in Lystra, seems to be a failure, so Paul and Barnabas head back the way they came, with a rather quick, hushed description of their route back to where they started.  What can we learn about failure from their story, and how can we recover spiritually from failures in our lives?  How can we get the courage to try and fail at new things during these uncertain times when our best efforts and guesses seem to fall short?  We’ll read the story from Lystra in Acts 14:8-20 and some encouraging words from an older Paul in Romans 5:1-8 as we worship online and in-person 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: 8/16/20 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 relaunching our in-person nursery, SPKidz, and iClub 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 be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested.

 

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.

 


But We’ve Always Done It That Way Before

 

Happy 10th Sunday of Pentecost!

Come join St. Paul’s and in-person as we continue walking through the Acts of the Apostles together.  This book of the New Testament tells the story of the early church, from Jesus’s ascension to Paul’s ministry in Rome.  This Sunday we’re going to look at Peter’s story, after he returns to Jerusalem from witnessing the Gentile Pentecost in Cornelius’s household.  To put it frankly, he’s in trouble!  Let’s study how the early church reacted in a good way to this early challenge to “the way it had always been.”  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: 8/9/20 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.    

We 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!

This week we have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 9:45am on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through Zoom, which is an online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this.

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 be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested.

 

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.

 


Learning An Important Lesson

 
 
 

Happy 9th Sunday of Pentecost!

As we worship this Sunday in-person* and online, we continue to study the story of the early church as they began to expand ministry and impact throughout the world.  This impact was especially felt when the Holy Spirit began doing something unthinkable – including people in the vast world of non-Jewish, or Gentile, people.  For thousands of years, Judaism had held the dormant promise of welcoming Gentile communities, but awaited God’s action to, in many leaders’ imaginations, have those nations come and acknowledge the righteousness of Judaism above all other peoples and religions.  Imagine the pearl-clutching horror of the early Christian community (all Jewish) when they began to realize that God was rushing ahead of them and that Jesus’s Good News of the Kingdom of God was reaching people who had not become Jewish yet!  All of their assumptions about the way God was supposed to work were being challenged, and we can learn a lot about God’s plan by watching God work in Acts, chapter 10.  Peter’s ministry to a “God-fearing” Gentile can also shed a lot of wisdom on God’s desire for our own reactions during these times of racial and ethnic strife.  Let’s open our minds, our hearts, and our Bibles as we worship God and learn from Peter!

The story in Acts 10 is a bit long, so I won’t read the whole thing in online worship.  Instead, let me recommend a great dramatic storytelling from the late folk storyteller Michael Williams at https://vimeo.com/262057300.  Watch this before or after the service for a great way to see the impact of this story in the Bible.

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: 8/2/20 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.    

*Special Note: Please stay tuned to our website and social media pages for information about this Sunday’s service as Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to approach the Florida coast.  If the 8am worship service is cancelled, we will announce it by Saturday evening via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on our website at spocala.org.

We 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!

This week we have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 9:45am on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through Zoom, which is an online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this.

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 be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested.

 

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.

 


Such a Dorcas

 

Happy 8th Sunday of Pentecost!

As we worship this Sunday in-person and online, our service will be built around Dorcas – or Tabitha if you prefer.  As Peter is making his rounds in the same direction Philip went earlier in Acts, he heals two people and teaches us a lot about how we can be effective and faithful disciples.  Both Aenas and Dorcas are interesting scriptural lessons in how Peter’s faith can be ours.  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we worship 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: 7/26/20 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).  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.  We will have communion at every 8am service.

We 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!

This week we have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 9:45am on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through Zoom, which is an online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this.

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 be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested.

 

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.