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

Getting Thrown Out

 

Happy Pentecost Everyone!

Somewhere around three thousand years ago, the Hebrew people were just beginning their off-road overlanding journey we now call the Exodus.  Moses, having trouble leading this massive group of people by himself, gathered the family leaders and delegated leadership to them.  The Bible tells us that a portion of God’s Spirit rested on these men as they took the mantle of leadership with Moses.  However, there were two leaders who didn’t make it to the meeting tent soon enough.  Running late, you might think they would miss something – but God’s Spirit isn’t contained in a meeting tent or only available to perfect vessels of punctuality.  We’re told that as those elders gathered inside the tent, the same Spirit that rested on them jumped the walls and rested on Eldad and Medad, and they began prophesying the same as the folks inside the tent.  While some people were upset and complained to Moses, Moses reply fits perfectly on this Pentecost Sunday – “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit upon them all!” (Numbers 11:29 NLT)

Well, that’s what finally happened at the festival of Pentecost about two thousand years ago.  While the Holy Spirit had always been around, and had been inspiring God’s people all along, it took on a special meaning and power as the presence of Christ with the disciples on that day, forming them into the ekklesia, a Greek word meaning “the called-out ones.”  Like those two Hebrew elders who caught the Spirit outside the tent, the crowd that begins assembling outside the gathered disciples begins to be blessed as the Spirit is thrown out into the streets.  Peter then follows, called – or thrown – out to explain the meaning of this miraculous and Spirit-filled moment.  What had been a low-key Jewish holiday becomes the birth – the calling/throwing out – of the Holy Spirit and the followers of Jesus to both make disciples of all nations, baptizing them …and teaching them (Matthew 28:19-20) and be Jesus’s “witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). Truly this is that moment Moses wished for, when the Spirit would come to rest upon all people of the earth.

It is this commission that the Acts of the Apostles follows as the church expands in the first century world.  While that’s all very exciting, we must now turn to ask what our place is in this story.  Is all that Spirit-filled action just meant for the first generation of Disciples and Apostles?  Do we have the same call today to follow Jesus’s commission and become apostles ourselves?  And what exactly does “empowered by the Holy Spirit” mean?  Does it mean “acting crazy in church,” or is there a deeper meaning to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?  Should we really want to get thrown out of church?

So there’s a lot to get to on Pentecost Sunday!  As we open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles we’ll dive into that powerful day that the Disciples became Apostles and the gathered crowd becomes the church.  I hope you can also be a part of our Pentecost Parade later in the afternoon as we are “thrown out” to spread God’s love to others!  See you on YouTube and in the parking lot!

Sunday’s 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: 5/31/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this 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.

 


Following the Ascension

Happy Easter Everyone! 

This Sunday is part of the weekend we remember as a memorial to those who have fallen in our nation’s military, and on the church’s calendar it is the final Sunday in the Easter season, when we remember Jesus’s ascension into heaven. As Jesus ascends to heaven, the disciples face a sudden choice-what will happen to them now that Jesus is gone?  Is it back to normal, or is it reflecting the life Christ gave them? Do they stand frozen in amazement, or do they get on to the mission they have been given? Do they have the capacity to dream forward, or do they stay stuck in the present, wishing for the past? 

The disciples want Jesus to restore the Kingdom, Jesus tells them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. They stand there after Jesus has ascended, staring up to heaven in awe at what they have just seen, and just then they are met by two angels standing beside them who pour cold water on their reverie, reminding them that this will all happen in reverse some day. Their trance broken, they return to the upper room for prayer and the next steps into a future they never could have imagined. 

These are also the first steps in the church growing into a realization of what it means to be the extension of the Apostles’ teaching and Jesus’s ministry. Do we have the capacity to still dream forward at times like this, or do we stand frozen in the present, wishing for the past? 

 

Sunday’s 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: 5/24/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend! 

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! 

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this 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. 

 


Come & Hear

 

Happy Easter Everyone!

As we come to the sixth Sunday in the Easter season, we read from Psalm 66:8-20 and 1 Peter 3:13-22.  Psalm 66 is an epic Psalm that has some interesting twists to it, such as the Psalmist praising God for some pretty difficult times.  Also, Peter encourages the recipients of his letter to use the difficulties they experience to increase their faith and re-orient their perspective.  The good things we encounter are just a much a test of our faith as are the negative things. Will we continue to honor God in this time of good fortune? Will we be humble when the applause comes? Will we be faithful when we move to the top floor? Life is a test of faith.

Our calling as followers of Christ is not just to keep ourselves on the path, but to invite others to walk the same path we walk – to invite others to praise God and “come and hear” the good news of salvation!

Sunday’s 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: 5/17/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this if you are interested.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.

 
 


Like Living Stones

Happy Easter Everyone!

As we look toward Sunday, we’re continuing our Easter emphasis on joy and looking at Peter’s first letter to those fledgling, struggling and persecuted churches in Asia Minor.  We’re reading from the second chapter, verses 1-10, and we see that Peter, from the Greek word Petros, whose name basically means “Rocky,” has stones on the brain.  He develops a beautiful image, probably making light of his nickname, of us being stones too – living stones – letting God build us into his beautiful new Kingdom.  We’ll also hear Jesus’s mysterious and comforting words in John 14:1-14 about God making – building? – a place for his followers in heaven.  What does God want us to do with all these rocks?  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we worship online on Sunday!

 

Sunday’s 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: 5/10/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this if you are interested.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.

 


By His Wounds

 
 
 

Happy Easter Everyone!

In this different (to say the least) season of Easter, we’re continuing our journey with Peter the Apostle and reading from his letter, specifically Chapter 2, verses 19-23.  In these passages, Peter makes some profound statements about the healing (and resurrecting) properties of Jesus’s blood and resurrection.  “By his wounds” is a statement you’ve probably heard said, or even preached before – especially in revival settings – but it’s also a deeply complex and meaningful theology, and it can mean wonders to us personally.  Yes, literally wonders.  So let’s open our hearts and our Bibles as we worship online together on the Fourth Sunday of Easter!

We will be celebrating Holy Communion this Sunday.  Gather your communion elements from what you have at home, and please do not put yourself at more risk to get the exact match of bread & grape juice.  Just use anything you have that can represent the bread and the cup (or wine) that Jesus asked us to use and be creative if needed.  The liturgy and the prayers will be the same, even if the setting is a little different, and God’s grace will still be sacramental.

Sunday’s 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: 5/3/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this if you are interested.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.

 


Setting Our Faith & Hope

 
 

Happy Easter Everyone!

Continuing this season of resurrection, we also continue our journeys into 1 Peter and Acts, looking at how Peter encourages us to live a life of joy by setting our faith and hope in Christ.  We’ll read from Acts 2:14,36-41, and 1 Peter 1:17-23.  We don’t love our way into relationship with God. If that were the case, none of us would ever get there. And none of us could love like we’re called to love. It is beyond our abilities. But because of the relationship that Jesus handed to us through his suffering, we can be purified enough to love. It is a response to, a result of the relationship with God, setting our faith and hope in God, that enables us to love. It is the outgrowth of that relationship.

That’s what being people “of Easter” means. We are made new in the Resurrection and enabled to love like never before. “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God” (1:23).

Since we’ll be worshipping virtually this Sunday, we thought it would be helpful to have links to all our content for this week in one place.

Sunday’s 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: 4/26/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this if you are interested.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.

 


Glorious, Indescribable Joy

 

Happy Easter Everyone!

Into this Easter season we are facing the need for more joy than ever before, and it is for times just like these that people like the apostle Peter can be a blessing to us.  We’ll read from the account of the first Christian sermon (which he preached) in Acts 2:14a, 36-41, and we’ll read from his first letter, 1 Peter 1:3-9.  How in the world can we have what he calls “glorious, indescribable joy” when the world is so chaotic and, well, un-joyous?  Well, the secret lies right where it should – in Easter.  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we worship on Sunday morning!

Since we’ll be worshipping online this Sunday, we thought it would be helpful to have links to all our content for this week in one place.

Sunday’s 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: 4/19/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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 meeting and doing a lesson on Sunday evening at 5:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this if you are interested.

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.



Easter Sunday

 
 
 

Happy Easter Everyone!

Oh Happy Day!  We’ll read from Matthew’s account of that glorious morning in Chapter 28, verses 1-10.  With Jesus’s resurrection, we enter into a new reality; sin and death have been defeated, and the powers of evil in the world are now on the run.  Through faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are also granted this victory and our lives are forever changed.  As the song goes…

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know who holds the future

And life is worth the living just because He lives!

 

Since we’ll be worshipping virtually this Sunday, we thought it would be helpful to have links to all our content for this week in one place.

Sunday’s 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: 4/12/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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.

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

SPKidz Packet

iClub Packet

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.

 


Palm Sunday

Hi Everyone,

You’re invited to Palm Sunday at St. Paul’s as we celebrate and remember Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  We’re reading the account from Matthew 21:1-11, and we’re homing in on a theme Matthew works into his Gospel over and over: the Conflict of Kingdoms.  This theme is particularly profound as Jesus is portrayed here as s conquering king – but in the most awkward of ways.  Why would Matthew do this, and what might he be telling us about who Jesus really is?  Why didn’t he clean this king up and help us imagine him as more regal?  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we worship and wave our palm branches to welcome the king

 

Since we’ll be worshiping virtually this Sunday, we thought it would be helpful to have links to all our content for this week in one place.

Sunday’s 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: 4/5/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 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. You can contact Kraig by email for more information

SPKidz Church Intro

SPKidz Packet

iClub Intro

iClub Packet

 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these rough 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.



Fifth Sunday of Lent

Hi Everyone,

 

On Sunday we’ll read from Ephesians 4:1-7 and Matthew 6:16-21.  We’ll look at Jesus’s instructions after the Lord’s Prayer and see how they invite us to be more aware of the way our wounds cause us to sin, getting stuck in a behavioral “rut” that we can only get out of through the love of Christ and the community of faith helping us through.  I’ll share a story of getting stuck in a rut myself.  What got me out wasn’t the traction of my tires or the heat of my engine, it was the love of family who literally risked their lives to get me out of a mess I had gotten into all on my own.

Since we’ll be worshipping virtually this Sunday, we thought it would be helpful to have links to all our content for this week in one place.

Sunday’s Service—if you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to 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: 3/29/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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!

We will also have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 10:00 on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through GoToMeeting, which is an online conferencing tool.

SPKidz Church Intro

SPKidz Packet

iClub Intro

iClub Packet