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

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.

 


The Summons

 

Happy 7th Sunday of Pentecost!

Heading toward this Sunday’s worship, we continue our journey through the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke as a second volume of his “History of Jesus and the Church.” Here we see another central character emerge, almost like parallel storylines in a TV show.  We’ve had Jesus, Peter, James, John, Stephen, Philip, and now Saul.  We’ve seen Saul mentioned already as a leading figure in the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem, and we meet him in Acts 9 as he is journeying to Damascus to capture and harass any Christians who live there, or who might have escaped Jerusalem.  Think about this: he’s heading to another town with the blessing of the religious establishment to essentially kidnap and imprison Christians.  This kind of conduct would be exceedingly criminal in our world, and yet it’s the kind of mission Saul asked for – we’re told he went to the high priest and asked for the letters so he could head to Damascus.

So on this mission, as Saul nears Damascus, he has a vision of the risen Christ that changes his life forever.  Also in Damascus, a Christian named Ananias receives a similar life-changing vision to come to Saul’s aid and be the person who initiates him to the Christian life.  Saul is converted to Jesus and a new mission in life, and Ananias is converted to loving the unlovable – the terrorist who has now become a fellow Christian.  How would we react in their shoes?  What does this pivotal story in the Bible have to teach us about our lives?  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we 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: 7/19/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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.

 


…who can explain it to me?”

 

Happy 6th Sunday of Pentecost!

This Sunday we read a compelling story from the ministry of Philip, one of those Hellenist deacons we read about earlier.  While the apostles thought they were ordaining him to a life of “waiting on tables” as they called it in the food bank of the early church, he ends up doing all sorts of things as the church is attacked and scattered amid the killing of Stephen.

Philip, led by an angel, encounters an Ethiopian eunuch.  This eunuch was, essentially the secretary of the treasury for the Candace (Queen) of Meroe, a Nubian Kingdom on the banks of the Nile in modern-day Sudan.  This high-ranking (but enslaved and mutilated) eunuch goes to Jerusalem to worship, but does not find what he is seeking there.  Instead, he is barred from the Temple because of his non-Jewish birth and his condition as a eunuch (Lev. 21:20 & Deut. 23:1).  So he heads back home, probably reading the Isaiah scroll to himself and trying to figure it all out.  Why was I rejected?  What does all this mean?

Enter Philip – a Christian who helps him discover that he is not rejected, but is instead a part of the household of God.  When a Christian is invited to mentor someone who is seeking to find God, they should do so by interpreting Scripture for them as a gateway to that knowledge.  Afraid you don’t have the words?  Well, that’s why God is with you?  And who knows, you might get the chance to watch God change the destiny of an entire kingdom!

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: 7/12/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

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 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.

 


Showing Love by Sharing

 

Happy Independence Day Weekend! 

This week we begin a few notable things: an 8am in-person service, a new month, the second day of my fortieth year on the planet, and a new sermon series!  We leave the Gospel according to Matthew for several Sundays this summer in order to study how the newly-formed Christian church grew and stayed centered on Christ while they encountered their own hinge time.   

What’s a “hinge-time?” I encountered this phrase as I read an article from May in the Financial Times where the author equates this current crisis to other pivotal events in which history “hinged” from one course to another.  Other such examples are the 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that began the First World War (and laid the groundwork for the Second), the 1929 stock market crash which ushered in a worldwide Depression, or the 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center.  You can find the article at: https://www.ft.com/content/de643ae8-9527-11ea-899a-f62a20d54625. This virus, the author argues and I’m inclined to agree, have changed the world as we know it, and will probably continue to change it going into the future.  And, importantly enough, he wrote his article before we encountered the next hinge of protests around the brutal killing of Black men and women by people sworn to serve and protect those same communities. 

The early church was born in just such a time.  As the influence of Jesus began to grow after his death, the new church had to figure out how Jesus’s teaching would be manifest in the world.  They had no template to work from, and they merely prayed and constantly sought guidance on what they should do to bring the Good News to the world.  In reading through the Acts of the Apostles again, I pray we can see our own way through this time of change and anxiety into a deeper relationship with Christ and each other.  In Acts 6:1-7 we’ll read Luke’s telling of the first conflict within the church – which might sound strangely familiar – and see how we too can begin to heal the wounds that have been exposed within our society.  What if Christians were known for that? For healing emotional, generational wounds and bringing reconciliation to hurting parts of society?  I pray it is so! 

 

Sunday’s Online ServiceIf 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: 7/5/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend! 

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 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 because of the holiday we will be taking a break from iClub, but usually 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.