Welcome to Saint Paul’s!

St. Paul’s is a different kind of church.  We’re not a large megachurch with a sound stage and a suped-up production machine, but we strive to be a church full of authentic followers of Jesus.  No matter how you come to visit us, we pray you’ll find clear examples of God’s love, whether through us or through our ministries – but hopefully both!

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. Either way, 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 get to know us, whether you’re an online or in-person visitor. 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.

Recognizing a Heart of War

 

Happy 19th Sunday of Pentecost!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 


Cultivating a Heart of Peace

 
 

Happy 18th Sunday of Pentecost!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 
 


Speaking Truth to Power

 
 
 

Happy 17th Sunday of Pentecost!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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