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.

Go, Therefore

 
 

Happy Pentecost Everyone!

Continuing into this season of Pentecost, we read from Matthew 28:16-20 which is Matthew’s telling of Jesus’s final words to the disciples.  Let’s hear their words anew on Sunday, and let’s see how they connect us to ministries of social justice during this time of protest and greater awareness of the Gospel’s power to change culture and defeat prejudice – even if it’s in our own hearts.

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: 6/7/20 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 4:30pm using the Zoom online conferencing tool. This week’s meeting is at a different time than usual, so please remember 4:30!  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.



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.