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.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! Easter Sunday was an amazing celebration and I was blessed to be able to share it with all of you during worship. Thanks to everyone who made Holy Week and Easter so great! From Palm Sunday to Good Friday, the Sunrise service, Breakfast, Easter Egg Hunt and the 10:30 service, I am blessed to be here among you!

Pentecost Sunday is June 9th, so we have the whole month of May to celebrate the resurrection as well as the end of school, the beginning of summer, and the return of our YMCA Summer camp on the grounds of St. Paul’s. We’re glad to have them back for another summer starting May 28th!

May will be a big month on another front, and I want to make sure everyone is in church on May 12th for a special Sunday. During worship I’ll be speaking about our Ministry to Children & Youth, specifically letting you know how the updated Florida Conference Children & Youth Protection Policy will affect St. Paul’s. This year, churches across Florida will be implementing the same updated Protection Policy in order to better protect and minister with their Children, Youth, and families. While some of the specifics will be a part of Children & Youth volunteer training, all of us in worship will learn the basics of the new policy so we can be prepared to create the best environment possible here at St. Paul’s. After all, it takes the whole church family to make sure our Children and Youth are growing their faith in a safe environment!

As summer begins, we will have many special opportunities, from overnight summer camp at Warren Willis, Confirmation Sundays and Day Camp, Annual Conference and more! I look forward to being with you through all of it as we affirm God’s love here at St. Paul’s UMC!

The Lord is Risen Indeed!

Robert

 



Lent: Tell the Story

Each Sunday in Lent, we’ve been examining a particular Disciple’s story in order to better see how we can be more faithful disciples. Each of “The Twelve,” as they’re sometimes called, weren’t superheroes but rather normal people like you and me. Their stories, while located in a certain time period, are still human stories. Like human beings around the world and across time, the original twelve disciples had many of the same issues that we have. Some of them may have come from broken families, and most would have experienced the loss of a parent by the time Jesus called them, among many other events and personal challenges in those turbulent 1st Century time. Even Jesus, with his God-in-man status, was not immune to the ebbs and flows of family fortune. Joseph, Jesus’s earthly “father,” is never mentioned after the birth story, leading many Bible scholars to conclude that he had passed away by the time Jesus began his ministry. Even Jesus would have felt the pangs of grief as he watched Joseph’s passing. All of them had stories, and God loved them. So, what’s your story?

The interaction we’ve been doing during worship this Lent is supposed to help you tell your faith story to others. What brought you to Jesus? What brought you to St. Paul’s? What Disciple do you personally identify with? Is there something in their story that connects with yours? Telling our story is vitally important in forming a healthy church, and joining together to hear how God has worked in someone else’s life is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. This is essentially what happened in the early Methodist movement, and why it grew with such speed across England in the 18th Century. Fellow disciples, banding together in groups of 6-12 people to pray with each other, share each others’ stories, listen, and together answer the question, “How is it with your soul?”

This Lent, as we listen to the stories of these men who lived with Jesus long ago, let’s ask ourselves, “Is it my story too?”

Repent and believe,

Robert

 



Moving Into Lent

Moving into Lent

 

“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love.” —Jesus in John 15:9

The Bible is full of characters, and the four gospels are riddled with the characters of Jesus, John the Baptizer, King Herod, Anna, Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well, Joseph, and many others. It’s because of these characters, and their interaction with God and each other, that we see the profound and eternal truth of God’s message through Jesus Christ.

Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), in his celebrated treatise called Spiritual Exercises, expounded on a technique of reading the Bible he learned while he was recovering from battle injuries in 1521. Essentially, the technique was to put yourself in the Bible passage you were reading, imagining yourself a character in the story. As he read the Bible this way, he began to see the transforming reality of the Bible in a way that transformed him personally from a life of dueling, vanity, and ambition to a life of Christian service.

We aren’t spectators to the stories of the Bible. Instead, we are meant to relate our own lives to them. The Bible isn’t supposed to be used as a piece of furniture, but rather as a mirror to see our true selves—warts and all—more clearly. It’s in this way we should come to Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.

This Lent we will be putting ourselves in the story of Jesus through the disciples. Each week we’ll look at a mirror through the story of one disciple and ask ourselves how we can become a more faithful disciple of Christ. In this season of recovery and uncertainty from the high drama of General Conference, let us center ourselves on the main thing in our faith—Jesus the Christ.

 

The peace of Christ be with you,

Robert