- Welcome to St. Paul's FaithLife Group. Through our FaithLife group you can listen to sermons, access FaithLife TV, participate in study groups, and keep updated on St. Paul news. In the future we will have the ability to provide digital bulletins and newsletters. Take some time, browse around, and connect with each other!
- 2021-03-28 | Luke 19:28-44I. Me and We How do we celebrate? I remember kids. Palms. Singing. It was celebratory. At one of my churches, a man rode to church on a donkey so that we could get a taste, just a small taste, of what it might have been like to be there. To see Jesus, riding in and the people spreading the Palms and…sermons.faithlife.com
- 2021-03-21 | Mary and Maratha | Luke 10:38-42An Issue of Discernment? What Martha was about…was good…service…but she was missing the uniqueness of the situation. The request was good and right…but…Mary was the one who saw the deeper discernment of the situation. Knockaert (LVit 33  474) suggests that there is a deliberate contrast here between…sermons.faithlife.com
- A suggestion, locate the Advent Candles where they can be seen during David’s Sermon
Please pray.I could not figure out why I didn’t get a notification about service this morning- then I realized it’s only Saturday. 😜 I have been feeling worse lately and I hope it’s not my vasculitis disease flailing up. I would like prayers as in the next 2 weeks I will be having tests to check on that, multiple doctor appointments, plus an endoscopy and allergy tests to see if they can find out why I’m having trouble swallowing.
Ode to a Mouse Nest
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley". So true.
It is believed that Robert Burns composed the poem, "To a Mouse," while still holding on to his plow after plowing through a mouse's nest. He knew the mouse needed the nest to survive the winter. The mouse had planned well but to no avail.
The mouse had no way to foresee Robert, with his plow in hand, destroying his home. The line I quote above is from the original Scottish language poem, which is somewhat hard to understand. When translated the line becomes, "The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry."
In the Air
We cannot predict or foresee many of life's events. We can plan but strategy goes out the window when you get punched in the face (according to Mike Tyson). The fact that plans go awry is why I often say, "Sometimes we build the airplane while flying it!." Sometimes you have to at least get up in the air and assess the situation as it unfolds.
To be honest, I love it when a plan comes together. I cherish a finely crafted plan. I don't want to 'wing it' but I also realize no plan takes into account everything that can go 'awry'. So, you move forward and adapt.
The ability to adapt is not given enough credit. We love a plan coming together, but that works much better on TV and in movies than real life. At least, that's been my experience. John Steinbeck agrees:
“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
"We don't take a trip; a trip takes us." Yes, indeed...and our plans don't control circumstances.
What does all of this have to do with St. Paul? Just this. During this pandemic, the ability to adapt has been vital. We have no idea what's coming around the corner and what tomorrow may bring. While there was some indication of what we were facing in March, April, May, and June, each month brings with it a realization that we are not in control of the pandemic.
So, plans must be made knowing that they may (and perhaps will) be adapted. I want to thank all of you for being patient and encouraging as plans are made, and, many times, changed. It's hard living in uncertainty but that is where we are.
Has everything gone smoothly? No. We've had technical issues from time to time. We plan, but then the pandemic punches us in the face. Ian and our musicians have been great, planning, adapting, dealing with problems, learning, then adapting the plan.
Aaron and I continue to discuss and attempt to find ways to help all of us at St. Paul to grow spiritually and keep us moving forward in mission. We don't want to view this pandemic only as a problem. We want to look deeper and find opportunities.
I'm encouraging you to use this time do draw deeper in relationship with Jesus. Instead of focusing on all we are missing, we can focus on what this "slow down" offers. I know some of us have had big life changes and we are doing things we didn't use to do, not doing things that we used to love to do, and being called upon to do things we never thought we'd have to do (such as teaching our kids/grand-kids).
In the midst of everything, there may be some time you can set aside in order to pause and connect with the peace that only Jesus brings. We get so focused on what's in front of us, that we forget about the one who is with us. When we keep Jesus at the center of our life, we find his peace is like an anchor for our soul. No matter what tries to punch us in the face, we can duck, jive, and navigate, never losing the sense of peace that Jesus gives.
In order to help you, we've created a new website http://stpaul.life. We are still testing it, tweaking it, adapting it, but you are invited to sign up, explore the courses, connect with others, and be reminded that you are not alone. This is OUR (St. Paul's) website. There are no ads. I pray it will be a place where we can encourage each other, a shelter in the midst of the social media storm.
May you recognize God's blessings! May you discover his peace. May this time be a time of deeper connection with Jesus and others.
Freedom For Life
July is Here!
Most of us think about the 4th when July tools around and for good reason. We celebrate our freedom on July 4th deserves celebration. Because of men and women who were willing to give the greatest sacrifice, we are free to live out our rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Such freedom demands celebration.
Free to Choose
We live out our freedoms differently. Freedom to pursue happiness may mean sitting on a white-sanded beach with crystal clear water, serving as a public servant, or pursuing a passion such as art or music. It may mean making a difference such as fighting for the oppressed, being a voice for those without one, or making sure freedom remains secure by joining the military. I, as you know, have used my freedom helping others deepen their relationship with Jesus, letting them know they matter to God and are invited into a life-transforming relationship with God.
We are free to love others, share, give, and make a difference. We are also free to make questionable or even bad decisions. We can choose to live for others, or only care about ourselves and what we want.
We are free to live life how we choose but with freedom comes responsibility. We are free to choose our actions but with freedoms comes consequences which we don't control.
Sometimes in the freedom of our pursuits, we end up in a prison of our own making. How many addictions have started with the freedom to try something? What starts out as a free choice can end with an inability to stop. We are free no more.
In Deuteronomy 29, Moses gathers the people to review their covenant with God. A covenant is like an agreement and/or contract between a greater entity, in this case, God, and a lesser entity, in this case, the people.
In chapter 30 verse 15 Moses says:
15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
Moses sets before the people two pathways. One path leads to life. The other path leads to death. They must choose which path they will follow. The path to life is simple, yet difficult: Love God. Keep his commandments. Walk in his ways. The path to destruction is simple and easy: Don't listen. Serve and worship other gods.
Freedom brings choice and responsibility. We have the freedom to pursue happiness, but that pursuit can end in destruction. There are individuals who have pursued wealth, power, celebrity, recognition, power, greed, selfishness, believing that those things bring the happiness they desire, yet the end of their road was one of loneliness, depression, anxiety, isolation, and destruction.
God sets before us a choice between life and death. We are free to choose. Choose wisely. Make a difference. Change the world. You are free to do so!