Dear Good Shepherd,
Good morning and happy Thursday. There will be a second new members podcast coming out sometime today or tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Summer: There are basic commitments to Christian living that all believers share regardless of the season...among them are Sunday worship, bible study, Christian education, prayer, service and fellowship. These things are not duties so much as they are life-lines. You stop doing them, you cut yourself off from the common means by which God gives grace. You basically stop growing, lose your peace, and run the risk of becoming what we have called in the past, a "big fat baby Christian" who feeds off of the community without giving anything back. I've been very pleased that Sunday attendance has increased over the summer--this is really great. And I have also noticed that people are showing up to serve at the various events that go on at Good Shepherd. All of this is very good and definitely shows that Good Shepherd is alive and that many are devoting themselves to the ministry of the gospel. I don't think we have too many big fat baby Christians at Good Shepherd.
But there is one troubling trend. I remember when we were in the midst of our troubles last year with litigation etc...we called a series of prayer meetings and a good number of people showed up to pray and carried their commitment throughout. Now, however, that God has miraculously brought us to this amazing new place, now that we are greater in number than before, and now that the troubles seem to be lessening, there also seems to be a sense that prayer is no longer necessary--a sort of "foxhole" mentality--an urgency to pray when we are in trouble and to walk away from prayer when God delivers. I hope that this is not true, that perhaps I am misreading things...maybe we are all just very busy with important things but honestly I can think of few things that are more important.
There were a total of two people (including me) at the meeting to set up a permanent prayer group last night--a meeting that has been on the calendar for a long time, that was announced at both services and for which a number of emails were sent. Such a lack of interest in prayer is very worrying in a church our size with the kind of mission and ministry focus that we have. God ordains both the means and the ends to accomplish his purposes in this world. And one of the chief means by which he accomplishes the growth of his Church (in depth and numbers), heals diseases, reconciles broken relationships, protects, provides and blesses his people is prayer. I think we neglect it at our peril.
Systematic Theology: I will have last week's Systematic Theology class up on podcast this evening. We will not meet this Saturday since it is the 4th of July. Enjoy the Holiday. Our meetings have been very spotty lately due to the summer and various vacations and events. Hopefully podcasts and the reading material have sufficed for some continuity. Things will, I believe, settle out more consistently in the fall.
Podcasts: Here is last Sunday's sermon: Marriage part 3: Making Marriage Work and here is the Christian Education discussion on Baptism.
Thursday Night Beginners Bible Study on hold for the Summer: There will be no Beginners bible study for the duration of the summer. The spottiness of my schedule for the next two months along with the spottiness of the last few weeks has persuaded me that rather than continue to meet ad-hoc, the bible study should be put on hold for the summer and restart next year.
Internet Access at the Church: For some reason the new computer at the church is no longer able to connect to the internet. It is not a router problem because I can connect easily enough with my laptop, so something on the computer seems to be malfunctioning all of a sudden (it worked fine until yesterday). We really need access to the web to accomplish a number of important church tasks. If you know anything about computers...windows Vista especially, please come help us out.
Women's Bible Study: There will be no Women's Bible Study this week due to the Fourth of July. Enjoy the day!
Men's Bible Study: There will be Men's Breakfast and Bible Study tomorrow. Lee is cooking.
Lee and Jane Get Married: Long time parishioner Lee Bronson is getting married this Sunday. The wedding will be part of the regular Sunday Morning Worship. There will be a short reception afterward. Everyone is welcome and we hope you will come and encourage the couple in their new life together. It is unusual to be married on a Sunday, but this is a beautiful way for the couple to begin their life in the context of the church, to have the entire church around them to pray and bless them, and to witness to their greatest priority and love, Christ. Please feel free to bring friends.
Adult Christian Ed: We'll resume our discussion of Baptism this Sunday and move on to Communion. For those who need reminders, the class this summer is on the Sacraments. If you don't know what a Sacrament is, please come and find out!
Summer Sunday School: (from Anne) There will be Sunday School for Jr. High and for elementary through the summer. I (Anne) need help and need some fill in teachers. If you are interested in assisting for the summer, please call or email (773-4810 or firstname.lastname@example.org). This summer we're learning who all the people are in the Genealogy of Jesus. If you'd like to memorize the song and be ready for Sunday, check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY8iu5ylOHk. The children will both be making books and a time line. Please let me know if you can help, even for just one Sunday. Or you can watch it here: