Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Happy Thursday, here are your Thursday Notes...

Here is the third installment of the New Member series of articles, videos and podcasts...this installment takes a theological turn

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study: Meets tomorrow morning and every friday morning at 6:30am. We're currently studying 1 Samuel. All men (of any age) are invited. Micah is on schedule to cook. tomorrow.

A Note about Preaching: There are times in the life of every congregation that issues need to be dealt with on a Sunday morning. I felt like one of those times was last Sunday. It was not fun, but I believe it was necessary. It has already resulted in a lot of good. Some have expressed worry, however, regarding visitors. What happens when visitors attend and the sermon is about an uncomfortable situation in the parish...won't that turn them off?

First, part of a pastor's job is to apply the scriptures to the congregation. The text I quoted on Sunday from 2nd Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness..." comes from Paul's advice to a young pastor named Timothy. Paul tells Timothy to bring the bible to bear on the circumstances and situations of his congregation. That advice applies to all pastors which means that necessarily there will be times when uncomfortable subjects are brought to the forefront during sermons. I've done it before. I'll do it again. I don't have a choice.

Second, Paul himself faced this difficulty many times. As we've said before, his epistles were not intended as mere letters--they were to be read out as sermons to the receiving congregations. Can you imagine what it must have been like in the Galatian congregation when Paul's words, "foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" (Galatians 3:1) were read? Or how it might have gotten a little uncomfortable in the Corinthian church when Paul mentioned the man who was having an affair with his step-mother in 1st Corinthians 5. Paul was generally not concerned about what visitors thought in those circumstances because there was an issue that needed to be addressed for the good of the body. If the congregation is being destroyed internally, then whether visitors are attracted makes little difference. The health of the body is at stake.

Third, God is in charge. A famous pastor once said: "God will determine the breadth of the congregation. It's up to us to worry about the depth." In other words, if we are doing what we need to be doing, seeking Christ and his righteousness, loving God and loving each other, sitting under the teaching and sometimes conviction of the Spirit through the scriptures, then God will give us growth. We will be a living church. The moment we stop seeking to be faithful to Christ or dealing honestly with problems and issues, is the moment we risk losing our Christian identity and integrity. I think the reason God brings people to Good Shepherd is that we do not hide our faults and our failings. We need the grace of God and we know we need the grace of God.

So ultimately, I would be a lot more worried about our long term health if we decided not to deal with serious issues because of the possibility of turning some people off.

Anne's Yard Sale August 15th 11 am - 3pm: We are going to have a yard sale to raise funds to do some much needed repairs to the Rectory. This should be a big, fun project. Please sign up this Sunday to help out. Also, if you have any good, clean, useable (in good condition) items, leave them at the church by August 13th. We want to make this a quality sale.

Helpers are needed to set up and price items on Friday. If the weather cooperates, it will be held outside in the parking lot. We need people to man a couple of tables each on Saturday. We will also be selling hot dogs and soda so we will need people to cook them on the grill and keep the supplies coming.

Carmen will be giving away school supplies and ice cream to customers. If you would like to contribute, you may consider a monetary donation to purchase the supplies. Any amount would be appreciated. You can give cash to Carmen, Dolly Shaller or Cookie.

Remember to sign up to help Anne+ with this project. Thank you. If you have any questions, please call Cookie Finch.

Abigail Finch was in the newspaper this week after the Finch home, thankfully, was spared when a tornado touched down very close by. Read about it here.

Christian Education: Anglican Worship and Sacraments.
You can watch last week's class here. This week we'll continue our discussion of the Eucharist, looking in particular at the key biblical texts dealing with communion. I'll also do my best to answer questions that have come up.

Michele and Gerald will be married this Saturday at 1pm. The entire church is welcome to attend. There will be refreshments afterward in the parish hall.

Locking Doors: If you are the last one out of the church and have a key, please make sure to check and/or lock the doors. On Sundays the two front doors as well as Both side entrances need to be locked. Thank you.

The Shepherd's Bowl: There was another meeting this week between Conklin Avenue Baptist (CAB) and Good Shepherd regarding the Shepherd's Bowl. CAB believes that they will have enough people to cook every week. That means that we will be able to cook separate meals every week rather than one for both meals. We also decided that Good Shepherd's meal would be on Thursday's as it always has been while CAB would experiment, for September, with running their meal on the same night. The reason some think this might work is that we believe we will be drawing from very different areas of the south-side. CAB will be focused on the people who live close to our old location and who would probably not walk all the way to our present location. We will focus on the Saratoga Apts and the eastern portion of the south-side. After a month, should the experiment of having the two suppers on the same night fail, CAB will move their supper to a different night and we will continue meeting on Thursdays. Things seem to be coming together well. We have a great pool of volunteers and we'll pray that that pool gets deeper.

Systematic Theology: We will not have class this Saturday because of Michele's wedding. You can watch last week's class here.
Acolyte Practice: Acolytes will meet again on Sunday the 23rd of August after the 10:30am service.

Podcast: Last Week's sermon, Unity and the Congregation can be found and listened to here.

Truthfulness of the Bible: Theologian DA Carson discusses the inerrancy of the bible in this brief but good video. Watch it here.

The Nature of Scripture: In 2005, RC Sproul published a very good book on the nature, authority, and truthfulness of the bible called "Scripture Alone". If you have questions about scripture or doubts about its claims, please be sure to get it.

Reading area: you may have noticed that we've set up a reading area in the parish hall, with comfortable furninture and lots of books. Just a note about that--most of those books are mine, so please be sure to write the title of any book you take and your name on the sign out sheet that is hanging on the wall next to the couch. Thanks : )

Comfortable chairs:
We've also moved a number of comfortable chairs into the parish hall from the school. Now that we have rented it out, all the stuff that was left there needs to be taken out. The chairs are much nicer to sit in than the hard cold folding ones...God has provided so many small blessings alongside the larger ones.

Womens Bible Study: There will be women's bible study this Saturday at 10am in the church as usual.

Youth Group: Youth Group will be on its regular schedule this Sunday: Senior high, 6-8; Junior high, 1-3. It's my (Micah's) second to last Sunday! My time is nigh! Please come and invite some friends! Ife will not be there this week, but next week he will be. August 16th is my LAST week at Good Shepherd, so we're going to go out with a bang. Senior high will be bowling 6-8 at Midway Lanes, and Junior High will be going out for lunch at 1pm after church. Remember to invite friends!
Micah's New Number: Because Micah is leaving the country he is getting rid of his Sprint phone. He has a new Google Voice Number, which you can call and leave a voicemail message that he will receive. And if Micah is back in the country, it will more than likely ring a new phone. This will be his new permanent phone number. Anyone from Good Shepherd is free to call him at any time and he will do his best to respond. Ask him for the number.

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