Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sermons for the day

Some have asked for links to the preachers to whom I regularly listen. My habit, and it has been for about six years now, is to listen to three to four sermons a day while I'm working out and walking instead of music. I used to rely on the radio and a walkman but three years ago, I got an ipod for Christmas and that made things so much easier. I could access the best preachers in the world and not have to worry about radio reception and what the local Christian station deemed worthy of broadcasting. God has used this discipline to teach me more about scripture and doctrine, to challenge and confront me in various ways, and, especially, to encourage me. If you can work it into your schedule--whether on the radio or an ipod--maybe when you are cleaning house or exercising or whatever, I encourage you to do so. Its been a huge benefit to me.

Here are the preachers, in no particular order, I listen too most. They all have podcasts to which you can subscribe,  listen too on your computer, and/or download onto an Mp3 player.


Alistair Begg:
http://www.truthforlife.org/site/PageServer?pagename=lst_daily

Mark Driscoll:
http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/sermons?direction=desc&order_by=date

Matt Chandler:
http://hv.thevillagechurch.net/sermons

RC Sproul:
http://www.ligonier.org/

John MacArthur:
http://www.gty.org/Radio/Archive

John Piper:
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2009/

Hank Hanegraff  "the Bible Answer Man" (a call-in question and answer broadcast)
http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/Bible_Answer_Man/

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sermon: 1st Thessalonians 1:7-2:2

Ife preached last Sunday on Christian joy in the midst of trying circumstances. The video is a little shaky at first as I was adjusting the view...but it gets better very quickly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Good Morning and Happy Thursday

Blessing of the Beasts: For those of you who are new to Anglicanism October 4th may be the weirdest Sunday you've yet experienced at Good Shepherd. On Sunday October 4th your house-trained pets (and you) are invited to church where, in keeping with very old and hallowed Anglican tradition we will give them a blessing. A blessing is simply a form of prayer--we ask God to be gracious toward the animals we love and care for.

But why would we do that?

Here is a link to the sermon I preached on the topic last year. And here is a sermon by John Wesley on the place of animals in God's kingdom. You might read those first. But in brief, death entered the world through the sin of humanity. Since Adam was not only the head the the human race but the head of the created order, when he fell all creation fell with him (see Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15). Death came to both man and beast. But the second Adam, Jesus Christ, has destroyed both sin and death and he has reversed the destruction wrought by sin. When his Kingdom is fully established there will be no more death and those who have already died will take part in the resurrection. Not only do we long for this day as believers but Paul tells us in Romans chapter 8 that "all creation groans" for it, waiting for the New Heaven and the New earth.

Part of God's restorative work, will be his restoration of the created order. We see glimpses of this in the prophetic literature--the pre-fall harmony between beasts (lions and lambs for example) will be restored. All of this leads some theologians to believe that animals will take part in the coming Kingdom.

John Calvin wrote this in his Institutes:


"Condemnation of mankind is imprinted on the heavens, and on the earth, and on all creatures. It also appears to what excelling glory the sons of God shall be exalted; for all creatures shall be renewed—not partakers of the same glory but according to their nature shall be participators of a better condition, for God will restore to a perfect state the world, now fallen, together with mankind"


John Wesley said in his famous sermon linked above:


"The whole brute creation will then, undoubtedly, be restored, not only to the vigour, strength, and swiftness which they had at their creation, but to a far higher degree of each than they ever enjoyed. They will be restored, not only to that measure of understanding which they had in paradise, but to a degree of it as much higher than that, as the understanding of an elephant is beyond that of a worm. And whatever affections they had in the garden of God, will be restored with vast increase; being exalted and refined in a manner which we ourselves are not now able to comprehend. The liberty they then had will be completely restored, and they will be free in all their motions. They will be delivered from all irregular appetites, from all unruly passions, from every disposition that is either evil in itself, or has any tendency to evil. No rage will be found in any creature, no fierceness, no cruelty, or thirst for blood. So far from it that "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain." (Isaiah 11:6, &c.)
 
Of course this is a highly debatable point.  I tend to agree. Other Christians do not. Regardless of where you come down on the theological question, the blessing of beasts is certainly consistent with the love God displays toward animals in scripture. The psalms speak of God's special provision for the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish in the ocean. God's Kingdom is described as a place where all creatures live in harmony. God's concern for the cattle of Nineveh was among the reasons he sent the prophet Jonah to that city to call the people to repentance.

In keeping with this concern and in the belief that God loves and cares for the beasts he has created, we're going to bless your beasts on Sunday October 4th during the 10:30am service. All house-trained humans and animals are welcome.

Shepherd's Bowl: Team 4 is scheduled to serve tonight at the Shepherd's Bowl. Team 4 is the largest of the teams and includes most of our new volunteers. Some have wondered why we put most of the new people on one team. Here are some of the reasons for that decision: 1. We want to develop team cohesion very early and that happens when you work together from the very beginning. 2. I'll be there and some others who have done it before will be there as well to help and train and answer any questions--so the new volunteers will not be left to figure things out by themselves 3. The other teams already have their own unique routines developed over time. Farming new volunteers out to different teams and then gathering them again would mean that everyone would learn to do things in very different ways.  4. It may be that some decide that this ministry is not something they are ready to commit to and if so we still have a good number 5. If it turns out that all continue to serve, we can split the team into two teams fairly easily once everyone is trained and feels comfortable.

In any case, thank you to everyone who has volunteered. The dinner starts tonight at 5:30pm. Please try be there about 30 to 20 minutes in advance if you are on team 4.

Grace and patience with music
: The music ministry at Good Shepherd is going through an interim period while we search for a new director of music. During this period, the choir is taking an extended sabbath so that when the new director comes he/she will be able to start fresh, with a choir that is rested and ready. Please be patient with those who have so graciously volunteered to use their musical gifts for our sake during that time. We hope and pray to have a new music ministry director in the next two months.

Acolyte Practice this Sunday after the 10:30am service. We have several new acolytes who are being trained this year: Aydia Brink, Melissa Boeker, Niklaus Boeker, Sarah Dreher, and Nori Martin. They join Doug Osgood, Joe Osgood, Amanda Finch, Abigail Finch, Gabriell Dean, and John King. In all we have 12 acolytes with the potential for two to four others who I am hoping to train in the next few months which should, at some point, mean that every acolyte serves only once a month.

If you are not listed above but would like to train as an acolyte, please let me know by calling the office, sending me an email or talking to me on Sunday.

Mission and Ministry: If you have signed up for any kind of ministry and have yet to be contacted please let me know. By Sunday you should have recieved a follow up call. If not, please let me know via email.


Falling Leaves:
We have a lot of beautiful trees on our new property. That means that we will also have a lot of leaves. Far more than any one or two people can deal with. They could be falling anywhere from October 17th to the 31st. Fred Moat is asking for volunteers to be ready on one of the Saturdays between those two dates to help rake and bag leaves. There should be a sign up sheet in the parish hall this Sunday.

Beginner's Bible Study: Beginner's Bible Study is on for tonight as well. We'll continue our study of the Gospel of John and talk about how to read and interpret the bible for yourself. If you are a new student of scripture this study is perfect for new Christians or believers who have not been very

Worship Committee and Search for a new Music Director:
As most of you know we are in the middle of an interim period at Good Shepherd. Micah Towery, our former music director, got married about a month ago and moved to Vancouver. We formed a committee to think through the worship of the church and to search for a new music director. The committee members are:

Chris Peterson
Samantha Kubic
Colleen Kenny-Kuk
Joyce Coppola
Carrie Moorehead
Matt Tuttle
Anne is the chair

The committee is made up of people from very different backgrounds to reflect the diversity of Good Shepherd: traditionalist former Episcopalians, evangelicals, brand new Anglicans, musicians, college students, Xers, boomers and seniors--people who tend to favor contemporary worship and those for whom contemporary worship is the mark of the beast. We have all sorts and they are all on the committee which should make the meetings interesting.

We hope to call a music director who not only possesses musical skill and ability, but who has a vision for the music ministry at Good Shepherd. And we ask for your prayers during this search.

If all goes well, we could hire within the next two months. Until then the music at Good Shepherd will be a mixture of piano, organ, guitar and flute. Colleen, Jane, Chris and Joyce (Anne's mom) will serve together and/or alternately leading worship while we wait and pray for God to raise up a music minister. Thank you for your patience and your prayers during this time.

Women's Bible Study: Meets every Saturday in the parish hall at 10:00am. They are currently studying the book of Isaiah. All women are welcome.

A Shift in Focus for the Anglican Church Women:
In the past, the ACW has organized fundraisers for the church. These fundraisers were vital to the financial health and wellbeing of the church. But over the years as God has blessed us and we have grown, the focus on fundraising has become less important. Now the ACW has decided that the time is right to shift focus from fundraising toward raising money for mission and for those in need. As the first step in this shift, the proceeds from biggest upcoming project, the Christmas Bake sale, which traditionally supported the general fund of Good Shepherd, will now be used to help a small Anglican congregation in a Nairobi slum pay rent, provide lunch and rubber boots (to protect from open sewage) for the children who attend school there.

As part of this new focus, the ACW also plans to invite all the women of the church to lunch on Saturday, November 14th to discuss future plans and projects. More details will be coming soon.


Sermon series on 1st Thessalonians:  Last Sunday we discussed ( in 1st Thessalonians 1:2-6) the primacy of God's grace (you can watch last week's sermon here) Good works, labor, endurance--and all the good things that we do as believers come as direct results of God's work in us, his grace and power. That means there can be no boasting in the good things that we do but it also means that in Jesus Christ we have the one Source of life and giver of strength to whom we can and must look for help.

This Sunday we'll move on to discuss 1st Thessalonians 1:7-2:2...here's the text:

7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.


A Note from the Altar Guild (the Altar guild is the group of people who make sure the vestments, Communion vessels, and altar linens are clean, polished, and well maintained): Keep in mind should you wish to give a memorial thanksgiving offering, the altar guild needs to replace items that were lost when we lost our old building. For example, we need linens, frontals, a cope, chalices, flower vases etc. Thank you for your support.


A Note from Kellie: Hi there! If you’ve added someone to Good Shepherd’s prayer list in recent months and that person’s situation has since been resolved (thanks be to God for all answered prayers!), please let me know so that I can remove the person’s name. Alternately, if you know someone who’s not on the list whom you’d like to see join it, let me know so that I can add him/her. You can e-mail me at kellie.n.french at gmail dot com or just call the church office. Thank you!

Men's Bible Study and Breakfast: Charles Hadley is scheduled to cook. We're almost through 1st Samuel 20 and will hopefully move into 21. Breakfast is served at 6:30am and the study starts at the same time. All men are welcome. 


Christian Education: Questions and Answers: As you know we wrapped up our series on Anglican Sacraments and Worship on Sunday and I announced a new series dealing with the relationship between scripture and evolutionary theory...in a larger sense the topic is "Science and Scripture". The first class will be an overview of the biblical account of creation. The second class will be an overview of the three dominant evolutionary theories and then we'll move to discuss ways that Christians have dealt with the apparent (but not real) disparity between science and scripture using the topic of evolution as a case study.



This is going to require a lot of study on my part so the series will officially begin the Sunday after next, October 4th. This will give me time to do some of the reading I'll have to do.



In between, next Sunday, the 27th, we'll have a Q and A session dealing with the disciplines of a disciple. I've had a number of practical questions lately about prayer, bible study, fasting and other disciplines. I've written them down and plan to address them this coming Sunday. If you have any questions regarding these topics (or others) please send me a note by email or give me a call and I will address it during class.



Systematic Theology: The first class will be Saturday October 9th.




Good News for the Week





Do Animals Go to Heaven?

The Blessing of the Beasts is coming up at Good Shepherd on October 4th, 2009. Why do we bless animals, what is a blessing? Do animals go to heaven. I address these questions in the sermon from the Blessing of the Beasts last year.
Monday, October 20, 2008


Download "Sermon: Do Animals Go to Heaven?" in MP3 format

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roundtable discussion on recent legal developments

Greg Griffith, Alan Haley, Sarah Hey and me...weekly roundtable discussion

Stand Firm Roundtable 9-21-09 from Stand Firm on Vimeo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

ACK Kwenda...a church in a Nairobi Slum

Below are some photos taken from inside the ACK Kwenda church in a Nairobi slum. This is an Anglican parish church with a school located in the middle of one of the poorest places in Kenya and probably in Africa as a whole. The children in the photographs live in the slum and attend the church school during the day. ACK Kwenda needs money for rent in order to stay open, to provide rubber boots for the children pictured here who often walk barefoot on unpaved "streets" that are littered with refuse and sometimes flooded with raw sewage, and to provide the children with daily lunches. This is the church I spoke about during Mission and Ministry Sunday (the photo quality is not that great--I think Anne was trying not to use a flash).

 




The woman pictured above is the pastor of ACK Kwenda...I can't remember her name





Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Good Morning and Happy Thursday

Shepherd's Bowl: Good Shepherd's soup kitchen, the Shepherd's Bowl, had a great turnout last week and we hope that it will continue this week. Team 3 is scehduled for tonight. If you are a new volunteer to the Shepherd's Bowl, please be sure to check the team list that is in the parish hall this Sunday to know when you are serving--and it is a good idea to take one Thursday before you are scheduled to serve and observe how the Shepherd's Bowl works. There is a system for prepping, serving and cleaning that every team member should know.

Worship Committee and Search for a new Music Director: As most of you know we are in the middle of an interim period at Good Shepherd. Micah Towery, our former music director, got married about a month ago and moved to Vancouver. We formed a committee to think through the worship of the church and to search for a new music director. The committee members are:

Chris Peterson
Samantha Kubic
Colleen Kenny-Kuk
Joyce Coppola
Carrie Moorehead
Matt Tuttle
Anne is the chair

The committee is made up of people from very different backgrounds to reflect the diversity of Good Shepherd: traditionalist former Episcopalians, evangelicals, brand new Anglicans, musicians, college students, Xers, boomers and seniors--people who tend to favor contemporary worship and those for whom contemporary worship is the mark of the beast. We have all sorts and they are all on the committee which should make the meetings interesting.

We hope to call a music director who not only possesses musical skill and ability, but who has a vision for the music ministry at Good Shepherd. And we ask for your prayers during this search.

If all goes well, we could hire within the next two months. Until then the music at Good Shepherd will be a mixture of piano, organ, guitar and flute. Colleen, Jane, Chris and Joyce (Anne's mom) will serve together and/or alternately leading worship while we wait and pray for God to raise up a music minister. Thank you for your patience and your prayers during this time.

Beginner's Bible Study: Beginner's Bible Study is on for tonight as well. We've had some great discussions about the nature and authority of scripture and tonight we'll dive into an actual study of the Gospel of John. If you are a new student of scripture this study is perfect for new Christians or believers who have not been very

A Shift in Focus for the Anglican Church Women:
In the past, the ACW has organized fundraisers for the church. These fundraisers were vital to the financial health and wellbeing of the church. But over the years as God has blessed us and we have grown, the focus on fundraising has become less important. Now the ACW has decided that the time is right to shift focus from fundraising toward raising money for mission and for those in need. As the first step in this shift, the proceeds from biggest upcoming project, the Christmas Bake sale, which traditionally supported the general fund of Good Shepherd, will now be used to help a small Anglican congregation in a Nairobi slum pay rent, provide lunch and rubber boots (to protect from open sewage) for the children who attend school there.

As part of this new focus, the ACW also plans to invite all the women of the church to lunch on Saturday, November 15th to discuss future plans and projects. More details will be coming soon.

Sermon series on 1st Thessalonians:  This week we'll move on to 1:2-6. Last Sunday we spent time talking about the ethnic and cultural makeup of the Thessalonian church and the ways that Paul presented the same gospel to different people without compromising the essentials. We also discussed the relationship between Grace and Peace. Believers in Jesus Christ have peace with God because God graciously moved in our hearts to bring us from spiritual death to spiritual life...and having, by grace, committed our lives to Jesus Christ we now have peace with the Father through faith in Jesus Christ.

Grace is a vital concept to grasp. Without it we fall to pride on the one hand--believing in our own righteousness--or hopelessness on the other--despairing over our sinfulness. But if we understand that the Christian life is begun, carried out, and brought to fruition by the grace of God both pride and despair are defeated.

This Sunday we'll talk about the "work" produced by faith, the "labor" originating in love, and the endurance that comes through our hope in Jesus Christ (see 1 Thess 1:2-6). In preparation for the sermon, you might consider the ways that we can reverse that order--making faith a work, giving labor in exchange for love, and the sort of "endurance" that sees the Kingdom of Jesus Christ as something to be gained by long suffering effort.


Here is the video of last Sunday's sermon in case you missed it. The audio is really bad so I did not post it.:

 


Questions and Answers about tithing: During the class on the nature of the church we said that the three marks of the church are 1. full and truthful proclamation of God's Word 2. celebration of the sacraments in accord with the institution of Christ and 3. Discipline (order). The only way to fulfill that 3rd mark is to have some kind of common commitment and covenant to live out the Christian life. I mentioned in my talk for Missions and Ministry Sunday that there are four commitments that members of Good Shepherd make. These commitments are, we believe, grounded in scripture and intended to point us toward our common calling as followers of Jesus Christ. Members are: 1. Believers in Jesus Christ who have publicly proclaimed their faith through confirmation (if baptised as a baby) or Baptism (if baptized as a young person or adult) 2. faithful in worship (unless sick or on vacation) 3. Serving the body (using their gifts for some ministry or mission in the church) and 4. tithing or working toward a tithe.

The last point, #4, has worried some people who come from churches where the pastors or elders actually ask for financial statements. 1. Don't worry. We don't and we never will ask or care about how much you make. The  reason we included tithing or working toward a tithe in the list of membership commitments is because we believe scripture does call Christians to take that step. We also believe that this is something that is between you and God--not you God and the church. Again, we'll never ask for anything more than your word. 2. I do not know, do not want to know, and do not ask how much people give to the church. Please don't tell me. The treasurer and financial secretary know because they work out the finances and send out tax forms but no one else does.  3. Whether you tithe or are working toward a tithe, we love you and you are welcome. Some have asked whether they can volunteer time and talent without being members. Of course, please do. Again, we love you and thank you for all you do.

Question and Answers 2: Why do Anglicans worship with Written Prayers?



 

New Sunday School Rooms: Thank you to Don Dean for his great work on the new Sunday School rooms in the parish hall.

A Note from Kellie: Hi, there! If you’ve added someone to Good Shepherd’s prayer list in recent months and that person’s situation has since been resolved (thanks be to God for all answered prayers!), please let me know so that I can remove the person’s name. Alternately, if you know someone who’s not on the list whom you’d like to see join it, let me know so that I can add him/her. You can e-mail me at kellie.n.french at gmail dot com or just call the church office. Thank you!

Men's Bible Study and Breakfast: Tom and Brian are scheduled to cook. We'll be in 1st Samuel 20. Breakfast is served at 6:30am and the study starts at the same time. All men are welcome. 


Christian Education: Anglican Worship and Sacraments. We started the last part of our series on Anglican worship two Sundays ago with a discussion of the nature of worship in general. We said that worship is giving the self over to God--becoming a living sacrifice. That is played out during a service worship through what we say, the posture of the body, what we sing, and what is in our hearts. We also agreed that the goal of worship is not to produce a feeling or sense of God's presence. God is present when the body gathers whether we sense his presence or not. The sense or feeling of his presence and power is a by-product of worship not the center. We also discussed some of things that go on: prayer, readings, sermon, communion, offerings, peace, confession, thanksgiving. This Sunday we'll continue that discussion and have time for a preview of our next series which will be announced.



Systematic Theology: The first class will be Saturday October 9th.


Acolyte Practice: The next acolyte practice will be held after the 10:30am service on Sunday September 27th.

Womens Bible Study: There will be women's bible study this Saturday. All women are welcome and invited
!


Youth Group Update from Ife:
Senior High Sunday 6-7:30p
Junior High  Monday 6:30-8:00p
Last week was the first change in the schedule but most of you showed up and were enthusiastic about the new groups. That's great! Let's do the same this week and don't forget to bring your friends.


The Shepherd's Bowl--Photos from last week

The Shepherd's Bowl is back...here are some pictures from last Thursday's soup kitchen at Good Shepherd. There were over 30 people there from the neighborhood which is far more than we expected after only one supper. Team 3 is scheduled for tonight. If you're a new volunteer for the Shepherd's Bowl it is a good idea to come on a night that your team is not serving in order to observe how things are set up and set out and cleaned up...since most new volunteers are on team 4, you guys might want to think about dropping by this evening...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sermon: 1st Thessalonians 1:1 Grace and Peace to You


The video cuts out for about 2 minutes in the middle. We ran out of tape and had to rewind.

Here's the text of the missing portion:
Paul was prepared to meet communities where they are, to be all things to all people, change some of the incidentals surrounding the gospel presentation but he also was prepared to say to a community, you know what, it's time to grow up. That prejudice, that practice, that way of behaving is not consistent with the word of God, that needs to change.
    Now keep your finger in 1 Thess 1:1 and Turn over to Galatians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—" That's a lot different. Why? What was going on in Galatia. Well there were some false teachers in Galatia who challenged Paul's authority, twisted the truth of the gospel, and the Galatians followed them. So in the very first line Paul says, I'm an apostle appointed by the Risen Christ himself—you oppose me you are opposing one who comes to you in the name of Jesus, you oppose a messenger personally appointed by the King of the universe. But to the Thessalonians Paul doesn't even mention his apostleship. He sets himself down on equal terms with Silas and Timothy. That's an important clue about the health and state of the church in Thessalonica. It tells us, and the rest of the letter bears this out, that there was no opposition to the gospel within the Thessalonian church and so there was no need for Paul to pull our his credentials or even mention his apostleship. That doesn't mean things were peaceful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

I may or may not have the time to put out a full Thursday Notes today. Just a few notes:

Baptism: There will be a baptism this Sunday: Michael Woollett, the 9 yr old son of Autumn and Bill Woollett will be baptized this Sunday

Mission and Ministry Sunday: It's mission and ministry Sunday so please come between services for information on how you can use your gifts and skills and time to serve the body of Christ

Shepherd's Bowl is tonight--team 2 is serving--followed by the New Beginner's bible study. Last week we talked about what claims the bible makes for itself. This week we'll talk about whether those claims are legitimate.

Pictures of the Week: be sure to check out some of the new pictures posted online here .

Last Week's sermon: Be sure to watch or listen to last week's introduction to 1 Thessalonians ...especially if you were not able to be there Sunday...and remember to read the book of 1 Thessalonians for homework.

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study: We're in chapter 18 of 1st Samuel. Come join us for breakfast and bible study 6:30am every Friday. Darrell is scheduled to cook.

Vestry Retreat: Starts this Saturday at 9am and lasts till 3pm. We'll probably order pizza for lunch.

Anglican Church Women: Anglican Church Women will meet on Tuesday, September 15 at 10:15 in the Parish Hall. At the meeting we will welcome new members, discuss our activities that are coming up in the near future. and our successes over the summer. Since Good Shepherd has relocated, the ACW has spondered 7 celebrations and given out 55 Welcome Bags. All meetings are followed by a pot-luck luncheon. Men also welcomed to join for our meetings and lunch. See you there.

Well that's all I have time for right now...since I'm prepping for the vestry retreat, sermon and Christian ed, as well as for the talk I'm giving at Intervarsity, I'm not sure I'll get an update out this weekend, but I'll try

Matt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Photos from this week at Good Shepherd




First Light Bible Study temporarily meeting in the narthex whilst two new classrooms are being constructed in the parish hall...


Jerry Shriver will be heading to England in October of 2009 to study for a phd at Oxford. The First Light Bible Study says farewell with a cake after the study...




Linda Dean brings dinner for her husband Don who has been working on the new classrooms...


Matthias Boeker


Michael and Bill Woollet, new parishioners. Michael, on the left, will be Baptized on Sunday September 13th, 2009


Don Dean hard at work on two new Sunday School classrooms


These two classrooms are being built to relieve Sunday School overcrowding...which is a great "problem" to have...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sermon: Unexpected and Miraculous Survival of the Thessalonian Church


Monday, September 7, 2009

Download "Sermon: The Thessalonians--Unexpected and Miraculous Survival" in MP3 format

Sermon by Matt Kennedy


Introduction to Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians


text: Acts 16 and 17

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Prayers for the Church in Sudan--New persecutions and new Martyrs



PRAYERS REQUESTED FOR SOUTHERN SUDAN - September 3, 2009

The Anglican Church in North America is asking its constituent congregations to pray at this weekend's services for those impacted by the recent tragic murders in southern Sudan, and for peace in that troubled nation. Forty men, women and children were killed the region's recent upswing in violence. Among the dead was the Ven. Joseph Mabior Garang, Archdeacon of Wernyol and Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak's Commissary in the new Diocese of Twic East, who was shot at the altar of the church in Wernyol during a service of Morning Prayer. Many more were seriously wounded in the brutal attacks.


The rising tide of violence in Twic East and Ezo Counties has also led to the destruction of homes, as well as loss of life. Donations for support of the region's 39,000 displaced persons and the bereaved family of Archdeacon Garang (including his widow and children) may be sent to Anglican Mainstream (noting "AID - Sudan"), 21 High Street, Eynsham, OX29 4HE or donated through the Paypal link on Anglican Mainstream website (www.anglican-mainstream.net). All funds will be sent directly through to those in need with no deductions.

here is more information:
Tens of others have been wounded, some very seriously with gun-shot wounds and broken limbs. Only a few of these have been taken to Juba Military Hospital, whilst the rest are still in Bor Hospital.

I have leant from Episcopal Church sources on the ground that the attackers were well armed with new automatic weapons, dressed in army uniforms, and appeared well-organized and properly trained. Instead of attacking a cattle camp, this was an attack on a Payam headquarter town. Consequently in the view of the Church, this was not a tribal conflict as commonly reported, but a deliberately organized attack on civilians by those that are against the peace in Southern Sudan. These reports confirm the suspicions that I aired in my May 2009 appeal to the diplomatic and international community in Sudan.

Last week I received the news from Ezo, Ezo County, Western Equatoria State, that there had been another devastating attack by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on Ezo town on 12th/13th August in which three people, including an Episcopal Church lay reader had been murdered. The attack included the abduction of children from the Episcopal church building in Ezo, and several thousand more people have been displaced into Ezo town – people that the local churches are struggling to care for. Ezo Hospital was also attacked, medicine stolen and equipment destroyed.

...more

May God have mercy on the Sudanese and may the blood of these martyrs be the seed of the Church in southern Sudan.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

Happy Thursday, here are your Thursday Notes:

Shepherd's Bowl startup: The first Shepherd's Bowl is slated to start tonight. The sign is up, flyers have been distributed, and food is being prepared. If you are on Team 1, then hopefully, you've already made plans with your teammates and know when to be here and what to do.

One reminder. It took a good year at the old building for the program to get off the ground. It may be the same here. What that means is that if you don't see too many people during the first few months, you should not be discouraged. That's just the way these things work. It takes time for word to spread and time for new life patterns and habits to form. I think we are in an ideal location for a soup kitchen so I've no doubt that ultimately this program will be successful. It will require hard work, commitment, and the willingness to plant a lot of seeds in the first few weeks and months that may not bear fruit for some time. But I am confident that they will bear fruit.

Our aim is to feed hungry people. Whatever good thing we do for the people who come to the Shepherd's Bowl we also do it for Christ. It's important to keep that in mind. Most people we serve are very nice. There have been some in the past who have not been so nice. It really does not matter. Either way, if we remember that we are serving Jesus first and foremost, we'll be able to love both those who are pleasant and those who behave ungraciously. Ask Jesus to help us in this and to give us the grace to love people the way that he does.

Finally, I wanted to mention that if you cannot give your time to the Shepherd's Bowl, any financial contributions for the purchase of food and supplies for the soup kitchen would be greatly appreciated. Just make your check out to Good Shepherd and make a note on the check that you would like the money to be used to help the Shepherd's Bowl. Thank you.

Beginner's Bible Study: We'll be starting Beginner's Bible Study tonight as well. We discontinued the study last Spring because the logistics of holding class in the Conklin Avenue Baptist gym proved to be just too daunting. Now we are at our own place and that means we can start up again. This will be both a study of the nature of the bible: what is it? why do we read it? why do we care what it says? How do we read it? And it will be an actual study of scripture. We'll start off in Acts 1 and go verse by verse through the text so that you can learn while you study. The study will start tonight at 6:30pm after the Shepherd's Bowl and will run until 7:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Parent's Meeting this Sunday
:
There will be a parents meeting for parents of children in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (ages 3-12) on Sunday September 6th after church. Parents and Catechesis helpers please RSVP to Anne at revakennedy@hotmail.com or call us at 773-4810.

New Sermon Series:
Last Sunday we looked at some of the ways that God has provided for us and protected us and brought us to this new place despite all of the challenges and obstacles that seemed so insurmountable last year. God has put us in this new place for a reason. The church in Thessalonika had also faced and come through some significant threats to its survival when Paul wrote his first letter to them in the early 50's. The trials were so great that while enduring them many in the church felt that Jesus' coming had to be immanent. When Jesus did not return, they had a lot of questions and many were confused. What do we do now? How are we going to be the church in the meantime--while we wait for Jesus to come back and establish his kingdom? 1st Thessalonians is an encouraging letter in many ways and it is also one that calls the Church to move forward and be and do what Christ has called her to be and do. Given the gracious loving provision of God; that he has brought us safely through so many trials, it is important to think about the "why" question. Why has God done this. What does he have for us to do here?

I've always desired to preach straight through a book of the bible. Lectionaries are great but you miss a lot of scripture and you lose a good deal of the continuity and richness of the texts you do read when you skip around from passage to passage. This series will take us through the entirety of Paul's First letter to the Thessalonians. By the end of our time in this letter, I believe God will have matured us as students of the bible and followers of Jesus. I think we'll come away with a firmer grasp of our purpose as a church in general and our specific mission in Binghamton and here at 356 Conklin Avenue. To prepare for this series, please take the time to read through 1st Thessalonians. It is a short book and should not take you more than 30 to 45 minutes depending on how fast you read.

New Sunday School Rooms:
Don Dean is hard at work in the parish hall creating two new classrooms out of the stage area. God has blessed Good Shepherd with a lot of children and we've desperately needed more classroom space. Thank you to the vestry for commissioning and funding the project and thank you to Don Dean for all of your good work.

Thank you to Cookie Finch who organized the Yard Sale to help pay for improvements to the rectory. Anne and I are very grateful to you and to everyone who pitched in to help in any way. Thank you all so very much.

Flower Fund:
Don't forget to look in the pews for a white sheet titled "Flower Fund." If you would like to place flowers on the Altar at any time during the year, this is the time to sign up. You can also contribute for Easter and Christmas memorials at this time as well. The deadline is September 1st because the fiscal year for the Flower Fund is from October 1 to September 30. Please make all checks to Anglican Good Shepherd. Thank you. Cookie

Preparing for Mission Sunday: On Saturday September 12th at 3PM, some of the ladies will be preparing cinnamon buns for Mission Sunday. Please contact Carmen if you would like to help.

Missions Sunday:
Missions Sunday will be held on September 13th, 2009. For those of you who are new to Good Shepherd, Missions Sunday is the day set aside to learn and think about the mission and ministry of Good Shepherd and to step forward to either recommit or volunteer to serve in the ministries, mission, and/or programs of the church that are open to volunteers. One essential part of being a member of a visible body of Christ is using your divinely given gifts, skills and talents to build up your brothers and sisters and the congregation and Church as a whole.

There are lots of things going on at Good Shepherd that you've probably never heard of or about that need your support.

This missions Sunday will be a little bit different than last year's. In the past various ministries, especially those needing volunteer help, set out booths in the parish hall and between services we all sort of milled around and signed up. This year, we'll still have the booths and sign up sheets but given that this takes place between services, during the time usually set aside for Christian ed, we'll use the opportunity to present and discuss the overall mission and purpose of Good Shepherd, the one year mission goals that will, by then, have been set by the vestry, and how the various ministries, programs and missions of the church contribute both to our larger mission and to the specific fall 2009-spring 2010 goals.

In the past we have not been great at following up with those who have volunteered and plugging them into various programs. That's been due to the lack of extra manpower to help with the logistics and my own business. This year we think we have all the kinks ironed out so please don't hesitate to sign up.

I hope you will make a point of joining us for this important occassion and that if you are not presently serving in any way in the church that you will prayerfully consider doing so.

Missions Sunday is held between services on September 13th. There will be homemade sweetrolls and other good things to eat.

Men's Bible Study and Breakfast: I am scheduled to cook tomorrow. We start serving and studying at 6:30am every Friday. All men are welcome and invited.

Altar Guild Meeting: The altar guild is the group of people in the church who set up the altar, take care of vestments, clean and care for the altar hangings and linens, chalices, candles, bowls, and everything else associated with the altar and the material "stuff" we use during worship. The first meeting this year of the altar guild will be at 10:30am on Thursday morning September 24th. If you would like join the altar guild, you are invited to attend this meeting.

Christian Education: Anglican Worship and Sacraments. Our discussion of the Sacrament of Communion is winding down and we should be able to conclude it this Sunday and begin the last section of this series dealing with the theology of worship. What is worship? Why do we do it? There are so many models for worship: liturgical, seeker sensitive, emergent, etc...how do we know which model to follow and can or should some of the newer models fit within the Anglican understanding of worship? We'll discuss these questions and more this Sunday.

Systematic Theology:The first class will be Saturday October 9th.

Acolyte Practice: The next acolyte practice will be held after the 10:30am service on Sunday September 27th.

Podcasts and Videos: Last Week's sermon was entitled: The Foundation of Unity and a New Start. You can listen to the audio and or watch the video by following the link. That sermon represented the conclusion of series on congregational unity based in Ephesians 4:1-3. This Sunday we'll start a new series based on 1st Thessalonians.
We've also recorded last week's baptism of Aydia, Raven and Jaden. You can watch the video here.

Womens Bible Study: There will be women's bible study this Saturday. All women are welcome and invited
!

Youth Update from Ife:
Youth Group will be meeting this Sunday. There are a few exciting changes going in the youth group regarding age group. Some of the changes will be discussed at Anne's meeting after church this Sunday and I will be getting in touch with H.S. parents before Sunday. Despite the changes, we'll be meeting at our usual time this Sunday, JH 1-3p, SH 6-8p. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Baptism of Jaden, Raven and Aydia

Two New Classrooms going up

Thanks to the vestry and to those who gave and to Don Dean who is doing the actual work, it looks like we're going to have two new classrooms downstairs in the parish hall. Don's already done quite a bit of work and we may even be finished before Sunday (no promises). I'll try to get some pictures posted later today. Sunday school for the elementary grades was getting very crowded.

Also, don't forget the Shepherd's Bowl starts tomorrow evening at Good Shepherd at 5:30pm and the Beginner's Bible Study starts afterward at 6:30pm.