Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good Shepherd Update Thursday October 8th, 2009

Dear Good Shepherd,

Good Morning and Happy Thursday

Systematic Theology:
The first Systematic Theology class starts this Saturday at 3:30pm. Everyone is invited and I encourage you all to try to make it. This class will help provide a framework for understanding God, the bible, the creed, the Trinity, the dual natures of Christ, the Church eternity, your life...everything will be discussed in a careful and systematic way. Be sure to come and to invite your friends. 

There are three books that we will be using for the course and if you are planning to take it you might want to purchase one or more of them..but if you cannot afford to do that don't worry, I'll have copies. The most important one is Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem so if you can only buy one, buy that one. The other texts are Theissen's Lectures in Systematic Theology and Alister McGrath's "Christian Theology: An Introduction"

Shepherd's Bowl: Team 2 is scheduled to serve tonight at the Shepherd's Bowl.

Good News about the Shepherd's Bowl: Conklin Avenue Baptist Church has agreed to switch their dinner Mondays without a problem. They will need two more weeks to make the change but they are willing to do it. That means we will be able to feed a larger number of people between the two of us. Thanks be to God

Visible and Invisible: "I love Jesus but I can't stand church." I used to say things like that when I was a newer Christian until someone asked on a radio program: "how can you say you love Jesus, while hating his body and despising his bride?" That changed my mind about things and, well, here I am. As a pastor I tend to like the church a lot more now but I understand that the affection is not at all a universal one.  One helpful and important principle that tends to be difficult for people to grasp is the distinction between the invisible church--that body made up of all who believe in Jesus Christ; and the visible church--the local congregations of baptized people gathered in the name of Christ where 1. the word is rightly preached, 2. the sacraments celebrated in accordance with Christ's institution and 3. right discipline is exercised. Many Christians hope their inclusion in the invisible church will make up for their neglect of the visible one. In this lecture by Dr. RC Sproul, Sproul discusses the distinction between the visible and invisible church and explains why participation in both is not only a good and helpful thing but a necessary one.

News about the school building: On October 6th, the city zoning board approved the rezoning of the school building from "residential"(not sure why it was zoned that way to begin with) to "school"--great news for Good Shepherd. The Future Faces day school people were present at the meeting and spoke in favor of the rezoning. They hope to start moving into the building in keeping with our lease agreement in mid-October. This is great news for Good Shepherd. Thank you for your prayers and thanks be to God.

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.

Baptism: There will be a baptism on Sunday October 18th. Evan Dreher, the oldest son of Mark and Anna Dreher, will God willing, will profess his faith publicly, be baptised, and be welcomed into the visible body of Christ. Please come and help celebrate this great event in Evans life and in the life of the church.

Acolyte Practice: The next acolyte practice is scheduled for Sunday October 25th after the 10:30am service please mark your calendars and plan to be there. So far you guys are doing incredibly well. Thank you for all of your hard work. It is a making a big difference.

Christmas Acolyting:
Christmas Eve service is one of the more important ones of the year so we pull out all the stops. If you are not going to be out of town and are not going to be in the Christmas Pageant which takes place during the service itself, and you are willing to serve as an acolyte please let me know so that I can fill the spaces. We need five acolytes for Christmas Eve.

Duty Rosters: The new duty roster is out for November and December. If you have only recently volunteered for a ministry and do not see your name on the duty roster, don't worry. The roster was probably created before you volunteered. We will be making changes to the roster in the next few weeks and and work in the newer volunteers for both Nov. and Dec.

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.

The First Yearly Goal: We are praying and working toward a regular attendance of 200 by Pentecost. Our present average attendance during Spring and Fall is around 110. That means we are hoping and planning to grow a lot. We are looking for that growth to come from non-Christian and/or unchurched people in this neighborhood (but of course we won't turn anyone away)--in other words we primarily want evangelism/conversion growth. We want a lot of non-believers 1. coming in, 2. checking the place out, 3. deciding to stay, 4. eventually or immediately repenting and turning their lives over to Jesus Christ, 5. becoming disciples and 6. doing ministry. That's what we pray for, that's what we work for. We believe it can happen. Now our second goal is, by God's grace and power, to make 30 new disciples of Jesus Christ by Pentecost. That assumes that of those who start attending this year and decide to stay, not all will be ready immediately to repent and believe. That's okay. The more non-believers who walk through these doors, the greater the opportunity to share the gospel--the longer they stay, the more they will be exposed to the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. All we can do is plant the seed. God alone makes it grow.

But here is how you can help. How many non-Christian friends do you have? If you don't have any, make some. If you have some, here's a question: have you ever invited them to church? How about a bible study? Youth group? How about a simple church get together?

Later this fall, Chris Vail will be training some of you to share your faith on an individual level beyond this place and that is a crucial task. But even if you are afraid to do that, you can still help us meet this first goal by 1. praying that God will bring non-believers and unchurched people to Good Shepherd and 2. that he will use this congregation to spread his kingdom and 3. inviting your unchurched, non-believing friends and family members to church, a bible study, or an event.

Harvest Dinner: Yes, it's getting to be that time of year again. I have a few notes to pass on. I am not quite sure what this means but I was asked to put it in the bulletin and so I assume someone does know:

"Please pick a day or days that fit into your schedule.  If you can only hour or two, that would very helpful

      OCTOBER 13, Tuesday.....starting after Bible study....Cranberry relish

      OCTOBER 19, Monday.....9:00 am.....baking the squash

      OCTOBER 20, Tuesday....starting after Bible class.....making the stuffing"

I think, though I cannot be sure, that this is a cry for help with these various tasks at this if you have the time you are invited to pitch in here at the kitchen

Beginner's Bible Study: Beginner's Bible Study is on for tonight. We're still in 1st John

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 this Sunday: I hate taking my car to the garage. I never know whether or not I am paying too much. This is generally my own fault. I don't know enough about cars to know whether I'm being told the truth. That's why I would much rather pay a friend to do the repairs than the mechanic. I know I can trust a real friend to charge me the right price and I'm happy to pay.

It must have been difficult for 1st century Christians to know who to trust. The apostles were bringing good news, but in many ways they were also bringing new news. And wherever they preached, there was controversy and conflict. Some listeners would believe and follow Jesus based on the apostles' proclamation. Others would reject Jesus, criticize his messengers, and attack the message. The same thing happened in Thessalonica. This Sunday we'll look at the way Paul responded to his critics in 1st Thessalonians 2:3-8:

3For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.
   As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

Video of Last Sunday's Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Carlson, the text, and some footage of the animal blessing may be found here.

John Wesley's Sermon on Animals at the Resurrection: Some were also asking for a link to John Wesley's sermon on the place of animals in God's plan of redemption. Here is a link to that fantastic sermon. I encourage everyone to take some time to read it...Wesley was an Arminian but he still managed to get some things right :)

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!

The Art of Prayer: If you are having a hard time praying or wondering about the nature of prayer, you might listen to "The Art of Prayer", a sermon by Matt Chandler I linked it on the blog for everyone to listen too. It is an excellent discussion not simply of the "how to" of prayer, but Chandler answers the "what is it?" and "why do it?" questions as well.

Men's Bible Study and Breakfast: NO ONE is scheduled to cook so please let me know if you're willing to volunteer. I cannot do it unfortunately. We're almost through 1st Samuel. This Thursday we'll move into 24-25. Breakfast is served at 6:30am and the study starts at the same time. All men are welcome. 

Christian Education: Science and the Bible/Creation and Evolution.  Two weeks ago, I announced a new series dealing with the relationship between scripture and evolutionary a larger sense the topic is "Science and Scripture". The first class will be an overview of the problem...why is the idea of evolution so difficult for so many Christians to swallow? Does the bible teach a six 24 hour day creation sequence? Is it even possible to reconcile what we know about the world from scientific inquiry with what we read in scripture? We'll start the discussion this Sunday between services at 9:15am

The Last Days: Ever wondered what it means to be "pre trib" or "post trib"? How about "pre mil" "post mil" or "a mil"? Those terms refer to different positions Christian theologians take with regard to what the bible teaches about the return of Christ. In case you missed it, I posted a long but rewarding discussion/debate on the topic between four pastors and theologians who take four different positions. You can watch the debate here.

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