Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good Shepherd Update, Thursday November 5th, 2009

Dear Good Shepherd,

Anne and I and the kids are slowing climbing back out of the new baby chaos and resuming a somewhat regular schedule. We thank everyone of you for your prayers and support during the pregnancy and your help in the aftermath. Anne and I are still pretty tired since Murielle does tend to eat a lot at night but this week we've been able to basically stay on the regular routine of weekly work.

Tonight (Thursday) and weekend will be fairly back to normal. There will be Shepherd's Bowl, Beginner's Bible Study, Men's Breakfast and Bible Study in the morning, Women's Bible Study on Saturday and Systematic Theology on Saturday...and then of course church on Sunday. So I hope to see you all at least once before Monday.

One last thing, if you're reading this on Thursday, I will be cutting my office hours 30 minutes short and leaving at 12:30pm for the first doctor's visit with the baby. I'll be back afterward for my afternoon appointments etc...

In Christ,

Good Shepherd Update Thursday November 5th, 2009

Systematic Theology
  will meet this Saturday. We'll move into a discussion of the "incommunicable attributes of God--his self-existence, immutability, omnipresence etc... Here is the recording of last week's class. I'll also have the background readings for the next few classes. Looking forward to seeing you then.

Acolytes: Thank you to the excellent team of acolytes, Joey, Sarah and Melissa who served during last week's funeral. You practiced hard and added dignity and grace to the worship. Thank you. The acolytes as a whole, not only the three named above, but all of them, have worked very hard and everyone can see the results.

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

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.

A Parent Meeting for the Christmas Pageant will be held on November 15th, after the 10:30am service. Please mark your calendars!

Thank you: Last week Bill Woollett came to church a bag of crosses that he spent the week making in order to raise money for the Anglican Church in the Kwenda slum in Nairobi. He offered a cross to anyone who donated any amount to help. He gave away four crosses for a total of $114.00. That will go a long way in Kwenda. Thank you to Bill and thank you to everyone who contributed. His crosses will also be available this week.

The Fourth Yearly Goal: The fourth yearly goal is to establish a regular and active prayer ministry at Good Shepherd. We have worked toward this goal by setting up a prayer chain and by holding a regular prayer meeting every Wednesday night at 6pm.

James tells us that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful. That leaves just about everyone out except Jesus. Thanks be to God however, that if you have committed your life to Jesus Christ, his righteousness, his holiness, is credited to you by God. That means that despite the fact that we are sinners, we are "considered" saints. And in Christ we stand, by grace, in the very presence of God. So, in fact, our prayers, the prayers of believers are the prayers of "the righteous" and therefore, as James says, they are powerful.

They are powerful because God not only ordains (permits or causes) all things that come to pass, he also ordains the the means by which all things come to pass. Prayer is one of those God ordained means by which and through which he accomplishes his purposes in the world and in the Church.

For that reason it is crucial that we pray...not only as individuals but as a church, as a corporate body for God's presence, power, grace and mercy--for the quickening of his Spirit in order that we might be equipped to accomplish his purposes at Good Shepherd.

The prayer group which meets on Wednesdays prays for the people of the church, for the leaders, for the conversion of souls, for increasing sanctification in the congregation, for the growth of the church spiritually and numerically, for the mission of the church, for the neigborhood, for the city and neighborhood, for God's help in all areas, difficulties and tasks of the church.

Everyone is asked to pray for these things individually, and on Wednesdays at 6pm all are invited to pray for them together.

Beginner's Bible Study: Beginner's Bible Study is on for tonight. We should move to John 2 this evening.

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.

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 (until Christmas) 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.

Sermon this Sunday: The sermon this Sunday will focus on the following text from 1st Thessalonians 2:18-3:13

    18For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us. 19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

     1So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. 4In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
     6But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
     11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Notice especially, the love of Paul for the Thessalonians, his worry about their spiritual wellbeing, the role of Satan in hindering Paul and tempting the church, the expectation of the coming of Christ and what that will mean for Paul and the Thessalonians.

Stewardship Sunday will be November 22nd. How we deal with our money is a good way of assessing our spiritual health and the state of our heart. Personally, I hate talking about money because it plays into all kinds of stereotypes that people have about preachers, but scripture does deal with the topic at length and so if I ignore it or pass over it, I will not only be sinning against God but against you as well. Matt Chandler recently preached a very powerful sermon on the topic that might help to get our brains and hearts readjusted. Here is a link:

Video of Last Sunday's Sermon: Here's the video of last Sunday's Sermon: Assuming the Best:

Men's Bible Study and Breakfast: Lee Bronson is scheduled to cook. We're almost through 1st Samuel. Breakfast is served at 6:30am and the study starts at the same time. All men are welcome.

Question Box: Someone suggested that we create a question box for people to write down questions for me to answer or to make suggestions. I think that is a good idea especially since not everyone in the congregation has email. We should have a question box up within the next few weeks. Now sometimes these sorts of things cause more problems than they solve so here are some quick guidelines:

1. Please recognize that I may not have time to get to your question right away. I am pretty loaded up at the moment, so I'll do my best but it may be a week or so.

2. Not all suggestions will be implemented.  I will be able to explain any reasons for yours not being implemented if that is the case.  Please additionally understand that if you make a suggestion, you should be willing to lead in it's taking effect because we do not want to be in a habit of suggesting ideas for others to carry out.

3. Please sign your name and speak only for yourself...sometimes question boxes can be used for sniping rather than asking or suggesting, so we ask that if you leave a note, please sign it with your full name. Unsigned notes will be discarded before they are read (that is my general policy anyway).

Christian Education: Science and the Bible/Creation and Evolution.  We'll continue our discussion of Creation and Evolution this Sunday by spending some time in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, and discussing the differences between the young earth and old earth positions with regard to the flood.

Here is the trailer for Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled" (which I hope to show you before this series is over) detailing the systematic expulsion of scientists who accept Intelligent Design from the academic community. We discussed Intelligent Design last Sunday:

Next Education series: Spiritual Disciplines...more information about this series will be coming soon.

Anglican Church Women: the ACW plans to invite all the women of the church to lunch on Saturday, November 14th to discuss future plans and mission projects.

By Faith Alone: Finally, in case you did not see it the first time, here is one of my favorite preachers, John Piper, explaining the biblical doctrine that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone:

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