Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good Shepherd Update Thursday January 14th, 2010

Dear Good Shepherd, 

This Sunday is our annual meeting. It is also the one year mark in this new property God has provided for us. Last Sunday was one year to the day that we celebrated our final Sunday in the old church building. This Sunday will be one year to the day that we met at the Conklin Avenue Baptist gym. Next Sunday will be the one year mark here at 356 Conklin Avenue.

It is a time for thanksgiving and for reflection.

God brought us out of circumstances and difficulties that, according to practical earthly expectations, should have destroyed us. But God preserved us. He not only preserved us, he opened the floodgates and blessed us in every way. 

Jesus told a parable about a king who, preparing for a journey, gave three servants varying amounts of money to use in the king's absence. When the king left, the first two servants took the money, invested it, and doubled what he had given them. The last servant horded the king's money and buried it in a hole because he was afraid of losing it. When the king returned, he rewarded the two servants who took risks and invested all that the king had left them by giving them entire cities to rule but he punished the servant who carefully horded out of fear and took the little that he had been given away. (Matt 25:14-30)

Jesus did not tell this parable to teach people how to get rich. The parable is not about money in particular but about all the resources that God provides--everything we have--money, time, skill, power, life... We are his servants. He has given us all of these things for a purpose--to use them, to invest them, for his glory, the expansion of his kingdom, the proclamation of his gospel, the feeding of the poor, and the healing of the sick.

Churches die every day in the United States. In Revelation 2-3 we're told that when a congregation chooses its own way rather than to follow the mission laid out by Christ, Jesus  "removes its lampstand". The Spirit is quenched or removed. Why? Because the church exists as God's chosen vehicle to reconcile the world to himself through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and when a church does not do that it ceases to function as the church. It dies.

On the other hand, it is simply impossible to outgive God. The more God blesses a church, the more a church is called to pour that blessing out into the world. God continues to fill, we continue to pour. We take his talents and invest them in the expansion of his kingdom, he pours more into our lap. That is God's economy.

We are at a pivotal moment at Good Shepherd. What has God called us to do as a body here? Are we ready to fulfill that call? Are we ready to take what God has given us and invest all of it in the building of his kingdom?  I think we are. I know we are. God has been preparing us for the present moment for a long time. The question is whether we are willing.

New Music Director: Tim Wetherbee starts this Sunday at the 10:30am as our new music director. He is a truly gifted musician and leader. Please be here to welcome him to Good Shepherd and celebrate his first Sunday as director.

A Message from Tim: The Good Shepherd Choir will be gathering for the first rehearsal with Tim Wetherbee on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00 pm in the choir loft. If you are planning to join this ministry or want more information, please contact Tim so he can have enough materials for everyone. He can be reached by phone at 748-3577 or by email at or just speak to him after the 10:30 Service.

Is Good Shepherd a Healthy Church? What are churches supposed to do? Alister Begg preaches a great series on what a church should be and do...I wish every person who comes to Good Shepherd would make time to listen to this:

The Four Marks of a Healthy Church part A:

Part B:

Shepherd's Bowl: Shepherd's Bowl is carrying on as usual tonight at 5:30. Everyone is welcome to the Bible Study after at 6:30

Men's Bible Study and Breakfast:  Charles Hadley is cooking.

Womens' Bible Study
There will be Women's Bible Study this Saturday at 10:00am led by Carmen.

Haiti: By now most of you have heard about the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti yesterday. If you have not, here is an article describing the horrible conditions in the aftermath.

Please pray for the people of Haiti.

For right now, if you would like to help tangibly with relief efforts, the Anglican Relief and Development fund is now accepting donations to bring relief supplies to people there.

This Sunday during announcements Hilgrove Delancy, who used to live in Haiti and will share some information with us about the people there, the living conditions, and what we can do to help.

Phone at the church: We have, thanks to Chris Jones, managed to recover the old church phone number 723-8032...which is great considering the fact that that number is still printed in old phone books and internet searches. For the remainder of the year, we'll keep both numbers 773-4810 and 723-8032 (which will be activated tomorrow). The rectory (my house) number has changed. You can no longer reach my family at 773-4810. That is now solely a church number.  I will send the house number out as soon as I find out what it is.

Systematic Theology: Will meet this Saturday at 3:30am for the new year. We'll be discussing the following attributes: Holiness, Righteousness, Peace, Jealousy and Wrath. Next Saturday, we'll start a discussion of the Trinity.

Annual Meeting and Vestry Elections
: The annual meeting will take place THIS Sunday January 17th AFTER the 10:30am service. I would have liked to do it between services, but there is just too much business to discuss. So far we have two new candidates for vestry: Mark Dreher and Chris Jones. Candidates may be nominated from the floor. Eligible candidates will conform to the standards articulated in Titus 1:5-8, assent by signature to the principles articulated in Good Shepherd's summary of faith and the Jerusalem Declaration, be regular attenders and members (attending every Sunday you are in town), participants in at least one bible study or class per week, committed to one ministry or service in the church, and tithing or working toward a tithe. We'll post profiles of candidates in this week's bulletin (hopefully)

The 2010 Budget:
The vestry met last night to review and approve the budget for 2010. Creating a budget was a difficult task given it had to basically be created whole-cloth. Brendan Houser (our treasurer) and John Chaney (our Junior Warden) presented the budget they crafted last night. I should have an executive summary to send to you this week before the meeting on Sunday. I did not know this last Sunday, but the new constitution only provides for a vestry approval of the budget, not a congregational vote. But we need your input and hope for your support so I will call for a discussion of and vote of support or non-support from the congregation during the meeting so that the vestry can know the mind of the body before we finalize the budget plan for the year.

Help with Children During the Annual Meeting: Anne is looking for creative and willing adults to help supervise children during the annual meeting. In the past the children have all played in the nursery and basically kept quiet. This year the nursery is too small and there are too many children. If someone has some suitable movies or games and the means to set them up, please let Anne know.

International Feast
: Sunday January 31st is Good Shepherd's second annual International Feast Day. The meal take place immediately following the 10:30 service. We'd like to have many cuisines represented so please sign up to prepare your favorite international dish. (Sign up sheet and suggestions are downstairs in the Parish Hall.)

Last Sunday's sermon: Here is the video of Sunday's sermon: Staying Spiritually Sober. God has made those who trust in his Son Jesus Christ, children of the light. How now should we live?

This week's Sermon:  Since it's annual meeting time, we'll be discussing the purpose of the church and the mission of the church.

Christian Education: Spiritual Disciplines: This week we will finish our introduction to spiritual disciplines and move into a discussion of a specific type of discipline.

In Christ

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