• How can I resist Evil – Alpha 12

    ImagesI think this film from Alpha is a powerful and helpful presentation on what it means to pray as Jesus taught:

    "Deliver us from Evil"

  • The Lord's PrayerS

    Download (1) 

    The Disciples requested of Jesus: "Teach us to Pray!" (Luke 11:1)

    Jesus responded by teaching what we know as the Lord's Prayer. In our 8:30 Lenten Class we are looking at how this model prayer introduces us a variety of  prayers.  Join us this week as we learn from Jesus a variety of ways to pray!


    • “Our Father in Heaven” A Prayer Connection > I remember how much God loves me
    • “Hallowed be thy name”  A Prayer of Refocusing > I express how much I love God
    • “Thy Kingdom Come”  A Prayer  of Cooperation > I offer myself to be used for God’s purposes
    • “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” A Prayer of Surrender > I give God all my pain and sorrow
    • “Give us this day our daily bread” A Prayer of Dependence > I trust God to provide all my needs
    • “Forgive us our debts”  A Prayer of Cleansing > I admit my faults
    • “As we forgive the debts of others”  A Prayer of Release > I release those who have hurt me
    • “Lead us not into temptation”  A prayer of Protection > I ask God to guard my heart
    • “Deliver me from evil”  A Prayer of Deliverance > I depend on God’s power
    • “Yours is the kingdom, your is the power and the glory forever”  A Prayer of Victory > I praise God for ultimate victory



  • The "Lame Response" of half-baked faith

    Download-2I am intrigued by the responses of the four people who have conversations with Jesus in John 3-5. Two are tepid. Two are trusting. First comes Nick at Night, who is tepid in his response. Next are the characters I call Sammy and Roy, who have unrestrained trust. Then John describes another tepid response from one I think of as a Half-Baked Turkey.

    Here is what the New Testament Scholar, Dale Bruner, has to say about the healed man in John, Chapter 5:

    “The man left and told the Jewish people that Jesus was the man who made him well.” This is either dumb or malicious. Dumb if he had not heard the hostility in the earlier hostile questions (but he may mean well, for here he says, “Jesus was the man who made [me] well”; he does not say again, as he had said in v. 11, “the man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat’”). But his report surely lacks common sense, at best. (Is being dumb a sin?) Doesn’t he know he is endangering his healer? It is hard to see complete innocence in his remark. Because of this “lame” sentence in this man’s final appearance (and because Jesus’ warning), I consider the man only to be half-healed. We can hold out hope for the man’s subsequent response to Jesus’ grace-and-truth last word to him now. But the way this healing story ends seems to be the storyteller’s way of asking us to raise the question of the extent of the man’s healing. It is because of the cumulative questions raised by the “healed” man’s behavior in vv. 13-15 that I have felt it appropriate or at least candid to speak of the half-healed and hard-to-like man as he is portrayed for us in the whole of the story.”


  • Plans for the 8:30 Hour February 18th

    We are trying some new things in our 8:30AM Sunday time at church.  Here's some thoughts on Lenten Plans from our Deacon Chairman, Dane Vose.  These are his thoughts for our deacons.

    "Steve sent out an email today about “40 Days of Prayer”.  In it he asks you to join in Worship and Reflection during Lent at the 8:30 am special Fellowship / Bible Study sessions.  These sessions will be done only during Lent in the Chapel in place of the usual 8:30 service.  Please go to his blog at   

    8:30 Prayer, Fellowship and Learning 

    Skim through the text to get a feel for the background….

    DownloadAs you probably know, the 8:30 service has been lightly attended for a while.  More than half the regulars at that service left for a variety of reasons.  I've been spot checking attendance for the last couple months and see there now are only around 8 or 10 regulars.  While I have seen as many as 20 attendees, Julio mentioned to me there was one service where there were only 5 folks in attendance.  So, some have been wondering for a while whether or not we should have the first service at all.  We've always concluded we didn't want to drop the service and alienate anyone, and, in fact, we really would like to build up to three Sunday services, not drop back to one.  Nevertheless, the current situation at the first service is not good.  “40 Days of Prayer” can be used to reconstitute the first service and get attendance up to the point the group can be self-sustaining.  That is, they will be able to supply things like ushers, worship assistants, scripture readers and Communion servers from their own ranks.  However, I don’t think that will happen unless content is changed to something attractive to more people.  What do I mean by that?

    Well, the components of the first service are the same as the second, with the choir downsized to the quartet.  With the same content, there is no reason for anyone who is happy in the second service to go to the first.  The changes Steve is talking about during Lent would turn the first service more into a fellowship/bible study group, but it would retain some of the popular components of a regular service.  Furthermore, rather than a passive audience, there would be much more interaction between the members themselves, and the members and the Pastor.  I ask you to look at this as a kind of experiment that will give us time to assess what does work, and what doesn’t work in reconstituting the first service.  At the end of Lent, we will assess what happened as a group, keep what worked, and discard what didn’t work. 

    Our job as Deacons will be to help Steve sort out the results.  Since we can’t do that if we don’t show up, I’m asking you to do several things. 

    1. Please make time to attend as many of these special Lent sessions as you can. I know the format may seem a bit uncomfortable to some of you, but please give it a try.  We are a good cross section of the Congregation, so our honest thoughts on how the process is (or is not) working will be very meaningful.
    2. Please feel free to share your candid thoughts with Steve or me as this experiment proceeds. This will help us make “mid-term” adjustments.
    3. Finally, I would like to call a short meeting of the Deacons just before the 2/13 Committee meetings to review this and answer questions. Let’s meet in the Lounge at 6pm.  If you can’t make it due to work or something else, I understand and will fill you in on what happened.  I’ll remind you of the meeting time again as we get closer.

    So that’s it for now.  Thank you for thinking this over, and please send me any thoughts you might have. We have an opportunity to support our church program during the early hour on Sunday and I think it’s exciting to try out new ideas."


  • Fellowship, Prayer and the 8:30 Service

    3-19-17 Pastor's Tea 4Research shows that Christians grow spiritually, and congregations grow relationally, when they 1.) Get together to Worship God, and 2.) Gather to share their experiences of faith.

    I can imagine a time in the future of our church when we are growing in significant ways and even have three or four unique services of worship on the weekends. We would then have a couple programs for children and adults being held before and after each service of worship. These programs will be places where people can comfortably develop meaningful Christian friendships and explore ways to grow in faith and love.

    For this Lent we are hoping to get at least one Sunday Fellowship Group started. As we do this, we have some opportunities with our present 8:30AM Service of Worship in the Chapel. Below is an outline of our assessments, evaluations and suggestions: 


    8:30AM service has an average weekly attendance of 15 attendees and 8 staff members supporting it


    Attendance at 8:30AM Service has dwindled during the past nine months; due to moves away from the church, declining health conditions, and death


    There is NOT a core group available to serve with pulpit assistance, preparation of refreshments, or volunteer ushering at the 8:30AM hour


    Surveys and conversations with those attending 8:30AM Worship, and with the staff and leaders responsible for organizing the service, suggest that there is question about its sustainability.


    Over 25 people have expressed an interest in coming out at the 8:30AM time period, if I offer a class or something unique from the 10AM Worship


    9 people who come to 8:30AM worship have expressed that they would rather keep the exact same format to the 8:30AM Service, but most have said they see a need for something else to be done


    Our Church commitment to prayer during the 40 Days of Lent, provides us an opportunity to prayerfully explore ways to undergird and bolster the ministry of the church in general, and the 8:30AM Ministry in particular


    It is suggested that we maintain some worship elements in the 8:30AM Hour during Lent (like Singing, Prayer, Teaching, Communion, and special music from the quartet and others); and that we add a dimensions of interaction and expanded teaching that would be unique and attract others


    It is being further suggested, that during Lent, we pray individually and together, in order to explore God's guidance and direction for the 8:30AM Worship Service after Easter and for all the ministries of the church.  


    In addition, it should be noted that the exploration process in past weeks has explored having separate Fellowship Classes at 8:30AM, 10AM and 11:15AM. Feedback received suggests that we focus our time of sharing and prayer, during the 8:30AM time, in order to concentrate our efforts, utilize our leadership, explore potential future leaders and maximize our potential.


    Furthermore, we seek to use the season of Lent to listen to God, listen to one another, share in prayer, grow in care, expand our experience of the Spirit of Jesus in our own lives and in the church, and share together some of the specific ways that God is at work in us and through us.