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Archive for June, 2011

With end-time prophecies from Harold Camping this year, the Mayan prediction of the world’s demise in 2012, faithful Christians are asking: what does the Bible really say about the book of Revelation and the supposed end of the world?  What is the Antichrist, and what does Rapture mean?  And what does all of this mean not only to the faithful, but the whole world??

On July 3rd, 10th and 17th, Steve will preach a sermon series on the book of Revelation and what this mysterious writing means to followers of Christ today.  You are encouraged not only to be in worship these three Sundays, but invite any friends who may wish to hear a Reformed, Biblical understanding of the last book of our Bible.

As always, sermons will be online in text and audio form at www.fpcma.com.  However, it’s always better to worship with your church family and experience the body of Christ in person if you can.  Either way, we hope you’ll join us in “revisiting Revelation!”

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Last week I attended the Massanetta Middle School conference with six of our middle schoolers and another adult chaperone, and I was reminded of one of the cardinal truths of the youth conference experience: a good keynoter speaks in a way that the youth can relate to, but a great keynoter speaks so that both the youth and adults take something from it.  That was certainly the case with the gentleman who spoke to us.  I found his stories inspiring and his take on the scripture for week invigorating.

One thing Scott shared that really stuck with me was on our last day at the conference.  He was talking about how we should constantly look for places to “engage mission” – putting our faith into practice so it’s not just talking the talk but walking the walk.  Scott acknowleded that part of the problem is that we typically think “mission” entails going to some far-off place on a long trip, something that time and resources often get in the way of.  That’s when he began talking about a mission field he discovered he could serve in, every single week.  And as he said this, on the large screen behind him showed a picture of his local grocery store.  He told us that he crafted a plan: he would visit this grocery store at least once a week, sometimes more; and that he would go out of his way to get to know the people who worked there, since most folks go in and buy groceries and leave without saying much other than a simple “thanks.”  Over the course of the next six months, Scott not only got to know most of the employees there by name but know them as people too.  He knew when Ed was having surgery.  He offered encouraging words when Katie was going through a difficult divorce.

One particular story Scott shared really stuck with me.  At some point, one of the grocery store clerks (we’ll call her Sarah) asked Scott what he did for a living.  When he told Sarah he was a minister, she couldn’t believe it.  When Scott asked her why, Sarah replied quickly, “Christians are the worst customers.”  To his horror, she recounted how every Sunday morning, church-goers would come in dressed in their Sunday best with the worst disposition – always in a hurry, rarely polite, abrasive.  It left a bad taste in her mouth about what it meant to be in church and be a Christian.  Scott was glad that he had given Sarah an alternative view about what being a follower of Christ meant – all without “Bible-thumping” or even a heady theological conversation.

Well, I liked Scott’s idea so much that I’ve decided to follow his lead.  So here’s the mission field I’ve chosen:

Here’s what I’m going to do: for the next six months, I’m going to go to Lowe’s at least once a week, even if I’m just buying a pack of gum.  I’m going to get to know the cashiers and employees beyond the name on their nametags.  As much as one can in the quick exchange at the check-out line, I’m going to strike up a casual conversation with the person working there.  I’m going to learn something about them beyond the “simple pleasantries” we’re so good at here in the South.  If they ask, I’ll let them know something about me beyond just being a customer.  And every time I leave, I’m going to do my best to have them smiling.  It may go nowhere, or it may go somewhere.  But that’s the way it is with mission – you kind of put it all in God’s hands and let God do whatever God wants to.

You’ve probably already guessed this is about more than me telling you what I’m doing.  Yes, I want to invite YOU to join me in taking on the local mission challenge!  Here are the parameters:

  • Choose a local place you frequent or can “visit” on a weekly basis – a grocery store, restaurant, convenience store, gas station, cleaners, etc. (If you already know well the people who work there, consider choosing a different place).  Every person employed there is now someone you’re called to serve in your new mission field.
  • Try to visit your local mission field at least once a week over the next six months.
  • When you’re there, make a concentrated effort to get to know the people working there beyond their names.  In the context of casual conversation over time, find out a little something about them.  Where are they from?  What’s their family like?  What’s their story?  What are their hopes and dreams; their concerns and fears?
  • Attempt to leave them each time with a smile on their face and an uplifted spirit.
  • Pray for them in your daily prayers.

If nothing else, this experience will help us realize that mission does not mean we have to travel far away.  Nor does it mean we’re restricted to only talking about Jesus and quoting scripture.  At its heart, mission means making a conscious effort to allow the love of Jesus to shine through our lives to those around us, especially those who may need it the most.  Mission means “letting go and letting God” so we become part of the lives of others in ways we wouldn’t or couldn’t anticipate.  Mission is something every single one of us can do, anytime, anywhere – no matter our age, no matter where we are in our journey of faith, no matter our location.  All it takes, as Scott showed me, is an intentional effort on our part and allowing God to take it from there.

Here’s hoping you join me in the Local Mission Challenge.  Blessings to you all!

Steve

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You are invited

Campfire Gourmet – Join Venture Crew 540 on Friday July 1 for an evening of fun by the fire! We will serve all the best camp food that we have created in the last few years, as well as have a silent auction for the best of the desserts. So come by and enjoy a full 3-course meal for only $12 per person! Please make reservations on the sign-up sheet in the foyer, see Josh or Nelson Clark, or email crew540@gmail.com with party name, number in party, telephone number, and reservation time by Tuesday, June 28. There is a lot of great food and a limited number of seats, so sign up today!

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Click the link below to view the latest Weekly Grapevine from FPC!

 

Weekly Grapevine – June 26, 2011

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Click on the link below to view the latest Weekly Grapevine.

 

Weekly Grapevine.6.19.11

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Woodrow Jackson, father of Kelley Carlisle, passed away yesterday evening.  Visitation with the family will be held on Friday, June 17th at Moody Funeral Home from 6-8pm.  The funeral will be held on Saturday, June 18th at 10am at Moody Funeral Home.

Please keep Kelley, Randy, Erica, Kelsey and Christopher in your thoughts and prayers this week!

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VBS cookout tonight POSTPONED

Because of the inclement weather, and because it’d be hard playing kickball in the church’s Fellowship Hall, we have postponed the Vacation Bible School cookout until Wednesday night.  We’ll have our hamburgers and hot dogs that evening – more details to come.

In the meantime, we’ll look forward to seeing you all, RAIN OR SHINE, tomorrow night (Monday, June 13th) at 5:45pm for the first night of Vacation Bible School!!

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