Pastor’s Corner 2/10/19

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)

I love this passage from Isaiah, I come back to it often. It always has a message for me in difficult times. Chapter 43 begins with the Lord reassuring the people, “You are precious in my sight and I love you.” A simple, yet powerful reminder when times are hard. Then it describes how even when we pass through rivers we will not be swept away; even when we walk through fires we will not be set ablaze, for God is with us. Words of comfort when we feel overwhelmed. The passage continues by recalling how God dramatically rescued the people from Egypt. We persevere knowing that God loves us and will be with us through whatever difficulty we find ourselves in. But then it takes an unexpected twist in verse 18 when it says, but forget all that! I am doing a new thing! Why spend a chapter assuring us of God’s love and recalling God’s past acts of deliverance only to say “forget all that”? I know for myself, it is easy to dwell on my current circumstances and get stuck in the mud and the mire. I can also get caught up longing for how things used to be. The Lord reminds us to not dwell on the past but to look at the new thing God is doing. For we believe in a God of resurrection, a God of new life, a God of redemption! Yes, we remember God’s activity in the past, but we can’t get stuck there. We always need to be looking for the new thing God is doing. God will make a way when it seems like there is no way. And that gives me hope.   Walking on the path of grace, Pastor Patti



Pastor’s Corner 1/20/19

What Gifts?
 
For the last couple weeks, we have talked about stewardship through our connection with others and in sharing our gifts with others. We often focus on monetary gifts as the only way to give to the church, but what about our time, energy, experiences, or other resources? They all are valuable and worthy!
 
As Jesus’ earthly ministry was coming to an end, he began to prepare his disciples for the time when they would be called upon to carry on the work Jesus had started. He promised the disciples that they would not be left alone and that the Holy Spirit would come and would teach the disciples all they would need to know in order to continue the ministry. Soon, Jesus did ascend into heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers, and she was not picky! The Holy Spirit is generous and thorough!
 
We all have gifts to share; we all are worthy and needed in the community. We all have spiritual gifts (like the gift of teaching, or offering mercy, or knowledge, etc.) and all have talents ( life experiences, work experience, hobbies, etc).
 
You will find a handout in your bulletin that has some questions to ponder and answer. These will help us create a ministry profile for you! Then, return the handout to the office or by mail or in the offering plate. This will help us build our ministry! Other than the Holy Spirit, you will also receive a prize!
 
Happy exploring!

Pastor Sami



Pastor’s Corner 1/6/19

It is a new year! 2019. Full of possibilities and opportunities. Have you made resolutions? Have you defined intentions for this year? Do you have goals you are aiming for in 2019? For Christmas, my kids got me a coffee mug which has a nutcracker on it with the words, “Crushing It.” It is now the wallpaper on my phone. A daily reminder not to sit back passively, but to crush 2019. The dawn of a new year is our annual chance to push reset. A natural point to get a fresh start. Which is usually accompanied by a list of things we hope to do. However, this attitude juxtaposed with winter makes an interesting contrast. For winter is a quiet season when life slows down. I learned last winter that I even need to walk slower so as not to fall on the ice! Winter has its own pace. Creation appears to be waiting while significant organic changes are happening under the surface. What if we applied that to our spiritual lives? Using winter as a season to make changes under the surface. We can take advantage of the quiet of winter to sit more, to reflect, to create space. The under-the-surface growth takes time. It requires space to let our spirit connect with God’s spirit. Perhaps a worthy goal for January is to take 5 minutes a day, or more if you can, to just sit in silence. Allow your spirit to settle. To dig your roots in the soil of God’s love. Don’t expect anything or evaluate the effectiveness of the time. Just sit and consciously open your soul to the presence of God. You might not see the visible fruit for months to come, but you can trust that the spirit of God is at work, deep under the surface. My prayer for us in this new year is Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus: “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT) Walking on the path of grace into 2019!

Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 12/23/18

Note: This year St. Paul’s will collect a special Christmas offering which will be divided in half. Half of the offering will be shared among God’s Love, Good Samaritan, The Salvation Army, and Food Share. We refer people asking for help to these organizations year round and want to support them. Each does amazing work meeting needs in our community. The second half of the offering will go toward upgrading our technology here at St. Paul’s. If you would like to contribute, please designate “Christmas Offering” on your check or put your donation in the designated envelopes, which are available in the foyer, pews, and church office.