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Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Rex called the meeting to order by welcoming the new people at the meeting.
EVANGELISM - Parry Dauer reported that the current project is to collect winter coats and have people come and get them at the church. Evangelists from the church will go door to door to collect the coats and would like to get 200-250 coats. Collection will begin in October.
MOPS - Kathy Brown reported that since the meeting was canceled last week because of lack of electricity, they would meet Sept. 22. They had their first Sunday night meeting and it was very well attended. There are also six new members for the morning MOPS. They are having a Rummage and Bake sale on September 27 from 8 to 1. The Christmas Boutique will be held November 2.
ELDERS - Erik Vecere said that the plans are in the works for an every-member Personal Stewardship Interview starting with the elders and continuing with the boards. Erik presented to council for approval a Marriage Enrichment Class which is part of a program called Together Pittsburgh.
VICAR ZACH will take the Junior Youth to Cheeseman's Fright Farm and the Senior Youth had a great get-together at Pastor's house. The Youth Team will meet October 1st.
TRUSTEES - Rich Winkle has several projects that need immediate attention and that need to be addressed. The Vicar's porch roof is leaking and needs to be replaced. The parking lot needs to be recoated and lines painted (this could wait until Spring), Pastor's office needs to be finished, (Pastor could use the gift he received at his Anniversary Party to pay for materials but would prefer to use those monies for their intended purpose of furniture. Council approved $5,000 to be taken from the Building Fund for renovations and repairs. These will be made available to the treasurer to pay bills associated with these projects. Trustees are reviewing the congregation's insurance policies.
PASTOR - Pastor has had meetings with almost all the boards and is encouraged that everyone is getting things done.
Rex commented on the fact that Steve Dort was leaving and would be missed. The next meeting will be held October 19.
The meeting was closed with "The Lord's Prayer".
Thursday, September 25, 2008
For anyone who is following this online, we will carry on with material from the end of 1 Thessalonians Chapter 1, and we will start chapter 2.
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 below:
"6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."
1) Check out the Q&A on imitation posted below. What does the word "imitation" mean to us? What did it mean to Paul?
What are ways that you can imitate Christ?
Watch the video and answer the questions below it:
How did imitating Christ, help some of the people in Paraguay? How can it help others around us?
2) Read verse 8 again. Paul says that the message rang out from Thessalonica- kind of like a bell. Click on the link below to see a picture of sound waves:
Notice how sound waves move out in all directions. How can we spread the Gospel in all directions, so that we ring out like a bell?
3) Chapter 2 covers many characteristics of a good pastor. Before you read 1 Thessalonians 2, think of what a pastor should be like. How is a pastor faithful to God's Word? In what ways should he serve the church? Etc...
4) Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2
1You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. 2We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.
How does Paul handle criticism of his ministry?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Grace, mercy and peace...
What are the most expensive words? Perhaps the most expensive words come in twos: try these on for size - "interest rates"; "new house"; "new car"; "food bills". Maybe some combinations of threes have that expensive ring to them as well: "Broken Fuel Pump"; "Cost of Living". How abou the friend who comes in bearing the keys to your car and says, "I had a little accident." Are those the most expensive words?
Depending upon your experiences in life, opinions will vary as to what the most expensive words in life are. But there really is no question as to what the most expensive words in the world are. Jesus Christ gives us the answer: The most expensive words in the world are these: "I Love You." That's because they always cost something of the one who bears them sincerely. Jesus declares that even as God has made these words expensive, valuable and meaningful in a world which tries its best to make them cheap and meaningless, we are to do likewise in our lives. He does so within the framework of these words. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. This I command you, to love one another."
Love. Why? The word "Love" is everywhere. 98 percent of popular music speaks of love. Love is a common theme of TV and theatre. Our children are taught "love thy neighbor" as a golden rule. We swoon over novels about "lovers." We choke up at the idea of "true love". we associate words like "forever" automatically with it. Thousands cried their eyes out when a popular movie stated "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Government and religious groups sponsor commercials urging you to "love others" despite race and social class. Why, love and loving suggestions are all around us. If this world has created a god out of an ideal, that ideal is love. Yet we have trouble pinning down what exactly love is.
Dare we question our society's love diety? Perhaps the world has cheapened the words "I Love You!" rendering them meaningless, dragging them through the dust of superficiality so often that we don't know what they mean anymore. They've become little more than some abstraction. Too often we have seen these words become "a lot of talk." we've seen them turned on and off at whim. We've seen them used cheaply to secure favors, sexual and otherwise; used as a means of self-betterment; used as a means to "get ahead" at the expense of another's emotions; used in an attempt to justify years of neglect; used to possess and direct. Perhaps the words "I Love You" have become cheap and have lost their value due to careless use.
What is love, anyway? The product of scattered brain cells which managed to evolve from the earth? Is "love" a freak - a by-product of an accidentally higher form of animal life?
See, the world apart from God has no real definition for love. Apart from God, love becomes a cruel hoax. It goes to dust with our bodies. And the person who shows love winds up with the same reward as he who had none: a casket probably in the mid-price range, the common anonymity of death. Love becomes a relative term - you practice it (whatever you think it is) if and when you fell like it.
It's one thing to know about love; to KNOW love is another thing. It is one thing to know about God; to KNOW God is another thing. John says: "he who does not love, does not know God; for God is love."
God in Christ Jesus makes the words "I Love You" expensive and meaningful once more. He made them meaningful by sending His Son, a son who enabled him to forgive and forget our sinful lack of love. Through His Son he showed his tender, sympathizing nature. We were slaves to stree, strife, anxiety, doubt, fear, defeat, pointless existence - and he laid down his life for our release. There's is the cost! He made the words "I Love You" meaningful by making us his friends. In your baptism, Jesus introduces you to the Father, saying: Father, these are my friends - Rich, John, Mary, Lois, Sue etc... I love them and gave my life for them.
" I Love You." These words have meaning once more because Jesus gives his love as a dwelling place. It's the very air that we breathe in life -- his care, concern, forgiveness, support, nurturing. We walk in it, we move in it. And it's an expensive commodity indeed. It cost Him His life.
This isn't designed to give you a definition of love. No blog can accomplish that. But one thing is clear: You show me a picture of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection - and I'll show you a picture of what "Love" is all about.
In Greenville, S.C. there is a memorial to a pilot, the only American killed during the Cuban missile crisis. The inscription reads, "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." The cross isn't just a monument, it stands for a Saviour who lived up to the supreme ideal of love and yet still lives! " I have loved you with an everlasting love."
Don't you see? We have a friend, a beautiful loving friend, who has worked it out for us to be God's friends. Loving friendship means a willingness to spend ones self for another. Jesus made you God's friend, spent his life for you - and in doing so, gave the words "I Love You" new meaning. Greater love hath no man than this - that he lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus said these things, but they are hard words to hear. After all, you may say, life isn't that simple. Yet the simple truth of the faith is this: You're called to make these words expensive and meaningful in your lives as well.
Jesus says: "I choose you." You are chosen to love. Christ chose you by dying for you on the cross. How have you responded to that love? You are chosen for a reason, chosen to love! Yet the way we live our lives often times makes it seem that we were chosen for some other purpose.
Wishing to receive the affection of his subjects Frederick the Great struck a subject with a whip one day and exclaimed: "Confound you, I want you to love me." We sometimes act that way. We're chosen, not forced. God takes the initiative, chooses us and comes after us; Chooses us to reflect his "power and presence" in our lives. His love draws love out of us. His command isn't a new law to be feared, but a kinship of spirits, between you and your friend Jesus, a union of purpose and mission.
Jesus bore fruit. It was indicative of his relationiship with his Father. He healed, he forgave, he ministered, he comforted. You have been called to bear lovely fruit, too.
Love may still be painful. In fact, it will be! Many early Christians realized the ultimate sacrifice out of love for Christ. But what is the love which Christ taught, but the spirit of self-sacrifice. The world is often hateful toward that which is good and beautiful. The way of love is lined with crosses. It's hard and steep. You may very well get burned. Yet Christ says, " I choose You!" And he may be calling you to bleed willingly and joyfully for his sake.
Maybe you have been less than loving. Maybe you have failed to express love in the past. Maybe you feel unloved and unloving. There is forgiveness in Jesus. There is compensation in Jesus Christ. Have you failed to love? Treated these words cheaply? Don't take it too hard. You are like the rest of us. As long as there are human beings, no one will "get it right" all of the time. Just remember: God's love is there before and after all our efforts to love each other and ourselves. The victory of Christ's resurrection is this: In Jesus, new life, new chances, new beginnings are always being created in us. New opportunities to live the words "I Love You" with great sincerity and great expense and great meaning.
"I love you when you're good" a father told his young daughter. The little girl answered quickly, "I love you all the time, Daddy." That little girl had the right idea of how God loves in Christ. Sacrificially, with great sympathy, with profound simplicity. Knowing that we are forgiven, that we are loved "we try harder."
It cost God to say, "I Love You." It cost Him the life of His Son. God had made these words meaningful. Can we afford to treat them cheaply?
Friends of God, let's love one another and share Christ's joy!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Last week we studied Acts 17- the founding of the church in Thessalonica. We also learned about the city of Thessalonica, and its history. This week we are diving into chapter 1 of 1 Thessalonians! The first few verses are packed with meaning for the church, so we will really focus on the first five verses in class.
If you are following along online here are some links that will help you to read 1 Thessalonians 1:
I posted the Enduring Word Commentary last week, but I have found both to be helpful.
In verse four Paul says that he knew that God chose the people of Thessalonica. How do we know that God chose us?
(Hint: The answer is simple- if we have faith, we know that God chose us.)
2) Watch the video on praying for others, and answer the questions below it.
In verse two Paul thanked God in his prayers for the Thessalonian church. According to the video how does it make others feel when we pray for them?
How do you feel when you pray for others?
Why should we pray for others?
3)In verse 5 of 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul mentions the power of God's Word. Look at the hymn found in the link below. (This is hymn 222 in the Lutheran Worship hymnal.)
Where does the Word come from?
How are we blessed by it?
Post any thoughts, comments, or questions below. Let's get the discussion going!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I will post links that are relevant to the text of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, as well as, links that are relevant to our discussion.
Here are a few places that I found helpful to introducing yourself to 1 and 2 Thessalonians:
http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/5201.htm -Provides a solid introduction to the cast of Paul's missionary team in Thessalonica.
http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/pauls-secd-journey-map.html - This is a nice map of Paul's second missionary journey. Here you can follow his route to and from Thessalonica.
http://www.bibleplaces.com/thessalonica.htm -Archaeology is not my forte, but it's fun to look at pictures! This shows some of the remains of Thessalonica under modern day Thessaloniki in Greece.
Feel free to post any question or thoughts that you would like to share!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
A typical MOPS meeting brings moms together for a SIT-DOWN (!) breakfast, shared ideas, knowledge from "experts", cooperative activities, laughter, tears, opportunities to lead and follow, mutual understanding, and PRAYERS...ALL while loving Grandmas entertain and care for the preschoolers in another room.
Give away my eye teeth for this? You betcha! In this day and age when families are remote, neighbors are unseen, and the world just keeps on turnin', it's a blessing to have a group and a place where young moms can be refreshed, renewed and reminded that they are not alone.
As a congregation, we need to support, promote, and encourage the M.O.P.S. Program at Mt. Olive.
Submitted by Doreen Hietsch, M.O.P.S Mentor Mom