One to Another in Christ: Week 7, A “Good Sam” Fall Focus 2013
October 27, 2013 Acts 3 (Reformation and life in Christ)
Coming together and offering what we have (life and blessings in Christ) are a signs of Jesus living presence. These gifts shared in community begin to flow into the abundance that always comes with God’s giving. Life in Christ will always express itself in abundance and hope shared in community. This work of the Spirit will always bring sustenance and reformation to the church.
Lord God, continue to pour out your healing and reforming presence among us. Allow us to share that life together and in the community around us. In this way, may your work in the world continue through us and through our community together. Amen.
Peter Heals a Lame Beggar, Acts 3
1) Why would you look straight into the eyes of one who is sitting and begging, as you pass?
2) Why does Peter ask the man to look at him? What does the beggar expect? What do you think his gut level response is to Peter’s gift?
3) How and why might this offering of Peter have entered Peter’s mind? Is there something about this beggar that suggests he might want and be ready for this gift? Do you think Peter has reason to think this his gift will be received?
4) As the beggars ankles and legs are strengthened and he begins to walk and leap, is there a second part to this healing that comes? What happens when they enter the temple?
5) What do the crowds think about this leaping and jumping about in church?
6) Who do you think this miracle is really for, the beggar who is healed or the crowds who now have there full attention on Peter and John who are telling them in some detail about the gift and healing of believing in Jesus.
8) (In light of this lesson) If you felt led to give the gifts you have to give to another, what might you expect to happen because of it?
9) Do you recognize this pattern of activity? (a healing or noteworthy event followed by a conversation about life and hope and faith in God’s working through Jesus?) Where might you have heard it before?
10) How might the church today continue to do what Jesus is doing in the world? How might we better make ourselves available for this work of Jesus among and through us?
11) What gifts of God that have faithfully been given here among people at Good Sam are we faithfully sharing with the wider community around us? How can we grow or improve at offering these gifts?
12) Where have you been giving the gifts you have received from God with others? How have you experienced blessings yourself from the experience and what were these blessings?
13) Of the things that we might typically have in abundance; time, money, friendship, welcome (hospitality), cooperation, understanding, acceptance, standing with others before God. which of these do you have or could you have in abundance and then offer to others in intentional acts of kindness? How might you know that God had made use of this gift giving?
Sermon from Worship at Good Sam on October 27, 2013
Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
To pray for the richness of Christ’s gifts among us in community together.
To prepare ourselves to offer these gifts freely to those who cross our paths, that God may reach those who are ready through our invitation and open sharing.
To see the gifts we receive from Christ individually and communally are also the gifts we must learn to freely share and offer to others.
What abundance have you been given that you could happily share with another? Go and give it. Now ask, “what happened, how did God use the event?” Tell someone else of your experience? What did you learn about community in faith?
Larry came through looking for help with electric bill, back rent and phones turned off. Talking for a bit about the situation, it became clear that Larry was experiencing fear, anxiety and the sense that there didn’t seem to be anyone who cared about what was happening to him. He wondered where God was in all this trial and testing? As we talked I felt very unable to help fix his situation, so quietly and in the spirit of standing with him, I asked “Larry, Can I pray with you?” To my surprise, he exhaled deeply and said, Oh, would you please!” We prayed together, first me and then Larry prayed too. When we finished I asked to introduce him to a friend of mine who might understand what he was going through, he said yes. I asked if I could look a little bit for a way to find help with his financial issues. We were able to help him a little financially. But Larry will tell you that the financial help was not near as important to him as the time, the listening ear, the praying together and the welcome and care of community.
Additional curriculum and ideas
Where might we go to look for opportunities to tell Jesus’ story? How is the telling of the Good Sam Story also a telling of the Jesus story? How can life and activity at Good Sam better give us opportunities to share Jesus’ story? How might we better prepare ourselves to know the gift that Jesus is to us, so that we might invite others to see how Jesus can be a gift to them as well?
“One to Another in Christ” Continues Throughout October
On September 15, we began our fall focus for 2013. The overall theme for this year’s emphasis is “One to Another in Christ.” We have a new topic each week and lots of small group and Adult Forum opportunities to dig into the topic for the week. Each Sunday, we introduce that week’s topic and theme. During the week, we invite you to join a group to explore deeper ways this topic might play out in our lives. If you are interested in participating in a small group, please complete the Connecting form in Sunday’s The Grapevine, or call or email the church office.
October’s Weekly Topics:
October 6 – Hebrews 10:19-25, 1 John 4:7-21, “How Can the Spirit Be in our Giving and Serving?”
Giving is an act and exercise of faith which opens our lives and prepares us for God’s next great directing in our lives. It also begins the work of looking beyond ourselves to community, service and being about God’s work in the world.
October 13 – Luke 10:25-37, “How Can We Know It’s Our Neighbor in the Ditch?”
The lengths that we are willing to go for those close to us seem to be longer and deeper than for a stranger. How then can we know the person in the ditch is our neighbor?
October 20 – Luke 9:1-6, Luke 10:1-17, “Sent Out Two by Two”
When Jesus sends us out, these two things are true: there are important things for us to learn and there are lives that we are sent to touch in Jesus’ name.
October 27 – Acts 3:1-16, “Life in the Church Comes from God and Catches Fire in Community”
Coming together and offering what we have (life and blessings in Christ) are a sign of Jesus’ living presence. These gifts shared in community begin to flow into the abundance that always comes with God’s giving. Life in Christ will always express itself in abundance and hope shared in community. This work of the Spirit will always bring sustenance and reformation to the church.
The church roof has a leak and we’re preparing to fix it! During periods of heavy rain, water enters the building and floods the storage closets in both the Main Office and Pastor’s Office. It will cost approximately $2,000 to fix the gutters and roof to stop the leaking.
Your Council has decided to start a campaign to raise funds to repair the gutters and roof. If you feel the desire to give to the campaign, please write “Roof Repair” on your check or envelope and place it in the offering plate. Envelopes can be found at the Information Station at the back of the nave. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. Any donations received above the amount needed for the repairs will be placed in a Capital Improvement account and used towards other needed repairs.
~Tim P. (Council Vice President)
Update as of Dec 3 – We have received donations of $2,995 toward this roof repair and the total cost of the work done was $_______ . The Balance of the funds giving will go toward additional upkeep and repairs in our building. Thanks to all who helped in this process.
The Angel Tree is a very easy and fun ministry to participate in especially if you like to go shopping for Christmas gifts! If you would like to participate this year, please pick out a stocking located in the Narthex after November 22. Each stocking has the name of a child, age, and gift ideas.
We received these names from the Department of Human Services. The families were selected if the family qualifies as low income and receives assistance from the Department of Social Services. The family filled out a wish list for each child. The items listed are only suggestions, so don’t feel compelled to follow the list. We have color-coded the list in family groups so you know which children live in the same household.
Write your name and phone number on the master list next to your child’s name. The number by the name matches the number on the stocking. Go shopping. Spend approximately $25 on the gift(s). Your gifts do not need to fit into the stocking, but all gifts must be together. If you have more than one gift, please place the gifts in a bag or a box. Make sure your child’s name is clearly marked on the gift. (Do not write your name on the gifts. They are given anonymously.)
Please bring your gifts to the church no later than Sunday, December 15. When you return the gift, please take the angel with your child’s name on the ornament. If you have any questions, please speak with Mary D. or Diane H.
Patuxent Presbyterian Church proudly presents the Patuxent Choral Festival on Saturday, October 26.
We are honored to have renowned choral composer Pepper Choplin, who will lead a massed choir of community singers in a day-long (9:00 am – 3:00 pm) rehearsal. The event will culminate in a 7:00 pm evening concert in which the choir will sing some of the songs learned during the festival. Pepper Choplin, who is not only a talented composer but a humorist as well, will entertain the crowd with some of his very funny songs and monologues.
Interested singers can check online at www.paxpres.org for more information and a registration form. If you have questions, please contact either the Patuxent Presbyterian office (301-863-2033, or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Maureen Wysham at email@example.com. You can also check out the Patuxent Choral Festival on Facebook. The cost of the event is $30, which includes a music packet, lunch and dinner.
You might have heard that a few of us have been studying how meaningful change happens in congregational life. We are currently one year into a three-year educational event. Twice a year, we (four of us from Good Sam) go for two days of presentations and topics related to how congregations best grow and change. Each time, we return from these events with homework and ready to continue our reflection and planning around what change might be most helpful to Good Sam as a congregation. Some of the homework we have produced so far: a revamping of our new member process as well as our Fall Focus this year—a themed study on “One to Another in Christ.”
We find that as we engage this material and look at our life together at Good Sam a number of themes that can help focus our life and ministry together have begun to rise to the surface. One theme is that as Good Samaritans, we have every reason to think about what we do here as “walking alongside” others as we journey in faith together. This theme has significantly changed our approach to those who visit with us and how we talk about life together at Good Sam with those considering membership.
We invite you to watch for the Journey Team’s next activity and begin to engage with us in how we might best grow and become effective in our journeying together in faith. We are so blessed to be on this journey together with you and with Jesus by our side.
~ Pastor Mitch
Walking Together with Our Homeless Neighbors
Do you want to be part of a new effort through Good Sam to reach out and better care for our neighbors? So far, we have made a good start with “Our Daily Bread” Food Pantry and through the WARM program. Here is a new and engaging opportunity called the Next Steps Fellowship!
Since the spring, leaders from Good Sam, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Ascension Episcopal Church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, the Department of Social Services, Three Oaks Shelter, and Southern Maryland Rescue Ministries, Inc. have met together every two weeks to develop the mission and vision for Next Steps Fellowship.
Our mission is to develop relationships between members of faith communities and the homeless community, with transformation, growth, and life change happening on both sides. In order to accomplish this, we are creating a regular fellowship of folks who want to be about this process.
It is a Fellowship of Companions and Advocates
A primary activity of this fellowship of companions and advocates is to gather ourselves for training, encouragement, visioning, and problem-solving as we seek to empower each other in caring for our neighbors in ways that are safe for both us and them. During our time together, we hope to build healthy community, share techniques, and invite others to join us in this work that belongs to the whole Christian community.
At these fellowship meetings, we will move toward making a difference in the lives of others by:
- Receiving training for being in relationship with individuals in need and who are homeless
- Sharing new and helpful resources in our greater community that are available to address specific needs our neighbors have
- Praying together and seeking encouragement for the relationships we have begun
- Problem-solving our specific situations where the next step is not clear or easily discovered
- Emphasizing relationship, care, good boundaries, and safety for all
- Learning techniques for choosing a neighbor to help, as well as when and where to find them
- Sharing approaches that worked for us
- Caring for one another in this ministry to our neighbors
If you enjoy learning about relationships, meeting new people, caring for people who are struggling, and/or connecting people to community resources that can really help them—this fellowship may just be for you. We will encourage each other and learn effective ways to make a difference.
We invite you to the monthly fellowship meeting at 6:30 pm on Thursday, October 10 at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (23101 Town Creek Drive, Lexington Park, MD 20653).
With Halloween approaching, Our Daily Bread food pantry would like to provide a food which is a treat for many of our neighbors, peanut butter and jelly. We will target PB & J donations throughout October with hopes of providing items which are increasingly scarce at food banks. Many thanks for your continued support.