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READ ACROSS AMERICA WEEK @ CARVER ELEMENTARY Feb. 25 – Mar. 1, 2019

As we continue our partnership with supporting our community – we each have an opportunity to serve in a small way that makes a big impact. When I nervously walked into my first classroom to volunteer to read last fall, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I read to my own kids all the time – but I am by no means a teacher. They did provide books, but I brought a couple of my kids favorites from home too. As I introduced myself and pulled out the first book – I looked out at a sea of kindergartners and they were all staring back at me… they were intent and excited and so full of energy. They laughed and raised their hands to ask questions and the 30 minutes was over before I knew it! I had time for a 2nd classroom and I was escorted to a 1st grade room. As I walked in, I was amazed at the teacher’s control of the classroom (something I was honestly not able to maintain, but she helped me out). Here is how she invited them to join me: “you may sit at your desk or move to the carpet, the choice is yours to make, you are in control of your actions, do what’s best for you, not what your friend is doing.” A few kids hesitated in deciding what to do as she was talking, but this was obviously the way she always spoke to them, and with her caring tone I teared up. In this Title 1 school full of low-income children, the respect for self she was instilling in them touched deep down inside me – how lucky these kids are to have teachers that care not just about what their grades are, but who they are. And how lucky I was to spend 30 minutes reading to these kids and soaking up their energy and being inspired by the future leaders of our community.

Read Across America Week Feb 25- Mar 1 is another opportunity to volunteer 30 minutes or more of your time to read to a classroom. You can arrange anytime between 8:30 am – 2:00 pm to come in and read to a class any day of the week that works for you. This week was picked to coincide with Dr Seuss’ birthday, so I will definitely be picking a couple of those books this time!  Contact Lisa McCoy lrmccoy@smcps.org

Two Key Movements in the Life of Faith

Ever wonder what God is up to in your life?  I certainly do. It is a question that is relevant not only for those who are new to faith.  Even people who have been walking their faith journey for multiple decades also have times when they wonder: “Just what is God up to in my life at the moment?

As I prepare to enter my 50th year of faith journeying I still ask these questions of myself and of God when I am unsure or searching.  But I would like to share with you two Key insights or Movements I have noticed over the years that help me focus on what God might be doing with me.   These key movements are less likely to give you the answer but they offer are insightful ways to explore and search out clues to what God is doing in you.

The first is this, “what is touching your heart?”  We all have issues or themes that touch our hearts, but what is present now that nudges you?  What has caught your attention and made you feel. What ache or joy has presented itself to your awareness?  Where in that experience do you think God is active?

This movement is geared toward moving us away from our “Thinking” Selves to open us up to our feeling or “Intuitive” Selves.  Some of us are newer and more tentative about this kind of knowing but the faith journey often invites us to explore ourselves in this way.  Sometimes we talk about this movement as a shift from “Head” to “Heart.” Learning to allow God to speak to our hearts and what our hearts feel or where they have been touch is relevant to our faith walking because, when God draws near, often our hearts with yearn and burn within us. (Luke 24:31-32).

The Second Movement I have learned to watch for is a movement from myself and my concerns to an awareness and connection or concern for a neighbor, another person.  Yes, this is a movement away from self (as in self-centered or selfish) but more importantly, we often experience it as having a new situation or a new person come into the sphere of our lives and living.  Sometimes this is someone who might need you or a gift you have and sometimes it turns out that this is someone you benefit from interacting with or learning from. Actually, both can be true at the same time (a great sign that God is present).  Another way to say it is: God’s does work through people and our interactions with one another – even though this is often not on our radar or we discount or fail to see it (Matthew 25:31-46).

Sometimes friendships or marriage will do this for us… move us to put the needs of others before ourselves.  Indeed, friendship and marriage are places where God is happy to work when we open ourselves to it. Yet, there are many other kinds of connections and encounters where God’s activity can be seen in human interaction (Acts 8:26 ff).

You might have noticed that these two movements in the journey of faith also match well with the two tables of the 10 Commandments (the first three** dealing with our relationship with God and the last Seven** dealing with our relationship with people in our lives).  Jesus says it this way: The most important Commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and the Second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).  These movements directly relate to growing closer to God and being more available to care for our neighbors in ways that are just.

In these Sundays after Epiphany, we focus on the discovery and enlightenment that come when God’s love and mercy come into our lives.  So, I hope learning to watch for these two Key Movements in the faith journey will help us find the Light of Christ in your life these days and that you too may follow that “star” to discover the joy of God who is birthed into our lives in a way that bring us hope and joy.

Yes, “We too have a star to follow”.  Peace and Joy to you in these days after Epiphany.

Pastor Mitch

** There are two numbering systems used these days to identify each of the ten commandments.  For the purposes of this discussion I have used the numbering system used by Martin Luther in his Small Catechism.

Sunday’s Sermon, January 27, 2019

…from Worship at Good Sam on January 27, 2019

Lessons: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6,8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21

Sermon: “Discovering and Rediscovering the Living Word of God”

Prayer: Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Luke’s Gospel.

Sunday’s Sermon, January 20, 2019

…from Worship at Good Sam on January 20, 2019/Pastor Gary Rhinesmith

Lessons: Isaiah 62:15, Psalm 36:5-10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11

Sermon: “The Surprising Extravagance of God”

Prayer: Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from John’s Gospel.

February Highlights

Good Sam Happenings

Feb. 3 [Sunday Theme] “Love Attends to the Beloved”
  * Feb. 9, Dinner Dance for all (sponsored by Empty Nesters)
Feb. 10 [Sunday Theme] “In Our Hearts We Receive and Turn to Follow”
  * Feb 17  Welcome of New Members to Good Sam
Feb. 17 [Sunday Theme] “What We Need vs What We Have”
  * Feb. 17-24     WARM comes to Good Sam
Feb. 24  [Sunday Theme] “The Heart From Which Joseph Looks Upon His Brothers”
  *read more in The Grapevine a monthly Publication of Good Sam News
  * Finding Your Spiritual Gifts: Spiritual Gifts Inventory 

Sunday’s Readings, January 13, 2019/Baptism of Our Lord Sunday

…from Worship at Good Sam on January 13, 2019/ Baptism of Our Lord Sunday

Lessons: Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Sermon: “Why do you like to shower (bathe?)”

Prayer: Almighty God, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved Son. Keep all who are born of water and the Spirit faithful in your service, that we may rejoice to be called children of God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

Sunday’s Sermon, January 6, 2019/Epiphany Sunday

…from Worship at Good Sam on January 6, 2019/ Epiphany Sunday

Lessons: Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12

Sermon: “We Too Have a Star to Follow”

Prayer: Shine into our hearts the light of your wisdom, O God, and open our minds to the knowledge of your word, that in all things we may think and act according to your good will and may live continually in the light of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The sermon begins after the reading from Matthew’s Gospel.

Member in Mission: Laurie Johnson-Brown

Mission Spotlight: Laurie Johnson-Brown

On Dr. Laurie Johnson-Brown’s first trip to Westmoreland Parrish in Frome, Jamaica she helped to finish a school in partnership with the Church of the Nazarene – Burnt Savanna. This past holiday season she traveled on her 2nd trip with 3 suitcases full of school supplies to deliver to Ferris Primary & George’s Plain Primary Schools! She was invited to run workshops for parents, admin & Sunday school teachers – one of which was focused on best practices for students with special learning needs. She also led a program for young adults in their 20’s called “Single & Saved.” Back home in Maryland she is the Vice Principle at a special education center in Charles County where her passion is to “be a light in public school.” She surely succeeds at making community connections at home and abroad. 
 
After returning from 12 amazing days in Frome, Jamaica Laurie says “I’m am praying for God to afford me the opportunity to go back to work with the teachers and to provide assistance with supplies and educational materials!”

No Sunday Worship or Sunday School at Good Sam January 13, 2019

Good Sam will be closed for Worship and Sunday School this Sunday – January 13, 2019. The snow looks to continue to come down through tomorrow (Sunday).    Please be safe and stay at home if you can. Our parking lot will be plowed and we will be open for business on Monday, January 14th as usual.  We anticipate that all scheduled activities will continue from Monday on. Hope to see on  Sunday January 20th.

Weather Related Announcements at Good Sam

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Members and Friends of Good Sam,

Please be safe this weekend!  We wanted to give you information on how to learn about weather related decisions at church regarding Worship Services, Sunday School and classes.  If at all possible we will remain open and conduct services on Sundays.  If you don’t see notification in our sources* then you can assume we will be having an unaltered schedule.  If conditions are tenuous we will sometimes communicate that we will be open and what activities will happen.

When we cancel Worship Services it is because conditions in the building, parking lot or the roads present significant challenges to operating practically and safely.  You can always check our Facebook Page* for cancellation notices as well as our website*.  We will also send Cancellation notices by email to our Wednesday Connections @ Good Sam email list.  Cancellation decisions will be made by 8 pm Saturday Night if we are going to cancel Worship Services for the next day.

May the Grace and Peace of God be with you through these days.

Pastor Mitch Watney
*Find us on Facebook
*Good Sam Web Page
*Good Sam News Blog
*Pastor Mitch’s Email

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