Sermon: “Living in the Hand of God”
Prayer: O God, you show forth your almighty power chiefly by reaching out to us in mercy. Grant us the fullness of your grace, strengthen our trust in your promises, and bring all the world to share in the treasures that come through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
The sermon begins after the reading from Mark’s Gospel.
It hasn’t been quite “Church as Usual” here at Good Sam lately; people who are sick and fearful and bowled over by the love and care they receive here; new families are coming almost weekly, last week one family turned in an estimate of giving card and are ready to join after their first visit. There were 30 children that came forward for Children’s time this last Sunday and one visitor stood to offer a testimonial and confess his need for help, not knowing where else to turn. We’re having an impact! How can we make it a “Lasting Impact” (check out this invitation).
The stories seem to go on and on. Two Sundays ago a visiting family from the neighborhood had their children shadow the acolyte and crucifer that morning. They were learning that they were welcome here and are very welcome to be involved. One new member put it this way to me, “the values I see here are: “Jump in, get involved, you matter, we’re glad you are here, we are in this together.””
In these anecdotal stories you might begin to hear that we are beginning to have at least a short term impact if not a lasting impact with those who come and feel they are welcome and belong here. Really this is the core of the conversation I want to invite us all at Good Sam to have over the next three months. How can we better step forward through our faith lives to make a lasting impact within and outside our walls with people God brings into our lives?
Follow this link to read another story about Danata and her mission to bring her Grandchildren to church. Please consider picking up a copy of the book called “Lasting Impact.” By Carey Neiuwhof . there are copies available in the Fellowship Hall. Here is the link to the invitation to read and explore these seven important questions for making our impact a lasting one. Then join us on Wednesday evenings in Advent (7 pm) for discussion or perhaps for Sunday morning’s Coffee and Conversation (10:30 am) during Advent to talk about our perceptions, hopes, dreams and where God’s call is percolating in our community.
Sermon: “Faith and CHANGE”
Prayer: Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age. Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial, defend them against all enemies of the gospel, and bestow on the church your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The sermon begins after the reading from John’s Gospel.
Good Sam Happenings
Nov. 4 [Sunday Theme] “Small is Big” Rev. Phil Hirsch Assistant to the Bishop of the Metro DC Synod
Nov. 11 [Sunday Theme] “Living in the Hands of God” also Honoring Our Veterans
Nov. 18 [Sunday Theme] “Like a New Day, Dawning”
◊ Nov. 21 Thanksgiving Meal at Good Sam 5:30 pm (potluck) with a short worship service at 7 pm.
Nov. 25 [Sunday Theme] “Knowing vs Understanding: a Revelation”
◊ Nov. 28 Wednesday Church Night is back this Advent Season
4:30 pm Eat and Play Fellowship
5:30 pm Advent Potluck
6:30 pm Advent Vespers
7:00 pm Discuss Together “Lasting Impact” Intro and Chapters 1-2
Would you join together in a conversation? I want to talk as a congregation, as friends, as people of faith and as coworkers in the Good News of Jesus. I have a bit of a dream, that we could discover together meaningful ways to identify our values as a people of faith, share stories and hoped for stories that express those values and plan some actions, behaviors and events that would help us give our shared values life and joyful expression.
Really, I wonder if you would dream with me. Good Sam – Would you read a book together this fall and winter and talk about it? I am hoping you will come to share your dreams and interact with the dreams and vision of others in our fellowship. I believe God will speak among us and to us all in such a conversation.
So here is my invitation to you Good Sam, Read with me this book: “Lasting Impact” by Carey Nieuwhof. I have 20 copies in my office to give and share and pass around. It’s available on Amazon (follow the Title Link Lasting Impact).
Here are four ways you can participate in this conversation:
- Read the book and talk with church members about it during fellowship time. Invite a friend to read it with you and talk about it together over coffee. Share any thoughts or discoveries with a church leader, council member or Pastor Mitch.
- Join us on Wednesdays in Advent 7 pm to 8 pm to talk about the book. We will begin Nov. 28th and finish on Dec. 19th.
- November 28, Intro and Chapters 1-2.
- December 5, Chapters 3-4
- December 12, Chapters 5-6
- December 19, Chapters 7 and Conclusions
- Read a chapter and follow the devotional conversation with several Metro DC Synod Leaders on these videos. Here they are: (The first couple are silent for 2-4 minutes, then the sound starts).
- Lasting Impact Chapter 1. “Why Are We Not Growing Faster?”
- Lasting Impact Chapter 2. “How Do We Respond as People Attend Church Less Often?”
- Lasting Impact Chapter 3. “Are Our Leaders Healthy … Really?”
- Lasting Impact Chapter 4. “What Keeps High-Capacity Leaders from Engaging Our Mission?”
- Lasting Impact Chapter 5. “Why Are Young Adults Walking Away from Church?”
- Lasting Impact Chapter 6. “What Cultural Trends Are We Missing?”
- Lasting Impact Chapter 7. “What Are We Actually Willing to Change?”
This activity is not information to share, but a conversation to have together. So I invite you to read the book and find a way to talk about it together.
- Join us for Coffee and Conversations, Sunday Mornings in Advent to talk about these conversations as well.
For some Sundays now, Danata has driven from Baltimore on Sunday morning to visit and pick up her grandsons and bring them to a local church near where the kids live. Her hope is that her Grandsons could experience the life and hope of a Christian Community. So, Danata decided she could at least have a little more time with those boys and bring them herself to a church for Worship or Sunday School.
As it turns out, there were a couple of other neighborhood children who were out playing and they were invited to come along to Sunday School and Worship at that nearest local church. This last Sunday Danata brought two Grandchildren and three neighborhood children into worship at Good Sam, and they stayed for Fellowship time and Sunday School. Here you can see Christy and Lisa getting into the act of being the extended family of Christ to these children and their local neighborhood friends. On the screen in the background, you can see the words to the song: “Give A Little Bit of Your Love.” The image is two hands holding another’s heart.
Have you heard people talking about a message during Fall Focus this season and wish you could have heard it? Now you can. Click on any of the “Fall Focus” links (like this one “Fall Focus” ) and you will have a summary with video links to each of the four Fall Focus messages from this season. Here is a summary of what we have covered”
Theme: Finding Our Neighbors
- Week 1 “Radical Hospitality”
- Week 2 “Building a Conversation”
- Week 3 “What Will You Live For: Give It Voice”
- Week 4 “What Will Finding Our Neighbors Mean for Good Sam and for You?”
We hope you have enjoyed the playful and creative look at what it means to connect with our neighbors. As always, we wish you faithful journeying with God. (Micah 6:8)
“Walking the Journey, Meeting at the Cross”
Scripture Readings: 2 Corinthians 3:1b, 12-18, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 5-9, 15-18, John 2:43-51
We need each other and God has a plan to meet us right there.
We need each other in our overwhelmed moments and in our tired tirades. We need each other in our parenting challenges and especially in our suffering. Right in these places, God’s mercy meets us! How? God touches our lives when other people bring good things into our lives, like welcome, acceptance, healing and forgiveness. In these moments the Welcome of God is at work. This is part of the truth and liberation that the activity of finding our neighbors will bring.
Listen to Micheala Shelly as she tells it her way, through her life and struggles. Notice when and how she finds neighbors who make a difference in her life and in theirs. Then, notice what she does with this discovery. I believe her experience is relevant to us as well.
Even when we’re dying, we need each other, we need God’s love and mercy, and we are still God’s gifted people. What Michaela has discovered is that even in our own struggles we also carry the love and mercy of God with us. It comes through our lives from others and it comes from us to others through the plan and purposes of God. Even when we are weak and dying we have the ability to be God’s people, making a difference in the world. Paul says it this way, ”
5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your Servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 4:5-9, 15)
That we can have this impact in each others lives is a sign that the living God is working in our lives. These are signs of God’s Grace. God’s Grace is about how God will lead us into the persons we will become, and help to shape and care for the lives we touch. And we take this journey with God and through God’s grace with those who come into our lives and into whose lives we come. When we act on this hope we become the Grace of God to others as well. And we learn to let the Grace of God be enough for our lives as well.
How can you be a lighthouse for another? And also receive the gift of how God is working in your life? This is living with Christ and finding our neighbors along the journey of faith. This is God’s Grace, alive among us. This is a part of the risen life of Christ among us. You too can carry this light of the glory of God in the face of Christ, in your life.
At Good Sam we would love to make the conversion to LED lighting. Better, less expensive lighting in our main building and parking area can come to Good Sam. We can use less electricity and save money every month on our electric bill. SMECO is willing to help. Can you help a little too? We are hoping to raise $3,450 to fund this effort. SMECO is offering an incentive program to fund 80% of the cost of shifting to LED lighting. Good Sam is a candidate. Energy Select** has met with us and reviewed each fixture in our main building. Council has approved this plan and program and we need your support to accomplish it. Can you make a designated gift to make this happen? Here are the details.
- LED lighting uses less electricity and we can choose the light color or “Warmth” we prefer.
- LED lights last much longer than incandescent, Halogen or the florescent lights we use on some parts of our property. This means less work changing light bulbs.
- More consistent lighting in all parts of our building, most noticeably in our Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.
- Our Electricity saving will be $170 per month going forward. That is a savings of $2,050 annually at current electricity rates. This means the cost of this program for us will be recouped in 21 months (less than two years).
Life Span Challenge Incandescent CFL LED Average Life Span 1,200 Hours 8,000 Hours 25,000 Hours
- Total cost of the replacement fixtures and/or bulbs will be $15, 675.
- SMECO is offering an 80% incentive grant of $12,225 dollars for us to make these changes to our lighting.
- Our part in this program is $3,450. That is a one-time cost. The savings continues month to month and is ongoing.
- Although there is not money in the General Fund for this purpose, Council has authorized this effort and invites members in the congregation who have interest in LED conversion for our facility and the savings we will gain to make designated gifts to help raise the $3,450 we will need to accomplish this effort.
- There is a some urgency in that other utility programs like this are shifting from 80% incentive to 70% incentives and SMECO is one of the few remaining utilities still offering the 80% incentive at the moment. Also there are proposed tariffs that when implemented will also increase the cost of this program.
Other details to note
**There are two companies authorized by SMECO for this program incentive. Energy Select is one of them and our proposal is from them. The cost of the program ($15,675) covers parts, supplies, labor, tools needed to accomplish the program (everything soup to nuts as they sometimes say). If you are interested in seeing the detailed fixture / bulb replacement plan please let me know (email@example.com).
Are you interested in learning more about the needs our community and at the same time listen to great music. If so, join us on Sunday, October 28, 2018, at 3:00 PM for COMMUNITY featuring The Southern Maryland Community Gospel Choir, directed by our own Music Directer, Sherri Fenwick, amazing community leaders that will talk with us about programs to know about and connect with such as Carver Elementary, St Mary’s Food Bank, WARM, Senior Services and much more. This event is open to ALL who want to hear great music and explore the needs of our community. Refreshments will follow.