Join us March 13 through April 16;
Wednesdays at 7 pm for this engaging study
As we prepare our hearts and minds for Easter, we are excited to take a deep dive into discovering how we are uniquely designed to serve God. This six-week small group study will explore who we are and what our purpose is in the context of loving and serving God. We are using Pastor Rick Warren’s framework called S.H.A.P.E. We will meet at the church during Church Night on Wednesdays in Lent. Each week, we will study one letter tying it all together in our last session. Join Gail Wathan (Council President) and Christy Hartigan (Certified Life Coach) who are co-facilitating from 7-8pm.
What does S.H.A.P.E. stand for?
Spiritual Gifts: God-empowered natural tendencies for service.
Heart or Passion: what you love to do and care about most.
Abilities: the natural talents you were born with.
Personality or Style: your unique combination of personality traits.
Experience: the experiences in life that have molded you that you can use to unify the Kingdom.
Why is discovering my S.H.A.P.E. important in the Christian life?
God has created you and molded your life in unique and wonderful ways so that you can experience the joy of helping the Kingdom of God “to come on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We do different things to make a living, but we all have the same vocation, or calling, which is to use our talents, abilities, interests, personality, and experience to follow Jesus, to strengthen and unify the Body of the Church, and to make known the mystery of Christ. When we use our abilities for God’s glory, we come to know God’s love more fully and how He accomplishes His work through our lives. Each of us has something unique to contribute in ministry. Knowing our S.H.A.P.E. helps guide us to the right places to invest our time and service. When you serve using your S.H.A.P.E., the love of God more fully exudes from you. and your message to your community and the world is strong and clear. You lean into your purpose serving God through your congregation and your daily lives!
How do I know what my S.H.A.P.E. is?
Taking the S.H.A.P.E. Assessment and discussing results in a safe, fun and trusting small group context will give you an idea of what resonates most with you. This is about you discovering you! Ask your family and friends what they have seen you demonstrate. Find a ministry area that fits your S.H.A.P.E. and see if you sense God at work. Through this process you will begin the journey of discovering who you are, why you are here, and what you do best!
S.H.A.P.E. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How will I know when I’m using my S.H.A.P.E.?
The results of serving with your unique S.H.A.P.E. are both external and internal. You will be more effective and fruitful in ministry as you use the tools God has given you. And, you will experience joy and fulfillment as you serve others.
What part do Spiritual Gifts play in my S.H.A.P.E.?
Spiritual Gifts are special abilities given by God to be used to minister to others. They are a demonstration that God’s Holy Spirit is working in us, enabling us to do things we could not otherwise do.
Where does the Bible talk about Spiritual Gifts?
Though the lists vary, each reference indicates that the New Testament writers considered Spiritual Gifts to be an important part of the Christian life. Biblical references are found in I Corinthians 12, I Peter 4:9-11, Romans 12:3-8, and Ephesians 4:11-13.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 [NIV]
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Peter 4:9-11
9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a]faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Ephesians 2:10 [NIV]
2 We are God’s Masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 4:11-12 [NIV]
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
How do I acquire a Spiritual Gift?
The Holy Spirit gives Spiritual Gifts to us. We cannot earn spiritual gifts, nor can we choose them. Spiritual Gifts are given according to God’s unique design and purpose for each of us. Spiritual Gifts are given so that the church has what it needs to spread God’s love to the world. They are not given for the benefit of the individual who receives them, they are given to bring unity to the Body and for the good of God’s Kingdom right here and now.
What part does Heart play in our S.H.A.P.E.?
God has given each of us a unique emotional desire and motivation to make a difference in the world. Although God cares about every need, we instinctively care about some things more than others. When we serve in our area of passion we are effective, energized, and through our passion and commitment we experience joy.
What part do our Abilities play in our S.H.A.P.E.?
Natural talents are given by God to every person. They are the abilities that help us function in the world. Abilities can be indicators of your giftedness but do not necessarily equate to your Spiritual Gifts. Both are God-given. Our natural talents have many applications; Spiritual Gifts are given to carry out God’s purposes.
What part does our Personality Style play in our S.H.A.P.E.?
Our Personality Style reflects the natural preferences we have for how we approach life. It helps you decide what kind of environment you are most comfortable serving in. Are you energized by relationships with people or achieving tasks? Are you a planner or spontaneous in how you organize life?
What part do life Experiences play in our S.H.A.P.E.?
All of us have significant experiences in our lives, amazingly joy-filled and equally heart-breaking, that has helped make us who we are today. God desires to use these experiences all for his good. Our experiences become valuable tools for ministry as we serve others and expand God’s Kingdom.
The Season of Lent will soon be among us (Feb 14). Many of us are familiar and used to the activity of giving something up for Lent. We call it Lenten Denial. I commend you to the activities you know and trust that feed your souls in this time of Journeying to the Cross, but may I also invite you into another opportunity during this season? What would it be like to read and ponder the lessons for each Sunday a few days before we gather for Worship and a few days after those lessons have been the center of our gathering in Worship? Wouldn’t this be a great way to add to our experience of God walking with us though Lent and into Easter?To aid you in this effort, we are publishing the lessons for each Sunday on our website Wednesday of each week. You can also connect to them through this email newsletter, “Connections @ Good Sam.” You will also be able to find them in a separate printed document as you walk into Worship on Sunday or when you come to Wednesday Night Vespers.
The publication of the lessons for each Sunday will include an “Introduction to the Day of Worship,” the “Prayer of the Day” for that Sunday and an “Introduction to each Lesson and it’s context.” Now you can take the lessons with you to worship and take them with you from worship. You can prepare your mind and heart to hear the Word on Sunday and reflect upon the Word after you have experienced it among the community gathered.
Here is a link to the first compilation of Sunday Lessons for this Sunday on Transfiguration of Our Lord, February 11. Join us on Ash Wednesday Feb. 14 and for the First Sunday of Lent on February 18. Don’t for get that Lenten Vespers begin on February 21 with Soup and bread at 5:30 P.M. and Lenten Vespers at 6:30 P.M. each Wednesday in Lent (Feb. 21-March 21).
As we enter the season of Lent, I begin to contemplate. I think about ways in which I can be present with others. I think about things that I [perhaps] need to release from my own life. As I ponder, I realize what I need most is to meditate on God’s Word and just listen.
During Lent, people often make some sort of change—whether it be giving something up or engaging in a new discipline. Whatever it may be, that change can be challenging. But, if we look in our scriptural “toolbox,” God gives us encouragement through His Word all along the way. If we ponder on it, it becomes more engrained within us—easier, something we can readily access.
So this year, during the Lenten season, I’m taking one scripture each week to allow me time to really internalize and digest the message God wants to reveal. I use God’s Word to settle my mind and create space to allow the Holy Spirit to speak. When I fill my mind with the Word of God, there’s no room for all the chatter. For me, this is basically putting God at the helm. By beginning each day meditating on His Word, I’m allowing Him to be my guide. It may be that’s all He wants from me–giving my time to Him first. It may be that He is leading me to grow in an area of my life. This, I don’t know. What I do know, is that spending time really meditating—or pondering—on His word helps me to grow as a Christian and in the body of Christ.
I invite you to join me in this journey of meditating, or pondering, on a scripture each week beginning on Ash Wednesday. I’m calling this journey “40 Days to Ponder.” My hope is that others might find scriptural meditation to be a useful discipline. If you’d like to take this journey, I’ve included the Bible verses I’ll be using. Feel free to use them or find ones that speak to you. If you’d like to journey together or talk about it, please contact me.
Enjoy the journey!
God Bless, Gail Wathen
Week 1: Philippians 4:13
Week 2: Isaiah 41:10
Week 3: 2 Corinthians 12:9
Week 4: John 14:27
“ If you notice in my suggestions, the first three weeks focus on strength. This was intentional. I for one find myself drawing on God’s strength daily. As I embark on a journey through lent, and discern how God is working in my life and perhaps leading me to make some changes, I will need His strength more than ever. My thoughts are that perhaps others may experience similar feelings. The last week/scripture focuses on God’s peace. John reminds us in this passage that Jesus left us with a gift when he ascended back into heaven—a gift that the world can’t give. He left us His peace. We can tap into Him at any time and He will show us how to get back to Him and how to feel the depth of spirit that brings us peace again. He alone can provide that peace that stills the mind, renews our strength and restores our soul.” –Gail
Good Sam Happenings
March 1 Ash Wednesday Service @ 7 pm – with Imposition of Ashes
March 5 [Sunday Theme] “Walking the Walk When It’s Rocky Ahead”
[March 5 through March 12 is WARM week at Good Sam when we welcome our homeless neighbors with warm meals and cots for a safe and sheltered night’s sleep.]
March 8 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 12 [Sunday Theme] “The Early Footsteps of Faith”
March 15 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 19 [Sunday Theme] “Where Do You Get That “Living Water” Stuff?”
All Congregation Learning Event @10 am “Invitation and Hospitality”
March 22 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
March 26 [Sunday Theme] “Jesus Chooses the Blind Guy!”
March 29 ◊ Soup and Bread Meal @ 5:30 pm ◊ Evening Worship (Vespers) @ 6:30 pm
With the Lenten season upon us, many folks prefer to eat seafood on Fridays as a Lenten tradition or sacrifice. “Our Daily Bread” Food Pantry would like to focus on collecting cans/pouches of tuna as a way of supporting our neighbors in their Lenten journey. Additionally, the usual donated items needed include peanut butter & jelly, canned meats, canned fruit, pasta sauce, and cereals. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
Lenten Vespers 2015 Schedule
Wednesday evenings (Feb. 25 – Mar. 25)
Weekly soup and bread suppers begin Wed., Feb. 25 and continue through Wed., March 25. Join us at 5:30 pm for this Lenten meal together. Vespers begin the same evening at 6:30 pm. This is a short half-hour time of reflection, music and meditation. Join us. See the schedule below for details about the focus for each Wednesday Vespers time of worship.
February 25 – How Far Away from God I Can Be
Text: Psalm 51 Message: “Far Away… O God”
March 4 – My Cause Resides with God: Remember and Draw Near
Text: Psalm 61 Message: “Cry Out”
March 11 – We Were Built for God, Not Just by God
Text: Psalm 139 Message: “Self-Discovery: A Conversation with God”
March 18 – God Is Not Only the Journey’s End, But the Journey’s Partner
Text: Psalm 23 Message: “I & Thou”
March 25 – Sing Out Your Praises
Text: Psalm 100 Message: “For Giving Thanks”
Lent is coming! Join us for Ash Wednesday on February 18 at 7 pm. This is a somber service of imposition of ashes and is a great way to begin thinking about shaping our faith as we prepare for the celebration of Easter.