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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘worship’

Acolyte Training @ Eat- Play- Learn

A few weeks ago Nancy Shoemaker came to our Wednesday Church Night for an Acolyte Training. For some, it was a refresher, for others it was something to aspire to in the future, but they all enjoyed practicing and learning about roles in church for children. We also talked about church etiquette like when & how it might be best to slip out to the bathroom. It sometimes happens that we are in need of a last minute acolyte or crucifer. This past week, one little boy who attended the training overheard Pastor telling the usher we still needed a crucifer and he jumped up and said “Can I do it?” Being only 5 years old, and wearing one of the smallest white robes we have, he nervously, but proudly carried the cross down the isle and placed it by the altar. Later he assisted with communion, and though he needed a little reminder of what to say, he performed his duty with joy. This is not the first time that our lay leaders and worship helpers have empowered and guided a newcomer or child to jump in and serve. Our policy may be that we like for crucifers to be 1st grade and up and acolytes 4th grade and up, but our culture is that we value a willing spirit and a giving heart and want to care for members of all ages because even the youngest members matter. Thank you Nancy for taking the time to guide our children and make moments like this happen.

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 

Fruit of the Spirit Stars – Enlightening Us to Know God’s Presence

Epiphany is discovery—not just an “a-ha” moment, but also the persistent dawning and awakening of something new in our awareness. On Epiphany, the star guides the magi to the child born King of the Jews, but there they discover the working of God in new and unexpected ways. The light of God is coming to all people.  We to are guided to discover the living presence of God working in our lives.

One of the main ways we see God active in our lives is through the gifts that the Spirit of God gives. When these gifts arise in our lives we have a better view of what God is doing. Their light reveals God’s presence and care.  These gifts are the fruit of the Spirit that Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

On this Epiphany Sunday, we  invite you to talk about how the “gifts” of the Spirit (the star you selected last year) played out in your life over this past year or where you saw God’s plan work in your life. We also invite you to select a “spiritual gift” star as an invitation to focus on that gift in the coming year and learn how this gift might impact your life?  Perhaps this is God drawing us into his wonderful light and preparing us to carry that light wherever we go.

“Last Epiphany Sunday, I drew ‘Love’ from the basket of stars. For some time now I have been reflecting on the gift of love in my life. Mostly, that has come with Shannon, Sara and Willa. I am learning that love is a choice and that love is day in and day out a work of faithfulness.  Yes, love is a feeling but it is so much more.  God really is working in our lives through these kinds of gifts that come from God’s activity, from us to others and from others into our lives.”

                                                                                                                  –Pastor Mitch

January Highlights

Good Sam Happenings

    *read more in The Grapevine a monthly Publication of Good Sam News

Jan. 6 [Sunday Theme] “We Too Have A Star to Guide Us”

   ◊ Epiphany Parade, come get an Epiphany Star, Join us for Getting to Know Good Sam at 10:30 am

Jan. 13 [Sunday Theme] “Why Do You Like to Shower (bathe)?”

   Jan. 19 ◊ Chili Cook-off is being rescheduled for March 16, 4 pm

Jan. 20  [Sunday Theme] “The Surprising Extravagance of God”

Jan. 27  [Sunday Theme] “Discovering and Rediscovering the Living Word of God”

 

Looking ahead is a great way to see what’s coming.

In the story of Ratatouille, Remy, the want-to-be Chef, hears the voice of his idol and Master Chef Geastau, speaking in his imagination, “If  you stay focused on what is behind–on what you have lost–you will never be able to see what is ahead, right before you.”
 
I think Advent is partly about that kind of focus.  Allowing ourselves to look to what God is doing ahead of us.  What is nice about Advent is its symmetry.  What God is doing ahead of us, is in keeping and is part of what God had done before–for us–before we came to be.  What has been done in the story of Christ’s coming contains the ingredients and the seeds of what God is drawing us into now.  Indeed, the Christmas of the past, is all about how God is still seeking to bring about the life of Christ in all our lives, in the heart of every human being that will received him. 
The shepherds hear and go to learn and see the signs that will confirm it. “A babe, lying in a manger.”  We too, can hear the good news of Christ’s coming and ourselves receive the signs that this gift has also come to us, not just in the original Christmas, but this year and now as Christmas come among us again.  What a great coming this life of Christ is for us all, people of every time who can hear and learn and receive this magnificent gift.
 
O Come all Ye Faithful, light of light eternal, Come, Lord Jesus, Come.  Happy Advent!
 
Pastor Mitch

December Highlights

Good Sam Happenings

Dec. 2 [Sunday Theme] “Fulfillment of the Promise”

(Congregational Annual Meeting @ 10:30 am in the Sanctuary)

◊ Dec. 5 Wednesday Advent Church Night

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 3-4

Dec. 9 [Sunday Theme] “Stir Up Our Hearts”

◊ Dec. 12 Wednesday Advent Church Night (see schedule above)

Dec. 16  [Sunday Theme]Sunday School Christmas Pageant”

◊  Dec. 19 Wednesday Advent Church Night (see schedule above)

Dec. 23  [Sunday Theme] “Faithful Lives Always Give Birth to God’s Activity”

◊Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Services

5:00 pm Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service

8:00 pm Traditional Christmas Eve Service

Dec. 30  [Sunday Theme] “Lessons and Carols for Christmas”

November Highlights

Good Sam Happenings

Nov. 4 [Sunday Theme] “Small is Big” Rev. Phil Hirsch Assistant to the Bishop of the Metro DC Synod

◊ Nov. 4 Consecration Sunday Brunch 10:15 am (RSVP Here)  Theme:  “Giving and Growing in Faith

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

God’s Love is Like a Grandmother’s Love

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.

Danata wonders how this connection, this activity of hope, could happen through the winter months when she can’t get here from Baltimore.  It is an honest question, a prayer really, a hope of faith that someone will love her grandsons into faith just as she is trying.  Finding our neighbors was never more lovely, inspiring and possible than right now at Good Sam.  Thank you for all the ways that you too step forward and love a neighbor, simply because God loves them, just like a Grandma.

I Missed a Fall Focus Sunday

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

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)

Pastor Mitch

 

 

Fall Focus 2018: Finding Our Neighbors (Week 4)

“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, ”

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your Servants for Jesus’ sake. 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.

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. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 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.

Pastor Mitch

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