Paul’s Message: Sabbath Living

SabbathWorldIt’s stewardship time?! Nooooooooo! And that’s just the reaction of the pastor. Yes, May will be stewardship time in the life of FPC. Yes, a significant part of the discussion will involve money (cue another Noooooo!)

Ok, now that we have all of the ‘Noooooo’s’ out of the way, we can get down to business. Stewardship in the church context often means talking about money to pay the church’s bills. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Here at FPC, however, stewardship means something different. We will not be talking about the church budget. We will not be focusing on the need to pay the church’s monthly electric bill or the pastor’s salary. That’s not personal stewardship.

We at FPC focus on giving for you and not to get something from you. That’s why we don’t ask for pledges, or for how much you plan to give to the church. The specifics are between you and God. What we will be talking about is celebrating the joy of giving, and giving to nurture Sabbath life.

Sabbath life is the kind of life that God intends–individuals, communities, and creation living together in diverse and beautiful harmony. It’s what Adam and Eve experienced in the garden. It’s what Jesus made possible in the cross and resurrection and will complete when he returns. We can experience that kind of life when we live, love, and give like Jesus.

As a church body, we try to model this principle. Of all the income that we received in 2012 (including special offerings), just over 10% went directly to supporting mission and not to our operating expenses. We believe that this giving is one reason why, as a congregation, we are so blessed. We will encourage you to think about what God has blessed you with in terms of time, talents and treasure, and to ask yourself, “What is God calling me/us to give back?”

When we experience God’s grace and provision for us, our faith teaches us to respond by returning the first portion of that to God. It’s not a duty. It’s not an obligation that earns a few marks in the good column of God’s heavenly ledger. It’s a spiritual discipline that uncovers the profound truth that giving is the secret to abundant life. We were created to give, and giving empowers us to live life to its fullest.

When you give to God through this community, your giving will support the discovery of Sabbath living through our ministry. You will be supporting the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. We hope you’ll join us in this journey to discover Sabbath living, and may you have a blessed Spring.

Peace, Paul

 

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  • Back to School, Not Back to Church…

    …at least not all the way. Some ministries of the church are in action, others are not.

    Ministry is Continuing!

    To date we have shared around $7,000 with our local community to help relieve those affected by coronavirus, and we have another $2,000 we will be distributing now. This has gone toward food, diapers for families in need, rent & mortgage relief, and other purposes.

    Thank you for continuing to worship with us—our YouTube videos get around a hundred views each week, and in some cases, there are multiple people watching one screen. Thank you for listening. And thank you for your continued financial support.

    We are going to be doing some new things in the interest of our own spiritual health, fellowship, and the ministry of the church. The first is drive-through communion (or drive-thru, as it is frequently written).

    Drive-Through Communion — Sept 6th, 9:15-9:45am

    If you wish, you’re invited to drive through our parking lot on Sunday, September 6th from 9:15-9:45am and I will serve communion to you. You are just as welcome to partake of communion from home, as we’ve done the last few months.

    Fellowship Bike Ride — Sept 13th, beginning at 1pm

    On Sunday, September 13th we will have an FPC Bike Ride. We will meet at FPC and go on a 10-mile bike ride led by John and Jean Stewart. Maps of the route will be provided, and a shorter route will be available if needed. Some of the route will be on streets and some on dedicated bike paths. Meet us in the parking lot at 1pm, and we will depart by 1:15.

    Zoom Bible Study — every Tuesday morning from 8-9am

    If you’d like to join us for Bible Study we will begin on Tuesday, Sept 8th, from 8-9am. We will meet via Zoom so you can enjoy breakfast and coffee from home. The zoom link will be available on our First Pres Logan Facebook page each Tuesday morning.

    My role as pastor is to be a spiritual guide, someone who helps each of you on your faith journey (and as you might imagine, you help me just as much). I confess to you that feeling like we are connected and in touch these months has been a struggle. Continuing to not meet in person remains one of the more challenging decisions of my career in ministry. I want to see all of you each week. Worshiping at home via YouTube is certainly just as pleasing to God as when we gather and sing, but it doesn’t feel the same to me, and I’m sure it doesn’t feel the same to you. Hopefully, some of the above activities will help us with that.

    In the Presbyterian system the pastor does not make decisions about all of the activities and happenings around a church. The pastor leads worship, teaches through Bible Study and similar endeavors, provides pastoral care, and participates in many other diverse activities around the church and community. We have Elders and Deacons who take on other responsibilities, including making decisions about church activities (reserved for Elders, who serve on Session). Who does what around a church (and how we do it) is outlined in the Book of Order, which covers all kinds of things. But as you can imagine, there isn’t a chapter titled What To Do in Case of Worldwide Pandemic.

    The Elders that we elect as a congregation (you elect them, Pastor Meg and I do not vote) make many important decisions for each congregation, although pastors frequently share their thoughts and offer guidance for any vote that is taken. The Session of FPC Logan met on Wednesday, August 19 and voted unanimously to continue with online worship for at least the next month (until the next Session meeting, on September 16th).  At that meeting we will reassess the situation and take another vote for the coming month (or months). Session made this decision because we don’t feel it is safe for us to be in the same room for an hour together. Some people may be willing to take the risk. I am not, and neither are your FPC Elders. Of particular interest is the effect that the return to school will have on coronavirus numbers. Public schools and the Utah State University are back in class now, with both online and in-person classes. Also, of great interest is progress in vaccine trials. We are praying that one (or several) of these vaccine trials provides good news in the next few months.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all,

    Derek

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