Holy Week is almost here! It begins this coming Palm Sunday with a palm processional commemorating Jesus’ dramatic entrance into Jerusalem. This worship service will feature special music and a drama by Cornerstone called, 20 Minutes – Week In Review, that recounts the events of that week we call “holy” beginning with Jesus’ entrance on “Palm” Sunday and ending with his crucifixion on “Good” Friday. Then on Thursday evening, we will gather in the Celebration Center at 6 p.m. to share food and fellowship. This will be a potluck supper, so please bring a main dish, veggie, salad, or dessert to share. At 7 p.m. we will gather in the sanctuary for a brief worship service which includes communion and a message, The Good News of SURRENDER. Then on Easter Sunday, April 1, we will celebrate The Good News of RESURRECTION with lots of joyful music. I hope you are looking forward to celebrating this amazing good news!
In his guidance for living a transformed life found in Romans 12, the apostle Paul exhorts us in v. 11, “Do not lag in zeal; be ardent in Spirit; serve the Lord.” The word “zeal” is not one we use much but its synonym “enthusiasm” is more familiar. This Sunday we will explore together The Good News of Enthusiasm. I believe that enthusiasm is a precious gift that God wants to give us, as individuals but also as a congregation. What are you enthusiastic about? What do you have zeal for? Could it be that God is calling you to speak and act? Think about that.
This Sunday we will explore The Good News of FORGIVENESS as revealed in Jesus’ words when being tortured and executed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” What does this reveal about human sin? What does this show us about the depth and breadth of God’s forgiveness? Come to the cross, and find out.
This Sunday we will explore The Good News of Repentance. I suspect that for most of us being told to repent doesn’t sound like good news. But it is! For it implies something crucial about our ability to change our way of thinking, perceiving, and living in response to the good news that “the Kingdom of God has drawn near” in the ministry of Jesus. Repentance sets us free to live life more fully and truthfully. Now that is good news!
This coming Sunday we will explore The Good News of FAILURE by examining the life of the apostle Peter. Our main text will be Matthew 16:13-25 where Peter spectacularly succeeds in one moment and then miserably fails in the next. Peter did that a lot! But Jesus loved him, and never gave up on him, and Peter learned and grew. I personally find great encouragement in Peter’s story. I hope you will too. To listen to my message, click on “The Good News of FAILURE”
As we enter the season of Lent, we will begin by looking for good news in things that seem to be bad news – weakness (this coming Sunday) and failure (on February 25). In 2 Corinthians 12:10 the apostle Paul boldly claims “when I am weak, then I am strong.” How can this be? What does he mean by this strange claim? If this is true, then it is good news indeed!
Pollsters confirm what our eyes already show us, people, especially younger people, are not attending church like they once did. In many ways, the larger cultural context no longer supports church membership and attendance like it once did. But the church is more than a cultural institution; it is a spiritual reality. The present situation calls upon us to reflect deeply on the nature and meaning of the church, and our church, St. Andrew’s. Is the church still part of God’s good news for the world? I believe it is, if we refocus on our fundamental purpose for existing. Come this Sunday and ponder “The Good News of Church?” (click to listen to audio of this message)
This Sunday will will affirm The Good News of Questions. We are invited to bring to God all of our honest doubts and questions. Asking questions is not a sign of weak faith but rather a trusting faith. We are invited to live the questions, as the poet Rilke put it, trusting that in time God will lead us into the answers. To listen to this message, click on The Good News of QUESTIONS”
This coming Sunday we will reflect on The Good News of FAITH. I encourage you to read and ponder our scripture texts– Jeremiah 17:5-8 and Romans 1:16-17; 3:22b-31— ahead of time. As Christians in the Protestant tradition we were rightly taught that “we are justified by grace through faith.” But what does this really mean? What is faith? The picture above contains a big hint.
This Sunday we will explore together “The Good News of GOD’S FAITHFULNESS” (click on title to listen to the message). The Bible is a complex library of writings, but I’ve come to see that the basic storyline of the Bible is that God never gives. God is steadfast love and God remains faithful to humanity even when we human beings mess up – big time! God’s patient, enduring faithfulness is something we can rely on, even when things around us crumble. Now that is Good News We Can Use!
Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child,
Like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home,
God is faithful still.
from A Brief Statement of Faith, PC (USA) lines 49-51