This Sunday, my final Sunday as your pastor, we conclude our stewardship series, Trusting God for Our Future, with step three: “HAVE FAITH IN WHAT WILL BE.” We can courageously accept what is and let go of what was because we have faith that God is leading us into the future. For our scriptures this week, we listen for God’s Word for us in Hebrews 11:1,8 (see above) and Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Our God is always faithful, that we can trust.
I leave you with a prayer that I have used for many years in my daily meditation. May we walk in faith all the days of our life –confident in your Divine Presence, even in times of trouble, and with assurance for what is and all that is to be; May we have faith in the unfolding of our lives, and radical trust in the universe! Amen.
p.s. Thank you all for your sympathy and prayers for our family as we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Jesse on Tuesday.
This Sunday we continue our stewardship series, Trusting God for Our Future, with step two: “LET GO OF WHAT WAS.” In Isaiah 43:18, God says through the prophet, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.” How can that be? What value can there be in forgetting the past? And what problem is there in remembering and honoring our past? There is no problem, unless remembering, honoring, and learning from our past leads to living in the past, or trying to recreate the past in the present. When we do that we will likely miss what God is trying to accomplish in and through us now. As Isaiah 43:19 proclaims, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Now that is some good news!
To listen to this message, just click on LET GO OF WHAT WAS
A congregational meeting is called for this Sunday, September 18, immediately following worship in the sanctuary, to act on Pastor Ernie’s request that the pastoral relationship between him and St Andrews be dissolved effective September 30, 2022.
This coming Sunday we begin a three-week stewardship series, Trusting God for Our Future. This is especially relevant given the transition in pastoral leadership at St Andrews with my retirement at the end of the month. We need to “accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”
We begin with ACCEPT WHAT IS. For me this involves a commitment to discerning the truth about ourselves, our situation, and the world. During this transition time, St Andrews will need to discern what its current resources and gifts are: in people, in finances, and in energy and vision. And what its current context for ministry is, which is not the same as 50 years ago, or even 10 years ago. The more truthful picture we have of “what is,” the better we can discern “what can be,” by God’s grace. May we move forward into the unfolding future, trusting in our God.
To listen to this message, click on Accept What Is
A congregational meeting is called for Sunday, September 18, immediately following worship in the sanctuary, to act on Pastor Ernie’s request that the pastoral relationship between him and St Andrews be dissolved effective September 30, 2022.
This week we will again ponder the important parable Jesus told in Luke 15:11-32, the story of a father and his two sons. According to Brian McLaren, “This short parable is one of the best mirrors of humanity ever composed. In it, both the rebellious and the religious can see themselves. But more important, it is one of the best windows into God every composed, because it shows a gracious and spacious heart that welcomes ALL to the table.” This is the big story, the big picture, of our lives and indeed of our universe, that “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
in Christ, Ernie
To listen to this message, just click on God in the End
This week we look at that strange book that concludes the biblical library, the Book of Revelation. It is a long, complex work so we can’t read it all. But we will dip into 4 key passages – 1:9-19; 19:11-16; 21:1-8; and 22:16-21. Rejecting approaches that see Revelation as a literal road-map showing a pre-determined future, we will interpret the book in its historical context of the oppressive Roman empire and its literary context as literature of the oppressed. McLaren concludes: “Whatever was true for Revelation’s original audience is true for us today. Whatever madman is in power, whatever chaos is breaking out, whatever danger threatens, the river of life is flowing now. The tree of life is bearing fruit now. True aliveness is available now.” Now that is some really good news!
in Christ, Ernie
To listen to this message, just click on SPIRIT OF HOPE
This Sunday we will ponder the mystery of life beyond this life, or life after death. The scriptures McLaren suggests for this week are Psalm 90, Luke 20:27-38, and Philippians 1:20-26. After pondering this mystery, McLaren gives a final summary and admonition: “When you pass from this life, do not be afraid. You will not pass into death. You will pass through death into a greater aliveness still—the banquet of God. Trust God and live.” Now that is good news indeed.
in Christ, Ernie
To listen to this message, just click on SPIRIT OF LIFE
This Sunday we will read and reflect on Acts 20:17-38 where the apostle Paul stops to say goodbye to the elders of the church in Ephesus when he is on his final voyage to Rome. Here is a copy of the email I sent out on Tuesday night announcing my retirement.
Dear St Andrew’s members and friends,
I turn 65 in September, and after much deliberation and prayer, I have decided it is time for me to retire after 32 years of ordained ministry. My extended family members: aging parents, ailing dog, patient wife, harried children and growing grandchildren want, and will benefit from, more of my time and attention. September 25 will be my last Sunday in the pulpit.
I know that some of you will be sad that I will no longer be your pastor, while others of you are ready for a change. I have spoken to the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry and they will appoint a liaison to work with you in finding new pastoral leadership. Endings are hard, but they clear the way for new beginnings. Through it all, our God is faithful.
I am grateful to have shared seven years of the journey of faith with you. My time at St Andrew’s has been very meaningful, and I will cherish the memories.
with love in Christ, Ernie
Psalm 98 concludes: “let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord, for God is coming to judge the earth. God will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” This Sunday we will ponder the holiness of God, and the nature and purpose of God’s judgment, which is to refine, purify and “make things right.” In a world where so much is wrong, it is good news to know that God will make things right in the end.
To listen to this message, click on SPIRIT OF HOLINESS – GOD’S JUDGMENT
“A SPIRIT OF POWER, and of love, and of a sound mind”—that is what we need to keep walking in way of Jesus in a world filled with forces and powers that are hostile to the human flourishing that God desires. The scriptures we will read and ponder are 2 Timothy 1:1-14 and Ephesians 6:10-20. May God answer the prayer we pray each week, “Lord, deliver us from evil.”
To listen to this message, click on SPIRIT OF POWER
Pastor Ernie will be away on vacation enjoying God’s creation, exploring beautiful beaches and majestic redwoods, Monday, July 25 – Saturday, July 30 but will be there on Sunday to deliver this message.
Will you be part of The Spirit Conspiracy? This week we look at two of the scripture passages suggested by Brian McLaren in chapter 47 of We Make the Road By Walking: Ephesians 5:15-6:9 and James 5:1-6. And we will ponder how the Spirit of God subverts and transforms various social relationships from dominance to mutuality and love.