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WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/9

2019-06-03T09:47:04-04:00

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Day of Pentecost

First Reading: Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21
Gospel Reading: John 14:8-17 (25-27)

The liturgical color for the day is: Red

It is appropriate to preach from the given texts for the 7th Sunday of Easter or use the texts from the Ascension of the Lord.

While the Gospel Lesson is ALWAYS appropriate to use in worship, this week may be one of those weeks where the focus could be on both the Acts lesson and the Genesis lesson.  If you have been following the tradition of the church and using the reading from Acts during the season of Easter as the first reading, then this wonderful old story from Genesis can serves as pre-reversal, of sorts, of the story of Pentecost.   The Gospel lesson from John also witnesses a wonderful fulfillment of promise on the Day of Pentecost.

Pentecost is full of action, Spirit-breath wind, and audible resonance with the God who continues to move among us.

It is what God does in our lives.  A new song.  A new way.  A new view.  A new opportunity.  A new challenge.  New.  Such is the essence of the poured-out Spirit.  What if we welcomed that new thing God is doing among us rather than clung to the old way?  What if we did that in the church—what if we allowed the breeze of the Holy Spirit to blow us into a new way?  New view?  New opportunity?  New challenge?

Way back in Genesis they had to learn what we learn again and again.  We do not master God.  As soon as we think we can fully grasp or even clearly understand—oh, God’s vision for us is so much larger than anything we construct.

God has more in store for us than we know.  The Holy Spirit has been poured out.  Catch the wind!  If we are still building a tower, we need to stop.  We need to catch the wind and allow the Holy Spirit to blow us into a new way.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/92019-06-03T09:47:04-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/2

2019-05-28T09:47:39-04:00

Sunday, May 26, 2019

7th Sunday of Easter or Ascension Sunday

First Reading: Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97:1-12
Second Reading: Rev. 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Gospel Reading: John 17:20-26

Or, alternatively, the texts Ascension

First Reading: Acts 11:1-11
Psalm 47:1-9 or Psalm 93:1-5
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
Gospel Reading: Luke 24:44-53

The liturgical color for the day is: White

It is appropriate to preach from the given texts for the 7th Sunday of Easter or use the texts from the Ascension of the Lord.

The Ascension of the Lord is one of the festival days that occurs on the liturgical calendar that does not fall on a Sunday.  The day has been on the liturgical calendar since the 4th century, and by tradition the day has been celebrated on the 40th day of Easter—this year that falls on Thursday, May 30, 2019.  (Recall that the season of Easter lasts 50 days.)

As most congregations will not hold a special Day of Ascension service, it is appropriate to celebrate the ascension of the Lord on the Lord’s Day and use the reading from the festival day.

This far into the season of Easter, and the Sunday before the Day of Pentecost, the dynamic movements in the story of the ascension are worth noting and could form the outline of a sermon.  Notice what happens: 1. Jesus is blessing the disciples out on the high mountain where he has taken them.  He continues to bless them even as he his ascended.  2. The disciples response was worship.  There on the mountain they worshiped him.   3. They returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

From blessing to worship to great joy—those movements are gifts to us.  Just at that moment when we don’t feel any joy…when we can be about to pull our hair out in frustration…or when the blahs come along…stop.  Here is what we are to do—stop right in our tracks.  Lift up your head.  Lift it up.  Look up.  See that Jesus is blessing you.

See that Jesus is blessing you and allow that joy to inhabit you.  Just look up and worship for a moment and allow that blessing of God to fill you.  It is there…

In the Gospel Reading for the 7th Sunday of Easter we hear Jesus, in the High Priestly Prayer say: I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Perhaps this is the message of the ascension—that we ought to take confidence in the oneness we know with Christ whether our proximity is near or far.

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 6/22019-05-28T09:47:39-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 1/13

2019-01-07T12:09:35-04:00

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Baptism of the Lord

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: Isaiah 43:1-8
Psalm: 29
Second Reading: Acts 8:14-17
Gospel Reading: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

The liturgical color for the day is: White

The Baptism of the Lord.  It appears the Sunday following the Epiphany.  From infancy to fully taking up his ministry we zoom past the first decades of the life of Jesus.

The prophecy says, “When YOU pass through,” and “When YOU walk through…”  When that occurs the hand and presence of God is there.  There is no abandonment.  There is no going it alone.  There is no last and final blow that does us in.

It is the baptismal reality that no matter what we face in this world the strong, perfect, creative presence of God goes there with us and we will not be “overwhelmed,” and we will not be “burned.”

The voice that Jesus hears here in the Gospel of Luke: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  That voice comes to Jesus in prayer.  In prayer we get our strength to labor in the hot sun of this age.  In prayer we get our strength to keep going and keep doing for God.  That voice continues to call out to us and call us by name recognizing that we are laboring in the sun to turn this soil and change lives for the better.

Our baptism is an invitation with Christ to work for the kind of world God wants it to be.

The sign at the Water Park does not merely say, “You will get wet,” but it says, “You will DEFINITELY get wet.”  It is the sign that is on the life we live.

We will definitely get wet.  “When we pass through the waters,” it says in the prophecy, “we will not be overwhelmed.”  And when we look to Jesus, we see that even the cross did not overwhelm God.

Yes, we will definitely get wet, but we drip dry through this life wet with the very baptismal waters.  Those waters call us to remember that God’s grace and God’s love are what we are immersed in.  As we make our way from one wet event to the next, we dare to be wet with the love of God’s mercy calling out to us: “You are my (own), the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 1/132019-01-07T12:09:35-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 11/25

2018-11-19T20:14:30-04:00

 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Christ the King/Reign of Christ

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: 2 Samuel 23:1-7, Psalm: 132:1-12 (13-18)
Second Reading: Revelation 1:4b-8
Gospel Reading: John 18:33-37

The liturgical color for the day is: White

Christ the King Sunday.

That last Sunday of the liturgical year. The Sunday that culminates and finalizes the year. Today, it is the cross on the “t” and the dot on the “I” of the Christian year. Then the year starts over with Advent as the beginning.

The struggle on this Festival Day is the image of King. We don’t have kings in our world. We don’t speak that kind of language and this does not resonate with us.

In the death and resurrection of Jesus a different language is spoken by God to us. We are shown an alternative way of living and being. It is a way where truth of the ages has less to do with power and more to do with love.

What language do we speak? What if we spoke the language of Jesus? What if we spoke the language of God? What if how we talked and how we lived had less to do with power and more to do with love?

What if our personal truth—were not about what we have and what we can get, but who we can be? What if…

In Christ there is this alternative “life speak” to what is offered as the way of being in the world. How we choose to live will really determine what language we speak. Will we speak the language of life and love—the language of truth, or will we speak the world speak of power and self?

How will your life speak? It is a choice? It is the way of the cross…it is the hard way to which we are called. We are called to this way of love and sacrifice that leads to this great love of God. It is the language of our living as the Body of Christ. It is the language of justice and it is the truth of the ages.

We crown Christ our King not with our words but with our life speak.

Pilate could not speak that language, so it is no wonder that in the verse following today’s lection he asks, “What is truth?” The way that we live in Christ answers that question to the world.

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 11/252018-11-19T20:14:30-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 11/18

2018-11-12T21:04:52-04:00

Sunday, November 18, 2018 

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (26th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 28) 

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:  

First Reading: I Samuel 1:4-20; I Samuel 2:1-10
Psalm: Canticle I Samuel 2:1-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Gospel Reading: Mark 13:1-8 

The liturgical color for the day is: Green  

This is the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving which may be consideration for preaching. 

Hannah kept coming back.  It is the heart and soul of all this—of this whole faith business—that we come back to the place where we pour before God all that we are and all that we have, and we ask God to fit us into God’s larger plan for our life.  That we ask God to take all that we are and all that we have and use it for God’s glory and goodness. 

That is prayer.  That is stewardship.  That is faith that is alive! 

Those disciples with warning of tumbling stones—they would need to come back to that. 

Before long that temple would no longer stand—it could not be the locus and focus of their faith.  The central piece, the heart and soul of their faith, had to be the extent to which they fit into the larger plan of God for their lives.  So how they lived needed to steward that view of the faith.  They had to keep coming back to the central reality of praying that they would fit into God’s larger plan for their lives. 

The stones of our lives—the stones of our templed lives they tumble.  They keep tumbling.  As they do, we have to keep coming back to that heart and soul of faith.  God.  God gets us—when no one or nothing else does—God has us and God is always faithful, and we are to come back and pray that we are living into God’s plan for us. 

Keep coming back.  Keep praying.  And then pray some more.  And come back some more.   

Such coming back speaks to our living with grace and gratitude. 

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 11/182018-11-12T21:04:52-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 11/11

2018-11-05T23:32:43-04:00

Sunday, November 11, 2018

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (25th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 27)

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17; Psalm 127
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:38-44

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

The Scribes prance around and parade out their giving so that everyone sees. The scribes wear their long robes like us preachers do and they love to be the center of attention—uh, um—sort of like us preachers do.

Jesus was observing that day in the temple courtyard. There in the courtyard were 13 collection bins—now understand these bins were not like our offering plates. Our offering plates have these little pads at the bottom of the plate so on the chance that dropping your money into the plate it could make noise—it is silenced by the little cushion.

Those collection boxes in the temple were not that way. They were more like horns of a brass trumpet. Drop something in and it made a sound. The more you drop in the larger and louder the sound. Of course—there were plenty in the crowd who like to make a big noise of what they put in.

It was as good, if not better than prancing around in long flowing robes. Jesus was observing that day—and there among them was that poor widow woman.

And there that poor woman is—doing as the rest making her contribution. She gently drops in two coins. Bing. Bing. That is all. The sum of them is a penny. Economically speaking not worth anything really.

A penny. It was all—but it was everything. Everything.

Jesus explained that she gave it all.

Her bing, bing, added up to more than the heavy plunking and pounding of their gold coins. How could that be?

Well, its economics done God’s style.

It might not add up in those without eyes to see or ears to hear, but it does to those who see and hear God style.

Her life matched her faith. She believed all the way. She believed with everything and she gave her everything. She did not show off; she did not parade around—she presented it all to God because God was her all.

Its economics done God’s style. The world won’t get it, but we will. This faith is a place where a penny is worth more than mega millions.

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 11/112018-11-05T23:32:43-04:00

Honorarium for Missionaries

2018-09-24T21:31:18-04:00

Q&A: Can We Give an Honorarium to a Visiting Missionary?

Why purpose, amounts, and the right visa make a world of difference.

Frank Sommerville

We have been supporting a pastor in South Sudan for many years. However, we have not been able to send him support for some time, due to the lack of a qualified organization (he’s currently displaced in Juba and serving other displaced people). He will be in the US for a conference at the end of this month. If we give him an honorarium for speaking at our church, are there any restrictions on the amount we can give or on his eligibility to take the money back to South Sudan? There is nothing in place to track how he uses the money once he returns to the country he’s serving.

The answer depends on the visa the pastor received to visit the US. If he has a tourist visa, he may not receive any compensation from you. If he received a US visa that allows him to earn an honorarium while in the US, you may pay him a reasonable honorarium, like you would pay any other guest minister speaking at your church.

Payments to nonresident aliens are first classified according to where the services are being rendered. If the payment is for services in the US, the tax implications ensue. If the nonresident alien is in the US for less than 90 days within a calendar year (“personal presence test”) and the church’s payment is less than $3,000 for the entire calendar year (“income test”), then no US tax rules are implicated. If the nonresident alien is from Mexico or Canada, the nonresident alien must be in the US less than 183 days during a calendar year. If either the personal presence test or the income test is not complied with, then the church must comply with the tax rules.

Assuming the personal presence test or the income test is not met, the church must withhold thirty percent (30%) of the payment, unless a treaty changes the rate. Some nonresident aliens qualify for exemption from mandatory withholding. To receive the exemption, the nonresident alien must give the church IRS Form 8233. The church must send the IRS the Form 8233 at least 10 days before any payments are made. Since Form 8233 requires a taxpayer identification number, the nonresident alien may submit Form W-7, the Application for Taxpayer Identification Number, with Form 8233. Without Form 8233, the thirty percent (30%) withholding is mandatory.

If the personal presence test or the income test is not met and Form 8233 is not filed in a timely manner, the thirty percent (30%) withholding will apply unless a treaty sets a lower rate. To determine whether a lower rate applies, the nonresident alien must fill out Form W-8ECI and give it to the church.

If any withholding applies, the church should issue Form 1042-S to the nonresident alien and file the original with the IRS along with the amount withheld.

Frank Sommerville is a shareholder in the law firm of Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. in Houston and Dallas, Texas. He is a CPA and an Editorial Advisor for ChurchLawAndTax.com.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. “From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations.”

From Church Law & Tax 

April 2016

Honorarium for Missionaries2018-09-24T21:31:18-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 9/30

2018-09-24T15:42:03-04:00

Sunday, September 23, 2018

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (19th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 21)

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124
Second Reading: James 5:13-20
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:38-50

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

Esther—this great little book!  I read it this way: Give it all away.  When a door opens—take a bold step forward.

Esther had much to lose.  She could have said nothing and for sure she would have been spared.  Everyone who knew her real identity would have been lost and she would have been safe.  But instead, when the moment came at the feast when she could really have some impact she gave away her safety and took a bold step forward.

We live in a world where people want to live in a cone of safety and security.  They want someone else to step up. Society wants the government to fix it.  In our neighborhoods when we have problems with the neighbors we would rather turn it over to a homeowner’s association than deal with a neighbor directly.

We spend our lives being clear on the boundaries and quickly say, even if only to ourselves, “Hey, it’s not my problem.”

We walk away when we see trouble at hand.  We side step. We don’t risk.  We don’t rock the boat.  And when the boat is rocked we want safe shore rather than helping to see this through and trusting.  We are not the first disciples to struggle.

It is in our giving away our cone of safety and taking a bold step forward that we live the life of Christ.  That key verse of Esther 4:14 where good ole Uncle Mordy says, “Perhaps, …for such a time as this.”

We need to hear that—in our lives and in our encounters.  We need Uncle Mordy’s voice in our head.  “Perhaps,  …for such a time as this.”  Perhaps God has placed you (us, the church) here for such a time as this.  Perhaps God has placed you in this time, this situation, this moment…yes, for such a time as this.

This moment, this moment may be your very moment.  This moment may be the very moment that God has called the church to.  We can shrink in the face of the moment or we can take a bold step forward.

We can see our life as this door opening through which God’s Spirit goes before us inviting us to step boldly through.

When that door opens.  Get up.  Go.  Step.  Be bold; God is with you!

You are not alone.  Esther was not alone.  Do not hide out—step forward.  Give it all away.

*

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus invites the disciples to “give it all away” too.  There is no need to reserve the wonder of the works of God.  Be bold—be the salt.

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 9/302018-09-24T15:42:03-04:00

First Annual PTF Pastors Convocation

2018-09-24T20:35:15-04:00

Here are some highlights of our
FIRST ANNUAL PASTORS CONVOCATION

This two day event began with continuing education featuring the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill, PCUSA Vital Churches.  The overall theme was conversations of being Vibrant Together as ministers in the PTF.  After much valuable engagement on the realities of being a serving pastor, it was determined that a new ministry will be developed called, Life Together.  In the days to come, this ministry will be developed and promoted to all our serving pastors to find community and have access to “best practices” in church development and growth.

The second day, pastors and their families were invited to take a pause, and enjoy all that the hotel had to offer.  Some chose to relax on their own, and others enjoyed the continued fellowship in a beautiful setting.

Serving pastors, be sure to watch out for this event in the early fall.  A Save the Date will go out, as soon as we can make arrangements with hotel.

The Service of Renewal of Ordination Vows included a stole ceremony.

First Annual PTF Pastors Convocation2018-09-24T20:35:15-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Your Heart for Sunday 9/23

2018-09-19T21:47:07-04:00

Sunday, September 23, 2018

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (18th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 20)

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: Proverbs 31:10-31 Psalm 1
Second Reading: James 3:13-4:3,7-8a
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:30-37

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

There it was—a child, and yet…on the way they had been arguing, discussing, vying for who was the greatest. Jesus words hung in the air: “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

*

It is almost the final scene and we come to know even more about the person of Harry Potter. After the big battle and after everything known has been almost utterly destroyed…there is Harry. He has defeated the powers of darkness. He has triumphed. In that final scene he is pictured there on the bridge. In the background and in the foreground are the remnants—all around is the destruction of what has taken place.

As Harry looks outward we see him hold the elder wand. Ron, his friend, and their friend, Hermione, is there too. Ron inquires of Harry about the elder wand. Ron then points to Harry and says that with it he is invincible. A considered look comes across Harry’s face and he grasps the wand with both hands. He breaks it in two and casts each piece as hard and far as he can throw them.

It becomes a moment of choosing. It becomes a moment of selection. Harry makes a humble choice. He makes a choice for himself and his life and what station in life he will choose.

*

We are Harry Potter. And every single day, with destruction all around us in this age, we have to choose. Will we choose the way of power or will we choose the way of the humble? Will we choose the child of Jesus’ embrace or will we choose to push our way to the front of the line?

We choose.

We choose if we will go this way with Jesus.

Choose…because on the way, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Your Heart for Sunday 9/232018-09-19T21:47:07-04:00

The 2018 Peace and Global Witness Offering

2018-09-19T21:36:36-04:00

The theme for this year’s Peace and Global Witness Special Offerings is:

PEACE at all TIMES in all WAYS

It is based on the apostle Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians chapter 3 verse 16.  The Peace and Global Witness Offering draws members of the PC(USA) together through sharing their financial resources, enabling the church at large to develop educational and other resources to do peacemaking at all levels of the denomination.

The Presbytery of Tropical Florida encourages all churches to receive this special offering on the first Sunday of October, October 7, 2018.  It can also be received on other Sundays, of course.

As you know 50% of the offering goes to the GA Peacemaking program, 25% goes to the presbytery and synod (12% each) and 25% stays with the local congregation in order for the congregation to bear witness to its own peacemaking work in its own environment.

Please send your offering to the Presbytery and we will forward to the Synod and GA.

For resources to help a congregation promote the Peace and Global Witness Offering among the members of the congregation contact the PC(USA) Office of Special Offering.

http://specialofferings.pcusa.org/peace-global.html

The 2018 Peace and Global Witness Offering2018-09-19T21:36:36-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 9/16

2018-09-10T22:37:52-04:00

Sunday, September 16, 2018

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (17th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 19)

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: Proverbs 1:20-33 Psalm 19:1-14
Second Reading: James 3:1-12
Gospel Reading: Mark 8:27-38

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

It is on the way that this whole matter comes up. This is an insider incident. This is a matter for the disciples, the leaders, the members… It is organizational, insider, the congregation of Jesus talk.

A double question is what Jesus asks—“Who do they say that I am,” and then, “Who do you say that I am?”

When the words hit the air, it was as if they took on a life of their own. “You are the Messiah.” Had they thought it? Sure. Had they discussed it among themselves? I would be surprised if they had not. But now Peter answered it right there in the presence of Jesus. “You are the Messiah.”

It was not that Peter could not grasp what Jesus was saying. He just did not want to do the work that was involved with seeing the whole concept of Messiah in a very different light than what he had seen it. Jesus was asking Peter to open his mind and conceive of it in a different way.

Peter knew the title. He had the words right. But it is not enough to read the title clear. There also has to be that difficult work that is involved to discover what such a title means. Peter had to be willing to go this way with Jesus in order to learn and comprehend what was to be involved with being the Messiah.

And Jesus keeps telling us this is not an easy life. It is a blessed life. It is a good life. But it is not an easy life.

We are so Peter, and we want to shush him when he starts to remind us that it is a life that calls us – each and every one of us – and all of us together – it is a life that calls us to the cross. We take up that cross as we give it all way. We take up that cross as we risk our life for the sake of Christ.

We take up that cross every time we welcome someone that no other church would have. We take up that cross every time we help a child to know that God is love and that God made them good.

We live this life…with Peter…sometimes we get it so right, and at other times we are just a big ‘ole pumpkin eater. But by the grace of God, those moments when we get it are the moments that we live—those are the moments that we are this people who are cross-bearing, faith-giving, Christ-life living.

When we are—when we are cross-bearing, faith-giving, Christ-life living—when we do that we are the Church.

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 9/162018-09-10T22:37:52-04:00

COM Sabbatical Leave Guidelines

2018-08-13T20:30:54-04:00

Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for Teaching Elders
Serving the Presbytery of Tropical Florida
The Committee on Ministry is committed to encouraging our pastors and churches to seek vibrancy and health in their congregations.  Consistent with these efforts, COM recommends, after seven years of service to their church, pastors consider an extended time of sabbatical leave.  Sabbatical leave for a teaching elder is a planned time of intensive enhancement for ministry and mission and allows a pastor to take “extended time” to strategically disengage from his/her normal duties and tasks of ministry in order to gain a new perspective from a planned time of revitalization and focus.  In order to assist pastors and sessions as they consider plans for sabbatical leave for their pastor, COM has established the following guidelines, effective immediately, which shall be followed in order to achieve the greatest benefit of sabbatical leave for both the pastor and his/her congregation. 
COM Sabbatical Leave Guidelines2018-08-13T20:30:54-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for 8/19

2018-08-13T20:32:11-04:00

Sunday, August 19, 2018

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (13th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 15)

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: I Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14 Psalm 111:1-10
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20
Gospel Reading: John 6:51-58

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

There is in the Gospel of John no scene at the table in the Upper Room. There is no last supper where words of institution are spoken. There is, instead, this disconcerting statement about eating flesh and drinking blood. Is it any wonder most preachers, at this point in the lectionary in August, either choose to be on vacation or preach about Solomon in the Old Testament passage.

Aside from those options, we do well to remember that this is John and things can be read on that one plane of physical reality, but they can also need to be read on the vertical plane of spiritual life where God reaches down into our humanity pulling God’s very being and presence over us to shift our understanding and view of all.

On both those levels we do well to remember how John starts. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

On that horizontal level where we are only talking about flesh, and bread, and blood—this text is kinda creepy. But, we are in John’s Gospel and we had better be considering this saying from the spiritual level—from that larger than what the words are level.

John is saying this Word became flesh. John is saying this about Christ. He is our flesh. He is our bread. He is our blood. He is—to John—our everything. Christ is our everything and he is in everything that we know and touch and are.

To limit him to less than that is to miss the very presence of God. Unless we really take that in—eat it like flesh and swallow it like drink and let it flow through us like blood—we miss the reality of how very present and real God is in Christ Jesus. To embrace how very real and present God is to us in Christ Jesus is to live this wisdom filled life that knows everything is both physical and spiritual all at the same time. Such insight becomes the wisdom of Solomon for us who seek to live as wise people, “making the most of the time.” (Ephesians 5:16a)

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for 8/192018-08-13T20:32:11-04:00

2018 PTF Rock the Universe | 9/8-9

2018-08-07T00:34:26-04:00

IT’S TIME TO SIGN UP FOR THIS GREAT RTU DEAL!

It doesn’t matter how small or large your youth group is, now is the time to sign up for Rock the Universe in Orlando FL.  The cost includes park admission & transportation.  This year we are offering express pass ticketing options for those who are willing to pay a little more.  Tickets will be supplied to you on the bus.  Bus One will leave from Miami Shores Pres.  Bus Two will leave from First Pres Pompano Beach (The Pink Church).  Sandra will designate your church’s bus assignment based on space availability.

Note the new ticket options available:

$100.00 EARLY BIRD Regular Park Entrance and Transportation (Required for everyone, before 8/31)

$110.00 Regular Park Entrance and Transportation (Required for everyone, after 9/1)

$20.00 | One Time Per Ride Express Pass (Optional Per Person)

$30.00 | Unlimited Times Per Ride Express Pass (Optional Per Person)

DEADLINE: 9/7 with payment in the mail.

We require that churches send at least one adult chaperone (age 21+) per eight kids (1:8).  College students are welcome to sign up as non-chaperones.  We will have background checks done for ALL adults participating.  This information will be sent out to the churches before the trip, along with a church participants list and youth health & waiver forms.

The itinerary includes: Saturday afternoon pick up, arriving around 4:00 pm at Universal Studios.  The park closes at 1:00 pm, so we will be arriving back home around 5:00 am on Sunday.

Sort of an intense trip, but tons of fun for youth – with great Christian music and access to the park rides and amusements.

For more information, call Sandra | 954-785-2220 or email: sandra@tfpby.org.

2018 PTF Rock the Universe | 9/8-92018-08-07T00:34:26-04:00

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/12

2018-08-06T08:04:46-04:00

Sunday, August 12, 2018

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (12th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 14)

The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:

First Reading: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 Psalm 130:1-8
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Gospel Reading: John 6:35, 41-51

The liturgical color for the day is: Green

It is Personal: Seriously now, David’s family is so much more of a mess than any of ours. Wow, just wow. His family is even more of a mess than those on the Young and the Restless or Days of Life.

All these people who are at war with one another—they are David’s own children. Its sibling versus sibling. So, when David says to Joab to “deal gently” with Absalom, he’s saying to deal gently with his own brother.

We are to take it personally and “deal gently” with others. Complicated and complex relationships are the only kind of relationships that really exist. There is something to that idea that we are all connected, and we are our brother and sister’s keeper. “Deal gently.” It is personal.

Stop Faking It: Its Ephesians 4:25 – “So then, putting away all falsehood.”

Stop faking it. Really. Just stop it. Stop trying to be something that you are not. Stop trying to pretend.

Stop faking it. Because you do not need to. You do not need to be anything other than the beautiful creation of God that you are. Socks mismatched and mood not Hollywood bright—it is all good! The writer of Ephesians puts it this way, “We are members of one another.”

It is Incarnational: “I am the bread of life.” To make that claim is an incarnational claim. “I am the bread of life.” We are so accustomed to those words. We hear them frequently at the Lord’s Table. “Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”

Incarnational. Takes on flesh. Right here. Alongside.

He is right here with you. He is more than near. He is right beside you. Lean in. He is shoulder to shoulder with you. Present. Closer than the person who is closest to you in this moment.

SO, CHURCH: Lean in. Stop faking it. It is personal. He is should to shoulder with you. So close, you can taste it—“Bread of Life.”

Daris Bultena
General Presbytery

WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 8/122018-08-06T08:04:46-04:00