Wednesday, June 21, 2017

06-25-17


Tim’s Tidings




This week Eastminster’s Session met to study scripture, to pray and to preside over the business of the church.  The meeting was special for me for several reasons.  First, there was an excellent devotion on waiting and depending on God.  God is a God who loves, cares, and protects.  Immediately following the devotion, we heard an exciting report from the Prayer Shawl ministry as they are expanding not only to offer shawls to those at the end of life, but prayer squares for all who have need, and “octopi” for prematurely born infants.  Your Elders laid hands on the work of the Prayer Shawl ministry and consecrated it before God.  Finally, your Session deliberated about how we might reach out with love in the community and voted to conduct some municipal and mission partner conversations to better be prepared to be a good Christian influence right here in our neighborhood.  This will build on the excellent ministry Compassion in Action is doing.  We serve the God who loves, cares and protects by loving, caring and protecting too!
 

Today we start a new sermon series, “Psalms for all Seasons.”  You will receive a bookmark with Psalms appropriate for reading in different seasons of your life which will be covered in worship in the following weeks.  Today we will look at God’s love, care and protection as conveyed in Psalm 91.  As I read this Psalm, the following image comes to mind: 
 

Hear these words:  You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’ He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:1-2, 4)

God loves, cares for and protects you and me!


Blessings,

Tim
 

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

06-18-17


Jesus’  Second Coming - What and When is it?


Much has been written about the Second Coming of Christ, including the statement in the Nicene Creed:  "...he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.... We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."

Those who witnessed Christ's ascension into heaven after his death and resurrection heard the angels declare in Acts 1:11, "Men of Galilee…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." The Second Coming is when Jesus Christ will return to earth in fulfillment of His promise: "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). 

The Second Coming is important because it will come at the time when the world is most in need of a righteous King. Revelation chapters 6-18 describe the end times prior to the Second Coming of Christ. The world will be devastated, millions of people will perish, and the most evil person in all history will be ruler of the entire world. The Second Coming of Christ puts all this to an end. Revelation 19:15-16 says, "Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."  Today we will view a work of art by the late Bunny Nairn that depicts this scripture.

Many Bible teachers have made guesses as to when the Second Coming will occur. They have all been incorrect. The Bible declares, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (
Matthew 24:36). The Bible describes several events which must occur before the Second Coming (Matthew 24:4-292 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation chapters 6-18). So, we are to anticipate the Second Coming, but we are not to set dates and times.  We are to live our lives as if it could happen any day, any momentMatthew 25:19-21, "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them…His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'"

Are you ready for the Second Coming of Christ?

Blessings,

Tim

P.S.  This week we complete the Church on Fire Series and next week start the Psalms for all Seasons series.  You will receive a bookmark next week with helpful passages from the Psalms. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

06-04-17


Tim’s Tidings



Today is Pentecost Sunday.  For Christians, Pentecost is commonly known as the “birthday of the church.”  It is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the prayerful followers of Jesus, empowering them to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the native tongues of the many pilgrims in Jerusalem.

 

Pentecost originated as a Jewish harvest festival of thanksgiving to God, 50 days after Passover.  At Pentecost heaves of grain were waived in praise and the first fruits of the harvest were offered to God. Christians understand Pentecost as a powerful feast of salvation, because it speaks about the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, about the founding of the Church, and about the Final Judgement.

 

We celebrate Pentecost by the wearing of the color red, symbolizing the “tongues of fire” that descended upon the disciples, empowering their witness.  Other countries go to greater lengths.  In Denmark, Pentecost is a holiday and children get the following day off from school, though not all persons even know the origin of Pentecost.  In Italy rose petals are scattered from the ceilings of churches to remind worshippers of the descent of the Holy Spirit.  In France it is customary to blow trumpets to simulate the sound, “like the rushing of of a mighty wind,” that accompanied the coming of the Holy Spirit.  In Poland and the Ukraine, greenery is used to symbolize Pentecost because of the new life salvation brought to 3,000 believers that day and for a desire of blessing.  In Greece and other Eastern Orthodox areas, Pentecost is second only to Easter as a Holy day.  All night prayer vigils are held where worshippers kneel and prostrate themselves, foreheads touching the ground.  It is also a day for baptisms, remembering the 3,000 that responded to Peter’s Spirit inspired preaching on that original day.

 

For me the good news of Pentecost is that it is a fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28:20, “Lo I am with you always.”  Pentecost celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit of Christ, God with us today.  It is wonderful to know that the Holy Spirit loves us as children of God, works in our experiences of knowing God, teaches and counsels us in Christian living, gifts us for service, and intercedes for us as we lift our prayers to God—even those prayers of our “guts” that are impossible to put into words.  May the Spirit of the living God fall afresh upon us in this Season!

 

Blessings,

Pastor Tim

 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

05-28-17


Tim’s Tidings



As we enter May, it is good to take a deep breath and to say, “Thank you God for your grace and provision over all of our days.”  God has been present and guiding Eastminster since its inception in 1950 to be a “Lighthouse” here in the South Indian River region.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had occasion to meet with residents and members who have been here since the 1950s and 1960s and they tell of God’s faithfulness and Eastminster’s life-changing ministry through time.  The stories are encouraging and inspiring.

 

In like manner, I’ve witnessed Eastminster’s recent ministry and growth.  I see growth among the children who presented the musical “Not So Terrible Parable” last weekend.  I witness growth among the youth who presented their vision of ministry to the community through a Café that gives spiritual haven to all and growth opportunities to those with special needs at the “Shark Tank” event this week.  I experience growth as adults write me or stop by to tell of their faith strengthening through various channels such worship, choir, spiritual formation, knitting, education, care of members and staff, and engaging in hands on mission.  God has been and is working in our midst.

 

Today we are honored to have the Rev. Dr. Roy McCormick present to help honor the faithful and diligent ministry of the Rev. Ralph Bronkema upon the occasion of his retirement.  Roy served this church as its pastor from 1980-1999.  He was instrumental in overseeing the construction of the Christian Ministry Center here, which was our last major capital project.  Together their ministries have spanned 37 of Eastminster’s 67 years of existence!  Please plan to stay after church for a reception in Pastor Ralph’s honor to greet and thank them both.

 

Today we also are honored to have four exceptional candidates to come before the church to be elected to serve as elders.  Elders are the spiritual and administrative leaders of our church.  We are governed by twelve elders who serve three year terms.  We elect four elders per year so there are always elders with experience and elders that are newly coming on board in an orderly succession.  The elder-nominees are Grant Dearborn, Mary Larson, Barbara Ray, and Sunny Rudloff.  You may read their bios in a separate insert in your worship guide.

 

Finally today, we gather around the Communion table.  This table focuses us on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  It ties our past, present and future together.  As you hold the bread and drink the cup, do so in remembrance of what God has done, in thanksgiving of what God is doing, and in anticipation of what God will do as faithful Christians worship, learn and serve around the world and right here at Eastminster.

 

Blessings,                                                                                                                               
Pastor Tim
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

05-07-17


As we enter May, it is good to take a deep breath and to say, “Thank you God for your grace and provision over all of our days.”  God has been present and guiding Eastminster since its inception in 1950 to be a “Lighthouse” here in the South Indian River region.  In the last few weeks, I’ve had occasion to meet with residents and members who have been here since the 1950s and 1960s and they tell of God’s faithfulness and Eastminster’s life-changing ministry through time.  The stories are encouraging and inspiring.

In like manner, I’ve witnessed Eastminster’s recent ministry and growth.  I see growth among the children who presented the musical “Not So Terrible Parable” last weekend.  I witness growth among the youth who presented their vision of ministry to the community through a Café that gives spiritual haven to all and growth opportunities to those with special needs at the “Shark Tank” event this week.  I experience growth as adults write me or stop by to tell of their faith strengthening through various channels such worship, choir, spiritual formation, knitting, education, care of members and staff, and engaging in hands on mission.  God has been and is working in our midst.

Today we are honored to have the Rev. Dr. Roy McCormick present to help honor the faithful and diligent ministry of the Rev. Ralph Bronkema upon the occasion of his retirement.  Roy served this church as its pastor from 1980-1999.  He was instrumental in overseeing the construction of the Christian Ministry Center here, which was our last major capital project.  Together their ministries have spanned 37 of Eastminster’s 67 years of existence!  Please plan to stay after church for a reception in Pastor Ralph’s honor to greet and thank them both.

Today we also are honored to have four exceptional candidates to come before the church to be elected to serve as elders.  Elders are the spiritual and administrative leaders of our church.  We are governed by twelve elders who serve three year terms.  We elect four elders per year so there are always elders with experience and elders that are newly coming on board in an orderly succession.  The elder-nominees are Grant Dearborn, Mary Larson, Barbara Ray, and Sunny Rudloff.  You may read their bios in a separate insert in your worship guide.

Finally today, we gather around the Communion table.  This table focuses us on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  It ties our past, present and future together.  As you hold the bread and drink the cup, do so in remembrance of what God has done, in thanksgiving of what God is doing, and in anticipation of what God will do as faithful Christians worship, learn and serve around the world and right here at Eastminster.

Blessings,
Pastor Tim

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Sunday 04-16-17


Welcome to worship with Eastminster on Easter morning! A special welcome goes out to those who are visiting for the first time or returning to worship after an absence.  May you find joy, hospitality, faith, beauty and love as you encounter the risen Lord and relate with God’s community here.

Eastminster exists to glorify God, to know God more deeply and to serve God in the world. Our mission statement is “Eastminster joyously ministers as a vital, growing congregation of passionate followers of Jesus extending our reach as a missional church to transform our greater community.” It is our expectation that the web of caring relationships will continue to grow as new visitors, friends and members bring life to this community and to the world.  Let me know how Eastminster might enrich life with you.

 

The early visitors to Jesus’ tomb and his disciples were fearful and doubtful. Many of us have been the same way. We are in good company. God’s love flows to us in different times and seasons. That’s why community is important. Sometimes we give, sometimes we receive support.  All the time, we are together.

 

Amidst doubt and fear the question, “What if what they say is true?” arose with early believers. It is a legitimate question. If Jesus is God’s Son and the resurrection a validation of his divinity, what does that mean for my life? Your life? Our lives together? There are a lot of barriers to coming to Jesus Christ and a lot of power unleashed when the barriers are broken. One barrier is to simply accept God’s amazing grace.  It is a gift, rather than something earned, and that’s countercultural.

 

Relax.  Allow God’s love and grace to reach you through music, light, movement and most importantly, God’s word proclaimed in what we say and what we sing.  May you sense the mystery of a God greater and more powerful than we could ever conceive whose Spirit provides more than we could ever ask or imagine.

 

Welcome again!
Blessings!

Pastor Tim
 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

04-09-17


Sunday is Palm Sunday.  It is a day we celebrate Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and begin what is commonly referred to as “Holy Week,” which extends from today through Easter.  In one week the Good News of Jesus will be proclaimed meaningfully in many ways.  It is a week that shapes our identity and community together.  .

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem Palm Sunday, people sold him short.  They thought he would be an earthly leader of a revolt that would throw off the yoke of Roman domination.  Even though Jesus said many times that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer, die, and three days later rise, people didn’t comprehend it.  So they waved Palm branches and cheered as he entered Jerusalem hoping for what would amount in baseball terms to Jesus hitting a “single.”  Little did anyone know that Jesus came to overthrow sin and death and bring us close to the loving reign of God Almighty forever.  Jesus came to hit a “home run!”  That was just too huge for even his disciples to grasp!  It’s hard for us to fathom today! 

So today we cheer Jesus Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem, but there is much more to the story.  One needs the events during the middle of Holy Week to get the full picture.  We join together on Maundy Thursday in Fellowship Hall at 5:45 p.m. around tables shaped in a cross to hear how Jesus will become the Lamb of God that takes the sin of the world, even as he is betrayed by one of his own.  Our Sanctuary will be draped in black as we gather Friday night at 7:00 to hear the Seven Last Words of Christ ending in “Father into thy hands I commit my Spirit” as he breathes his last.  Saturday morning Eastminster hints at New Life as we tell the whole gospel story, hunt Easter eggs and do Easter crafts at 10:30 with kids of all ages from the church and community at 10:30 a.m.  That night at 6 p.m. we host a Vigil which involves drama and beauty in telling the salvation story … up to a point.  Then Easter morning at 6:30 a.m. Sunrise, 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. the story becomes complete with the shouts of “His is risen!”  “He is risen indeed!”  If all service times are convenient for you on Easter, come to the 8:30 to help balance the parking.  Don’t skip the events between Palm Sunday and Easter.  Participating through the week allows one to experience the whole story! 

Thanks to the many, many hands, hearts and voices who are contributing to a meaningful lent and Holy Week at Eastminster.  You are wonderful!

May All Have a Blessed Holy Week!
Pastor Tim