Thursday, September 21, 2017

09-24-17


Tim’s Tidings

Can Good come from Bad?  That is the hope as we clean up and make sense of the destruction of Harvey and Irma, as we adjust to life changing circumstances such as job loss, changes of location, recovery from illness and even grief.

Can Good come from Bad?

Today we look at the story of Joseph found in Genesis 37-50.  Joseph was one of the sons of Jacob who was specially loved by his father and specially gifted by God.  He had the ability to dream and interpret dreams.  His father made him a special “coat of many colors” which caused the jealousy of his brothers to mount and they plotted to kill him.  Instead they sold him into slavery, drenched his coat in animal blood and told Jacob that he was killed by a wild beast.  Joseph meanwhile rose to a high position in Egypt because of his ability to interpret dreams and his administrative skill.  He prepared the country successfully for a famine.  The famine brought his brother begging for food.  Joseph withheld his identity until he could no longer contain himself.  When the brothers found out that they, who plotted evil against him were at his mercy they were terrified.  But Joseph said, “do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…. So then it was not you who sent me here but God.”

Can Good come from Bad?

Think of a time in which a disappointment or setback in your life lead to something greater in the end? Share your story with a friend or two this week.

How might God be using the events that have happened in your life lately to benefit others?

What might you do to bring God glory this week?

Spend some time in silent prayer listening for God’s voice and direction.  God pieces us together in a puzzle where we are important to others.

Dear God,

Thank you for the grace to go on amid the storms of life.  Grant me to wisdom to discern your hand and to act according to your will in what I do and in what I don’t do this week.  May I have vision to see beyond the present to how “all things work for the glory of God in Christ Jesus.”

Be with those who suffer today from mental, spiritual, emotional or physical distress.  Use me to be an anchor during the storms of others until we experience the fair skies of your divine design.  Make me an instrument of your peace and understanding.  Amen.

May God use, guide and bless you to be a blessing,

 

Tim

Thursday, August 24, 2017

08-27-17


Today we are encountering what I consider one of the most beautiful and challenging Scriptures in the New Testament, Romans 12:9-21.  After calling for us to submit our will and our lives as an offering to God’s pleasure, and after emphasizing that every person is given gifts to use for the good of Christ’s body, Paul says to practice “genuine love”:

9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

These verses are exhortations, commandments made in love for us all.  They call us to be thoughtful, discerning, connected, genuinely loving Christians.  And they tell us how:

1.       Know the difference between good and evil.

2.       Love and honor one another, thinking more of others than ourselves.

3.       Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

4.       Practice “radical” generosity and hospitality.

5.       Bless those who attack you, don’t belittle or condemn them.

6.       Be empathetic, understand the feelings of others and emotionally journey with them.

7.       Practice humility and honor all people.

8.       Take the “high road” in disputes.

9.       Value peaceful relations.

10.   Let God deal with resentments and “payback.”

11.   Be kind, even to enemies.

12.   Overcome evil with good.

This is a tall order for living!  If we focus on these exhortations, we have little time to point fingers at others because it is a full time job to live up to Christ’s call to discipleship.  God is calling us to “be the love” the world needs, living as examples of God’s Word.  Far from denying the evil in the world or ignoring it, we are called to practice genuine love.

May we grow together as we love God and others in worship, word and deed!

Blessings,
Pastor Tim
 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

08-20-17


One of the hallmarks of the Presbyterian Church is that the congregation elects its leaders.  Everyone who is a member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church votes for those who serve as pastors and elders.

 

This spring members of Eastminster elected five elders to serve as part the spiritual and administrative leadership team of the church, the Session.  Over the summer they engaged in training culminating in an officer staff retreat, where they were examined and approved to serve.  This weekend five elders-elect will be introduced, ordained, and/or installed to serve.

 

The elders coming on Session include Grant Dearborn (Personnel and Administration), Mary Larson (Congregational Care), Jim Morris (Facilities), Barbara Ray (Children, Youth and Family), and Sunny Rudloff (Congregational Care).  They have already formed good rapport with the pastors, the Clerk of Session and each other and were welcomed to sit in on a session meeting last Tuesday.  The gifts and skills they bring to the leadership of Eastminster are immense!  Welcome to this important ministry!

 

Rotating off Session are Steve Adams, Gene Davis, Don Dawson, and Nancy Marshall.  They have served with heart, soul, mind and strength… and above all passion and love for God and others.  Steve is a mainstay of our Facilities Ministry.  He kept us cool, even when our air conditioning needed replacing.  He has kept us dry, even with the numerous leaks church roofs tend to attract. He has added to the safety and beauty and good functioning of our buildings and grounds, devoting countless hours to the cause.

 

Gene Davis came on board and has continued the fine work of the Personnel and Administration Committee.  Under Gene’s leadership the Personnel and Administration brought the Rev. Kristy Ray as Associate Pastor and Robert McBride as Director of Music Ministry and Organist, among other fine placements.  They sharpened our procedures and policies to increase the efficiency of operations the, safety of our facility, and the support Eastminster’s staff.

 

Don Dawson served as Outreach elder in a time this new committee was formed.  He is instrumental in the technological advances such as the upgrade of our audio-visual capabilities (and also serving as an technician), our outreach to visitors, the provision of special events, and the initiation of ministry endeavors such as Table Talk Theology and Eastminster’s designation as an Earthcare Congregation.  Don and his wife, the Rev. Darice Dawson, have also supported our youth and young adult ministry in meaningful ways.

 

Nancy Marshall served as the chair of Congregational Care Committee, a widespread ministry that provides nourishment for the body (fellowship, potlucks etc.), mind (adult discipleship, special educational events) and soul (spiritual formation and pastoral care).  Her leadership streamlined operations and produced many joyful, vital occasions for congregational health and growth.  Nancy is a leader of leaders and was able to have many strong members serve well under her care.

 

So welcome new elders and thank you Steve, Gene, Don and Nancy.  Well done good and faithful servants!  Please plan to add your welcome and thanks following the Saturday and Sunday night services as we have receptions both days in the Fellowship Hall in honor of these fine leaders.

Blessings,
Pastor Tim

Thursday, August 10, 2017

08-13-17


Tim’s Tidings



What a joy it was to welcome the children, families and the faculty of the Eastminster Presbyterian Church Preschool to a new year of school last week.  Many kids ran with joy to their teachers, others were shy and tentative.  In the end, there were smiles on all faces and a new year of learning, growth and wonder has begun!

 

Director Eleni Yiapis will present a Mission update on the Eastminster Preschool during both worship services this weekend.  I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of kids who are nurtured lovingly so the seeds of faith and thought that God plants in them might grow as love is applied.

 

Please pray for our elders and staff as they go on retreat August 19.  This retreat will involve four classes of elders, who are the spiritual and administrative leaders of Eastminster.  We will be examining five elders who the congregation has elected to serve on Session and will say goodbye to four elders who have served with distinction.  Those who are coming on session by ordination and installation include Grant Dearborn, Mary Larson, Jim Morris, Barbara Ray, and Sunny Rudloff. Those who have served “with energy intelligence, imagination and love” include Steve Adams, Don Dawson, Gene Davis and Nancy Marshall.  Receptions to honor our elders will be held after both services next weekend.

 

On another front, I am saddened to report that our Kitchen Manager, Daphne Stacey, has had to resign.  Daphne was on a leave of absence for cancer treatments and hoped to be back later this month.  The doctors at Shands Hospital in Gainesville have revised her treatment schedule and extended her stay several months.  Please pray for health for Daphne.  She spread love and joy here as she helped a wonderful team of members continue to make our kitchen the “heart and soul” of the church. Her duties will temporarily be assumed by the Director of Church Operations and a great team of cookie bakers under the direction of Susan Vallette, so plan to continue to linger after worship for refreshments and relationships!

 

May these days be days of wonderful new beginnings as we “cruise into the new year.”

 
Blessings,
Pastor Tim

Thursday, July 6, 2017

07-09-2017


A Spectacular 4th of July “Salute to America!” was held last week.  Great ministry Eastminster, Melbourne Municipal Band and combined choir!  This event was the result of community cooperation and lots of helping hands that set up our buildings and grounds, served 800 people and launched technology where an overflow audience was able to view the “Salute to America!” event in Eastminster’s Fellowship Hall.  Special thanks to the Worship and Music, Outreach, and Facilities teams, youth and staff who set the stage for this event, and to Robert McBride, Staci Cleveland, and David and Teresa Fleenor for their musical leadership.  The band and choir outdid themselves!

My favorite part of the whole event was the goodwill and enthusiasm of the gathered community.  We are blessed to live, worship and minister in a wonderful area of a wonderful country.  Praise God!  … and that’s what we do and will keep doing here at Eastminster!
See you in church,
 
Pastor Tim

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.