Pastor’s Desk 2021-02-16

Chuck Sheridan Avatar

Good Morning Church family,
 
I pray you are all “warm” this morning in spite of the cold front that’s reaching down into the lower states. We have several nephews studying at Texas A&M and I’m not sure the last time they saw snow? I have good news though – it will warm up soon! Hallelujah! My nephews are hoping its “very” soon.
 
I really enjoy reading short articles on leadership and one of my recent reads caught my attention. The title was “Things Believers Do that Make the Unchurched Bristle” – Sam Rainer February 2, 2021. It is a challenging artitcle in that it calls, not only our church, but all believers to some introspection, but I think it’s a good read and a good challenge.              Rainer’s article follows:
 
Here’s some good news: the vast majority of the unchurched are receptive to an invitation to church. The problem is that few active churchgoers reach out to their neighbors and friends. The mission field across North America is ripe for harvest, but many of the workers lag in apathy. In our research, we’ve heard from the unchurched on things believers do that makes them bristle the most. Here are a few of the most abrasive turn-offs.
 
 Confuse me. Talk about all the dirt at your church. Drudge up meaningless conflicts. Air dirty laundry in public forums and in the media. File frivolous lawsuits against other believers. Gossip about other churchgoers. Treat other Christians badly. In short, confuse the unchurched with blatant disregard for the Golden Rule.
 
 Mislead me. Unevangelistic pastors lead churches to reach out less. Unfriendly church leaders set the tone for an unfriendly church culture. Leaders should model the correct behavior. When they don’t, it is a huge turn off for people on the outside.
 
 Sell me. Encourage people to show up for a bunch of unconnected church activities. Don’t have an underlying mission for church functions. Neglect to connect how the church does ministry with the purpose of the body. Worse yet, lead a person to believe that your church is something it’s not. Selling a façade only disappoints when people get inside. Pretty packaging fools no one.
 
 Patronize me. A majority of seekers desire biblical depth. They do not want to be mollycoddled with trite spiritual answers to life’s tough questions. Don’t fear telling the truth but do so without an air of superiority. Spiritual arrogance is a huge turn off for the unchurched.
 
 Avoid me. Treat others like lepers. Don’t invite them to your house. Don’t befriend anyone outside the church walls. Almost eighty percent of adults would enjoy an honest conversation with a friend about religious or spiritual beliefs, even if they did not exactly see eye-to-eye with the friend. Unfortunately, these conversations occur far too infrequently.
 
 Bore me. The unchurched see no reason to consider a church if the congregation does not take their primary mission of the gospel seriously. We serve a Risen Savior! We know the Answer to life’s most important question! A ho-hum attitude and a lack of celebratory worship makes for a boring church.
 
 I do not like dwelling on the negative. The list of church turn-offs is long. And it’s much easier to point out all the things wrong in the church than actually make positive steps towards impacting a community for Christ. So take a moment and do a quick inventory of potential turn-offs in your ministry, then focus on the positive ways to be salt and light in your mission field. (end of Rainer’s article)
 

  • I welcome your feedback as it relates to this article. How are we doing as a church or as individuals when it comes to impacting unchurched people?

 
2020 Annual General Meeting Report (AGM) CLICK HERE – Please click on the link to access the 2020 AGM Report. It includes the: Pastor’s Report, Ministry Reports, Financial Report for 2020, the Proposed Budget for 2021, along with some Bylaw Revisions. We encourage you to read through the information presented and to please join us for the AGM. Printed reports will only be made available for those who request them in advance. The Annual General Meeting will be held February 25 @ 6:00 pm at the church.

Bylaw Revisions this year focus on responding to two concerns: Pastoral Voting on the Leadership Team and the clarifying of the words, “Missional” and “Benevolence”. Please review the proposed bylaw revisions in the above AGM report.

Tax Receipts for your donations to SCCC in 2020 are now available.

  • American Donors: please email sccc.treasurer@gmail.com for your receipt.
  • Canadian Donors: your receipts will be sent to you from GCF Canada.

Sunday’s Message Summary: (submitted by Pastor Chuck) Loyal Love of God.

Valentine’s Day on a Sunday, and of course the message has to be about love. It is the central theme of the Bible. One Old Testament story that illustrates this so well is Moses taking the people through the wilderness in the exodus from Egypt. Time after time they complained and sinned against God and even threatened to kill Moses and Aaron.

It is seen in Numbers 14. Spies return from the land west of the Jordon River and 10 have a bad report about the land but two have a good report. Again, the people rebelled against Moses and God. They wanted to kill Moses for his leadership. God is angry with the people for their disbelief and unfaithfulness. But Moses steps in and reminds God of who he is, 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness …” Moses is reminding God of his own character. God who is abundant in lovingkindness.

The story of Hosea is another good illustration. We can see the parallel between the unfaithful people of Israel and Gomer. She was the wife of the prophet Hosea and so often unfaithful. It was so bad that Hosea had to go to the market and buy her out of slavery. Hosea had to redeem his wife, buy her back from the position she had gotten herself into by her unfaithful sinful behaviour. Hosea did not have to redeem his wife. He had rights of divorce. God did not have to keep his covenant promise to the Hebrew people and take them into the Promise Land. Yet God did. It is because of his lovingkindness.

The Hebrew word for lovingkindness is hesed. A difficult word to understand. But for this time, we will go with ‘the unfailing love of God.” God is faithful in his love and kindness, even when we do not deserve this love. God has love for us that never fails. This is an abundant love.

His abundant unfailing love is displayed in the sending of himself manifested to us as flesh in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God came to us. He steps down into what often seems like nothing better than a cesspool of crazy humanity. Why? To purchase our freedom from sin. Hosea displayed the character of God to Gomer.

Romans 5:6 & 8 NIV 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is the love of God. Now we as followers of God should display his ways. Can we display this love to the world? We often do as the church gives to the needs of the community. I see this is your actions at SCCC in the way you respond to the needs of the community we are in. You have touched the community in ways that communicates the love of God to them.

And we need to do that within the walls too. We need to communicate the love of God to one another. The great hesed of God needs to be evident to one another. The unfailing love we have for one another needs to be so evident that the world exclaims, “See hoe they love one another!” And then are drawn in to the love of Christ.

I have learned a lot from this Hebrew word, ‘hesed.’                                                           Bless your week, Pastor Chuck.
 
Next Sunday – “Can I lose my salvation?” This question is often approached with a “my way or the highway” attitude between family members within our Christian faith. There are clearly two teams when it comes to answering this question. If there was a “Super Bowl” battle amongst our Christian denominations, these two teams would certainly be the ones playing. Perhaps there is a question much more worthy of our consideration? Love to have you join us on Sunday as we look at this critical question.
 
Have a great week,
Pastor Glenn & Jeannine

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