Pastor’s Desk 2017-11-14

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Good Morning SCCC Family,
                                                                                               
* Hello to you all. The windows are open. Not only was the AC shut off for night, even the fans are silent at this moment. No buzzing and whining sounds of “air moving” monsters designed to keep us in a “temperate” state. Its peaceful in our home. Aahhh! And I’ve got some great news to share with you this week.
 
* We are thrilled !!! Welcome aboard, Diane Venable – our new bookkeeper. We are so grateful for the way God continues to provide for SCCC and Diane is the most recent of those wonderful provisions. She will be training with Elizabeth until Brian & Elizabeth move back to Indiana in mid Dec. and she will then officially begin her role as our new Book Keeper. Thank you Diane for your servant heart. We are so grateful.
 
* The Deacons met last week. One of the reports we heard was from Chuck Morton and the “We Care” Ministry – Over the summer, Chuck & Carol have had several opportunities to both organize meals and to personally care for families within the church through the We Care Ministry. Several families received meals at challenging times. Chuck was able to help out another family who had been robbed and provided counseling for yet another family. We Care is a great service offered through SCCC and we’re grateful to Chuck & Carol for their leadership. Please talk to Chuck if you’d like to get involved in providing meals when they may be needed.
 
* The Elders will meet on Thursday. So thankful they’re all back, no more “google hangout”, online meetings for the next few months. Our discussions at the present relate to an upcoming joint leadership retreat with the elders and deacons at Casa de Esperanza. I’d also invite you to be in prayer for us as we look at adding at some additional elders to the team.
 
* Thank You from the McKinney’s after Mary Ann’s recent surgery. “The surgeon was very pleased, and said they found no evidence of spread into the lymph system. They will have more test’s complete by our next visit on Tuesday. Thank you and everyone else for the prayers for Mary Ann’s quick recovery. It seems the Lord is listening for sure.”
 
* Another note of Appreciation from Shirley Robson – “I was undergoing treatment for 4th stage cancer. Praise God after 3 years of treatment I am now clean of cancer. Thank you to the congregation for your prayers!”  Shirl (Linda Abbate’s sister)
 
* Pick up an “invitation card” in the church foyer designed to help you invite a Spanish speaking friend to our first “All Spanish” Wed evening Service on Nov. 22.
 
* Women’s Prison Ministry – Gabriela and Heather are accepting donations of toys or cash (to buy a cake or piñata) to contribute to the prison’s annual Christmas Party for the children of the inmates. Please bring any gifts / donations to the church or you can give them directly to Gabriela or Heather.
 
* Missionaries of the Week – Jenny & Jesse Navarro (King’s Kids)
                                                         
* On Sunday, we looked at principles from Scripture which help us to deal with the loneliness we all feel at different times. These principles of genuine friendship included:
 
1. Affinity: celebrating what we hold in common.
            If you took away the activity, would the relationship wither?
2. Acceptance: relating to people on an “as is” basis. (Romans 15:7)
            Challenge – What attitude do I bring into my friendships?        
3. Authenticity: feeling safe enough to be real. (Matt 26:38)
            Challenge – Take a risk, make a call and get together.
4. Assistance: putting our friends first (Romans 12:10)
            What can I do to be a better friend?
5. Affirmation: cheer leading your friend.
            Never assume your friends know how you feel about them.
 
You have a choice – God has given you the desire and ability to enter into community with others and thereby drive a stake into that loneliness that wants to darken your life. Its scary, its risky, its time consuming, its messy, its frustrating and ITS WORTH IT.
 
Have a great week,
Pastor Glenn y Jeannine

Going Hard After The Lost By Lance Witt on Nov 6, 2017

As a pastor, it is easy for me to get busy running my ministry and living my own life and as a result get disconnected from those who are far from God.

This past week I was reading the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 and was struck by God’s tenacity in getting the gospel to this one man.

In those early days the church was spreading like wildfire.  And after Stephen is martyred in Acts 7, the first verse of Acts 8 says that “on that day a great persecution broke out against the church…”  Yet, in the midst of the swirl of all that was going on, God goes to tremendous lengths to get the gospel to one man from a foreign country. 

It reminds me of Jesus’ parable in Luke 15 about the man who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in his flock and relentlessly searches for the one lost sheep.  If we are going to have the heart of God we must go hard after those who are far from God.

In Acts 8, Philip has a divine interruption.  Earlier in Acts 8 we find Philip in Samaria carrying out his ministry and then an angel of the Lord tells him to go to the desert road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. 

Now, you are not likely to have an angel tap you on the shoulder and give you specific instructions.  But we can expect the Holy Spirit to prompt us.

This is all about awareness and sensitivity to those opportunities that God brings across our path.

What if this next week you put up your spiritual antenna and started being sensitive to opportunities to have God conversations with those in your community?  When is the last time you prayed and asked God for opportunities to share the gospel.

Just like in Philip’s case we can have confidence that God is already at work in the lives of those around us.  This is evidenced by the fact that this official from Ethiopia just happened to be reading Isaiah 53, one of the most powerful prophecies about the coming messiah.

When this Ethiopian man asked Philip who the prophet was talking about, verse 35 says Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

I love that Philip starts with Isaiah 53 and then takes the conversation to Jesus. Philip didn’t focus on this man’s moral condition, or talk about how sinful he was or invite him to a local church.  No!  He took the conversation straight to Jesus.  It is a good reminder for me that ultimately it is an encounter with Jesus that transforms people’s lives.  This man needed to be born again.

As Christian leaders living in the 21st century, we find ourselves in a culture that is unfriendly to the claims of the gospel.  We are living in a post-Christian era.  To declare that Jesus is the only way to heaven is not politically correct these days.  When you declare that Jesus is the only way to heaven, you can expect to be ridiculed as intolerant, arrogant, and narrow-minded.

This is one of the non-negotiables our faith and a cornerstone of our churches.  We cannot let cultural pressure cause us to be unclear about the gospel.  When we boldly declare that Jesus it he only way to eternal life, we are not being arrogant or intolerant.  We are simply declaring for Jesus what he declared for himself.  He said of himself I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

In 1 Corinthians 1:18, the apostle Paul said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

The cross is the dividing line in history.  Paul says that the cross divides all of humanity into two groups of people.  On one side, there is the group who would look at what we believe and what we stand for and say it is “foolishness.”  The word that Paul uses here is actually the Greek word that we get our English word “moron.” Some would look at us and say we are morons for believing that a death on a cross could give us eternal life.

But Paul says that there is another group.  For them, the cross is not foolishness, it is the power of God.  The root word for power is the same word that we get our word “dynamite.”  The gospel has explosive power to change a life.

So, in this ever-changing culture, may you unashamedly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Don’t back down from declaring Jesus as the only way.   

It is widely believed that this Ethiopian eunuch was responsible for taking the gospel to Africa.  You just never know how God might use somebody you share the gospel with.

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