In this Week's Update:
The Bible in Twelve Words
Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities
Upcoming Growth Groups, Classes & Sign-ups
A Note from Pastor Bill
Dear St. Luke's Saints,
The word for this coming Sunday is "Deportation." Things have changed in our national consciousness since I first chose this word 25 years ago to describe the time of the Hebrew exile. Today, ardent border-closers upset about the increasing numbers of undocumented people arriving in the U.S. (at least up until the recession) in violation of immigration laws are often heard to advocate for deportation. By that they mean sending people back to the country of their legal citizenship. In the case of our "Bible in 12 Words" series, deportation is just the opposite: sending people out of the country of their citizenship.
Historians tell us that it was Tiglath-Pileser III, King of Assyria in the 8th century BCE, who first utilized forced deportation to maintain control of his expansive kingdom. As the Assyrian Empire expanded by conquering neighboring countries, rebellions were avoided through the resettlement of the conquered. He used this tactic with the Jews of the Northern Kingdom, Israel in 721 BCE. After his empire fell to the Babylonians in the 6th century BCE, the new world conquerors did the same thing to the southern kingdom, Judah. The people from the northern tribes never returned in any great numbers, but there was a remnant of people from the south who finally went back home.
At first the exiles from Jerusalem forced to live in Babylon thought all was lost. However, just like during the time of the wilderness experience under Moses, they "found" some very important things. These foreign soil discoveries were not in the land, but inside of them. We will be learning about them this weekend.
You can get a head start on the theme by reading Jeremiah 29:1-14 and then thinking about times in your own life when you have felt like you were in a strange new place with nothing for which to give thanks. How was God with you to shape or re-shape you nonetheless?
Theologian Stanley Hauerwas and now United Methodist Bishop Will Willimon wrote a book two decades ago entitled, Resident Aliens, in which they described committed followers of Christ as those who are in the world but not of it. That's how it came to be for at least some of the exiles in Babylon way back when. They started to figure out that being intimate with a holy God was not a matter of location, but vocation. That is, they learned something about what it meant to be "called" to be a holy people no matter where they were.
I'll be looking for you holy St. Luke's "saints" on Sunday!
|There will be no Exegesis this week, but we will gather again as usual on October 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
We are Taking Jesus on the Road for Halloween
And we need your help!
The St. Luke's "Trunk or Treat" event will be held at Rock Orlando Church on Monday, October 31. The event is just for children from the Parramore neighborhood district. These children will arrive by bus for a fun-filled, safe "Trunk or Treat" event held from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Volunteers are needed to make this night memorable:
- Lots of donated candy.
- 25-30 decorated cars and hosts to hand out candy.
- 10-15 people to cook and serve drinks, snacks and hot dogs.
- 20-30 people to host games and bounce houses
This is a great opportunity to dress up in costume, create fun memories and give Halloween to children who may not have a safe place to go. Please sign up to take part in serving the children of Parramore. This special event is not open to the public and is a great way for St. Luke's to reach out to our partnering community. To sign up to take part, please email Jenn Stiles Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up in the Welcome Hall in Bldg. C.
Last year, the St. Luke's Church Council began a process to discern what God's plan was for the future of our church. As a congregation we felt we were receiving a call of the Spirit to reassess our priorities and begin an intentional process to determine how we could discover God's destiny for St. Luke's over the next five years.
We began with a strategic visioning process asking the congregation for input regarding specific focus where our church can create significant community change.
Through the thoughts shared by our congregation, six "world changing" ideas were born and became a resulting Vision. This Vision Statement will serve as the basis for a multi-year Strategic Plan Overview for St. Luke's.
Feedback from the congregation is a key part of the next step in this Vision Process. We invite you to read the Vision Statement Summary. After reading the Summary, please discuss this new direction for St. Luke's with your fellow members of the congregation. Pray about it and then share your thoughts with us by answering four questions, which you can view and fill out on our website.
We Have Lost Track of the Following St. Luke's Members
Did you know that once you become a member of St. Luke's, The United Methodist Church requires that we maintain your name on our roll as a member until a new church requests a transfer of your membership or you request that your membership be withdrawn? Until one of those options is chosen, we must continue to be in contact with you through the regular mailings of the church. If after 2 years we have not heard from you we may assume that you wish to have your name(s) removed.
As you can imagine with a church membership roll with upwards of 5000 people, it's difficult to keep these records up to date. And we rely on you to keep us informed of any changes in your personal information. (Including changes not only in your contact information but any changes in your family dynamics too.) Regrettably, our church office does not always receive information regarding relocations or transfers to other churches.
Since most of our communication is now done online, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of "lost members". We want to take this opportunity to recognize these church families/individuals and know that they are important to us. If you can provide a current address and/or phone number for any of these folks, please call Linda Shankle, Membership Secretary, in the church office at 407-876-4991 ext. 222.
Thank you for keeping us informed of your contact information.
||Karen Fulcher Lorence
|E J McNally
||Anna Marie Ross
||Elizabeth York Williams
Sunday, October 23
Sermon Series: "The Bible in Twelve Words"
Sermon: "The Seventh Word: Deportation"
Traditional Worship: Dr. William S. Barnes preaching in the Sanctuary at 8:00 9:30 & 11:00 a.m.
Contemporary Worship: Dr. William S. Barnes preaching in the Gymnasium at 9:30 a.m. & in the Attic at 5:30 p.m.
View the Upcoming Worship Schedule or Listen to past sermons on our website: www.St.Lukes.org/Worship
Kingdom Building Now Serving: Volunteer Opportunities
You can see more Volunteer Opportunites on the St. Luke's Kingdom Building website: www.St.Lukes.org/KingdomBuilding/NowServing
| Family Promise/IHN Volunteers|
|Deploy: Missions: Family Promise/IHN|
||Description: Volunteer with Family Promise (formerly IHN)- a homeless ministry on church grounds. St. Luke's will be hosting four families on our campus the week of November 20th. We need volunteers to host during the week, set up the rooms, tear down the rooms, and cook. We are offering training sessions on Monday, 10/24 at 7:00 p.m. in room C201-203, and a...|
View and Sign-up for this Opportunity
| Jobs Partnership - Life class small group facilitators|
|Deploy: Jobs Partnership: Jobs Partnership|
|Description: Through Jobs Partnership, St. Luke's is training chronically under/unemployed people in Parramore. A 12 week Life class offers a biblically based foundation about work. Small Group facilitators encourage and guide students to succeed in the program.|
View and Sign-up for this Opportunity
| Jobs Partnership - Job Counselors|
|Deploy: Jobs Partnership: Jobs Partnership|
|Description: Through Jobs Partnership, St. Luke's is training chronically under/unemployed people in Parramore. A 12 week Work Class facilitators encourage and guide students to succeed in the program and assist in creating resumes, mock interviews and job applications.|
View and Sign-up for this Opportunity
Disciple Building Growth Groups, Classes & Sign-Ups
You can see more Growth Groups, Classes & Sign-ups on the St. Luke's Kingdom Building website: www.St.Lukes.org/KingdomBuilding/SmallGroups
| The Power of a Whisper- Thursday|
|Guide: Spiritual Formation: Guide|
|Description: Learn to listen for God's urgings and then have the nerve to respond. Written by Bill Hybels of Willow Creek. Offered in the Pathways Sunday morning class. Four week session|
View and Sign-up for this Class/Small Group
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Read: Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, "You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to govern us." Samuel prayed to the LORD, and the LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only-you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them."
So Samuel reported all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king... But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, "No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles." When Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to their voice and set a king over them." 1 Samuel 8:1-22
Think About: So, God is willing to give the Israelites what they want, what they think they need. When God identifies Saul as the first king, he tells Samuel that Saul will save his people from the Philistines. That's what they want, a leader who will unite them and lead them to military victory over their enemies. Saul, God says, is that man.
It doesn't hurt that Saul looks like a king. He is tall and handsome, and his family is wealthy. God gives Saul his Spirit, which enables Saul to do kingly things. God puts Saul to the test, and it doesn't take long for Saul to demonstrate that he is not the right guy for the job. Saul's shortcomings are a lack of faith and a tendency to not do as he has told. Although he has some military success in the beginning - enough to rile up those Philistines - Saul doesn't follow Samuel's instructions, and Samuel sees immediately that Saul isn't going to work out.
So Samuel, following God's lead, goes in search of the right person for the job, and he finds David. Unlike Saul, David doesn't fit the image. He is too young and too small. He doesn't look like a king, but he has all the qualifications he needs to be the king God wants. He trusts God. His faith is extraordinary. God puts David to the test (Goliath), and he passes with flying colors. David will go down in Hebrew history as the king after God's own heart. Like all the other kings, David made huge mistakes, and God had to hold him accountable, but when David was made aware of his sin, he showed his love for God through his repentance and his willingness to accept the consequences. Eventually, the King of Kings will come from David's ancestral line. David became Israel's warrior king out of necessity. The sins he committed were punishable under the law by death. God spared his life but assured him that he would have to wage war, even with his own sons, throughout his kingship and that the honor of building the first temple in Jerusalem would pass from him to his one loyal son - Solomon.
Solomon, like his father, began his kingship as a man after God's own heart and blessed with Godly wisdom. Under Solomon, Israel became a superpower in the prehistoric Middle East. Solomon was a rock star; people from other countries wanted to know him. He formed many alliances and sealed those alliances by marrying the daughters of other rulers. Then, to please his many wives, he worshiped their gods. Oops! Bad idea. Much too accommodating. In order to maintain his rock star status, Solomon also placed huge burdens on his people and engendered much resentment among the tribes. After he died, that resentment exploded into civil war.
So, what does this mean for us? The problems started because the Israelites thought a king was better suited to meet their needs than the God who had promised to meet them. Do we do the same thing? Do we think we know better than God does what our needs are and how to meet them?
Pray this Prayer: Lord, I have to admit that when things start crumbling around me, I start looking for my own solutions to problems before I bring them to you, and even after I bring them to you, I continue trying to solve them on my own. Father, I believe. Forgive my unbelief. Amen.
Written by the St. Luke's Writing Team
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4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando FL, 32819
407-876-4991 • Fax: 407-876-6495 • www.St.Lukes.org