Dear St. Lukers,
We had a wonderful Sunday of worship led by the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale. Thank you for coming to support this incredibly talented group of students and for your generosity toward the students.
This week we begin a three-week series on learning the importance of investing in others through our witness and relationships. We lived on a cul-de-sac in Jacksonville when the girls were small. I had never lived on one before, nor had I ever lived in an area with so many families who had children the same age. It was such a gift to us as a family as it was a cul-de-sac in a small neighborhood, tucked away off the main highway where there was no traffic except for the occasional person lost or looking for a new house. Our girls would go out after school or early on Saturday mornings to meet their friend, ride their bikes and just be kids. Many times we as parents would go out and catch up as we watched the kids play. It was a great place to not only share time with the kids, but honestly it was an incredible chance for evangelism. John and I started working on both neighbors on either side about going back to church by inviting the kids to Vacation Bible school, and then sports, and finally worship. When we left both families were involved in the church I served. It was so simple and so easy, it was just taking the time to be intentional about building relationships.
The parsonage is located in the Turnburry subdivision just down the road and the same thing happens there as well. Each little cul-de-sac seems to have a St. Luker who is intentionally connecting and investing in the lives of those who live next door. In fact, the St. Lukers who live in Turnburry are even more intentional and better than I am about being involved and connected. I have so much to learn still! That’s exactly what this sermon series “God’s Cul-de-sac” is designed to help us understand. How easy it is to invest and be a witness in other people’s lives if we will simply be intentional about sharing our life with others. We will actually stay with each of the scriptures of the lectionary text from the fifth Sunday after Epiphany and study how we invest by our witness, our call and through the generations. Join Pastor Corey and me as we share the gospel story of Jesus calling the disciples to a new fishing expedition from Luke 5:1-11. Consider your own neighborhood or a place you frequent regularly. Are there people around you for whom God is calling you to be a fisher for the Kingdom, a witness through conversation and relationship building?
About 8 years ago we began to dream of a 4D Vision. In one of the subgroups that created the world-changing strategic vision to “Speak Love Aloud,” a dream was shared that Sunday mornings in worship would begin to reflect the look of a busy day at Orlando International Airport. The person shared a vision of different colors, languages and ages sharing worship together. This dream began to articulate the vision we have had to live into our core values in such a way that the Sunday worship hour would reflect the diversity of beauty found in the Kingdom of God. This vision led to our shalom session and the creation of our Inclusiveness Committee. This committee has sought to have us celebrate the diversity of our congregation and community by being intentional to connect with heritage celebrations. This Sunday also begins our celebration of Black History Month. In worship we will have liturgy, art and music shaped by local African American authors and artists. We are so grateful to be in a church seeking to live into what it means to be the church willing to break down the barriers of 11:00 on Sunday morning being the most segregated hour in our country. We still have work to do, but the journey of intentionally trying is the work of discipleship.
See you Sunday at God’s Cul-de-sac where Christ is the center.