Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Skirl – September 2016

The September 2016 issue of The Skirl, our monthly newsletter, includes:

  • Explaining our mission to the world.
  • Cookbook tasting luncheon: We submitted over 125 recipes. But what do they really taste like? Bring yours. Taste mine.
  • Introducing our newest members: the Moore family.
  • Photographs from our Talent Show and  Ice Cream social.
  • Do you know a leader?
  • Church Calendar for September.
  • And much more!

Read The Skirl for September 2016 today.

Usefulness

cost-1174936_960_720Faith in Christ has financial implications in all aspects of our lives.

Thousands of years ago in what we now call the country of Turkey, near the city of Colossae, lived a wealthy Christian land owner named Philemon. The Apostle Paul began a letter to him, and to the church that met in his house, thanking him for the hospitality he had shown to Christian missionaries. But Paul expected more from Philemon.

It seems that certain slave named Onesimus had escaped from Philemon’s household. Perhaps Paul had stayed with Philemon while visiting Colossae and this slave had secretly followed Paul to subsequent places of ministry served Paul while he was in prison. Jewish law allowed Onesimus to continue to minister with Paul:

Slaves who have escaped to you from their owners shall not be given back to them. They shall reside with you, in your midst, in any place they choose in any one of your towns, wherever they please; you shall not oppress them.
— Deuteronomy 23:15-16 (NRSV)

Roman law was equally clear. Escaped slaves where to returned to their owners or executed.

Having separately written to probably Philemon’s church at Colossae that slaves were to obey their master and that masters were to treat their slaves fairly, Paul opted to put Philemon’s faith to a practical test, urging him to do the right thing with Onesimus.

How has your faith challenged you to stress your household to do the right thing when secular culture offers an easier, less expensive option?

I will have more to say about Paul’s brief letter to Philemon, including what happened to Onesimus, on Sunday, September 4th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

God’s Table

MysteryPersonI have a fantasy that someone extremely famous, either widely popular or perhaps controversial, would choose to worship with us. The mere mention of their presence would draw hundreds of people, filling our sanctuary to standing room only. Even on Sundays when this personality could not be in attendance, people would continue to visit just to sit in the same pew where that famous person sat. Newspapers and television journalists would show up unannounced to record worship services to analyze why we were chosen over other congregations.

I secretly hope that when we have an invite-a-friend Sunday, one of you invites a niece or nephew who happened to win a gold medal at the Olympics, or an uncle or aunt who has stared in a hit movie, or even a friend of the family who is running for election to a distinguished office. I imagine on Superbowl Sunday a player or coach from a team not playing that day would casually drop by and talk about providing bowls of soup for those less fortunate, the basis for Souper Bowl of Caring.

My fantasy imagines how even a brief visit would positively impact our congregation as their notoriety advanced the Kingdom of God in Temple Terrace. We would suddenly find ourselves in the enviable problem of having to expand our ministries and mission programs to add opportunities for all these new participants.

Two thousand years ago Jesus was the A-list guest to have at your dinner party. He would have been controversial among the rich and famous, although he was widely respected as a teacher and healer. When he was invited to a dinner party at the home of the leader of the local religious businessmen he advised them:

“When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” – Luke 13:12-14

This biblical advice is the basis for our community dinners when we welcome anyone and everyone to come and have dinner with us free of charge. These dinners do not particularly advance our treasury. Although I have escorted a few guests at these dinners to see our sanctuary, these events have not been effective at attracting our guests to worship with us. But when we show our concern for those outside the church, we demonstrate the vitality of this congregation in our mission, our ministries, and in our worship.

I will have more to say about Luke 13:7-14 on Sunday, August 28th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

Enough Excuses! Speak!

When did God first know you?

earth-11015_640You might recall a day when you first recognized and welcomed God’s presence in your life. But the more important question is when did God first recognize your place and importance in the whole of creation?

The LORD had a very specific answer for the prophet Jeremiah:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, …”
— Jeremiah 1:5

The Hebrew verb to know is not merely recognition, but experiential knowing. Thus the LORD did not merely watch Jeremiah grow to maturity from a distance but intimately experienced his gifts and talents.

You also have unique gifts and talents that the LORD has known from before your birth and has experienced how you will fit into the whole of creation. The question is how long will you resist your calling? Jeremiah tried complaining about his lack of experience.

“… Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”
— Jeremiah 1:6

While your calling might not be to prophesy to the world, it might be as simple as teaching a few people from your experiences and unique talents. It might be visiting with those limited by health, disability, or circumstance. It might be organizing a business idea into a product that puts people to work.

I will have more to say about Jeremiah 1:4-10 on Sunday, August 21st, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

What Time Is It?

Discussing religion can be as divisive as politics. Consider church fights over how to celebrate Christmas or Easter or who to elect as Elder and ministers. People on both sides of such fights, in other situations demonstrate inspiring faith, yet in the midst of conflict might hurl thoughtless insults rather than prayers for peace and unity in Christ.

In other countries, conversion to Christianity might result in exclusion from family or community or even death.

jail-cells-429638_640If Christianity were illegal here, would you be convicted? What evidence might a prosecutor stack up to prove you really followed Christ? Giving to our food pantry, although a nice thing to do, ought not be sufficient. Even atheists help the poor. An occasional visit to a worship service ought to warrant further investigation, but considering that fewer than half of our membership show up on a typical Sunday, an occasional attendance ought not be sufficient.

Alternately, think about the people around you on a typical Sunday morning. What evidence of Christian faith have you seen in them? Have you seen them teaching others? Praying with someone? Serving our community? Inviting others to experience grace in their lives? If so, take a moment this week to thank them for demonstrating the power of Jesus Christ.

I will have more to say about Luke 12:49-56 on Sunday, August 14th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

King and Kingdom

CommunionTableSome people call the table in the front of the church an altar.

In ancient Israel the blood of a freshly slaughtered bull would be sprinkled on the altar as a means of atoning for the sins of individuals and communities, so they might again become one with God. Sacrifices were also viewed as necessary to satisfy kings and the King. Necessary to pay the price for the error of our ways. We see the idea of sacrifices even today in parking fines and in jail time.

But we have no need for an altar. For we trust that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient and fully satisfies all of the sacrifices specified in the Old Testament.

What then do we call that table between the pulpit and the lectern upon which we celebrate the Lord’s Super?

I like calling it an ALTER table, for we come to this table to be altered in our lives and in our living. We gather before this table for an hour once a week to redeem and reconcile the remaining 167 hours each week, so the whole of our lives might be focused on building the Kingdom of God and thereby glorifying God.

I will have more to say about Isaiah 1:10-20 on Sunday, August 7th, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

August Issue of the Skirl

This month in our monthly newsletter, The Skirl:

  • Photographs from celebrating Janice Owen’s 50th anniversary as our organist !
  • Don’t miss Bingo, Pancake Breakfast, Rally Day, Talent Show.
  • Church Photo Directory coming soon
  • Vacation Bible School photographs.
  • Prayer lists
  • Read about our new members.
  • Robert’s Ramblings

Click here to read The Skirl for August 2016