Pastor Scott’s Blog

Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – No One Else Can Take Your Turn (BITB)

“So, whether you eat or drink,

or whatever you do,

do all to the glory of God.”

1 Cor 10:31

 

In the game of life, nobody can “sit this one out” or “take a pass.” Everyone has to take a turn. Every time we are faced with a decision in life – no matter how important or trivial it may seem – we are given a chance to take our turn. And every turn we take, every choice we make, matters.

This week Daniel, a displaced person, living in Babylon far from his home in Jerusalem—has much to teach us about taking our turn.  Even when it seems like it doesn’t matter.  Check it out.  You may even be inspired to take the Daniel Adventure.

Every turn we take also presents us with an opportunity to honor God. Whenever we choose to honor God in some aspect of our life, we align ourselves with His will, as He reveals it to us in His Word. Aligned with God’s will, we become open to God’s work in our lives and receptive to His blessing.

Blessings on your worship

Pastor Scott

 

By the way—did you know that we are averaging 90 people in bible study each week during our “Back in the Box” Spiritual Growth Campaign?  You can join in for light supper on Wednesday at 5:30 and study from 5:45-6:45 prior to 7:00 Worship.  Or try Sunday morning for light breakfast at 9:30 and study from 9:45-10:45 prior to 11:00 Worship. 

Need a copy of the Phase 1 Report?  You can pick one up at worship or at the church office during office hours.  Or we can send you one electronically.

The meeting to discuss the Phase 1 Report is Sunday, October 20 in the sanctuary 6:30-8:30 pm.  See you there!!

As we think further about how games are played, we note that keeping score defines our reality.  It tells us who is ahead and who is behind. It separates winners from losers. For some, the final score is all that matters. How you get there is just a means to the end.

In life, however, the scores we keep are not always the right ones, or the most helpful. Without even realizing that it is happening, we tend to adopt the scoring system of the world around us (think: workplace, entertainment, family & friends).

This scoring system, in turn, comes to shape our behavior and identity, oftentimes in ways that are contrary to the revealed will of God.

Jesus Christ introduces a new (although in a sense it is old…) scoring system, one that seems odd at first but which, in the end, is the only scoring system that leads to ultimate victory and life. Centered on humility and grounded in service, Jesus’ scoring system turns weakness into strength and (apparent) losers into (true) winners!

Want to hear more—join us for week 2 of the Spiritual Growth Campaign as we take a closer look at “Three Ways to Keep Score.”  The same good topic on two convenient days.

 

                 Wednesday Night                                             Sunday Morning

                 Light Supper (5:30)                                         Light Breakfast (9:30)

                 Table Group Discussion (5:45)                     Table Group Discussion (9:45)

                 Worship (7:00)                                                Worship (8:30 or 11:00)

 

Can’t wait to see you there!!

            Pastor Scott


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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – Three Ways to Keep Score

 “Having loved His own who were in the world,

He now showed them the full extent of his love.”

John 13: 1b

As we think further about how games are played, we note that keeping score defines our reality.  It tells us who is ahead and who is behind. It separates winners from losers. For some, the final score is all that matters. How you get there is just a means to the end.

In life, however, the scores we keep are not always the right ones, or the most helpful. Without even realizing that it is happening, we tend to adopt the scoring system of the world around us (think: workplace, entertainment, family & friends).

This scoring system, in turn, comes to shape our behavior and identity, oftentimes in ways that are contrary to the revealed will of God.

Jesus Christ introduces a new (although in a sense it is old…) scoring system, one that seems odd at first but which, in the end, is the only scoring system that leads to ultimate victory and life. Centered on humility and grounded in service, Jesus’ scoring system turns weakness into strength and (apparent) losers into (true) winners!

Want to hear more—join us for week 2 of the Spiritual Growth Campaign as we take a closer look at “Three Ways to Keep Score.”  The same good topic on two convenient days.

 

                 Wednesday Night                                             Sunday Morning

                 Light Supper (5:30)                                         Light Breakfast (9:30)

      Table Group Discussion (5:45)                      Table Group Discussion (9:45)

      Worship (7:00)                                                  Worship (8:30 or 11:00)

 

Can’t wait to see you there!!

Pastor Scott

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – First week of Spiritual Growth Campaign

“So we know and rely on the love God has for us.”

1 John 4: 16a

Welcome to week one of our 2019 Spiritual Growth Campaign based on the "game" metaphor and
the catchphrase, “It All Goes Back in the Box”
 
Throughout this 8-week preaching series, you will have many opportunities to “make your move”
 
Today we are giving attention to “Rule #1”
 
How does this impact your next move? 
 
The game starts now!
 
It all starts Wednesday Night and Sunday Morning
  • Wednesday Night
    • Light Supper (5:30 pm)
    • Table Group Discussion (5:45 pm)
    • Worship (7:00pm)
  • Sunday Morning
    • Light Breakfast (9:30 am)
    • Table Group Discussion (9:45 am)
    • Worship (8:30 or 11:00am)
Can’t wait to see you there!!
Pastor Scott

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Matt’s Blog this week – FAITH 5 Live Lab

 
Hi Community!
 
I’m Matt Hire, the Director of Discipleship at Community, as Pastor Scott’s out of town. In his absence, I’m writing the blog and leading services. This week will be exciting as we’ll be delivering the message to each other as we “exercise” our Faith5 muscles we’ve been learning about. I’d like to start off with a verse that has always inspired my ministry that also goes well with Faith5.

So, being affectionately desirous of you,

we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God,

but also our own selves,

because you had become very dear to us.

1st Thessalonians 5:8
 
I enjoy this translation, especially the phrase “being affectionately desirous of you”. It sounds somewhat alien to us, but it’s just another way of saying “because we loved you so much”. Love is such an overused word in English. I love God, I love cheeseburgers, I love my wife, I love sports, and I love shoes all use the same word; but do we really love our spouse the same way I love fries and a Diet Coke? I hope not!
 
That’s why I love like the phrase “being affectionately desirous of you” because it’s out of left field. It helps you realize that this is a very different kind of love. This is the kind of love that changes us the way that only God’s love can.
 
1 st Thessalonians was written to the church at Thessalonica after Paul had been moved away from the people he loved dearly. Paul was called to spread the Gospel, which he was very successful at. However, 1 st Thessalonians 5:8 points out that because of how much he loved his church, that he shared himself, his whole life with these people. It’s one thing to serve a church, but it’s another thing to become a part of it.
 
Paul shared his life with the people at this church: his highs, lows, and in-betweens. Paul lived his life with this church, sharing Jesus with them as he shared himself. As he helped lead this church, he also studied the Scriptures with them, talked with them, prayed for them, and blessed them. Paul may have actually invented Faith5!
 
Kidding aside, Paul was living out the same principles that Faith5 tries to bring to each home.
 
If you haven’t already, how will you incorporate Faith5 into your daily life? Will you do it in the home, the car, or right before bed?
 
Sometimes the best-laid plans fall apart. My wife, Kaylynn, and I usually try to do Faith5 as we get ready to go to bed at night. However, this past Tuesday was very busy, with worship practice, piano lessons, and work seems to get in the way. We shared our highs and lows over dinner and had enough time before rehearsal to read the Verse of the Week and talk abut it. After rehearsal, we both took care of some household duties when Kaylynn reminded me that we hadn’t finished Faith5 for the day—so we prayed and blessed each other before we went to sleep.
 
Remember, it’s not necessarily about doing the steps in a specific time frame or order—although that sure helps! It’s about making faith active in your home and making it a priority each night.
 
See you in worship!!
 
Matt Hire
Director of Discipleship
 
P.S.
The Verse of the Week for this week is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.

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Pastor Scott’s Blog – FAITH 5: Bless

 
Greetings People of God,
 
Here is the “Verse of the Week” for this week…
 
“Be Strong and Courageous.
Do not be frightened,
do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go”
Joshua 1:9
Do you feel strong and courageous today?
Is it because you have everything under control in your life? What if courage was not because of your sense of control—or your sense of life going as planned? What if courage and strength could be yours when you feel week and vulnerable? Look again at the Verse of the Week. Read it carefully. How does it end?
 
This is God’s word of promise to Joshua. Joshua has a new job the day these words are spoken to him. Joshua has the same job Moses used to have. And Joshua has the same promise that Moses had from God. “I will not leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5) This is the same promise that God gives to every born again child of God. It comes with saving faith, it comes with your Holy Baptism.
 
When life seems overwhelming and out of control that is when we need this verse and its promise. Take heart dear friend—you are not alone. God is with you. These are great words to hear. Who can you say this to today, this week?
 
I will not be surprised if God brings someone across your path this week who needs these words. How awesome to speak these words of comfort and peace to someone you care about. I know it’s true—I got to speak them to my wife last week—we repeated them together— it was one of those days—we needed to be reminded and strengthened with the promise that God is with us.
 
This weekend our FAITH 5 series focuses on the fifth faith practice—“Bless”. And I’m pretty sure
to bless someone is to remind them that God is with them.
 
Who are you going to bless?
 
See you in worship!!
Pastor Scott
 
PS If you want to join the Faith 5 Experience check out the information and videos at www.faith5.org
 
PSS Back in the Box will be available after worship on Wednesday and Sunday by the Community Room entrance for only $5. This is a great time to start getting ready for the Spiritual Growth Campaign—by reading and praying. Will you also join the prayer team– in praying for God to pour out the Holy Spirit to encourage and transform every member? Thanks
 
 
If you like to download the week 3 copy of the FAITH 5 practice for the home, click HERE

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – (FAITH5) Pray & Talk + Holy Manners Invite

 
Greetings Jesus Followers,
It’s time for the big reveal. Drum roll please. The Verse of the Week is…

“Pray without ceasing”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

If you are wondering about topics for prayer you could use my favorite acronym: P-R-A-Y.

Praise God for Who He is and What He has done.
Repent of your sin against God and your neighbor
Ask God to meet the needs of others and yourself
Yield to the answers that God gives

Perhaps this list of prayer topics is why St. Paul was confident that prayer could happen with
such frequency that it would be like we never stopped praying.
 
When do you pray?
Why do you pray?
Who do you pray for? Or pray with?
 
These are great questions for adults and older students to reflect on and to share with one
another today and in the coming week as you practice the TALK and PRAY steps of FAITH 5:
 
 
One more thing about prayer–Do you recall what Jesus said about difficult people and prayer? Jesus said, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) If that is how we are to treat difficult people—then prayer for family, friends and fellow Jesus followers sure makes a lot of sense too.
Want more encouragement for prayer? Come to Worship and Education Time this weekend—prayer is our theme as we continue to introduce and encourage FAITH 5. If you want to join the Faith 5 Experience check out the information and videos at www.faith5.org
See you at Community!!
Pastor Scott
 
P.S. Now is the time to register online to participate in a 2-Part Workshop for Community Leaders and Members. Some leaders have received a personal invite—we need you. All members are welcome to participate. Registration deadline is Monday, noon September 16 and attendance maximum is 50. Thank you for joining in this next step in the Intentional Interim Process. See Description below and sign up through this online link (click here).
 
Part 1: “Healthy Relationships start with Knowing Your Colors”
Date: Monday, September 23 in the Community Room
Time: 6:30-9:00
 
Do you know your Colors? That is, do you know your “go-to” behavioral styles and your ways of making sense of the world—which also impact the ways you tend to speak and interact with others? Other’s already know how you tend to lead and interact with those around you—why not know that about yourself too? This also helps God’s people serve together at home, work, and the church as healthy teams. Fortunately, this experience combines humor with keen insight so all stay safe in the midst of growing self-awareness and insights on how you can best foster and exemplify healthy relationships with everyone God’s brings along your path. For more information, you can visit www.holymanners.org
 
Part 2: “Creating Holy Manners for Community Ministries
Date: Monday, September 30 in the Community Room
Time: 6:30-9:00
 
This interactive experience including all elected leaders and staff and those interested in the health and future of Community will feature the whole Community Team working together to create the first draft of “Holy Manners for Community Ministries”. It all comes together in Part 2!

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – OneChurch and Fall Fest and FAITH 5

 
OneChurch and FallFest is THIS Sunday—September 8 starting at 11:00!
 
We are gathering for worship as OneChurch at 11:00 for one celebratory OUTDOOR service kicking off the new year all together!
 
Such an exciting Sunday—worship is outdoors by the main entrance—come casual, bring your lawn chairs or blanket. FallFest immediately follows—what a great time to connect with new friends and re-connect with fellow members and friends at Community!
 
It’s not too late to invite a friend or family member to join you for this exciting Sunday at Community. For more details see the attached.
 
(This blog is also a reminder that since everyone is worshipping together on Sunday—there is no Wednesday worship this week. See you Sunday.)
 
“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105
 
Introducing FAITH 5 for Community!
 
I am so excited to introduce you to FAITH 5. Faith Active In The Home (or FAITH 5) is the focus of this 4-week preaching and teaching series during the month of September. This simple and repeatable practice can help each of us bring God’s Word into our daily lives as a light for our life together as a family of one or many.
 
FAITH 5 is a blessing for every home—Single Adults, Couples of All Ages and Homes with Children. It gives you a chance to share your heart and hear the heart of others, to read God’s Word together, to talk about the bible verse, to pray and be prayed for and end by passing on God’s blessing to all involved.
 
Wouldn’t it be worth as little as five minutes a day to bring this blessing to your home?
 
We are encouraging the homes of Community Lutheran to be faith-forming centers where forgiveness, trusting God’s Word and serving others are cherished and embodied.  This is why homes of every size and generation are encouraged to learn and practice FAITH 5 during the month of September. 
 
FAITH 5 is a simple, daily process designed to make faith come alive in your home, whether you are a single adult, a couple, a parent, or a child. The key is to find out what works best for your situation.
 
Try these daily, in your car, at the dinner table, or at bedtime. Here are the 5 steps:
  1. SHARE your highs and lows
  2. READ a Bible verse
  3. TALK about the Bible verse
  4. PRAY for your highs and lows, your family, and for the world
  5. BLESS one another
 
See you at Worship—as OneChurch this Sunday at 11:00 and FallFest at 12:00!!
Pastor Scott
 

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – CONVERSATIONS in Christ

“At the same time,
PRAY also for US,
that God may open to US
a DOOR for the word,
to declare the mystery of Christ”
Colossians 4:3
 
Conversations—In Christ
 
What kinds of conversations does Paul mention in the final chapter of Colossians?
I notice three.
 
First, conversations with Christ. We call this prayer. In the final chapter Paul now asks his readers to pray for him and for the sharing of the mystery of Christ. Did you notice that he models prayer throughout the letter before he asks them to pray. He prays for them in 1:3 “We thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” In verse nine in the same first chapter he writes “…we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will.” Then in the final verses he invites them to pray also, and to pray for him and spreading of the Good News of Jesus. How are your conversations with Jesus?
 
Second, conversations with those who are “not yet” followers of Jesus. We call this witnessing. Paul writes in 4:6 “Let your speech always be seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” I love this verse because it reminds me of grilling and smoking meat. Seasoning. Seasoning so that others find it enjoyable. Did you also notice these conversations are about “answering.” This means that someone must be asking. How are your conversations with those “not yet” following Jesus? Are you giving seasoned responses to their questions?
 
Third, conversations with one another. We call this encouragement. Paul mentions the prayers of Epaphras who prays and encourages the readers to “stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” (4:12) These are sweet conversations indeed. Conversations that encourage friend and family to stay strong in faith and active in love. Who are you encouraging toward maturity?
 
We will give attention to these three conversations with special emphasis on “declaring the mystery of Christ” mentioned in the key verse above. The mystery of Christ is intended to be made known.
 
What is this mystery? Is it humanity’s problem with sin and rebellion? No that is not a mystery– it is lived out and clear to see and know every day. What is the mystery then? It is God’s unrelenting grace and mercy in Christ for those who struggle daily with their sin and brokenness. This is the mystery that Jesus followers get to tell one another and all those who will blessed to know this great mystery.

See you in Worship!

Pastor Scott


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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog: Vocations – In Christ

“Whatever you do, in word or deed,

do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Col 3:17

 

Vocations—In Christ

 

“Whatever you do, in word or deed…” this sounds important and grand, worthy of our attention and focus. Paul writes these words then goes on to describe the key relationships for life—those that relate to life at home and at work.

These key relationships for life are also called “vocations.” Your vocations can be thought of as “holy callings” God has given to you. Each of us began life with the vocation of either “son” or “daughter.” If you are married, then you have the vocation of “husband” or “wife.” Maybe God has blessed you with siblings—so you also have the vocation, holy calling, of being “brother” or “sister.” In the workplace, you may be “employer” or “employee.” These too are holy callings given by God.
 
Consider the vocations, holy callings, you have from God. Make a mental list of them. Now turn to Colossians 3:12-4:1 and read the insights and directions God gives to you for each vocation. These will be the focus of our time in worship this week.
 
Apostle Paul is reminding us that “Whatever we do”—it can “all” be done in thanks to God the Father and in light of our trusting relationship with Jesus.
 
One of life’s great challenges is prioritizing and balancing our many and varied vocations. It can be hard to be a good “employee”, “parent or grandparent”, “church member” and “good neighbor” all in the same day.
 
A child of God might well ask, “Does God give us wisdom and guidance in his Word on how to keep these priorities straight?” That is a worthy question with a great answer.
 
 
Let’s check that out this week in worship!!

In Christ,

Pastor Scott

 

P.S. Many thanks for the prayers and encouragement you’ve shared with me regarding my Teaching Trip to Ethiopia. It was great to share my Ethiopia Report this past Sunday with the Sunday Bible Study Group.

I’d like to offer it again so others could hear the story of God at work around the world.
Here is an idea—what about 6:00-6:45 on Wednesday, September 11—prior to worship time?
If you’d like to hear my Ethiopia Report on September 11—please let me know. Thanks.

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog: Life Together – In Christ

 
“Therefore as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12
 
Life Together—In Christ
 
Friend, read the first two lines of the verse of the week one more time. Are you grasping the wonder and magnitude of these statements? You are God’s chosen one. You are dearly loved. You are holy. These are all grand realities because you are “in Christ”. This is how the God over all the universe sees and knows you to be. You can rest in this great truth and reality. All of this is yours as a gift. It all is yours because God has called you to saving faith in the one Jesus of Nazareth who gave his life for you on Calvary’s cross. Your value and identity are based on how God sees you. He sees you as his chosen one, holy and dearly loved. I guess none of us in Christ need wonder about our worth again!
 
The rest of that sentence relates to the wonderful characteristics and qualities that reflect who we are as God’s beloved. Paul writes that we are to “clothe” ourselves with these. He is indicating that these are available to us. We get to dress out of Jesus’ closet. Each of these helps us do “life together” in community safely and peaceably.
 
Compassion includes bringing help to those in distress; kindness knows no distress and one leader calls it the WD40 of relationships. Humility is putting the welfare of others above yourself; gentleness is not easily provided by the carelessness of others, and patience does not bear a grudge or seek revenge.
 
In worship this week we will rejoice in the work of Christ that makes us one in Christ and gives us the gift of salvation. We will also rejoice that God is at work in our midst enabling us to live safely and peaceably with one another. May you continue to experience the peace and joy of offering others compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience in our home, congregation and wherever you may be.
 
In Christ,
 
Pastor Scott
 
 
P.S. I hope you will be able to join in the Ethiopia Report that I will be sharing this Sunday, August 18, 9:45-10:45 in the Community Room. Again, many thanks for your prayers and encouragement regarding my recent teaching trip to Ethiopia!!

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