Pastor Scott’s Blog

Gospel DNA: Multiplication

Jesus said to him,
“Go home to your friends and tell them
how much the Lord has done for you,
and how he has had mercy on you.”

Mark 5:19

 

In the region of the Decapolis (Ten Cities) on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus delivers a man from many demons. So many in fact that when they leave the man and enter nearby pigs—the whole heard of about 2,000 is lost as they rushed into the lake and downed.
 
This is quite a scene!

And caused quite a stir among the local folk.

They were very afraid to see this once wild man now calmly seated by Jesus in his right mind. And they were so dismayed from the loss of income from the drowned heard that they “began to beg Jesus to depart from their region” (Mark 5:17). Interesting isn’t it—they were thinking they had “too much” Jesus. They didn’t want that.
 
As Jesus was getting into the boat the healed man “begged” Jesus to take him along. But the man received the answer that most of us dread most—no!
 
But notice that this “no” comes as a “redirect” that honors the Jesus he wanted to follow. Instead of being permitted to travel with Jesus the man was told to travel to his home—and tell what God did for him that day.

A friend of mine alerted me to a hidden insight about this man. He was carrying on the witness to Jesus in a region where Jesus himself could no longer enter. What a privilege to be such a witness.

Then it struck me—we get to do that too. We get to tell what Jesus has done for us. We get to go places Jesus wants to be known. We get to bring the witness of his love and his healing power to our home and to our friends too. Maybe even places where Jesus is thought to be “too much” too. Now that’s something to think about.

See you in worship!!

Pastor Scott

P.S. Please make every effort to participate in the Budget Information Meeting on Thursday at 6:30 pm in the sanctuary. Also, make plans to participate in the Voter’s Meeting on Sunday the 19 th (9:45-10:45 am in the sanctuary) to vote on the 2020 Budget and hear other reports and updates. God is on the move at Community!


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Pastor Scott’s Blog – Baptism Changes Everything

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death,
in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
we too might walk in newness of life.”
– Romans 6:4
 
The Baptism of Our Lord is a key event in the life of Jesus.
(Just as your baptism is a key event in your life.)
 
In fact, it changes everything.
(Same as your baptism.)
 
Jesus’ ministry begins with His baptism
(So does yours and that of your family!)
 
But there is a striking difference. Jesus came to the waters of baptism without sin. We are not so innocent. By nature, each of us is sinful and unclean and in need of life, new life found only through faith in Jesus.
 
Because of Jesus’ baptism, holy life, death, and resurrection…our baptism gives us Jesus’ innocence…and…His mission to bring life and love to our homes and to all the world.
 
Jesus heard the Father’s voice from heaven saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” as the water of baptism washed over him. (Matthew 3:17) Jesus’ baptism makes our baptism powerful and life-changing. It is as if you too hear the voice the Father, Jesus’ Abba, saying “This is My son.” “This is My daughter.” “With whom I am well pleased.”
 
Your baptism changes everything. It redefines your life. Paul says we now “walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
 
Rejoice in the gift of your baptism—life with God!
 
Let’s look at what “walking in newness of life” looks like through the lens of Gospel DNA—which now is part of who we are—part of our new life. This week we explore Marker 1: “Love for People” from the book Gospel DNA.
 
If all goes well, we will uncover something about the importance and place of “people” in this new life in Christ through our baptism.
 
See you in worship!!
 
Pastor Scott
 
P.S.—Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a baptism in worship this week. Hmm.

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Pastor Scott’s Blog – Intro to Gospel DNA & Epiphany

 
Greetings Friends,
 
Sunday, January 5 we will kick off the next season of the church year—Epiphany.
 
Do you know what Epiphany is all about?
 
Epiphany comes from the greek work epiphanus which means to “reveal” or to “make known”.  During the season of Epiphany our worship bible readings reveal Jesus’ mission to save all people.  Jesus also reveals His power and wisdom through miracles and teachings. And we come to know Jesus as true man and true God.
 
The Epiphany season of the church year starts with the Wise Men from the East (January 6) and concludes with the Transfiguration of Jesus (this year on February 23).   
 
This Epiphany we will focus on the wisdom of Jesus and the power of the Gospel through the new book Gospel DNA:  Five Markers of a Flourishing Church.  It will be the basis for the Sunday morning Bible study and the Preach Series starting on January 5.
 
These Five DNA Markers are the result of God’s gracious work through His Word and Spirit and were seen in bold ways in the first 100 years of the Missouri Synod.  Did you know your church body was starting 1 new congregation every week during its first 100 years? Could there be such a dynamic and expansive spread of the Gospel in North America…in Flat
Rock…today?
 
Let’s examine the life of Jesus, the book of Acts and the early history of the LCMS through the missionary eyes of author Michael Newman (a seminary classmate) who has discovered that flourishing churches are known by five distinct “markers”:

Love for People   
Multiplication
Truth
Adaptability
Self-Sacrifice

May God reveal Himself and His mission to Us this Epiphany and make these “markers” more and more real at Community in 2020!
 
Pastor Scott
 
 
P.S. If you want to “go deeper” –consider ordering your own copy of this insightful book that will be the basis for our preaching series and Bible study for January and February 2020.  
 
P.S.S. Together we surpassed the December Christmas Giving Goal of $51,500 by over $1,500!! Way to go Community! Let’s rejoice in the abundance of God’s gifts and the generosity of His people!!

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Pastor’s Blog – Blessed Christmas!!

Blessed Christmas!!
Today, the people of God around the world will gather together with friends and family to worship the new born King, the Savior of the nations—Jesus.
May this Christmas be filled with childlike awe and wonder as you reflect on the best Christmas gift, God’s pure and unchanging love for you. A love that came in the flesh– as baby Jesus on Christmas. Then showed itself to be the most unexpected and powerful love ever known—as Jesus bore the cross for you and yours. A love that many discover means more and more with each passing Christmas.
 
May you deeply experience God’s love in your heart today! Blessed Christmas!!
 
Pastor Scott

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Pastor’s Blog – Advent: The Grand Finale

Will you be a Christmas Angel this year?

Angels are messengers. They tell Good News from God during the events of Christmas.
Will you spread the news of Jesus’ birth this Christmas?
How about telling your family and friends about our Christmas Eve services 4 & 6, and 11:00?
 
Community is excited to serve you and yours this Christmas—sharing the Good News of our Savior Jesus’ birth! It is our hope and prayer that your family will be blessed to worship Jesus this Christmas Eve with your friends at Community!
 

Love Came Down at Christmas!

This Sunday is the final Advent service. We might even call it the Grand Finale—as our final preparation for Christmas Even. We can’t help but think of gifts and gift giving at Christmas time – after all – God started it!
 
He is the ultimate Gift Giver – giving us life and salvation in baby Jesus born of Mary, worshipped by shepherds, and announced by angels. This Christmas, every gift we give is an expression of love and care that reflects the perfect Gift God gave to us all – Jesus!
 
The gift of Jesus is for you! And the gifts He gives are for you!
 
How do you and I respond?
 
We rejoice together in Christmas Eve worship – like the shepherds who worshipped Him together at His birth.
 
We also respond with our gifts – like the Wise Men who gave precious treasures as they worshipped Jesus sometime later. We too bring our precious gifts as part of our worship. I encourage you to ponder like Mary the Gift of God that is born in you again this Christmas. May her song be the song of your heart too this Christmas:
 
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
 
Our December Giving Goal of $51,500 is now within reach. This is a calculation of Member Contributions needed to end 2019 in a positive cash position. Thank you for your past generosity and for helping us to end the year strong!
December Christmas Giving Goal             $51,500
December Gifts received in weeks 1 -3     $29,242
Remaining Goal                                        $22,400
 
Your special gift from the heart in the month of December will greatly impact our mission to “Impact lives” in the coming year. Thank you!
 
See you on Christmas Eve
 
Pastor Scott

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Voter’s Meeting & Congregational Survey

Voter’s Meeting: Sunday, Dec 8 (9:45-10:45)

Congregation Survey: This Sunday (8:30 and 11:00) and Wednesday (7:00)

You can make a difference by completing your Michigan District Congregational Survey during worship this Sunday or Wednesday. This is a 4-page survey to be filled out by everyone 12 years old and older to help give input to the Michigan District and our own Transition Task Force as they move forward in getting us set up for the future. We need your input and participation. Tell your friends!
 
If you are not able to attend worship on Sunday, December 8 or Wednesday, December 11, copies of the survey will be available at the Church Office. All surveys must be filled out and turned in during worship or to the Church Office by December 22nd.
 
Don’t miss this important update. The Voter’s Meeting on Sunday, December 8th at 9:45 a.m. in the
church in response to the request for increased communication and transparency regarding the finances and direction of Community. We have three financial topics to share with you: One, Treasurer, Jasen Steinert CPA will present a Treasurer’s Report updating the congregation on the finances year to date (January-November 2019).  Two, the timeline and process for setting the 2020 Budget will be discussed in detail.  Three, how to End the Year in a positive cash position will also be shared under the topic “Finishing Strong 2019.”
 
The meeting will also share ministry updates like plans for a “Community-Style” 40th Anniversary Reunion in early February.

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Pastor Scott – Make Your Move Letter

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that in all things at all times, having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.”

2 Corinthians 9:8

 

Dear Members and Friends,

God is on the move at Community!

Our generous God is in the process of transforming us by His grace to be increasingly generous, like Him.  He supplies all that is needed so that “you will abound in every good work.”  In other words, God is in the business of softening our hearts to be aware of the needs of others and enlarging our hearts, so we have the capacity to meet those needs.  So…

What “Move” do you sense God is encouraging you to take? 

Wednesday and Sunday, November 20 and 24 is “Make Your Move” Week at Community.  Everyone will be able to complete their own private “Make Your Move Card.”  This is your opportunity to write down your very own Moves for “Feeding Your Faith” and “Showing Jesus’ Love.

You will complete your card at the end of the sermon and then bring it to the special cross in front of the altar, asking God to help you Make Your Move that you wrote for yourself.  Children can also “draw” their “moves” in their very own Make Your Move card too!  Then in February 2020, your Card will be returned to you for your encouragement and reflection.

Side Two of this letter includes thought starters from the Make Your Move Team who have been working with me on this spiritual growth emphasis.   These are sample “moves” that you and yours can reflect on as you prepare to write your very own personal moves in your own “Make Your Move Card.”

As a team we encourage everyone at Community to prayerfully consider Your Move.

What would it be like if our homes were marked by actively Feeding Faith through increased Prayer, Bible Reading and Thanking God in our homes? 

What would it be like if we each experienced the joy of Showing Jesus’s Love through increased Serving, Giving and Sharing Jesus together with our family and church family?
 
Thank you for prayerfully reviewing these thought starters and making worship this week a high priority as together we seek to encourage one another to Make Your Move as children of the heavenly Father in a lifelong journey of growing in Feeding Our Faith and Showing Jesus’ Love!

 

See you in Worship this Week!!        

Pastor Scott

 Interim Pastor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “Thought Starters” for Your Consideration

            As you prayerfully consider Making Your Move as God encourages you to Feed Your Faith and Show Jesus’ Love—here are some ideas that may inspire you.  These ideas come from Pastor Scott and the Make Your Move Team composed of Rob and Laurie Berry, Sandy Harris, Bob and Nancy Almaguer, Rebecca and Michael Focht. 

The Make Your Move Card you receive in worship on November 20 or 24 will include these thought starters.  Since this is a very personal experience, you will be able to write your very own personal Moves in the card too.  It is our hope that these thought starters inspire you and yours.

 

  1. Make a Move to “Feed Your Faith”

Thanking God / Worshiping Together

            ____ I will Thank God for His blessings daily, even if it has been a “hard” day.

            ____ I will write three things I am thankful for every day and share with my family.

            ____ I will faithfully attend worship services with other Jesus Followers.

            ____
 
 
Praying for Others

____ I will pray for my enemies and practice forgiveness & compassion with others.

          ____ I will pray for 5 minutes every day.

____ I will pray for a different person every day.

          ____

           

Reading the Bible/ Studying the Bible Together

         ____ I will read my Bible privately or with others at least ____ times a week.

         ____ I will join a Bible study group

         ____ I will add a Bible app to my phone so I can read one verse while I wait each day.

         ____

           

  1. Make a Move to “Show Jesus’ love”
Serving Joyfully

        ____ I will try a new way to serve others based on my unique experiences and interests.

        ____ I will look for a need and meet it.

        ____ I will strive to see family members and those I meet as Jesus sees them.

        ____

           

Sharing Jesus

____ I will let others see Jesus in me and give an answer for my hope in Jesus.

____ I will invite someone to a CLC event or worship.

____ I will listen to the needs of others so I can carefully share Jesus.

____

 

Giving Generously

          ____ I will resist a favorite beverage or snack—and give the savings to God’s work.

          ____ I will increase my giving…by giving more regularly or giving more as God leads me.

          ____ I will strive to be content and more generous.

          ____


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Transition Task Force (TTF) – 1st Report

 
Hello everyone, the Transition Task Force had its kick-off meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Along with getting to know each other better, we reviewed the overall goals for the team. We are all excited to be involved in this part of the Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM) Process.
 
On Wednesday, November 13 and Sunday, November 17 we will Introduce this team at the close of each service with an opportunity to pray a prayer of God’s blessings on this team and Phase 2 of our process.
 
Ultimately our quest is to lead a process that identifies and reveals 2 things:
1. What is God showing us about how to do life as an even healthier Christian Community?
2. What is God showing us about the mission we have as we prepare for the future of Community?
 
To accomplish this the team will need the active engagement and participation of you and all members. Please make a point to be in worship on either Sunday, December 8 or Wednesday, December 11 to complete the Michigan District Congregation Survey at the end of worship those days. This survey is for all, including those who are 12 and up. If you cannot be in worship one of those dates you can also stop by the church during the week to complete your survey. The last date for survey’s to be turned in Sunday, December 22.
 
It is important to everyone on the task force that we keep our church membership informed as we move forward in the process. Our current step of the IIM process will continue into the new year. Your participation is an integral part of our team and congregation discerning God’s direction for Community. Please pray that all members and our team are working on doing what is best for our church.
 
Please continue to interact with our team. Your on-going prayers and support for our task force is important to help us accomplish our ultimate goal of understanding where we are going and what kind of pastor will be best suited to join us on the mission God gives us!
 
God bless all of you,
 
Bob Almaguer
 
TTF Chair.

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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – Roll The Dice

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look,

God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”                        

Exodus 3:4

 

“If you play the game, you may lose. But if you never play the game, you definitely will never win. And if you play the game, you have to roll the dice.” (pg. 137) Truly experiencing a Full Life in Christ requires some element of risk, adventure, and challenge. Christ never even suggested that it would be comfortable or easy.
 
However, so much in life is geared towards what’s comfortable.
How many people like to be taken out of their comfort zone?
Who buys a chair that is designed to be uncomfortable?

But God is not one to let His people atrophy in what is comfortable. Instead, He calls us to “an adventuresome partnership” (pg. 140) that stretches our faith and leads to greater trust in Him.  Our Verse of the Week above is God’s call to Moses.  You may recall the great faith and bold leadership of Moses in his later years.  Do you recall his initial response to God’s challenging assignment?  Let’s see what we can learn from his experience.

The theme for this weekend is about “getting into the game” and having the courage to stop watching and starting taking our move.  Are you ready?  Let’s explore the joy and challenge of following Jesus.

 
See you in worship
 

Pastor Scott

 

P.S.  Seeing Community in action during the Hall-O-Ween event was exciting and awesome!  I’m still trying to figure out how many members and their friends and family joined together as the “joyful servants” making this event happen.  Seems like it was over 75 people blessing around 450 kids (and their parents too).  May the seeds that were sown by our generous love, faithful songs, and Jesus filled children’s message—bear fruit that is even sweeter than free candy—knowing the love of Jesus and his followers!!  To God be the glory!!


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Pastor Scott’s Weekly Blog – Remember Your Stuff Isn’t Yours (BITB)

 
“O Lord, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever,
and keep their hearts loyal to you.”
1 Chronicles 29:18 
 
Perhaps more than ever before, our materialistic culture is focused on accumulating stuff. We base our self-worth on the amount of stuff we have. We have so much stuff, we don’t know what to do with all of it.  But…
 
He who dies with the most stuff…
still dies…
and his stuff goes to somebody else!
 

With all of this stuff piled up around us, it is easy to lose sight of what ultimately matters. We get buried by all of our stuff, while at the same time desperately grasping for more because we seem to think that all we need is more.

The problem is not with the stuff. It’s a problem with our hearts. Treasuring our stuff is deadly, and in the end, it all goes back in the box. But treasuring what matters – God and people – and letting go of our stuff releases immense joy and true satisfaction in life. 
 
King David in the Verse of the Week prays that God’s people will have a generous heart and a heart loyal to God—this sounds like what Jesus called being rich toward God.
 
Looking for significance and satisfaction? Let’s explore being rich toward God.

See you in worship

Pastor Scott


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