Newsletter March 2022
Our Latest Sermon Series: The Gospel of John
How did you do on your discipleship journal? Were you able to keep up with the daily readings? Did you find them challenging, helpful? Are you ready to pass along what you have learned to another? Remember, that is what discipling is. You pass on what you know to another so that they can teach yet another. That’s how we grow?
With that thought in Mind, on March 6, the first Sunday of Lent, Pastor Greg began a sermon series based on the Gospel of John, a disciple of Christ, who passed along what he knew so that we in turn could learn from him. This is not going to be a simple fly over series. It may take us up to two years to complete. We will take breaks for seasonal occasions, such as Advent and Christmas. Of course, on Sundays that he is absent from the pulpit, guest speakers will do what the Lord has laid on their hearts. This, however, is what the Lord has laid on Pastor Greg’s heart, taking the time to do an in-depth study of the entire Gospel of John. The goal is to cover it all.
After a person makes a commitment to Christ, the Gospel of John is often suggested as the first book of the Bible they should read. Why is that? Why not start with the more familiar story of Jesus birth, or easier yet, why not just send a new believer to Genesis and tell them to begin at the beginning? As a disciple of Christ, John had a front row seat to Jesus’ teachings, both publicly and privately. He attempted to organize his thoughts about Jesus using a logical, simple format, using much of Jesus’ teachings to teach theology and to emphasize what Jesus said about Himself. As a new believer, it is important to learn as much as you can about the one to whom you are surrendering. John reveals Jesus as shepherd, truth, healer and savior. He is revealed as all we need when we follow Him.
We hope that you enjoy this adventure along with us. Also, as a bonus, when we go offline, Pastor Greg is offering to have discussions about what we are learning, along with our usual prayer time. Just keep that in mind. Understanding is essential for growth in the faith.
News From the Good Neighbor Food Pantry
On March 3, we served 103 families. Wow! What a blessing to be able to meet so much need! Thanks so much to all who help, from packing bags for distribution to paperwork and record keeping needed to keep everything organized. We have also had a few more visitors from the pantry to our worship service. We hope they have felt welcome. One of our visitors has donated Afghan throws that she hopes could be useful for the elderly or shut in. She calls them, “Covered with Love.” We are so grateful for her thoughtfulness.
Recently, along with our food from Feeding America, we have received some helpful items from a Weight Watchers program in the Detroit area that is shutting down. We’ve received bags, cookbooks and other useful items that just may be a blessing to our recipients.
News From the Vision Team
If we build it, will they come?
On March 1, the Vision Team met, via Zoom, with our coach Ken Priddy from the Go Center. We had a lot of discussion about how to create a vision for our congregation. To help us, Ken suggested that we imagine ourselves five years in the future. What do we hope to see our church become in five years? When we put that together, we will gain a sense of what we are aiming toward now.
Of course, it is expected that there may be a lot of fits and starts along the way. The analogy of aiming an arrow is useful here. We usually think of the process as, “Ready. Aim. Fire!” What happens too often is that we get caught up in the aiming, or planning, and never release the arrow until it is too late. Ken suggests a different approach: “Ready. Fire! Aim.” This means, take your first shot and then course correct depending upon what happens.
We may have ideas about what directions that we would like to see our congregation go, but if we keep planning, and thinking that we don’t have enough resources, or whatever we need to make the target, the five years could pass with very little to show for it. If we start firing now and course correct, the vision will come as we learn from our mistakes and improve as we go.
So, the vision team is curious: where would you like to see this congregation in five years? There is a receptacle on our bright green Vision Team bulletin board for you to put your ideas. We would love to hear from you.
The Second Scripture Great
As you know, the Vision team has also been working through the scripture greats that Ken assigned for us to think and pray about. How did you do with the first one? Here is the second one for you to ponder. By the way, these are also posted on our bulletin board, just in case you lose this newsletter. Read, think, and pray about what God is saying to us here at Lake City EPC. Feedback is always appreciated.
The Great Commandment – Matthew 22:34-40
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Q1: How does God want to express Himself through our church in our community at this time?
Q2. Where do you see our church in five years?
There is a third key question to ask when something unexpected happens, Q3. “What did God mean by that?”
A Peek into Jo’s Bible
Over the years, our dear Jo McKeown has cherished special notes and poems about the Christian faith. She adds them as inserts into her Bible. Jo’s Bible has become a treasure chest of spiritual gems. Here’s one for this month:
When the time was right:
The sea parted
The walls fell down
The lions went hungry
The sun stood still
The star appeared
The waves were calmed
The stone was rolled away
The Lord ascended.
And when the time is right the King of Kings will return!
Sound Room Update
In the last year the sound room has been in a constant state of change. The following is a summary of some of those changes and how they have in turn impacted the overall operation.
The Covid 19 virus restricted personal church attendance and created the desire to live stream the services. A video camera and a black box interface called an ATEM was added to the equipment along with a new computer. This equipment in turn added considerable operating responsibilities and complexity to the video operational side of the sound room. Getting online, switching the camera between slides only, pulpit view only or both, and advancing the slides as appropriate all require operational knowledge and constant monitoring.
It was soon discovered that the existing overhead projector was not compatible with the new equipment and it was replaced. A flat TV monitor was also added so those standing at the pulpit could also see the words or pictures projected on the front screen. The Pastor now uses a hand held remote to advance the slides so the video operator does not have to do it. This in turn has really reduced the video operator’s responsibility.
With the new projector and some clever slide arrangements we are now able to project most of the slides on the wall and leave the big screen up. Finally able to see our beautiful Cross again. We have determined that the lights over the pulpit can be left on high to give good contrast for the camera and not wash out the slide projections. The lights are directional and purposely adjusted to minimize reflection on the screen or back wall.
On the sound side of the equation we are still recording on CD’s the entire service and copies are available upon request. However, we very seldom have a request for a copy as the service can also be watched and heard online even at a later date. Currently all sound settings are preset prior to the service and are not being adjusted during the service.
In conclusion we have gone from being too busy and complicated to, not much to do. Consideration is being given to only requiring one person in the sound room to operate both the audio and video equipment for the entire service. Thanks to Pastor Greg for his relentless pursuit of implementing the streaming capabilities and improving the overall service presentation.
Seder Dinner (Passover meal)
Maundy Thursday falls on April 14, this year. Maundy actually means “command,” referring to the new command, found in John 13:34-35, that Jesus gave His disciples while He was sharing His last meal with them, a Seder. The Seder is a commemorative meal that God commanded His people to celebrate every year to use food, worship and symbolism, to pass along the story to the next generation of God’s miraculous act of setting them free from bondage in Egypt. Jesus was participating in sharing this collective memory. It was during this meal, after He had washed His disciples’ feet that He issued a new command, to “love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Why did Jesus wash their feet? Is there more to the meaning of the cup of wine that they shared together and the bread they ate than what we know as communion? Why were those elements a part of that meal before it became known as communion? This and much more is explained at a Seder meal where we don’t just learn, but actually participate in the meal itself. You will taste authentic foods and participate in authentic traditions as the evening unfolds. When we held a Seder back in 2019, it was appreciated by all who participated. We hope that you can be counted among our guests this year. Please continue to watch the bulletin for the announcement. It will be helpful to know if you can attend so that we know how much food to prepare for. You won’t go away hungry, that is a certainty!
Book Study: “Captivating” by Stasi Eldredge
Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.
When: March 20, 2022 (Spring Begins!!! New Life)
Where: Right here! Lake City EPC!
Time: 9:30, Sunday mornings.
Led by Chris Klein
Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart the most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to be the beauty of the story. Those desires are far more than child’s play. They are the secret to the feminine heart. Stasi Eldredge wrote Captivating to share that your heart matters more than anything else in all creation.
Many women feel pressure to strive to be the women they “ought” to be, often living with the sense that they’ve failed. Sadly, too many messages for women do nothing but add to the pressure: “Do these ten things, and you will be a godly woman.” The effect has not been good on the feminine soul. But her heart is still there.
Throughout this study guide, you will:
Learn how to guard the most important thing about you…your Heart
Find courage to walk away from the ways we live out of Fear
Let God tenderly open our wounds to set us Free
Fight the right Enemy, which is not men. And it’s not women
Possess a Beauty that is worth pursuing
Our Wounds reveal what we are meant to bring to the world
The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel are telling you of the life God created you to live. Really. He offers to come now, as the Hero of your story—to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating.
Please call Chris Klein: 920-7223, to reserve your spot in this small group. She will also call you to follow up.
News: There are already 6 confirmed ladies for the group from our food pantry ministry! One woman is bringing 4 kids: ages 2, 3, and two 9 years old. So, we will need to provide for childcare. We are grateful that Celeste has already volunteered for that, and we’d like to have some more help.