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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Worship Ministry Team

The Worship Ministry Team feels led to extend worship and Communion each month to shut=in members who request. We would like to have two-person teams wiling to participate. Each team must have at least one elder; the other member does not have to be ordained.

We would like a commitmemtn of at least a few hours on two Sundays a year. A trainig session, led by former pastoral intern Debbie Johnson will be offered on meaningful worship time with out sisters and brothers in Christ. Maps to residences and a communion set with the elements will be provided to each team.

Please prayerfully consider serving Christ and St. Andrew's in this mission. If you would like to participate, please contact either Sylvia Folk or Angie Blackburn by Sunday, February 11th. After we have a team of volunteers in place, a training date will be set either in late February or early March.

The Worship Ministry Team

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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Way of Wisdom

Sunday Sermon Summary: January 21, 2007

Today's gospel lesson speaks of another way of life--through God. How can we know the way? (John 14:1-7) When Thomas asks this of Jesus, he takes it to a deeper level. He says, I am the way, the truth and the life. Jesus Christ is the way. He doesn't just point the way or give directions. We are blessed to welcome in new members to St. Andrew's. As we welcome them we make a promise to help them know and follow Jesus Christ.

To know and follow Jesus Christ--what does it mean to make that promise? To know the way, the truth and the By helping them understand who we are---the body of Christ. We are a scripture reading community. The role of scripture is worship. All prayers and songs give voice to the words of sacred writing. Reading scripture is central in our worship. Scripture shapes our thoughts, hearts and minds. It also shapes how we live as we seek to follow Jesus Christ in the way of wisdom. The way we live is shaped by scripture. It is a way of life.

(Psalms 1-41) 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night. The law for tribal Hebrews meant the 10 Commandments. That is what we think of first. It could also mean a list of do's and don'ts. The law can become a prescription or a burden. Are we doing it right? The law of God is not a burden. It is a gift of grace. It is not a list of do's and don'ts. The first five books of the bible is what the law of God refers to. It is more than a list of do's and don'ts. It is a story of how God created the heavens and the earth and delivering his people from slavery in Egypt.

He is not committing to only do's and don'ts. He is committing heart and mind to the Lord of all creation. In the scripture the psalmist discovers that God is not a last testament. He sets us free from those things that enslave us so we can live in God's grace. Stories teach us how to live. Words evoke images. Law teaches us who we are. It serves as something we can delight in if we let it shape our hearts and minds. Laws of the bible are universal in its application for all of human history.

Language today talks about "going to church." Church is not just a building. It is the people. It is who we are. Who Jesus is, he desires us to be also. As we delight in his word the goal is not what god can do for us, but what can he do through us. As we follow Jesus Christ this week, what does he want to do through us? Bless through us? We put ourselves into position to be used by God.

Monica was a believer. Her heart was for her son to know Jesus Christ and His presence. Her son very good looking and very smart. Pride was his downfall. Monica prayed for her son all the time. Her son had lots of girlfriends as well. Monica still prayed for her son. One day he was passing by some children one day and they were singing about reading the bible. "Take up and read. Take up and read, " they sang. Monica's son was struck by that. He began to read scripture. Scripture changed his life forever. Her son ended up becoming the most popular spiritual leader in the history of the christian church.

How will we help new members know and follow Jesus Christ? How will we help their children know and follow Jesus Christ? Perhaps it is they who will help is? The children of our church know the stories of scripture. We have creative, knowledgeable teachers, like Onalee, to help the children know the word of God. We need to delight in God's word day and night. Smith Blackburn teaches the Wednesday night adult bible study and they are on the famous stories of the bible. I bet not one person in that class would disagree that they are learning about things they had never considered before in regards to the parables. We never outgrow learning God's word. All are invited to study, to fall in love with Jesus Christ. All are welcome to journey with is in the way of wisdom.


Welcome New Members!

We would like to welcome our new members: Chris and Leigh Anne Facello, and their children, Caitlin and Madison. (Picture coming soon!)

We would also like to welcome Shelby and Jodi Reason and their children, Ben and Conner.

The Reason Family

We promise to love, encourage, and support you, to share the Good News of the Gospel with you, and to help you know and follow Jesus Christ.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Spike!

May God’s awesome blessings
Be upon you this day
And for the future years ahead
May His blessings never fade
In every area of your life
May God abound much more
So you may be a fruitful vine
With the abundance of the Lord.

From the entire congregation at St. Andrew's


Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Working to combat racism in church and society is one of the goals of Churches Uniting in Christ. January 15, 2007 marks the 21st anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the fifth anniversary of Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC). On January 21, 2002 leaders representing 10 denominations assembled in Memphis, Tenn. at the historic Lorraine Motel, stood and viewed the site where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain on April 4, 1968. They gathered to sign an agreement committing the members and partners in mission of CUIC to express their unity in Christ by living more closely together and working together to combat racism in the church and in society. In their statement the Heads of Communion affirmed that we must hold a common vision for God’s Beloved Community that is a community “committed to eradicating racism and making no peace with oppression.”

Growing out of the 40-year history of the Consultation on Church Union, the members of CUIC chose this sacred site of the National Civil Rights Museum to honor the prophetic vision for which Martin Luther King, Jr. lived, worked, and died. They pledged themselves “to be the church of Jesus Christ proclaiming and doing justice, and seeking peace.” The members of CUIC are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation in a world sold on the idolatries of privilege and racial exclusivity that continue to divide and alienate the family of God, denying the truth that we are all created in the image of the one God.

More on the vision shared by the Presbyterian church and the CUIC.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Mind of Christ and the Ministry of Elders

Sunday Sermon Summary

On Sunday, January 7, 2007 Pastor Coleman gave a sermon on The Mind of Christ and the Ministry of Elders.

A friend was interviewing for a position at a church some time ago. An elderly woman with gray hair asked him what was his greatest gift for ministry was. His friend answered that his greatest gift was that he loved Jesus Christ. The woman who was interviewing him asked him again what was his greatest gift for ministry. His friend gave her the same answer as before--the he loved Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters. He told her that if he did not do that, then nothing else really matters. Today, how would we respond if Jesus were here and he asked, "Do you love me?" Follow me and feed my sheep. ( John 21:15-20)

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

17The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

18Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

Last Thursday, while Pastor Coleman was at the gym, the phone rang. It was Lindy calling him at the gym. Something had to be wrong for her to call him at the gym, as she never does that. Apparently two 20 year old men were killed at a McDonald's near their development. The police were everywhere and they could have possibly have fled into the nearby neighborhoods. She wanted to warn him. Since that incident there have been other shootings in the tri-county area. In the newspaper today there is an article about a local funeral director about how some young people see death. Life is trivialized. Where have we gone wrong? Where is the body of Christ in the midst of darkness?

Today new Elders will be installed. What does that mean to you? You may be asked to serve on a committee. The relationships that we have with one another are most important. We must confront adversity with faith, hope and love. The Elders and all of us, must all he equipped with these things as well as our other gifts so that we will be a light in the darkness. Young people will have hope. We need to show then a more excellent way to live...away from greed, lust and immorality, just to name a few. We are called to be a community based on faith, hope and love.

(Philippians 2:1-11)
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

If the gospel matters at all and Jesus matters at all in our lives, we need to live happily together in unity, of being on one accord and with purity of heart. Love Jesus and show the community that the gospel does made a difference. Wherever there is despair, violence and suffering, God will be there to offer comfort and hope. Our church family has had several tragedies in the last few weeks. How has the church responded? The church has reached out to those families with support in the form of calls, visits, cards and food. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. We can live in the hope that God offers us..that we will overcome.

What do we expect of elders? We expect that they be of one mind--the mind of Christ. They will put the needs of the community before their own. They will put others before themselves. The interests of others will come first. Jesus Christ set aside his glory to suffer the agony of the cross. He is "the example." He is the example that elders are called to follow 24 hours a day...following Jesus Christ, feeding the sheep. Being an elder is not about meetings. It is about relationships.

In the Faith and Values section of the newspaper, there were articles on the struggles of the Episcopal church. We as Presbyterians are struggling as well. We have a lot of work to do: with other congregations, within our community. We expect the Elders to lead the way in our witness to Jesus Christ. We are not called to sit back and wait, but to confront the darkness with faith hope and love. That is our calling.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Being Christian in the Holy Land

Christian-Jewish Council Program Announcement- January 22, 2007

“Being Christian in the Holy Land”

The Christian-Jewish Council of Charleston is pleased to announce its first program for 2007. The topic for discussion is: “Being Christian in the Holy Land”. The council is honored to have an outstanding speaker for this event: Reverend Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel.

Dr. Abu-Akel is an Ordained Presbyterian Minister and U.S. citizen, who was born and raised in Kuffer-Yassif, Galilee, Israel. He is a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and Founder and Executive Director of the Atlanta Ministry with International Students, Inc. Among his many distinctions, Dr. Abu-Akel was honored by being awarded: “Clergy of the Year” by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

His personal perspectives on being a Christian living in Northern Israel should provide timely and relevant insights into the continuing events in this part of the world. This event is free and open to the entire community. Please join us for an inspiring and informative discussion. The event details are as follows:

Date: Monday, January 22, 2007
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Molly Wier Fellowship Hall, First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401 (corner of Meeting and Tradd Streets). The Hall is behind the church with limited parking accessible from King Street, along with on-street parking on Meeting and Tradd streets.

The Christian-Jewish Council of Greater Charleston is an organization that seeks to build bridges of understanding to promote sensitivity, tolerance, respect and fellowship among all faith groups.


What is the Future of Presbyterian Mission?

What is the Future of Presbyterian Mission?
An Interview with Weingartner and Young

While searching the blogosphere, I found an interview about the future of mission on the Presbyterians for Renewal site. Rob Weingartner is the Director of The Outreach Foundation and Bill Young is the Director of Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship .

Here is the first question that was asked of the pair. To read the entire interview click here.


In June your organizations, The Outreach Foundation and Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF), announced that you have joined in a strategic alliance for the purpose of sending new missionaries in response to God's mission call. This alliance will focus on expanding the evangelistic capacity of global partners and proclaiming the gospel among the unreached peoples of the world. This new strategic alliance is quite a departure for your groups. We know the denominational funding is down, but what in particular sparked this big change?

Bill: Three factors have led us to seek this strategic alliance at this time. First, the decline in the number of Presbyterian missionaries, from 2,063 in 1959 down to 235 today. Second, changes that the GAC has made in the structure of the denomination-the elimination of divisions-has led us to think things won't get better. There will no longer be a committee of the GAC that looks specifically at international mission. I believe that means our international work, including sending missionaries, will get less and less priority. And finally, fewer congregations are willing to send funds for anything through the GAC funding system. Money is lost that could be supporting historic Presbyterian work around the world, excellent work that needs to continue to be supported. PFF and Outreach have a high level of trust among churches and could help channel those funds to Presbyterian work.

Rob: Let me elaborate on Bill's assessment. John Detterick [former Director of the General Assembly Council] said two years ago that we have a mission funding system that's broken, and Marian McClure [former Director of the Worldwide Ministries Division] said three years ago that it suffers from "a byzantine complexity and a lack of transparency." What we sense is that the Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD) has been a part of an organizational system that is dysfunctional. People increasingly feel a sense of distance from the national church at a time when congregations are taking more initiative to connect directly to God's mission in the world. I've said for years that I thought the WMD would be healthiest if it spun off as a separate mission board. But the decisions of the Council move in the other direction, to fold the unique dimensions of global mission into a domestically oriented, dysfunctional organization.

To read the entire interview click here.


Discovering Spiritual Maturity

201 Class offered--Saturday, January 20, 2007

Have you completed the 101 class--Discovering Church Membership (getting to know more about St. Andrew's?) Well, have we got great news for you!! That was just the first step in your journey here at St. Andrew's!!

You are now fully qualified and eligible to sign up for the next step: 201 Discovering Spiritual Maturity. We will meet on Saturday, January 20th from 9-12:30 in the Fellowship Hall. The CE Ministry Team has secured several dynamic and energetic leaders to help. If you have any questions or need more information about the class, please contact Pearl Jones, Quentin Massenburg or Reese Rambo.

We are asking you to sign up so we can make proper preparations. Child care is available upon request.

If you are not sure if you should take this class, then you SHOULD take this class.

What a great way to start the new year!! Discovering how spiritual disciplines helps in your faith journey. Sign up by using the green sheet in the Sunday morning bulletin or use the sign-up sheet located outside Pearl's office.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Hobby Group Mission Projects

The Hobby Group will meet on Monday, January 15th at 10:00AM to cut out baby gowns and blankets for overseas mission. Bring your scissors and pins! Anyone willing to knit baby hats for overseas mission and needs the pattern or yarn, please see Mary Oliver. They will be sent in late February to Presbyterian hospitals.

Just so you know....
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) works with partner churches and organizations in more than 90 countries and has appointed mission personnel to serve in nearly 70 countries. WMD's area offices are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with Presbyterian, Reformed, and other churches around the world.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

What Would Jesus Eat?

I know this is the time of year when our minds turn to resolutions for this new year. A lot of us may even resolve to loose weight or eat healthier this year. While visiting a bookstore recently, this blog reporter came across an interesting book entitled, What Would Jesus Eat? I did a little research about the book and this is what I found:

Don Colbert, a Florida doctor, believes asking yourself "What would Jesus eat?" is the best way to stay fit, slim and trim.

In his book, which gets its title from this question, he explores some of the Old Testament dietary laws and looks at foods mentioned in the Bible.

He says: "If you truly want to follow Jesus in every area of your life you cannot ignore your eating habits.

"The health of Americans is going down and it is largely down to our bad food choices.

"We have an obesity epidemic. People eat when they are stressed and eat on the run and everyone is super-sizing their meals.

"A lot of people have no desire to change their foods. Instead, they just go on medication to control their symptoms of obesity-related disease. But it shouldn't be this way.

"By getting them to look at the biblical side it allows them to slow down and make the correct choice about their diet and lifestyle," he said.

So what did Jesus Really eat? Really?

At the last supper, Jesus is said to have eaten bread and drunk wine.

Luke 24:42 says: "And they gave him [Jesus] a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them."

While Luke 10:8 says: "Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you," which would seem to suggest that Jesus was not encouraging fussiness about food.

Dr Colbert said: "Jesus ate primarily natural foods in their natural states - lots of vegetables, especially beans and lentils.

"He would have eaten wheat bread, a lot of fruit, drunk a lot of water and also red wine.

"And he would only eat meat on special occasions, maybe once a month, just like the parable of the prodigal son who ate fatted calf."

Full article here

While many of us may be thinking of ways to modify our eating for this new year, this book is one to read. It looks very interesting! When we think about diet, we need not to only think about food that we eat, but spiritual food as well. Food for the body and spiritual foods are both gifts from God.


Happy New Year and Godspeed!

Through the Bible, the cornerstone of our faith, we know the stories of God's efforts to communicate with creation and of creation's response. God communicates through rainbows and burning bush, through earthquakes and fire, and through the still small voice. We pray that God will speak through us as we tell new stories of the faith, life and mission found in Christ's church.

Happy New Year and Godspeed!