Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-21-16


Scripture: Proverbs 14:16
The wise are careful and avoid evil, but fools become excited and overconfident.

Thought for the Day: I must confess – I am pumped about this weekend. I am excited about our shared worship events both Saturday and Sunday. Of course, I must always heed the warning of the Proverb that suggests fools are those who get all excited and overconfident. It is a good warning, but my excitement is not based in some cocky confidence. It is centered in a feeling of anticipation, eager to be in worship together – both Saturday night (7pm) and Sunday morning (10:30am). I long to see the whole community singing and praying together in the knowledge that we are one hope and one faith because of the calling of the one Spirit.

I am reminded of when the Israelites built the first traveling worship center, the Tabernacle. In Exodus 35, we read:

Everyone who was excited and eager to participate brought the gifts before the Lord to be used for building the meeting place… Both men and women came forward. Everyone was eager to participate…

This is the kind of excitement I feel, ready to bring the gift of my life into our shared worship experiences this weekend.

And of course, don’t forget about lunch on Sunday. It is a catered meal, so just bring yourself. If you want to make a donation, that’s fine…but we want people there.

Prayer: Thank you for your Spirit of Grace, O God. Allow it to move around us and within us this weekend, bringing to our lives a sense of healing and renewal. Amen.

Saturday Worship at 7pm
Sunday Worship at 10:30am
(One Service)

Catered Lunch To Follow
Come and Enjoy


Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-20-16


Scripture: Mark 1:17
“Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.”

Thought for the Day: In a recent Sojourners’ email blast, the following quote from Bishop Gene Robinson was included:

I think people often come to the synagogue,
mosque, the church looking for God,
and what we give them is religion.

I must confess that I fall into the religion trap – practicing religion and not following Jesus. I know some people will not see the difference, yet when you look at the life of Jesus and hear his invitation, it is very different than what many of us do week after week. We may practice a religion, but is it the same as following Jesus? With that said, I should speak only for myself – so let me say that I want to follow Jesus. I’m doing my best to keep my eye on his life of love and mercy, and to make sure my steps are aligned with such a life…and not the trappings of an administrative bureaucracy that uphold religion and keep our feet cemented far behind Jesus.

Prayer: You set the path, O Lord, in the life off Jesus. You give me the strength and encouragement through the gift of the Spirit. Now I ask for the courage to take those important first steps in the journey of discipleship where I follow the incarnation of your Word, Jesus. Amen.

Saturday Worship at 7pm
Sunday Worship at 10:30am
(One Service)

Catered Lunch To Follow
Come and Enjoy


Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-19-16


Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:7-9
We live by faith and not by sight. We are confident, and we would prefer to leave the body and to be at home with the Lord. So our goal is to be acceptable to him, whether we are at home or away from home.

Thought for the Day: Winston Churchill said, “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” I assume Churchill said it with a grin on his face, as I believe God’s grace is always welcoming us with joy. With Paul, there was a growing longing to be with God. As he grew older and faced more and more persecution, beatings and imprisonment, he longingly looked to heaven. I don’t believe we should view his thinking as escapism, but as the feelings of one who must have been exhausted. At the same time, he puts before us a clear ethic for this life. The goal of life is to live exactly the way we would live in heaven. It echoes the Lord’s prayer that speaks about the will of God being done on earth just as it is in heaven. It is one thing to feel ready to meet one’s Maker, but even with that contentment, there are expectations for how we live every moment of our lives. Those expectations are no different than the expectations of heaven.

Prayer: Lead me to a life lived by faith, O Lord. Lead me so that with each day my life can more resemble the life of your kingdom. Amen.

Don’t Miss This Weekend


Worship on Saturday at 7pm
Worship on Sunday at 10:30am
Catered Lunch to Follow

Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-18-16


Scripture: Romas 8:25
But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.

Thought for the Day: A few days ago, I had been reflecting on the above words when I came across some very helpful words from Henri Nouwen. He wrote:

A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

I think too often I view patience as endurance – in the sense that I must endure some period of time before I can go do the good thing I’ve been wanting to do. What happens if patience is what helps to reveal what was in that moment all along? What if my ability to wait provides the eyes of my spirit the time needed to adjust to the darkness of a moment, the needed time to see what was always there?

Prayer: Teach me patience, O Lord who understands waiting. Teach me patience not only for this moment, but for whatever time is necessary to perceive what my impatience has kept me from seeing. Amen.


Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-17-16


Scripture: 1st Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

Thought for the Day: I love the actor, Dustin Hoffman, and I was intrigued by something he said a few years back: “There’s a rebirth that goes on with us continuously as human beings. I don’t understand, personally, how you can be bored.” I would agree with Hoffman, and suggest that many people are bored because they choose contentment with what is instead of exploration into what could be. God is always inviting us to die to what is old so we can experience what is new. This isn’t change for the sake of change, but a newness of life that can only be known on the other side of a rebirth – a rebirth first shown to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lead me, Lord, to opportunities of rebirth where the life of faith can be understood and shared in ways that previously seemed impossible. Amen.




Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-16-16


Scripture: Psalm 35:20-22
They don’t speak the truth; instead, they plot false accusations against innocent people in the land. They speak out against me, saying, “Yes! Oh, yes! We’ve seen it with our own eyes!” But you’ve seen it too, LORD. Don’t keep quiet about it. Please don’t be far from me, my Lord.

Thought for the Day: As many of you know, one of the founders of our denomination was Alexander Campbell. Now he would not like for me to use the word denomination, for he was working to see a unity of all Christians. With that said, we have a denomination…a diverse denomination. In light of that, I appreciate Campbell’s words:

We will not hearken to those questions which gender strife, nor discuss them at all. If a person says such is his private opinion, let him have it as his private opinion; but lay no stress upon it; and if it be a wrong private opinion, it will die a natural death much sooner than if you attempt to kill it.

This is hard for us, especially where private opinion is not private when it goes viral on Facebook. And even if the opinion was unfounded and ignored all facts, it can still be shared as unquestioned truth. I long for those days when a “wrong private opinion” died a natural death.

Prayer: God, help us as we strive toward greater truth. Allow our ears to hear, our minds to be discerning, and our hearts to be loving. Help us, O Lord, as we diligently strive toward the goal of helpful knowledge and life-giving truth. Amen.

See You
In Worship

Don’t forget about lunch
with Dr. Newell Williams
President of Brite Divinty 



Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-15-16


Scripture: John 1:1-4, 14
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people… The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Thought for the Day: In recent years, scientists have estimated that there are 200 billion galaxies in the universe. Take a moment and let that number soak in. That’s not the number of stars or other objects – No, that’s the number of galaxies. Well guess what? With the use of better technology, they’ve changed the estimate. It is now believed that there are more than 200 trillion galaxies, not 200 billion. Read it again – it is the “T” word. And if you think that our own Milky Way Galaxy has as many as 400 billion stars, just how many stars are found in 200 trillion galaxies? And then how many planets, moons and other orbital bodies are around those billions of stars in each of the 200 trillion galaxies. If your brain doesn’t hurt, there is something strange about you.

We live in a big universe, yet even the immensity of it does not equal infinite. Even as the universe continues to expand beyond the 200 trillion galaxies, there remains a God who is more than one step ahead of our immense universe. God is the alpha and the omega – the One who stretches a little longer than infinity – yet it is this God who chose to demonstrate genuine concern and love for us. This is the One who took on flesh and made a home among us.

Prayer: O Holy One of the Universe, thank you for showing yourself in the body and work of a small frail creature in this immense universe. Thank you for being weak and accessible, especially when our minds are a bit overwhelmed by so much else. Amen.

by Dr. Newell Williams


Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-14-16


Scripture: Psalm 28:9
O save your people, and bless your heritage; be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

Thought for the Day: The 18th century French writer, Stendhal, penned these words, “The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.” In the well known 23rd Psalm, the shepherd moves the sheep to green pastures and still waters. This sounds very comforting, but it is rather difficult to explain to the sheep how a long trip is necessary if they are going to reach better lands. If the sheep see even a little patch of greenish/brownish grass and a small puddle of water, they’ll be content. I wonder how often in my own life I have ignored God’s nudging because I was okay with what was right in front of me? As followers of Jesus, there are many things suggesting that the shepherd’s interest is not as interesting as whatever the interesting thing is in front of us.

Prayer: O God, may I not ignore your leading and nudging and calling because of a general sense of contentment with whatever interesting thing is before me. Be persistent, as I grow to better understand your hope for my life. Amen.



Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-13-16


Scripture: 2nd Thessalonians 3:13
Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right.

Thought for the Day: John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, wrote:

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you can.

Here ends today’s lesson…and let us go and see if we can do it.

Prayer: Merciful God, I ask for the good you have done in Jesus to be the good that can happen through me, not only today, but each day of my life. Amen.

Dr. Newell Williams, preaching


Ecclesiological Etchings: 10-12-16


Scripture: Genesis 1:10
God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Thought for the Day: St. Augustine, one of the central figures of the Christian faith and defender of orthodoxy, was in fact a closet heretic. What I mean by that is Augustine often shared thoughts that were a bit outside of traditional thinking. For example, he suggested that the beauty of creation was God’s biography. Augustine wrote, “Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” Did Augustine find the Bible less important? Not at all, but it sure appears as if he found the life-giving message in other places.

Prayer: Allow for my senses to glimpse beyond the beauty of creation that I might see the hint of your creative presence in all that is. This is my request of you, O Creator God. Amen.


Dr. Newell Williams
(President of Brite Divinity School)
joining us this Sunday

12:15 in the Activity Room

Call or Email the Church Office,
and let us know if you’d like us
to have a Box Lunch for you – $7