NOVEMBER 2016 Vol. 9 Ed. 11
MESSAGES FROM PARADISE
10255 Paradise Blvd.
Treasure Island, FL 33706
Rev. Robert “Chip” Salzgeber
Walk with Jesus
Welcome all to Paradise
CONSECRATION SUNDAY IS COMING!
Congregations that approach financial stewardship from a biblical perspective do not view the money Christians give to their church merely as a way to pay its bills. Rather, such congregations see financial contributions as a way to help people grow spiritually in their relationship with God by supporting their church’s mission and ministry with a percentage of their incomes.
Our congregation’s finance committee has selected the Consecration Sunday Stewardship Program as a way to teach the biblical and spiritual principles of generous giving in our stewardship education emphasis this year.
Consecration Sunday is based on the biblical philosophy of the need of the giver to give for his or her own spiritual development, rather than on the need of the church to receive.
Instead of treating people like members of a social club who should pay dues, we will treat people like followers of Jesus Christ who want to give unselfishly as an act of discipleship.
Consecration Sunday encourages people toward proportionate and systematic giving in response to the question, “What percentage of my income is God calling me to give?”
During morning worship on Consecration Sunday, we are asking our attendees and members to make their financial commitments to our church’s missionary, benevolent, and educational ministries in this community and around the world.
Every attendee and member who completes an Estimate of Giving Card does so voluntarily by attending morning worship on Consecration Sunday. We urge people to attend who feel strongly opposed to completing a card. The procedure is done in such a way that no one feels personal embarrassment if he or she chooses not to fill out a card.
We will do no home solicitation to ask people to complete cards. During morning worship our guest leader will conduct a brief period of instruction and inspiration, climaxed by members making their commitments as a confidential act of worship.
We will encourage participation in Consecration Sunday events through the Consecration Sunday team and our Congregation Council members. Since we will make no follow-up visits to ask people to complete their cards, we will make every effort to inform, inspire, and commit everyone to attend Consecration Sunday worship.
Thanks in advance for your enthusiastic participation in Consecration Sunday events.
Regards & blessings.
FROM THE PASTOR
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Luke 22: 35-43
Reconnecting two churches: Christ the King …Reign of Christ
In Macon, Georgia, there are two First Baptist churches, one black and one white. They sit almost back-to-back, separated by a small park, on a hill overlooking downtown Macon.
About 170 years ago they were one congregation, made up of masters and slaves. But as the conflict over abolition and slavery raged across America leading to the Civil War, the Macon Baptist Church decided to separate by race in 1845.
Ever since – through Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, desegregation and beyond – the division endured.
Then two years ago the new pastor of the white church had lunch with the pastor of the black church. As they talked, an idea took shape: Could their two congregations, neighbors for so long, become friends? Could they take the first steps to bridge the stubborn divide of race?
The two pastors realized they were up against a painful and tumultuous backdrop: the massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina; the much-publicized deaths of blacks at the hands of law enforcement; the sniper killing of police officers in Dallas. But the pastors resolved to move ahead.
The two churches first activity together was modest but symbolically significant. For years, each congregation held its own Easter egg hunt in the same park behind their churches, each at different times. Last year, they met there together. All the kids had a ball. The churches combined other activities – a book drive, a Thanksgiving potluck supper, an outing for youth to Orlando. Members of both churches said they had been waiting decades for such a reunion. Many congregants had never even stepped inside the other church – and were surprised to see that their sanctuaries had nearly the same design, with vaulted ceilings that resembled the hull of a ship. Participants were so moved that they had tears in their eyes.
Their churches’ most ambitious joint effort begins this fall: a series of joint discussions on racism in the United States and its role in the histories of their two congregations.
The pastors explain that “this is not a conversation of blame, but of acceptance and moving forward. What will govern how quickly we move is when there is a certain level of understanding of the past.”
The two congregations see this moment is a unique opportunity in their histories. Despite the pain and challenges – and risks – ahead of them, they’re ready to move forward. Together.[From “Neighboring churches in Georgia, split on race lines, work to heal divide” by Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press, August 29, 2016.]
These two churches, separated for so long by race, have begun to rebuild Christ’s Kingdom. In the many confrontations and divisions we experience, the love of God reconnects us, heals the rifts and bridges the chasms that separate us from one another – and in doing so, we realize the reign of God’s beloved Son in this time and place of ours. On the last Sunday of the Church year, November 20th, we honor Christ the King whose kingdom knows neither boundaries nor walls, neither castes nor classes; Christ the King whose rule is one of humble service; Christ the King whose crown is compassion, whose scepter is humility, whose tribute is forgiveness and reconciliation.
May our own church be inspired by what these two congregations in Georgia have undertaken, that our own efforts to follow Christ’s Gospel of compassionate servanthood and humble generosity make us all worthy to be citizens of his eternal kingdom.
REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT
To those of you who have been gone for the summer- welcome back!!! It’s so nice to have you back. We’ve tried to keep in touch through Facebook and the internet [www.paradiselutheran com] while you were gone.
The internet can be a wonderful thing; however, we all know it does not come close to real, face-to-face interaction. I urge you, though, to visit our website and peruse its content. I’ve been told we could use some more photos. So, if you have any you’d like to share, please contact Liz and we’ll see about getting them out there on our site.
On the surface, it may not seem that much has happened since you have been gone. However, from a duck’s view, we have been moving towards selecting a new pastor and in this in between time, we have really enjoyed and found ourselves quite smitten with our interim Pastor Chip and his wife Susan. There have been a number of Sundays where Pastor and Miss Susan have taken us back in time to the days of campfires and bible songs gone by. Pastor assures me he will continue to “treat” us with his musical skills as long as he is able.
Again, welcome back to those of you who have been away. We’ve kept the light on for you!!!
May the Lord be with you,
Congregation Council President