Newsletter Week of June 22

Good News for Wednesday, June 24th

Pastor’s Piece

“If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.”
Matthew 5:46-48
This was one of the most foundational statements of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus charges His followers to be complete in showing love to everyone- even to those who don’t seem to love you back.  Jesus does not mince words here or elsewhere in the gospel scriptures-  Christians are commanded to love without limits and to love without exception. 

The word “love” is a tricky one with several definitions.  In today’s words, I define the kind of love that Jesus requires as being “for” other people, meaning that we truly want and work for what is in the best interest of the other person.  Put this way, Jesus commands His follower to be complete in being FOR everyone, just like God is FOR each and every one of His children. 

We all have our excuses, but the truth is that we all continue to struggle to live lives that are complete in being FOR our loved ones, our neighbors, and I have yet to meet anyone who I believe does a good job of being FOR absolutely everyone.  We all fail with loving everyone in the world completely as Jesus commanded.  The headlines in our world today bear witness to the fact that we fail to completely love people we see as “people of the other.”  We fail to completely love “people of the other” race, economic class, political party, country, etc. 

Is it humanly possible to follow Jesus’ commands and love everyone completely?  Join us for worship this week as we ponder that question and see what answers the Biblical witness may give us.  And if you plan on joining us for in-person worship, don’t forget to reserve your seat through the link below.    

Blessings in the wilderness,
Pastor Andy Blacksher 

Online worship details
If you plan to worship online with us this week you have 3 options.  Each one will be a different kind of experience, and I want to make sure you understand the difference between each of them.

Facebook Live (Sunday 9:30am)-    Your first option is Facebook Live.  Most of you are familiar with this option and have been worshiping with us through Facebook for many weeks.  The big drawback with this service will be that you’ll be watching from a camera that’s mounted at the back of the room.  It’s kind of like sitting in the balcony (which I know some people love).  Our Facebook page is:

Watch On Demand-  You can view the service anytime after 10:30am on Sunday through Facebook, and you can watch past services on our website sometime in the afternoon on the date of the service.  These services will feature camera angles from the floor that give you a front row seat in the service.  You can join in whenever it works best in your schedule.

New Online Campus-   Join your online worship host (this week it’s Pastor Andy) to watch the service together, chat with others in attendance, and you can even engage the confidential prayer chat with your host.  You can find our online campus at to join in on Mondays at 9:30am & 2pm, Wednesday at 7pm (eventually we will add Sunday times as well).

In-person worship details

If you’re ready, we’re ready!  In-person worship services have resumed.  Seating is limited, however, and you’ll need to make a reservation to ensure we will have a seat for you.  You can MAKE YOUR RESERVATION HERE:

Keep in mind that this isn’t “church as usual.”  We have adapted and made provisions to provide a safe environment for worship, but it means that things look and feel decidedly different.  Here are a few things that are different:

  1. Doors will open at 9:25am (except for the band and hospitality volunteers).  
  2. No food or beverages provided
  3. Seats have been properly socially distanced and are very limited- you will not get to choose where you sit, and you must reserve your seat (see info below)
  4. Masks are encouraged to protect the health of those around you and will be provided if you need one, but are not required.  
  5. We ask that you do not sing.  Research suggests that singing and loud talking results in projecting airborne particles beyond the 6 foot mark.  If you wish to sing then you must wear a mask.  (Incidentally, I’ve decided not to shout during the sermon this week… LOL!)
  6. At the end of the service you will be dismissed by rows.  We ask that you not linger inside the building.  You are encouraged to talk with friends outdoors and while social distancing.
  7. You will be offered the opportunity to receive Holy Communion every week as you leave the building.    

It will look and feel very different than what you remember, that is certain.  But if you are ready to come back, we are ready for you! 

COVID Hospitality & Sanitation Team 

We need a few volunteers to join our COVID Hospitality & Sanitation Team. This group sanitizes the building following each Sunday morning service. It is an easy task, but so very important. If you might be interested in helping out, please reply to this email and let Tina know. There will also be a signup sheet in the lobby at church. You can serve as often as you would like; even a single Sunday in the future would be helpful.

By our Prayers…

Please remember the following people and situations in your prayers this week:

Steve Brown – He is now at home and receiving physical therapy. Please pray for Jayne, Steve’s family, and the doctors as they continue to determine what is best for his body.
Kathy Browns-  Rusty Fowler’s cousin who is fighting cancer
Perry Legg – Friend of Galen and Josie Barlow is battling the return of inoperable lung cancer. He is a retired law enforcement officer and veteran.
Christy McField – Debbie Geasley’s sister-in-law who has breast cancer
Levin McGee – Sharon and Norm’s grandson needs prayers for doctors to make a confident diagnosis of the problems in his shoulder.  
Mary Jo Ware – A friend of Elaine and Bill Griglione is in Louisiana battling Pancreatic cancer.

(To be included in this list, please reply to this email or contact the church office.)