Saint Andrew United Methodist Church

1528 Church Road

Toms River NJ 08755

New Worship Theme: Chosen & Called

Posted by on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 @ 9:39 AM

The kids are going back to school. Summer vacations have come to an end. Everyone is beginning to turn their attention to new starts, new projects, and new opportunities. Here at St. Andrew, with the start of a new program year, we kick-off with a new worship theme: Chosen & Called.

For the next six weeks we will discover together how God has chosen each of us (and ALL of us together as the church) to a purpose and mission. We are indeed called to something special here in Toms River: to share faith, hope, and love. What is it? Where do we start? How will we do it? Who will we meet along the way? These are questions we will explore on this journey of faith. Here's an outline of what we have planned.

In this six week worship theme we explore each chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians looking for insight into the nature, identity, mission, and purpose of church. The letter is not believed to be intended solely and specifically for the church at Ephesus, but rather a circuit letter meant for all churches...  even ours today! Each week we will discover part of God's specific will and plan for our church St. Andrew UMC in this season of ministry. At the conclusion we should be able to chart a clear course forward in mission and ministry!

 

9/10/2017: Jesus is Lord:  Ephesians 1:18-23

When we were saved our lives became free from slavery to sin. With that freedom we live our lives for Christ. It's not our church that we point in the direction of Jesus. It's JESUS' church that we point in the direction he chooses for it

 

9/17/2017: From Death to Life:  Ephesians 2:1-10

The grace of God saves! All of us, no matter how different we are, got our start in Christ. We are nothing together if we are not a people that support and encourage all to start, restart, and continue in their faith journey. A big part of church is being the community where everyone has a chance to make a new start in life.

 

9/242017:  To the World:  Ephesians 3:2; 6-12

God doesn't just call us to be the church for our own sake. We are not an 'insiders-only' club, but are called to proclaim the love and grace of God in Jesus to all 'outsiders' who are not-yet-Christian.

 

10/12017:  Equipped to Serve:  Ephesians 4:11-16

The marks of a mature church is the diversity of gifts, callings, members who are unified into one body (Christ's Body) and equipped to serve and growing in maturity, unity, and love in that service. Christian living may begin with personal disciplines but culminates in interpersonal disciplines

 

10/8/2017: Beware Our Lesser Selves:  Ephesians 5:5-11

Checking our motivations is healthy for spiritual growth and maturity. A church cannot thrive unless it's people are full of the light of Christ not dwelling in their darkness

 

10/15/2017: Standing Orders:   Ephesians 6:10-17

The Christian life is not easy or without daily challenge. That's what we sign up for when we put our faith, hope, and life in Christ. In the struggle between good and evil we have to know where we stand, what we stand for, and what we stand against. Only then can we advance, extend, and expand the Good News and God's Kingdom in word and deed.

Posted by on Monday, August 28, 2017 @ 9:15 AM
https://vimeo.com/18243873

Everyday Heroes

Posted by on Monday, August 28, 2017 @ 9:08 AM

Everyday Heroes

ANYONE can be a Christian...  EVERYONE is called to be a Christian

Being a Christian means first and foremost being an "imitator of Christ".

When we imitate Christ something powerful and miraculous happens. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are filled with Joy, Hope, and Peace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, the world and people around us are impacted positively by our words and deeds.

Let me say again...  ANYONE can be a Christian...    EVERYONE is called to be a Christian

And everyone who is a Christian has this super-natural power of the Holy Spirit to example and work for good in the world. Everyone who is a Christian is a hero...  not by virtue of any skill, talent, ability, or even hard work, but by loving Jesus so much that they imitate him in everything they say and do.

Love Jesus

Imitate Him in all things

Receive joy hope and peace

Serve others in love

Impact people and the world for good

This is our calling. This is our process. No one is excluded. Everyone is invited.

In Christ we are everyday heroes.

You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead -Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1: 6-10)

Posted by on Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 8:30 AM
https://vimeo.com/18242843

Going Above and Beyond

Posted by on Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 8:28 AM

Jesus teaches: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your God in heaven". (Matthew 5:13-16)

Salt and light? What's that about? If we think about 'salt' and 'light' for a minute, one thing is clear: these are things that CHANGE their environment around them. They leave a mark. They serve a purpose. They make a difference. OK, so if this is true...   let me ask another question: what changes, what leaves a mark, what purpose is served when salt is added to an already salty meal? What changes, what leaves a mark, what purpose is served when light is added to an already lit room? Nothing.

In our normal, human, cultural, social thinking it is a worthy goal to find like-minded people, hang-out with those who are similar to us in life, and to seek comfort, security, and affirmation by fitting-in with those around us. But, Jesus is asking his followers to 'rub off' their saltiness and their brightness in places and with people where there is no salt or light. In other words, Christ-followers are called to spread their faith, love, and good works beyond the comfort zone of people, places and things that are like us, safe for us, and secure for us.

According to Lance Ford and Alan Hirsch in the book Right Here Right Now: Every Day Mission for Everyday People (Chapter 9) our mission as Christ-followers is meant to be lived-out beyond the walls of the church not within the confines of church programs and events. The mission we are on is NOT to bring people into the church as much as it is to bring the love of God into the world by our faithful and hopeful actions and examples.

Of course, this can be a scary thought for many people. It's common to think of the church as a place that serves our spiritual needs rather than a place from which we serve the spiritual needs of the world. It's common to think of the church as a safe house in which we refuge from the big bad world rather than a launch pad from which we extend an even bigger good. It's common to think we are not yet ready for such a grand mission, that we need a little more time, knowledge, preparation, when in fact God has already commissioned every believer (whatever our level of maturity) to be salt and light in the daily world into which we are sent.

 May you get out there this week and share your salt and light!

Make sure you check out this week's video by the authors Salt Blocks and Salt Shakers

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