An update from Prayer Team Leader Kimberly Mauger…Prayer has been an important part of who we are at St. Paul's.?? During these past few seasons of our church, Pastor Vince has taught on the subject of prayer and how we can pray individually and for our community.?? There are several ways that you can receive prayer presently.?? Prayer requests can be written and put in the offering basket and members of the prayer team will pray over these.???? After the 5pm service, Prayer ministers are available to pray for people up front.?? In addition, we will be having prayer ministers available upstairs in the Prayer Room after the service for more personal prayer needed.?? Our Prayer Room is a lovely, comfortable space that is available and open to anyone wanting to seek time in the presence of God.??
Easter is coming soon. And we’ve got some special services planned at St. Paul’s. We’ve been working on these special services since the fall. Here are our Easter Services:Palm Sunday: April 17th, 5pm.
Good Friday: April 22, 7pm.
Easter Sunday: April 24, 5pm. Childcare will be provided for all services. Refreshments will also be offered after each service. Free copies of “The Case for Easter” by Lee Stroble and “How Good is Good Enough” by Andy Stanely will be given out after the services. Here’s what’s special about our Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday services. The sermons for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday will be dramatic first person accounts. We’ll hear from Judas, Caiaphas, and Pilate on Palm Sunday. Why does Jesus die from their perspectives? We’ll hear from Joseph of Arimetha, Salome, and Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday. What happens from Good Friday to Easter Sunday from their perspectives? The scripts have been written. The actors have been chosen. And we’ll tell the old, old story in a fresh and original way from perspectives of characters who were eye-witnesses themselves.
At first glance this hedging seems ridiculous.?? Nehemiah is for Jerusalem.?? Sandballot is against Jerusalem.?? Why hedge your bets??? But before we judge these nobles, let???s put ourselves in their sandals.?? Let???s pretend we???re a noble.?? Let???s pretend we???re a noble noble.?? Here???s what we???re thinking.??
I???m not jealous of Nehemiah.?? I accept Nehemiah as the new political ruler of Jerusalem.?? Heck, I even like the guy.?? I even like his vision.?? I even helped rebuild the wall with my own two hands.?? And when he confronted me, I repented.?? I wish Nehemiah all the best.?? I hope he???s successful.???? I hope Nehemiah builds his wall.?? I really do.
But???But I???m a realist.?? I didn???t become wealthy by being a fool.?? I know the situation here in Jerusalem.?? And Nehemiah has no idea what he???s up against.?? This wall will be rebuilt over Sanballot???s dead body.?? He told me so personally.?? And they people of Jerusalem will all quit.?? The people of Jerusalem will tire of this project within the month and quit.?? Just you watch.?? And the people of Jerusalem will not work when their lives are inevitably threatened.?? They will quit.?? Just you watch.?? The people will all quit.?? And so will Nehemiah.
I like Nehemiah, I really do.?? But Nehemiah has no idea what he???s up against.?? Nehemiah will fail.?? He will fail just like Ezra.?? You know we???ve tried this before.?? This has been done before.?? We???ve tried to rebuild before and failed.??
And when Nehemiah fails.?? When Nehemiah returns to Susa, Sanballot and his friends will regain control of Jerusalem.?? And I can???t afford to anger Sandballot.?? I can???t afford to upset Sandballot.?? I can???t afford to cut ties with Sanaballot who will soon regain control of this city.
So I???m going to hedge my bets.?? I???m going to support Nehemiah.?? I???m going to help him rebuild his wall.?? And I really hope he succeeds.?? But I???m also going to support Sandballot.?? I???m going to help him oppose this wall.?? And I really do hope Sandballot fails, but I???m not betting on it.?? I???m going to hedge my bets.?? It???s the only wise thing to do.
The nobles simply have too much to lose if Nehemiah quits.?? And if I???m a betting man in Jerusalem, I???m betting Nehemiah quits.?? The rest of the people in Jerusalem have nothing to lose by fully supporting Nehemiah.?? The nobles do.??
And so Nehemiah wins them over slowly.?? He wins them over by pursuing God???s vision and not giving up.
Today's post is by Emma Liddle.I missed Vince???s sermon on Sunday because I was helping out with Lil K, but I got to
listen to it this morning (many thanks, Tech Team!). And I had some thoughts: Yes, it is certainly true that much of our troubles could be taken care of if we were
more Christ-like in our confrontations with one another. It also might be easier. I mean,
seriously: dragging a mountain of dirty dishes into someone???s bedroom just seems like a
lot of work to me. Because this is my issue with confrontation: I don???t want to do it. Often, I think that by not confronting people, I am doing them a favor. I am maintaining
the peace. I get along better with people that way. I avoid unpleasantries. It makes life
easier. But really, I???m just being relationally apathetic. This is the wrong way of looking at the issue. Christ-like confrontation does not equal
zero confrontation. Jesus was often confrontational. He called people out on their dirty
dishes because he loved them. God accepts us all, sinners as we are, but he doesn???t want us to continue to muddle
around in our sin, over and over again. And it???s for our own good. He wants us to reach
our full potential, and have the best lives we can. So, we should only confront others about their sins out of love ??? it should build them up
and send them closer to God. Besides, it is possible a lack of confrontation can cause the same trouble as piling it
up in the offender???s bedroom. If I see someone sinning (against me, against others,
against God, whatever), and I choose not to say anything to this person about it, I am
often choosing not to care about him or her. I???m not actually taking the higher road.
Especially since, most of the time, I???ll point out this person???s sin to someone else in
casual conversation. It makes for a good sitcom episode. Christian living: not so much. Love means there might be some uncomfortable situations. It may mean having to take
some time out of my day to actually say something about that person???s actions ??? and it
means my motivations should not be self-serving, judgmental, or condemnatory. My
motivation should be to see God???s will done on earth as it is in heaven. Because apathy may be worse than anger. It???s worse than love, that???s for sure.