Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bible Challenge 04/20 - 04/26

Greetings All!

This week we finish up the last few chapters of Deuteronomy and move into the book of Joshua. This moves us out of the Pentatuech and into the next grouping of books of history, sometimes called the "Former Prophets."

While considered a "prophet," Joshua is also a historical book. It not only tells the story of Joshua's life and leadership of Israel, but also the story of the people of Israel from the death of Moses until the death of Joshua - as they move into and work on conquering the Promised Land. Some very famous stories are found here including the fall of Jericho which features one of Jesus' ancestors (Rahab).

Here is the schedule:

20, Sunday: Deuteronomy 24-27

21, Monday: Deuteronomy 28-31

22, Tuesday: Deuteronomy 32 - Joshua 1

23, Wednesday: Joshua 2-5

24, Thursday: Joshua 6-9

25, Friday: Joshua 10-13

26, Saturday: Joshua 14-17

May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Easter Sunday - This Sunday we will conclude our series Giving It Up. There is a discipline that has developed around the season of Lent and giving things up. That for forty days we should deny ourselves something - a luxury or an indulgence - in order to somehow draw closer to Jesus in his self-denial and suffering on our behalf. This series has helped us look at the importance of giving up such things as control, expectations, superiority, popularity, and helped us to see how in that release we can draw closer to God. This Sunday we will focus on our understanding of death and what Christ's victory on the first Easter morning means for us today. Invite a friend and I hope to see you there!





2. Easter Sunday - It goes without saying how important this Sunday is in the life of all believers and in for our church. As a means of celebration we are taking part in two familiar traditions again this year. On this Sunday we are asking everyone to bring two items to worship. The first item is either fresh or artificial flowers. We will use them to decorate our Living Cross outside the front of the Sanctuary. The second item is any type of bell to celebrate the Risen Savior during worship. If you have a bell of any size, shape or style that you can bring that morning, please do. We will all ring them together in celebration and make a joyful noise together! I look forward to wonderful time with all you on Easter Sunday!





3. New Study Series - Beginning Thursday, May 1st, we will begin a new study by Rev. Mike Slaughter, Dare to Dream. Have you ever wondered what your purpose is in this life? Have you ever struggled to discern what it is that God wants you to accomplish for the Kingdom?

Come and join us as we seek to answer these questions and more. Rev. Mike Slaughter has developed Dare to Dream to help people realize God’s dream for their lives, develop a mission statement based upon that dream, and then fully commit to the God-directed life mission they create. This class will be offered at 10am and again in the evening as part of our new FAD night, in the Fellowship Hall, each Thursday from May 1st - June 5th. For more information and to sign up, please pick up a registration form in the narthex or click here.





4. New Ministry - We are entering a new season at Druid Hills. We have many new faces, many new children, youth and young adults and, we need a way to get to know each other as we grow together in our faith.

Therefore, beginning Thursday, May 1st, we will start a new weekly program to help us in that endeavor. We are calling it F.A.D. night, or Faith and Discipleship night, and it is designed to unite multi-generations in fun and fellowship while giving us the opportunity to grow in our faith.

We will gather each Thursday from 5:30-7:30 pm, share a meal together and then have various opportunities, for all ages, to engage in discipleship growth. There will be a slight charge for the meal. Those funds will be used to supply the meal and materials for this time of fellowship and discipleship. There will be choir for the children, youth group for the older youth and Bible Study for the adults. We will also mix in special opportunities throughout the year for us to do things as one large group, such as hear from speakers and other minis-tries, and also times to celebrate special milestones. One of the best ways for us to be all that God created us to be is to know each other as well as we can. A life lived together is a life lived for God. I hope you will make plans to be part of this new opportunity and come grow with us!






5. CD Players - As many of you know we record the sermons each week during worship. I then take them, convert them, and place them on my blog. However, many of our home bound friends do not use the computer. Therefore, I am asking each of you to keep an eye out for used CD players you may have at home, or that people you may know have at their home. If they are not being used would you please consider donating them so I can take them to our friends, along with CD copies of the sermons so they may hear them. I feel this will go a long way in helping renew their connection with us and their church. Thank you in advance!


Have a great week and I will see you Sunday,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Midweek Moment

This morning I was privileged enough to be part of the interview team, with Terri Silvola-Finch and Linda Hughes, for a publicity piece at WOCA for our Easter Tableau. I am so grateful to Terri and Linda for setting this up and to WOCA for allowing us to share our message across their airwaves and with their listeners.

As we arrived, we were greeted so very warmly by the staff and then again by Larry and Robin as the interview began. We were going back and forth for a bit when Larry asked a question about the importance of Jesus. What a question! What an opening to talk about the love, grace, and mercy of God. What an opportunity to talk about the redemption we all receive from Christ, especially with Easter Sunday right around the corner!

That is one of the aspects I love about Easter! We get to focus on Jesus, his earthly ministry, his struggle with humanity, and how he expressed his love to each of us. This whole idea of Easter centers on God’s love for each and every one of us. This love is not just for believers, or Christians, or followers of Christ. It is for everyone. Larry gave us the opportunity this morning to touch on that as we talked about we open Holy Communion for anyone that would like to receive it, whether at the Easter Tableau or in worship. We talked about how this Easter Tableau is our gift to this community and given freely to anyone that will take the time to walk or drive through it. We talked about how the love of Christ is for anyone that will accept it.

Easter is about resurrection, it is about redemption, it is about relationship, and it is all built upon love; God’s love. This Easter I want to invite you to share that love with another. I want to encourage you to tangibly express your love to another person before Sunday, April 27th. Take someone to lunch, send them a card, call them on the phone, and/or visit them in person. Find some way to share with them what they mean to you and tell them, “In the name of Christ, I love you.”

If we only focus on pretty outfits, lots of candy, and the Easter bunny, but forget the love of God and the whole reason we celebrate Easter then we are missing a wonderful opportunity. God came as Jesus because God loves you. Jesus died to pay the price of our sins because he loves you. The Holy Spirit moves and breathes within us, because the Holy Spirit loves us. This Easter share that love, live in that love, live out of that love. It will never run dry. It will never run out. And there is enough for all of us!

Have a great week and I hope to see you all at the Easter Tableau!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bible Challenge 04/13 - 04/19

Greetings All!

This week we will finish the last few chapters of Numbers and move well into the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is the last of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible thought to be authored by Moses. Its name literally means "things or words" and the book consists of three sermons or speeches delivered by Moses, a recounting of the law and some other material including an account of Moses' death. One of its most significant verses is considered to be verse 6:4, which constitutes the "Shema", a definitive statement of Jewish identity: "Hear O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one."

Here is the schedule:

13, Sunday: Numbers 32-35

14, Monday: Numbers 36 - Deuteronomy 3

15, Tuesday: Deuteronomy 4-7

16, Wednesday: Deuteronomy 8-11

17, Thursday: Deuteronomy 12-15

18, Friday: Deuteronomy 16-19

19, Saturday: Deuteronomy 20-23

May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Preaching Series - This Sunday we will continue our series Giving It Up. There is a discipline that has developed around the season of Lent and giving things up. That for forty days we should deny ourselves of something - a luxury or an indulgence - in order to somehow draw closer to Jesus in his self-denial and suffering on our behalf. This series will help us look at a few things that we might give up permanently, specifically those actions and attitudes that are causing us issues in our relationship with God and with others. I hope you will make plans to come and join us for this time of worship, fellowship, and transformation. For the sermon schedule, please click here and I hope to see you all there!





2. Easter Tableau - Our Annual Easter Tableau, our gift to this community, is right around the corner. On Thursday, April 17th and Friday, April 18th, we will give the people of Ocala the opportunity to witness and relive for themselves the last week of Christ's life here on Earth. In order to make this a reality, we need your help. There are sign-up sheets on the Connection Station for you to volunteer in a myriad of ways. You can volunteer for things such as portraying a character in one of the scenes, to scene set-up, costumes, make-up, sound, or lighting. We still have many places for willing hands and we need yours! We are also excited to be able to offer a transportation service this year. If you would like a ride to and from the Easter Tableau, please sign up at the Connection Station on Sunday morning or call the church office to let us know, 629-5688. Please also be in prayer for a successful 2014 Easter Tableau. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Hughes or Terri Silvola-Finch. Thank You!





3. Easter Sunday - It goes without saying how important this Sunday is in the life of all believers and in for our church. As a means of celebration we are taking part in two familiar traditions again this year. On this Sunday we are asking everyone to bring two items to worship. The first item is either fresh or artificial flowers. We will use them to decorate our Living Cross outside the front of the Sanctuary. The second item is any type of bell to celebrate the Risen Savior during worship. If you have a bell of any size, shape or style that you can bring that morning, please do. We will all ring them together in celebration and make a joyful noise together! I look forward to wonderful time with all you on Easter Sunday!





4. New Study Series - Beginning Thursday, May 1st, we will begin a new study by Rev. Mike Slaughter, Dare to Dream. Have you ever wondered what your purpose is in this life? Have you ever struggled to discern what it is that God wants you to accomplish for the Kingdom?

Come and join us as we seek to answer these questions and more. Rev. Mike Slaughter has developed Dare to Dream to help people realize God’s dream for their lives, develop a mission statement based upon that dream, and then fully commit to the God-directed life mission they create. This class will be offered at 10am and again in the evening as part of our new FAD night, in the Fellowship Hall, each Thursday from May 1st - June 5th. For more information and to sign up, please pick up a registration form in the narthex or click here.




5. New Ministry - We are entering a new season at Druid Hills. We have many new faces, many new children, youth and young adults and, we need a way to get to know each other as we grow together in our faith.

Therefore, beginning Thursday, May 1st, we will start a new weekly program to help us in that endeavor. We are calling it F.A.D. night, or Faith and Discipleship night, and it is designed to unite multi-generations in fun and fellowship while giving us the opportunity to grow in our faith.

We will gather each Thursday from 5:30-7:30 pm, share a meal together and then have various opportunities, for all ages, to engage in discipleship growth. There will be a slight charge for the meal. Those funds will be used to supply the meal and materials for this time of fellowship and discipleship. There will be choir for the children, youth group for the older youth and Bible Study for the adults. We will also mix in special opportunities throughout the year for us to do things as one large group, such as hear from speakers and other minis-tries, and also times to celebrate special milestones. One of the best ways for us to be all that God created us to be is to know each other as well as we can. A life lived together is a life lived for God. I hope you will make plans to be part of this new opportunity and come grow with us!



Have a great week and I will see you Sunday,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Midweek Moment

A few weeks ago in worship we talked about Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We spent some time looking at how in the midst of that celebration, with everyone shouting with exclamation and waving palm branches, there were still those that approached Jesus and ask that he command his followers to calm down.

That whole idea of “calm down” made me think. Have we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, listened to the comments of this small group and calmed down? Or have we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, continued our celebration? How many times have we subdued our excitement with our faith, so as not to draw attention to ourselves? How many times, have we whispered about our faith, so as not to offend others that might hear? How many times have we hidden our faith, so as not to cause people to think differently about us?

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. This is the day in our liturgical calendar where we mark Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This is the moment where throngs of people were glad and even overjoyed to be with Jesus. In contemporary terms, you could even say his approval rating had never been higher. But it is also the beginning of the week where Jesus is arrested, tried, convicted, and executed.

It is easy to mark this Sunday with a bit of tepid excitement. We are excited about Jesus entering Jerusalem, but we know what comes next. That knowledge can cause us to subdue some of our celebration. But let me offer this idea to you. Just as we know what happens to Jesus during Holy Week, we also know what happens to Jesus on Easter. We know Holy Week does not defeat him. We know that Jesus defeats death, pays the price for our sins, and offers us a way to redemption with the Father!

That should be something we can be excited about. That is something we should be excited about! I know this life can bring us down and level us out emotionally. It can sap the joy we have and absolutely bring us to our knees. It can also lull us into an almost catatonic state where there is no sadness, but no joy either.

I encourage you to find your joy in Jesus Christ this week. Then when you find it, grab on to it with both hands. Never be ashamed to celebrate it. Never be weary to talk about it. Never be shy to shout it from the mountain tops. Allow the joy we have in Christ not to be subdued by this life. Hold onto that joy, live into that joy, live out of that joy. Christ celebrates you, so return the favor and celebrate Christ; this day and every day!

Blessings,