Pastors Column – January 2019

Pastor’s Column: Hot Topics Series – What’s the Deal With…

Church, as we begin 2019, we are inviting our congregation to reflect in worship around a number of “hot topics” and modern issues from the origins of the universe and care of creation to gender issues and human sexuality to the Bible, miracles, stress and money. It is intended as a “Can’t-Miss-This-Sunday” series, and an opportunity to invite friends to join us on a Sunday morning to consider together God’s Word and the movements of the Holy Spirit in such a complex world!
As you know, this coming Sunday, January 6th, is a special service – it’s our “Leadership Sunday,” when we pray over our leaders and teams, celebrate our Servant of the Year, witness how God is at work through members of our congregation, and share in Holy Communion. That’s our only single-service Sunday of this season – at just 10:00 am, this week only.
But then, beginning the following Sunday, January 13th, we begin this new series with:  “What’s the Deal with the Origins of Life, the Universe and Everything?” from Genesis to the Big Bang to evolution. Seemed obvious to begin the series with the beginning of everything.
Following that, Sunday, January 20th, will be a reflection on environmental concerns and how Christians have responded, “What’s the Deal with the Environment, and God’s Expectation of Care of Creation?”  We’ll beginning that message with a reflection on Genesis too, and God’s initial command to Adam and Eve to “till and keep” their garden.
Sunday, January 27th is about the modern malady of anxiety, and the peace and hope we are gifted in our relationships with God, with, “What’s the Deal with God’s Peace when Life is Full of Stress and Worry?”
Sunday, February 3rd we will explore the place of miracles and “acts of God” in the modern world, by asking, “What’s the Deal with Speaking in Tongues, Healings and Miracles?”
Then Sunday, February 10th we will affirm God’s empowerment of “Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female,” in a message on the importance of women clergy, with, “What’s the Deal with Women in the Church?  (And Do We Still Have to Talk About This?)”
The following Sunday, February 17th, is the week before our denomination’s special General Conference in St. Louis on issues of same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ peoples. We will reflect that Sunday on, “What’s the Deal with Homosexuality and the Faith?”, in both God’s prohibitions around human sexuality and Jesus’ work to welcome all people into God’s kingdom.
Sunday, February 24th, hot off the past two topics, we will reflect upon the always important question of how God’s Word guides, instructs and informs us, with a message on, “What’s the Deal with the Good Book, Scriptural Inspiration and Biblical Authority?”
Then Sunday, March 3rd we will end the series just before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season, with a message on finances, tithing, stewardship and Jesus’ words around money, with a message entitled, “What’s the Deal with Money? Can God Make Me Rich or Does He Want Me to Give It All Away?”
I hope you will join us for this series, and again use it as an opportunity to invite friends or family to hear about and reflect on these topics with so many touchstones on our faith and world. Let us gather and celebrate our God, who is present, relevant, active and redeeming this creation!

Excited to be in Worship with you here in the year of our Lord, 2019!
Pastor James Murphy