A blue sky and sunshine lifts spirits on this lovely late autumn day. The floor is now in place in the church sanctuary, but not yet ready for use. This week the baseboards will be installed and next Sunday we will gather again in the main hall.
~ Darlene is seeking to assemble a choir for the Christmas season.
~ This Wednesday is the last Family Night till the new year. This week they will be assembling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
December 13 at 4:00 p.m.
~ Next week is last Sunday School so that the time can be used for practices for the Christmas program.
~ There is also a quilting/sewing group forming. See Amy.
The quartet led us in worship today. Chuck shared a few thoughts beforehand, ending with this pearl, "Our relationship with God is the foundation upon which everything else rests."
After several choruses an offering was taken and it was time for our annual puppet theater with. Ruthanne and Pearl. This week's theme was Gratefulness.... Two bears played a game in which they thought up things they were thankful for beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
We began our time of prayer by calling to mind the suffering taking place as a result of the tragic events in Paris this past week.
Walking In The Light
Today's sermon was about Saul's conversion in Acts 9. But first, Brad told a little background about Saul's life. Saul was born in Tarsus, a top student who studied under a top teacher. The best of the best in his studies, and also a Pharisee who kept all the Pharisaical commandments that were added to the ten commandments. But he was also the worst of the worst, leading the charge against Christians, breaking up the believers and taking the lead in the stoning of Stephen.
Saul's track record was such that people likely thought he was the last person ever who would get saved. But sometimes what is happening on the inside is very different than what you think based on their external behavior and God is at work within.
In verse 3 Saul was breathing out murderous threats, but on the road to Damascus God brings him down.
In our lives, too, God makes the first move. Christ pursues us while we were yet sinners. Saul was persecuting Christians one minute and became a Christian in the next. In a moment, any person in this room (or reading this here online) can be changed by the power of God.
In verse 6 Saul is told, "Get up and go to the city and you will be told what to do."
It's one step at a time. Jesus didn't lay out Saul's life plan right off, but told him to obey one simple instruction.
God's Word is a lamp unto our feet, and the light shines ahead of us one step at a time. "Get up and go to the city," Jesus says, "and I will show you...." Sometimes we don't know what to do because we still haven't followed the last step.
Saul was blinded by the light, by the Lord, and had to be led to the city. He could not physically see, but for the first time he is dealing with Christ in a different sort of way.
Next, we are taken to the story of Ananias whom the Lord called out to in a vision. Ananias replied, "Yes, Lord." If we want to be used by God, this is the way to respond when He speaks to us.
God instructs him to go to a house on Straight Street and ask for a man named Saul. Ananias explains that this instruction doesn't make sense. This is a man who was coming to Damascus to kill Christians.
But the Lord affirms that this is what Ananias is to do. Sometimes what we are called to do may seem too crazy or insignificant, but we are to trust. We walk by faith.
We often think God wants extraordinary and important people like Saul to change the world, but God needs the ordinary Ananiases of the world who simply say "Yes, Lord."
So it is that Ananias obeys, and he goes to pray for Saul, and the scales fall from Saul's eyes. He is healed of his blindness and changes his name to Paul.
Brad said, "I believe that today can be a day where you also see again."
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Note: Feel far from God? Who moved?