Tag Archives: worship in the park

What is Love? – Our theme for Worship in the Park this Sunday!

22 Aug

what-is-loveWhat is love?  Do you know for certain?  There is a popular song that asks “What is love?” and then responds with “Baby, don’t hurt me.”  Though we don’t think of love as painful, another popular song echoes what many people have found to be true: “Love hurts.”  You might have experienced that in your own life.  It leaves many people wondering what love is all about and why our culture is so focused on love.  It leaves many people wondering if they will ever find love.  Maybe love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  If you read on, you’ll see that people all over the world are searching for love.  In fact they are searching for answers in the Bible.  Can the Bible possibly have an answer to a question of such magnitude?  That’s what we are going to try to find out on Sunday, and a special Sunday it is!

I’m super excited for this coming Sunday because it is Worship in the Park and our annual church Picnic! Join us at East Lampeter Community Park on Hobson Road at 10am on Sunday August 24th.  When you arrive just follow the music to find us, as we’ll be in the middle pavilion.

Tons of people from the church are working hard behind the scenes to pull off the event, and I am so grateful for their work.  Getting sound and music to the pavilion is a big deal.  Our worship will finish with a special large-scale art project for all ages, and putting that together has required the people to help out.  Then there is the coffee, snacks, and later the picnic which involved a whole additional group of people.  Thank you all!

As you prepare for worship on Sunday, our theme is What is Love? 

In preparation for Sunday, I came across this video.  It is fascinating to see how many people all over the world are searching to find the meaning of love.  In our ongoing study of 1st Corinthians we come to chapter 13, which as the video points out, is one of the most sought-after chapters in the Bible.  In 2009 it was the most searched for chapter on Bible Gateway.  In 2013 “love” was the most searched for topic.  On just about any list of the most popular chapters of the Bible, people put 1st Corinthians 13 in their Top Ten.  It is used prolifically at weddings.  And for good reason!  1 Corinthians 13 is all about the meaning of true love.

Because it has become almost synonymous with weddings, many people don’t realize that it was not originally written for that purpose.  Surely it applies to marriage, as we believe that love should be the foundation of a healthy marriage.  But why did Paul include this chapter in his letter to the Corinthian Christians?  If he wasn’t addressing love in marriage, what was he addressing?  Is there some reason that he put this chapter on love in the particular placement that he did?  At first glance it seems odd, random.  A chapter about love right in the middle of a bunch of chapters about worship-related things like the role of women, spiritual gifts, and speaking in tongues.  Why not talk about love in chapter 7 which was all about marriage?

Paul has a reason.  Take a look for yourself and see if you can figure it out.  Read 1 Corinthians 13 (and boost Bible Gateway’s stats a bit in the process!) and prepare to answer the question What is Love?

Guest Speakers: Sarah Thebarge and Bruce Hill

11 Jun

This past week Faith Church has heard from a couple different guest speakers, and I urge you to give them each a listen.

invisiblegirls_paperbackSarah Thebarge was with us this past Thursday evening.  Sarah grew up in Lancaster County, but after graduating from high school, her life’s journey has taken her to California, Yale, New York City and Portland.  But more than travels, Sarah tells the story of her battle with cancer, and how she experienced God’s love from a surprising place…Somalia, through the lives of a family of Somali refugees she met by chance in a train in Portland.  If you have ever doubted God’s love, Sarah’s story will resonate with you. She talked about the story of Hagar from Genesis 16, and the God who sees. If you have experienced the devastating pain of cancer, you need to read her story.  You can purchase her book The Invisible Girls here and you can follow her blog here.

Then on Sunday our Bishop Bruce Hill and his wife Gloria were with us for Worship in the Park.  The weather was gorgeous.  I love Worship in the Park for so many reasons.  Being in the community, the clear picture that the church is not the building, but the people!  Bishop Bruce preached a powerful sermon from Epbrucehillhesians 4.  Are you mature?  The image that came to my mind when he was preaching was of a full-grown person, except for their left leg.  That leg had never grown.  Instead it is still a chubby baby leg.  And the adult is hopping around on one leg, while the baby leg dangles.  Is it possible that is you in your spiritual life?  Are you still a spiritual infant in some way?

Chalices, Clipboards, Graduation Books – The Monday Messy Office Report – June 9, 2014

9 Jun

communion_table_redux_by_joshmaule-d3isuwr

Every week my tidy Friday office is mysteriously messy on Monday.  Here’s what I found today:

1. Communion Chalices – Yesterday was Worship in the Park, and it was a beautiful day!  I can’t tell you how many people come up to me asking if we could please have worship in the park more often.  Every week, if possible.  One of the elements of worship yesterday was communion, and at Faith Church, once per quarter, we have communion by intinction.  That is people come forward, break off a piece of the bread, dip it in the cup and partake.  We bought chalices from Ten Thousand Villages a couple years ago, made of simple colored glass, and I brought them back to my office after worship yesterday.  The leftover bread, I’ll admit, made it to our house, and not much past lunch at that…  Over the years I have become more interested in communion.  When I was a boy, the church I grew up in had communion once/month, and I remember we would sing a song after communion as the ushers collected an offering for the needy.  It always seemed that song was more rousing and heartfelt than the others we would sing, as if the images and truths communion symbolizes would fill hearts with joy. As it should!  One word many traditions use to describe communion is Eucharist, Greek for “Thanksgiving.”  Giving thanks is a part of the communion story because we read that Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it.  And so, too, we though somber in our remembrance of his broken body and shed blood, burst forth with thankful joy at his victorious resurrection from the dead.

2. Clipboards – I found a few empty clipboards on my counter.  I’m pretty sure they are the clipboards we used to hold sign-up sheets for the Summer Lunch Program.  I’m really excited that Faith Church is once again participating in our ministerium’s Summer Lunch Program.  Starting next week, for ten weeks of summer vacation, we’ll host people from the community for a free meal.  The food is donated and prepared by our local food bank, Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services.  Not only Faith Church people are signed up to help, but also a number of other churches in our area.  It is going to be excellent!

3. Box of stuff from Worship in the Park – It takes a team of people working together to pull off Worship in the Park, and I am grateful for every one of them.  Thanks to Becka and the praise team for transporting instruments.  Thanks to Elijah for the use and set-up of his sound system.  Thanks to Marcus & Melessa for setting up all the drinks and snacks.  Thanks to Kevin and Ken for handling offering and communion elements.  Thanks to Jim for printing song sheets.  Without all of you, Worship in the Park wouldn’t be possible!  I had a box of a few odds and ends like leftover bulletins and reports we distributed, as we have a special congregational meeting coming up.

4. Books for Graduates – I also had books that we are giving as gifts to our graduates.  We got them books by authors like Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen, our prayer being that as they move on to their next stage in life they would give attention to their soul.  It is so easy to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of what has to happen next, whether that is starting college (admissions, dorms, loans, classes, roommates, etc) or starting a career (interviews, health insurance, co-workers, meetings, etc).  In the busyness, we can lose focus on what it means that we are disciples of Jesus.  We hope our graduates take a few moments to read those books.  Maybe you have lost focus on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  If so, I’d be glad to talk with you further if you’re interested.

Now it’s time for me to clean up this mess!

Worship in the Park and Summer Vacation

6 Jun

worshipintheparkThis weekend is the first of two Worship in the Park Sundays that Faith Church has been holding for the last 3-4 years, and thankfully the weather is forecast to be beautiful!  We set up our worship band in the High Pavilion at East Lampeter Community Park, and enjoy worshipping God in the gorgeous surroundings of the Park.  Our Township does a wonderful job keeping the park fun and attractive.  So we invite all of you to join us!  Added to the surroundings, our Bishop will be with us.  Bruce Hill has been a pastor and leader in the Evangelical Congregational Church for a number of years, and he has been our Bishop for the last three.  He is a creative leader with a bold vision and a heart for God and his Kingdom.  In preparation for his message on Sunday, perhaps you’ll take a few minutes and read his address to our denomination’s National Conference last week.  During worship in the park, we’ll also celebrate communion and take a special offering to support our missionaries.

Warmer weather means not only Worship in the Park, but also summer vacation.  My family will travel to Texas next, as we are looking forward to vacationing with family.  That means on June 15, Phil Bartelt will be continuing our series in 1 Corinthians, and I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks.  It has been a blessing to have Phil, Lisa, and their kids as members of Faith Church now for almost a year!  On June 22, we have another special opportunity, the Conestoga Valley Ministerium Pulpit Exchange.  Pastor Tom Eshleman of Groffdale Mennonite Church will be with us, and I will be preaching at Zion Lutheran Church of Leola.  Tom has been pastor at Groffdale since September, 2009. He, his wife Jennifer, and their three children came to Groffdale in 2005 as associate/youth pastor. Prior to that he taught elementary school in Harrisonburg, VA. Born and raised in Lancaster, PA, he holds a BA degree from Eastern Mennonite University and a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary.  I wish I could be there to hear Tom, so I’ll have to check out the podcast!  I’ve gotten to know Tom a bit through the ministerium, and I’ve come to appreciate his obvious passion for Christ.

June is a busy month at Faith Church.  Ballroom dance has started back up on Tuesday evenings.  The Summer Lunch Program begins on the 16th, and we could still use your help volunteering for that.  It’s going to be a great summer!