Vacation Bible School 2018
This year’s VBS will be from Sunday, July 8 through Tuesday, July 10, from 6 – 8:30 PM. Each night at 5:30 we will have a shared/tailgating meal. Tuesday’s program will be held at the new Claridon Woodlands Park.
These are some of the people we need for a successful VBS:
Photographer/videographer The kids love seeing their faces at our ending program, if you love taking photos!
Tailgating/share a meal- We can use help with the light meal provided for our adventure camp participants and their families
Concession Workers- We can use help with hands on snack preparations the kids will be doing and light refreshments
Game Coaches– We have a great crew from Lighthouse but would love additional help with our outdoor games and activities!
Craft Coaches– Do you enjoy crafting or creating works of art? So do our kids! Please join our craft team to help with these activities!
Music Leaders– Have a gift for singing? Can you sign? Do you dance? Are you filled with energy and excitement? This could be the spot for you!
VBS registration: Are you organized? Can you help with registering our participants and getting them ready for our adventures? We sure could use you at the “pre-race” registration table!
Advertisement: Do you have a knack for advertisement? Can you help promote God’s Team adventures? We sure could use a marketing person-could that be you?!
Pre/post game pep rallies: Are you an awesome cheerleader? Can you really get the crowd pumped up? Do you have a talent to act? Please join us to be part of our pep-team and get us ready for the days adventures and later help us recap the days events.
Trainers: Would you like to help our participants move through their camp schedule? Do you want to experience the activities and help the kids take part? This is open to our youth who sixth grade and older
And of course, we need your prayerful support. Please call Leslie Smetana or Jill Kellogg if you can help. Thanks!
THE CARILLON - June 2018
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
There is so much in this chapter that it’s hard to choose which portion to highlight for today. Read it and pray about it – there’s a feeding of the multitudes, 4000 people in the wilderness. The disciples fail to understand Jesus when he tells them to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. The rising threat of one’s adversaries is greater than simply needing food to fill our tummies. Jesus heals a blind man. He asks them who people call him, and Peter names Jesus as the Messiah, our savior. Jesus tells them that he will suffer and be rejected, be killed and three days later rise from death.
To be a disciple – within this chapter it means feeding others with both physical and spiritual food. It means keeping one’s eyes open to perceive threats, even if the process of receiving sight takes a little time. It means professing faith and accepting all that comes with faith, both the joys and the hardship. Do I have the right stuff of discipleship? Will I let Jesus continue to keep opening my eyes until I may fully see and fully serve? I pray that I may lose my life as I might define it, in order to take up a more abundant life in how Jesus has asked me to live.
Dear God, let me choose again today to be your disciple, in a way that you define it, not me. Let my eyes be open to perceive opportunities for service, and to be ready to die to my own self in order to take up Christ’s body and his life in me. Let me not be afraid of difficulties ahead, because you promise to be with me in all I do. In Christ I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
These words must have been tough for people to grasp in Jesus’ day. Those who interact with people who are Jewish and especially Orthodox Jewish, know that it is extremely important to keep dairy away from meat, and to maintain a kosher household. Jesus here is saying that we are defiled not by what we eat, but by what we do. How difficult for one who has grown up observing dietary restrictions to simply throw that all away!
On the other hand, Jesus’ list of wrongs is difficult too, because though some of them are condemned as blatantly wrong in our culture, others are allowed, even given a measure of acceptance. We fail to call a sin by its rightful name.
We are not defiled by what foods we eat, but we are defiled by words we say and actions we do that do not honor God. We get the first, but fall short on the second.
Help us, Lord, not to look down upon those who follow different traditions in their eating, while failing to condemn in ourselves the wrongs we do that do not honor you. Let us name them and claim those wrongs that have defiled us. Forgive us. Cleanse us through Jesus’ shed blood for us on the cross, for only he can make us whole again. This we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
Monday, June 18, 2018
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
We see the pastoral heart of Jesus here. First he perceived that the disciples were burdened with caring for people to the point of not having time to eat or rest. So he asked them to come away to a quiet place. Then, when they got to this solitary place, there was a large crowd who were also burdened. Jesus had compassion on them and felt compelled to care for them too. These verses we read today are from the beginning of the account of the feeding of the five thousand.
Were the crowds that gathered about Jesus wherever he went something like first-century paparazzi? I’m sure some people were after him like photographers trailing a celebrity, curious to see what he would do next. They were simply onlookers, voyeurs. But others sought Jesus out of genuine need, and Jesus knew it and responded to them in compassion.
I guess there are times any one of us can stand on the sidelines of faith. Thrill me, Jesus, but don’t expect me to change. Other times we come from a place of real need. Help me, Jesus. Lord, help us recognize at all times that we are sheep needing Jesus our Good Shepherd.
Lord Jesus, we pray because you teach us to pray. We pray to you out of needs we hardly recognize, along with needs that scream out in their urgency. Help us put you in charge, not because we want to evade responsibility but because only you can put us in right places. Only you can heal us from the inside out. Let us give you today, to follow you. Amen.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
In this episode from Jesus’ ministry, Jesus healed a man whose name had been Legion, for all the evil spirits that invaded him. Now, restored and in his right mind, Legion asked to go with Jesus on his way. Jesus gave him different marching orders, so to speak – telling him to go back home and tell others what the Lord in his mercy has done. He did, and people were amazed.
It would have been easy to follow Jesus, to be an “after” example of one transformed by Jesus’ healing power. See what Jesus has done, and he can do the same thing for you. But that would invalidate this man’s own ministry, and shift the focus solely to Jesus the healer. Jesus knew this man was capable of more, so Jesus sent him home to do greater things as an ambassador of Christ.
Those who knew Legion before could hardly imagine how he had changed. Certainly it was an amazing story, to think that Jesus drove the evil spirits into a herd of pigs, who rushed down a hillside into a lake and drowned. It is amazing to think that God’s power can effect such dramatic change in a person. Legion knew he was a new man.
Maybe our transformation is not so dramatic as Legion’s. Yet we too have a mission – to tell others how Jesus has changed our lives. What has Jesus done for you? If you know it, share it. If you don’t know it, ask him. Live among neighbors and friends the changed person you are, by the mercies and grace of God.
Let me not take you for granted, Lord. Let me be amazed at the changes you invite in me, and be willing to pass along the joy of being claimed by you. Let me live this day for you, in your mercy and grace, through Christ my savior. Amen.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
First the disciples were terrified at the storm. Then they were terrified when Jesus stilled the storm. Jesus asked them, “Do you still have no faith?” We have to admit that we are no different from the disciples. In circumstances like theirs, Jesus would probably ask us the same question.
We don’t live in hurricane territory like those down south who endured Harvey and Irma. I can’t imagine having winds over 100 miles an hour, or even a tornado coming across the plains. Yet we rightly fear natural disasters and other tragedies that occur.
Should we fear one who has control over our natural elements? Instead, let us be ready to give God praise, after that first realization that we are out of control in a situation. Let’s add into the mix our awe and our worship and our praise, for clearly God is in our midst. May we be on the lookout for miracles, signs that God is here and working and active within our world.
Thank you, dear God, for signs that remind us of your power. Thank you for miracles that break into our ordinary world – things that shouldn’t happen but they do. Unexpected healing. Peace in the midst of a storm. One is saved or blessed or restored or given another chance. Help us look for you to remember that you are in charge, not us. Amen.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
In yesterday’s reading, Nicodemus was confused by words Jesus spoke. In today’s reading, there is open controversy, even threats of murder. Some folks were just waiting for Jesus to step out of line with what was deemed acceptable in that day, when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath.
Several things sadden me about this reading. Why was it people who presumably had faith in God who were so ready to accuse Jesus of wrongdoing? The ones whom we might think were closest to God’s heart were in actuality the ones farthest away from knowing what God really wants. Secondly, Jesus’ accusers wanted to protect the sanctity of God’s law about doing no work on the Sabbath, even if their method was not acceptable. We don’t do a very good job setting aside the Sabbath for God. We don’t take the time we need to rest and reflect on God’s goodness.
I pray that your heart will long to find this rest – not because it is a law that we need to toe the line, but because it restores our souls. May the Lord lead you to lie down in green pastures beside still waters, to walk with you through dark valleys and sit you down to find common ground with enemies, to bless you with an overflowing cup, goodness and mercy every day of your life. If this happens on a Sabbath, even better.
Gracious God, incline my heart to you to want what you want and do what makes you happy. Let me heal or serve or listen or care as I best I may. Let me do what I can – for you. Amen.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Pharisees looked down on Jesus for eating with Levi (whom we also know as Matthew) the tax collector and his friends, who were not highly respected members of society. Did Jesus not know who these people were? Did he not realize how his reputation could suffer being seen in their company?
Now fast forward a few thousand years to see a congregation gathered in worship. These are good people, but would they be comfortable spending time with fringe elements of society – drug users, street walkers, homeless people, petty thieves and the like?
Any one of us needs the healing touch of Jesus the master Physician, even if our faults may be less obvious than others. But it’s hard to imagine us spending time, or sharing a meal, with those whom society has written off as lesser than others. People back then didn’t understand Jesus, and maybe we too struggle with his actions, even if we believe in his words. Lord, help me receive what is hard for me to understand.
Gracious God, forgive me when I put a value on people according to what I see, rather than what is going on within their hearts. I hesitate to go outside of my comfort zone, but then I may miss someone you would want me to reach. Give me new eyes to see others as Jesus did, and like him to want to reach out with compassion and care. Amen.
What We Believe
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son and our savior, who lived among us to teach us and die for us. He rose again to give us the promise of eternal life in him John 3:16. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God dwelling in us John 14:15-17. We seek God’s word in the Bible, the foundation of our faith. Our mission as a church is to proclaim the good news of Christ to all. We honor Christ through worship and fellowship, encouraging one another in faith, hope and love 1 Corinthians 13:13, and serving our neighbors with compassion and justice.
We belong to the United Church of Christ. As a congregation we are granted the autonomy to govern our local church, and prayerfully make the best decisions we can on how to live out our calling as believers. Each person has the freedom and responsibility of discerning for themselves how faith in Jesus Christ impacts their daily walk and their worldview. We respect one another’s differences because even though we are diverse, we are still part of Christ’s body.
We look forward to welcoming you some day soon. Peace to you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
10:00 am Worship Service
10:00 am Children's Adventure Hour