Thursday, February 3, 2011

St. John's Epistle for February 3, 2011

Dear church members and friends of St. John's,

Last Sunday was a good one as we had an Anointing Service for Healing. We will have an Anointing Service for Healing each fifth Sunday of the year so the next one will be on May 29. There were a couple dozen or so people who came forward for anointing last Sunday. They may have come seeking healing for themselves or someone they love and the healing they sought may have been physical, emotional, financial, relational, or another kind of healing. This service of healing is a good addition to our worship services.

We also had our annual congregational meeting during the service last Sunday. I appreciate Brad for his Nominating Committee update, Curtis for his 2010 budget recap and Tad, Lindsey and Evan, who presented this year's budget and the pastor's terms of call. The church staff is grateful to the congregation for the modest cost of living increase for us you approved in this year's budget. We work hard to be servant leaders and appreciate your recognition of our time and effort on your behalf.

On a more personal note, I appreciate the congregation's support of me and my family. We are happy in Houston and I am honored to serve as your pastor at St. John's Presbyterian Church. I think we are a good fit and look forward to growing this church with your help and support. Toward that end, the Session will be studying Reggie McNeal's book Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. I ask for your prayers for me and the Session as we seek to lead the congregation toward growth this year.

Speaking of the Session, this Sunday we will complete our 2011 roster as Sean Coughlen is ordained and installed as the Youth Elder for 2011 and Mike Alexander is installed as an elder on the Session. They join an energetic and capable group of elders and they will contribute to our success this year. St. John's is blessed with a large number of highly gifted and capable lay leaders. That is why our congregation enjoys such a fine reputation within New Covenant Presbytery.

This Sunday is Souper Bowl Sunday so plan to stay after worship in warm McPhail Hall for some delicious soup. Youth group members will be standing at the sanctuary exits with empty pots into which you may place cash or checks that will be used to purchase food for our local food pantry called Braes Interfaith Ministries (BIM). Each $1 you invest in BIM returns $27 in food purchases for the hungry. This is possible because BIM purchases food at a market reduced price through a government program for this purpose. So plan to give generously to BIM on Souper Bowl Sunday. (I think there may be a football game on Sunday evening in Dallas this Sunday if I am not mistaken. ;-)

In the meantime, stay warm and stay focused and prepare your heart for our First Sunday Communion Service this Sunday. The sermon text is Matthew 5:13-20 and the sermon title is "Salt and Light." Jesus says in the text: "You are the salt of the earth." Bruce Malina translates this as "You are the catalyst to get things cooking." What kind of soup are we cooking this Sunday? Stone soup. Bring what ingredients you have to the kitchen and they will be added to the mix. Or you may do like me and just show up and enjoy the end result. It reminds me of Hank Williams song, "Hey good lookin', what ya got cookin'? How's about cookin' something up with me?" Let's get cookin' for Christ right about now. There is no better time to be a catalyst get things cooking for Christ. It's now or never. It's always now or never.

Eckhart Tolle writes in his book A New Earth, "Some egos that perhaps don't have much else to identify with easily survive on complaining alone." (p. 61) If that statement applies to someone you know then it may also apply to yourself. It's hard to be be salt and light when our mouths are full of harsh words and our minds are full of empty chatter. I wonder if that's what Jesus was getting at?

Peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Jon

St. John's Presbyterian Church
5020 West Bellfort / Houston, TX 77035
T. 713.723.6262 / F. 713.723-4015 / Email:
Worship Service: Sunday, 10:30 am / Sunday School: 9:00 am