Pastor Steve’s Blog Aug 12, 2018 I read an interesting opinion piece online recently penned by J. Warner Wallace dated July 8, 2018. He begins his article by saying that The Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science (SPPS) released a study demonstrating that religious people live longer. He added that the study observed that “self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. Researchers found that religiously affiliated people lived between 6.64 and 9.45 years longer than those who were not religiously affiliated. They also found that religiously affiliated people had an approximately five-fold lower rate of suicide. In an attempt to explain why religious people live longer, the author writes that non-religious groups were united in their commitment to a common interest, but Christians were united by a commitment to God. He added, “A common interest can bind us as friends, but a common Father binds us as family.” Family. That’s what we are at St. Paul Church. We are family. We are not united only by some common societal cause or interest. We are united as family because of the price Jesus Christ paid on the cross to free us from the slavery of sin and death. And we celebrate that reality every Sunday when we gather as a church family for the Sacrament of Holy Communion. It’s seem like a no-brainer that you will live longer if you are loved and supported by being a member a church family. So let’s help people live longer. Let’s practice our family skills this week by loving God with all our heart, mind and soul and loving our neighbors/friends/church family as ourselves.
August 12th 2018
August 5th 2018
Pastor Steve’s Blog August 5 I have had a lot of positive feedback from last Sunday’s message on “Our God Assignment.” As I mentioned in the opening of my message last week I liked the way Rick Warren, author of “Purpose Driven Life” opened his book by stating, “It All Begins With God.” That is so true. If we want to understand our God created purpose and the subsequent God assignments that spring from our created purpose, then we must begin with God. Today’s worldly wisdom says that if we want to understand ourselves, then we must begin by understanding ourselves better so we can discover our purpose. So the world encourages us to buy self-help books and attend seminars on how we can become a better and more positive person so we can do as much good as we can for ourselves. For too many today, it’s not about God and what He desires for our lives so we can live it to our best and fullest, but about a selfish attitude that says “what’s in it for me?” Spiritual wisdom reminds us that holding a selfish attitude and approach to life will never really satisfy the inner longing to be connected to God and to be in daily relationship with Him. When God created us, he created us with the desire to be connected to something bigger than ourselves…and that something bigger than ourselves is God. I have listened to many testimonies from people over my decades of ministry and they all pretty much say the same thing. They say that life was empty for them no matter what they tried until they found Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Then from that point on, life and purpose came into clear focus as they walked in a daily relationship with the Holy Spirit. Walking daily in communion with the Holy Spirit is key to fulfilling our true purpose and God assignments. Please be in prayer daily as to what new God assignments He might have for you. Speaking of God assignments, prayerfully consider signing up for a shift to work the pumpkin patch and/or participating in this year’s Halloween Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot.
July 29th 2018
Pastor Steve’s Blog July 29, 2018 I would ask that you remain in prayer as our church continues with its transition of staff. Kory, our new youth and young adult director, was in town this past Wednesday (with a few youth helpers from his current church) moving some of his office and other items from Myrtle Beach into his office here at the church. We are looking forward to having Kory and his wife Maria (who is our new children’s director) join our staff beginning September 1st. We have our new bookkeeper, Sarah Chau, starting on July 31st. Jennifer, our great office manager, sent out a welcome email with her family picture and Bio this past week to the church. We want to welcome her as she begins her job and, I think, ministry with us here at St. Paul. Then we have Ryan, our new worship leader. I know you have been enjoying his contemporary worship songs as part of our Sunday worship experience. He is a great addition to our staff. God is such an awesome God. It has been nothing short of inspirational to watch God bring all the pieces of the staff puzzle together to put us in position to say “yes” to God and to the ministry to which He has called us. Each of us is called of God to join together with our new and current staff to do our part in “bringing in the harvest” from all the great seeds that are being planted. God has great things in store for us and He will lead us in the way we should go. As Moses said as the Red Sea was parted: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.”
July 22nd Blog
Pastor Steve’s Blog July 22 As I reflected back on our worship service last week, I am still moved by Kris Kristofferson’s testimony about how he raised his hand and then went forward to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior during a church service while experiencing the joy and forgiveness that can only come from God. That happened to Kris because someone invited him to church. Let us follow that example and try not to miss opportunities to invite people we know who do not have a church home or do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to join us in church for a worship service or church event. The Bible reminds us that we have not, because we ask not. So let us not be weary in our asking and sharing the love of God. Remember, with God all things are possible. The other aspect that was a little unusual for a United Methodist Church was our altar call during what I termed, “Throw-Back Sunday.” We had an old-fashioned altar call with the singing of “Just As I Am.” We had no one accept Christ for the first time in their life, however, the invitation was extended. After that initial call to the altar, my heart was gladdened to see a number of people make their way to the altar to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit touched the hearts of many as Ryan, our worship leader, lead us in singing, “Come to the Altar.” I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Staff-Parish Committee (Joyce Bruffey, chairperson, Patty Rampey, Jon Saul, Jackie Baucom, our Lay Leader and Kim Straughn, our Lay Delegate to Annual Conference) for their faithful and diligent work on filling our vacant staff positions. I also want to thank our Office Manager, Jennifer Chester, for her professionalism, expertise and Christian grace during the transition of pastors as well as providing solid administrative support to the Staff-Parish Committee during their staff search. By the way, she provides great admin support to every committee and person in the church. Thanks Jennifer!