FROM PASTOR ANN MARIE WINTERS: COMPASSION: A Biblical Perspective
“When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
I always linger over the word “compassion” in this 36th verse when I read this 9th chapter in Matthew because it leads us to consider our Lord’s compassion for people.
Compassion is not pity. The Word does not say that he pitied the people because they did not measure up to his standards. Morally, our Lord did challenge us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, but he did not judge people. In fact, he spent time with sinners, he ate with them, and respected them as human beings – a people who needed relief and direction. His compassion was for all kinds of people – crowds of them. Their lives were his concern.
The verse does not say that Christ taught the people because their leaders’ ideas were wrong. Yet, he did not leave them on their own to follow the Pharisees and the Saduccees who often laid heavy burdens on the people. We know that Jesus came to bring freedom from sin, and death, and bondage. He relieves burdens compassionately.
The chapter goes on to say that our Lord Jesus took action out of compassion. His heart went out to the people. He taught the crowd in a way that was to relieve their suffering. He guided them with the care of a Good Shepherd. And he sent out the apostles to do the same!
May the compassion of our Lord Jesus be at the heart of our teaching, leadership, and action in the church.
Ann Marie Winters
Joint Worship & Picnic…We will have a Joint Worship & Picnic on August 6 beginning at 10:30 am at Howland Township Park. Worship will begin at 10:30 am, lunch at 11:30 am, and activities at 12:30 pm. There will be no services at the churches on this date. RSVP to attend the Shared Ministry Worship and Picnic by signing the sign-up sheet. We need to prepare enough Bar-B-Q chicken. Please bring your own comfortable lawn chairs for the day’s activities and please bring a side dish to share.
The Prayer Chain: Can you be a link?
There are many ways that we share information, and many conversations that build up the church. My favorite communication in the church is prayer. It is holy communication by which we can reach the Father of us all with the true intentions of our heart, at any time, and for any reason, with any words that come to us. It is not holy because we use the right kind of language. It is holy because of the One who hears our prayer, and who loves us and tells us to bring all our requests to Him.
St. Paul teaches us to “pray without ceasing” (1Thes 5:17). How often have you asked others for prayer? How often have you also promised to bring someone’s intention to God in prayer? I hope you may have experienced being covered by the prayers of others, surrounded by their intercessions on your behalf.
At one time, we had 15 intercessors on the prayer chain of St Paul. Some people have moved or passed to the saints triumphant. It is time to ask if you would join the prayer chain, so we can have many voices reaching to God’s ears on behalf of our brothers and sisters.
Here is how it works: The requests that are made known to the Pastor or the Office Manager at St. Paul are passed on to the coordinator (June Hutchison). June contacts a couple of people, and they each call one person, until the request for prayer has made its way to the ears of many people who pray. So, no one calls more than one or two people. A prayer request is on the chain until the request is removed by the one who asked.
Won’t you lend an ear to those who need prayer? And lift your voice to God? Thanks, Pastor Winters
FROM PASTOR WILLIAM D. LEITCH: Our Shared Ministry leaders and Council members have been working together to gather data, looking to the future and what challenges we can expect. We want to share that information with you and pray about how God is calling us. A day long retreat has been proposed; it will explore the past mission of the church, and hopes for future mission. The retreat would be followed by a six Sunday series for our interactive discussion.
The Sunday discussion format will include small group discussions. It is always easier to get more voices heard when we break into small groups. We want to hear everyone’s voice. What do you know about the history of the church? Why was the church built in its location? What was our mission and ministry in the past?
That’s all about our history and our original intent. What is our mission and ministry now? What does our community need us to do today? Who is our community? How far should we reach?
Who are we? What are we capable of doing today as a congregation? How can we meet the needs of our community? What help do we need? Where can we get that help?
These are just a few of the questions we need to ask periodically. The answers need to come from you. You know who you are and what you are capable of doing. The leaders of our congregations need your answers because your answers are like data. We take all the data and prayerfully make the best decisions we can with God’s help.
I share this with you now so that you may prepare yourselves to participate as fully as you can.