Luke 13:18-21 New International Version (NIV) The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast. (V 18) Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? V.19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Many times small acts of faith can have a huge effect on someone’s life. • Actively listening to someone feeling the chill of life. • Taking a meal to someone who is sick or in grief. • Saying please and thank you to those serving you. All these things seem small, but they all can have a powerful effect on the person receiving them and may just be the thing that helps their seed of faith grow into a spiritual tree. Go into this day with the mission of doing small acts of the Kingdom. The scriptures promise that their impact will be huge. Gracious Father, make us stewards of your grace this day. Lead us by your Holy Spirit so that the world may experience a glimpse of your Kingdom through our words and actions. Amen
Archives for 2014
People will come from north & south & east & west and sit at the table of the Lord. People will come from North Dakota & South Carolina. People will come from Eastminster & Western Colorado Presbyteries. People will come and sit at tables at the COBO Convention Center in Detroit, and the Lord will be there, too.
Let us, united in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, praise God together for all his marvelous deeds. Let us, as sisters and brothers in Christ, debate and pray and vote and live and serve as those who are God’s own beloved. Let us not be anxious or have troubled hearts, but believe and trust in God, so perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5:9 “You are blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are and your place in God’s family.” (The Message) As we are called to Love one another with the Love of Christ, we are reminded that we are also called to promote peace in times of discord and strife. Dealing with issues of great importance often brings forth passionate pleas and strong feelings. Frequently these passions escalate and before we know it we have crossed over from civility into hostility. Blessed is the peacemaker – those among us who can bring calm to the chaos. Blessed is the peacemaker – those whose voice can be heard above the shouts, whose love softens hardened hearts. Creator of all that is good, please instill in us Your Love that we may be the calm voices of peace amidst the clamor. Enable us, through your reflected Love, to be the still small voices of peace and calm. Use us that we might bless and be blessed, as peacemakers.
Ephesians 4:1-6 Paul challenges us to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” How are we to do this? “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” NIV The scripture goes on to say there is one body and one spirit and we are called to one hope; called to one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There is one God and Father of all. God is over and through and in ALL. God, we don’t know how to be one. We seem to have forgotten the bond of unity. Give us the hope we find in Christ. Restore your church; begin with me.
If you were not able to attend the South Carolina Convocation held at Presbyterian College and Thornwell Home for Children last weekend, you missed more than wonderful fellowship. On Saturday morning, Sue Mathews and Eric H. Doss reported on the progress of the Visioning Task Force, including their recent work meeting with and listening to sessions throughout the presbytery.
The VTF, at the February 2014 meeting, began engaging with commissioners and members of our churches to shape a series of questions to take to the sessions. Starting in May of 2014, two member teams from the VTF began traveling to session meetings to pray, listen, and engage with sessions. In the first month of our work, we have met with over 25% of the sessions in the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery. Our members have traveled from Beaufort to McClellanville and out to Pineville. We’ve met with churches on James Island and the peninsula.
By the end of June, we will have reached over 30 of the constituent churches within the presbytery. These meetings are a chance for your session to talk about the mission, health, hope, and future of your congregation and to make sure that the VTF hears all voices, in all churches, throughout our geographically and culturally diverse presbytery.
Please do not miss the opportunity to let your voice be heard. If you serve as a Ruling Elder and you do not have a meeting with the VTF scheduled, please ask your clerk or moderator to contact Sue, Eric, or Pie to arrange a visit.
The PC(USA) has recently published a guide to help churches fully and effectively utilize the gifts of Ruling Elders in worship.
If you are a ruling elder, you might not even know there is a resource page, maintained by the Office of the General Assembly, that provides support and training for Ruling Elders. If you have not visited the page, you can go to the main page for Ruling Elders.
The Charleston Atlantic Presbytery recently switched our e-newsletter service from ConstantContact to MailChimp. We sent our first newsletter with ConstantContact on May 6th, 2009, which included a few articles, almost no images, and a list of dozens of events going on in our presbytery. Since then, our newsletter has not changed much. We’ve added new logos, tried to include more images, and made numerous changes to the newsletter through the years.
However, ConstantContact does not offer a number of important features that are expected in 2014. For me, the largest reason to change is a lack of good templates for our newsletter. Specifically, ConstantContact has very few templates that are mobile-friendly or responsive. A mobile friendly or responsive newsletter changes the display of the newsletter to adapt to the device being used. This may seem like a small issue, but more and more of our members are using their phones and tablets to consume information. I have seen some sites that enjoy higher than 50% of visitors coming from mobile sites. If we ignore these increasing numbers of people using mobile devices, we’re going to forfeit a great opportunity to connect with people. MailChimp supports numerous responsive designs and you can easily purchase a template from a third party and use it easily with MailChimp.
The second influence in our decision was the price. MailChimp offers a free tier for everyone. You can have up to 2,000 email addresses and send up to 12,000 emails per month for free. That’s not a trial or a promotion. In fact, since I started using MailChimp, they have increased the number of subscribers and emails allowed at that price. If you need to upgrade your account because you send more email or have more addresses, the prices are as reasonable as any other service. And you get a 15% discount as a nonprofit.
If you’d like to check out MailChimp and see how it might improve your communications efforts and reduce your costs, please visit their site.
This survey is a little dated, especially in the social media and communications world. What you can be sure of is that more churches are using social media than when this survey was completed and more people expect some sort of interaction from their religious institutions in the social media world.
Hat tip to BuzzPlant for the useful infographic.
Maybe you’ve noticed that email is becoming less important to people’s daily lives, replaced by SMS and other texting services. Adam Cleaveland, a Presbyterian pastor in Illinois, noticed that it’s almost impossible to get youth to check their email and found a great solution called TextMarks. TextMarks is a group SMS service that is much easier than creating lists of people from your phone.
To get the full rundown, check out Adam’s post here.