2019, March

Dear Friends,

St. Paul writes in Philippians 1: 12 – 16: 12I want you to know, beloved that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; 14and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. 15Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel…
Saint Paul’s speaks of his imprisonment and how it will serve to spread the Gospel. He refused to back down from his defense of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result, he was taken prisoner as a rebel and a danger to the empire. But he says that in the end all will be well in the defense of the mission of Christ.

His argument can be extended to us in our day. We never know the exact consequences of our actions but all we can do is live with integrity, defending our beliefs. Whatever the situation may be in which you find yourself, good, bad or neutral, you want to know that this life, and your actions in this life, serve a purpose and will be of benefit in the end. Today is the beginning of all that comes next, so we live with courage and hope, trusting that we are making the right choices. When we don’t make those good choices, we hope that positive results will be produced, somehow.

As we begin our Lenten season on Ash Wednesday, March 6, we remember that Jesus began his long journey toward Jerusalem, expecting that there would be suffering and loss but, in the end, victory. We can use this six week period to consider again our faith and the practice of that faith. We can learn to appreciate, again, that though any new venture can look bleak and scary in the beginning, we trust that it will be transformed into something positive at its conclusion. We trust in the resurrection from the dead, the lifting up of that which seems hopeless.

As usual we will have midweek Lenten worship each Wednesday at noon and 6:30. I have planned a LENTEN MIDWEEK SERMON SERIES names: “Reading the Holy Bible with New Eyes” I will be speaking in the voice of my friend Charlie. He reads his Bible with new eyes.
Each Sunday in Lent I will bring a series of messages with a unified theme of: “Joy comes in the Morning”, Psalm 30:5. This will reflect on the Ups and Downs of Life.

Plan for Tomorrow
The congregation, in its annual meeting, called for a year-long strategic planning process that will lead to a Vision and Plan for the next decade of Zion’s mission. We will begin by gathering a Team to follow up the 1st results of the Missional Assessment Profile (MAP) with an in-depth look at those results.
A second stage will be the forming of a ‘Plan for Tomorrow’ that may have as its cornerstone a new or renewed Mission Statement to guide our ministry. Please respond when the Team comes calling for your opinions and support.

Your companion in Ministry,
Pastor Paul