Pastor Carolyn Poteet


Please join us!
 


Sunday

March 1


Preacher

Pastor
Carolyn Poteet


Sermon

"Simply to the Cross"


Scripture

Hebrews 12:1-13
Matthew 6:25-34












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February 27, 2020

"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow" - Isaiah 1:8

Greetings in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

It is snowing as I sit down to write to you all this morning. The gentle, quiet flakes remind me of the verse in David's great confessional psalm, "Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). The season of Lent can be like a gentle snowfall. Our brown, lifeless hearts can be covered in God's forgiveness - not because we have life in ourselves but because He chooses to wrap us in His grace.

Lent is a season of repentance and grace. It is appropriate that we start with ashes, reminding ourselves and each other that we bring nothing to God except what God has given us to start with. But o so sweet are the gifts He bestows on us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Pastor Steve is fond of reminding us that our obedience to God is a response. We do not pray and give and serve in order to earn grace. We do those things out of a thankful heart, seeking to grow closer to this God who calls us His children.

Our sermon series for Lent, Spiritual Pathways, will be looking at ways we can respond to the Lord and grow in our relationship with Him. Frequently called "spiritual disciplines," they are sometimes confused with legalism. On one extreme, people can see them as precisely what we are trying to avoid - something to do to earn our way to heaven. Even if they believe in grace, they almost see it like a credit card -- something that still has to be paid back once they have received the benefit.

On the opposite extreme, people can see the disciplines as something to be avoided since grace is all they need to get to heaven. That would be like finally meeting your soulmate and then deciding that you didn't need to spend any time with them.

In their best sense, spiritual disciplines are a means to a relationship. What are the things that crowd out your relationship with a loved one? Busyness, worry, lack of attention, and a million other little details of life can get between us. To grow close to someone, it requires sacrifice, giving of ourselves and our time, letting go of selfishness. That is what we hope to foster as we look at the disciplines. We want to rid ourselves of things that block our relationship with God and build the things that grow that relationship.

We will be looking at six disciplines during this season of Lent. We will start with simplicity and fellowship. While Pastor Job is with us, we will learn about prayer and fasting -- he has dedicated his life to those disciplines more than almost anyone I have ever met. Then we will finish the series with meditation and finally worship on Palm Sunday.

We especially hope you can join us for our All-Church Retreat on March 13-15, as we seek to deepen our relationship with God and with each other. The registration deadline is this Sunday, March 1.

God's covering of snow over us will lead to a Spring of new growth, new joy, and new hope in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May He be close with you all this Lenten season!

Blessings,
Pastor Carolyn

News and Notes

  • As the All-Church Retreat registration deadline is this Sunday, there will be folks available in the Lobby for any questions you might have or to help you sign up.
  • Our new sermon/study series, "Spiritual Pathways," begins this week! Please take a study guide from the lobby or Narthex and join in with a small group study if at all possible. And as we begin this season of Lent, Communion will be celebrated in worship this Sunday, March 1.
  • A reminder that Fired-Up Friday is March 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The Audio/Visual Ministry is looking for people who would like to help run the slides for our Sunday services. No experience is necessary! Please stop by the balcony before or after the 9:00 a.m. service to see Ed Mori for more information, or email him at emori@mlelpc.org.
  • DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME begins next Sunday, March 8. Spring forward! Turn your clocks ahead on Saturday night so that you'll be on time for church on Sunday morning.
  • Schedule change for the weekend of the All-Church Retreat: There will be a single service at MLEPC on Sunday, March 15 at 10:00 a.m.
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