Pastor Carolyn Poteet
 
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Sunday, October 18
10:00 am
    
Pastor
Carolyn Poteet
 
"Model Citizens"
 
Psalm 34:4-9
Philippians 3:15-4:1
 
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October 15, 2020

"Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do."
- Philippians 3:17

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

When you were younger, who did you want to grow up to be? Many of us have admired famous people, but were there people in your own life who modeled behaviors and lifestyles you wanted to emulate? Several people who come to my mind were in my family - my grandmother and mother taught me about faithfulness in prayer. My father taught me about courage in the midst of adversity. Others were brief encounters but yet changed the way I looked at life. One guy had the kind of confidence that didn't draw attention to himself but rather gave it to others. One woman taught me about finding joy in life. A kindergartener taught me about Scooby Doo and not taking life so seriously.

And of course, there will always be Mr. Rogers, who teaches me constantly. Someone just shared an amazing quote from him: "I feel so strongly that the deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex." I want to be a Presbyterian pastor like him when I grow up!

This Sunday, we are looking at the second half of Philippians 3. Paul continues his conversation about what matters, in light of the defining story of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Paul encourages the people of Philippi to follow his example, as he follows Christ. He contrasts his example with those of the world: "Their destiny is destruction, their God is their stomach, and their glory is their shame" (Phil 3:19). While these people focus on success, power, and consumption based on earthly standards, Paul reminds us that "our citizenship is in heaven." Our models for behavior should not come from earth-bound people but from heaven-bound people. Paul encourages us to stand firm on the promise that we are citizens of heaven. That is the direction our compass needs to point.

When I lived in Austria, I realized just how much Americans stand out when they are in a different country. I worked hard to blend in (no white sneakers, bright colors, or loud talking!). One time I toured a castle and stopped at the gift shop to buy a guide. And the clerk instantly spoke to me in English. I looked up, surprised, and asked her what gave me away. She pointed out that I had bought a guidebook in English. Of course!

Our natural tendency is to want to blend into the culture where we live. More and more, though, our heavenly citizenship is calling us to a different lifestyle, world view, and attitude than the world around us. It is critical that we fix our eyes and Jesus and also seek others who do the same.

If you have people in your life filling that role, consider dropping them a note to say thank you. And at the same time, think about those for whom you can be a model and encouragement. You may just change someone's life forever!

Many blessings,
Pastor Carolyn

~  UPCOMING EVENTS  ~

"Parktoberfest" this Saturday: 
Join us for a fellowship gathering this Saturday, October 17, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. You are invited to bring your own tailgate dinner and we'll distance cars throughout our parking lot. A few tables will be set up for walkers. At 5:30, there will be music provided by church members and friends. In between music sets, there will be an in-car game that individuals and families can participate in. Come join us for the fun! You are welcome to simply come at 5:30 and park in our lower lot for the music, or bring dinner and stay in any of our parking lots or move to the lower lot before 5:30. Music will be broadcast through your car radio. 

Neighborhood Prayer Walk:
Please join us on Saturday, October 24 as we walk into the neighborhoods close to our church.  The purpose of this prayer walk is to pray for our neighbors, our local businesses, our first responders, and our local communities.  We are praying that we can touch our neighbors with the Light of Jesus Christ.  We will be prayer walking from 10:00AM to Noon.  After the prayer walk, we will be gathering at the Church at 12:15PM to come together to share our prayer walk experiences.  We are expecting to go out in groups of three or four; we will be wearing masks and using social distancing to keep everyone safe as we prayer walk.  If you are unable to join us for the prayer walk, you are invited to sit in the drive-through and pray with us.  If you prefer to not leave your home, you can join us in prayer with this copy of the Prayer Guide we'll be using: Neighborhood Prayer Focus Sheet.

Sunday School:
We are now offering in-person Sunday School for all ages. We only have three rooms in the church with enough space and ventilation to be able to gather safely, so we will only have three groups for now: Adults will meet in the sanctuary, Children in the Fellowship Hall, and Youth in the MacDonald Room. The unified adult class is sponsored by the Lamplighters and will be a hybrid format, so those who want to attend via Zoom will be able to do so. This is the link to log in at 11:15 -   https://duq.zoom.us/j/97403542430 . Pastor Steve will be leading the class, based on the Introduction to the Bible class he also teaches at Duquesne University. If you would like to be on the email list for the adult class, please let us know at info@mlepc.org 

Small Groups:
In addition to these Sunday School offerings, we have several small groups meeting online almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, and coed groups. The women's group is studying Thessalonians 1 and 2, and the men's group are studying the Bible's guidance about issues of race and justice. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or info@mlepc.org.

Hour of Prayer:
A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Use this link for a computer, tablet, or mobile phone: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416?pwd=NmZoNDV3dDNqSVFubW82TEx0bll0Zz09 . You can also call in from a regular phone - dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416 and add the password 798565. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at t4two98@hotmail.com.

As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at info@mlepc.org, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.

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