Sept 8-15, 2021

Rev. Tom Willetts

These verses are the thematic midpoint of the Gospel of Mark. Jesus has been calling disciples, healing, feeding, teaching with authority and many people are talking about him. He asks his disciples about his public reputation. Then he asks them who they say he is. All the answers are only partially correct, even Peter’s because Peter still misunderstands what Jesus intends MESSIAH to truly mean. Lets read together:

Mark 8:27-38

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Jesus Predicts His Death

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The Way of the Cross

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

As post Resurrection disciples of Jesus, we know more than the crowds and Peter. We know what Jesus means when he redefines Messiah by his life, death and Resurrection. Even though we know more because we have the benefit of the New Testament and 2000 years of history we don’t know everything. As years pass and I hear Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” I realize that I know far less than I realize. Jesus is far more than I can imagine.

This reading by Saint Augustine from A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck, (pg. 343) help me continue to grow as a disciple, even though I know less and live less perfectly as a disciple than I hope.

The house of my soul is too small for you to enter: make it more spacious by your coming. It lies in ruins: rebuild it. Some things are to be found there which will offend your gaze; I confess this to be so and know it well. But who will clean my house? To whom but yourself can I cry, Cleanse me of my hidden sins, O Lord, and for those incurred through others, pardon your servant? I believe, and so I will speak. You know everything, Lord. Have I not laid my own transgressions bare before you to my own condemnation, my God, and have you not forgiven the wickedness of my heart? I do not argue my case against you, for you are truth itself; nor do I wish to deceive myself, lest my iniquity be caught in its own lies. No, I do not argue the case with you because if you, Lord, keep the score of our iniquities, then who, Lord, can bear it?

From The Confessions by Saint Augustine

Discipleship is not about being right – it is about being in a relationship – connection to Jesus. Part of all healthy relationships is to know and be known by others. All that is good, bad, and ugly and still to be in relationship.

EVERYONE will be asked to answer Jesus’ question. Don’t be concerned about being “right” or “wrong”. Focus on being in a relationship and answer with your heart, not your head. Our feeble answer is never correct except that we do faithfully respond to Jesus. Jesus loves you and will forgive you and will lead and guide you every day as you remain faithfully connected in a relationship to him.

Jesus is the Messiah. My Lord and SAVIOR.

Blessings, Pastor Tom
Mon– Thurs 9am – 2:00pm - CLOSED FRIDAYS
Life Line Screening, the nation’s leading provider of preventive health screenings, will offer affordable, non-invasive and painless health screenings at
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. 
A package of five screenings to identify risk for stroke, heart disease and other chronic conditions will be offered:

  1. Carotid artery ultrasound to identify plaque buildup in the carotid arteries, a major risk factor for stroke
  2. Abdominal aortic aneurysm ultrasound to identify presence of an enlargement in the largest blood vessel in the body
  3. An EKG to identify the presence of atrial fibrillation, which increases the risk for stroke
  4. Ultrasound of the lower legs to look for plaque buildup known as peripheral artery disease
  5. Ultrasound of the shin bone to identify risk for osteoporosis

These 5 vital screenings are offered for only $149 and take 60-90 minutes to complete. If you register today, you will receive a $10 discount.
Register by calling toll free 1-888-653-6441 or text the word "circle" to 797979.
Testing for COVID may be obtained at the following sites, in addition to local pharmacies:

The Florida Dept. of Health for Lee County at 3920 Michigan Ave. on Monday thru Friday, 8am to 4pm. Appointments are required.                                  

 Century Links Sports Complex, 14100 Ben C Pratt/6 Mile Cypress Parkway on Monday thru Saturday, 7 to 7, with an appointment or arrive and register at the site.

Register on line at:                      
With the extreme rise in COVID, testing is another way to mitigate this devastating illness, in addition to masks and vaccines. Stay well, Judy Greenstreet - Parish Nurse
Sept 15 - Life Line Screening

Sept 16 - Handbell Rehearsal-Room 1-WORSHIP CENTER

Sept 18 - 8am MINI AMAZING TREASURERS Pre-Sale-North Building

Sept 19- Membership Sunday-contact Audrey Martin or indicate on your Yellow Let's Connect Card or call the office.

Sept 21 - 10am Caring Mtg-Conf B

We need your help.

Please sign-up to help on the sign-up

sheets in the

Chapel Entry

and in the Narthex.
Saturday 4:45 PM - CHAPEL
Sunday 10:00 AM - SANCTUARY
Online - Sunday Morning. YouTube is the easiest platform for our upload. If you don’t find the posting on Facebook, check out YouTube.

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begin Sunday, Sept 19th.
“THINK LIKE JESUS, What Do I Believe and Why Does It Matter?” by Randy Frazee

Every participant will need to get a copy of the 8 session study book and the leader will use a DVD to inform and guide the discussions.

There are clipboards in the Narthex to sign up to be a Leader/Host
or join a community group. LEADERS: you may pick up your Leaders Book/DVD at the Ministry Center during office hours.
HANDBELL PLAYERS NEEDED! We plan to start rehearsing again on SEPT 9th at 9am in the handbell room in the Worship Center. If interested, please contact Shannon at



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Good Shepherd United Methodist Church | 239/543-2686
2951 Trail Dairy Circle, North Fort Myers, FL 33917