IN THIS UPDATE:
IT’S TIME TO FALL BACK! THE TIME CHANGE HAPPENS TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 4: Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 AM tomorrow, Sunday, November 4th. Make sure you turn your clocks BACK one hour before going to bed tonight, Saturday, November 3.
THIS SUNDAY, in our current message series of some of the shocking statements of Jesus, we’re looking at what Jesus said as recorded in John 14:13,14: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Many read this and think, “Wow! How cool is that?! I can ask God for anything, tag on Jesus’ name at the end and voila, it comes about!” Is that how it works? We’re going to see that when it comes to bringing our requests to God, there are some very important things to understand and consider.
RESULTS OF THE MATTHEW 25 CHALLENGE: God used this recent experience to grow our hearts for the “least of these.” 24 children gained sponsors, which means about 100 kids’ lives will be changed in radical ways. (You see, because of their holistic, community-focused approach, for every child sponsored, 4 other children in the community benefit.) Centered in Christ, World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Program strengthens the whole community, so children can thrive with essentials like clean water, nutrition, education, and more. Thanks to all who are helping these vulnerable children break free from poverty for good.
For those who missed out on participating in the challenge, there is still a way for you to experience a life-changing impact as well as impact others in a profound way. There are 7 sponsorship folders for children that are still available. You can find them at the Welcome Desk in the Gold Coast lobby tomorrow. The folders have details about the child who is in need. If you would like to sponsor a child or would like more information, please go to the Welcome Desk. You can also check out what makes World Vision child sponsorship programs uniquefor more information.
PRAYER FOR MISSIONS, TOMORROW AFTER THE 2ND SERVICE: On the first Sunday of each month, gather in the Worship Center after the 2nd service to pray for the missions and missionaries that Gold Coast supports. Contact Mike or Lynne Yeaman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.331.3899 for more information.
SERVE DAY, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17: This is an opportunity to do various service projects for seniors, disabled residents, and under-resourced families. Projects are based on those who sign up. If you are interested in participating, go to the Welcome Desk and fill out a Serve Day form or go online.
DISABILITY CHRISTMAS SHOPPE, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8: You’re invited to be part of the fun at the 6th annual Disability Christmas Shoppe to benefit families who have children with special needs/disabilities! There will be new toys, kid’s clothing, and other items for parents to choose as Christmas gifts for all of the children in their family. It will be a festive day filled with Christmas music, refreshments, entertainment, childcare, gift wrapping, sharing the gospel and an opportunity for prayer.
You can be a part of this special event by:
Donating new toys, gifts, or gift cards by December 2nd
Collecting new toys at your home or place of work
Serving before, on the day of the Shoppe, or afterwards
Sign up at the table in the lobby or go online.
Volunteer online under the Get Connected tab on our website.
STEPHEN MINISTERS ARE AVAILABLE: In difficult times, God’s love is especially precious to us, and it is very important to know someone who cares. Our congregation has trained Stephen Ministers who offer a ministry of Christian caring. To find out more about being trained as a Stephen Minister or to receive a Stephen Minister’s care, write “Stephen Ministry” on your Connection Card and place it in the offering basket this Sunday or call Art or Rose Flatray at 805.987.1428 for more information.
PRAYER TIME EVERY SUNDAY MORNING: You’re invited to Sunday morning Prayer Time from 8:30-9:00 am in the Youth Room every Sunday! Come for a couple of minutes or stay longer. This is open to everyone! Prayer cards with suggested topics will be available – you can pray aloud or silently. You can contact Anne Romero if you have any questions at anne2grace@gmail.
IN LIGHT OF THIS COMING TUESDAY’S ELECTION AND VOTING, check out the following op-ed piece in The New York Times from Tim Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian churches in New York City.
How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t (The historical Christian positions on social issues don’t match up with contemporary political alignments)
What should the role of Christians in politics be? More people than ever are asking that question. Christians cannot pretend they can transcend politics and simply “preach the Gospel.” Those who avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the social status quo. American churches in the early 19th century that did not speak out against slavery because that was what we would now call “getting political” were actually supporting slavery by doing so. To not be political is to be political.
The Bible shows believers as holding important posts in pagan governments — think of Joseph and Daniel in the Old Testament. Christians should be involved politically as a way of loving our neighbors, whether they believe as we do or not. To work for better public schools or for a justice system not weighted against the poor or to end racial segregation requires political engagement. Christians have done these things in the past and should continue to do so.
Nevertheless, while believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one. There are a number of reasons to insist on this.
One is that it gives those considering the Christian faith the strong impression that to be converted, they need not only to believe in Jesus but also to become members of the (fill in the blank) Party. It confirms what many skeptics want to believe about religion — that it is merely one more voting bloc aiming for power.
Another reason not to align the Christian faith with one party is that most political positions are not matters of biblical command but of practical wisdom. This does not mean that the church can never speak on social, economic and political realities, because the Bible often does. Racism is a sin, violating the second of the two great commandments of Jesus, to “love your neighbor.” The biblical commands to lift up the poor and to defend the rights of the oppressed are moral imperatives for believers. For individual Christians to speak out against egregious violations of these moral requirements is not optional.
However, there are many possible ways to help the poor. Should we shrink government and let private capital markets allocate resources, or should we expand the government and give the state more of the power to redistribute wealth? Or is the right path one of the many possibilities in between? The Bible does not give exact answers to these questions for every time, place and culture.
I know of a man from Mississippi who was a conservative Republican and a traditional Presbyterian. He visited the Scottish Highlands and found the churches there as strict and as orthodox as he had hoped. No one so much as turned on a television on a Sunday. Everyone memorized catechisms and Scripture. But one day he discovered that the Scottish Christian friends he admired were (in his view) socialists. Their understanding of government economic policy and the state’s responsibilities was by his lights very left-wing, yet also grounded in their Christian convictions. He returned to the United States not more politically liberal but, in his words, “humbled and chastened.” He realized that thoughtful Christians, all trying to obey God’s call, could reasonably appear at different places on the political spectrum, with loyalties to different political strategies.
Another reason Christians these days cannot allow the church to be fully identified with any particular party is the problem of what the British ethicist James Mumford calls “package-deal ethics.” Increasingly, political parties insist that you cannot work on one issue with them if you don’t embrace all of their approved positions.
This emphasis on package deals puts pressure on Christians in politics. For example, following both the Bible and the early church, Christians should be committed to racial justice and the poor, but also to the understanding that sex is only for marriage and for nurturing family. One of those views seems liberal and the other looks oppressively conservative. The historical Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments.
So Christians are pushed toward two main options. One is to withdraw and try to be apolitical. The second is to assimilate and fully adopt one party’s whole package in order to have your place at the table. Neither of these options is valid. In the Good Samaritan parable told in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus points us to a man risking his life to give material help to someone of a different race and religion. Jesus forbids us to withhold help from our neighbors, and this will inevitably require that we participate in political processes. If we experience exclusion and even persecution for doing so, we are assured that God is with us (Matthew 5:10-11) and that some will still see our “good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:11-12). If we are only offensive or only attractive to the world and not both, we can be sure we are failing to live as we ought.
The Gospel gives us the resources to love people who reject both our beliefs and us personally. Christians should think of how God rescued them. He did it not by taking power but by coming to earth, losing glory and power, serving and dying on a cross. How did Jesus save? Not with a sword but with nails in his hands.
DAILY BIBLE READING SCHEDULE:
Saturday November 3 Job 25; Mk 13-14
Sunday November 4 Job 26-27; Mk 15-16
Monday November 5 Job 28-29; Gal 1-2
Tuesday November 6 Job 30; Ps 120; Gal 3-4
Wednesday November 7 Job 31-32; Gal 5-6
Thursday November 8 Job 33; 1 Cor 1-3
Friday November 9 Job 34; 1 Cor 4-6
Saturday November 10 Job 35-36; 1 Cor 7-8
Sunday November 11 Ps 122; 1 Cor 9-11