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St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Dr. Adam Lefever Hughes - 4d ago

“But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

Jesus’ admonishment to Martha in this Sunday’s reading from Luke acts as a reminder that Jesus is the treasure from heaven which deserves our greatest attention. Just like Abraham in this Sunday’s reading from Genesis, we are called to abide in God’s presence.

Music for the Day

Traditional Worship Hymn of the Day: Be Thou My Vision

In today’s readings we are reminded of the importance of single-minded devotion to Jesus and his word. The traditional hymn of the day brings out these themes when we sing, “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art.”

New Day Worship Song: I Give You My Heart

Today’s New Day worship song also has us sing of our “desire to honor [God]” with all of our hearts and gives us words to express that desire: “Lord, I give you my heart; I give You my soul; I live for You alone.”

For further reflection…

Paul, in this Sunday’s reading from Colossians gives us many reasons for why abiding in Jesus’ presence is a worthy act. We may suffer (or merely not get what we want) while we serve Jesus, through whom and for whom all things have been created; however, Paul calls us to rejoice in these disappointments as they are signs that we are serving God’s mission.

In what ways can we deny our own desires to help others?

In what ways do we sometimes lose track of Jesus’ presence in our lives and how can we refocus?

The post Pentecost 6 Preview appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Rev. Sarah Teichmann - 5d ago

St. Peter’s recently hired and installed two new staff members who will join us in our mission of building a community of faith by God’s grace. You may know Betsy Linn as a fellow member of St. Peter’s, but as the new Volunteer Steward, we hope you get to know her in a whole new way. This Q&A is a foretaste of good things to come.

St. Peter’s: Where did you grow up and what is a favorite memory that took place there?

Betsy Linn, Volunteer Steward

Betsy: I grew up outside of Philadelphia, in Abington Township. I also spent my summers in Ocean City, NJ, at my grandmother’s home. My favorite memory is all the time I spent at the shore (not the beach) with my extended family. It was a wonderful place to grow up!

St. Peter’s: You are a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran. When did you become a member, and what is something that you love about this community of faith?

Betsy: We joined St. Peter’s in 1986 right before our second child was born. We were visiting churches in Lancaster and were sold by the number of kids running around and Pastor Geib. Having no family in the area, my friends from church became my family. We support, comfort, and take care of each other. And I see that from the whole congregation.

St. Peter’s: You have been hired as our Volunteer Steward. In your own words, can you tell us what that ministry looks like?

Betsy: Our community is filled with some of the most giving people I’ve met. But right now, it seems the same people are doing a multitude of tasks. Once our volunteer records are updated, we need to get more parishioners involved in some type of volunteering.

I believe you feel more connected when you participate in other ways besides Sunday worship.  I plan to work with committee chairs to engage additional people in serving, in some way, at St. Peter’s. We have 111 different activity groups. There is something for everyone!

Betsy Linn and Cindy Geesey installed and blessed by the community.

St. Peter’s: During your installation you promised to faithfully carry out the duties to which you were hired. The congregation was also asked to share in the mutual ministry of serving the Lord. What are some ways that we as a congregation can support and help as you begin your role?

Betsy: I need the congregation’s help in figuring out who serves where. Much of our data is outdated, and the committee chairs can help by providing updated information.

I’d also like to see members that have not served recently, contact me with what they like to do and I can connect them to the correct activity. Again, we have so many ways to be a part of this wonderful ministry!

St. Peter’s: This last question is the big, serious question. Which do you prefer, chocolate or vanilla?

Betsy: CHOCOLATE!!!!!

Our community is filled with some of the most giving people I’ve met.

-Betsy Linn

The post Q&A: Volunteer Steward appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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New Day Sermon
pentecost 4

In today’s Gospel from Luke chapter 10, Jesus sends his followers out on a mission. If this mission were to be a TV series, maybe it would look something like this:

Now, for the rest of the sermon, about “The A-Team”…

The post I love it when a plan comes together appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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This morning’s sermon was preached away from the pulpit in oral narrative fashion. The notes below shaped the structure of the sermon.

So, do you like to travel?  Of course, you do … I see all the places you go on your FB pages. Jesus liked to travel, too. Today’s lesson begins ten chapters of travel for Jesus. He is traveling to Jerusalem and the cross that awaits him on Golgotha. That theme of traveling may not seem obvious to us … but in Greek it is clear. The Greek word for “travel” or “journey” shows up five times in the first seven verses. None of the five words in bold print speak about traveling. But it is there.

51When the days drew near for [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55But he turned and rebuked them. 56Then they went on to another village.  57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

But we’re not traveling to Jerusalem today. We’re on a journey of faith. Come along for the ride. It starts with our baptism, of course. We go along for the ride – our parents decide for us. Then we get to know Jesus when we are 2, 3 or 4 – our early years – a time to love Jesus. Then we become teens – confirmation – we ask questions. We get either closer to God at this time, or more distant. That spirit can last a long time – some never leave it.

We reconnect again – as adults or parents. We start the cycle all over again with our kids. One thing is different, however– we age, and our lives change. And out travel gets tougher. Because life is more complicated.

Jesus himself acknowledges that. We see in the second half of our lesson. Jesus encounters three people. One says he will follow. No place to lay his head – he is told he will never quite feel like he is at home. Another asked to follow Jesus. He is reminded that God’s priorities may not be our priorities. One final person is asked to follow. He is called to leave his past behind and embrace what is ahead of him.

These are not ironclad laws we are called to observe. They are responses to specific encounters with individuals. It is Jesus’ way of reminding us our world becomes different. That we are sometimes called to unexpected priorities. That the world looks different through God’s eyes.

I’ve blabbed enough … so I’ll close with the words of Nicholas Butler. He was featured in the “I’m a Lutheran” page that is part of each month’s Lutheran magazine. Butler is a novelist and short story writer whose first novel Shotgun Lovesongs  became a best seller. Here are some of his words about how the world looks different in our journeys of faith, and how God speaks to each of us in our particular lives.

Butler writes … I believe in being good to other people, in making art, in trying to be patient, in seeing beauty in the world, in leaving the planet better than I found it …. To me, church is a place where I wrestle with big ideas, my own beliefs and doubts, and where I share positive time with my family …. To me, grace means a new beginning, a new perspective, an unexpected enlightenment …. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t pretend to. For me, this life is a journey, and my faith is a component of that journey.

What does your faith journey look like, I wonder? Amen.

The post “Journeying with Jesus” Pentecost 3 Traditional Worship Sermon appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Sister Dottie Almoney - 1w ago

“But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” -Luke 10:29

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is probably one of the most well known parables that Jesus taught. But it was probably one of the most scandalous as well. Samaritans were hated by the Jews and for Jesus to use a Samaritan as the hero of the story would have been a shock to their ears!

Jesus is calling us to a radical love that was exhibited by Jesus on the cross over 2000 years ago. Jesus tells us that all of God’s children are our neighbors, no exceptions!

Worship Music This Sunday

Sunday’s Traditional worship hymn is O Christ, Your Heart, Compassionate

Jesus tells a parable about following God great commandment, in which the lowly give and receive lavish mercy. Our hymn of the day extols the compassionate heart of Christ, and asks that we may be made to be just as compassionate.

Sunday’s New Day Praise worship song is Kindness by Louie Giglio, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin

“It’s your kindness Lord that leads us to repentance.” We love because God first loves us. We forgive because God first forgives us. We can be merciful, because God first is merciful to us. God’s kindness frees us to be God’s children!

For Further Reflection

America seems to be more divided than ever.
We tend to circle the wagons around those like us–those who share the same values, theology, and social circles. We view those from who we disagree as “the others,” setting up an US vs. THEM mentality.

How can we as followers of Jesus show that radical love toward all of our neighbors?

What would it look like if we agreed to disagree and love others even if we don’t particularly like their actions?

The post Pentecost 5 Preview appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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St. Peter’s recently hired and installed two new staff members who will join us in our mission of building a community of faith by God’s grace. You may know Cindy Geesey as a fellow member of St. Peter’s, but as the new Director of Children’s Ministry, we hope you get to know her in a whole new way. This Q&A is a foretaste of good things to come.

St. Peter’s: Where did you grow up and what is a favorite memory that took place there?

Cindy Geesey, Director of Children’s Ministries

Cindy: I grew up in Reading, PA.  My favorite memory is that I could walk to my elementary, junior and senior high schools feeling safe and secure supported by a loving family and many friends.

St. Peter’s: You are a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran. When did you become a member, and what is something that you love about this community of faith?

Cindy: My husband Joe and I became members of St. Peter’s in 2010.  There are many things I love about St. Peter’s!  What I love most about this community of faith are the people.  I have made countless friendships during these years that are beyond measure.  The willingness of everyone including leadership, support staff and congregants to serve, love, and trust God is amazing! Wednesday morning Bible study has also truly enriched my understanding of the written Word.

St. Peter’s: You have been hired as our Director of Children’s Ministries. In your own words, can you tell us what that ministry looks like?

Some of our community sharing faith and learning about God’s love.

Cindy: For me, Director of Children’s Ministries, means that I have the opportunity to serve our St. Peter’s children and their families and to support them on their journey to creating a God-centered life.

St. Peter’s: During your installation you promised to faithfully carry out the duties to which you were hired. The congregation was also asked to share in the mutual ministry of serving the Lord. What are some ways that we as a congregation can support and help as you begin your role?

Cindy: I need to become familiar with our children and their families.  Introducing yourselves and your children, perhaps multiple times, would be beneficial to me.  In addition, I need lots of volunteers to assist with facilitating the many activities of the Children’s Ministries.  Thank you, in advance!

St. Peter’s: This last question is the big, serious question. Which do you prefer, chocolate or vanilla?

Cindy: VANILLA!

The willingness of everyone including leadership, support staff and congregants to serve, love, and trust God is amazing!

Cindy Geesey

The post Q&A: Director of Children’s Ministries appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Rev. Sarah Teichmann - 2w ago

New Day Sermon Pentecost 3

What kind of image of Christ will you encounter? Or more pointedly, do you know what kind of disciple Christ is calling you to be today?

The post The Image of Christ appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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As Americans celebrate the birthday of our nation, we give thanks for our civic freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, due process, a speedy trial, voting and many more. Our freedom has made us the envy of much of the world.

But as with any valuable gift, our civic freedoms can be abused, neglected or underappreciated to the point where, if we aren’t careful, they hardly matter anymore.

Lutherans are guided by Martin Luther’s insight that we are simultaneously called to be responsible citizens of “two kingdoms” – first, of God’s spiritual realm, and second, of earthly governments of people and laws. The synergy of our “dual citizenship” directs us to be good stewards of our civic freedoms.

Freedom of speech: Yes, even hateful speech and lies are protected under our Constitution, but Christians avoid them in obedience to Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves and by the Eighth Commandment, which Luther explains in The Small Catechism: “We should fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations.” We steward this freedom by speaking honestly and insisting others do, too.

Freedom of religion: Millions of people across the globe, including Christians, face persecution and discrimination because of their faith. We dare not take our freedom for granted, but exercise it with joy and defend the rights of others to follow their own consciences.

Freedom from illegal prosecution: Our guarantees of due process in legal, criminal and civil proceedings uphold justice and guard against government misconduct. It works imperfectly, as do all human systems, but as good stewards we fight for justice and the rights for all.

Freedom of self-governance: With its interconnected checks and balances, our three-branch system of government provides stability, accountability and flexibility for change. It’s a great system, but it requires us to be informed and involved. We steward this freedom by participating in political processes, voting and insisting on honest government that works for our interests.

This month, as citizens of both God’s spiritual realm and the United States of America, we renew our commitment to be good stewards of the freedoms we are privileged to have.

The post Stewardship of our Civic Freedoms appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Rev. Sarah Teichmann - 2w ago

“The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.”  -Luke 10:1

Close your eyes and picture Jesus and his followers together. Most likely we either picture Jesus sitting around with the twelve disciples or standing in the midst of thousands preaching and teaching. Yet in Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus has seventy followers sent out in pairs to heal the sick and announce that God has come near. Seventy trusted preachers. Thirty-five pairs of preachers telling the good news of God. Telling the story is clearly not to be limited to the twelve disciples.

Our take away is that the good news is meant to be shared far and wide by those who trust Jesus and follow him.

Worship Music This Sunday

Sunday’s Traditional Worship Hymn of the Day: Here I Am, Lord

Jesus sends the people out to go where he would go and do what he would do in the reading from Luke and we sing about our exuberance to be sent as well. Here we are, Lord. We will go, Lord, if you lead us!

New Day Worship Song: I Will Follow

The Worship Song for this Sunday focuses on trusting God and following Jesus wherever he leads us. Why do we follow Jesus? The bridge of the song answers with the lyrics, “In You there’s life everlasting, In You there’s freedom for my soul, In You there’s joy, unending joy!”

For Further Reflection

Our Gospel story from Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 focuses on Jesus sending out disciples to share the good news about the kingdom of God. Good news about mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love, and life everlasting.

This is a reminder to all of the followers of Jesus of every time and place. Sharing the good news is not just the responsibility of “professionals” like clergy. Sharing the good news is the calling of everyone who follows Jesus.

Research has shown that when someone decides to try out a new church, join a support group, or help out with a new outreach program it was because a friend first invited them.

How can you be a friend to someone who could really use an invitation? 

The post Pentecost 4 Preview appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Vicar Nancy Brody - 3w ago

New Day Sermon
second Sunday After Pentecost

“We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and move in light of what they suffer.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This quote reminds me everyday of Christ’s compassion and consideration for all parties, which is why it hangs where I must see it.

The post Regard for Suffering appeared first on St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

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