Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Internet Ministry


The Internet and modern technology has enabled Community to open its doors to
the world and to invite it in. What began with a need for a website, progressed to include a Blog, YouTube, Flickr and Yahoo accounts each providing information for the website. The website, www.clc19945.org hosted by The American Bible Society, is mostly stationary information while the other accounts are both active and interactive.
Our most active Internet ministry is the church blog, www.clcomar.blogspot.com , where weekly videos, sermons, poems, newsletters are available worldwide. For a small church with less than 150 members, the blog gets over 500 visits per month, half from the USA and the rest for S. Korea, Russia and Europe, to name a few. Viewers can use the Google Translator that converts text to many languages. The blog is appropriately named Community at the Crossroads because the church is located at the crossroads of Rt 20 and Omar Road in Frankford. As the tasks expanded, the church formed a Communication Team that addresses all the communication methods that the church uses. This has resulted in many changes.
The Communications Team was developed and nurtured under the leadership of Alice Hanke in early 2010. Many ideas have been discussed and implemented. The Team is committed not only to "getting God’s message to Delawareans, but getting it to the world!" As a result of their efforts, anyone who is searching for a church to help them learn more about God’s Word and to get closer to Him, can easily find us in many different places on the Internet. Church members unable to attend a Sunday service or live in Florida for the winter appreciate being able to visit online.
An Audio Visual Team was formed as an ad hoc group to the Communications Team and currently consists of four members. Their goal is to bring the Word to many through scripture, Psalms and Gospel readings by recording those portions of our weekly liturgy and special occasions. Our hope is that people will benefit from the videos and those who may have an interest in joining us at worship may be encouraged to do so. Beginning in December 2010, YouTube upgraded our account by deleting the 15 minute limit on videos. We now do not have to record our videos in 15 minute segments! We're hoping this method of communication continues to reach out to a large audience of viewers.
Community Lutheran also takes advantage of the Internet by using an online integrated software package that permits multiple users to work from any computer, to maintain church financial and member records.
This is an exciting Ministry for us as we learn how to expand our own knowledge and use whatever technology is available.
At Community Lutheran Church, we welcome all God's people to share in the Victory of Christ, to know Christ and make Christ known.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Passion of Baptism By Pastor Bettye 1/9/11

January 9, 2011
Matthew 3: 13 – 17
The Passion of Baptism

Passion ….how do you define this word in your world? When we hear the word “passion” I am going to guess that it is related to life experiences which create a deep, gut level response on you r part. One’s passion can be seen in our physical and spiritual lives. We all know of people, perhaps even ourselves with a passion for certain activities: service to the church, volunteer work of certain types, social justice issues to name just a few. To be passionate about something creates a devotion to that “thing” which takes up a lot of our time, talents and treasures. Can you name your own passions? Can you identify the passions of others? How do you and they act out their passionate feelings on a given issue? Can you think of someone who perhaps has lost their “passion”?
Passions….our own and others are very difficult things to manage. Passions can make us nervous; they challenge us too boldly; cause us to fidget in our comfortable worlds. We as humans tend to want to “keep things quiet”. Life is more comfortable and easier in a passionless void. Today we greet a time of Passion with John the Baptist. The passion of John, the one called out of the wilderness to herald the coming of the Messiah, the savior of humankind is what we are faced with in Holy Scripture this morning. Today John the Baptist’s words are crying out not just to get our attention but to call us back to who it is we really are in our Baptism. Jesus choose this passionate man named John to be the one to bring the Incarnate God to his first miracle- being humbled and washed by the Master of crying out. Jesus realized and required a righteous cleansing….and so do we.
John the Baptist offers us today a baptismal sermon which is anything but calm and quiet. It is a passionate call to the people of God. The world in which we live is anything but tame and calm by its nature. We as the Baptized of God are called to bring Christ’s message of hope that we carry in our baptismal experience. We live in a hostile, passionate world in which we like John and others before us cry out our baptismal calling to a world gone deaf. We as a church have a low consciousness of what Baptism is as a means of cleansing, a means of belonging, a means of grace. Dr. Stephen J. Wellum offers this thought:
As heirs of the Reformation, evangelicals of various traditions have viewed baptism as vitally important for the life, health, and practice of the church. ……….. evangelicals for the most part have viewed baptism as extremely significant—indeed, a beautiful, visible declaration of the Gospel, bound up with the mission of the church. The reason for this attitude is quite simple, yet one that must not be overlooked or ignored: baptism is one of the two ordinances or sacraments that the Lord of the church has instituted and ordained for the life and health of the church, until the end of the age; and as such, it is to be practiced in our day in obedience to the Lord.*
Today we remember our God’s passion for us in the water and the Word immersed in the love of the Holy Spirit guiding us into and out of the waters of redemption. Baptism is a beautiful outward portrayal of the Gospel itself. We neglect it to our peril. We remember it to ground ourselves in the reality of a grace filled God. May we live it as a people filled with passion to bring that message of God’s saving grace to the world in Christ’s name and to his glory.

*Dr. Stephen J. Wellum (B.A., Roberts Wesleyan College; M.Div., Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is assistant professor of theology at Northwest Baptist Theological College and the Associated Theological Schools of Trinity Western University, Langley, B.C. Before teaching, he was a pastor in South Dakota.

Sermon Januray 2 2011 by Pastor Bettye

January 2, 2011Jeremiah 31:7-14Psalm 147:12-20 (12) Ephesians 1:3-14John 1:[1-9], 10-18
Coming together!
Let us pray…….
O God our redeemer, you created light that we might live, and you illumine our world with your beloved Son. By your Spirit comfort us in all darkness, and turn us toward the light of Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
I love it when all things come together! I personally find tremendous satisfaction when all the pieces come together and you can see a finished product. Simply said I was glad when I could put all of our New Year’s dinner for nine on the table at the right time or when on New Year’s day morning I could serve all the portions of brunch to the same nine sleepy family members without anything being undercooked or overcooked! My most recent professional and spiritual experiences with this “coming together” occurred on Christmas Eve and again today. The music, the word, the children’s nativity, the prayers, the lights, the candles all flowed with great ease into this space creating a joyous time for all on December 24th. I believe that we all left the church that night with a sincere sense that God’s light has indeed come into the world. We ended our service, the last reading of God’s Word for the year 2010 with the same words upon which we enter this new year of 2011; the readings from John 1. Today we continue with this “coming together as we read from Jeremiah, the Psalms and Ephesians. The Word of God, the plans of God for our salvation and reconciliation are indeed coming together and we have reason to rejoice; we also have our marching orders for 2011 as we install a new 2011 Church Council for Community Lutheran Church. Here are the parts that are coming together for us on this the Second Sunday of Christmas, the first church service of the New Year 2011:
From Jeremiah we hear an oracle, a declaration from God Almighty that he does indeed have plans to provide for the wayward people Israel. God uses terms and analogies or word pictures which indicate hope, survival, salvation, preparation for a future that is coming together.
“They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble,…” Jeremiah 31:9
While the people of Israel may not see the future they are promised that God has already written a plan for provision in which they will not only survive but thrive in the future!
In Psalm 147 continues to put the pieces together so that we the listener might have yet another extended view of the God of all provision.
“He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. 14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.” Psalm 147:13-14
We hear in Ephesians that not only is our God the God of all provision but that God has been planning for our salvation, since the beginning of time. The people of Ephesus are being reminded that the God they know in Christ has been putting together all the pieces necessary for their reconciliation to Him and to each other in Christ Jesus,
“With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[c] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Ephesians 1: 8 – 10

In the Gospel of John we come to the place of putting all the pieces together in the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it……….”9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” John 1: 1-5, 9
God’s plan for restoration, salvation and reconciliation has come into the world and has been in the world since the beginning being one with the Father, the great “I AM” who has been putting together the pieces of our salvation since before time (the world) had begun. The oracle’s promises in Jeremiah, the song of the psalmist and the echoes of the words of the people of Ephesus, the early church all fit together together….perfectly! We now as bearers of that word are called to make the light known to the world; our lives of service are the continuation of making the pieces of the Good News of Jesus Christ fit together.
Today, as we continue with our proclamation of the Word made flesh we recognize the work of our flesh as servants in God’s kingdom. To this end we call forward a new group of church leaders who will promise to study the Word, make the Word a living entity in the church and the world. Putting the pieces together will take the prayer and commitment of leaders and all other disciples in this community of faith. We are to be part of bringing the light of God to the darkness.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Witness of a homeless man


Poem by Adell


In a book there's a fairy tale,
"The Three Little Pig's",
Who were very scared
of the wolf and his hairy hair.
One piglet built his house of straw,
The wolf blew and the house flew.
You know the rest-not the best.
The third built his house of brick ,
He was wise, it did the trick .
The wolf blew till he was blue.

In my book it's called the Bible.
About the church and its builders.
Built by Father, Son and Spirit,
Built with Love, Forgiveness,
Its foundation is built on faith.
Evil tries to knock it down,
It withstands on solid ground.
In faith, I ever am safe evermore.