Monthly Archives: January, 2017
What they say really is true: a life lived in gratitude really is better. We Christians have known that from the very beginning, and we Presbyterians believe that faithfulness means living a life in gratitude to what God has first done for us.
Come and learn practices of gratitude, and learn how to cultivate an eye for the abundance of all God’s good gifts. Find out the difference between “positive thinking” and genuine gratitude. Discover the deep wells of wisdom in our tradition about how to live a grateful life.
When & Where: March 24-66 at The Blockade Runner in Wrightsville Beach, NC
Led by: Rev. Susan Dunlap
Cost: $190 for a double room; $290 for a single (single rooms most likely in the hotel). Includes dinner Friday evening, breakfast and dinner Saturday, breakfast Sunday, and retreat materials. Inquire about scholarships if needed.
February 7 Update: The Women’s Retreat is currently at capacity. Please email Carol Mansfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be notified of any openings.
I had a summons to jury duty this week. The training video told us it is not a duty so much as it is a service to which we are called. I have to admit, I did not feel called and I did not want to serve in this way. I wanted to leave and get back to work, to the work I truly feel called to do. And I knew had a lot that needed to be done at work.
The Isaiah passage we read, from chapter 49, probably took place some time around 540 BCE, during the time the Persian Empire had taken over from the Babylonians. Israel was still oppressed and displaced. They were either unhappy in their foreign circumstances, or they had managed to adapt to the ways of their oppressors. The passage we read is a call passage, known as one of the Servant Songs in Isaiah. The servant speaks of being called even before birth. We know that when God calls, God equips, so this prophet has been equipped to speak for God. Yet he complains that his work is in vain, that it is not rewarding, except for the honor of knowing he does it for God. So then God speaks, sounding a lot like when Jesus says, “For to those who have, more will be given.” Your burden is light, says God (though the servant did not think it was light). Or, in other words, God says – “Let me tell you, this is a big deal, it is a big job, and it is bigger than you think. You are to be a light to the nations.” That IS a big deal! That is too much, the servant must have thought, because who can be so much to so many? It seems beyond most of us, if we have any sense about us. Who can do this? Of course, Jesus can do this. Jesus can be a light to the nations. And this is why many Christians see Jesus in the portrayal of the servant in the Book of Isaiah, though that was not the original intent of these writings. Yet these words do indeed seem to describe Jesus as we know him, as the Light of the world, the one who shines through the darkness.Read more...
Prayer for People Who Can’t Sit Still
Location: Room 204
Facilitator: Heather Ferguson
Do you find that your quiet time with God is disrupted by dozens of thoughts running through your head and a restlessness to get up and move? You want to have a deeper, more meaningful prayer life, but you can’t stay focused. If you are one of the millions for whom contemplative prayer is difficult, this class is for you. We will explore ways of growing closer to God through prayer even when you can’t sit still.
The Book of Jeremiah: A Prophetic Message of Resistance and Restoration
Mondays, January 30 – March 27
10am-12pm in Room 105 | Facilitator: Heather Ferguson
Books available for $5
The Monday Morning Bible Study is a place to dig deeper into scripture alongside folks who enjoy being challenged by the text, like to laugh (a lot), and welcome others into the conversations of faith that guide and enrich life.
Jeremiah is a towering Old Testament figure, a prophet for the nations. In the midst of war, political corruption, vast social change, and crisis in religious beliefs, he resisted the evil surrounding him. He spoke for God. He stood alone. He lived by faith at much personal cost. He looked with sorrow into the anguish around him and understood God in a new way, thus offering hope of restoration to a defeated and dislocated people.
During this study we will explore events in the life and times of Jeremiah. We will consider the political, social, and especially the religious circumstances that influenced Jeremiah. We will look at the failure of religious reforms and the upheaval of war in the world of his time. We will learn how he discerned God in the midst of this chaos. And after all failed and Jerusalem was under siege, about to be destroyed, we will examine how Jeremiah could hope for restoration. Please join us for this fascinating and timely study.