Check In – 2023

Check-In For December 30, 2023

Realized a couple of days after Christmas that I'd not sent the devotion for Christmas Day to Judy for emailing so it's the beginning of our final Weekly Check-In for 2023.

Monday, December 25, 2023 Christmas Day

A Wish For A Christmas Moment For Each Of You

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. -John 1:14

To lead worship is always a gift. Every time. To lead worship on Christmas Eve…it's hard to describe how special it is to read the Christmas gospels and proclaim God's good news on that holiest of nights. The service begins with the completion of the lighting of the candles making up the Advent wreath. The candles of hope, peace, joy and love are all lit and waiting as the service begins. As words from the prophet Isaiah are shared, the flame enters the room and the acolyte lights the Christ candle, just after the words, "And a little child shall lead them" are read.

We sing carols, hear the story from Matthew and Luke, and eventually arrive at the moment when the lights in the sanctuary are dimmed. We stand in the darkness, the room illuminated only by the light from the Advent wreath. The prologue of John's gospel is read. John 1:1-5 and v.14. I light a candle from the Christ candle and from there the light is passed from person to person as we sing Silent Night. By the time we reach the end of the beloved carol the candle light is everywhere and it is a holy moment.

That moment, that holy moment, is profoundly meaningful. When we open the doors to head forth into the very last of Christmas Eve or the very beginning of Christmas morning (depending on if we are out before midnight or not) the world is a deeply spiritual place where it's not hard to imagine angels filling the skies with their songs. I pray that as you experience this Christmas Day that you will know such a moment when the magnitude of God's gift to us feels clear and real and very, very close. Merry Christmas!

Prayer

Holy God, you came to us at Christmas and changed our world - changed us. You showed your love for us in Christ in a way that was plain for us to see. Help us to respond this day to this gift with gratitude and with great thanksgiving. Come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel. Amen.

-George Love

***

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 31, we'll read the second half of Luke 2 (vs.22-40) and on the 365th day of the year the sermon will be "Showing Up For All The Days."

Also on the following Sunday, January 7, 2024 (that's right 2024) it'll be the day for our new Star Words.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For December 23, 2023

"We live under the assumption that God is active in the world." -Tish Harrison Warren

God's activity in the world is at its most dramatic in the story of Christmas. It's a captivating story of a love that will go to all ends to come to us and walk with us. This Sunday we will worship and explore the theme of the fourth Advent candle - the Love candle - in the morning during worship and then at 11:00 p.m. we will gather for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. During that service we will hear the two gospels - Matthew and Luke - that tell the Christmas story and we will also hear the prologue to John's gospel which I believe is it's own version of the Christmas story.

As you go through your life the next couple of days, I hope you can find a moment to pause and consider the magnitude of what we are celebrating. God came to us. Out of God's great love, God came to us. And the God who came to us continues to walk with us. God is active in the world. Now. Today. This moment. We read a passage from Isaiah during our Blue Christmas/Longest Night service that reminded us that God's perspective is far beyond our perspective. There may be moments when we wonder how God could be present or what God could be up to because things seem so not as they should be. The prophet reminds us that God is the creator of all things and that God is moving forward in ways that lead to God's kingdom, but may be hard for us to visualize or understand at certain moments. When life is difficult it does not mean that God is absent. God walks with us. God is active in the world. Always.

***

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: Join us on Christmas Eve, December 24, for worship in the morning and then our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 11:00 p.m. This is an inspiring service to welcome Christmas - a great service to invite someone to come and share with us.

The Joy Gift Offering: The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930's. Through our gifts to the Christmas Joy Offering, we honor and celebrate Presbyterian leaders - past, present and future. Our gifts restore hope and stability. Thank you for your contribution to this Presbyterian Special Offering. Envelopes will be in the bulletin tomorrow for this offering.

Star Words: It's time for new Star Words! The new words will be here on January 7 for 2024. I hear from folks regularly that they are contemplating on and considering their Star Words - what a wonderful spiritual discipline. If you are new to it, each person draws a word at the beginning of the year (sometime around the day of Epiphany, January 6 when we remember the visit of the Magi) and then are invited to pray and think on that word throughout the year to see how God might be using that word to speak to you. It can be a lot of fun and it can also be very meaningful.

Christmas Blessings to all!

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For December 16, 2023

"Patience…is…the ability to look forward and count on the greater good ahead." -Tish Harrison Warren

Our Advent theme for this week, the third Sunday of Advent, will be joy. Joy is indeed the greater good ahead in a life of faith. The joy of God's coming kingdom remains before us. But joy is also present with us now. God is present with us each day. That is cause for joy. God is inviting us to live out our faith through acts of service, kindness, generosity, and love. That is cause for joy. God did not remain distant from us, but came close to us in Jesus Christ. That is cause for joy. Come be a part of worship this Sunday morning and let's dig into the joy God brings into our lives.

One particular bit of joy to share with you. Our church helped to take care of two Bullitt Central students for Christmas supported by the Pentecost offering and the Presbyterian Women. We give thanks for the ability to help in this way and for our ongoing partnership with our school system.

Another source of joy is that tomorrow Regan and Donovan will be providing special music during worship. You will want to be present for this wonderful gift.

***

Our annual Live Nativity will be Sunday evening, December 17 and Monday evening, December 18. The time each night will be 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Come out and join in and bear witness to the story of Immanuel, God With Us. On Sunday evening there will be soup and other food present to enjoy throughout the evening. Come for the whole time or for whatever time you have to share!

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service: This service will be Thursday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. It is a service that acknowledges that even in the joy of the Christmas season there are times when we hurt. During the service there will be an opportunity to light candles for those you wish to remember.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: Join us on Christmas Eve, December 24, for worship in the morning and then our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 11:00 p.m. This is an inspiring service to welcome Christmas - a great service to invite someone to come and share with us.

Joy Gift Offering Information

Tomorrow's bulletin insert focuses on two recipients of last year's Christmas Joy Offering. Mikayla Rose Sierra, a member of the Navajo Nation, is a high school senior at Menaul School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Rev. Peggy Krong of Pasadena, California made a mid-life career change and entered the ministry serving Presbyterian churches in Los Angeles and San Antonio.

The Christmas Joy Offering will be received at the morning worship service on December 24 as well as the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Envelopes will be available on the back table on December 17th for those who will not be attending either service on Christmas Eve.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For December 9, 2023

"Perhaps we should quit wondering where Jesus is and keep the light of love and welcome on in our hearts until he arrives. He'll get here when he gets here." -Jonathan C. Wallace

In the statement above I think Jonathan Wallace means a very specific thing when he suggests it might be good to stop "wondering where Jesus is." Jesus is not in hiding. Jesus is available to us, converses with us, prays for us, works with us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is not missing. What he is talking about is an Advent thing - the coming again of Jesus. About that, he's not the only one wondering.

Jesus tells us and scripture in general tells us more than a few times that we aren't going to know when that will happen. And we see all sorts of things that we would love for Jesus to come back and set right. All throughout history since the days of Jesus' earthly ministry to now there have been times when people have behaved so poorly, and awful things have happened, and people have joined with the Psalmist in searching the heavens and asking "How long, O Lord."

And there are people who position themselves as Bible experts and in some cases religious leaders who at times have suggested that they know the time and can tell us when it will be. I have no patience for that, as I mentioned in this past Sunday's sermon, as Jesus is clear about no one knowing. The important thing that Jesus tells us is that, while no one knows, we should live like it will be any moment. Live in a way that you will want to be found. If we are doing that we will "keep the light of love and welcome on in our hearts" and we'll discover that we don't have to wait to live as God's kingdom people. We can do it right now.

***

Here's what's coming soon…

Gingerbread House Decorating tomorrow (December 10) after worship for children and children of ages. We'll be in the Adult Sunday School room.

Tuesday Prayer Group this week is second Tuesday which means we will gather at Betty Hogan's.

Hard copies of the Advent Devotional by Hebron folks are available in the entry way to the Sanctuary.

LIVE NATIVITY: Weather permitting we will be assembling the stable for the Live Nativity tomorrow (Sunday, December 10) afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Anyone who can help, that help would be appreciated. If tomorrow does not work out because of weather we will do it next Saturday, December 16 at 2:00 p.m.

The LIVE NATIVITY itself will be next Sunday evening, December 17 and Monday evening, December 18. The time each night will be 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Come out and join in and bear witness to the story of Immanuel, God With Us.

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service: This service will be Thursday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. It is a service that acknowledges that even in the joy of the Christmas season there are times when we hurt. During the service there will be an opportunity to light candles for those you wish to remember.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: Join us on Christmas Eve, December 24, for worship in the morning and then our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 11:00 p.m. This is an inspiring service to welcome Christmas - a great service to invite someone to come and share with us.

This Week's Christmas Joy Gift Offering Update:

This Sunday's bulletin insert focuses on three recipients of last year's Christmas Joy Offering. Sue Anne Fairman was a mission worker in Kenya spending most of her 25 years helping in Mother Teresa's Orphanage in Nairobi. A mother-daughter duo of Carla Louca and Susannah LeMay are attending Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the same time.

The Christmas Joy Offering will be received at the morning worship service on December 24 as well as the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Envelopes will be available on the back table on December 17th for those who will not be attending either service on Christmas Eve.

Celebrate Life!

George


Check-In For December 2, 2023

The Hebron Advent devotional is ready. Excited to share it with you. There are some wonderful devotionals; a great way to share the journey together as a church family. There is a lot of Advent goodness about to start unfolding as we make our way through December. The devotional. Our Christmas Bazaar today. The first Sunday of Advent tomorrow as Leigh Shader will light the first Advent candle for us and we'll sing Advent hymns and explore the first Advent candle theme of Hope. When we get to the very core of faith, hope is what we find.

A few weeks ago our Sunday School lesson featured a suggestion that when you find something that gives you life you should do that thing. For Julie and I one of those things has been, when possible to see Andrew Peterson perform his Christmas album which tells the story of the coming of Christ from the Old Testament through the Christmas event. We got to see him last night here in Louisville and it was a great concert, but an even better worship experience. I share that to give thanks for God's good gifts and to encourage you to consider that bit of advice from the Sunday School lesson. Find the things that God has put in your life that give you life and seek those things out.

***

There are multiple things to share so here we go…

Poinsettias will appear in the sanctuary on December 10 - the second Sunday of Advent. There was some discussion of bringing back the opportunity to purchase poinsettias and have a page of dedications in the bulletin this year, which we've not done for several years. Ultimately we decided to wait a year and to get a few weeks earlier start on the process, but look for that to be back as part of Advent next year. To be clear, we'll have poinsettias this year, but the dedications will not return till next year.

The Children's Moment for each of the Sunday's of Advent will focus on the Advent Candle theme for the day and for each one there will be a gift for the children to take with them to remind them of the theme.

In addition to the Hebron Devotional booklet there are a couple of other things you may pick up at the entry way to the Sanctuary. The January-March issue of These Days is there; also there is a coloring sheet that has the liturgical calendar on it for the next year with all of the Sundays for the upcoming year alongside of their season.

Thanks to everyone who helped decorate the church for Advent/Christmas last week. And to those who made soup - all three were delicious. The children have plans to meet at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday morning to put the ornaments on the tree in the room at the back of the Sanctuary. The ornaments feature names of folks and if you have never put your name on an ornament there are ornaments back in the room with the tree and you are really encouraged to sign an ornament and add yours to the tree.

Children, Youth, folks of all ages, are invited to decorate a Gingerbread House on Sunday, December 10 after morning worship. The activity will take place in the Adult Sunday School room.

Sunday morning December 17th we will have a special musical treat in worship. Regan (piano) and Donovan (guitar) Deinarowicz will be playing Christmas music for us that day!

The Live Nativity will be on Sunday evening December 17 and likely one other evening. We hope you will plan to participate in this great tradition and opportunity to bear witness to the story of the coming of Christ to our community. Santa rode through our neighborhood on a fire truck this past Thursday evening. This used to happen in Prestonsburg when we lived there and we were thrilled to see that it was a thing here as well. I always look forward to seeing that happen. In the same way there are folks in our community who look forward to driving by our church on the nights when we do the Live Nativity and being reminded of the joy of God's great gift to us. This is a great tradition - I hope you will be able to participate.

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service will be on Thursday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. Come and light a candle to remember a friend or loved one or to symbolize a challenge that you are facing this Christmas season.

The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930's. This offering will support our Presbyterian leaders – past, present and future. Half of the offering will be distributed to church workers/pastors and their families in critical financial need. The other half will equip students of color through leadership development and education in Presbyterian-related schools and colleges.

The Christmas Joy Offering will be received at the morning worship service on December 24 as well as the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Envelopes will be available on the back table on December 17th for those who will not be attending either service on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Sunday, December 24 at 11:00 p.m

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For November 25, 2023

We are at the doorstep of a new liturgical year. Advent begins next Sunday, December 3. Along with it comes a flurry of activity at church and likely in other aspects of your life as well as we move between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This Sunday, the final Sunday of the liturgical year, is Christ the King Sunday. The year culminates with a resounding reminder that Christ is King, Lord of All, the one who came and will come again. It ends the year with a powerful affirmation of our faith and prepares us to begin the journey again by keeping in front of us that the baby we prepare to welcome is indeed our King.

This is important for all sorts of reasons, one of the most important being that knowing that Christ is the best and most perfect king should cause us to ask questions about what it means to be king. Our king came to us as a vulnerable baby and grew up to teach us that to lead is to serve. These are fundamental truths of what it means to live faithfully as we wait the second advent of our king, Jesus.

***

Visitation for Virginia Wolfe, Nancy Robison’s sister, will be at Ratterman Funeral Home at 12900 Shelbyville Road from 2-8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29. The Service will be on Thursday at our church at 1:00 p.m. with the graveside to follow at Hebron Cemetery.

Jeryl Jaco, who suffered a heart attack Monday evening, and received two stents, is now home following a short stay in the hospital. Joyce reports that the recovery is going well, he is experiencing some understandable soreness, but that he did get to enjoy some Thanksgiving dinner. Prayers of thanksgiving for all the medical folks who did very good work in a scary situation.

***

The Hanging of the Greens (decorating the church for Advent/Christmas) is tomorrow, November 26, following morning worship. We’ll pull out the decorations and get the church all set and then we’ll have three soups to choose from (or choose a bit of each of them). Plan to join us!

Cooking and baking for the Christmas Bazaar is this Monday and Tuesday morning, November 27 and 28 in the Activities Building.

The Christmas Bazaar is next Saturday, December 2, from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. The kitchen will be open. Christmas cookies will be available. Great vendors will be on hand.

Children, Youth, folks of all ages, are invited to decorate a Gingerbread House on Sunday, December 10 after morning worship. The activity will take place in the Adult Sunday School room.

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Service will be on Thursday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. Come and light a candle to remember a friend or loved one or to symbolize a challenge that you are facing this Christmas season.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Sunday, December 24 at 11:00 p.m

***

Here’s the scripture texts and sermon titles through the end of the year…

November 26 - Christ The King Sunday
Ephesians 1:15-23 and Matthew 25:31-46

December 3 - First Sunday of Advent - Hope
Isaiah 64:1-9 and Mark 13:24-37
Holding Out For Hope

December 10 - Second Sunday of Advent - Peace
Isaiah 40:1-11 and Mark 1:1-8
Preparing A Way For Peace

December 17 - Third Sunday of Advent - Joy
Psalm 126 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
A Dream Of Joy

December 24 - Fourth Sunday of Advent/Christmas Eve - Love
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 and Luke 1:46b-55
God’s House Of Love

December 24 - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20

December 31 - New Year’s Eve
Luke 2:22-40
Showing Up For All The Days

Celebrate Life!
George

 


 

Check-In For November 18, 2023

"I increasingly believe that most people showing up on a Sunday are carrying all kinds of hidden suffering and long for hope. Additionally, I want people to see that the kingdom of God touches everything…challenging, affirming, inviting to new depths."
- Anonymous Pastor responding to a survey about preaching, Journal For Preachers

I love to preach. It's a gift to have the opportunity to do it on pretty much a weekly basis. This past week I read an article in the Journal For Preachers which was built around a survey of a number of preachers about what they felt were the most important elements of preaching. It was a fascinating read and made me think a good bit about the themes that were identified when the survey was completed.

"God. We preach to tell of the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ."

"Hope. In a culture awash in despair and isolation, the church has a crucial word of hope and love to offer."

"Formation. Preachers get the privilege of a long-term theological conversation with a particular group of people, especially as that conversation intersects, day by day, with life's losses and global challenges."

"So What? So what? Why does this mater? Where does it land in our lives? Where might this sermon change us? Invite us? Comfort us? Move us?"

"When all is said and done, preaching is the work of God's Spirit."

That last one is very important. Preaching is the work of God's Spirit and it is more than the word spoken by the preacher. It is the word heard and responded to by the listener. The sermon is in the proclamation and in the hearing and the whole project is guided by the Holy Spirit. I look forward to the Holy Spirit at work in our midst again this Sunday morning.

***

The Fellowship of Concern will host a Community Thanksgiving Service at 7PM on Tuesday, November 21st at the First Baptist Church on Buckman Street in Shepherdsville. All are invited to this ecumenical worship service. Helen Sarver and Betty Branson are both leaders in the Fellowship of Concern and invite you to come for this service.

Our Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes are due this week, after being moved back from their original due date last Sunday. We will dedicate them during morning worship and Rebecca Rink will transport them to the area pick-up location.

A Baby Shower Is Coming And You Are Invited: Brittany and Beverly Caple are hosting a baby shower for Felisha Kuffner after worship, THIS SUNDAY, Sunday, November 19. The shower will take place in the Activities Building and there will be a light lunch. Felisha and Bret are registered at Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. If you are able to attend please RSVP to Brittany (767-8644) or Beverly (851-9516).

Other dates looking ahead…

Hanging of the Greens (decorating the church for Advent): November 26 after worship. Plan to decorate with us and then enjoy soup and dessert after a job well done!

Christmas Bazaar: December 2.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For November 11, 2023

"God of wisdom, guide us to build cultures we are proud to pass on in your name."
-Keller Hawkins

Building culture is an important aspect of the two passages we will be exploring tomorrow. Tomorrow's scriptures are Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25, and Psalm 78:1-7. A way of thinking about our faith is to think of building a spiritual house. It reminds me a bit of the parable about the house built on solid ground and the house built on sand. Jesus was encouraging us to build a house of faith that will stand the tests of life. As we dig into these scriptures we'll think about the houses we are building and the houses we are helping others to build.

***

Our Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes had been due tomorrow (November 12); however, Rebecca Rink has learned that the most logical pick-up location is available next Sunday afternoon, so we have until next Sunday, November 19 to bring them and we will dedicate them then.

A Baby Shower Is Coming And You Are Invited: Brittany and Beverly Caple are hosting a baby shower for Felisha Kuffner after worship on Sunday, November 19. The shower will take place in the Activities Building and there will be a light lunch. Felisha and Bret are registered at Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. If you are able to attend please RSVP to Brittany or Beverly.

Other dates looking ahead…

Hanging of the Greens (decorating the church for Advent): November 26 after worship. Plan to decorate with us and then enjoy soup and dessert after a job well done!

Christmas Bazaar: December 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For November 4, 2023

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…" -Psalm 107:2

The psalmist here makes a call for the redeemed of the Lord to say so - to proclaim and bear witness to what God has done in their lives. There are many ways we can do this. We can certainly speak of what God has done and share with our words the story of God's love for us. We can also respond with our actions. How do we go about our daily lives? How do we treat people - friends, family, new folks we encounter?

This morning at 9:00 a.m. some folks will be gathering at the church to do the quarterly trash pick-up on Preston Highway behind the church. That's a visible response on behalf of the church for our community that we proclaim God's love. Another is coming up next Sunday when we dedicate our Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes in worship (that's Sunday, November 12) before they are taken to the area collection center. These are just two of what is probably an endless number of opportunities for us to share what God has done in our lives. As we'll explore in the sermon tomorrow in worship, the goal ultimately is as much as possible to point to God.

***

Other dates looking ahead…

Hanging of the Greens (decorating the church for Advent): November 26 after worship

Christmas Bazaar: December 2

Finally, it was good to be with everyone at the Church Picnic at Cedar Ridge last Sunday afternoon. While a light rain was our companion throughout the day, mostly keeping us inside, it was still a great time to be together and enjoy fellowship, worship, and a nice meal.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For October 28, 2023

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." -Dolly Parton

Dolly's a wise woman and she's right about those rainbows, still the weather forecast for the church picnic is a bit disappointing. There is plenty of indoor space for us to gather, but I am hoping that the rain that comes tomorrow will be sporadic and if possible take a nice break between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. tomorrow. We will see what God has in store for us weather wise, but completely trust that the food and the fellowship will be outstanding. I hope as many of you as possible will join us at Cedar Ridge. Fried Chicken provided. Bring a dish to share. Bring a friend. You don't need to bring a canoe, because weather permitting we will have access to the camp's canoes between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. You are welcome to fish as well. Bring board games if you would like. We'll have a brief time of worship around 5 and then we'll eat. Hope you can join us.

The address is

Cedar Ridge Camp
4010 Old Routt Rd.
Louisville, KY 40299

First off, the church picnic which I mentioned above…you are invited…hope to see you at Cedar Ridge.

Highway Clean-Up Day: Our next Adopt-A-Highway clean-up day is Saturday, November 4. We will gather at 9:00 a.m. There is a sign-up sheet in the entry way to the Sanctuary.

Our Advent Devotional is really coming into focus. I think we are getting close to having a good number of devotionals. If you have one and haven't decided whether to write it or to turn it in, please do! It will be great to hear as many voices as possible. Let me know if you have one in the works.

A Baby Shower Is Coming And You Are Invited: Brittany and Beverly Caple are hosting a baby shower for Felisha Kuffner after worship on Sunday, November 19. The shower will take place in the Activities Building and there will be a light lunch. Felisha and Bret are registered at Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. If you are able to attend please RSVP to Brittany (767-8644) or Beverly (851-9516).

Other dates looking ahead…

Hanging of the Greens (decorating the church for Advent): November 26 after worship

Christmas Bazaar: December 2

Finally, some of our Tuesday prayer group folks are interested in visiting the Abbey of Gethsemani in the next few weeks. It's about a 45 minute drive from the church. If you have an interest in going talk to me (George).

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For October 21, 2023

"When we dream together faithfully, beautiful things happen."
-a Lexington, Kentucky high school student.

I went with Julie to a fundraiser for a great program in Lexington this past week and there were several inspiring young speakers who shared how the program in question, Common Good, had made a positive difference in their lives. One of the youth speakers shared the thought above about dreaming together faithfully leading to beautiful things. I thought it was a great description that could be applied to life together as the church. As we worship, fellowship, walk together through the good times and the bad times, part of what we do is dream together about what God is doing in our lives and leading us towards. And when we focus on what God is up to, that can very often lead to discovering beautiful and meaningful things that God is doing.

This Saturday morning as I write this I am at a Presbytery retreat for clergy at Cedar Ridge camp - it's a beautiful morning. My short term, very short term, dream this morning is that many of you reading this will be able to be present at Cedar Ridge next Sunday, October 29 starting at 2:00 p.m. for our church picnic. It would be great to have a nice group to enjoy the time together and this beautiful place - and you can get a look at the new chapel as it is coming together!

***

Session Meeting: The Session will meet this Monday evening, October 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Highway Clean-Up Day: Our next Adopt-A-Highway clean-up day is Saturday, November 4. We will gather at 9:00 a.m. There is a sign-up sheet in the entry way to the Sanctuary.

The Church Picnic will be next Sunday afternoon, October 29 at Cedar Ridge beginning at 2:00 p.m. We will have access to the canoes from 2:30 till 4:30 p.m. There will be a vespers service around 5:00 and then we'll eat. You are invited to bring a dish to share. Fried chicken will be provided.

Advent Devotionals: Thank you so much to everyone who has turned in one (or more) Advent Devotionals. We presently have about thirteen in hand and a few more promised. We still could use seven or eight more. Again thanks to everyone who has already turned yours in - they are wonderful - can't wait to share them when we arrive at the season of Advent at the end of November.

A Baby Shower Is Coming And You Are Invited: Brittany and Beverly Caple are hosting a baby shower for Felisha Kuffner after worship on Sunday, November 19. The shower will take place in the Activities Building and there will be a light lunch. Felisha and Bret are registered at Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. If you are able to attend please RSVP to Brittany (767-8644) or Beverly (851-9516).

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For October 14, 2023

"When dark clouds return to cover the sun we now realize with calm assurance that the sun continues to shine as splendidly as ever. The sun can do but one thing: shine." -Martin Laird

Wanted to share here in the Weekly Check-In, as I did in the Wednesday Night Prayer video this week, about the Spiritual Direction Certification program I am participating in. Spiritual Direction and Social Transformation is a two-year certification program run by a couple of organizations out of Minnesota. One, the Minnesota Institute For Contemplation And Healing, is led by Dan Wolpert who is an author and also the Spiritual Director with whom I meet. It is a two year program done entirely on Zoom. My cohort mates are from South Africa, Wales, the Philippines, and various spots around the United States. I share this because I will likely be referencing my classes in conversation, sermons, and studies and this is the answer to the question, "What classes is he talking about?"

This fall I am in the midst of two ten week classes that each meet, again all by Zoom, once a week. This program appeals to me as it is a structured approach to learning, it keeps me engaged as an active learner, and I'm being exposed to writers/thinkers who I've mostly heard of, but have never explored in any depth. My first presentation for class is this coming Tuesday and part of the video for that presentation is included in this past week's Wednesday Evening Prayer if you are curious. Through the first five weeks I'm really enjoying the classes. It's a fantastic way to experience quality continuing education with a really diverse group without having to ever travel to another location to do it. It reminds me of the gift that Zoom has turned out to be during and now coming out of the pandemic. I look forward to the learning and to sharing in a variety of ways what I'm learning with you.

***

If you are reading this on Saturday, October 14, before 2:00 p.m. there may still be time for you to get to the Activities Building for our Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair. The hours are 9 am. - 2 p.m. There are many vendors and the kitchen will be open for breakfast and lunch.

The Church Picnic is coming on Sunday, October 29 at Cedar Ridge Camp, starting at 2:00 p.m. We hope you will come and bring a dish to share. Fried Chicken will be provided. Enjoy this time of fellowship and the beauty of Cedar Ridge. Directions will be available.

The Advent Devotions are coming in. There is room for more. If you have been thinking of writing one and haven't gotten to it yet, jump on in!

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For October 7, 2023

"Elohim, you are a master builder. Your creation testifies to your glory. Let me bask in your artistic prowess, appreciating every detail under your skies. Allow me to reflect the earth's beauty in each beat of my heart and word from my lips. Amen." -Maria Dixon Hall

Here is exciting news: The Session voted at its last meeting to acquire hearing devices to help folks with difficulty hearing the service. It works by having a unit that is attached to the sound system and broadcasts to receivers which then send the audio to ear buds. The system has arrived and could be available for use as early as tomorrow. Look and/or ask about this tomorrow if you are interested in availing yourself of this helpful technology. Thanks to all of our Elders for their thoughtful discussion around how to make the service more accessible to folks with hearing challenges and to Jason Shockley who is hooking the system up for us.

***

We enjoyed a great weekend last week with the second part of our Yard Sale and then our worship last Sunday! The bell tower plaque dedication, the potluck celebrating our 165th Anniversary, a visit from, Perry Chang, the moderator of the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky for 2023, and all of that happening on World Communion Sunday! Awesome. It also marked the last of our eighteen week journey through the book of Romans. I hope it was a good trip for you and that something from Paul's letter to the church in Rome all those centuries ago had something to say to you today. Tomorrow we venture back out into the rest of scripture with a visit to Psalm 19. See you tomorrow, with a message called "Listening For The Story." God is telling a story - how are we hearing it and how are we participating in it? Let's explore!

Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. We now have a full slate of vendors for this event! Hours for the Craft Fair are 9:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m.

Our Annual Picnic at Cedar Ridge will be held on Sunday, October 29. The picnic begins at 2 p.m. and we generally eat around 5 p.m.

I'm getting a good number of Advent devotions either in hand or promised. We still have space for more. One individual has shared a couple more, which was greatly appreciated, and I would invite anyone who believes they have more than one in them to share that next one as well. I believe we'll get to the twenty-eight that will give us a reading for each day of the Advent season!

Many of you know of my love for the Holy Land and acquaintance with folks there we have met over the years. It is a place of great beauty and for most of its history it has been a place regularly visited with tumult. And so it is again this weekend. I encourage you to pray for peace for our world, for Israel/Palestine and for the peace of Jerusalem.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For September 30, 2023

"What we alone can do we cannot do alone. Hence, something that Christianity calls grace (God as constantly giving, constantly pouring Himself out) is an utterly reliable necessity." -Martin Laird

Today, September 30, 2023, is the thirty-third anniversary of my ordination. I am reminded today of the truth that we really don't accomplish much of anything alone in life. Yes there are things that we uniquely bring to the mix - each one of us - but it is in the coming together that God is most visible and active. What a great weekend to observe an ordiversery! Another Yard Sale wraps up today and the Presbyterian Women have pulled off another blockbuster with help from many! Tomorrow we'll celebrate World Communion Sunday, place a plaque remembering work led by DuWayne Wilkins on our bell tower, and rejoice in 165 years of ministry at Hebron! Our cups runneth over!

If you are in the area I hope that you will plan to be in worship tomorrow, Sunday, October 1 at 11:00 a.m. We'll sing the hymns written for our 160th Anniversary and the day we originally dedicated the Bell Tower. We'll share the Lord's Supper (along with Christians around the world). We'll unveil the new plaque on the Bell Tower. And we will share a potluck meal together. Chicken and pork will be provided. You are invited to bring a dish to share. The Activities Building will be open from 9:30 a.m. on to allow you to drop off your dish before coming to Sunday School and/or worship. Let's have a great day of celebration!

***

Coming Soon…

Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. We now have a full slate of vendors for this event! Hours for the Craft Fair are 9:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m.

Our Annual Picnic at Cedar Ridge will be held on Sunday, October 29. The picnic begins at 2 p.m. and we generally eat around 5 p.m.

Advent Project:

What follows is the same announcement about the Advent Project. Just want you to be aware there is plenty of room for more contributors.

I would love for us to put together an Advent Devotional for the coming Advent season with devotionals written by YOU! The devotional would be two to five paragraphs and a brief written prayer. You could write about anything. Something important from Christmas past. Something you love about the Advent/Christmas season - whatever you would like. If you would like to try it and would like some help with ideas I would be happy to help, but I'm also sure that many of you already are thinking of great ideas as you read this.

If you would like to be a part of this project please let me know. Getting this done will mean getting the devotionals written and in by early October, so they can be put together and prepared for sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!

September 30 UPDATE: I have twelve folks who have committed to do devotionals and have four in hand. Please consider joining in and being a part of this project. To clarify we can use about 28 devotionals - it had been brought to my attention that some had thought when I said four weeks of Advent that we needed four devotionals - this will be a daily devotional for the four weeks of Advent.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For September 23, 2023

"May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." -Romans 15:5-6

After a super busy Friday at the Yard Sale, Saturday is off to a slightly more leisurely start, but folks are still here finding treasures and enjoying the fellowship. There was a time when I thought maybe a day would come when we'd run out of stuff for the Yard Sale, but I have finally learned that is very unlikely to happen. Thanks to everyone who shared their stuff, and thanks to both the workers and the shoppers. Yard Sale Week 2 is yet to come!

***

Coming Soon…

On Sunday, October 1 as a part of morning worship we will dedicate our Bell Tower in memory of DuWayne Wilkins, who led, along with Ray Baker and Rick Caple, the making and placement of the Bell Tower. Also that day there will be a potluck after church and we will celebrate our congregation's 165th Anniversary. Please plan to bring a dish to share for the potluck which will follow morning worship in the Activities Building.

Presbyterian Women's Yard Sale continues next weekend, September 29-30. The hours are 8:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. Your help is appreciated if you are available and have time.

Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. We now have a full slate of vendors for this event! Hours for the Craft Fair are 9:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m.

Our Annual Picnic at Cedar Ridge will be held on Sunday, October 29. The picnic begins at 2 p.m. and we generally eat around 5 p.m.

Advent Project:

What follows is the same announcement about the Advent Project. Just want you to be aware there is plenty of room for more contributors.

I would love for us to put together an Advent Devotional for the coming Advent season with devotionals written by YOU! The devotional would be two to five paragraphs and a brief written prayer. You could write about anything. Something important from Christmas past. Something you love about the Advent/Christmas season - whatever you would like. If you would like to try it and would like some help with ideas I would be happy to help, but I'm also sure that many of you already are thinking of great ideas as you read this.

If you would like to be a part of this project please let me know. Getting this done will mean getting the devotionals written and in by early October, so they can be put together and prepared for sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!

September 23 UPDATE: I have eleven folks who have committed to do devotionals and have four in hand. Please consider joining in and being a part of this project. To clarify we can use about 28 devotionals - it had been brought to my attention that some had thought when I said four weeks of Advent that we needed four devotionals - this will be a daily devotional for the four weeks of Advent.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For September 16, 2023

"Sometimes we want God to part the waters when God is calming the seas." -Susan M. Hudson

I want to again thank everyone who was a part of moving the Yard Sale stuff toward the back of the Activities Building so that we could host the meal for Norma Myers family following her Service of Witness to the Resurrection this past Thursday. Those opportunities to be present for folks in times like that are some of the most precious opportunities we have to love the way Jesus calls us to love. Stuff was moved, food was prepared and brought to the AB and served, and ministry was accomplished. And then stuff was moved back into place for the next two weekends.

Our Yard Sale is the coming two weekends, September 22-23 and 29-30. If you were holding off on bringing stuff till after Thursday, your stuff is invited to come on down! I've sung the virtues of the Yard Sale before, but let me hit them quickly once again.

It's a great time to be together with church folks/family. There is work to it for sure, but the fellowship that goes along with the work is great.

It is a time to visit with our larger church family in the community. Many folks feel an attachment to our church that comes through their attendance at events like these. We are glad they support our Yard Sales and Craft Fairs and we are simply happy to see their familiar faces and have the opportunity to greet them - maybe over a plate of biscuits and gravy.

The Presbyterian Women do great things supporting great organizations, including our church, with the proceeds they receive from Yard Sales and Craft Fairs. We should be aware of and not underestimate the impact their giving to a variety of organizations makes.

***

Coming Soon…

On Sunday, October 1 as a part of morning worship we will dedicate our Bell Tower in memory of DuWayne Wilkins, who led, along with Ray Baker and Rick Caple, the making and placement of the Bell Tower. Also that day there will be a potluck after church and we will celebrate our congregations 165th Anniversary.

Presbyterian Women's Yard Sale is September 22-23 and 29-30. The hours are 8:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. Your help is appreciated if you are available and have time.

Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. We now have a full slate of vendors for this event! Hours for the Craft Fair are 9:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m.

Our Annual Picnic at Cedar Ridge will be held on Sunday, October 29. The picnic begins at 2 p.m. and we generally eat around 5 p.m.

Advent Project:

What follows is the same announcement about the Advent Project. Just want you to be aware there is plenty of room for more contributors.

I would love for us to put together an Advent Devotional for the coming Advent season with devotionals written by YOU! The devotional would be two to five paragraphs and a brief written prayer. You could write about anything. Something important from Christmas past. Something you love about the Advent/Christmas season - whatever you would like. If you would like to try it and would like some help with ideas I would be happy to help, but I'm also sure that many of you already are thinking of great ideas as you read this.

If you would like to be a part of this project please let me know. Getting this done will mean getting the devotionals written and in by early October, so they can be put together and prepared for sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!

September 2 UPDATE: Around nine of you have expressed a willingness to do a devotional so far and a couple have even already handed in a devotional. Please consider joining in and being a part of this project. To clarify we can use about 28 devotionals - it had been brought to my attention that some had thought when I said four weeks of Advent that we needed four devotionals - this will be a daily devotional for the four weeks of Advent.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For September 9, 2023

"O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! - Romans 11:33

"Sometimes mystery is all we have." - J.R. Daniel Kirk

There is this wonderful moment in Romans 11 when Paul, the great apostle and prolific letter writer, having just made a very complicated theological argument for how to understand some aspect of faith, basically says, "Also, I could have no idea." Okay, he doesn't actually say those words, he says the words quoted above in Romans 11:33. Which prompted J.R. Daniel Kirk's response that sometimes mystery is all that is left to us.

This is a powerfully important thing to which we should pay close attention. If it feels at times as though we don't understand, we have no idea what the answers are and we aren't even sure what some good questions would be, we can take heart. Paul was there too. Many of us are there, much of the time. It is not a problem with us when we are unsure and don't know. And it is not the case that everyone else gets it and we don't. The very real truth of life and of faith is that sometimes mystery is all we have. Mystery, and our ability to lean on and trust our God. And in those moments of uncertainty the message here is bedrock for us - in the mystery, in our search for understanding when we feel lost, God is always with us. That we can trust. That is faith.

***

Arrangements For Norma Myers:

Visitation will be this Wednesday from 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Schoppenhorst, and the service will be Thursday at 2 p.m., also at Schoppenhorst. Following the service and the graveside service there will be a meal for Norma's family and friends in our Activities Building.

The Activities Building will be used this week on Thursday for the meal following Norma Myers service. The best path forward after conversations was to push back the dates of our Yard Sale one week so the new dates are Friday and Saturday, September 22-23 and 29-30. If you have items to bring please bring them after this Thursday (September 14). We will also need dishes to share at the meal for Norma's family. Thanks to everyone in advance for the way that you live out your commitment to being the body of Christ.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For September 2, 2023

"Prayer can put us in a place where we practice trusting Jesus. Not just trusting that what we ask for will be granted, but also trusting that the One who invites us to lose our lives for his sake will find our lives for us." -Catherine Kelsey

We had a Session meeting this past Thursday evening and I have to say that once again we have a really good group working together on our Session. That's not a new thing, but it's a thing to be thankful for and to celebrate. Two things that they are interested in your input on and it has to do with their concern that people are able to experience worship as fully and comfortably as possible.

The first has to do with hearing the service. The speakers that we put in the Sanctuary when we returned to live worship coming out of Covid have been a real boost in terms of sound quality. The question we would like input on is if folks who may still have trouble hearing, particularly the sermon, would be interested in ear bud style head phones that would allow the sound system to deliver the sound directly to their ear. Similar to if you have been on a tour of some sort and the guide has used a microphone with ear buds for the folks on the tour. There is an affordable answer that would allow for this possibility, but we want to hear from you. First, if you have questions for clarification about this and second, if you would be interested in this kind of technology.

The second has to do with seating in the sanctuary. We've come to notice that it can be helpful to have chairs available in the worship space for folks who for a variety of reasons prefer or are more able to be comfortable in chairs. The possible solution could involve removing the back pew on the side of the sanctuary in front of the pulpit. Nothing has been decided. There is a group from the Session that will be looking at this and trying to determine what potential complications this could involve and what the solutions to those complications might be.

If you have input on either of these things, please speak to any of our Session members or to George. Your current Session is Betty Hogan, Mike Streible, Jason Shockley, Leigh Shader, Joyce Jaco, and Judy Morris. Thanks to all of them and thanks to all of you in advance for your input.

***

Your review of upcoming activities…

A couple of specific dates for upcoming events to share:

On Sunday, October 1 as a part of morning worship we will dedicate our Bell Tower in memory of DuWayne Wilkins, who led, along with Ray Baker and Rick Caple, the making and placement of the Bell Tower. Also that day there will be a potluck after church and we will celebrate our congregation's 165th Anniversary.

Presbyterian Women's Yard Sale is September 15-16 and 22-23.

Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. We now have a full slate of vendors for this event!

Our Annual Picnic at Cedar Ridge will be held on Sunday, October 29. The picnic begins at 2 p.m. and we generally eat around 5 p.m.

Advent Project:

I would love for us to put together an Advent Devotional for the coming Advent season with devotionals written by YOU! The devotional would be two to five paragraphs and a brief written prayer. You could write about anything. Something important from Christmas past. Something you love about the Advent/Christmas season - whatever you would like. If you would like to try it and would like some help with ideas I would be happy to help, but I'm also sure that many of you already are thinking of great ideas as you read this.

If you would like to be a part of this project please let me know. Getting this done will mean getting the devotionals written and in by early October, so they can be put together and prepared for sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!

September 2 UPDATE: Around nine of you have expressed a willingness to do a devotional so far and a couple have even already handed in a devotional. Please consider joining in and being a part of this project. To clarify we can use about 28 devotionals - it had been brought to my attention that some had thought when I said four weeks of Advent that we needed four devotionals - this will be a daily devotional for the four weeks of Advent.

Celebrate Life!

George


Check-In For August 26, 2023

“Understanding the will of God is the first, necessary step toward enacting it with our bodies.” -Sarah Heaner Lancaster

Why worship Sunday after Sunday? Why confess our sins, why affirm our faith, why say the Lord’s Prayer week after week? What’s the point of all the repetition? Lots of reasons.

At the top of the list, every day is a new day. Every day brings new joys and concerns, new blessings and new challenges. Regular worship (and personal spiritual practices as well) keep our relationship with God and with our siblings in Christ in front of us as we make our way through all that life has to offer. Beyond that there is the need to understand. The need to understand what God has been doing in our world and in our lives. The need to understand what we believe God is leading us to do as we make our way into tomorrow.

Faith is not a sticker we put on our lives and from which we then walk away. Faith is constantly interacting with the goings-on of our days. As the world continues to unfold and our lives in it continue to move forward with the dawn of each new day, our faith is strengthened to engage all that is happening when we gather, confess, affirm, pray, sing, and fellowship together. I look forward to seeing you in worship!

***

A couple of specific dates for upcoming events to share:

On Sunday, October 1 as a part of morning worship we will dedicate our Bell Tower in memory of DuWayne Wilkins, who led, along with Ray Baker and Rick Caple, the making and placement of the Bell Tower. Also that day there will be a potluck after church and we will celebrate our congregations 165th Anniversary.

Our Annual Picnic at Cedar Ridge will be held on Sunday, October 29. The picnic begins at 2 p.m. and we generally eat around 5 p.m.

Also this dates as a reminder…

The Session will meet on Thursday, August 31.

Presbyterian Women’s Yard Sale is September 15-16 and 22-23.

Presbyterian Women’s Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. Mentioning that now because the time is now to be inviting vendors who want to share their wares at the Craft Fair. For information on reserving a table talk to Betty Hogan.

Advent Project:

I would love for us to put together an Advent Devotional for the coming Advent season with devotionals written by YOU! The devotional would be two to five paragraphs and a brief written prayer. You could write about anything. Something important from Christmas past. Something you love about the Advent/Christmas season - whatever you would like. If you would like to try it and would like some help with ideas I would be happy to help, but I'm also sure that many of you already are thinking of great ideas as you read this.

If you would like to be a part of this project please let me know. Getting this done will mean getting the devotionals written and in by early October, so they can be put together and prepared for sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!

UPDATE: Around six of you have expressed a willingness to do a devotional so far and a couple have even already handed in a devotional. Please consider joining in and being a part of this project.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For August 19, 2023

“How easy it is to go through life without acknowledging all the support we get from others, many of whom may not be visible to us.” -Sarah Heaner Lancaster

My wife Julie shared a story with me of a young person at the Children’s Home who had left, but was finding it necessary and preferable to return to their care. The question that was asked on their behalf was, “Do you give second chances?” What a beautiful, vulnerable, and hopeful question. At some point in our lives, probably at multiple points, we find ourselves asking that question. Do you give second chances? When we are at that moment, we find ourselves reliant on the kindness of others. I know that I have had times in life when second chances were needed and were graciously given. I have also seen circumstances where second chances were denied, sometimes for well-considered reasons and sometimes, maybe not so much so. We appreciate when grace works in our direction, but we can struggle sometimes to be gracious.

God does not struggle to be gracious.

Justice is a core part of who God is, but always with grace and mercy right alongside of that justice. God goes well beyond second chances, repeatedly showing us grace, showering us with forgiveness and sending us forward to new opportunities. I am posting the video from Christy Hardin’s visit with us this past Sunday in worship. She works at Bullitt Central and came to us to share some of the ways we have been able to partner with the school to benefit students in our community. For many of these students we aren’t talking about second chances so much as simply talking about a chance. How exciting to hear about the tangible ways our gifts and the gifts of our Presbyterian Women have provided the possibility of transformation for young people who will be the future of our community. We have an opportunity to continue this relationship THIS Sunday, April 20 as we will be collecting the Pentecost Offering, which is a Special Offering of our denomination that benefits young people and ministry with young people. Sixty percent will be shared with the denomination for ministry with young people, forty percent will stay here to continue the relationship that Christy shared about. And our Presbyterian Women have already said they plan to share a portion of their Yard Sale proceeds in September with this cause. See you Sunday.

***

The Presbyterian Women will have a brief meeting this Tuesday in the Activities Building after our Tuesday Prayer Group meets.

Some upcoming dates to remember…

The Session will meet on Thursday, August 31.

Presbyterian Women’s Yard Sale is September 15-16 and 22-23.

Presbyterian Women’s Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. Mentioning that now because the time is now to be inviting vendors who want to share their wares at the Craft Fair. For information on reserving a table talk to Betty Hogan.

Advent Project:

I would love for us to put together an Advent Devotional for the coming Advent season with devotionals written by YOU! The devotional would be two to five paragraphs and a brief written prayer. You could write about anything. Something important from Christmas past. Something you love about the Advent/Christmas season - whatever you would like. If you would like to try it and would like some help with ideas I would be happy to help, but I'm also sure that many of you already are thinking of great ideas as you read this.

If you would like to be a part of this project please let me know. Getting this done will mean getting the devotionals written and in by early October, so they can be put together and prepared for sharing. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For August 12, 2023

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Our spoken confession of faith. Our heartfelt conviction that it's true. That's what Paul is teaching about in Romans 10:5-15 which is our passage for worship tomorrow. It's another example of principles that are core to faith and I look forward to exploring them with you. I also look forward to welcoming Christy Hardin from Bullitt Central High School who will be sharing with us at the very beginning of worship about her work at BC and about the needs she sees and the ways we are able to help. We invited her to help us to understand what she sees on a daily basis as a way of interpreting what happens with our Pentecost Offering, which will be received next Sunday on August 20. Sixty percent of that offering goes to the Presbyterian Church at the national level for its work with young people. Forty percent stays at Hebron for our work in the community, particularly the partnership that Beverly Caple and Ray Baker have helped us develop with our local schools. The Presbyterian Women have been generous supporters of this partnership as well. Reaching out to help young people in our community is a way we show the heart of our faith in a very real and practical way.

***

Some upcoming dates to remember…

The Session will meet on Thursday, August 31.

Presbyterian Women's Yard Sale is September 15-16 and 22-23.

Presbyterian Women's Fall Craft Fair is Saturday, October 14. Mentioning that now because the time is now to be inviting vendors who want to share their wares at the Craft Fair. For information on reserving a table talk to Betty Hogan.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For August 5, 2023

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39

I'm late getting to the Weekly Check-In today. I put it off this morning, opting to go to the local Farmer's Market where I get amazing sour dough bread that makes toast that becomes transcendent when a bit of orange marmalade and a touch of havarti cheese go on top. I enjoy the atmosphere of the Farmer's Market. Mostly local places sharing fresh stuff. And the folks that come out seem to be in a good mood, the energy is positive, it almost feels like a festival. This morning we heard what sounded like pigs coming from behind a coffee trailer at one end of the set-up. A quick look back there revealed pigs, goats, ducks and a llama in a temporary petting zoo complete with delighted children. I was probably in and out of there in ten to fifteen minutes, but a very enjoyable ten to fifteen minutes it was.

From there it was over to church to be a part of the Adopt-A-Highway clean up team. Also a positive group - again good energy, folks out on a Saturday morning to be a positive force in our community. At the end we were invited to Nan Wilkins for a wonderful lunch and some good conversation around the table.

I share those two activities as what I believe to be examples of what Paul is describing when he says that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. I'm not minimizing the hurt in the world, the pain that people live with, the number of ways that things can seem to go so wrong at times. But there are reminders along the way that there is good in the world, and we really need to notice them. They are gifts. They are there to point us back to the foundational truth that God loves us, God is active in our lives and in our world, and nothing - not any thing - can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus.

***

Our denomination's Pentecost Offering is a special offering which focuses on young people. It is often taken up around the day of Pentecost (late May or early June), but in discussion, our Session chose to do it in August when school is starting back. Sixty percent of the Pentecost Offering goes to the national church for work with youth in a variety of programs. Forty percent stays here at Hebron. Ray Baker and Bev Caple have helped us to develop a relationship with our local schools and we have been able to help in several ways to make a difference in the life of Bullitt County children/young people due to your support of that offering and the generosity of our Presbyterian Women. Coming in August we'll be hearing about what we helped to do and also will hear on August 13 from Christy Hardin, who works in the Resource Center at Bullitt Central, during morning worship. We will receive the Pentecost Offering on Sunday, August 20.

Watch this space in upcoming weeks for information about our Yard Sale coming September 15-16 and 22-23. Also, for information about dedicating our Bell Tower and celebrating our 165th Anniversary on a future Sunday and for a date for our Fall Picnic as soon as it is set.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For July 29, 2023

"Suffering is the door to God." -Sarah Heaner Lancaster

Suffering may not sound like the most desirable topic to explore, but it's likely one of the most universally applicable. As we live we experience joys and sorrows, times of rejoicing and times of suffering. Sometimes all of it mixed together. One of the questions people of faith often ask is "Why does suffering have to be part of the equation?"

Suffering is swirling in the mix of Romans 8. It's a beautiful truth about scripture, exemplified by passages like Romans 8, that the Bible speaks directly to the reality of suffering in our world and in our lives. This Sunday we'll be delving into how one way of thinking about suffering is the way Sarah Heaner Lancaster describes above - as a doorway to God. Suffering is an inevitable part of the human journey - let's consider together how it can also be a part of our spiritual growth.

***

All of my announcements to share are carry-forwards from last week, but they are still timely so here we go…

Our Highway Clean-Up Day is nearly here for the summer. Saturday, August 5 is the day. Gather in the church parking lot at 9:00 a.m. and finish at noon. If you can only come for part, your participation is still very welcome. Nan Wilkins has invited us, following the clean-up, to come to her house for an "eat and leave" lunch. Thanks to Ray Baker for his continued leadership on the Highway Clean-Up project and to Nan for the lunch invitation.

Rebecca Rink, with a great assist from Nate, shared with us in worship recently, reminding us that right now is a good time to be thinking about Christmas Shoe Boxes. Back to school means lots of bargains on school supplies and the sorts of items that make great shoe box stuffers. If you missed her presentation I'm sure she'd be glad to share the tips and suggestions with you - just ask.

Our denominations Pentecost Offering is a special offering which focuses on young people. It is often taken up around the day of Pentecost (late May or early June), but in discussion, our Session chose to do it in August when school is starting back. Sixty percent of the Pentecost Offering goes to the national church for work with youth in a variety of programs. Forty percent stays here at Hebron. Ray Baker and Bev Caple have helped us to develop a relationship with our local schools and we have been able to help in several ways to make a difference in the life of Bullitt County children/young people due to your support of that offering and the generosity of our Presbyterian Women. Coming in August we'll be hearing about what we helped to do and also will hear on August 13 from Christy Hardin, who works in the Resource Center at Bullitt Central, during morning worship.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For July 22, 2023

A breath prayer
(Inhale) Spirit, I can't go back.
(Exhale) Spirit, where are we going?
-Casey Tygrett

This past week has been a week of unpredictability and lack of anything that looks like a routine. That actually happens a lot in life and for a lot of people. We imagine there is a steady routine out there somewhere, but life is very often consistently inconsistent. That can leave us thinking things like if I can just make it to tomorrow, or next week, or next month things will be more manageable and normal. Again, what turns out to be true is that it can often be the case that the normal thing is the unsettled nature of things.

The breath prayer shared above is from a book by Casey Tygrett that I am currently reading called "The Gift of Restlessness: A Spirituality For Unsettled Seasons." I have read a previous book by Tygrett on Curiosity, so my expectations were high and I have not been disappointed so far. "The Gift of Restlessness" is an invitation to look at the unsettled and restless times in our lives not only as challenges, but as a gift from God leading us to growth. Perhaps the next time you feel the need to step back from a busy, restless, maybe even chaotic moment, you can find a quiet place and practice this breath prayer and search for what the gift might be in what God is doing in your day.

***

We had a beautiful celebration of Bill Harrell's life on Thursday morning at the church followed by a time of food and fellowship in the Activities Building. It's beautiful to see the body of Christ doing the things it does best. Thank you especially to everyone who made the fellowship time possible, putting up tables, readying the Activities Building and providing the great meal.

Our Highway Clean-Up Day is nearly here for the summer. Saturday, August 5 is the day. Gather in the church parking lot at 9:00 a.m. and finish at noon. If you can only come for part your participation is still very welcome. Nan Wilkins has invited us, following the clean-up, to come to her house for an "eat and leave" lunch. Thanks to Ray Baker for his continued leadership on the Highway Clean-Up project and to Nan for the lunch invitation.

Rebecca Rink, with a great assist from Nate, shared with us in worship recently, reminding us that right now is a good time to be thinking about Christmas Shoe Boxes. Back to school means lots of bargains on school supplies and the sorts of items that make great shoe box stuffers. If you missed her presentation I'm sure she'd be glad to share the tips and suggestions with you - just ask.

Our denomination's Pentecost Offering is a special offering which focuses on young people. It is often taken up around the day of Pentecost (late May or early June), but in discussion, our Session chose to do it in August when school is starting back. Sixty percent of the Pentecost Offering goes to the national church for work with youth in a variety of programs. Forty percent stays here at Hebron. Ray Baker and Bev Caple have helped us to develop a relationship with our local schools and we have been able to help in several ways to make a difference in the life of Bullitt County children/young people due to your support of that offering and the generosity of our Presbyterian Women. Coming in August we'll be hearing about what we helped to do and also will hear on August 13 from Christy Hardin, who works in the Resource Center at Bullitt Central, during morning worship.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For July 15, 2023

“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” -Paul, Romans 7:15

Looking forward to tomorrow’s text from Romans. It’s an easy text and a very difficult text. It’s an easy text because it could not be more relatable for the vast majority of people who have ever lived. I know I find it relatable. Paul basically says, I see the thing I want to do, I know the thing I want to do and I don’t do that thing. In fact, he says, I do the exact thing I don’t want to do.

How does this happen?

That’s what we’ll be listening for from Paul and considering in our own lives. How is it that we can so clearly know at times the best way to act in a situation and wind up doing something else entirely? And, knowing how easy it is to get derailed in this way, where is the hope that we can change the story? Let’s explore, tomorrow in worship.

***

Our Highway Clean-Up Day is nearly here for the summer. Saturday, August 5th is the day. Gather in the church parking lot at 9:00 a.m. and finish at noon. If you can only come for part, your participation is still very welcome.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For July 8, 2023

“Grace is not simply a gentle, benign gift. Grace also makes demands of us.” -Sarah Heaner Lancaster

If someone wrote you a three page letter (and okay, I get it, people don’t typically write letters at all anymore, let alone three page letters) you would likely not choose a paragraph in the middle to read and ignore the rest of it. At best, you would have a limited idea of what the letter writer was telling you, at worst you might have no idea what the bit you read was about or what it related to. I’m discovering how very much this applies to Paul and his letter to the church in Rome. Going straight through illuminates the whole thing. It increases the depth. It makes sense of passages that appear to be problematic on the surface. I am having a joyous time being immersed in Romans. I hope that this journey is a rewarding one for you as well.

This week we’ll be talking more about grace, one of God’s great gifts to us. In our passage this week (Romans 6:12-23) we’ll listen for how Paul is teaching that grace is a gift we receive, and also one we then open and with which we interact. Thank you for sharing the journey this summer - it’s a constant wonder what the ancient text - the living word of God - continues to say to us right now in 2023.

***

Rebecca Rink has been staying on top of Operation Christmas Child, and has some information and a bookmark to share with us tomorrow in worship. Thanks to Rebecca and look forward to hearing from her tomorrow.

Ray Baker shares that our Highway Clean-Up Day is here for the summer. Saturday, July 29 is the day. Gather in the church parking lot at 9:00 a.m. and finish at noon. If you can only come for part your participation is still very welcome.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For July 1, 2023

"Baptismal life has three dimensions: (1) Formation in faith, which includes not only catechisms for individuals, but also the formation of the whole community; (2) the rite of baptism, which may be performed differently in different communities; and (3) participation in the life of the community, which includes sharing in the Eucharist and using individual gifts to serve the church and the world." -Sarah Heaner Lancaster, Belief Commentary on Romans

Preachers usually visit commentaries on books of the Bible when we are preaching on particular passages. We also jump around a good bit, which means we usually don't read a commentary front to back (and most aren't really meant to be read that way - the authors know how we work). If you've been in church the past few weeks you've heard the name Sarah Heaner Lancaster more than once. Because of the journey through all of Romans that we are on, I've been reading a couple of commentaries on Romans from start to finish as we go. Lancaster's is excellent. She has helped me on multiple occasions come to a better understanding of what Paul is up to; this week she has been especially helpful.

I participate in an online group of leaders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) - mostly pastors - and recently there was a conversation about what church membership means. The language of being a member is kind of a necessary way of talking about belonging to an organization, but how do we animate that definition. I think the quote above that Lancaster is using to describe baptism and the way it functioned in the early church and can continue to now is a great way of thinking about what being a member of a church is at its core. It is living out our baptismal life together in the context of a particular community of Jesus followers. Here we call that community Hebron. Her three layers are all important. Formation. Baptism. Participation. My prayer is that as we work at our faith together at Hebron you will feel God's Spirit forming your faith, remember the core truth of being baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and that you will participate in all the ways that you are able in our life together.

***

Several folks travelled to WaterStep in Louisville this week for the organization's open house. We learned a lot about this great organization and their goal of getting safe, clean water to places that need it. Heard an inspiring testimonial from one of WaterSteps ambassadors from the country of Sierra Leone. We'll soon have a box up to collect your donation of used shoes in good condition. WaterStep collects them and then sells them to a third party who sells them to individual sellers in countries around the world. The money they make from this helps to fund their work. Their estimation that every three pair of shoes means water for a lifetime for one person. That's a pretty outstanding return on investment.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For June 24, 2023

"God doesn't abandon us in the wilderness; God meets us there." -Lindsey Krinks

Sometimes I have my quote for the week even before the week begins. Sometimes it shows up early in the week and I have a few days to be thinking about it. And then, like today, sometimes it shows up on the day I'm writing the Weekly Check-In and it just pushes its way to the front. That's what happened here.

The wilderness is a constant possibility. Life has peaks and valleys, times of joy and celebration and also times of wilderness. We don't avoid the wilderness, it's a part of the full experience of life. Lindsey Krinks gives us a great reminder, when we are in the wilderness, God doesn't leave us and wait for us to emerge so that God can rejoin us once more. God meets us where we are all the time, which means God meets us in the wilderness. That is a great and hopeful message and if you are feeling in the wilderness today I pray it is helpful to you in your journey.

***

Mission Opportunity: WaterStep is an organization that works to make safe water available in places where it is scarce. One of the ways they do this is by collecting pairs of shoes - here's how they describe that process: By donating your new and gently used shoes to WaterStep, you'll help fund safe drinking water projects all over the world — projects that help to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. In addition to funding water projects, donated shoes keep hundreds of tons of waste out of our landfills. We accept gently used shoes that are free of mold/mildew. Athletic shoes are preferred, but we will accept all styles of shoes. Shoes are sold to an exporter and funds received help bring clean water to those in need.

WaterStep is having an open house in Louisville on Tuesday June 27 from 4-6 p.m. If you would like to go, we will gather in the parking lot and leave here at 3:15 that day. They will have a speaker who works with their organization in Sierra Leone and share a bit more about their work. Please let George Love or Beverly Caple know if you plan to go (or sign-up on the sheet in the entryway to the Sanctuary). We have collected shoes at points in the past and the Presbyterian Women are looking to collect shoes again further into the summer. This Open House would just provide additional insight into the work that WaterStep is doing.

***

Our Summer In Romans continues this week as we'll explore Romans 5:1-8. For those reading all of Romans you should be reading Romans 5 this week. Next week (June 25 - July2) will be Romans 6:1-11 for both the scripture and where your reading should be by the end of next week. The message, "God's Gracious Shalom - It's Where You Are Standing," is built around Romans 5:1 and will explore the peace that God gives us.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For June 17, 2023

“When people hope and trust in the God who creates, faith becomes creative. Faithfulness sees and acts on God’s possibilities in situations where no possibilities seem to exist.” -Sarah Heaner Lancaster

Two weeks into our Romans sojourn, I’m very excited about where we are and where we are going. I’ve received some really thoughtful feedback on these first two weeks and that has fueled my trust that when I felt pulled to spend this long run in Romans (18 weeks, through October 1) it was more than me having an idea that sounded like fun to me, I believe the Holy Spirit was involved and is at work. Honestly, I have to always trust that that is the case - the Holy Spirit is always reaching out to us, guiding and communicating with us - but this particular moment feels especially exhilarating.

This week is another great passage, Romans 4:13-25. There is a lot going on in these verses, but I want us to really explore and unpack Sunday morning is the gap that exists between our expectations of what is possible and what is really possible through God. It’s an exciting question and I hope that we arrive at an encouraging and inspiring answer. See you tomorrow morning in worship!

***

There have been many prayer concerns shared via this same email list over the course of the past several days. I’m not going to re-list them all here, but do take note of all the emails that come in and know that in each instance the prayers we have the opportunity to offer are appreciated by those we are praying for and by God who loves when we come forward with our praise and petitions. If you do not receive these emails, please send us a request to be added to the email list at hebronpcusa@gmail.com.

***

The Session met this past Thursday, here are a few items of note…

The Session will be looking to invest the money from the sale of the manse. This should happen soon, we will share how that is being done when we get there. Basically we will be looking for a one year Certificate of Deposit that will provide interest income.

Along with that, we looked at our financial report through May and see that we are behind for the year. There are several reasons for that. One would be the lack of income from rent from the manse, which we hope to address, at least in part, with income from the CD that we will invest in. Another is that we usually do fall behind in the beginning of the year as there are several large items that we pay for at the beginning of the year which will not recur. We will have copies of a recent financial statement available to you shortly. Basically, know that your ongoing faithful support of Hebron is very much appreciated by the Session, both in your giving, in your service in a variety of ways, and in your presence in worship.

Look for Session members serving as lay readers of scripture in the weeks ahead. Also, know that you are invited to serve as a lay reader of scripture. It’s great to hear different voices in leadership of worship. Speak to George if you would like to be a lay reader.

We intend to participate in the denomination’s Pentecost Offering, but are obviously not doing it at the Day of Pentecost. The offering is aimed at young people and is split with 60% going to the denomination for youth related causes and 40% staying with our congregation for causes right here in our area. Ray Baker and Bev Caple have cultivated a relationship with a dynamic youth services person at Bullitt Central and with last years Pentecost offering and generous support from our Presbyterian Women, they have been a part of some exciting difference making in the lives of Bullitt County young people. We’ll be receiving that offering sometime around the beginning of the school year, likely in August, and we’ll hear more from Bev and/or Ray about what’s been accomplished and what we may be able to be a part of next.

Mission Opportunity: WaterStep is an organization that works to make safe water available in places where it is scarce. One of the ways they do this is by collecting pairs of shoes - here’s how they describe that process: By donating your new and gently used shoes to WaterStep, you’ll help fund safe drinking water projects all over the world — projects that help to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. In addition to funding water projects, donated shoes keep hundreds of tons of waste out of our landfills. We accept gently used shoes that are free of mold/mildew. Athletic shoes are preferred, but we will accept all styles of shoes. Shoes are sold to an exporter and funds received help bring clean water to those in need.

WaterStep is having an open house in Louisville on Tuesday June 27 from 4-6 p.m. If you would like to go, we will gather in the parking lot and leave here at 3:15 that day. They will have a speaker who works with their organization in Sierra Leone and share a bit more about their work. Please let George Love or Beverly Caple know if you plan to go (or sign-up on the sheet in the entryway to the Sanctuary). We have collected shoes at points in the past and the Presbyterian Women are looking to collect shoes again further into the summer. This Open House would just provide additional insight into the work that WaterStep is doing.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For June 10, 2023

"Many theologians have held that being a Christian is about having a heart that beats for God. When we can say that desire for God comes before all else and shapes the way we desire other things, then we will have grasped one of the most significant theological insights that the tradition of the church has to offer." -Sarah Heaner Lancaster

If you are reading along as we make our way through Romans you are now three chapters in and realizing that a chapter or two a week to work through is plenty fast enough of a pace. This isn't just reading to get the next reading done and move on. This is reading that rewards re-reading. It can seem convoluted and confusing in places. It's not a straight-forward narrative about a healing or a confrontation with a pharisee like we find in the gospels. These Romans passages don't really have quick, bite size beginnings and middles and ends. It's like looking at a quilt. You can look closely at one square, but to get the beauty of the whole thing the only way to do it is to take the time to examine the whole thing.

Stay with it. It can surely be slow going in places, but it also features some of the most sublime writing in all of scripture and it pushes us to think deeply about our faith. Simply put, it's more than worth the effort.

***

The Presbyterian Women will meet this Wednesday, June 14 at 11:00 a.m. in the Activities Building.

The Session will meet this Thursday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Adult Sunday School Room.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For June 3, 2023

"When Jesus wanted to explain to his followers the meaning of his death, he didn't give them a theory, he gave them a meal." -N.T. Wright

Sunday is another first Sunday of the month and because of that another Sunday of celebrating the sacrament of the Lord's Supper at Hebron. At my first church out of seminary, St. Charles Presbyterian in St. Charles, Missouri our observation of the Lord's Supper was less frequent - maybe eight times a year. One of those came around the first Sunday of June and was referred to as Summer Communion. Don't go looking for Summer Communion in the Book of Order or the Book of Common Worship. It's not there. I was thinking about summer communion as I was looking forward to this Sunday's communion service. That first Sunday of June always feels like "Summer Communion" to me. School years seem to run later and start back sooner then when I was younger, but there is still something magical about the summer months. In the last week to ten days the weather has begun to make it clear, hotter days are on the way, summer has just about arrived.

I look forward to sharing the sacrament together in worship this week and I look forward to beginning our summer in the book of Romans. The checklist that was in last week's bulletin is available online at our website and there will also be copies available in the entryway to the sanctuary. This week the sermon will be based on Romans 1:1-17 - the suggested scripture to read is Romans 1.

***

Have A Great Week Campers! Several of our children will be participating in summer camp this week at Camp Cedar Ridge, the camp of the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky. Thanks once again to the Presbyterian Women for the wonderful gift of helping with the costs of camp.

Zoom Study: A Zoom study on the book of Romans begins next Sunday at 7:00 p.m. If you would like a link please let George know. We are using the study guide by N.T. Wright called "Romans: 18 Studies For Individuals And Groups." The study will meet bi-weekly and will cover two sections of the 18 week study each time we meet. Again, if you are interested in participating speak to or contact George.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For May 27, 2023

"The miracle of Pentecost is this radical joining of people. …This miracle isn't so much about new revelation as it is about new relationships." -Jill Duffield

I have been around the church all of my life. From the time of my earliest memories, church has always been there. Through church I have come to know a wide variety of people. People I would never have known, except for church bringing us together, have been among the most important people in my life. That's what happened at Pentecost. As Jill Duffield describes it, a "radical joining of people."

I hope you will be present for worship tomorrow. If you are unable to be present for worship I hope you feel the connection to the group that the Spirit makes possible. As I read the Bible, God's project is always about bringing people together. As I've said countless times, I never see Jesus trying to make the circle smaller. I see Jesus saying how do we make the circle larger - more expansive. Pentecost is an amazing miracle of expansion. God facilitating communication and relationship between people who would have had no expectation or prospect of relationship had God not stepped in.

Let us rejoice and celebrate this Pentecost Sunday. God has indeed stepped in and we are blessed beyond imagination.

***

As mentioned above, tomorrow is the celebration of the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. The liturgical color for Pentecost is red and you are invited to wear red as a way of joining in the celebration/observance of the day. Red reminds us of the tongues of fire that alighted above the heads of the disciples as the story is told in Acts 2.

Last week I shared that I would be preaching through the book of Romans beginning on Sunday, June 4. Those plans are solidifying and there will be a reading plan to accompany the 18 weeks of sermons available tomorrow at church. Romans is not a long book so the readings for each week are not long - you'll typically have a week to make your way through a chapter - imminently doable.

Also, I will be leading a Sunday evening Zoom study of the book of Romans which will coincide with this sermon series. The first meeting will be Sunday June 11 and will typically meet at 7 p.m. for about an hour every two weeks during the 18 weeks. The study will utilize a resource by N.T. Wright. called "N.T. Wright For Everyone Bible Study Guides: Romans: 18 Studies For Individuals and Groups." You can order a copy at Amazon, Cokesbury, or Christian Book Distributors. If you would like for me to get a copy for you please let me know. If you let me know you would like to participate I will send out Zoom links typically on the Friday or Saturday before the Sunday evening meeting.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For May 20, 2023

"To be faithful travelers, we must remember God's faithfulness - who God is and what God has done." -Maureen Knudsen Langdoc

We are at the end of a school year for many folks which means it's also a time of graduation for a good number of folks. Proms are happening. Weddings (and wedding anniversaries) pop up with frequency in May and June. The common thread is transition from one time of life to another. Transitions reminds us that change is always with us and that we don't really stay anywhere forever in life, we are all on a journey.

The scripture for tomorrow is Acts 1:1-14. Jesus is giving final instructions to his disciples, taking some questions and then is on his way. And the disciples are on their way as well. Tentatively at first, but things will pick up for them. One of the ways people of faith, going back to the early stories of the Old Testament, through the New Testament and right up today, have stayed faithful on the journey is by remembering where they've come from even as they move forward. We tell the stories of God's faithfulness over the span of history. We tell the stories of God's activity in our own lives as we have experienced God's blessings and God's presence in our most difficult moments (a very particular kind of blessing).

Consider God's faithfulness in your journey. Lean into trusting God's faithfulness for today and for tomorrow.

***

I had mentioned that I was planning to travel to the Holy Land February 13-23 of 2024. I now have brochures with itinerary and information about the trip. I'll place a few in the entry way - if you don't see them and would like one let me know. The information is also available at the link below. Would love to have some of our folks join on the journey. The paper brochures have my tour host number on them - if you would happen to register online there is a place to write in my name as your tour host and my host number is 46766. If you have any questions, please ask - this is one of my favorite topics.

https://www.eo.travelwithus.com/tours/hl24021324f46766/#eotours

For folks who like to read ahead for worship I am leaning towards a deep dive into the book of Romans to run from June through September. I'll have more to say about this in a week or so and maybe a reading plan to coincide with the sermons. It's really not a long book if you are taking four months to work through it, but it's a book with a lot going on and merits very close reading.

In her commentary on the book of Romans, Sarah Heaner Lancaster writes, "Paul's concerns are God and our lives before God. He is instructing this specific group of people about what their faith means for their life together."

This letter served that purpose for the early church in Rome and has served that purpose for the body of Christ ever since and to this day. Sarah Heaner Lancaster again: "The answer to the question, Why Romans? is that it has mattered to so many Christians who have gone before. It has repeatedly formed understanding of Christian faith as each generation has turned to Paul for instruction." Again, more to follow in the next couple of weeks.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For May 13, 2023

"Every individual's story contains numerous acts of grace and assistance from a wider community. We don't get many places by ourselves." -Rick Quinn

Julie, her dad and I are in Durham with Eliza for her graduation from Duke Divinity School. Yesterday we visited the campus, walked around and saw places that had been important to Eliza during her time here. Graduation is also happening for the undergraduates and for the other graduate schools at Duke which means a lot of students walking around followed by a lot of parents, grandparents, siblings, and other friends and family members. It's a visible reminder of the truth of the quote above from Rick Quinn - "We don't get many places by ourselves."

I encourage you to take a moment to think about the group of people that have walked around with you throughout your life. Who have been there with you through joy and hard times and who have continued to walk with you all along the way. These folks are one of God's great gifts.

I'd also encourage you to think about this as you work through any prayer list you may come across. There is always the individual who is being prayed for, but keep in mind the people who walk with that individual as you pray. The spouse providing strength and care. The parents concerned for their children and the children who are concerned for the parents. Our relationships are a gift from God. It is good to be reminded that we don't get many places by ourselves.

***

The Presbyterian Women will be celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow by sharing a gift for all women in attendance at church. The gifts celebrate moms, and help each one to honor and give thanks for their own moms and for all the women who have played the role of mom at different times in their lives. The PW will have a gift for all the men on Father's Day in June.

Tuesday Prayer Group is at church this Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.

The next few Sundays in worship…

May 14 - Gary Maguffee preaching

May 21 - What's Next? Us, Now - Acts 1:1-11

May 28 - More Than Can Be Imagined: Pentecost - Acts 2:1-21

(you are invited to wear red for Pentecost Sunday)

Celebrate Life!
George

 


 

Check-In For May 6, 2023

"Lord we have tasted that you are good. Keep us looking to you, knowing our true identity, longing for deep spiritual growth. Build us together as a church. Amen." -Tanya Marlow

This beautiful prayer is a great entry point into our worship tomorrow. 1 Peter 2:2-10 is another of my favorite passages - I know, there are so many of them - and it speaks to us directly about identity. There is who we might believe we are at any particular moment and then there is who God know us to be - all the time.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:8)

That's not all there is to know about us and God and faith and discipleship, but if you had to pick one thing to know with all of your heart and with all of your being, this would be a grand choice. It's our identity and it tells how our purpose is wrapped up in our identity. I hope to see you in worship tomorrow as we share this great text together and as we come to be nourished at the Lord's Table.

***

Prayer group will be at Betty Hogan's this Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. as it's the second Tuesday of the month.

The Presbyterian Women will meet on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at the church.

Holy Land Travel - I'll share more about this as brochures arrive and links are ready, but I am planning to head back to the Holy Land next year, February 13-23. I would love for you to experience the Holy Land for yourself and travel with us. I will happily share information about the trip - there aren't many things I enjoy talking about more. If you have any inclination to go please consider giving it a look. This particular itinerary includes nights in Bethlehem, in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, and in Jerusalem - basically following the path of the birth and earthly ministry of Jesus.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For April 29, 2023

Dear Lord, when challenges grow all around us, may we feel the nearness of your goodness and faithful love and rest in your peace. Amen. -Jefferson Furtado

It is hard for us to know the fullness of what other people are dealing with in life. Even people who know us well may not always know when we are struggling or feeling overwhelmed. Even people we care deeply about can be hurting and we may be unaware of what is happening. Now broaden that out to people who we do not know well and people we do not know at all. I share this prayer with you as a resource for times when you are feeling especially challenged. The author wrote it as a response to Psalm 23, reminding us of the comfort and encouragement to be found in the familiar words of that great Psalm. It is a good reminder to us also, that it is not always obvious when people are feeling challenged, when they are hurting, when they are facing anxious times, so it's best to show as much grace as possible as we make our way through life.

***

Our sermon series "What's Next" which explores what it means to be a disciple of Jesus on this side of Easter continues through the month of May…

April 30 - What's Next? Community Building - Acts 2:42-47

May 7 - What's Next? Who We Are Becoming - 1 Peter 2:2-10

May 14 - Gary Maguffee preaching

May 21 - What's Next? Us, Now - Acts 1:1-11

May 28 - More Than Can Be Imagined: Pentecost - Acts 2:1-21

Tomorrow, April 30, we will be installing Jason Shockley and Mike Streible as elders during morning worship.

The Sale of the Manse is Complete

It has been more than a year since we set in motion the process of selling our manse. That process has reached it's conclusion - the closing on the sale of the manse happened this past Monday. It has been quite a journey. Along the way the manse was inspected and several problems came to light - not insurmountable problems, but problems that seemed destined to slow the process and likely bring a smaller return. The good news is that the process did not get slowed down all that much and the return did not diminish in the dramatic way we thought might be possible. The selling price wound up being $190,000.

We owe a great deal of thanks to Steve Adams who has guided us through this process. He showed the house to a number of folks and ultimately found the buyer. Steve also donated a percentage of his fee back to the church. Some, but not all, may know that Steve is the son of Hilda Adams. He has a great affection for our church and, again, has done a valuable service for us.

Thanks also to Rick Caple, our co-treasurer, who worked closely with Steve and who kept the Session informed about developments and situations that needed to be addressed. Thanks to the Session for their work in this process. And thanks to the folks who several years back rehabbed the manse, volunteering their time and energy to make it a good space for the past couple of renters and put it in position for us to be able to sell.

A reminder of why this seemed a good time to sell the manse. The property was aging and each year brought different maintenance concerns. The maintenance, and probable future maintenance, combined with the lack of interest in being landlords, made selling the manse a good choice for us. Our next step, which the Session will take up at future meetings, will be to talk about how to invest the money. The goal, at the outset and understanding that no decisions have been made, is to hopefully find a way to invest the proceeds so that we can largely leave the principal alone. We will continue to share information with you as that process plays out.

As always thank you to all of our congregation for your support of the mission and ministry of Hebron.

Celebrate Life!

George


 
Check-In For April 22, 2023
 
"Though it can be difficult to devote time to reading scripture and sitting with it long enough for the meaning to sink in, the words are meant for us. The truth in the story of Jesus was written for us to hear. It is real, compelling, specific, and life-changing. Within the stories of the Bible lie the universal truths of our own struggles and pains." -Emma Joy Bushong
 
The Bible speaks truth to our lives.
 
I can't explain how the Bible does it - I can only affirm that it does. This is why I regularly encourage you to read scripture for yourself. It speaks truth, God's truth, directly into our lives. That's an amazing gift. I've been overwhelmed by that truth again this week. Not in a dramatic way, but in a steady and powerful way. The story for this Sunday morning is the Emmaus Road story found in Luke 24:13-35. Living with that story this week has led to some insights into a variety of experiences throughout the week that I would not have seen had I not been working with this passage.
 
That's what I hope you are reading scripture on your own as well as when we gather to worship. When we engage God's word, we find it connecting up with what is happening in our lives right now, this very day.
 
We are currently - through the Sunday of Pentecost at the end of May - reading scripture and listening for what God is asking us to do as we live our lives and our faith on this side of Easter. Asking the question, "What's next?" That's what the folks in the passages we are looking at are trying to figure out and it's still what people of faith are yearning to discover now. What would God have us do next? There are many ways to listen, but you can't go wrong with turning an ear to the Bible and listening for the truth God's word is speaking to us right now.
 
***
 
What's Next Sermon Series
 
April 16 What's Next? Doubt John 20:19-31
 
April 23 What's Next? Revelation Luke 24:13-35
 
April 30 What's Next? Community Building Acts 2:42-47
 
May 7 What's Next? Who We Are Becoming 1 Peter 2:2-10
 
May 14 Gary Maguffee preaching 
 
May 21 What's Next? Us, Now Acts 1:1-11
 
May 28 More Than Can Be Imagined: Pentecost Acts 2:1-21
 
***
 
It's not too soon to begin letting us know about graduates in your family. We love to celebrate graduates so let us know about your graduations - whatever the level you are graduating from. We traditionally have a gift for our high school and college graduates, but all the other graduations are worthy of celebration as well - let us know so we can join with you in the rejoicing!
 
Celebrate Life!
 
George

 


 

Check-In For April 15, 2023

Easter is our faith's great day of celebration and praise. Christ is risen, life is victorious, death is vanquished - the tomb is empty, praise God! And then our lives today keep right on going. More Sunday's come. Life goes on and while we live with the joy of Easter in our soul, we also continue to see challenges all around us. This spring over the Sundays between now and the Day of Pentecost (May 28) we will be exploring a very practical question - what next? Each weeks scripture will help us dig into a topic that speaks to the realities that people of faith then, throughout history, and now must deal with as we make our way forward on this journey, day by day. Here's a peak at the line-up.

April 16 - What's Next? Doubt - John 20:19-31

April 23 - What's Next? Revelation - Luke 24:13-35

April 30 - What's Next? Community Building - Acts 2:42-47

May 7 - What's Next? Who We Are Becoming - 1 Peter 2:2-10

May 14 - Beverly or Gary Maguffee will be preaching.

May 21 - What's Next? Us, Now - Acts 1:1-11

May 28 - More Than Can Be Imagined: Pentecost - Acts 2:1-21

***

Update On The Manse: We have a tentative closing date on the manse - this Thursday, April 20. Prayers are appreciated for a smooth process. Thanks to Steve Adams who has been our realtor and thanks to Rick Caple who has worked with Steve on behalf of the Session and has done a good job keeping us current with the way this process has developed.

Adopt A Highway - Our first Adopt-A-Highway Clean-Up Day of 2023 is next Saturday, April 22 from 9 a.m. till noon. Meet in the Activity Building parking lot to receive safety vests, grabbers, and trash bags. Don't forget your gloves. There is a sign-up sheet in the entryway of the church to confirm you intent to participate. Special Note: Nan Wilkins has graciously invited all of the clean-up participants to her home for a casual lunch at the conclusion of the work day. Please advise Nan or Ray Baker if you will attend. Directions will be provided.

Third Sunday is Food Pantry Sunday: Tomorrow is the third Sunday which means it is the day we emphasize bringing non-perishable food items to be used in our outdoor food pantry. Thanks for your support!

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For April 8, 2023

"Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." -Jesus, (John 13:34)

Jesus says this not long after he has washed his disciples feet. Washing feet is not something the leader would have been expected to do, but it's something Jesus as leader did. He did it out of love. He did everything he ever did out of love. Look at every action of Jesus and when you reach the root of it that root will be love.

He wants for us to know the joy and fulfillment of living that way. That's why he calls us to emulate living out his ethic of love. That's not impossible. It's not hard to understand stuff that only some highly qualified person could attempt. We can do this. Let our decisions, actions and choices be guided by love. When we get it wrong, that's not the sign to give up. That's the sign to ask forgiveness and keep up the quest. Do this for as long as you draw breath and that's the quest of faith.

There are many ways to do this - be creative in thinking about how you can share God's love today. I received a card in the mail this week from Maurine Fisher. It was completely unexpected and perfectly timed. It's a busy week and you can begin to feel - in a busy week - like you are running and running and not getting closer to completing anything. The card was a wonderful shot of love and encouragement. It threw my week into a different perspective and it brought me a smile.

We have an opportunity to share our love with the community coming up on April 22. That Saturday is our first highway clean-up gathering for the year. Check out the info on this from our leader, Ray Baker, below. This is a way to love our community that is visible and tangible.

All of Holy Week is the grandest story of Christ's love for us. Easter is the day when we see where love can lead. Past a cross and past a tomb and on beyond to a life and love we couldn't have imagined possible. See you Easter morning for worship.

***

If you have Easter Eggs that you are planning to bring for the Easter Egg Hunt, put them somewhere you'll remember them because tomorrow's the day!

Adopt A Highway Clean Up: The 2023 Adopt A Highway program will kick-off with the Spring clean up scheduled for Saturday, April 22 (which is Earth Day!). Rain Date TBD if needed. Timing will be 9:00 a.m. till Noon. Meet in the Activity Building parking lot. Safety vests, garbage bags, and grabbers will be provided. Don't forget gloves and comfortable shoes.

Water and snacks will be available.

There is a sign-up sheet in the church entryway. Hope to see you there.

Judy Morris went with a friend to see the movie "His Only Son" this past week. It's a biblical drama telling the Old Testament story of Abraham. She is interested in knowing if any church folks might want to go and see this together sometime this week while it is still at the theatre. There are limited details at this point - Judy did say that if we go on Wednesday we could see it at the Preston Cinema - if you are interested, talk to Judy at worship tomorrow.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For April 1, 2023

"Love is the essential fruit of our faith. ….Love is meant to be the rhythm of our lives. It's our daily mission." -Adam Hamilton

Love is what Holy Week is ultimately about. From the entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday all the way to the cross at Golgotha just outside of Jerusalem's city gates, Jesus is following the path of God's amazing love for us. Holy Week offers the possibility of a lot of church. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Beyond that there are community services available each day at noon hosted by the Shepherdsville Christian Church. All that church is a wonderful opportunity for us to do at least a couple of things.

First, we have that time to worship and pour out our gratitude to God as we reflect on the stunning love of Jesus. Jesus never wavered and never turned aside. In our video study from this past Wednesday Adam Hamilton gave a thoughtful description of Jesus final words from the cross as stated in John's gospel: "It is finished." He likened it to what Michelangelo might have said after the final brushstroke on the Sistine Chapel ceiling - in other words, the final declaration of someone who has put the last work into a masterpiece. Can there be any better description of the totality of Christ's life than that–a masterpiece.

Second, we have the time to reflect on how we live in response to that love. Undoubtedly the disciples spent the remainder of their days after the resurrection living out their response to the love they saw in Jesus. Holy Week asks us to breathe deep the love of God for us and then to live out a faithful and joyous response to that love.

I pray for a meaningful Holy Week for you as you experience again the greatest story of love the world will ever know.

***

Holy Week is here - here's the schedule one more time…

Upcoming Lenten/Holy Week Events

Palm Sunday Worship - April 2 at 11:00 a.m.

Maundy Thursday Worship - April 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Worship - April 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday Worship - April 9 at 11:00 a.m.

Easter Egg Hunt - April 9, Easter Sunday, following morning worship

Community Holy Week Services: Shepherdsville Christian Church. April 3-7, noon each day with lunch to follow. George is preaching on Good Friday (April 7). Our church is responsible for lunch that day.

Easter Eggs are needed. We need plastic eggs stuffed with stickers or wrapped candy for our Easter Egg Hunt after worship on Easter Sunday. Eggs can be brought anytime up to and including Easter Sunday morning. The egg hunt will happen right after worship.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For March 25, 2023

"To focus on the Spirit is to focus on the goodness of God for us and for the world." -Robert Brewer

The past two Sundays we have had two very long passages from John's gospel. Two very long, very intricate stories. A story about living water that each one of us needs from John 4. A story about what it means to see and have vision as God intends in John 9. Tomorrow another very long passage, which takes a number of twists and turns. It is from John 11 and it is the story of the death of Jesus' friend Lazarus and how Jesus ultimately calls him back to life. These stories are alive with meaning and while they share events of long ago they speak truth into our lives right now, today. I hope that you will be with us tomorrow morning for worship at Hebron.

***

The Yard Sale is in its second week-end. It's been another great success and it's important to keep in mind that it's not a great success by accident. It's a huge undertaking with a lot of people giving their time and effort to make it happen. There is nothing like the "chemistry of the company" at a Presbyterian Women's Yard Sale. The "chemistry of the company" is a Stan Ott term I've shared with you before - he uses it to describe the reality that each time we gather it's a unique group - we may never gather in exactly that way again - every person makes a difference. This is why I always say "It will be better if you are here." It could be you are the catalyst, the ingredient in the chemistry of the company that will make a huge difference in how we experience each other and how we experience God in our midst. Come on out to the Yard Sale - it's going on in the Activities Building today till 2:00 p.m. and be a part of the chemistry of this company. And THANK YOU to everyone who has helped - you all are amazing.

***

Upcoming Lenten/Holy Week Events

Wednesday Potluck and Program - March 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Maundy Thursday Worship - April 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Worship - April 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday Worship - April 9 at 11:00 a.m.

Easter Egg Hunt - April 9, Easter Sunday, following morning worship

Community Holy Week Services: Shepherdsville Christian Church. April 3-7, noon each day with lunch to follow. George is preaching on Good Friday (April 7). Our church is responsible for lunch that day.

Easter Eggs are needed. We need plastic eggs stuffed with stickers or wrapped candy for our Easter Egg Hunt after worship on Easter Sunday. Eggs can be brought anytime up to and including Easter Sunday morning. The hunt will happen right after worship.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For March 18, 2023

"God sees in ways that we don't and the only chance we have of getting a glimpse of that heavenly vision is to wake up and pay close attention…." -Jill Duffield

We will be continuing in John's gospel tomorrow in worship, this time the entirety of John 9. It is yet another amazing story. It takes all sorts of twists and turns - John invites the reader to consider what it means to really see, to truly have good vision. As we continue our Lenten journey reflecting on the quality of our vision - how well do we see Jesus? - is an important question. Look forward to digging into this passage with you tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Yard Sale continues on today (Saturday, March 18 from 8:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.) and then again next Friday and Saturday. The Presbyterian Women (and friends), have once again put together a great Yard Sale! We've had lots of our extended Hebron family stop in and spend some time with us.

***

There will be a congregational meeting tomorrow morning - Sunday, March 19 - after worship for the purpose of electing officers. Mike Streible and Jason Shockley are being presented as candidates for the class of 2025. The meeting will be immediately after morning worship.

Upcoming Lenten/Holy Week Events

  Wednesday Potluck and Program - March 22 and 29 at 7:00 p.m.

  Maundy Thursday Worship - April 6 at 7:00 p.m.

  Good Friday Worship - April 7 at 7:00 p.m.

  Easter Sunday Worship - April 9 at 11:00 a.m.

  Easter Egg Hunt - April 9, Easter Sunday, following morning worship

Community Holy Week Services: Shepherdsville Christian Church. April 3-7, noon each day with lunch to follow. George is preaching on Good Friday (April 7). Our church is responsible for lunch that day.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For March 11, 2023

"In light I see who you really are
Never doing what is expected
Far beyond the frame of my mind"

-lyric from the song "The Stranger" by Michael Card and Chuck Beckman

Our passage this week for Sunday morning worship is John 4:5-42. It's a fascinating interaction between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at a well. It's also another example of Jesus "never doing what is expected." Jesus is regularly talking to whoever he wants to talk to and behaving in ways that surprise and upset people in the world around him. As we encounter Jesus in scripture, in prayer, and generally in daily life it's worth remembering this propensity of his to do the unexpected. Maybe Jesus is looking to stretch us a bit, push us in a new direction, or simply consider an idea we'd normally set aside. Look forward to exploring this great passage with you tomorrow.

***

The Presbyterian Women's Spring Yard Sale is the next two weekends, March 17-18 and March 24-25. There will be set-up to accomplish this week and help needed with the Yard Sale itself from 8 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. on each of those days. Also your donations, as always, are welcome.

There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday, March 19 after worship for the purpose of electing officers. Mike Streible and Jason Shockley are being presented as candidates for the class of 2025. The meeting will be immediately after morning worship.

Upcoming Lenten/Holy Week Events

Wednesday Potluck and Program - March 22 and 29 at 7:00 p.m.

Maundy Thursday Worship - April 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Worship - April 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday Worship - April 9 at 11:00 a.m.

Easter Egg Hunt - April 9, Easter Sunday, following morning worship

Community Holy Week Services: Shepherdsville Christian Church. April 3-7, noon each day with lunch to follow. George is preaching on Good Friday (April 7). Our church is responsible for lunch that day.

Remember to spring forward tonight - March 11 in order to arrive at church on time tomorrow!

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For March 4, 2023

"The wisest people among us have always chosen times of aloneness. They have chosen aloneness in order to open themselves to prayer, to letting go, to making choices." -Mikeal Parsons

I'm hopeful after quite the rainy, windy, stormy day yesterday that you are okay this morning and not experiencing too much in the aftermath of all that. I'm also hopeful that if you were in worship last Sunday you were able to find an "away on your mountain moment" to give some thought to the prompts in last weeks bulletin related to the passage on the Jesus being tempted in the Judean wilderness. If you have thoughts about your time of reflection that you would like to share, I'd love to hear them. There will be an "Away On Your Mountain" insert in the bulletin each week through Easter Sunday.

***

Our Lenten Potluck and Program begins this coming Wednesday, March 8 at 6:00 p.m. The program piece will begin between 6:45 and 7:00 so if you are planning to come only for the program 6:45 is a possible start time depending on when we finish with the meal. The program is a DVD study on John's gospel called, "John: The Gospel of Light and Life." The two other Wednesday evenings will be March 22 and 29. Notice that we will not meet on March 15.

Yard Sale Time! The Presbyterian Women are getting ready for their Spring Yard Sale on the weekends of March 17-18 and 24-25. Your donations are welcomed and appreciated. Donated items can go in the closed off space at the end of the Activities Building as we have a rental next weekend. After that items will be set up in the main area.

Looking Ahead…

Congregational Meeting on March 19 after worship to elect officers.

Maundy Thursday Worship, April 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Worship, April 7 at 7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday Worship, April 9 at 11:00 a.m.

Easter Egg Hunt following worship on Easter Sunday.

Community Holy Week Services at Shepherdsville Christian Church April 3-7 at noon each day with lunch to follow at 12:30 p.m. George will be preaching on Good Friday. Our Church will be responsible for the lunch to follow that day.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For February 25, 2023

"Follow the outline of Christian salvation history, moving from the despair of leaving Eden behind to the glory of leaving the tomb behind. Every Lent is a miniaturized version of that transformative arc; through the journey of penitence, we leave behind the solemnity of Ash Wednesday and move toward celebrating the joy of Easter Sunday. Psalm 32 offers welcome signposts." -Leigh Campbell-Taylor

Following our Session meeting this past Thursday evening, here are the dates for this years Lenten Dinner and Program. We will gather on three Wednesday evenings - March 8, March 22, and March 29. At this point the plan is for the meals to be potluck. We will eat at 6:00 p.m. with program beginning between 6:45 and 7:00 p.m. Note that in the past we have started the program at 7:00 p.m. This is only a slight departure from that - this is just to indicate that if we are ready we might begin the program piece a bit earlier. Sometimes folks aren't able to make it for the dinner, but come for the program. This is just to be clear that the program could start as early as 6:45 p.m.

The program, again, is an Adam Hamilton DVD study, "John: The Gospel of Light and Life." There are six lessons which means we will cover two each night. We will be finished by 7:45 - 8:00 p.m. For those who will be getting the book this means Chapters 1 and 2 on March 8, Chapters 3 and 4 on March 22, and Chapters 5 and 6 on March 29. The book is not necessary to come and participate fully in the program.

The Session is also interested in your input on returning to a modified version of the more traditional means of serving communion. We have, along with many other churches, been using the individual cups which you pick up on the way into worship for some time now. The question is, how would you feel about a return to having the elements distributed in worship by ushers who pass plates up and down the aisles. We currently have supplies for at least a couple of months with the individual pre-prepared cups, so there is not a rush on this, but your input is appreciated. Talk to George or to any of the Session members.

There will be a congregational meeting on Sunday, March 19 for the purpose of electing officers and fulfilling the book of order requirement to affirm the pastor's compensation package. The names that will be presented for the Session class of 2025 are Jason Shockley and Mike Streible. The recommendation on the compensation package is no change from 2022 to 2023.

Session also continues to work with the manse property. The congregational meeting will be a good place to share where we are in that process with you. We also have a January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2022 financial statement which was received and will be available to you in the entry way of the church within the next Sunday or two. It will also have the balance of our checking and money market accounts as of December 31, 2022.

***

We began the journey to Easter, with Transfiguration Sunday and then this past Wednesday with Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. On Transfiguration Sunday we talked about the disciples and Jesus going away to a mountain where something very out of the ordinary took place. I shared that each Sunday during Lent there would be a prompt in the bulletin for you to take to your personal "mountain" (a quiet place, set apart for this purpose) for reflection each week. This Sunday sees the first of these "Away On A Mountain Moments." I hope that you will find these helpful in your Lenten journey.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


Check-In For February 18, 2023

"Spiritual practices like meditation can help us be with God deeply, and in the process we can find ourselves changing, warming up from the divine presence." -Juanita Rasmus

Juanita Rasmus, just prior to this quote, was talking about a time when she was in front of a large fireplace at a lodge in the Rocky Mountains. As she sat before the fire, she reports that she began to feel the warmth of the fire throughout her whole body. It occurred that practicing spiritual disciplines to place oneself in the presence of God was a bit like placing yourself in front of a fireplace to experience warmth.

This Wednesday, February 22 is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent (the forty days, not including Sundays that ends on the Saturday before Easter Sunday). Lent is the season of the church year that leads us ultimately to Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and eventually Easter. This is an invitation to give some thought to what you might want to practice as a special spiritual discipline during Lent. Some folks decide to give something up, some choose to add something to their regular practices. I am considering fasting on Fridays each week of Lent from midnight till 1:00 p.m, just as an example. My goal will be to perhaps spend a bit of additional time in prayer during what would have been breakfast.

I hope you will take a few moments to think of how you might place yourself in the front of the the spiritual fireplace and experience the warmth of the divine presence in the weeks to come.

***

Ash Wednesday: There will be an Ash Wednesday Service this Wednesday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the church. This service marks the beginning of the season of Lent and includes the imposition of ashes.

The Spring Presbyterian Women's Yard Sale is not far off. The dates are the last two weekends in March - March 17-18 and 24-25. You are invited to begin bringing items that you would like to donate for the Yard Sale to the Activities Building.

Lenten Wednesday Evening Study: The study that garnered the most interest for our Lenten Wednesday evenings was Adam Hamilton's "John: The Gospel of Light and Life." (The Ten Commandments Study was a close second – we'll keep that one ready for the next opportunity.). As with previous studies from Adam Hamilton there is a DVD that will be a part of our program each time we meet. Also, there is a book by Adam Hamilton. The book is NOT essential to participating in our Wednesday evening times together. The book may be an asset if you would like to go a little deeper and dig in more than our time will allow on Wednesdays. The cost of the book is $13.00 at Cokesbury. If you would like for us to order you a copy and have it to you ASAP, please let George know (tell me in person, or email at hebronpcusa@gmail.com). Will be ready with dates to share with you next Sunday.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For February 11, 2023

"A true life of obedience begins on the inside and flows outwards." -Cameron Barr

This Sunday morning we'll have our third week in a row of sermon's drawn from Matthew 5, the first of three chapters in Matthew's gospel that make up Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. This week's passage will focus us on the law and the intent of the law. God's law, Jesus teaches, is about shaping the human heart. The Sermon on the Mount is a remarkable gold mine of the teachings of Jesus. I hope you will be able to be present as we explore it together.

The following week, February 19, we will be reading about the Transfiguration story found in Matthew 17:1-9 and then on February 22 it will be Ash Wednesday and time to begin the forty day journey of Lent. Every Sunday matters. Every Sunday offers the possibility of an encounter with our God in the company of our siblings in Christ. It is a prayer of mine that you bring great expectations for what we will experience when we enter into God's presence together.

***

This Sunday will be about the last opportunity to express a preference among the various possibilities for a Lenten study. Here's a reminder of the candidates, all DVD studies hosted by pastor Adam Hamilton.

Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today

Simon Peter: Flawed But Faithful Disciple

John: The Gospel of Light and Life

Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws

If you've not already checked in, email me at hebronpcusa@gmail.com or speak to me tomorrow at church.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For February 4, 2023

"Every 'yes' to God gives rise to a new story." -Pope Francis

We focus a lot on age in our culture. We associate vitality and energy with youth and perhaps wisdom with age. There is some truth in these things. There were clearly things I could do when I was twenty that would be hard or impossible for me now. Beyond that there are hopefully some lessons I've learned over the years that fall into the category of mistakes I've made that I hopefully won't repeat (hard earned wisdom).

However, as Pope Francis suggests, sometimes it is not about age. Sometimes it is simply about a willingness to say yes. Whatever our age, when we say yes to God we begin a new adventure. As you spend time in prayer, listen for God's voice. Consider what God may be asking you to begin. Pray some more and trust that God is inviting you to a new adventure, to a new story and receive God's invitation with yes!

***

Ash Wednesday is coming February 22, so less than three weeks from now. Very excited that we can return to our Wednesday Evening Lenten Dinners and program! Dates aren't selected yet, but that will be happening. To get ready I offer you several Adam Hamilton studies to consider. Very often folks respond with "whatever you pick out" will be fine and I appreciate that, but would love your input if one of these topics speaks to you more than another. The four that are on the table are a study of the 10 Commandments, a study of the life of Simon Peter (the disciple with the big personality), a study of the gospel of John, and a study of the gospel of Luke.

The titles:

Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today

Simon Peter: Flawed But Faithful Disciple

John: The Gospel of Light and Life

Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws

Let me know if one of these topics especially speaks to you. I'll be aiming to get a decision made within a week to ten days to provide ample time to get books for anyone who would like to read Hamilton's book that will go along with the DVD study.

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For January 28, 2023

"Prayer is difficult. It is not the techniques that are hard - most of the techniques are amusingly easy. Rather the difficulty lies in the following through on the commitment to pray in the face of distractions that bear down on us or pick at us like annoying bugs, driving us away from the presence of God." -Daniel Wolpert

Last year saw 53 Saturdays and 53 weekly check-ins. I was really happy to have gotten a check-in posted each week. This week it was only the third week before I missed a week as a result of being away and losing track of time. It's not an essential thing, but it's a valuable place to share information and I'm glad it's become a regular discipline. So it's good to be back communicating in this forum this week.

The quote above is from a book we are using in our Sunday evening Zoom conversation. The book is on prayer practices and this is an idea that is central to the whole book - deciding to pray is not hard - praying is hard. Praying regularly. Finding a place in our day to tune our hearts, minds, ears - all of our being - to God.

I have some maintenance medications that I take daily. It was time for a refill so I phone it in to the pharmacy. The refills were done, but they came with a message: I needed to see the doctor before there would be another round of refills. I wasn't ridiculously far behind in scheduling my annual physical, but the message is clear - the medicine was prescribed a year ago - I'm not that person anymore. It's important for the doctor to meet with me and decide if the medications are still correct or if there are modifications that might be needed.

I think prayer works a bit in that way. There is a danger that it can become too much about dropping off prescriptions for God to fill. God loves to hear from us, but I think God also loves to spend time with us and loves for us to listen for what God is saying. God doesn't want to fill our orders, God wants to meet with us and have conversation with us so we can share what's really going on with us and listen for what God really desires to share with us.

***

We've shared this several times in several places, but want to be sure we don't miss anyone with this information.

The visitation for Jane Cowan will be at Schoppenhorst on Sunday (tomorrow) from 4-8 p.m. The Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be Monday at noon at Hebron. Following the graveside service there will be a meal in the Activities Building.

***

One final note from this past week. On Tuesday Julie and I got to be present to hear Eliza preach as a third year Divinity Student in the Duke Divinity School Chapel. It was a mountain top experience for certain and appropriately she was preaching on a mountain top experience - the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. We will be diving into the Beatitudes tomorrow in worship and will be staying with the Sermon On The Mount found in Matthew 5-7 through the next two Sundays. For anyone who would like to read ahead for tomorrow, the scriptures are…

Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

Celebrate Life!

George

 


 

Check-In For January 14, 2023

"We are connected to Someone much bigger than us, and our lives take on meaning as we engage in God's mission." -Mark Abbot

That Someone to whom we are connected is, of course, God. I'd also say we are connected through Someone bigger than us. We are connected to God and we are connected through God to one another as siblings in Christ. One of the blessings of being a pastor is seeing the ways that you support and encourage one another, living out your faith in your relationships.

***

A few things to share as we keep - in the words of the old hymn - marching to Zion together.

First, this Sunday after morning worship it would be great if you could stay and help take down the Christmas decorations in the Sanctuary. It's a task made easier with more hands so please consider hanging around a few minutes after church and helping out.

***

Second, there is a small group that has continued to meet by way of Zoom on Sunday evenings. Usually we read a book and then talk about what we've read that week on Sunday. All you need to do to participate is follow a Zoom invitation link. We are preparing to begin a new book called Creating A Life With God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices by Daniel Wolpert. We will begin this Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. by discussing the introduction to the book. If you would like to participate you are invited to order a copy of the book and join us. It is unlikely you can get a copy by Sunday evening, but you could easily participate in the introductory conversation on Sunday and have the book for our second meeting which will be two weeks from Sunday on January 29 when we will discuss the first chapter. The study will continue through the end of April/beginning of May, meeting most Sunday evenings, again usually, but not always at 7:00 p.m. Here is the link to this Sunday's Zoom meeting.

George Love is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: George Love's Zoom Meeting

Time: Jan 15, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89943039218?pwd=Z1RQaU1hL2VXNXcxZXZaV3BheW9kQT09

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Third, I will be out of town next week and we will have guest worship leaders on Sunday, January 22. To be clear, I will be here tomorrow, but will not be in worship on January 22. Beverly and Gary Maguffee are friends of ours who are both pastors in the United Methodist Church. They both retired last Spring and are living in Mount Washington. Beverly served for several years prior to retirement as pastor of Davidson Memorial in Shepherdsville. Beverly also worked for some years at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Beverly will be preaching, but Gary also plans to be in worship and will lead a portion of the service. I look forward to your having the opportunity to meet the Maguffees and worship with them and for them to experience a warm Hebron welcome.

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Hope to see you in worship tomorrow!

Celebrate Life!
George

 


 

Check-In For January 7, 2023

“Nowhere does Jesus say we will be known by our fear, yet that is precisely what many Christians are known by today. Instead, Jesus says we will be known by our love.” -Amy Oden

It’s important to read and spend time with scripture. I am convinced of this virtually every time I engage with scripture. As a new year has begun, I’ve begun reading through the Bible again. The reading plan I’m following has me in both Genesis and Matthew as the year begins. The thing that never ceases to amaze me is that however many times I read these stories there is always something new that presents itself. Fifteen chapters into Genesis and I am, again, seeing things I’ve never seen before.

Just as significantly I’m seeing things I’ve seen many times. It’s valuable to return to the stories to remind, to reinforce, and to ever more firmly engrain them as I continue on my journey through life with God. I hope that regular scripture reading is part of your devotional practice. It is through engagement with scripture we learn of faith basics like the great love of God for each one of us. It is here we find the repeated instruction to not be afraid. The very real promises of God for each one of us are found in its pages.

Celebrate Life!

George