Pastor Jason will be preaching from Psalm 23 & John:
“When You’re Feeling Sheepish” This week’s scriptures are two of the Bible’s most well known passages. Psalm 23 begins by using a using a comforting metaphor for God—the metaphor of a faithful shepherd who accompanies us during the most difficult times in our lives, always seeking to lead us to still waters. In John 10, Jesus uses this metaphor to talk about himself, how he is the Good Shepherd who will accompany his sheep always and even lay down his life to protect his sheep. In what ways do we need to be God to be our shepherd right now? In what ways can we reflect our shepherd’s love for others?
Pastor Jason’s message is from 1 John about how hope purifies us.
“Purified by Hope”
Our special guest speaker, Rev. Mark Makinney shares from Luke 5 this week:
“If You Are Willing” – A man comes to Jesus covered in leprosy; every part of his body in pain and highly infectious and there is no cure. The best doctors are impotent to heal. His family is powerless to help. Religious leaders call him unclean. His future is full of isolation, bigotry, shame, blindness, possibly loss of fingers and toes, starvation and death. He has nothing but despair and sickness to offer Jesus, and yet Jesus Christ does what?
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio shares from Acts 10 this week:
“The Rest of the Story” – After Jesus’ Resurrection, Peter finally understands his significance and his teachings. He finally understands that the message of Jesus is for everyone, no matter what country we come from, what color our skin is, or how we’ve thought of God in the past. Jesus’ Resurrection signals a new day for all of creation. The fact that Peter finally understands Jesus is almost as shocking as the Resurrection itself! The Resurrection helps us understand that God often appears when we least expect God, and it has the same power to move us from despair to hope, and from sorrow to joy today.
Communion will be celebrated.
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio shares from both Mark and Philippians this week:
“Peaks and Valleys” – When Jesus entered Jerusalem, people cheered! The crowd that was gathered there thought that all the rumors about Jesus being the Messiah might really be true, and that he was there to liberate them in a military operation. But they would be disappointed very quickly—Jesus rode in to town on a donkey, a symbol of humility and vulnerability, not pride and conquest. Jesus wasn’t there to overthrow the Roman occupiers; he was there to make one final demonstration of his love and identification with humanity. He would expose himself to the most difficult trials that we face—rejection, loneliness, and death. This willingness to humble himself to identify with us, Paul says in Philippians, is what Christian faith is all about. The life of faith is a life of humility, not pride. It’s a life of risk, not safety.
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio brings his exciting message from Jeremiah and John:
“Learning by Heart” – The prophet Jeremiah longs for the day when all people know God intimately. He longs for the time in which God’s teachings no longer have to be looked up in ancient scriptures, but are written on people’s hearts. “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” is God’s vision for creation. This was also Jesus’ vision. So often religious elites would quote scriptures to justify violence or judgment, but Jesus told them that they misunderstood the scriptures. How do we as Jesus’ followers today avoid the dangers of reading the scriptures in a way that excludes others? How can we share God’s vision of people knowing God not through just scriptures, but through our own hearts also?
United Church of Christ (Congregational) Of San Luis Obispo Joyfully invites you to the Ordination and Installation of Jason T. Sisk-Provencio Saturday, March 21, 2015, 12 Noon
Reception to celebrate will follow in our Fellowship Hall
We hope you will be able to join us!
If you are unable to be with us, we would honor your presence through your prayers.
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio offers his message from John 3 and Ephesians 2:
“Living The Light of God’s Love” – The Gospel reading for next week contains the most well known verse in the entire Bible—John 3:16. We see it on bulletin boards at sporting events and even on the bottom of fast food cups. It is often used to tell people that they must believe in Jesus or else be punished. It makes it sound like it’s all our doing! In the Epistle reading though, Paul talks about Jesus differently—that forgiveness and peace with God is really all God’s doing. The appearance of Jesus means that God has already promised to love us and journey alongside us. There’s nothing we can do to make God love us more…or less.
Eldonna Edwards is back! She teaches from both Matthew and Ehpesians:
“Stop and (let) Go ” – The Bible teaches us that we cannot give from a heart that is filled with anger, guilt or resentment. How can we learn to detach from our suffering in order to be fully present with ourselves, our friends, our God and our community?
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio continues in Mark
Disappointment with God – When Jesus tells his disciples that he must endure great suffering, betrayal, and misunderstanding, Peter doesn’t like what he hears. Mark says that he actually rebukes Jesus. But Jesus tells Peter that he is only looking at things from a small perspective. The larger perspective is that suffering is often the catalyst for growth. He says that in order to find peace and fulfillment, you must sometimes let go of them, and be open to difficult challenges. In our own lives today, how has suffering helped us grow? How has it helped us develop a larger perspective, and develop compassion for others? We will celebrate Communion as we remember Peter’s disappointment with God, and Jesus’ call for us to be open to suffering.
Communion will be served.
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio shares from both Genesis 9 & Mark 1:
Being the Beloved – After the great flood, God made a covenant with Noah. God promised that Noah’s de-scendants and all the offspring of the animals on the Ark would never experience a great flood again. God gave them a rainbow as a sign of this promise. In Jesus this covenant was expanded, and it now includes all of humankind, whether they are No-ah’s offspring or not. As Noah was God’s beloved in ancient Israel, so Jesus is God’s beloved in his time, and into our time as well. We can be sure of God’s covenanted faithfulness in our own lives because of Jesus, just like Noah and his offspring trusted in God because of a rainbow, and a promise.
Pastor Jason-Sisk Provencio shares from Mark 9:
That’s What It’s All About – In the Christian year, we call this Sunday “Transfiguration Sunday”. Jesus is transformed from the One who enlightens the world to the One who is tested by the world. Transfiguration Sunday marks the transition from Epiphany to Lent. Up to now, Jesus in Mark’s Gospel is the one who works wonders and astonishes crowds. He feeds the hungry and heals the sick. But now Mark pauses and tells us something new about Jesus: he is God’s beloved, he is the one who lives in the constant awareness of God’s presence. But he is about to be tested—can he trust in God’s presence when his disciples, his family, and his culture reject him?
Rich Carsel joins us with his message from Exodus 15:1-2
What Does God Look Like? – Rich explores fundamental questions about our relationship with God, namely: Do you believe in God and, if so, why? And if you do, then what is your perception of God? Is God a “father” figure? Or a nourishing “mother”? Is God in human form, or in some other form? Just what does God look like? And why do you believe that? Have you always believed that God is as you now perceive him, or her, or it – to be? If your perception has changed over the years, why has it changed and how is it now different?
Pastor Jason SIsk-Provencio continues in Mark chapter 1:
Confronting the Powers – While teaching in Capernaum, Jesus caught the attention of the scribes, the scholars who interpreted the Scriptures. They noticed that he was more interested in doing than just sitting around talking about the Scriptures. He also caught the attention of a man who was in need of healing. Jesus healed him, reinforcing the perception that he was a man of action. Instead of just talking about God and religion, Jesus showed the reality of God and God’s love in his day. We do the same thing today as his followers.
Communion will be celebrated.
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio brings his message from Jonah 3 and Mark 1
Second Chances – God believes in second chances, even when humanity doesn’t. Two texts today, one from the Hebrew Testament and one from the New Testament, testify to this. The first reading tells the story of Jonah and the town of Ninevah. Even though Jonah expected God to destroy Ninevah because of their evil ways and violence, God had compassion on them instead, and it changed the people of Ninevah. Our second reading tells us about how Jesus chose his first disciples. He didn’t choose religious “up and comers”—he chose people who humanity expected very little from. They were told that they could only be fishermen, but Jesus told them that they could do the same kinds of things that he did. And they did. What would happen if we extended second (and third) chances to others the way God and Jesus do? What if we extended this grace to ourselves? These chances are often the opportunities that we and others need to grow.
Join us after service for our Annual Meeting!
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio shares from Amos 5:18-24
Reconnecting Hearts and Hands – The Hebrew prophet Amos warned his contemporaries that their violence, militarism, and neglect for the vulnerable was not the way of God. They thought that they were very religious since they went to the Temple regularly and observed the Holy Days. Amos said that what God really wanted was justice and righteousness. God wanted a world in which the powerless and the vulnerable were included along with the elite and the strong. It is hard to hear this scripture and not hear the voice of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who worked for racial justice and righteousness in our own day. He was critical of much religion, arguing that it didn’t really help people or the world change. There was a disconnect between too many people’s beliefs and actions, or between their hearts and hands. How can we continue the work of Amos and Rev. King in our time? How can we make deeper connections between our own hearts and hands?
Returning with a little special music is Margaret Montgomery.
Our special guest pianist is Dianne Steinberg-Lewis.
Please join us this week as Pastor Jason shares God’s word and we take a moment to celebrate the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We welcome Rev. Rich Kurrasch back as he shares his message from Matthew 3:
How to Become Eccentric – Flannery O’Connor said it well, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you odd.” Not likely to make the “Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions of All Time,” but becoming odd is an interesting, if not inevitable, prospect for those who follow too closely in the footsteps of the Master. Might it even serve as a mission statement for a people of God who find themselves at the dawn of a new year beginning a new chapter with their new pastor … that in uncovering and living into new truths, they do indeed become increasingly odd?
Pastor Jason Sisk-Provencio begins his first “official” week as our Pastor! He .shares from Isaiah 60:
“Acting on The Light” – Isaiah longed for a day when all people knew of God’s faithfulness and love the way that Israel did. He waited for a day in which strangers would bring gifts of gold and frankincense, and know God intimately like Israel did. As Christians, we believe that this ancient hope was realized in Jesus. Wise travelers came from the East, sensing that God was doing something wonderful and something new. We continue to remember and celebrate this event today.
Come and join us for a very special Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Our Director of Music, Margaret Montgomery has been working hard putting together a special and intimate evening featuring Pastor Jason, Erin & Mikiah Montgomery, Tim Treaster, Leslie Cotham and our Sanctuary Choir. We light the last candle of advent, “The Christ Candle”. We then proceed through the evening with song, readings and special Christmas Memories. We end this night with Candlelight.
Here is what Margaret writes about this night:
As Christmas approaches, we often take time to reflect on and remember Christmases past. I, myself, have a multitude of happy memories of Christmas growing up and the time our family shared with friends and extended family. I was six years old when I had a first-hand experience of the Christmas story. At that time I learned Christmas was about more than Santa Claus and presents. Curious about others’ Christmas experiences, I have been interviewing several of our church members. The result is a wonderful collection of Christmas memories that will be shared at our annual Christmas Eve service. You are cordially invited to hear these stories, along with the re-telling of the Christmas story, and to hear and sing-a-long with the beloved songs of the season. Please come to remember, sing and rejoice!
This special night starts with a reception in our fellowship hall at 5:30pm we are serving hot chocolate, chai, and maybe a baked goodie or two. The actual service starts in the Sanctuary at 6pm. Your will not want to miss this night!
Pastor Jason SIsk-Provencio continues in Luke:
“There’s Something About Mary and Jesus” When Mary learns that God is planning to use her to bless all of creation through the birth of her son, Jesus, she is full of questions, not joy. How can this be, she wonders? How can a young, unmarried Jewish peasant be the one through whom God will fulfill all of God’s promises? In the midst of her doubts and questions, Mary trusts in God’s presence in her life, and gives birth to the Christ child.
We light the fourth candle of Advent – “Love”