Category Archives: Worship

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Reminders for this week

April 18th:

The Enneagram- A Small Group Study

Who am I?  Why do I get along with some people and not others? Why do my spouse and I keep having the same arguments?  How can I love my kids and get so frustrated at the same time? How do I draw closer to God? Pastor Peter and Julie have found the Enneagram to be a very helpful tool in answering these questions.  They invite everyone to join them for a conversation in the Sanctuary on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm beginning April 18th.  The conversation will be based on the book The Sacred Enneagram: Finding your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuretz.

April 19th:

The Long Term Recovery Group

The following sub-committees have formed: Finance, Case Management, Unmet needs, Communication & Advocacy, Youth, Spiritual/Emotional Care, Construction, and Volunteer Management.  If you’d like more information please see Pastor Peter.  The next LTRG meeting will be Thursday, April 19th, 3pm, at the St. Croix Christian Church.

April 22nd:

What does it mean to be Reformed?

Inquiring minds want to know and there are a lot of them based on the number of times Pastor Peter has been asked.  It’s time to start working on an answer.  On APRIL 22nd, we’ll meet after worship to begin a discussion on Reformed history, theology, polity, and practice.  Our second question will be: what were the main points of theology in the Reformation?

Upcoming Events at St Croix Reformed Church

April 18th:

The Enneagram- A Small Group Study

Who am I?  Why do I get along with some people and not others? Why do my spouse and I keep having the same arguments?  How can I love my kids and get so frustrated at the same time? How do I draw closer to God? Pastor Peter and Julie have found the Enneagram to be a very helpful tool in answering these questions.  They invite everyone to join them for a conversation in the Sanctuary on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm beginning April 18th.  The conversation will be based on the book The Sacred Enneagram: Finding your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuretz.

April 19th:

The Long Term Recovery Group

The following sub-committees have formed: Finance, Case Management, Unmet needs, Communication & Advocacy, Youth, Spiritual/Emotional Care, Construction, and Volunteer Management.  If you’d like more information please see Pastor Peter.  The next LTRG meeting will be Thursday, April 19th, 3pm, at the St. Croix Christian Church.

April 22nd:

What does it mean to be Reformed?

Inquiring minds want to know and there are a lot of them based on the number of times Pastor Peter has been asked.  It’s time to start working on an answer.  On APRIL 22nd, we’ll meet after worship to begin a discussion on Reformed history, theology, polity, and practice.  Our second question will be: what were the main points of theology in the Reformation?

April 29th:

Congregational Meeting:

On Sunday, April 29th, we’ll gather for a brief congregational meeting to update you on administrative matters related to the church (i.e. leaders, budget, by-laws, etc.).  This is also a time for you to ask questions and make recommendations to the Consistory.

 

 

 

The Reformation

This devotional is very timely since we just began a discussion with Pastor Peter last week on the Reformation and what does it mean to be Reformed.  We discussed last week how it all began.  We will continue to have more discussions in the future so stay tuned!

Simony
April 11, 2018

Read: Acts 8:9-25

May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! (v. 20)

In 1514, Albert of Brandenburg became the archbishop of Mainz, the most powerful church leader in Germany. In order to win this appointment, Albert paid Pope Leo X an “installation fee” of 10,000 ducats, which Albert borrowed from a German banking house. To enable Albert to repay his loan, the pope issued him a license to sell indulgences throughout the German principalities, provided Albert split the proceeds with Rome. When salesmen fanned out across Germany hawking indulgences—essentially a written guarantee promising escape from the punishment of sin—it aroused the ire of a monk named Martin Luther. So you could say that Albert’s ambition and Leo’s greed touched off the Reformation.

Peter and John ran into another unsavory character when they traveled to Samaria to check on the gospel’s progress there. Simon was so impressed with their spiritual power that he offered to pay Peter for the secret, one magician doing business with another, as Simon no doubt thought. But among the many things money can’t buy is a relationship with God.

Simon did get one thing out of this encounter though—infamy! Simony is the name for financial corruption in the church, such as buying or selling an office, or using one’s position for self-enrichment. To anyone who would turn the ministry into a personal get-rich scheme, God’s Word thunders: “Your money perish with you!” —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, continue to reform your church according to your Word.

The Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG)

This is the group responsible for raising, managing, and distributing a portion of recover funds devoted to St Croix.  The following sub-committees have formed: Finance, Case Managment, Unmet Needs, Communication & Advocacy, Youth, Spiritual/Emotional Care, Construction, and Volunteer Management.  In the absence of a small group ministry at SCRC, this is a good way to build relationships and engage in the ministry (it’s probably better).  If you’d like more information please see Pastor Peter.  The next LTRG meeting will be Thursday, April 19th, 3pm, at St Croix Christian Church.

You are invited to join us for a small group study: The Enneagram

Who am I? Why do I get along with some people and not others? Why do my spouse and I keep having the same arguments? How can I love my kids and get so frustrated at the same time? How do I draw closer to God? Pastor Peter and Julie have found the Enneagram to be a very helpful tool in answering these questions. They invite everyone to join them for a conversation on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm beginning April 18th. The conversation will be based on the book The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuretz.

Visit the link below more a glimpse of the book

https://gravitycenter.com/sacredenneagram/

Easter Sunday Worship Schedule

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Easter Sunrise service at 7:00am

Easter Breakfast at 8:00am

Resurrection Service at 9:30am with the blooming of the cross followed by an Easter egg hunt

Lent Devotion: March 31st

lent
John 19:38-42

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Something had changed. Things would never be the same.

Joseph and Nicodemus had been ashamed to follow Jesus before. Everything had to be done in secret, under the cover of night, without anyone knowing. How could they tell their peers, their followers, or their students that they were followers of Jesus? So much was at stake! They had money. They had status. They had power. How could they make it known publicly that they were followers of a wild-eyed peasant preaching insurrection? They would be thrown out of the synagogue. The years they worked to build up their images, to become leaders, and to be self-sufficient would all crumble.

But that was the past. Yesterday he died, and so they must die too. They must die to all those dreams of power. They had to bury those visions of the good life with honor and prestige. They had to die to those fears and anxieties. They lingered with this dead body and entered into the impurity of death.

Something had changed, and as they buried Jesus they buried their old selves too. No more sneaking around at night or secretly confessing faith, not after the crucifixion of the Messiah. Now they had to live like men committed publicly to this Jesus.

Should we not join them this Saturday? Can we, with Joseph and Nicodemus, boldly go down into that tomb and repent of our false visions of honor? Can we give up our secret, nighttime schemes to maintain our distance from the crucified one? Can we die to ourselves on this Saturday, in the hope of being born again?

Prayer: God, we confess that we often seek to evade our commitment to you for fear of what others think or of what it might cost us. Embolden us through your Holy Spirit to die to our sins and publicly take up our identity as disciples of the crucified one. Amen.

Andrew and Amy Fields serve with the Biblical Seminary of Colombia (FUSBC) in Medellin, Colombia. Through their ministry of teaching and library development, they seek to equip the next generation of Christian leaders in Colombia and Latin America.

Lent Devotion: March 30th

lent
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

14Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. …

7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Distressed.
Troubled.
Betrayed.
Scorned.
Condemned.
Mocked.
Beaten.
Abused.
Humiliated.
Berated.
Suffered.

These are human struggles, sensations, traumas, and injustices. I can say that I’ve experienced some of them. I am sure that you identify with many as well.

Those who are oppressed and marginalized face these experiences at a rate far greater than I. The women and girls I work with endure these traumas to degrees that are unfathomable. But they are not unfathomable to Jesus, who endured all of this and bore our sins.

The Christ we serve, the Christ we worship, the Christ we remember today, is familiar with cries and tears because they streamed down his face as well. Through his sacrifice on the cross, he too endured human suffering.

Good Friday is a day of sorrow and mourning, remembering our Savior who experienced distress, betrayal, scorn, condemnation, mockery, beatings, abuse, humiliation, suffering, and ultimately death so that we could have salvation. Today serves as a reminder that we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence in our time of need because we know that Christ is all too familiar with the human sensations, trials, struggles, and pain we face. We can approach God’s throne not only with confidence but also with tremendous comfort, knowing that he who bore our sins is intimately familiar with our struggles. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Who better to empathize with us than our Savior who not only shares in our struggles but bears them.

Prayer: Jesus, I come before you in repentance and submission for salvation. Christ, I come before you confidently to receive your mercy. Savior, I come before you confidently to receive your grace. Messiah, I come before you confidently in my time of need, asking you to share my burdens, my pain, and my suffering. Amen.

Jennifer Lucking serves as the executive director of Restorations Second Stage Homes, a charity in southern Ontario that addresses issues of commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Jennifer works to provide residential care, support, and programming for women leaving the sex trade. She lives in the Hamilton, Ontario, area with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Amy.

Lent Devotion: March 29th

lent
John 13:1-17

1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

As the crucifixion draws ever nearer, Jesus teaches us that faithfulness is rooted in humility and service, even to those who hurt and betray us. In this passage, the lesson is taught tangibly as Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, including Judas, and verbally, as Jesus tells the disciples to follow his example.

In the church today, foot washing has become a ritual, even a metaphor. It occasionally shows up in our liturgies, and millions watch the pope each year as he famously washes a carefully chosen selection of feet every Maundy Thursday.

However, as the event originally took place, there was nothing ritualistic or metaphorical about it. The disciples’ feet were dirty. These were not the kind of dirty feet that have been covered by shoes all day (in itself an unpleasant concept!); these were the dirty feet of days of walking around with minimally-protected feet on unpaved “streets,” in a place without running water, without sewage services, and with large numbers of animals (and their byproducts). One rarely finds that kind of dirty in today’s world outside of slums in developing countries.

Nonetheless, Jesus took on the role of the lowliest of servants—wrapping himself in a towel and performing one of the most menial and repugnant roles for the disciples whom he loved. And then he clarifies: “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (v. 14).

You.

“You also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

It’s tempting to interpret this as a message directed to the disciples alone, but that’s not the case. Humility and service are essential to the lives of all Christians.

Prayer: Most merciful God, how tempting it is to imagine ourselves too important or too busy to participate in the activities that we consider too menial, especially when we imagine that the people around us are less important. Yet Jesus himself teaches us here that faithfulness demands humility and service—even toward those we might consider our enemies. This is not an easy message. Grant me the courage to follow Jesus’s example. Through your Holy Spirit, open my eyes to those in need of my service and enable me to serve them with grace and generosity as Jesus so clearly commanded. Amen.

Tim TenClay is an RCA pastor, serving the Waldensian churches of Palermo (La Noce), Marsala, and Trapani on the Island of Sicily (Italy). He is the husband of RCA Missionary JJ TenClay and the father of two daughters. Although pastoring three churches keeps him busy, he is an avid (albeit slow) bike rider and an enthusiastic knitter.

Lent Devotion: March 28th

lent
Hebrews 12:1-3

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

Many years ago, I joined the cross country team at my high school in upstate New York. It was no picnic! Training was grueling, and we competed on all kinds of terrain and in all forms of weather. Cross country was an unpretentious sport compared with football or soccer, and not many came to watch. Yet the faithful few would always stand at the sidelines and cheer us on. And most importantly, our coach would move around to various points along the course, offering lots of advice and encouragement.

Many races were held in frigid conditions, often in rain or snow. Yet we still had to dispense with the warm clothes we used for training so that they would not wear us down. (When it was especially cold, we used warming cream on our arms and legs.) When many teams ran simultaneously, we learned to constantly focus on the next bend in the course and strategize how we could move ahead of the pack so that it would not slow us down while turning. In addition, cross country races actually required teamwork: only the first five runners on a team would score points, according to their positions at the finish line, in an effort to achieve the lowest team score. But the sixth and seventh runners (often including me) could still help by getting ahead of runners from other teams, forcing their team scores higher.

Each of these features is an important illustration for today’s passage. We must not be complacent regarding Christian discipleship. It requires perseverance, repentance, teamwork, and encouragement from others. But most of all, we must never lose sight of the goal: our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured a far more difficult race, and who now stands at the finish line to welcome us home.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we near the end of our Lenten journey, may our vision of the crucified and risen Lord come into ever sharper focus. Give us new strength for the lifelong journey still ahead. We pray through him who has paved the way. Amen.

Peter Ford has been an RCA missionary for 35 years, focusing on helping Christians better understand Islam and develop positive, Christ-honoring relationships with Muslims. He is currently serving in Beirut, Lebanon, with his wife, Patty, teaching at the Near East School of Theology.