Pearce Sunday Sermons
September 28, 2014
A Historic Weekend
Tomorrow, September 26, will be a historic day as Dr. Deana Porterfield is inaugurated as the eleventh president in the nearly 150-year-history of Roberts Wesleyan College. Here at Pearce, we’ll acknowledge this important event in our Sunday morning worship service at 10:30am. In honor of the weekend, our pastoral team made the decision to hold a single worship service on Sunday morning.
(Sunday school classes will be held at 9am. Also, our regular Saturday evening service will be held at 5pm.)
Pastor Tim Lambert will direct an alumni choir as part of the Sunday morning celebration.
As part of a special 9am hour in Parmerter Chapel on Sunday, I will get a chance to interview
Drs. Robert and Paul Shewan. Both of these men have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to both the college and our congregation. You’ll enjoy this opportunity to hear their stories and the ways in which God has touched their lives.
You may notice that Pearce’s Common Grounds Café looks a bit different this weekend. Earlier this week, new ceiling tiles and lighting were installed to provide a more intimate and less “institutional” look to our café. A video monitor, DVD player, and ceiling speakers were installed. All of this is to provide an optimum environment for our church’s new Lifetree Café.
Members of the Pearce family are invited to a “soft opening” of the café on Thursday, October 9, at 7pm. We’ll open our doors to the community the following week, on October 16.
I appreciate your prayers as we seek to provide a place where people at all stages of their faith journey can gather in a warm, welcoming, and non-judgmental environment to discuss life’s issues and challenges.
By the way, as part of this weekend’s Homecoming at Roberts, Pearce’s café will be open for special Saturday hours, from 9am-noon. Why not meet a friend for a relaxing coffee and check out the café’s new digs?
Pictured above is Josh Goulart working on the ceiling tiles. (Mendal Dick installed the wiring and light fixtures.) A special thanks to both Josh and Mendal for their many hours of labor.
Let’s Finish Project #4
Only $1,201.00 remains to be received for us to complete Project #4 of this year’s Stewardship With a Goal (SWAG). The current project is to raise $20,000 to pay on the principal of our indebtedness remaining from the 2001 addition to Pearce’s facility. Thanks for helping us save more than $40,000 in future interest costs by helping us make this $20,000 payment.
The Authentic Life
September 21, 2014
Baptisms this Coming Sunday
Max Lucado wrote: “Baptism separates the tire kickers from the car buyers.” It does, doesn’t it? Baptism is that marvelous moment when someone publicly acknowledges his or her decision to follow Jesus Christ as His disciple. This coming Sunday morning, three individuals will be baptized into the Christian faith at Pearce.
At the 9am worship service, Dillon and Allison Vache will bring their first-born child, Joseph Michael Vache, who was born on May 2, 2014. Allison’s parents, Mike and Suzanne Felluca, are also a part of our Pearce family.
In the 10:30am worship service, I will have the privilege of baptizing two delightful individuals. One of them, in the interest of full disclosure, is my aunt! Katie Logan received Christian baptism as an infant, but has expressed a long-held desire to receive this special rite as an adult. How could I say “No!” to this woman who for so long has partnered in ministry with her husband, Rev. Jack Logan?
Also declaring her faith on Sunday is Erin Etsler. Some of you may recall hearing Erin share her testimony in our worship services last November, shortly after she made her commitment to let Jesus fill her heart and life.
I ask you to pray for these people, asking God to touch them in a special way.
Continuing Our Quest for Authenticity
Last weekend, we began our examination of the Book of James in our new sermon series: “The Authentic Life.” This week, we’ll take a closer look at the latter half of James’s first chapter, verses 16-27.
I hope you are helping spread the word with regard to our Sunday schedule on September 28. We will be gathering for a single Sunday worship service at 10:30am on that day.
As you have heard by now, Roberts Wesleyan College will be celebrating the inauguration of Dr. Porterfield as its eleventh president that weekend. In our worship service, we will affirm the special relationship Pearce has enjoyed with the college throughout its history.
Dr. Barbara Rose will be featured as the speaker at both the Saturday and Sunday services. Dr. Rose served on the faculty of the college for many years and, along with her husband Gary, was an active member at Pearce.
Pastor Tim is gathering an “Alumni Choir” to sing in the Sunday service. Also, on a musical note, Dr. Robert and Dr. Paul Shewan will be participating in an informal interview with me at 9am, in Parmerter Chapel, that morning. (Adult Bible Fellowships will also be meeting at 9am on September 28.)
Additionally, Pearce is hosting the actual inauguration on Friday, September 26, at 11am in our sanctuary. If you wish to attend the inauguration, come early to get a seat in the sanctuary or see it live-streamed in Hale Auditorium in the CLC. You can also watch online as this historic moment unfolds. To watch it online, simply go to www.roberts.edu/live-video.
This month, both Mary and I have been captivated by the book The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. One reviewer described this book as “Chariots of Fire with oars.” I think that is a good summation of it! It might prove to be a good read for you as the leaves turn and winter approaches.
I always want to express my appreciation to those of you who are regularly giving to Stewardship With A Goal (SWAG). I realize for many of you this is sacrificial giving, above and beyond your regular financial support of Pearce’s ministries.
This calendar year, to date, we have received a total of $54,123 toward SWAG. We have completed three projects and are now closing in on Project #4. This is an ambitious one to raise $20,000, to be applied to the principal of Pearce’s loan on the 2001 addition to our facility. Only $2,877 is needed to complete Project #4 and help us save significant interest costs over the remaining life of our loan.
Wouldn’t it be great if we finished this project by the end of the month? Thanks for helping us do so!
Pearce’s Financial Status
If you are wondering how we are doing financially as a congregation this year, this graph may help inform you. The graph highlights giving in four major financial areas of Pearce’s ministry: SWAG, Mission, Building, and Operations.
Operations is the largest part of our financial picture, as it reflects the funding necessary for our church to continue to open our doors each week. Mission includes both local and global ministries outside of Pearce. Building is money given to our building loan, a debt that was incurred in 2001 when the latest addition was constructed. SWAG is, of course, Stewardship With A Goal, a list of special projects beyond what has been budgeted for 2014.
You’ll note we are a little behind in Operations: nearly $28,000 below where we anticipated being at this time of year. Don’t worry! That doesn’t mean we have unpaid bills. What it does mean is that we aren’t able to do everything we budgeted to do this year. We watch our spending quite carefully to ensure we remain financially healthy.
Thanks for your regular support of our ministry here at Pearce!
Closing the Gap
A few weeks ago, I asked Karen Hopkins, chair of Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team, to share about an opportunity for partnership with ministry in the city of Rochester. Karen spoke of a ministry opportunity to serve at the Rochester Family Mission’s
“After School Program” as a tutor for inner city children.
The “After School Program” runs on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Tutors are needed between 5:30 and 6:30pm.
If you would like more information about this, contact Karen Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bev Faro at email@example.com and they can explain more about this ministry. Or contact Brian Babcock at RochesterConnection@rochester.rr.com.
You may wish to read about the gap between city and suburban schools by checking out an article in Prismmagazine entitled, “School Equality as a Matter of Faith.” It’s worth your read. (Go to http://issuu.com/prismmagazine/docs/full-issue-spring14-web-links/1?e=2263645/7336802) Also, check out the article by “The Community Foundation” reporting that Rochester is the fifth poorest city in the USA as measured among the 75 largest metropolitan areas. (Go to http://www.racf.org/CommunityImpact/CommunityImpact/tabid/164/smid/605/ArticleID/101/reftab/36/Default.aspx)
The Authentic Life
September 14, 2014
Time to Get Moving
Family vacations are over, school clothes have been bought, and the buses have come and gone. We are kicking off another school year, and another year with Pearce Teens. Over the past year, we have seen the Lord doing some awesome things. A camaraderie has developed between our junior high and senior high teens. I’m not sure how it’s happened, but I love standing back to watch as students of all ages interact. We have also seen and heard from many new students from outside of Pearce. I can’t wait to continue to provide a safe place for these teens to come and hear the gospel of Christ and be washed in the love of our leaders. This semester’s calendar is below.
Continuing with Chili Commons
Again this year, we are planning events to provide love to our neighbors to the south. Our teens have done so well building this organic ministry. They are getting to know students and families of multiple ages, and they are giving a fantastic witness of Jesus and Pearce. This fall, we will host a kickball night, a Halloween event, and Christmas pageant. Continue to pray for this ministry, and come join us if you’re interested in helping out.
It’s Time to think about Romania
It’s hard for me to believe that it has been two summers since our last mission trip to Romania and Poland. It’s even harder for me to believe that now is the time to be thinking and praying about going to Romania next summer, from July 17-29. The cost will be in the neighborhood of $2,500; but we’ll work together on fundraising. Our rotation is to do trips every three years, so that anyone who would like to go will have the opportunity. However, with limited spots available, the leadership team will have to give preference to those in their junior and senior year. Applications are available this week on the Pearce website and at the Teen info center.
Eating Humble Pie
I spoke a bit too hastily, this past Sunday morning, near the conclusion of my message. Seeking to help listeners apply the message on the Great Commandment, I suggested ways to develop friendships with neighbors. Then I added, “Invite them over to watch the Bills lose.” There was, as you may expect, a groan. To make my faux pas even more egregious, I added, “I speak truth!” Well, as you may know, Buffalo beat Chicago that afternoon. I was wrong and I am sorry.
Pastor Mike sent me this email: “I am not superstitious but…if the Bills win every time Pastor Wally says they are going to lose, then I’m okay with him making that prediction every week.”
Pastor Jeremy, also seeking to come to my rescue, wrote to me saying, “His statement is open to exegetical interpretation. Was the original intent of his comment that the Bills would lose [Sunday’s] game or did he mean they would lose the season? If we examine the historical context of that statement, it was said less than two decades after the Bills went to the Super Bowl four times in the 1990s and lost each game. I’m just saying….!”
I’ll try to be more supportive of the home team in the coming weeks! My apologies to all the Bills fans!
The Authentic Life
This weekend, I will begin a new series of messages on the book of James. I’ve titled the series “The Authentic Life,” because I find this relatively short New Testament book pushes me to seek an authentic Christian faith. James, it appears, had little patience for those whose faith did not translate into a corresponding lifestyle. Read the first fifteen verses of chapter one in preparation for this week’s message.
To complement the series, I’ve selected two excellent books for us to read as a community of faith during these months of autumn. The first is The World is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do Good, by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. This significant book was selected by Christianity Today for their 2014 Book Awards as the best book about Christianity and culture. This is a challenging read, as it prompts some careful consideration of how Christians should seek to impact our world. You may not agree with all that Wigg-Stevenson writes, but he will certainly help you clarify your own calling to serve the Kingdom.
In an interview, the author responds to the question, “Who do you hope reads this book?” by saying:
“Believers want to live out their faith in public. People want to do good in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s a fantastic thing. But it can also play out in ways that are less good – with spiritual and practical pitfalls all around. My hope is that this book will encourage and equip Christians who are passionate about serving their Lord in public, by linking up the activism we do in the world with the core of our spiritual foundation and calling.”
The second book comes highly recommend by Dr. Linda Adams, our denominational director of International Child Care Ministries. It’s a book titled When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. First published in 2009, this has become a contemporary classic for those concerned about discovering healthy ways to address the impoverished areas of our world.
Copies of both of these books are on the foyer book rack for a suggested donation of $13.00 each.
Two New Groups for Those in their Twenties
I am pleased to announce that, beginning this weekend, there are two opportunities for young adults in their twenties to find community at Pearce. So if you were born between 1985 and 1994, this group is perfect for you.
The first opportunity is on Sunday mornings at 9am. Matt Kerwin and Mary Stewart are hosting a class on the book of James. This is not a lecture format, but more of a dialogical discussion group. Join them in Room 141 in Pearce’s education wing.
The second opportunity for community is a small group at the home of Scott and Beth Bellinger (207 Chambers Street in Ogden) on Sundays at 6:30pm. I’ll be leading this group in a study, also of the book of James.
If you have questions about either of these new groups, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free This Saturday?
Karen Hopkins, the chair of Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team, will be attending this Saturday’s (September 13) “Poverty Simulation” from 12:30 to 4:30pm in Shewan Recital Hall. This event, sponsored by the student group Enactus, will help you better understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of those living in poverty. Go tohttp://robertsenactus.org/povsim/ for additional information. Registration is limited, so act promptly if you wish to join Karen!
This Coming Wednesday Evening
Two new seminars begin this coming Wednesday, September 17. Pastor John Keller and Dan Pappa will be leading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a wonderful way to learn how to better handle your family’s finances. Pastor John Tassone will be leading a class entitled “Outflow: Outward-Focused Living in a Self-Focused World.”
Both of these are nine-week courses. The “Outflow” course will be held in Room 134 of Pearce’s education wing. Financial Peace University will be held in Room 81 of the education wing. Registration is required for the Ramsey class and may be made by going to daveramsey.com. As of this past Monday, 28 people have registered for the Financial Peace course.
Pearce Sunday Sermons
September 7, 2014
Thanksgiving in September
Growing up, I always loved Thanksgiving. My immediate family would head over to Uncle Herb and Aunt Sally’s house for a wonderful gathering. My cousins and I had a great time mixing different flavors of soda to come up with our own unique blend. Sometimes, we gathered around the Ping-Pong table to see if we could break our record for the longest volley. Then, of course, we eventually sat down to a delicious meal around a long table. It was a time to affirm family and I delighted, even as a kid, in the relationships I had with a special group of people.
I’m reminded of those Thanksgiving gatherings as I plan for this weekend at Pearce. It is our “kick-off” weekend, a time when the “Pearce family” gathers together. All summer long we’ve been going in a thousand different directions. There have been relaxing days of vacations and leisure weekends at the cottage. But now we are coming back home, settling into a routine, and anticipating a new season.
The theme for this coming weekend is “Engaging Our Neighbor,” and we will reaffirm our congregation’s vision to “Engage our Time in the Timeless Story!” I hope you’ll join us for our service on Saturday (5pm) or on Sunday (10am). Following the Sunday morning service, we’ll gather on the Orchard Street property to enjoy some refreshments and music under the tents. I’ll see you there!
I’ll be hosting a “prayer walk” on Wednesday, September 10. I invite those who are interested in joining me on this walk to meet me in the atrium of Pearce at 6:30pm. (Perhaps after enjoying a great meal at our first Savory Supper of the fall!)
A Special Homecoming!
The last weekend of this month will prove to be a very special time here at Pearce. The Roberts community is putting together the final touches on plans for this year’s homecoming celebration. This homecoming, as you probably know, is a significant and historic one as Dr. Porterfield is inaugurated as the new president of the college.
Pearce will join in the celebration in several ways. First, the inauguration will be held on Friday, September 26, at 11am in Pearce’s sanctuary.
Secondly, we’ll have a special single worship service on Sunday, September 28, at 10:30am. Dr. Barbara Rose, a beloved former faculty member at RWC, will be sharing a personal reflection on her own spiritual journey and the ways in which God has touched her life.
Thirdly, also on that Sunday, I’ll conduct an interview with Dr. Robert and Dr. Paul Shewan at 9am in Parmerter Chapel. These two men, father and son, have had a lasting impact on both Roberts and Pearce. Gifted musicians themselves, the Shewans have encouraged hundreds of students to use their musical gifts in service to our God.
It should prove to be a very special homecoming and I hope you’ll be a part of it here at Pearce!
Our current SWAG (Stewardship With A Goal) project is raising $20,000 to make a payment on the principal of our church’s loan. This loan was incurred in 2001, when Pearce built the Family Life Center and educational wing. We have received a total of $12,590 towards this latest project.
I hope you’ll consider a gift to SWAG this weekend. A $20,000 payment on our loan’s principal will result in significant savings over the remaining life of the loan. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finish this fourth SWAG project in the next week or two?
By the way, this Friday and Saturday the driveways around Pearce will be given a new coating of blacktop sealant. This important maintenance item is being funded by one of last year’s SWAG projects.
Trip to Israel
Pastor Mike has informed me that twenty-four individuals have registered for next February’s tour of Israel. If you are still interested in joining a great group from Pearce, including Mary and me, I encourage you to talk with Pastor Mike within the next week.
Cleaning Out Closets
Did you know that one of Pearce’s many ministries is providing good, used clothing for distribution in Rochester? In the hallway between Parmerter Chapel and the Friendship Center, you’ll find three large bins in which to place your donation.
If you want to know more about this ministry, Bill Christopher can answer your questions. You can contact him at email@example.com.
I hope you’ll take the opportunity this fall to clean out your clothes and, in so doing, help provide for others.
Look at What a Garage Sale Can Do!
I recently received a letter from a staff member at the Charles Finney School, informing me that a second student has been identified to receive a scholarship provided by Pearce through the proceeds of our Annual Mission Garage Sale.
Thank you to all of you who provided items to sell at this past April’s sale! As the letter highlighted, our generosity “not only provides the gift of education, but also of spiritual and character development that leads to transformational and purposeful living.”