What a Week!
What an amazing week we had at Vacation Bible School last week! Over two hundred kids took part in the activities over the course of the week. They learned about the story of God saving Noah and his family through the ark, made a walking stick to help them remember to walk with God, learned some fun songs ("Rock the Boat!"), played fun games, raised over $2,000 for Heifer International to buy livestock for families living in poverty, and witnessed Dinah, Susie, and me kiss a goat! It was a fun week and one filled with joy and learning. Thank you to everyone who made it possible through your time, prayers, and donations! Join us this upcoming Sunday for a slideshow of the week's events.
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Summer Book Club
For a few weeks this summer, we are going to be reading some of the lesser known books or overlooked parts of books in the Bible.
Sunday's Sermon Snippet: Jonah and the Worm (Jonah 3-4)
Jonah and the Whale is one of the best known stories in all the Bible, but the story we most often hear is just the beginning. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn them of the coming judgment against them, but Jonah ran away by ship. When a storm arose to stop him, he had the crew throw him overboard and God sent a big fish or whale to swallow him up to save him. After three days, Jonah prayed and received a second chance. That's where the story we rarely hear begins. Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh. Walking into the city for a day, he stopped and gave the short warning: "Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overturned." It is one of the shortest prophecies made by a prophet and it is the only one we have recorded from Jonah. Yet his terse warning is much more effective than that of any other prophet. For all their poetic, abundant prophecies, no other prophet met with such success - all the people of Nineveh repent, even clothing their animals in mourning clothes. God shows mercy to the repentent city, and Jonah is furious. He despises God's mercy, especially toward people Jonah dislikes so strongly. In protest, he sets up camp outside the city to watch for the coming destruction. God has a shrub grow quickly to give Jonah shade, and for the first time Jonah is happy even as he continues to pout. The next day, God sends a worm to devour the plant, and Jonah is again angry. God asks Jonah why, if Jonah cares so much for a simple shrub, God cannot care even more so for an entire city of folks who do not know better. We do not know how Jonah responds, but this question is a second chance for Jonah - not a second chance to correct a mistake or to obey God, but a greater second chance to become the kind of person God has called him to be. How often when we serve others - however reluctantly that may be - do we come away feeling changed and more blessed by the experience than those we sought to serve? That is God's second chance at work in our lives helping us to become more Christ-like and more like the people God intends us to be. Thanks be to God that we do not have to be perfect for God to use us for good and that God changes us all the while!
This Sunday in Worship
In the early days of the church - even dating back to Jesus' time - people wondered what was required to inherit the promise of eternal life. It was a well-debated question, with leaders like Paul assuring people that they were saved by faith alone. Many folks, however, heard this simple answer and misunderstood its simplicity for an easy life free from any expectations at all. Join us this Sunday as we delve into "James and the Giant Teaching" to understand what it means to be saved by faith!
Living in Community
Thank you to every one of the 100+ volunteers who made our VBS possible last week!
A special thanks to Dinah and Susie for all their work over the course of the year to help us be prepared, especially with all the changes this year!
A special thanks also to our South River teachers Linda, Kelly, and Vickie who help us coordinate use of the school for VBS!
Thanks to Angela and Eddie for finding a goat for Pastor Jim, Dinah, and Susie to kiss as a part of our mission challenge!
Thanks to everyone who helped us "Fill the Ark" for our mission project by raising $2,064 for Heifer International!
Thanks to our youth band for leading worship on Sunday and to our VBS kids for sharing special music! Thank you, Liz, for your work with both of these groups!
Please remember Carol and Kathryn in your prayers as they recover from their surgeries.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, July 6
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
Thursday, July 7
9:30 am - 12 noon - Office Hours
Friday, July 8
7 - 11 pm - Youth Group
Sunday, July 10
9:30 am - Worship with VBS Slideshow and Communion: "James and the Giant Teaching"
11:00 am - Sunday School
100th Anniversary Celebration of Sanctuary - July 24
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!