St Andrews – 9:45am Sunday Discipleship

Beginning August 14th

August marks the beginning of our Fall 9:45am Discipleship and our plans are as follows:

1st Sundays – 

Cross+Gen (all generations) Faith Formation

2nd, 3rd, 4th (& 5th) Sundays – 

Text/Theme Based Discipleship for all ages:

1)  Sunday School (Preschool to 5th Grade)

2)  6th-8th Grade

3)  Adults (high school and up)

4)  Childcare (under age 3)

Each age group will use the Sunday Worship Scripture as the basis for their lessons to solidify and better understand the weekly text as it relates to our lives as followers of Christ. Adult discipleship will meet in the Fellowship hall and include a mixture of large group and small group discussion by different facilitators from the congregation.

This will be our set-up through the end of 2016.  When Pastor Dan returns mid-October, we’ll get feedback from the congregation to see how this set-up works as we prepare for the start of 2017.

The Prayer Group will resume Sunday, September 11th and meet in Pastor Dan’s Office. This group is open to anyone who would like to join or pop in when available. For more information, please contact Sheryl Bettencourt at 209.368.8991.

The Ecclesiastes’ Bible Study will resume August 14th at 9:45am in the Library, 7 weeks remaining.  They will not meet September 4th. For more information, please contact Charlie Johnson at 209.951.8655.

The Power of Prayer

I wanted to share with you all  about how God has worked through the recent mission trip you all sent me to in the Ukraine this past June 2016. Prayer was a vital necessity throughout the journey from the beginning weeks of training, through fundraising and all the way through travel and return from the Ukraine.

team ukraine 2016

From day one, prayer was required as Diana, our leader, was diagnosed from her doctor with the incurable disease of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). She has led teams on five seperate trips and when she was told by her doctor that she had this illness, her first question was…”Can I still lead the team to the Ukraine”? Through all the adversity she was facing, she heard God’s call to go and share the love of Christ despite her circumstances. We all knew prayer was needed to help give Diana the strength she needed to make what will most likely be her last trip to the Ukraine.

As we all know, Satan despises God’s plans and will go to whatever lengths to put fear, doubt, and worry in our minds to distract us from His master plan. During the second leg of our flights. Kathy Posey, a fellow team mate, experienced a bad case of lock jaw. She was experiencing severe pain and needed medical attentionimmediately. Diana’s husband went with Kathy to the hospital in Amerstdam leaving the rest of us to wait at the airport. We all had our seperate worries about how Kathy would be, if they would be able to fix it so we could continue our journey, would she need to be sent back home and would we have to carry on ministry without her? This put a tremendous strain on Diana as she was fearful for Kathy’s well being. I asked if we could pray, as this is all I know to do when things go awry…and so we did. We sat together in the diner and prayed fervently that God’s will be done. A gentleman overheard us in the diner and asked if he could assist us. At this point we had gone 9 hrs with no contact with Tom or Kathy. We were unsure if we should catch our rescheduled flight to Kiev. Diana didn’t want us seperated from each other so she was at a loss of what to do. Tom arrived and told us Kathy was going to need surgery as they couldn’t get her jaw back into place. We were finally able to get in contact with Jaime Deuel and Pastor Darrell who gave us specific directions that were helpful to our team. We were able to make a plan to call Tom at a certain time to see if we needed to get Kathy a flight back home and as we were calling him, Jaime messaged my phone telling us the hospital was able to get Kathy’s jaw back in place and she was going to be fine. Praise God!!!! Every obstacle that satan tried to pull was being cared for through many prayers from you here at St. Andrews, St. Peters Church in Elk Grove and many who were praying for our team to arrive safely. Together we arrived in Kiev, Ukraine at 1:30am and surprisingly, all 13 of our ministry suitcases made it as well. God is good all the time. He called all of us to serve the people of Ukraine and he removed all the obstacles the devil tried to throw our way. Our team went on to thrive at camp. We were united, always helping one another. Diana, an amazing testimony, participated fully in camp singing songs, games of duck, duck goose, joining in on our water battle and she even smashed some raw eggs on her head in a game of egg roulette!!! Although the illness was taking its toll on her speech, she still spoke of Christ’s love for these kids and she was a living example of it.

During the second week of ministry, we delivered wheelchairs during home visits and most seem to live on 5th and 6th floors in a building with no elevator. She made her way up the stairs and shared her love with every person we visited. I’m so blessed to have been a part of this team. Diana was an amazing encouragement and inspiration to so many. She truly is glorifying God with every day she has left on this earth.

wheelchairs 2016

I want to thank you all so very much for this opportunity to share the love of christ with the people of the Ukraine. Without senders, we cannot go. You truly are building the kingdom of Christ when you send others to go and make disciples in all nations. God’s peace be with you all.

~Rachelle Moreno

Share the love of Christ and the Gospel through music! Our new outreach choir will prepare a set of simple but fun songs to take into places in our community such as shelters, retirement homes, and nursing centers. How can you be involved? 1) Sing with us! Open to 6th grade and beyond. 2) Play hand percussion with us! Some of our songs have easy instrument parts anyone can learn. 3) Pray! Pray for our message and our audiences, either coming with us or praying from your homes. When and where do you show up? Rehearsals: 9-11 am on both August 20th and 27th. At that time, we will make plans for our outreach presentation dates.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Rachel McGehee (rachel@standrewsstockton.org).

A Note from the Pastor

Summer is knocking at the door.  Often seen as a time of refreshment, renewal, and time away, summer gives us a great opportunity to reconnect and build deeper relationships with friends, neighbors, and others around us.  Perhaps it’s the simplest invite in the world to have a group over for a BBQ and enjoy time together as the sun sets and the delta breeze cools the air.  I’d encourage you to be mindful of this so that you can build the kind of relationships that allow us to share our faith together, whether with those already following Christ or those not yet doing so.

You also know by now that I’ll be going on a sabbatical at the end of this month.  I’ll be back in October, and in the meantime I’d love for you to pray for me and my family.  Pray for:

•   a powerful time of renewal and refilling of my soul that would allow me to “pour myself out” to you and our community (Philippians 2:17).

•   growth in wisdom and strength so that God can equip me to minister in an increasingly complicated and changing environment for the church (Provers 24:13-14).

•   increased knowledge and skill to handle the demands of church leadership and development (1 Corinthians 9:19-27).

•   and most especially, for a deeper relationship with and greater understanding of the grace and love found in our Lord and Savior, Jesus, my first love, and for a time of deep connection with Miriam and my children (Mark 12:28-34).

I’ll also be praying for you.  Here are a few things I’d love for you to focus on in my time away:

•   Worshipping Jesus.  He’s the head of the church.  He’s the one who gives us grace.  He’s the one who invites us into faith.  It’s His body and His blood we offer to you each week to forgive your sin, strengthen your faith, and unite us together.  Don’t take a break from Him and the gathering of His people while I’m away.  Come and worship the King of kings and Lord of lords.  I’ve set up a bunch of great preachers for you (most with far more experience than I have).  The worship will continue to be inspiring, and we’ll continue to need your help and presence to make it beautiful.

•   Growth in Jesus.  Disciples are those who follow Jesus and help others do the same.  This takes the humility to know we fall far short of the glory of God and need Jesus to wash us and make us new.  That’s what He does, so that we can join Him in the life-giving work.  So spend time each day in the word and prayer, letting the Spirit of God come to you and challenging or comforting you as needed to grow you in the faith.

•   Resting in Jesus.  Connected to the first two above is a recognition to begin and end each day and walk each moment recognizing our strength comes in Christ.

I often need to repent of this myself, and I’d like all of us to grow in this.

•   Serving Jesus.  I’ve been working with the staff and council to simplify things while I’m away.  Scripture gives us many great examples and illustrations of whole communities, the land itself, needing rest at times.  Please don’t expect the staff to do all my duties while I’m away.  They will continue doing what they have been called to do, and I have no doubt they will do it well.  We have several retired pastors willing to counsel, visit, or help as needed if you desire.  And if you see something that needs done, or an area that needs improvement, and it matters enough to you, go ahead and do something about it.  This place is made great by the many parts of the body serving and giving.

One last thing.  What I’ll be praying about, and what I’d like you to pray about, is how St. Andrews can move forward loving each other and serving our city.  It’s clear from God’s word in Jeremiah 29:7 that we are to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”  How can we continue to grow in every aspect of our faith so that we honor God all the more, love each other, and bring healing and hope to our communities?  May God bless, guide, and keep us moving forward in faith.

Love in Jesus,

Pastor Dan

Praying for Your City

Prayer Walk Handout

The city is of particular interest throughout God’s word.  Cities can represent the worst of human rebellion and sinfulness when they turn from God’s will, but also are described as places of refuge, hope, strength, prosperity and security.  At the end of Scripture it is a city that represents the radiant bride of Christ and the promise is God’s light will always shine over his bride, so Christians have always felt the calling to bring that blessing into their cities.  Think of prayer as the spotlight of God, shining on the people and places that we desire God to pour his blessing.

A Note from Your Pastor


“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to 
everyone,  and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”                                         Galatians 6:9-10

He is Risen!  How good it is to know Christ has conquered. The victory is His!  Death no longer has victory over us.  As Jesus promised his disciples in Revelation: Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of everlasting life…The one who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death (referring to eternal judgment).

Let me tell you a story that I hope will encourage you.  For over two years now we have been praying the Lord’s Prayer almost nightly with our daughter Ai Lan (Yes, we do The Faith 5 with our kids each night, alternating between a set of more scripted prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, and extemporaneous praying).  In over two years she has maybe said the LP a few times with us.

Part of this is a language thing, she has been learning English since we brought her into our home and has much room for growth.  Part of this may be an adoptive independence/autonomy seeking reaction.  Bear in mind my daughter had at least four very distinct homes/living situations before she turned three.  This can create a myriad of actions/reactions in any person, some that can be understood, some may never be.  It doesn’t change the love and discipline we give, but makes us ever mindful of the need to build bonds that come naturally to a biological child cared for from the womb but need to be created in adoptive/fostering situations.

Then one of our Sunday School teachers told us that during class, when the little ones were gathered and encouraged to pray, my daughter Ai Lan said the Lord’s Prayer-at least the words she knew.  It brought tears to my eyes hearing that.  Here are some of the reasons:

•  She is learning what prayer is and can associate it across contexts (from home to church to Sunday School class).

•  The two years of effort have not been in vain.  We need not grow weary in doing good.

•  The seeds of faith are taking root.  I pray all my children would grow up and be fruitful in the kingdom throughout their lives.

•  There are people at this church who love my children and are helping them grow in faith.  And I know this is true of all my children who span the range from high school to preschool (and it seems everything in between).  I know my kids are supported, encouraged, and prayed for by many others besides myself.  This is part of the beauty of the local church.

You and I both know it takes more than two years to raise a child in the faith.

It takes a couple decades at the start and then a lifetime of faithful witness and encouragement as well.  Are we as parents each given the responsibility to raise our children in that faith?  Absolutely.  Parents are and always will be the primary mentors in their children’s lives.

Yet the beauty of the church is that we gather together to encourage, equip, and build up the faith of each other and each other’s children.  I’m glad my sons have examples of godly men beside myself here at St. Andrews.  I’m glad my daughters have women of faith and godly character to look up to and be encouraged by.

Consider this: in our increasingly fractured culture and society, where can all the generations gather to be valued, learn from each other, and unite in common purpose and mission?  The church offers something no one else does, a unified body that rejoices in the contributions and passions of all generations. . . if we do not grow weary in doing good, if we do not give up on gathering, teaching, serving, sharing, proclaiming, caring, and more!

May the victory found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ inspire you to keep on keeping on with your family, friends, work, faith, and life.  We will reap in due season-to the praise and glory of Jesus Christ.

A Note from Your Pastor

4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”   

Mark 16:4-7

He has risen.  He is not here.

Those words, and the reality behind them, have changed the world more than anything else ever has, or ever could.  Unlike every person you will ever know, Jesus got up from his tomb by his own power and never returned to the grave.  And never will.  He is not there anymore.  Death has no power over him.  Death has lost its sting.  It lost that battle, and will ultimately lose the war.

Jesus has risen.  Indeed.  Jesus has risen and ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father, yet is also “with us always, even to the end of the age.”  And that’s what changes our lives, not just “the world’s.”

So where are you?  Are you languishing at the grave, not experiencing the joy and freedom that comes with his death and resurrection?  Are you AWOL, getting too caught up in the myriad of distractions of our present era to live in and live out your faith in Christ’s community?  Are you stepping out in faith toward

“Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth,” knowing he is with you always with you?  Again, where are you? I know he is knocking at the door of each of our hearts every moment of each day.  I know each time we stop resisting him he comes to us, abides with us, revives and reinvigorates and recreates us into his likeness.  I know he is always with us to help proclaim his Good News and make disciples (those who follow Jesus and can help others do the same).  I know I can trust him to continue and complete the work that he has already begun in me.

He is with us even as he reigns through all eternity.  If that’s not an awe-inspiring combination, I don’t know what is.  You can trust him to give you life, change your life, work and move in you, and bring about his kingdom and light.

Because he is risen.  Not there.  Victorious.  With us.  Allow this season of Lent and the great celebrations of Passion Week and Easter to let these truths not just swirl around in your head, but sink into your heart and move your body, mind, and soul to embrace him, follow him, and live for him each and every day.

He is Risen!

~Pastor Dan

 

Love is kind…

I want to express my deep gratitude for the kindness given to me and my family at the celebration of my 10 years as your pastor.  I was deeply honored and am unable to truly express my thanks for your gifts to me.  May the Lord continue to be a light to our paths as we experience life together in Christ and walk together in His mission to the world.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”         -Luke 24:5b-6a