• Rev. JC Powell


Many of you know that I have a pre-ministry history with automobile racing. At I.V.’s Tire Shop in Tampa we made racing recaps for both asphalt and dirt track racing. I spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights at racetracks.


However, it wasn’t until retirement from pastoral ministry that I rekindled my interest in automobile racing. I rediscovered that setting up a car to best use the power under the hood is very complex.

Whether Ford, Chevy or Toyota, the engines in the NASCAR race cars have almost equal amount of horsepower. It is how this power is used that makes a difference in how the car does in the race. Adjustments are made during the race to obtain peak performance.

Every Christian and every Christian church have the same Holy Spirit power. It is how we allow the Holy Spirit to use the church that makes a difference. Continuing the race car analogy, the success of any church depends on how it is “set up” for making disciples. This “setting up” for successful ministry is not about how we use the Holy Spirit, that would be presumptuous, but how we let him use us, the church.

What does that mean? It means the church must be built on the foundation of Jesus, the Son of the living God. It means prayerfully considering every action so that God is glorified. It means putting God first in our lives. It means listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church and gave it the power to reach the world for Christ. To be clear, we are the church and the church is all about worshipping and serving God.

May 31 is Pentecost Sunday and we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus. Acts 2 tells of the initial response of the people to being filled with the spirit. Verse 47 says: “They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone.” Being empowered by the Holy Spirit the followers of Jesus continue to do the same thing.

I hope to “see” you in church this Sunday. - JC


#aplaceforgrace

  • Rev. JC Powell


All of us know that the facilities of St. Andrew’s UMC have been closed for several weeks and will remain closed until it is again safe to occupy them. As a result, we have used modern technology to worship, study and conduct church business. The intent has been to continue the ministry of the church, and that has been done. We applaud our staff for their extra effort to make this happen, and we also applaud you for your loyal support.


In anticipation of a reopening, hopefully sooner than later, your church leaders have begun to prepare the facilities, so that not only will everyone be safe but that they will also feel safe. The buildings will be sanitized and procedures put in place to assure the safety of everyone. A small group has been appointed to lead this effort and will call on you when help is needed.

There are many things to be considered, such as wearing masks; seating arrangements; removal from the pews of hymnals, Bibles, connect cards and pencils; receiving the offering; serving communion; and even singing. None of us have done this before but the wisdom of this reopening group will be led by the Holy Spirit.

Most of us are ready to return to the St. Andrew’s campus but realize that we may not do that until it is safe to do so. Please continue to participate in the virtual experiences provided for us, as well as your own private time with God. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit and will be provided as needed while we wait for the COVID-19 to leave us.

The above does not include every thing that is happening at our church during this time of isolation, but it does give you information about what your church is doing and how it is preparing for reopening when the time is right. While we wait, be patient, be prayerful and stay safe.


#aplaceforgrace



Over the past six weeks we have heard the message again and again to follow social distancing, wash our hands regularly, wear a mask if we have to go out, and stay at home if at all possible. We have received clear messages from our medical and professional fields on how to stay safe during the time of this pandemic. And yet, as I go out to shop for members of our congregation, or to mail a package—I note many people who are disregarding these very important guidelines for everyone’s safety and well-being.


This Sunday we will look at Jesus’ words from what is called His farewell discourse. Specifically, we will be looking at His words in John 14, which we hear regularly as most funerals. In them, Jesus lays out the means for us to enjoy a wholesome relationship with Him and with the world around. He suggests that we follow the way, abide by the truth and know the Life. Again, clear instruction if we are willing to listen and abide, yet how many read these words without every really understanding or applying them to our daily way of life?

I invited you to join us via livestream as we look at the deeper impact that Jesus was sharing with His disciples and us in some of the final moments of His life. If we are willing to heed them, we can have the fullness God has in store for each of us—or we can choose to ignore and not apply them in hopes that there is some other way, truth, and life. The choice is yours, but my request is for you to choose wisely. See you at the Father House on Sunday.


-Pastor Dan


#aplaceforgrace

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3315 S. Bryan Rd. | Brandon, FL 33511 | 813.689.6849

Sunday Worship: 8:15, 9:45, 11:15 a.m.