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We’re holding a special worship gathering next Sunday to commission Jim Weldon as he begins working as the Area Director for North St. Johns County Young Life. Please come and encourage and pray for Jim and his wife Jennifer – and if you know anyone who has a heart for teenagers in our community, who wants to see every kid and every kind of kid introduced to Jesus and encouraged to grow in their faith, please bring them to the service. By the grace of God, they will be challenged, encouraged, and given an opportunity to become involved.
We’ll be meeting in the main sanctuary at Faith Community Church, located at 3450 CR210, 32259. The service starts at 6:30pm.
Discipleship Ministry is Continuing Over the Summer!
Hope to see you soon!
We have two worship gatherings scheduled for June.
1) Our first worship gathering will this Sunday, June 4 at 6:30pm in the St. Johns Room of Faith Community Church (3450 CR210, 32259). This will be our first Sunday night worship gathering! I am looking forward to having Zach Melton with us who’ll be sharing what God is doing on the First Coast through the ministry of Evangelism Explosion, drawing people to himself.
I’m happy to say we have another Sunday evening with Stefan to lead us in singing God’s praise before he heads off to the fabled land of Gainesville. (Something about starting college.)
2) We have a special worship service on June 25 (6:30 pm at Faith Community Church). We hope to have as many as possible from the community as we commission Jim Weldon to new work as the Area Director for North St. Johns County Young Life. There will be more on that later. But if you are reading this, try to be there.
- You are invited to fast and pray Tuesday. We’re fasting and praying that God would lead us to people to bless.
- Prayer request: for God’s Kingdom to advance on the First Coast and especially through Young Life, Young Lives, and World Relief.
- Prayer request: for multiplication as we discern God’s call to mission and discipleship.
- Discipleship Huddles – where we learn from Jesus (and each other) how to live like Jesus: Wednesday noon at Hurricane Grill on 210, Wednesday evening (at Norma and Andrew’s this week), and Sundays.
- Next worship gathering at 6:30pm on SUNDAY JUNE 4 at FCC (3450 CR210). We’re moving to Sunday nights. We are doing this for a practical reason – many of us travel over Saturday nights. We are also doing this for a missional reason – we encourage people to connect with friends, neighbors, and co-workers – and there are more opportunities to do that on Saturdays than on Sundays. We don’t want our worship gatherings to pull people out of those opportunities.
- We are turning off on-line giving in July. We’re looking into more cost effective options. In the mean time, here are some ways to give – at our worship gatherings, or send a check payable to First Coast Missional Communities to 320 S. Buck Board Dr, 32259.
- Celebration: Great job collecting supplies for those fighting the Mims Fire. Check out the back of Kent’s car…
- Are you on the email list? Do you subscribe to our blog? Those are two good ways to keep up with LoveFirst Coast!
In the days of the early church, there was a famine in Jerusalem, and the new churches responded, taking up a collection for those who were suffering. We have an opportunity to do something similar, to help with supplies needed for those who are fighting the fire, those who have been evacuated, and those providing relief. If you can help out, please bring any of the items from the list below to our worship gathering on Saturday night (6:30 at Faith Community Church.) One of Kent Wehmeier’s colleagues is involved in relief efforts. Kent has agreed to take our donations and make sure they get in the right hands to be delivered.
If you want more information, you can get in touch with Kent, who is copied on this email. Here’s the list:
Items that are most needed include such things as:
- Gator Aid
- Bottled Water
- Packaged snacks (chips, crackers, cookies)
- Artificial tears
- Baby Wipes
- Lip Gloss
- Men’s socks
- Pop Tarts
- Pancake Mix
- Lightweight work gloves
- saline nasal spray
- OTC sinus spray
- toilet paper
- body powder
- Germ X
- AA batteries
- inexpensive sunglasses
- inexpensive flipflops
- Men’s boxer shorts (all sizes)
- Bug spray
No perishable items please.
The Lord loves a cheerful giver. See you Saturday!
Just getting the word out.
This Saturday, Love First Coast will be gathering for worship. And no, not at the beach. That was from our Good Friday gathering. This Saturday, we’ll be in the St. Johns Room at Faith Community Church (3450 CR210, 32259) at 6:30pm. It’s our last Saturday night worship gathering (sniff, sniff).
Not to worry: we’re moving to Sunday nights beginning in June. More on that later.
Hope to see you Saturday!
Wounded people are all around. It’s almost universal. Living long enough means experiencing physical pain, injury, and disease. But sometimes worse are the emotional and spiritual pains associated with deferred hope, failure, loss, abuse, affliction, desertion, betrayal, etc. The things that happen can be pretty awful. Broken hearts, broken spirits, shattered lives: they are all around us. And sometimes, that’s who we are.
The shear amount of pain and suffering in the world has led some to abandon belief in God – which is not irrational, especially if you believe one of God’s jobs is to blot out suffering. I have heard such notions preached, but you won’t find that in scripture.
I’ve been around wounded people this week. What can a missional community or small Christian community offer?
First, the fellowship of fellow sufferers. We can, as Romans 12 teaches, “mourn with those who mourn.” I’ve noticed that as God brings people together, you can often find a thread of connection. It was uncanny how many people in the first church I pastored had tragically lost children. The families in my next congregation had experienced a remarkable amount of suicide and divorce. I spend time these days with people who know what it’s like to be hurt by church factions. Pretty much every large church offers groups for grief, addiction, divorce, and illness. They bring people together around pain. Missional communities are small and focused. We don’t put up a sign in the lobby or run an announcement. We gather a community around a particular mission.
Second, we can listen well. Because we are intent on allowing the Holy Spirit to form and guide our community, we can take the time to really listen to one another. When I received training for healing prayer, I was told that 75% of healing can happen when we listen carefully to one another. It’s so rare that people get to really tell their stories to people that care. It takes patience and energy to listen, but it does so much to bring restoration. Just telling the story is powerful and helpful, but when we tell it in a redemptive, hope-giving environment, even more can happen. I think it was in a psychology class that I learned that people take all the complex data in their lives and turn them into stories. A caring, redemptive community can help to reshape the stories of pain. Even our sinful actions can be redeemed. James 5 teaches that if we confess our sins to one another, we can be healed. And it’s true. As a young adult, I was blessed to have a friend listen carefully and without condemnation as I shared some things I was deeply ashamed of. And then I heard that brother say, “Jesse, God forgives you. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.” It was such a powerful moment that I can still picture his face and room where we were sitting. And that moment reshaped my story and my life. (I’d like to say I haven’t needed forgiveness since then, but then I’d have to confess to the sin of lying.)
And then there’s prayer. One of the things we work on regularly is healing prayer. Our tool for that is called “Listen-Love-and-Pray.” I have found that it is very helpful to spend time praising God for who he is in times of healing prayer. There is something about praise that puts our suffering in perspective. Our God is one who has taken suffering and death into himself – swallowed it up in victory, we rush to say. But our God is one who knows what it is to suffer. He is simply the victorious God over sin and death, he is also the wounded healer, the suffering God who knows our pain and the sovereign God who holds our future and redeems our past. AND He is the Great Physician who heals our diseases, hurts, and wounds.
And when we call on him, he shows up. And oh my, our God is a healer!
So, another term for the church is “the Body of Christ.” When we gather as a community of disciples of Jesus Christ, the things that Jesus did become possible as we allow the Holy Spirit to work. One of the great privileges and joys of following Jesus is that he lets us be a part of this amazing work.
So today, if you are suffering and hurting, may the Lord bring healing to you. May he lead you into a community of healing where He can work through others to bring restoration to your body, heart, and soul.
May you experience his healing touch.
And then, may the Lord bring healing through you!
Just a brief word about Easter weekend.
Starting with sunrise on Good Friday set the pace. Unlike Easter sunrise services, on Good Friday, there aren’t many people on the beach. We had a small group – about twenty in all on a very large beach. The gathering had a feeling of solitude to it and that is very appropriate – because on the first Good Friday, Christ was isolated. If the disciples did gather that day, they were few in number and confused. We are less confused and much more grateful. The gathering allowed us to help one another remember all that Jesus has done and continues to do for us. His mercies are new every morning.
And it was a beautiful morning.
Easter weekend is a holiday for many. A number of our folks were scattered around the country, but we enjoyed another gathering on Easter Eve at Nichol’s barn. It has become a special place to us – a place of prayer, healing, fellowship and celebration. This time, it became a place of hope! Unlike the gathering at the beach, the barn felt wonderfully full. The weather was beautiful, comfortable with a gentle breeze. We thought about faith, hope, and love from 1 Corinthians 13, but we emphasized the greatness the hope. Hope is a shear gift of the resurrection!
Easter morning, many of us attended different services around town. My friend Marina shared this picture of sunrise at the beach. Countless worshipers up and down the beaches of the First Coast enjoyed it. I worshiped with two crowds – first at Sawgrass Chapel (which met at it’s usual time and place – early at the beach) and later at Mandarin Presbyterian Church. Hope, and again, hope!
The Lord is good!
The Lord is risen!
Sin is defeated.
Death is no longer the victor.
Jesus is Lord of all!
Hope – and I’ll say it again – hope!