TCC Flash - Weekly News
I Like Bread| Rev. Baxter Chism.
How come most diet plans we commit to want us to cut out bread? I really don't like that. First of all, it is really hard to have a cheeseburger without bread. Yes, you can do the lettuce wrap option but it is not the same. And what about a Lobster Roll or a Shrimp Po'Boy? You gotta have bread. There are so many healthier types of bread (like Ezekiel) we can buy but I'm talking about white bread that is enhanced with sugar. Yum!
I'm from a very small town in central Alabama. My knowledge of bread growing up was what was on the shelf at the grocery stores. Then one day my Mom got a bread maker and I thought that was great. It really changed when I went to this grocery market in Birmingham, Alabama for the first time called Bruno's. Bruno's doesn't exist anymore but it was like our modern grocery stores today. They sure did have a bunch of different kinds of bread because they had a bakery. It was awesome!
The thing about bread is if you don't eat it gets moldy and you have to throw it away. Last week I was going to make a sandwich and the bread was old and moldy. I almost let it ruin my day. I made a salad instead. Bread doesn't last forever.
Isn't that like most things in our world? Temporal happiness gets moldy and stale and we move on to something else seeking a little more happiness. I confess to this. Nobody likes it when things get boring and "moldy". The problem is we always keep on hungering for something else and it keeps going and going and going. It's like a carousel you can't get off of that goes round and round.
In John 6:35, 41-51, Jesus tells us He is "the bread of life". I think Jesus was telling us there are two types of bread in our world. The bread we eat that doesn't last and also situations in life that we can let eat us alive. Worries, the fear of death, problems, and all things that consume our joy. People were coming to Jesus because they wanted more miracles and more food. Jesus came to the world to offer something so much greater.
That is why we need the spiritual bread that Jesus offers that leads to real life. A life not consumed by fear and temporal wants. We begin to think of life as eternal and not temporary gain. Life is put into perspective because we begin to see the bigger picture.
The result? Our souls become more content. We want to worship. Some of us desire to share God's grace via witnessing or missions or both. Many of us desire to protect and include those that are marginalized by our culture. Eternal thinkers think of others more than themselves. They have gotten off the carousel that goes round and round and are on a steady diet of "the bread of life".
Want to transform the world? Celebrate the life that Jesus gives us and share it with others. Church should be like a bakery full of bread. Thank you for giving us the recipe, Jesus.
TCC August Office Hours| Mercy Delgado.
As a result of a time commitment, there will be an upcoming change to the office hours this coming week. The Church Office will be open 11:00 am-4:00 pm Tuesday-Thursday, August 14-16th, 2018.
Have a great Summer!
House of Hope Drive| Mercy Delgado.
One of our Confirmands, Katie Monahan, is sponsoring a charity drive for House of Hope (www.houseofhopelowell.org). This is a local organization that helps homeless families get back on their feet, and offers them a variety of resources to keep families together and helps lift them out of homelessness.
There will be a bin downstairs by the church side entrance to collect their most needed items during this month of August (pens, new underwear for kids and teens (9 packaged), slippers for kids and adults, tissues, Clorox wipes, paper plates and cups, pacifiers & baby bottles, sippy cups, baby bottle brushes, size 4,5,6 diapers).
Katie will collect the bin at the end of August at the end of the drive.
Please help this worthwhile organization and donate to a wonderful cause!
Lost and Found Items| Mercy Delgado.
Are you missing any towels? Please take a quick peek at a bin that has been placed right outside the church office door, underneath the mailboxes. Heather Richstmeier graciously spent the better part of last week cleaning our church kitchen and has collected these items to try to return them to their rightful owners.
Please take a moment to check and see if any of the items left behind belong to you!
Friendship Garden Needs Your Help!| Mercy Delgado.
The TCC gardens need maintenance and the Trustees are looking for volunteers to weed, trim and water the Friendship Garden as needed. Please call the church office and let Mercy Delgado know if you are interested in helping out. No help is turned away!
Please consider donating your time and talents to spruce up our church grounds. It can be a little or a lot. All help is appreciated!
Many hands make light work!
Using Our Gifts| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Altruism is a great gift to humanity. Jesus taught us to love our neighbor and altruistic behavior makes our world a better place. Some of us are able to give easily. Maybe some of us do this begrudgingly. Either way, something good happens.
You may think a gift is only a material possession like money or a resource that other people may not have that is given to them. We hear of missionaries and churches helping fund projects like building homes, building churches, supplying school materials, and providing resources needed in our community and world. These are wonderful things we should always celebrate.
A gift can also be a talent or talents God has given to us. We learn in Ephesians 4:1-16 (read it!) some of the gifts that God has given. The writer expresses that these gifts are to be used in a church. I would go further in that they can also be used everywhere. Let me go even further and state that there are many other gifts (talents) that God gives us that we use in our life of service. Christ gives us these gifts so the "body of Christ may be built up."
There was a lady I met about 10 years ago that never physically attended the church I led but was on the membership roll. Let me state she was very healthy and did not have any challenges to keep her from coming. One day I visited her home and we talked about why she never came. Her response was, "I watch worship services on TV every Sunday. I mail those churches checks. I mail checks to our church too. Isn't that enough?"
Is it? For some reason, I didn't challenge her that day. I thanked her for her giving. Maybe I should have stated that she was missing out on the joy of being with other believers and making a difference by putting her faith into action.
She needed a new recliner by the way. It was worn out.
Right after describing some of the gifts God gives to us, the writer discusses unity, not being tricked, speaking love, and being knitted together as one. During that time there were some teaching a different understanding of Christ that was false, but I wonder if something else was going on in Ephesus. Sounds like unity was needed in the church so they could reach people for Christ. In unity, the people were being challenged to use their gifts in harmony.
It is my belief that the most counter-cultural thing the Church could do today is to be a symbol of unity and bring people together. Our church is full of gifted people. We all make a difference together. I totally believe when we use our gifts we bring people together.
I thank all of you that have found a place to serve in our church. For those of you that haven't found a place, talk to our leadership. If there isn't an existing place where you think you fit, let's look at something new. Pray about it first. God will give you the answer.
I challenge all of you to read the "Parable of the Talents" found in Matthew 25:14-30. My understanding of the parable is God wants us to use our gifts in amazing ways. One gift or many, God can do amazing miracles through your service and our service together.
Called to Care
As a community of Faith, we are Called to Care for one another. Please visit our Called to Care page to learn how you can offer or request care for yourself or for a member of our church family.
Music Committee Notes| Lucinda Ellert.
This summer we’ve got a project that will include as many people who are bit handy and don’t mind getting their hands dirty. As is pretty easy to tell by listening to the organ, it’s in serious need to repair. Most of the leather pouches are rotted, having never been replaced since it was built in the 1920’s. To have Andover Organ do this for us would cost the church well over $20,000. But, Craig Seaman has generously offered to help us take on this aspect of organ repair to save us about $18,000 (!) Apparently it is a pretty easy thing to scrape off the old rotted leather and glue on a new pouch.
Craig has already removed two more boards which are now in the Fairgrieve Room (please don’t go look at them yet, as we will have to organize and number them).
If you’d like to be part of this, er, bonding experience, there is a sign-up sheet outside the Office or you can click the link for the Sign-Up Genius HERE.
Help Needed (again) in the Education Wing| Sue Panilaitis.
Another delivery is set to arrive at the church for the educational wing! It is currently scheduled for Tuesday, 8/21 anywhere from 10 am-3 pm. That Tuesday morning, the driver will be able to narrow the window. Again - I will need help to get the 12 boxes/600 pounds off the truck, assembled and into the church. Anyone around and willing to help?
Click HERE to view all TCC Sign-ups!| Church Secretary.
Click HERE to launch our TCC Sign-up Genius page. Use the tabs to switch between the sign-ups. Thank you for lending a helping hand!
Your Garden Flowers as Altar Flowers| Board of Deacons.
Summer is the perfect time to showcase your garden flowers on our altar during Sunday worship. Perhaps you grow roses... or lillies... or peonies... or zinnias... or hydrangeas.
Whatever collection of lovely blooms you may find in your garden would be most welcome to bless our sanctuary this summer. Everything that we find in nature is a gift from God, indeed!
Almost all of our summer Sundays are currently uncommitted for altar flowers. If you would like to offer your garden flowers (or even a small fresh bouqet from Market Basket in your own container), please click this link and add your name to a date that works for you.
As you know, we're quite informal on summer Sundays. Simply bring your arrangement before 9:30am worship begins and we'll be sure to place it on the altar.
Thank you for sharing your blooms!
Inherited Forgiveness| Rev. Baxter Chism.
It sure is nice when someone forgives another person. However, it may be one of the hardest things for one to do.
Reading through the entire Bible, we can see that God loves us entirely. The Holy Word of God is full of examples of covenants being broken. Sometimes people are simply cruel to one another. Humanity is good at breaking stuff. Results described are often horrible due to the choices made. Exiles occurred. Disasters followed. Families fall into disarray. Nothing good happened.
Yet God always makes a way for people to be reconciled, healed, and redeemed. Ultimately, we that follow Christ live in grace and know that when we fall short, we can turn back to God, who never left us by the way, and be healed by Him. In turn, sometimes begrudgingly, we learn to practice the art of forgiveness.
I think of the Ephesians letter, particularly Ephesians 1:7a that says, "In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us." The same chapter also uses the word "inheritance". We inherit grace and forgiveness because of what Christ did for us. Sounds awesome, right?
Forgiveness is one of the foundations of Christian discipleship. Sometimes it takes a while, but we should pray for it to come. Especially for the person that has harmed us and has not sought reconciliation. This spiritual discipline frees the soul for wonderful and beautiful service. It also shows that a person is a living and breathing example of Christ.
Jesus talked about forgiveness a lot. People should talk and communicate when something has or is going wrong. Bring in a good level-headed person to hear both sides and maybe help both see a middle ground. Peter one time asked if seven was enough times to forgive. Jesus said to forgive 77 times!
Celebrate your inheritance by trusting God and forgiving others. No, it doesn't mean they get a free pass for what they have done. It just means that you are not letting the past hold you back anymore. You are trusting God to see the person in a new way so you can have a new, brighter day.
And by the way, if you get a chance, search on the Internet for the song written by Matthew West called "Forgiveness". The inspiration for the song is very meaningful. It's about a mother who lost her daughter because of a drunk driver. God helped her forgive the man who made a terrible decision and today they are friends. Go check it out. Maybe it will help you if there is someone you need to forgive today.
Share your inheritance.
Seeking Something| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Back when I was called into ministry, I went on a mission trip to an impoverished community. It was shocking to me to see houses in terrible condition. Some of the houses did not have septic tanks or field lines and raw sewage drained into yards. I wasn't in another country. It was in the United States of America.
I don't know about you, but I think a lot of people think that mission trips are all about you and your group changing the world. Yes, we all play a big part in representing Christ and changing a lot of things, but it is more than that. Sometimes the mission is for you to change because we often find Christ through the people we meet. It's like we go seeking one thing but find something else.
Reading in Mark 6:30-34, we overhear Jesus trying to get away with the Disciples for a little rest. His mystique was growing. People had heard about healings and they wanted to see Him. If we jump ahead to Mark 6:53-56 people were healed simply by touching His cloak. Amazing!
When I read these passages, I like to focus on the seeking part. They were seeking Him at all cost and wanted to heal. When we seek Jesus, some type of healing comes to us. It may not be what we want, but usually, it is something.
So back to my mission trip. I was in a place that I would have never gone unless it was for Jesus. However, in my heart, I knew I was seeking something. The reason I went was to hopefully change and seek to make the lives of those I helped better. But what also happened was I changed. The lens through which I saw the world changed. I began to see things in a different way.
We helped a lot of people in poverty but their spirit was not poor. They were more thankful to God than I had ever been. There was a trust that everything was going to be okay. I learned a lot and it changed me.
Never stop seeking.
Funny Church Signs| Rev. Baxter Chism.
Recently I was challenged to come up with some catchy phrases to put on our sign on the front of the church. New pastors quickly find out after they arrive that there are expectations of us that aren't in our job description. This is one that I totally like because I'm going to have fun. Get ready for some doozies.
Around the country, churches compete when it comes to church signs and catchy phrases. Some are hilarious. Some are not hilarious and seem a little mean. At my previous church, there was a little church not even a mile away. They never changed the sign. On the sign, it read: "Accept The Bread Of Life Or You Are Toast". Ouch! How many of you want to go to this church?
Here is one I like better: "Having Trouble Sleeping? - We Have Sermons - Come Hear One!" That is more my speed. Thanks to Alden Presbyterian Church for coming up with this one. You made me laugh!
Last year one of my friends reminded me of one of my pastors growing up, Rev. Don Fuller. Rev. Fuller baptized me when I was 15. He was a funny guy and my home church loved him very much. One of his gifts was he could relate to anybody on a personal level. He was just a regular guy and his sermons really hit home. I didn't realize how much hearing him preach the gospel shaped me.
One day someone challenged him by saying, "Reverend, you never talk about hell. Don't you think others need to hear about it so they will be saved?" Rev. Fuller thought for a minute and responded, "Well, I think many people have enough 'hell' in their life already. I'm going to share the good news of God."
As long as I'm your pastor, our community will drive by and see something funny or inspiring on our sign. I agree with Rev. Fuller, we already have enough to deal with in life. When you and I share the good news we are a "sign" for God. It translates into a disciple that is growing in Christ. Be a sign for God!
I like what Ephesians 3:18-19 says. "I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Be a sign for God and enjoy being filled with God's fullness! Help others know that fullness too.