Amber Congregational Church - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.
The ShoreLight - Amber Church Newsletter
May 2019


Worship: An Intentional Act
 
   The spiritual discipline that we are encouraging everyone to focus on this month is that of worship.  It is a common word but perhaps not an understood concept when it comes to Christian practice.  Perhaps a good place to start to talk of worship then is with the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12.
 
     Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in
     view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a
     living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is
     your true and proper worship.  (Romans 12:1)
 
    Beginning here at chapter 12 is jumping into the middle of a very theological letter.  It requires us to look back at what has already been written in chapters 1-11.  Simply stated those chapters detail what is here referred to as “God’s mercy.”  They describe the human condition as dead in sin with no goodness of our own.  Yet despite of this, or in fact because of it, Jesus came to provide salvation, a progressive salvation that justifies and sanctifies. It immediately changes the believer’s standing before God and then gradually addresses the issues of character, perspective and behavior.  This salvation also comes with the future assurance of eternal life.  What mercy to those who deserve the opposite.  This message of truth is so exhilarating that the Apostle breaks out into a benediction song… “For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36).  Romans 12:1 is the very next verse and it directs that worship is to be our response to all that God has done for us in Jesus. 
 
   But what is worship?  How should we define it?  What does it look like?  Looking at this verse as our text we see that some thought needs to be involved if we are to worship correctly.  Worship is the proper response we arrive at after considering “God’s mercy.”  Mercy is given to those who deserve the opposite.  We deserve the opposite!  In recognizing that we need and have been given mercy we should make a worshipful response.  Romans 12:1 states that doing so will apparently involve some kind of an offering. 
 
   It is true that the Apostle Paul was extremely careful in his presentation of the gospel so that it would be given without cost, freely to all.  He clearly desired that money not be allowed to color and confuse the gift of God.  It is not a message that is for sale.  Yet in a worship setting the receiving of an offering is an opportunity to express our thoughtful decision to worship the God who has given us mercy.  I often say in the offertory prayer on Sunday that we are presenting all that we are and all that we have to God in the symbolic act of taking an offering, and I encourage each one to place their hand on the plate as it passes and say simply, “Lord Jesus, I give you myself.”
 
   It is, according to Romans 12:1, our bodies that we are offering.  I like the way The Message paraphrases this verse.
 
     So here’s what I want you to do, God helping
     you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your
     sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-
     around life – and place it before God as an
     offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the
     best thing you can do for him.
 
   Do you get the idea?  Worship is not something one does for an hour on Sunday morning in some attempt to equalize the scales of good and bad activities.  It is even less an exercise that puts God in our debt, a kind of forcing him to bless us because we just blessed him with an hour of our valuable time.  No, no…worship is the very least we can do and the very best we can do.  It is the least because it is absolutely nothing compared to what Jesus has done for us.  It is the best because it is what God wants and he calls it “true and proper.”  Jesus himself said, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23). 
 
   This month I encourage you to ponder whether your everyday life is an act of worship. Consider what you could do to make it so.  Then actually offer yourself to God, say the words out loud.  As usual, I look forward to seeing you in Worship.
                        Rick


 Amber Congregational Church Church Officers (2019)

Board of Elders   (3 year terms)
     term expiring 2020 - Carl Barber, Mark Henderson, Sally Wilson
     term expiring 2021 - James Frary
     term expiring 2022 - Cathy Smith, Sherry Persad, Deb O’Brien
 
Board of Trustees   (3 year terms)
    term expiring 2020 - David Heath, Jack Seymour, Matt Henderson,
                                      Chuck Harris
    term expiring 2021 - Mike Curtis, Teal Trendowski
    term expiring 2022 - Cheryl Curtis, Jeff Southard, Terry Wheeler
 
Ministry Directors   (3 year terms)
     Outreach Director (2020) - Cathy Smith
     Worship Director (2021) - Nancy Barber
     Christian Education Director (2022) - Sue Ellen Harris
 
Nominating Committee  (2 year terms)
     term expiring 2020 - Deb O’Brien, Teal Trendowski, Cindy Casler
     term expiring 2021 - David Angelo, Mark Henderson (Chairperson)
 
Other Officers  (1 year terms expiring 2020)
    Clerk - Cheryl Curtis
    Treasurer - Gail Frary
    Financial Secretary - Faith Stopyro
    Assistant to the Treasurer and Finacial Secretary - Jenn Schultz
    Ministerial Relations Chairman - Mike Curtis
 
Samaritan Fund Committee  (2 year terms)
     term expiring 2020 - Sally Wilson, Cheryl Curtis
                                       (appointed from the Elders and Trustees)
     term expiring 2021 - Faith Stopyro  (elected by congregation), 
                                       Jim Frary, Matt Henderson 
                                       (appointed from the Elders and Trustees)
     permanent members - Rick Chaffee, Cathy Smith 
                                        (Minister and Outreach Director)
 
Other 1 Year Appointed Positions (1 year terms expiring in 2020)
    Overseer of Greeters - Deb O’Brien  (appointed by the Worship Director)
    Overseer of Acolytes and Nursery – Nancy Barber 
                                                                  (appointed by the Worship Director)
    Librarian – Cheryl Curtis  (appointed by the Education Director)
    Historian – Sally Wilson  (appointed by the Clerk)
 
Appointed Positions by the Trustees  (indefinite term)
    Janitor - Rich McVicar
    Music Director - Lois Chaffee
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