NOT A FAN In 2011 Kyle Idleman wrote the following article for Huffington Post. The title of the article was “Why I’m Not a ‘Fan’ of Jesus.” Several years have passed, and I’m sure that some of these statistics have changed, but the question that still remains for you and me is “Am I a fan or a follower of Jesus?” According to a recent survey, the percentage of Americans who claim to be Christian is somewhere north of 75 percent. Really? Three out of four people are followers of Christ? Let’s see, if the population of the United States is about 311 million and 75 percent are Christians that brings the number of Christians to somewhere in the neighborhood of 233 million. That’s a lot of Christians. I don’t see nearly that many Jesus fish on car bumpers. I don’t know, maybe all the Darwin fish ate them. I’m just saying something about that percentage is off. Because if there really are that many Christians, then why will some 35 million people in America go to bed hungry tonight, including 13 million children? If 75 percent of Americans are Christians, then how is it possible that 40 percent of the homeless are under the age of 18? Why are there more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted? I could keep going, and that’s just in the States. The numbers don’t add up. Jesus said the evidence that someone is one of his followers is love. So 233 million? The evidence just isn’t there. What’s the explanation for such a discrepancy? A number of years ago I read an article about the new vegetarians. These new vegetarians don’t eat meat — most of the time. One of them explained that she was a vegetarian, but she really liked bacon. A vegetarian, by definition, is someone who doesn’t eat meat. Umm, yeah, but isn’t bacon a meat? Is it really accurate for her to identify herself as a vegetarian? If enough people who eat meat started calling themselves vegetarians wouldn’t that throw the numbers off? The discrepancy was solved by coming up with a new term to describe vegetarians who aren’t committed to abstaining from meat. They now identify themselves as “Flexitarians.” A Christian, by definition, is a follower of Christ. So, I’m thinking that what might help make sense of the 233 million number is a new word to describe people who identify themselves as Christians but have little interest in actually following the teachings of Jesus. Perhaps instead of “followers,” it would be more accurate to call them “fans.”
The word fan is most simply defined as, an enthusiastic admirer. And I think Jesus has a lot of fans these days. Some fans may even get dressed up for church on Sunday and make their ringtone a worship song. They like being associated with Jesus. Fans want to be close enough to Jesus to get the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them. They want a no-strings-attached relationship with Jesus. So a fan says, I like Jesus but don’t ask me to serve the poor. I like Jesus, but I’m not going to give my money to people who are in need. I like Jesus, but don’t ask me to forgive the person who hurt me. I like Jesus, but don’t talk to me about money or sex that’s off limits.
Fans like Jesus just fine, but they don’t want to give up the bacon. Fans tend to identify themselves as Christians not because they are committed to following Jesus, but for a number of other reasons. They might point to their family heritage thinking that being a Christian is in their DNA. Like a pug nose or a uni-brow it was somehow passed down from mom and dad. Fans might identify themselves as Christians by pointing to religious rituals they’ve kept and rules they’ve followed. Ultimately, defining what it means to be a follower of Jesus isn’t nearly as arbitrary or subjective as we’ve made it. Jesus very clearly lays it out in Luke 9:23. He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” These words tend to separate fans from followers. Followers are to deny themselves and take up a cross. Instead of giving a theological explanation of what that means, it’s probably more helpful to show what it looks like. I’ve spent the last year collecting stories of fans who have become followers.
For Rachelle, following Jesus meant showing love to the women working in strip clubs. She and some of her friends started making big homemade meals and taking them to the women in the clubs. As a result many of the women no longer know Christians as just the group of angry picketers out front who, from their perspective, are trying to take away their job and have started to know Christians by their love. Jennifer and Tom had a car they rarely drove. They decided that they really didn’t need two cars and would give one of their cars to a single mom who needed transportation. One car was a 2001 model, the other was a 2004 model. They gave her the newer one.
Bowin and Lindsey each ran their own successful business. They had a Mercedes SUV to handle their four kids. For them, following Jesus meant selling nearly everything they had and moving to the Island of Hispaniola to bring clean water to thousands in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. That’s just three stories of followers. I’m praying that there would be around 233,249,997 more. They may not be as dramatic or inspiring, but my prayer is that Christians would be known not by a fish on their bumper — or the profile on their Facebook page — or by going regularly to their church, but they would be followers of Jesus who are known for their love. Our purpose at St. Luke’s is to reach, grow, and send forth fully devoted followers of Jesus. If there was ever a day, when our world needed us to step up and step out with the love of Jesus, that day is today. May God fill us with His Spirit and fulfill His purpose in each and everyone of us! —Andy
PALM SUNDAY 2018 as Local Pastors lead the people of West Texas in prayer! MARCH 25, 2018 5pm—7pm JONES STADIUM Lubbock, TX
PRAYER As I spent 30 minutes one morning responding to e-mails and organizing my day (trying to grow the church) I really heard the Holy Spirit say to me, "I wish you all would just pray as much." I have been strongly convicted and burdened about how we function as a church family trying to reach a lost community around us. I am fairly certain that as a group of people called together by God, we do not regularly pray for more people to be 'saved' through a new relationship with Jesus Christ. So I prayed. Then went to 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 and read. "11 Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; 12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13 so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints." We each must continue to grow in the love of Jesus Christ ourselves. When walking the earth, Jesusâ€™ love always culminated in the hope that the recipient of his love would become a follower of his eternal love. We follow this pattern. Think about a plant: New growth produces new fruit and new fruit produces new seeds and new seeds produce totally new plants and eventually the area is populated through that cycle. The opposite is true as well: if you do not let a plant grow, and just maintain it, it will never produce fruit. It will always be a living plant, but it will never populate the area. The exact illustration reflects our churches. I am inviting you to pray at noon each day and include these 6 points of prayer: 1. My prayer is for us all to become hungry for Jesus Christ's truthful teachings. John 17:17 2. My prayer is for us all to be holy because Christ is holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16 3. My prayer is that we all become fruitful through the Holy Spirit and change lives. Colossians 1:9-14 4. My prayer is that we tell others and have conversations about Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 5. My prayer is to show others the value of being a follower of Jesus Christ. Romans 12:2 6. My prayer is every new Christian leads someone else when they begin praying #1 - #5 Matthew 28:19-21 Moving Mountains, one rock at a time
Location: Anton Texas Date: January 2-5 2018 Contact: Matt Wolfington email@example.com
COOKIES & CONNECTION It seems I’ve lived a thousand days just good enough to feel empty and just bad enough to feel guilty. Jesus plus this, Jesus plus that, all to be accepted by God. It was really wreaking havoc in my life. The regrets and wrongs I had committed haunted me into believing that I could never fully gain back my relationship with Him. That was all a lie. What I’ve found at St. Luke’s is incredible. Freedom from the requirements and rules I had placed on myself to be acceptable to God. His incredible grace and love without limits given lavishly and specifically to even the bad parts of me. It is very, very true, that if we seek God, we will find Him…all of Him. Praise God for His unending mercy and grace that floods beyond even the ugliness and pain we so craftily try to hide. God is bigger and provides better for us! Back in the day, (which for me means the 80’s), you attended church because that’s what you were supposed to do. On Saturday one might drink and chew and date girls that do but on Sunday, without a doubt, you were in your family pew. Things have changed. Now, when people attend church for the first time, I believe it is not out of obligation. Rather, I believe they are honestly seeking for something to fit that empty place that only God can fill. They may not know it but they sure can feel it. Just good enough to be empty, just bad enough to be guilty or just empty altogether. Whatever it may be it is very real, very honest and they are looking for answers rather than just clicking off the Sunday checklist. Our Reach and Keep Ministry wants to welcome and hold all of our first time visitors. Our task is to be sure each visitor receives the welcome packet full of information about St. Luke’s wonderful ministries and a dozen or two fresh baked cookies within 24 hours of worshiping with us. But our goal is to say we see you, we want you, and we love you and we believe that the very Christ that has accepted, rescued and changed us can do the same for you too. We want to say welcome and please be a part of His family! Since beginning in September, we have delivered 744 cookies and reached out to 40 plus families. No doubt they are good cookies but nothing in comparison to the message they carry of God’s love and unending grace and His invitation and warm welcome into His church family! Out of all those numbers perhaps there is a person just like me, just good enough to feel empty, just bad enough to feel guilty, seeking for something to fit that empty place that only God can fill. It’s amazing what God can do! If you want to be part of reaching out to our first time visitors, please call me, 806.577.1066. It’s good, honest work that doesn’t often show immediate results but it could be the beginning of a life changing experience for a brother or sister or even you. And the cookies aren’t bad either. Matthew 28:16-20. His peace, Todd
As we approach our national time of Thanksgiving, we are inspired to reflect on and give thanks for the many blessings that God gives us. One blessing for which I am thankful is my brothers and sisters who serve in the music ministry. I am grateful for their dedication and cooperative spirit. The successful performance of a piece of music is not something that happens by accident. It is the result of dedicating time and effort to learning a composition and skillfully blending voices and instruments together in melody and harmony. St. Luke’s ensembles are wonderfully dedicated to offering their best to the Lord within their allotted rehearsal times. Our ensembles are also delightfully cooperative. I look forward to weekly rehearsals because everyone gets along really well. We all share the common goal of worshipping the Lord and of bringing out the best in one another. If our mood is affected by life’s woes, we are gracious and encouraging towards one another. And, this cooperative spirit is seen in the willingness to do new and different things. Our ensembles offer creative programs during year and go off campus regularly to minister to the community in a variety of places. I give thanks for all of St. Luke’s ensembles!
Carols and Candles As many of you have noticed, our annual Christmas program has been changing from a typical “Lessons and Carols” format to a Christmas concert that intertwines music, scripture and story. The main purpose of any celebration of Christmas is not glory in the nostalgia of tradition, but to share the gospel in a clear, meaningful and relevant way to the world. On December 10th, Carols and Candles hopes to accomplish this goal in three ways. First, the storyline of the show will demonstrate how a vocation can be a metaphor for our relationship with God. In the story, a luthier (a craftsman who works on stringed instruments) describes a metaphor that she made to help her remember God in the midst of her vocation. Second, Carols and Candles will celebrate the hope that Christmas brings by looking at how God values every person and seeks to transform his or her life. This is expressed beautifully in a new setting of the poem “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” Check out Bear Mill’s podcast from May 30 th, entitled “Myra’s Old Violin,” for the powerful background story of this great poem. Finally, with the retelling of important scriptures, with the performing of the choral and instrumental music, and with the presence of St. Luke’s loving hospitality, the gospel will be celebrated and shared with visitors. Let’s all make Carols and Candles a time to grow and strengthen the Kingdom of God.
Coffee and Cocoa and Concessions Immediately following the performance of Carols and Candles, we will have a time of fellowship in the narthex and sun room (the glassed in the area connected to the narthex). Last year, this was well received. People enjoyed coffee, cocoa and cookies and shared good conversation and fellowship. The ultimate purpose of this time, however, is to connect people to Jesus and the church. Church growth specialists say that the most critical time for connecting with visitors is just after services. This is when visitors have formed questions and are ripe for conversation about the life of the church. Let’s not miss this opportunity to grow St. Luke’s and the Kingdom of God. The reason for the word concessions in the heading of this section is because a variety of treats will be offered free of charge as part of the fellowship time. In the storyline of Carols and Candles, a church is having an annual Christmas Concert in a “Texas sized” gazebo located in the town square of a small Texas town. A tradition of this outdoor concert is to offer homemade concessions to “warm the body as the music warms the soul.” The list of concessions includes coffee and cocoa, candied beans, popcorn, cotton candy, cheese and crackers, and brisket and ribs. I don’t think we’ll have enough room to offer all of the concessions, only a few. If you would be interested helping to arrange and serve these “concessions,” please contact me.
Guitar Class Donations
If you have guitar that you are not using, why not consider donating it to Guitar Class? There are some people who would like to take guitar lessons but do not own a guitar. Donating a guitar is a practical way to help the church raise up musicians in service to the Lord. Your donated guitar may be the beginning of someone’s influential career in music.
St. Luke’s Central Campus YouTube Channel
The Music Ministry has created a YouTube channel for its ensembles to learn and review music that they will perform. I am sharing this channel with the congregation so that everyone can enjoy the music that is offered on Sunday mornings and at special events. Here is the content of the YouTube Channel Carols and Candles Music Choir Anthems Demos (when available) Sunday Praise Songs New Songs for the Praise Band Praise Band Repertoire Informative Videos on Music A link to St. Luke’s Guitar Class Channel (another channel for guitar instruction) To access this YouTube channel, go to YouTube on your computer, tablet or phone and type in the search engine “St. Luke’s Central Music.” I am updating the channel periodically, so it may change in appearance and content.
Laughter for the Soul
Q. Who was the smartest man in the Bible? A. Abraham. He knew a Lot. Q. How do we know Peter was a rich fisherman? A. By his net income. Q. Who was the fastest runner in the race? A. Adam, because he was first in the human race. A minister was walking to church one morning when he passed one of his members working in his garden. "Can't you hear those bells calling you to church?" gently asked the minister. "Eh, what's that?" said the member. Raising his voice, the minister repeated "Can't you hear those bells calling you to church?" "I'm afraid you'll have to speak a little louder!" said the member. "CAN'T YOU HEAR THOSE BELLS CALLING YOU TO CHURCH?!" shouted the minister. "I'm sorry," said the member, "I can't hear you because of those darned BELLS!" Areas to Serve and Grow Choirs, Orchestra, String Ensemble, Bells, Band, Sound Crew, Media Crew, Librarians, Guitar Class, Drama Christmas 12/10- Carols and Candles Performance- 6:00pm @ the Central Campus Sanctuary 12/14- Bell Choir Christmas Concert @ Carillon 6:30pm 12/16- St. Luke’s Singers Christmas Caroling, Lunch and Movie 10:00am-3:00pm 12/16- Radio Show- 6:00pm @ Central Campus Fellowship Hall 12/17- Orchestra Plays at South Plains Mall @ 2:00pm (NEW) 12/22- Bells of Christmas- 6:00pm at Central Campus 12/23 and 12/24- Christmas Eve services
LIGHT THE NIGHT On Tuesday, October 31st, our Light The Night 2017 outreach was a huge success thanks to the church-wide effort. Many of you committed to pray, donate candy, host a location or assist in hosting. Five locations all across the city opened their driveways to embrace hundreds of families. In fact, based on estimates from each of the locations, our church served close to 2000 trick or treaters and their families right in our own neighborhoods. This is the Gospel at it’s core… meeting people where they are and serving them. Scripture tells us that people will know us by our love for one another. And, that is exactly what we are doing when come together as the body of Christ to serve our neighbors. I am very excited to see where this goes as we look forward to Light The Night 2018. My hope is that many more will catch the vision for Light The Night and will want to be a part of this grassroots outreach next year. All the darkness in the world can’t hold back the light of the smallest flame. Be that flame. Be the light of the world that Jesus himself called you in Matthew 5. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5.14-16 NIV — Dallas
St. Luke’s Leadership Teams - 2018 Lay Leadership Team: Dr. Andy Hurst, Chair Class of 2018 Mandi Patton Mark Loveland Class of 2019 Karen McMahon Wayne Perrin Class of 2020 Dee Riebel Pat Ables
Larry Burton Toni Hancock Kara Jeffers
Staff Parish Relations Team: Jim Riebel, Chair Class of 2018 Melissa Crawford Barak Harlan Class of 2019 Patti Jones Marylin Merton Class of 2020 Jim Chandler Donnell Archer
Keith Gilmore Rick Lyon Pat Bradley
Board of Trustees: Class of 2018 Class of 2019 Class of 2020
Pat Lewis, Chair Sam Kennedy Ray Jeffers Derek Skipper
Bo Hester Jake Bentley Ben Hayes
Harvey Wellman Pat Lewis Justin Phillips
Finance Team: Class of 2018 Class of 2019 Class of 2020
Greg Taylor, Chair Greg Taylor Michael Jeffers Carole Wardroup
Nathan Jephcott Jack Booe D. J. Moeller
Alysia Smith Edwina Wight Eddy Morelock
Evangelism Team: Class of 2018 Class of 2019 Class of 2020
Larry Gaumond, Chair Tomi Jeffers Erin Boney Mark Dame Paul Faulkner Caryl Mills Morgan Waters
David McDaniel Larry Gaumond Leslie Skipper
Endowment Team (St. Luke’s Foundation); Danny Leake Jack Scarborough
Mission’s Team: Class of 2018 Class of 2019 Class of 2020
Mike Rogers, Chair Chuck Anderson Shelah Wood Vicki Faulkner
Mike McMurry Karen Carruth Rusty Hendrick
Janet Snively Mike Rogers Vera Tittle
Pre-school/PDO/After School Care Team: Dee Riebel, Chair Class of 2018 Justin Phillips Morgan Vaughan Class of 2019 Dee Riebel Randy Laycock Class of 2020 Dottie Wade Christiane Wheatley Administrative Council Scott Houy Chair 2018 Chairs: Members At Large: Larry Gaumond Youth Rep (TBD) Terrell Thompson Mike Rogers Vicki Jobe Barbara Ehlers Greg Taylor Wanda Baker Mackey Hancock Jim Riebel Cindy Ferguson Tim Ebelthite Pat Lewis Mike Smith
St. Luke’s Administrative Leaders: Administrative Council Chair & Lay Leader: Delegates to Annual Conference: McMurry Representative Lubbock County Board of Missions United Methodist Women United Methodist Men Southwest Lay Leaders Church Historian
Alysia Smith Michael Jeffers Betty Spain
Barak Harlan Tracy Page Danny Leake Darren Jones
Scott Houy Mike Smith & Kathy Smith Orland Gilbert Mike Smith JoAn Chandler Arnie Smith TBD Sam Ayers
Mackey & Toni Hancock
It's here! It's finally here! Christmas is finally here! I just love Christmas, don't you? What do you like best about Christmas? Is it the Christmas tree with its blinking lights? Maybe it's the beautiful music or the delicious Christmas goodies. Perhaps it's Christmas dinner with turkey and dressing and all of the trimmings. For some it might be all of the parties or visiting with family and friends. For many people the best thing about Christmas is the presents â€” both the ones we give and the ones we receive. Especially the ones we receive! Hmm. . . Can you think of anything I have left out? Oh yes! It's someone's birthday, isn't it? Whose birthday is it? That's right! It is Jesus' birthday. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in all of the decorations, lights, parties, and presents that we miss the real Christmas. That reminds me of a story I heard about a little boy who had always wanted to go to a circus. One day he was walking down the street when he saw a poster in a store window. The poster said that a circus was coming to town and that a ticket to the circus cost one dollar. The boy ran home and asked his father if he would give him a dollar to go to the circus on Saturday. His father told him that if he would work hard and get all of his chores done, he would give him a dollar to go to the circus. Saturday morning came and the boy got up early and did all of his chores. "I have all of my chores done," the boy told his dad. The boy's father gave him a dollar and the boy headed into town filled with excitement about seeing wild animals, trapeze artists, and all of the things that come with a circus. Since he arrived in town so early, he was on the front row when the circus parade started down the main street of town. The boy was thrilled when the animals and other circus acts paraded by. At the end of the parade came the clowns and following the clowns was the ringmaster. When the ringmaster passed by where he was standing, the boy ran out into the street, took his folded dollar bill from his pocket, and handed it to the ringmaster. Thanks," mister, said the boy, "that was a great circus." Then he turned around and walked home. He never knew what he had missed. He thought he had been to the circus, but he had only been to the parade. If we are not careful, we can be like that little boy. We can get so caught up in the celebration, the decorations, and the gifts that we miss the real Christmas -- the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas,
Thank you so much to everyone who came out for the corn maze! We had a great time filled with fun, food, and fellowship.
You Are invited To a celebration of The birth of Jesus, as told and sung by the Four-year old & Kindergarten classes at St. Luke’s Preschool & Kindergarten. Join us in the church sanctuary December 7 or 8 at 9:15 a.m. You will be blessed!
UPCOMING EVENTS December 3 – St. Luke’s Singers Carols & Candles Practice @ Central – Pizza December 3 – Tree Trimming 9:30am during Children’s Worship December 9th – 10:00 am –12:00pm – Carols &Candles Dress Rehearsal December 10th – 6:00pm Carols & Candles @ Central
December 16th 10:00am – 3:00pm St. Luke’s Singers Christmas Caroling December 17th – 4:00pm A Night in Bethlehem @Southwest December 23rd– 4:00pm Christmas Eve Service –Geared to kids Contact D’Lea or Alli for a copy of the Fall Children’s Ministries Calendar. Check out our website: stlukeskids.com or get added to our Children’s Ministries Facebook page. Also sign up for Remind101 by downloading the app and joining our class: @stlukekids.
Candlelight Christmas Services December 22 6:00pm at Central—Christmas Bell Concert December 23 4:00pm at Central—Kid’s Christmas 6:00pm at Southwest
December 24 8:30am at Central 10:30am at Southwest 10:45am at Central 4:00pm at Southwest 6:00pm at Central 11:00pm at Central
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE ST. LUKE’S STAFF “We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift”
St. Luke's Winter Newsletter with all of the exciting events happening this season.