Why?

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Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow suffering and evil? These are questions central to the Christian faith, and questions that have not gone unexplored in the canon of Christian philosophy. Job, Augustine, C.S. Lewis, and others have contributed to the ongoing dialog surrounding this issue. For some, stories of personal suffering, persecution, and martyrdom provide a rallying point and reminder of the pain Christ faced at the cross and the price of our sin; others suggest suffering is a character-building endeavor. One thing is sure: suffering is an important element of the Christian faith. As the apostle Paul wrote: ” I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3 :8, NIV).

Why Christians don’t share their faith

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IMG_33331. Fear. The fear of being ridiculed, disapproved and persecuted by the world, especially those close to us and those who have authority over us like parents, spouses and bosses.
2. They don’t feel or think that they are qualified. I AM ALSO GUILTY OF THAT. I spent most of my life trying to heal my
emotions. Didn’t feel qualified to share the gospel I was so messed up who would want what I have if I am still a mess?
3. They want to keep their jobs. Just to keep their jobs, Christians have negated the Great Commission. In the workplace you fear losing your job. It is a very real possibility in this day and age. However in the church it is also a problem because of those with legalistic perspectives. You might not get it right.
4. Complacency, lack of compassion and passion, spiritual laziness Luke 8:14 and that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
5. Too many worry about “political correctness”. It’s not politically correct anymore to share your faith.
6. Influenced by worldly culture because they have believed the lie that they are “pushing” their beliefs on someone.
7. A lack of training and don’t know how to share. ! believe it’s because they weren’t informed about the true meaning and responsibility of being a disciple of The Lord Jesus Christ.
8. Not strong Christians with strong faith.
9. Few people believed what they said and believed in. Because we live in a world that is so tolerant of everything but Christianity! Just the mention of “Jesus” sends everyone to their politically correct corner.

10. ” they don’t see the example from Church leaders.

Welcome Spring: a New Brother in Christ

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Pastor Russ (right) receives our newest member by profession of faith into the church family of St. Paul East. Joining St. Paul East is such a wonderful experience…so much more than just adding a name to the church roster. Below is the profession of faith that is used at St. Paul when a new member joins:

  • Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sins? I do.
  • Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? I do.
  • Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve Him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races? I do.
  • Reception into the United Methodist Church -As a member of Christ’s universal church, will you be loyal to Christ through the United Methodist Church, and do all in your power to strengthen its ministries? I will.
  •  Reception into the Local Congregation -As a member of this congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your services, and your witness? I will. 

Snowy Scenes yet Warm and Inviting

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Snowy scenes of our sweet little brown church. It may be snowy outdoors, but it is warm and inviting inside. Pastor Russ has provided a stunningly beautiful altarscape with symbols depicting the season of #Lent. Join us for church each Sunday at 10:30 am! #stpauleast #littlebrownchurch

 

Signed Sealed Delivered

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It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it, found yourself home free —signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment of on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

Ephesians 1:13-14

 

Our Pastor’s Role as Chaplain

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Police officers are in a class by themselves. By nature of the task they perform in the line of duty, they are a breed apart. They bear a tremendous responsibility, they are arbitrators of everything imaginable, instant problem solvers and often called upon to make split second life and death decisions  An effective chaplaincy program can help to conserve this valuable resource. As a chaplain with the Knoxville Police Department my first responsibility is to the Officer, to assist them in spiritual and occupational issues. Next we minister to the victims of crime, inform families when there has been a death or accident. We are one way in which God can use to let law enforcement know that they are not forgotten.
Pastor Russ

Advent at St. Paul

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Hope! Joy! Peace! Advent is the season in the Christian year when we hear and participate in the time of waiting for the birth of the Messiah. Today we lit the 2nd candle of Advent. We look with hope for the second coming of Christ. We pray for the light of Christ to fill “us with joy and peace in believing.” We hear the voice of God in scripture. We hear the voices of God’s people around the earth as we pray together for the joy and peace of Christ’s love to warm the hearts and lives of all humankind.

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We use the colors of purple and blue in worship as visual reminders of the season. One of the primary symbols of the season has become the Advent Wreath. A quick search on the Internet will find several articles on the history and tradition of the Advent Wreath. The wreath itself is a symbol of life without end. The lighting of a candle each week marks our journey through the four weeks of Advent. Advent begins on December 1 and culminates with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Advent Wreath and Celebrating Birth at St. Paul East

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There are four candles on the wreath: three are usually purple and one is pink. The first purple candle is lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and represents hope. The following Sunday another purple candle is lit to represent love. On the second Sunday before Christmas the final purple candle is lit for joy, and on the final Sunday before Christmas the pink candle is lit as a prayer for peace. On Christmas Day a final candle is introduced into the wreath. It is usually white and set in the middle of the wreath and is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

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The sanctuary and altar are beautifully decorated by Pastor Russ. The little vase of pink flowers at the altar were placed there by Shirley Hatcher in recognition of the birth of ANOTHER new granddaughter. The baby’s name is Berkley Ann.

Everyone is welcome at St. Paul United Methodist. Come celebrate this blessed season for every Sunday throughout #Advent and beyond.

New Members and Baptism

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Today we welcomed Michelle & Mike into the St. Paul family. Michelle comes by profession of faith and baptism. Mike comes by profession of faith. Their granddaughters Hannah, Jailen, and Chloe were also baptized and became provisional members. We welcome them to the family of God and the United Methodist Church.

In baptism, the candidate makes a public confession of her/his faith in Christ, is formally received into the fellowship of believers, and pledges to respond in faithful and loving service to the grace given them by God. United Methodists believe and confess that God pours out the Holy Spirit on the candidate during baptism, washing away their sins and empowering them to live according to the Gospel. This outpouring of forgiveness and empowerment is alluded to in the symbolism of washing by water. The candidate is empowered through the grace of God to begin and to sustain a life of Christian discipleship.

When an infant is baptized, the parents speak for the child in the taking of the baptismal vows, promising, along with the congregation, to provide spiritual guidance as the child grows to be able to honor the vows in the future. When the child becomes old enough to openly profess those baptismal vows, he/she undergoes the process of confirmation: being educated in the meaning of being a professing member of the body of Christ, subsequently making a profession of faith before the congregation.

Older children/adolescents, as well as adults who are of sound mind, do not require the same mediation of the vows that infants do; therefore, they take the vows themselves at baptism. Baptism, as practiced in The United Methodist Church, has commemorative, celebratory, and anticipatory aspects: it commemorates what God’s grace has already accomplished in the believer’s life, it celebrates the forgiveness of sins and the initiation into the Church that are emphasized during the ritual, and it anticipates a future of growing in grace and in closeness to God as one honors the baptismal vows.

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