Christmas Eve Services 2014

On Wednesday, December 24, St. Alban’s held its Christmas Eve Services at 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm.  Below are pictures of the youth choir, the altar and the manger scene from that service.

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2014 Pet Blessing

On Sunday, October 5, 2014 (St. Francis Day), St. Alban’s had its annual Blessing of the Animals. The Feast of St. Francis of comes each year on October 4, and Episcopal parishes often celebrate this festival on or near this date.

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Bible Trivia

Bible Trivia

1. What city was Jonah told to visit by God and preach a message of repentance? Ninevah

2. In what book of the bible is it said, “God helps those who help themselves?
This statement is NOT in the bible

3. Which angel fought Satan over the body of Moses? Michael (Jude verse 9)

4. St. Paul presented the gospel to two Kings – can you name one of them? King Agrippa and King Festus

5. Who went with Paul on the second missionary journey? Silas (Barnabas went on the first)

6. Which apostle talked with the Ethiopian? Philip

7. How many people were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost? 120

8. Two individuals in the Old Testament did not die but were taken alive into heaven (translated). Can you name them? Enoch and Elijah

9. On what mountain did Noah’s Ark come to rest after the flood waters abated? Ararat

10. Which Old Testament prophet walked naked for three years? Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3)

A Little More About Vision

About a decade ago, Pastor Rick Warren reached national prominence by writing a book entitled, “The Purpose Driven Life”. It was read by millions of people and catapulted Pastor Rick into the limelight, both secular and Christian.

I was privileged to hear him give the keynote address at a very large conference about a year after the book was written. He said, “I have two very difficult problems in my life today. First I am incredibly wealthy and secondly I have tremendous influence.” Most of the world would not call wealth and popularity “problems” but for Rick they were. He shared of his humble beginnings as he journeyed from Texas to Los Angles (Orange County) where he started a church with his only ambition to “save souls” and tell people about Jesus.

Never intending to become rich or famous he was now faced with a very difficult set of problems. What to do with his wealth and what to do with his influence? By all accounts he has chosen wisely in his stewardship. He has resisted the temptation to “prosper” in lavish living and instead, invested heavily in expanding the Kingdom for the Lord Jesus Christ.

In his talk he reflected on the book and made the following disclaimer. (I paraphrase because it’s coming from my memory, but it went something like this), I have no idea why God decided to use the book I wrote. I have said nothing that hasn’t been said before many times by more gifted writers and deeper thinkers. In fact, there is nothing original in the book at all. I simply took the truths and principles from God’s Word and the life and message of His son, Jesus Christ and amplified what I believe they teach.

Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun (Solomon said that in the Book of Ecclesiastes) but Warren put together a compelling and captivating collect of great truth with clarity and down to earth language.

“The Purpose-Driven Life is a manifesto for Christian living in the 21st century…a lifestyle based on eternal purposes, not cultural values. Using biblical stories and letting the Bible speak for itself, Warren clearly explains God’s five purposes for each of us:
• We were planned for God’s pleasure
o so your first purpose is to offer real worship.
• We were formed for God’s family
o so your second purpose is to enjoy real fellowship.
• We were created to become like Christ,
o so your third purpose is to learn real discipleship.
• We were shaped for serving God
o so your fourth purpose is to practice real ministry.
• We were made for a mission
o so your fifth purpose is to live out real evangelism”
From the website: http://purposedriven.com

The reason I reference this material is to help us focus as a congregation on our future. I have talked about casting a vision for a preferred future and about us focusing us on that which motivates and unites.

I like what Rick Warren wrote. It informs and inspires, gives meaning and direction and it a can be a helpful tool for us at St. Alban’s today. Perhaps we can adapt some of these principles for our common life and begin to live into them in our worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism as our “preferred future”.

God’s Peace,

Fr. Alan