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Wednesday
Apr192017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 04.19.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

We wrapped up a wonderful Holy Week and Easter at Skycrest!  If you attended any of last week's special events, I hope you'll take a moment next time you're at church to thank a volunteer or staff person for their efforts!  

If Easter was your first time at our church, or if you joined us on Easter after being gone a while-- awesome! Thanks so much for coming!  I'd encourage you to keep on coming, starting with this Sunday.  Church attendance can be like lots of other things that are good for us (going to the gym, making time to talk with a trusted friend, etc.)-- it seems like its hard to find the time, but once you do it, you're glad you did.  

Our services on Sundays are at 9:45 a.m. (Modern) and 11 a.m. (Traditional).  We have Nursery for ages 0-3 open that entire time. SkyKids Sunday School is at 11 a.m.  And there are Groups for adults that meet before / after both services if you're looking to connect with others in a smaller setting.  

Next Sunday, we begin a new series of sermons called How to Help.   It will focus on how to help the people we care about in ways that are actually helpful, and how to care for ourselves in the midst of caring for others.  Whether you're a care-giver, parent, spouse, child, or friend... there is some wisdom from Scripture on this topic that will impact your life.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS

If you have kids and you're looking for summer child care, get them signed up for our Summer Camp at Skycrest Child Development Center.  It is very affordable, and includes lunch and snack.  The kids go on lots of field trips to swimming pools, baseball games, and more.  My kids were so excited to sign up for another summer of this camp!  Call Mr. Jacob at 727.446.5047 to reserve your spot!  

Don't forget Skycrest101 (our meet-and-greet for those who are new to Skycrest) coming up on the first Sunday in May.  10:40 a.m.-11 a.m. (in between services) in the church Library. 

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Apr122017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 04.12.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

A few quotes for you during this Holy Week: 
"If Christ is God, He cannot sin, and if suffering was a sin in and by itself, He could not have suffered and died for us.  However, since He took the most horrific death to redeem us, He showed us in fact that suffering and pain have great power."

"Holy Week is about us entering the difference between God and humanity and just touching it for a moment. Touching the shimmering sadness of humanity's insistence that we can be our own gods, that we can be pure and all-powerful." 


"Despite our earnest efforts, we couldn't climb all the way up to God.  So what did God do?  In an amazing act of condescension, on Good Friday, God climbed down to us, became one with us.  The story of divine condescension begins on Christmas and ends on Good Friday...He who knew not sin took on our sin so that we might be free of it.  God still stoops, in your life and mine, condescends." 


I look forward to worshiping with you this week, starting with tomorrow's MaundyThursday Dinner (5:30 p.m.) and Service (6:30 p.m.).  The rest of Holy Week schedule can be found at www.skycrest.net/easter 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
After Easter, we'll begin a series of sermons called "How to Help".  If you've ever wondered how to help someone in a way that's actually helpful, and care for yourself in the process, these messages are for you.  

Vacation Bible School details are up online at www.skycrest.net/vbs  It's going to be a great week! 

This summer we will continue our regular worship schedule (9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m.) throughout the summer months!  (In the past, we have combined into one service for the month of July.)  So, even though our snowbirds are flying north soon, you can expect the same great worship and ministries at Skycrest all summer long.  We're planning some special things to make summer a great time around Skycrest.  

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Apr052017

Mid-Week Message 04.05.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which is the start of Holy Week, leading up to Easter. Palm Sunday reminds us of Jesus' triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem for Passover week.  It is during that week that Jesus was arrested and crucified.  

Palm Sunday is an occasion with mixed emotions.  The songs are upbeat.  In the Scripture, the crowd see Jesus and cry out, "Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"  Hosanna is a Hebrew exclamation of praise.  It seems that the crowds were finally seeing Jesus for who he was, and worshiping him.  But we know that in just a matter of days, those same crowds would be crying, "Crucify him!"  

Palm Sunday is a joyful day of worship, but it also reminds us of how easily our hearts can wander.  It reminds us of the many things that can turn our devotion away from Christ. 

I think Palm Sunday is a wonderful day to come together in worship and reflect on your relationship with God.  Consider the many things you have to thank him for, and say with the Palm Sunday crowds, "Hosanna!"  And consider the broken places in your relationship with God, the times you may have joined with those same crowds to say "Crucify him!" 

The good news is that God loved every person in those crowds on Palm Sunday, on Good Friday, and in our world today.  That's why Jesus came, died, and rose again. 

I look forward to celebrating Palm Sunday with you this Sunday, 9:45am or 11am. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 
If you have kids age 4 through 5th grade, we will be doing something special for Palm Sunday during SkyKids (11am).  Mr. Drew and the SkyKids leaders will be bringing the children over to the sanctuary for the very start of the 11am service, to participate in the opening hymn by waving palm branches.  After the opening hymn, they'll be going back across the street for their usual SkyKids activities. If your child would like to participate, be sure to sign them into SkyKids a few minutes before 11am this Sunday! 

Thank you for your donations to BabyCycle, and for all those who signed up to volunteer there this Saturday! Way to go, Skycrest!  

Planning on attending Maundy Thursday dinner (April 13, 5:30pm)?  You can RSVP at www.skycrest.net/mtdinner   (If you already RSVP'ed on your blue card, you do not need to do it again.) 

The rest of the Holy Week schedule can be found at www.skycrest.net/easter 

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Thursday
Mar302017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 03.29.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

Although the Easter goodies have been out in stores since the day after Valentine's Day, its actually getting close now!  I hope you've been reaching out to invite friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family who don't have a church to join us for Easter.  

I was noticing the other day that I have a Ba'hai Temple near where I live.  I pass by it almost every day.  I see their signs.  I know their worship times.  I've probably even received their mailings and Facebook ads.  And while I expect that their services would interest and even inspire me in some ways, I realistically don't think I'll start regularly attending them.  Because I'm not Bahai.  I'm not feeling even a tad bit guilty for missing their services!  Are you? It doesn't even really occur to me, because I'm not Ba'hai. 

This same principle holds true for those who are not Christian; whether they practice another faith, or no faith at all.  

The people in your life who don't attend church are not primarily in need of more informational flyers.  They have (or can easily find) the information on "when" and "where."  And yet, for the most part, they still don't feel particularly compelled to attend. 

They need to know the "why's" and "how's". Why should they consider opening their heart to the message of Easter?  How has the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus changed your life?  How might it change theirs, too?  And people generally get that kind of information, not from a flyer, but from a friend. 
As Easter gets closer, I hope you'll keep on sharing the information about our events (you're doing a great job, and it is important!) but don't stop there.  Pray for an opportunity to share with someone WHY Christian faith matters to you and HOW they might join you in learning more about it this Easter season.  
I look forward to worshiping with you next Sunday as we turn to the final stories in the gospels leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection.  Worship is at 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. and I hope to see you there.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Planning on attending Maundy Thursday dinner (April 13, 5:30 p.m.)?  You can RSVP at www.skycrest.net/mtdinner 
A HUGE thanks to all those who donated diapers and wipes for our baby shower supporting BabyCycle!   There's still time to join us in volunteering there on April 8, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m., or 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.  Simply email me at emily@skycrest.net to be added to the list.  

Don't forget our other mission partner this Lent-- Imagine No Malaria.  You can bring that offering back in the red box at Easter (the office has more if you need one) or you can simply designate a check to Skycrest with "Imagine No Malaria" in the memo line. 
Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Mar222017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 03.22.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

I saw a quote shared on Facebook this week: 

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."  - Antoine de Saint-Exupry

This expresses perfectly how I feel about wanting people to be involved in ministry through our church.  Its not really about the tasks of committee work, passing out bulletins, serving meals, helping in the nursery, or church clean-up days.  Its about connecting with the God who became a servant to us through Jesus Christ.   

Last Sunday wrapped up our series on The Shack with a message entitled "Where Is God When I Need Him Most?"  If you missed it, you can listen online at www.skycrest.net/sermons

Next Sunday, March 26, the message will be: "A Good Church Fight."  You'll hear about the very first recorded church committee argument, and hear about my experiences as a kind of "secret shopper" worshiping as a guest at another church. 
I'm looking forward to it, and really hope to see you there--9:45 a.m. or 11 a.m

After that, our Scriptures and sermons will turn toward the final days of Jesus' life as we continue through Lent and draw closer to Easter.  

Don't forget to check out www.skycrest.net/easter for all the details on our Holy Week and Easter events.  If you've been around a while, note that some of the events are not just the same as previous years. 

Maundy Thursday will include a church-wide dinner at 5:30 p.m.  As we grow in numbers, it is really important to have these occasional get-togethers where we are ONE church.  The dinner will be followed by a worship service and communion over in the Sanctuary at 6:30 p.m.  This is going to be different than the simple Maundy Thursday service of the last couple years, but also different than the big pageant with costumed characters from days gone by.  Something new and different. 

Easter Sunrise service will be held at Crest Lake Park at 6:30 a.m. Easter morning.  Our Modern worship leader will lead the music, and I'll be preaching a different sermon than the main Easter services, so feel free to attend both Sunrise and your regular worship service on Easter morning. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

The Big Red Bus Blood-Mobile will be at Skycrest this Sunday!  If you're able to give blood, stop by and see them before or after church.  

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Mar152017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 03.15.2017


Dear Skycrest family, 

Great to see so many of you at church last Sunday!  In the sermon, we discussed 5 myths about how we think God views us, and what the Bible actually says.  (If you missed it, you can listen online at www.skycrest.net/sermons) This was week 2 of our series on The Shack, and next Sunday, we'll get to the topic that is really central to the book/film-- where is God in the midst of suffering?  Lots of non-religious people say this question is the major reason they are not Christian.  We'll talk about it Sunday, and I encourage you to bring some friends along.  Our services are at 9:45 a.m. (Modern) and 11 a.m. (Traditional).  

SkyKids continues their series Dive In at 11 a.m., and we've got nursery during both services for your infants - 3-year-olds as well! 

I listened to a great sermon podcast this week by Andy Stanley called "Your Church."  I didn't agree with everything he said, but I liked a lot it and found much of it applicable to Skycrest!  If you're looking for something to listen to during your workout or commute, check it out here.  He encouraged his church members to "assume that guests are in the room" every Sunday, and to consider what guests will see, hear, and experience.  He touched on everything from picking up trash to the church's reputation in the community.  Not because we're trying to get a bigger church-- but because we want more and more people to know how much they are loved by God.  

As we continue through this season of Lent, its not too late to join in the Tuesday night (6:30 p.m.) Bible study group at the church, or to participate in our diaper drive for BabyCycle or fundraising for Imagine No Malaria! 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Chancel Choir Open House - tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.  If you're been interested in choir but want to find out more before committing, or if you just want to join us for a night of singing and fellowship, be there tonight

Easter Festival Volunteer MeetingThursday, March 16, 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Hall. 

Summer Camp is Coming!  Rising 4th graders and up are invited to attend a week at Warren Willis Camp with others from Skycrest!  Check out the details here and talk to Drew for more information.  

Vacation Bible School Registration is available!  Just visit www.skycrest.net/vbs for dates, details, and sign-ups!  

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Mar082017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 03.08.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

Whenever I teach about the Trinity as part of the Christianity lesson in my World Religions class at SPC, I show them this video:  St. Patrick's Bad Analogies.  The problem with trying to explain the Trinity using analogies is that the Trinity is actually a mystery that cannot be fully explained.  Check it out if you want a good laugh, and/or a lesson on ancient heresies. 

We talked about the Trinity last Sunday as we explored the theme of "How Do I See God?  The recent film The Shack pictures God as an African-American woman named Papa who loves to cook and listen to rap music, a Hebrew carpenter, and an ethereal Asian woman named Sarayu.  We discussed the pros and cons of any human images of God, and we discussed the wide variety of images for God found in Scripture, in the parables of Jesus, and in the history of the early church.  If you missed the message or want to share it with someone, you can always find our sermons online at www.skycrest.net/sermons 

Next Sunday, we'll talk about how God sees us.  Do you believe God knows you personally?  Loves you?  Likes you?  Enjoys you?  Gets angry at you sometimes? In The Shack, Papa frequently says she is "especially fond of people."  When asked, "Is there anyone you're NOT especially fond of?" she answers, "I can't think of anyone.  I guess that's just the way I am."   We'll explore this idea in Scripture to learn more about how God feels about each of us. 

Invite a friend to join you at 9:45 a.m. or 11 a.m.!  (And don't forget to "spring forward" and adjust your clocks accordingly.) 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

Your friends who don't attend church probably know that Easter is coming up.  They know you attend church.  They're awaiting your invitation to join you for Easter at Skycrest!  You can send them to www.skycrest.net/easter for all the details.  Take a few minutes this week to invite some people to join you as we celebrate the resurrection. 

A huge thanks to all of our volunteers, and those who give financially toward the ministries of our church!  I have seen so many of you giving so generously of your time and resources lately and I want you to know it makes a huge difference.  

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Monday
Feb272017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 02.27.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

Is it Wednesday already?  Nope!  You are getting this "Mid-Week" (usuallyWednesday) Message a couple of days early, because we have so many cool events and opportunities going on this week that I wanted to give you time to plan to attend. 

ASH WEDNESDAY
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, the season of preparation for Easter.  On this day, we receive a sign of the cross in ashes on our foreheads.  It is a symbol of repentance from sin, and a symbol of mortality, that reminds us of our need of a Savior.  We have two opportunities for you to participate in Ash Wednesday--Ashes-to-Go on Wednesday morning (drop by anytime between 7:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. for ashes, prayer, and coffee) and our Ash Wednesday evening service at 7:00 p.m.  

THE SHACK MOVIE PREMIERE 
Our March sermon series will explore themes from the popular book The Shack, which is being released as a movie.  The Shack is a theological exploration of suffering, faith, and the nature of God.  

If you'd like to see the movie (and you don't have to see the movie or read the book to enjoy the sermons), it is playing at the Cobb Countryside Theater on Thursday evening, March 2nd, at 7:00 p.m.  If you'd like to attend, simply buy your own ticket and look for the Skycrest group at the inside entrance to the theater.  You could bring a friend to the movie and then invite them to church for the sermon series. 

SKYCREST WORK DAY 
Saturday, March 4th, 9:00 a.m-12:00 p.m., we're having a work day at the church to spruce things up before the Easter season.  We've got outdoor and indoor jobs for every ability level.  Spreading mulch, trimming bushes, weeding, washing the buses, painting the playground wall, and lots of cleaning and organizing! Work days are always a great way to get to know people, get a little active, and have some fun while helping our church.  

OTHER UPCOMING MEETING DATES
Costa Rica Team Meeting- Sunday, March 5, 12:00 p.m. after church
Easter Festival Volunteer Meeting- Monday, March 6, 6:30 p.m.

Its going to be a great week at Skycrest, and I hope to see lots of you around. 

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Feb222017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 02.22.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

Next Sunday will wrap up our journey through the book of Isaiah.  We'll end, as Isaiah itself does, on a high note.  The final chapters of Isaiah speak of hope that better days are ahead for God's people; take a look at Isaiah 61 for a glimpse of what the final section of Isaiah is like.  

At the beginning of his earthly ministry, Jesus read from Isaiah 61 in the the synagogue in his hometown.  "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..."  
After reading that text, Jesus said, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."   What did Jesus mean by that?  In what ways did he fulfill Isaiah's prophecy?  What does that mean for our lives today?  

If you need to hear a message of hope, join us this Sunday at 9:45 a.m. or 11 a.m

ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENT
March 1 is Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent.  Make plans to attend either Ashes to Go (7:15 a.m.-8:45 a.m. drop in) or Ash Wednesday evening service (7:00 p.m.).  

THE SHACK SERMON SERIES AND MOVIE PREMIERE 
Our March sermon series will explore themes from the book-turned-movie The Shack.  You don't need to see the film in order to enjoy the series, but if you'd like to, you are invited to join a group from Skycrest on opening night!  The film will be showing at Cobb Countryside Theater on Thursday, March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. Simply buy your own ticket and look for the Skycrest group inside the mall, at the entrance to the theater.  

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Feb152017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 02.15.2017

Dear Skycrest family,

Last Sunday, we continued our study of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament.  We talked about Isaiah's call from God to become a prophet found in Isaiah 6:1-13. Both Isaiah as an individual and Israel as a people had to learn that we are simultaneously more sinful and more loved by God than we realize.  If you missed the message, you can catch up online at www.skycrest.net/sermons 

Two more weeks in our study of Isaiah!  This Sunday, we'll take a look at a fascinating section of Isaiah that prophesies a "suffering servant," someone who will suffer for the good of God's people.  Christians often link passages like this to Jesus, and perhaps you can see why:  

"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our sins; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."  - Isaiah 53:5-6

Have you ever wondered what verses like this meant in their original context, or what they mean to Jewish people, who don't believe in Jesus as Messiah?  There's a lot of interesting stuff in this text, and a lot that applies to our lives and world today. 

I'm excited to worship with you this Sunday-- 9:45 a.m. Modern or 11 a.m. Traditional. 
Speaking of Sunday, attendance continues to be up in the 220's, and it looks like that will continue at least through Easter!  Everyone who walks through our doors is loved and wanted at Skycrest-- please be patient with some of the logistics as we grow!  

* If you are able, please consider parking at LaRocca injury or across Drew St. at Rational Steps (blue building). 
* If you need handicapped parking and it is all full, please take a First Time Guest spot if one is available. 
* If we need another row of chairs in Modern, please let a greeter know
* Please park in an orderly fashion in the grass lot

Most of all, continue helping people to connect with God, each other, and the world.  

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ash Wednesday is coming!  Wednesday, March 1, you will have two opportunities to begin the season of Lent.  Ashes to Go will be 7:15 a.m.-8:45 a.m.-- just drop by or drive through any time during those hours for the symbol of ashes, and prayer. 7:00 p.m. will be our Ash Wednesday evening service, and its going to be a bit different than in years past, and I think it will be a meaningful time for all of us as we begin the journey toward the cross and Easter. 

Don't forget about the great Bible study being offered during Lent, led by a couple of the retired pastors in our congregation.  The study will meet on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. starting March 7.  

Finally, our sermon series for the first half of Lent will touch on themes from the book/movie The Shack, which will be in theaters starting March 2nd.  We are awaiting details from the theaters so that we can plan a group outing. Stay tuned for details! 

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218