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Wednesday
May242017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 05.24.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

A kindergarten teacher was walking around observing her classroom of children while they were drawing pictures.  As she got to one girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.  The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."  The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."

Without looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."
In church these last couple of weeks, we've talked about faith as it pertains to children.
 Last Sunday, Rachel Meyers talked about the importance of raising children in Christian community so that their faith can grow.  She read from Joshua 4:1-7, in which God commanded the Israelites to place stone markers to remind future generations of God's faithfulness.  If you missed Rachel's message or want to share with a friend, you can find audio recordings of all of our sermons at www.skycrest.net/sermons 
Next Sunday, I'll be back preaching, with a message focused on teens and young adults, and what can happen when our childhood faith runs into adult problems.   
We also have a baptism (Abigail Calvert) at our 11:00 a.m. service.  Abigail is 6 years old, and very excited to be baptized.  She told me "I believe in God and Jesus!"  Her baptism will be a chance for all of us to remember our own baptisms, and to re-commit to the promises we make to all the children of our church-- to raise them in a community of love and forgiveness so that they may become true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Don't forget our monthly dinner for the hungry this Saturday-- come volunteer with us at 11:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m.!  Dinner is at 4:30 p.m.  

Summer at Skycrest:  We are going to continue offering two worship services and SkyKids Sunday School all summer long (in past years, we had combined into one service for summer).  We're also working on plans for social events, service opportunities, and more!  If you're in town, plan to keep worshiping with us over the summer; its a great time to connect with God, each other, and the world.  

LifeTouch Directory: With so many new folks at Skycrest lately, it's a great time to update our church directory.  The great thing about this new directory is that it will be update-able; if you get your picture taken now, you won't have to do it again in a few years, unless you want to!  We will have two photo shoot days in August (18th and 19th) and two more in the winter.  You'll sign up for a time slot, come by to have your photo taken, and get a free 8x10.  If you like the pictures, you'll have the chance to buy more!

Peace,

Pastor Emily

emily@skycrest.net
717.446.2218

 

 

 

Wednesday
May172017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 05.17.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

It was great to see so many of you on Sunday!   For those of you who stopped by the Fellowship Hall and saw our "Donut You Love Moms?" photo area, you can see the pictures on our church Facebook page at www.facebook.com/skycrestumc  If you haven't already "liked" our page, head on over and do that!  If you're on Facebook regularly, that's a great way to see several posts a day from us with inspiration, reminders, and more. 


Our message on Sunday focused on Jesus' words in Luke 18:17:
 "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.  Those who do not enter the Kingdom of God like a child will not be able to enter it at all."  We talked about the real characteristics of real kids, and what Jesus might have meant when he called us to be like children: passionate, kind, fair, inquisitive, adventurous, imaginative, and more.  If you missed the message or want to share it with a friend, you can find it at www.skycrest.net/sermons 

Next Sunday, we have something VERY special.  Rachel Meyers, a member of our church who is a seminary student and candidate for ordained ministry, will be preaching for us.  This worked out perfectly that the only Sunday she was available to preach this summer is during our series on children, youth, and young adults-- because Rachel is an actual young adult who grew up in our church.  She has completed one year so far of the three-year Master of Divinity program at Duke, and we are so excited to see what she has to share with us.

I am not out of town on Sunday-- just wanted to turn the preaching over to Rachel because she is incredibly talented.  I'll be there, and hope you will too!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We have a team going to serve for a week in Costa Rica with Costa Rica Mission Projects July 17-24.  Lots of you have been asking about how you can support our church in our international mission efforts, even if you cannot go on a trip.  There are several things you can do!  

1) Pray.  Below are the names of the team members if you want to start praying for them individually.   

2) Write notes.  If you'd like to write a note of encouragement for each team member, see the names below.  Get any notes to me by Wednesday, June 13th and I will take them on the trip. 

3) Donate.  We received lots of generous gifts that underwrote many of the trip expenses, so that more people could afford to attend.  We hope to continue that trend into the future!  You can give to our Missions fund at Skycrest anytime, and if you want, you can even earmark it specifically for future mission trip funding.

Here are our 2017 Costa Rica Mission Team Members: 
Caitlin Reynolds, Emily Hotho, Bob and Denise Mullis, Mary and Mary Spoeneman, Cheryl Cummings, Erin Frey, Tresor Selenga, Bryson Read, Dawn and Kidd Peyregne, Amanda Wininsky, Michelle Cruz.  

Peace,

Pastor Emily
emily@skycrest.net
717.446.2218

 


 

Wednesday
May102017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 05.10.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

This time of year tends to bring with it a lot of end-of-school-year activities:  concerts, programs, class parties, graduations.  It's also the time to look ahead to summer activities and travel.  May is definitely a time of transitions. 
 
I know not all of you have school-age kids in your household.  But we probably all know a child, teen, college student, or young adult whom we care about and pray for.  
 
So I wanted to take these few weeks at the end of the school year to talk about faith as it pertains to three specific age groups: children, teenagers, and young adults.  What advice does the Bible have for these stages of life?  What do I want my own kids to know about faith as they grow up?  How can we be a church that loves young people well and actively involves them in our ministries?   

This new sermon series-- Faith Like A Child-- will begin this Sunday, May 14th (Mother's Day).  I hope to see you there!  Our worship services are at 9:45 a.m. (Modern) and 11a.m. (Traditional).

We will have a special Mother's Day photo area / fun surprise for you this Sunday. Don't miss it! 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Summer church attendance tends to be more sporadic, but our regular expenses remain the same (or even higher during big summer events).  You can help by keeping your financial support for our church steady even if you're away!  Visit www.skycrest.net/giving to learn more about your options.  

The Summer Book Discussion Group will meet on the following Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the church:  June 1, 15, 29, July 6, 20, and August 1.  We will be discussing the book Why I Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity.  Click the link to learn more or order your copy of the book.  


Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
May032017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 05.03.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

I was so glad to be able to share last Sunday that I will be re-appointed again to Skycrest for the 2017-2018 year.  In United Methodist Churches, the "year" typically runs from July 1 to June 30, and so July 1 will begin my 5th year of ministry at Skycrest. 

As I said on Sunday, I am thrilled to be staying on as your pastor, not just because I like you (which I do!) but because I truly believe God is doing something unique with our church and that there is still so much more good to be accomplished together. 

Next Sunday will wrap up our "How to Help" series.  We will take a look at the book of Job in the Old Testament, and talk about what we can learn from Job's friends about how to help those who are going through intense times of anguish.  

As I worked on this message, I saw some connections between Job's story and the currently-popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.  If you haven't heard of it, this article will help you learn more.  No matter what your feelings are about the TV series, it is igniting conversations, especially among our younger generations, about issues of mental health, self-harm, and suicide.  I wanted to let you know that Sunday's message will touch on these topics in ways that are appropriate to Job's story and to the overall series topic of How to Help.  

If you have young children who attend church with you, know that I'm crafting the message carefully with the awareness that we have all ages in our worship services.  

And of course, if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, don't wait for Sunday.  The 24-Hour helpline in our county is 727.791.3131. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vacation Bible School: details and registration at www.skycrest.net/vbs   If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Drew at drew@skycrest.net

Skycrest Child Development Center is looking for substitute teachers and volunteers!  The process to become a substitute includes a full background check, and completion of a 40-clock-hour Introductory Child Care Training class that can be completed online.  The process to volunteer includes a full background check ($75) but not the training course.  The full background check allows a volunteer to be alone with students if needed.  This would give the SCDC a pool of volunteers who could work individually with students, cover for teachers during naps or breaks, etc.  If you are interested, contact the chair of our school board, Staci Blakeslee, at stoshina@gmail.com 

Peace,

Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 

Wednesday
Apr262017

MID-WEEK MESSAGE 04.26.2017

Dear Skycrest family, 

"Can I set limits and still be a loving person?  How do I answer someone who wants my time, energy, or money?  Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?  Are boundaries selfish?"  

These are just some of the reflection questions from the opening chapter of the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  For many years, this book has been considered a standard in the Christian, counseling, and addiction recovery communities.  I grabbed it off my shelf this week, sensing that it may pertain to this coming Sunday's message in our series How to Help.

Last week, we talked about care-givers, and how important it is to look to God for your value, worth, and affirmation.  If you missed it, or want to share this message with a friend, head on over to www.skycrest.net/sermons where you can always find audio recordings of the sermons posted online. 

Next Sunday, we'll talk about scenarios in which "helping" is not always the best way to help.  There's some great advice in Scripture about this that will help you know when to say yes, when to say no, and how to help.   

I hope to see you there at 9:45 a.m. or 11 a.m. for worship.  SkyKids Sunday School (11 a.m.), and adult Sunday morning groups (9:40 a.m., 10 a.m.,
or 11 a.m.) will all be happening, too!  

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The "Seekers" Group (11 a.m., Sundays, after Modern) will begin a new book discussion on May 7th that will last for 5 weeks.  They will be reading and discussing Adam Hamilton's book Half Truths.  Check out the link for a description of the book.  This is a great group for those who attend the Modern service, and for parents of kids who go to SkyKids at 11 a.m.  

This Saturday (April 29, 4:30 p.m.) is our monthly dinner for the hungry.  Dinner is at 4:30 p.m.  Volunteer shifts are at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.  Hope to see you there for this great outreach to our neighborhood!  

Our church custodian, Bob King, will be retiring in the next couple of weeks after almost 5 years of service here.  We wish Bob and his family well in this next phase of life!  Our newly-hired custodian is a member of our Skycrest church family, Gil Sterling.  Gil and his wife Carol have been a part of Skycrest for about a year now, and we are thrilled that Gil is joining our staff.  

Peace,


Pastor Emily 
727.446.2218

 


 

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