Hello SPV Family!
This weeks e-mail will attempt to bring you up-to-date on some things going on at the church, especially for those of you who have been out of town or missed the All-Church meeting Sunday.
1) We have a cool new logo and our website has a fresh new look. Stop in at SPV.org and take a look. Ashley Haywood presented at the All Church meeting, showing us how the new logo conforms to the Vineyard USA new branding style guide while remaining St Pete unique.
2) Brian Henderlong and Amy Coyle presented on our priority project; the overhaul of the courtyard area for Kid City. This project will address several safety issues and include a desperately needed shade structure and new playground equipment. We were given a very generous donation to cover the majority of this but really hope the rest of us can generously support this and get us all the way there. Any amount is greatly appreciated, please make sure it is clearly designated towards "Kids" and please, please, please, don't divert your general fund giving as that is far more harmful than helpful to our overall ministry.
3) Cheri Scarbough shared about the great works of our outreach team and let us know that their funds are getting low. Contributions can be made using text to give keyword PBJ or by noting PBJ on your check.
4) Cassie Featherston reported on our current financial situation. Mid-year giving statements have been mailed and we would love for your family to review you statement and prayerfully plan your giving for the rest of the year.
5) Sunday we announced that Josh (& Kelly) Albrecht is stepping down from his youth and worship ministry positions at the end of the month. We will be having a cake reception this Sunday after church to celebrate them so please join us and feel free to bring a card &/or note of encouragement if you'd like.
6) Immediately following that announcement we made it know that CJ Pugh and Kelly Nunn have already been interviewed and hired for the Youth and Worship Pastor positions respectively. We are thrilled to have them as a part of the SPV team so please welcome them the first chance you get!
That should be enough for now, have a great week and I hope to see you Sunday for worship and the cake reception afterward.
Hello SPV Family!
I'm not sure if you noticed but Russia has been in the news a lot lately so I thought I would revisit a Russian news story...from about 1,000 years ago. Prince Vladimir, a pagan Russian monarch, was looking for a new religion to unify the Russian people so he sent out teams to investigate various religions around the world. As his teams came back to report their findings, this is what was said about Christianity:
"Then we went to Constantinople and they led us to the place where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or earth, for on earth there is no such vision nor beauty, and we do not know how to describe it; we only know that God dwells among men. We cannot forget that beauty."
It was from this "Russian news story" that Prince Vladimir decided to adopt Christianity as their new national faith. Notice that it wasn't their intellect or apologetics or theology or moral superiority but rather the beauty in which they carried themselves and presumably acted towards each other that was so attractive. Now don't get me wrong, I am definitely not against intellect or morality or solid theology (I am a big fan of all 3!), but Oh! that the church would major in that which is beautiful!
Coincidence or not but it was the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky who coined the phrase "beauty will save the world." He may not have had Jesus or the Christian faith in mind when he coined that phrase but personally I am convinced that there is nothing more beautiful than Jesus and there is no greater expression of his beauty than his love towards us, our love and worship back to him, and that same love breathed and lived out one to another. Throw in the incredible beauty of his creation, like Yosemite Valley and Highway 1 along the Pacific ;) or even our amazing Gulf of Mexico sunsets and we've got more than enough beauty/loveliness to think, meditate, and focus on as Philippians 4 encourages us to do.
So let's focus on beauty! Let's celebrate beauty! Let's live out and emulate beauty!
Much love to all of you beautiful people,
Hey church! I had an amazing time sharing my heart with you all this past Sunday! I’m glad to have shared my first experience preaching with my family here at the Vineyard! I hope the message touched you in some way, big or small, because we all have a cycle or two in our lives that just doesn’t belong! Jesus has washed you clean, and He has made a new season for you to walk in His love as an overcomer of the cycles that are holding you down!
So, Church, be mindful of what God is waking you up to, and know that He has amazing power to help you break the chains and cycles that are trying to keep you where you are. Walk in His freedom! He adores you, and wants to see you thrive and grow in this life!
We're nearly mid-summer and it's flying by already! Sort of how life happens. One minute you're learning how to ride a bike, quickly followed by the awkward teen years that don't seem to go fast enough, then into adulthood, where you learn the actual value of how many ramen packages you can buy for a buck... and then smack! Mid-life crisis hits and everything around you isn't what you thought it would be.
Welcome to my world. In my 20's I had my life planned out. It was gonna be GREAT! And then life happened and NOTHING went as planned. Some for the worse, some for the better. My journey is changing and I'm shaking off what's no longer working for me and taking a stab at new things, trying to find my new place in life.
Shauna Niequist, in her book Present Over Perfect says "Some of us are made to be faster, and some slower, some of us louder, and some quieter. Some of us are made to build things and nurture things. Some of us are made to write songs and grants and novels, all different things. And I'm finding that one of the greatest delights in life is walking away from what someone told you should be in favor of walking toward what you truly love, in your own heart, in your own secret soul."
When I heard her speak those words (because I was listening to her read it to me on Audible!), I had to immediately rewind it like 10 times to listen to it over and over again. Each time I listened to it, I had a different response, ranging from gasping in near shock, to crying, to screaming "YES!" in my kitchen as I prepare dinner for the family. All because I'd gotten to a place where I felt like I've lost ME somewhere along the years, and became who others thought I should be or do or believe (former churches, family, past relationships and my own inner negative self). My journey continues, but it's just starting to look a little different now as I dig deeper into who I am and figure out my NEW purpose in life!
So where does this leave you and me?
Continuing our walk together, by recognizing and EMBRACING our differences, but not forcing our own expectations on each other. Working together in unity for the common good - for the love of Jesus and the world.
So this week, be intentional and reach out to at least one person who is different than you. Encourage them as they journey onward and spread love and peace to all.