What is your favorite Soundtrack?

August 17th, 2018 by
“While fantastic acting and direction can help evoke emotion in an audience, nothing sets the tone in a film quite like its soundtrack. But while scores and songs are usually carefully chosen to match the dramatic arc in a film, there are times when a scene and accompanying song seem entirely mismatched. This dissonance between song and action has the power to make the scene even more poignant, emotional, or in many cases, more terrifying.”

This quote from The Guardian newspaper recognizes the power of music to shape the experience of a movie. You can easily see it in this 3 minute clip that matches a common scene with a handful of musical moods. https://youtu.be/rn9V0cN4NWs The music actively shifts your focus, attention, and even your comprehension of what you’re seeing. Even when you are seeing the same scene again and again.

St. Paul makes a similar point in Ephesians 5, where he exhorts the readers (including us on Sunday) to let the fullness of the Spirit within us match the music we sing to the story we’re a part of.

This opportunity to sync our heads, hearts, and lives is the front-end of the “worthy walk” that Paul encourages us to pursue. This walk, characterized by true wisdom, actually accomplishes what Solomon so wisely requests in 1 Kings. (Sunday’s OT lesson)

Along the way, we will see how a Navy Seal, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a wayward researcher conspire to shift our focus towards walking with our heads held high.

In the meantime, what is your favorite soundtrack (or background music) for chores at home, studying, riding in the car, or a slow Sunday afternoon? Text me at 407-462-8885 and I’ll share some of your answers on Sunday.

grace and certain hope,

Christopher+

It’s good to be Home

August 10th, 2018 by
Today, Friday the 10th of August, a parishioner had surgery early in the morning, and a deacon is getting married in the afternoon, or has already been wed depending on when you read this. We can sing, “Ruan and Dennis are Going to the chapel and…” well, you know the lyric, and we all say, “Alleluia.”
And all sorts of other events in our parish family are happening.  It’s so good to be home with you all, to pray together, to celebrate together, and to grow together.  I am sincerely grateful to our Lord!

 

Bishop Masimango, Bishop William & Me
My recent trip to Africa was a whirlwind.  I left on Thursday morning, following a day behind Canon Christopher, from MCO to Doha, and then on to Kigali – about 22 hours in the air. I went to meet with Archbishops Kolini and Masimango, and bishop William to talk about the work of reconciliation, and that we did – talk, pray, and plan.  There were also a number of Archdeanery missions that Archbishop Kolini had set up, where we taught, and so there was little time deal with jet lag.

Saturday evening we were assigned parishes to preach in.  I concluded my sermon last Sunday, in Remera, Rwanda, to about 700 English-speaking Rwandans on this note, “It’s good to be home.”

(That is Fr. Antoine, the rector, sending off the children and introducing me).

I shared with them that many years earlier, after preaching at the cathedral in Kigali, I sat on hill and called our senior warden, Craig Reilly, (Kigali is 6 hours ahead of Florida) before the early service, and asked him to thank our home parish family for supporting me on this trip. It was very special indeed.

You see, after our son AJ was killed in an auto accident, Archbishop Kolini called and shared how he had recently lost a son recently and invited Barbara and me to come and spend time with him in Rwanda.  We became fast friends, and so over the years, when I return, Rwanda has become a home where it is also good to be. It’s good to be home.

So once again, not from a hill in Rwanda, but a computer in Winter Springs, FL I thank you all for supporting my visit, for your love and prayers, and for being here!  It is good to be home.

Blessings & Thanks Again to You All!

PS  I intend to share in greater detail about the this journey – in the sermon – and especially about a truly transformative event that happened while there, and how I leaned into the spiritual disciplines I shared in the parish letter to guide me through it.

Where’s the Power?

July 27th, 2018 by
Living in Florida in the summer and in Orlando in particular (the lightning capital of the world), we know a little something about losing power. Then add in the hurricanes, I am sure you all remember that little gal named Irma. Many of you spent days without power. Sometimes when we look at the church as a whole or at our individual Christian lives, we and the world looking at us might ask, “Where’s the power?” In the lessons this week God wants to remind us that there is no shortage of power with him.

Through Elisha God invites the man from Baal-Shalishah to feed a hundred men with his small tithe of bread and grain when he really brought only enough for Elisha. This came with the promise that there would be some left over. According to the word of the Lord it happened just as Elisha spoke. Our God has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

In the Gospel Philip basically says, “Really Lord?” “All we have is five loves and two fish from this little boys lunch.” Jesus thanks his father for them and feeds the multitude. Our God has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul speaks from prison to this church which he loves and who are afraid because of the persecution that has come on Paul, and they see that same persecution coming towards them. Paul in his prayer points them to God’s Spirit who lives within them and reminds them that our God has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine.

Are you in a personal spiritual power outage? Are you skeptical about what God can do with who you are or with what you have to offer him? Are you afraid of what is coming down the pike? Paul in his prayer for the Ephesians identifies three aspects of God’s power that answer the question of, “Where’s the power?” for the follower of Jesus in their personal life and for their witness to the world. Come praise God this Sunday! He has the power to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine!

God bless,

Glenn Starr

What do you see?

July 13th, 2018 by

The prophet Amos is shown a string in our passage for Sunday. More exactly, a plumb line.

God shows him this instrument used by skilled builders; held above and weighted below.

A simple tool with powerful diagnostic potential.

There is much more to the prophet Amos and the book that collects his ministry-long span of messages and visions. You can see a brief overview of the book here that may help put his message in context.

Overview of Amos

Our readings for Sunday cover both ends of the string. Ephesians chapter 1 exults in the plan of God that began long ago and high above us. Mark 6 recounts the grisly machinations that led to the murder of John the Baptist and Herod’s later reflections of Jesus’ current ministry after John’s death. The sky above and the ground below.

Each of us are most comfortable somewhere along the string, either preferring our faith to be towards the summarized side or the granular specifics.

Amos saw that God’s plan was for Israel (and us) to see that heaven and earth were already linked together. Even Herod recognized (without intention) that Jesus held a similar view. But this doesn’t just lead to recognition, but to repentance. And repentance leads to the other end of the string.

After church on Sunday, join us for CityServe. We will leave the church at 1220 to join others as we share a meal with neighbors in our community who are currently homeless. More details are in our upcoming events email and in the Sunday bulletin.

Pray for Mission in the City this coming week as middle-schoolers gather on our campus for service projects, worship and time together. There is a team of adults and interns who are guiding this week of ministry, but there are still opportunities to help fuel this week of cooperative ministry among churches in our community.

See you Sunday,
Christopher+

Friday Epistle for July 6, 2018

July 6th, 2018 by
The Tenacity of Our Father
One early fall day, while rounding a corner by the football stadium at William & Mary, I heard Marv Levi, the coach, yelling, “Be tenacious men, be tenacious!” When I returned to my dorm, I looked it up. And I have thought since then, that our God is like that, determined, determined to reach his children and he wants us to be as well. And so, in Sunday’s gospel he sends us out to proclaim the Kingdom and to set the captives free.
While thinking and praying of these Thailand soccer players trapped in a cave, I remembered a story told by Scott Hahn in his book, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. It reminded me of God’s tenacity — and ours. Will we keep looking for his children?
******
Following an 8.2 earthquake in Armenia, a distressed father remembered what he had said to his son so many times, “No matter what happens, Armand, I’ll always be there.”
He reached the site where the school had been, but saw only a pile of rubble. He just stood there at first, fighting back tears, and then took off, stumbling over debris, toward the east corner where he knew his son’s classroom has been.
With nothing but his bare hands, he started to dig. He was desperately pulling up bricks and pieces of wall plaster, while others stood by watching in forlorn disbelief. He heard someone growl,” Forget it, mister. They’re all dead.”
He looked up, flustered, and replied, “You can grumble, or you can help me lift these bricks.” Only a few pitched in, and most of them gave up once their muscles began to ache. But the man couldn’t stop thinking about his son.
He kept digging and digging – for hours… 12 hours… 18 hours… 24 hours… 36 hours….   Finally, into the 38th hour, he heard a muffled groan from under a piece of wallboard.
He seized the board, pulled it back, and cried,” ARMAND!” From the darkness came a slight shaking voice,” Papa…!”
Armand & his Papa

Other weak voices began calling out, as the young survivors stirred beneath the still uncleared rubble. Gasps and shouts of bewildered relief came from the few onlookers and parents who remained. They found 14 of the 33 students still alive.

When Armand finally emerged, he tried to help dig, until all his surviving classmates were out. Everybody standing there heard him as he turned to his friends and said, “See, I told you my father wouldn’t forget us.”
That’s the kind of faith we need because that’s the kind of Father we have.
Let’s go get them,

Friday Epistle – June 29, 2018

June 29th, 2018 by
How many of you reading this Friday Epistle love interruptions when you are working on a project?
How many of you treasure the times when your best laid plans are torn apart by some situation or problem that just comes out of left field?
You can ask Jana when I get on a project, I am like a dog with a bone. I will skip meals (which says a lot), forget appointments, and work till I drop or the project is complete. I generally don’t like interruptions.
However, the Lord has taught, and continues to teach Jana and me a key principle for ministry: “Ministry is what happens in the interruptions.” In the text from Mark 5:21-43, Jesus, in His ministry to Jairus and his family ,and to the woman with the issue of blood, gives us three clear contexts to consider where ministry happens in the interruptions.

I believe the text defines ministry for us, as it reveals the healing and saving power of Christ in the world. In this passage, Mark records for us a session right out of Jesus’ school for effective ministry. This fits really well with our new Sunday school series which is titled: Good news for the neighborhood part 2. I am excited for this Sunday morning and for the opportunity it affords to learn some practical ways to minister to our neighbors and those we come in contact with in our daily lives.
For such a time as this,
Glenn

Friday Epistle – June 22, 2018

June 22nd, 2018 by
I remember a conversation between my 
grandmother and daddy one day when I was very small. I was sitting in the front seat of the car, actually in-between their conversation. We were bogged down in traffic and the cars around us had stopped on either side and my grandmother remarked to him, “Every one of these cars have people in them and they have things to do and plans they’ve made and worries on their mind.”
At that time, at that age, this had to be one of the most remarkable things I’d ever heard. There was plenty to keep me occupied in the conversations of just our front seat. Honestly, it changed traffic for me ever since. It’s also proved to be one of the slippery realities I’ve ever had to hang onto. Not because it was hard to comprehend, just difficult to live into consistently.
Every car. Every driver. Every passenger and every person texting them to see when they’ll arrive or to remind them to pick up the milk.
It doesn’t take long for the cloud of plans, worries and hopes in your own vehicle to crowd out the similar cluster of signals in the windshields of those around you. Add that to the highways your GPS reads to you, streets named in morning traffic updates, and the half dozen roads you can drive without thinking about them we soon have a city full of traffic. Each connected to jobs, homes, schools, stores and transition. Multiply this just by the communities that your relatives and best friends live in and soon we’ll be completely awash in the detailed lives of the people you know and those you only see in passing.
This week, the readings draw our attention to David, Paul, and Jesus. All three of them people whose actions, plans and intentions shaped history in tremendous ways. Each of them also had an eye for the people passing by. David, the newly minted Hero. Paul, the unstoppable Apostle. And Jesus. The Christ.
We will see how God calls us to take actions that improve life for those in our immediate circle of influence and for those we know only in passing. For us and for those one boat over.
We also want to invite you to our Fourth Bible Intensive this week. Monday – Wednesday evenings from 7.00-8.30, we will be considering the NT book of Hebrews. Whether the book of Hebrews is a favorite of yours or if you’ve never read a book of the Bible before, you are welcome.
Each evening, we will share dessert, glimpse the glories of Jesus, meet new friends, and see how the book strengthens the inside of our faith while preparing us for external challenges to the faith. Did you know that Hebrews teaches that Jesus is greater than Moses? Did you know that I knew that? See how that all fits together.
We will have a variety of teaching, activities and opportunities to connect the message of this beautiful book to our own lives and mission. Childcare is provided and you can bring a Bible or borrow one of ours. For more information, contact Christopher at fractalpilgrim@aol.com

See you Sunday,
Christopher+

Friday Epistle – June 15, 2018

June 15th, 2018 by
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I greet you in the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
Patsy and I are looking forward to our visit with you all Sunday and sharing what God is doing in Madagascar. There are many exciting things happening with God’s people in Madagascar and many lessons we can learn from them. One of the biggest lessons we have learned is being people reaching people – witnessing and sharing God’s love. The Malagasy people are great at doing this. Over the past 11 years we have seen tremendous spiritual growth as we have gone from 11 churches to
92 churches.
We look forward to meeting you and sharing God’s word together Sunday. May God bless you abundantly.
Serving Christ Together,
Todd McGregor
Diocesan Bishop
Diocese of Toliara
MADAGASCAR

Friday Epistle – Vacation Bible School

June 8th, 2018 by
Seventy kids, and a large number of our parish, have been showing up this week. It’s been fun, a little wild, and every day has been a blessing. Here are a few snapshots from the week.
From Bishop Carl: 
VBS impacts the spirit and soul.  
First of all it’s the interaction of the people, kids and adults smiling, laughing, serving, focusing on our Lord together.  I love being with the staff as well as the children. It is refreshment at its best and more.
 The soul gets nourished.  A friend of mine used to teach that when we taught, the first thing forgotten was the content. The second thing forgotten was the style, how you taught what you taught.  And the thing remembered longest was the attitude with which we taught.  Our attitude nourishes the soul.

We also can bless the spirit of those present.  We can awaken a thirst.  A parishioner sent me the following, borrowing from Max Lucado.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
The phrase “train up” descends from a root word that means to develop a thirst. Hebrew midwives awakened the thirst of a newborn by dipping a finger in a bowl of crushed dates and placing it in the baby’s mouth. To “train up,” then, means to awaken thirst.
Parents and teachers can awaken thirst “in the way [the child] should go.”
What an awesome gift it is!  This is a work of the Spirit to the spirit.

Roberta:

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed working VBS, especially with Caroline & Soleil.  It is such a joy (& I don’t use that term lightly-few things give me joy) to be around young, lively people.   It is wonderful to be around these wonderful creations of our Lord.

Whitney:

This is my second year as a teacher at VBS. Watching the children truly grasp these stories, and hearing their excitement, just reinforces the joy of our Lord everyday for me! I felt like the stories truly came alive for the kids in our class (and we had 14 kids!) and I cannot wait to see what the Lord does for these children in the coming year.
Sara:

This is my fourth year at VBS and my third year working in the crafts area. When the kids enter my class they have already heard the Bible story from their teachers, and perhaps seen it reinforced in the other special areas like skits and snack.  This year the kids are internalizing the stories in a way I’ve never seen in years past (the pre-K group told me all about leprosy!).  They are so excited to tell me everything they are learning from the Bible.  I am hearing from parents again and again what a wonderful time their kids are having.  I know they are going home and sharing the Bible stories with their families.  What a beautiful thing for the knowledge and love of Jesus to spread from our volunteers to the children and then to their families and beyond.  More than ever God is giving me a glimpse of the eternal significance of VBS!

 

  
To close, our fearless leader, Jane says:
“You can fear (or in my case, stress-out), or trust God.  But, you can not do both at the same time.”  I heard this statement on the radio a couple of weeks ago, and I needed that word!  At that time, Chris Reilly and I were still trying to secure volunteers to lead VBS classes and children were being placed on a wait list since classes had filled up quickly.  Once I trusted instead of stressed, God (as He does year after year) provided wonderful volunteers.  All have been AMAZING.  Our community is so blessed by their dedication to our children.
One of the aspects that I enjoy most about VBS is the opportunity for diverse people to serve/attend and remain engaged.  Volunteers are already signing up for next year.  Many of them are the young people who have attended VBS.  How awesome is that?  They have been learning about God’s love and now they plan to share it, although I doubt they will wait until next year to do so!

I can honestly say that the week of VBS is one my favorite weeks of the year.  Every year it is a week of joy, love and encouragement.  The joy is seen on every face of a child.  The love shines through our volunteers.  All who come (children and parents) are encouraged to seek, meet and accept the Lord.  “For all the promises of God find their Yes in God.”  2 Corinthians 1:20.
Please come Sunday to celebrate with us. We will have more stories and songs from our week of adventure!
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Friday Epistle for June 1, 2018

June 1st, 2018 by
Friday Epistle – Dr. Larry Selig
         We had lived in Pittsburgh for 20 wonderful years when we put our
house on the market before moving to Winter Springs in 2002. All of our
children and grandchildren were already in Orlando, so the move
was easier emotionally.  We had experienced so many blessings there with
our family and neighbors, so we prayed for the right family to purchase
our home and continue to experience that blessing. At the home inspection, we
asked the couple with three young children who were buying it if we
could pray a blessing with them before they prepared to move in. They said
yes and could they bring several other family member when we did
this? Of course! Well to our surprise, they came with their three children,
parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, filling our large living
room as we gathered in a circle to pray a blessing over them and the
house as they moved. Their children then presented us a plaque for our
new home in Winter Springs saying “Bloom where God plants you”. How
precious. It is now on our large porch table where we love to entertain!

        Since we moved to Winter Springs 16 years ago, we have had many
wonderful opportunities to share with our  neighbors. Each time a
house near us comes on the market, we pray that the Lord draw each
family who moves in. And it is fun to see how special relationships
result.And many opportunities to pray with them in times of crisis.Last August,
a single mom who was widowed, purchased the home next doors and moved in with her three lovely daughters. Within a week, a friendship  began which blossomed this Spring with the three daughters inviting Jesus into their lives and Mom reconfirming her  relationship with the Lord. They started coming with us to NCC, and love the welcome you all have given. The girls asked me if I would baptize them so they could publicly confirm this new relationship with the Lord and receive Holy Communion.
So this Sunday, being a Presbyterian pastor ministering to this family
whose family roots were Presbyterian, Carl has invited me to join him in  baptizing them at the 10 AM service, and also have me preach.The sermon will deal with turning  our lives over to the Lord’s control, influenced in part
by a story I told the girls and their Mom, helping them understand what
trusting Jesus involves. Please be in prayer for them as they come to
be baptized or reconfirm their baptism this Sunday.

        The picture was taken two weeks ago when the girls, Emily, Stephanie, Heather and their Mom, Angie helped me plant a croton in our front garden in honor of their father and husband who died four years ago in May.                Incidentally, just a week ago, two additional houses across the street from both or ours went on the market. The girls said they would pray with us that just the right families move in with whom we could build friendships. We literally and spiritually are seeking to extend God’s kingdom and bloom when God has called us, planting flowers

and friendships for Jesus. Perhaps you are doing  this as well in your neighborhood.
Thanks be to God for His faithfulness  in allowing us to assist Him in changing His world.

In His Strong Name,

Larry