Pastor's E-Letter

Pastor's E-Letter

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Pastor's E-Letter 06/26/20

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Dear Church Family, 
 
Have you ever heard the expression, “The more things change, the more they stay the same"? Well, I don’t know exactly how true that is, but it seems like an interesting quote for a time such as this. We are all trying to figure out what “normal” is, what the “new normal” will be, if things will ever be “back to normal,” and if things will ever change! The prognosticators are making their predictions, and they are all over the place. 
 
Life is complicated, and it seems even more complicated now than ever. Although my guess is, if you were able to interview people from the past (i.e.; 100 years ago, 500 years ago, even 1,000 years ago) they’d tell you that things were just as complicated back then as they are now. And certainly times were complicated during Abraham’s life. A quick read of his life will reveal this! In fact, you might change the wording from “complicated” to “crazy!” We’ll take a look at the story of when the Lord appears to Abraham and his response to that. And like families today, we’ll see that things were weird, good & bad, challenging, and, of course, complicated. 
 
Along with this, we have some exciting news! This week, for us here at SUMC, things are changing (a little)! We are going to kick off our new series, “All In The Family” (think ’70’s sitcom but don’t think about it too deeply!). We will be looking at the complicated but powerful life of Abraham from the Old Testament and how things today are still complicated. In addition, we will be live-streaming for the very first time. This means we will have our Sunday morning worship (both the Gathering at 9:30am and Traditional at 11am) LIVE! The church will not be “open,” but we will begin the process of moving toward opening. So this Sunday and next, we will be live-streaming our services as a way of preparing for the tentative reopening on Sunday, July 12th. As you can see, even this is a little complicated. But we are moving forward and getting things figured out the way families do. 
 
So please join us this Sunday “LIVE” as we kick off our new series and new way of doing live church together! It will be new. It will be fun. And it will be interesting. But most importantly, we will be together as family navigating some complicated themes during this complicated time. Hope to see you Sunday!! 
 
Sincerely,
Pastor Joel Lusz
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Pastor's E-Letter 05/01/20

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Dear Suntree Family,

Ok, before you get started with this, take a moment and think about this question: “What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?”

 And remember, I’m asking about courage, not craziness! A lot of us could answer the craziness question pretty easily! I have a best friend (all the way from high school) who, at the age of 17, was working at a large hotel in Orlando. The hotel was 10 stories high. One day, he took the elevator up to the 10th floor and opened a window and threw his shoes up on the roof! Why did he do that? Because he reasoned that with his shoes on the roof, he’d have to climb up there, somehow, and retrieve them. So he did that. He climbed out of the 10th story window, put his hands on the ledge of the top of the building, and pulled himself up. That’s not courageous, that’s crazy!

 A few moments ago, I asked a wonderful young lady in our youth ministry (a 6th grader) to read Scripture this week via video for our Sunday service. I could tell she was nervous about it. I invited her to be courageous and kick fear in the face. And she did that! I was so happy!

I have tried to be courageous in life without being too crazy. As a kid, I was happy to jump off the bridge into the lake, but not until I checked to make sure the lake was deep enough! But I was never going to step out of a 10th story window onto the roof. That’s just crazy!

This Sunday, we’re going to be talking about courage. You’ll hear and see more about this Sunday, of course, but part of the lesson has Peter saying this: “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” (Don’t read too much into that sentence — we still have to obey laws, respect authority, etc.) The narrative is a story about courage. And not just any ole courage! It’s Christian courage — the courage to stand up for what you believe as a Christ-follower. Sounds cool, eh?! And it is. But it is one of those “easier said than done” things.

So how about you? When you think about your life as a Christian, is it (at least in part) a story of courage? Are you courageous enough to stand up (maybe even on social media!!) and courageously go against the grain? Are you courageous enough to do the right thing, even when it means being laughed at or ridiculed? Are you courageous enough to dig deep into God’s Word and perhaps, dare I say, miss out on the latest gossip, social media ramblings, and/or enticing yet hurtful rumors?! Think of this: The Bible is full of courageous heroes who are cheering us on to courageousness (Hebrews 12)!

So are you courageous? You probably are. I know that there have been times in my life when I’ve been courageous for Jesus … But I’ve also been a big chicken. It’s a journey that we’re all on and it is well worth the effort! So, I invite you to tune in this week to our online service to be encouraged and cheered on to live the courageous Christian life! It’s a glorious life, full of joy and challenge! And, it’s not too crazy!

 Blessings!

Rev. Dr. Joel Lusz

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