Spread the Good News! PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation “ (Mark 16:15).


Scripture says Jesus proclaimed the “good news”. In church we talk about the “good news”. What is the good news? It’s simple, really.
The good news is that Jesus Christ came into this world to love and save us from all the brokenness in our lives, so that we will never again have to be separated from God; not now, not ever. The good news is that you and I are forgiven and loved beyond measure by our heavenly Father. The good news is that even as I listen to the news of this world I know there is hope. That simple fact makes any bad or sad news bearable. In that simple fact, the day to day news of this word takes second place. The news of this world does not rule; the good news of Jesus Christ in this world does.
Friends, remember the good news in your own life and then go out and share it. The world is hurting and needs to hear about and experience the love of God in their lives. Don’t wait until December to go, tell it on the mountain. Tell it now! Jesus Christ was born, he lived and died and rose again because of God’s life changing love for us. That is good news to me!



Grace and Peace for the journey,
Pastor Sue

Looking forward to the Reunion PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 August 2010 00:00

“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” Ephesians 12:4-5


Saturday, September 11th, will be a family reunion of sorts. FPCJ is hosting the first annual Clayton Community Festival for All. Our neighbors and neighborhood community groups will be gathering to spend the day together getting to know each other. Civil servants, Habit for Humanity, Good Shepherd Clinic, Suder Elementary School and several others will be on hand to introduce themselves, share their wares, and their services. There will be fun, giant inflatables for the kids; hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and even a cake walk.


I call this a family reunion because as Christians we are instructed to include all people in our fellowship, no matter the gift or talent; their culture or economic status; their public prominence or private obscurity. For the past year FPCJ has been even more intentional about being involved within our community through developing relationships and it is making a difference. We are getting to know our neighbors better and we are enjoying more and more visitors in worship.


For this festival to be successful, we need every member and friend of FPCJ to show up! Look for the job sign-up sheet in the Family Life Center or contact Brian Turner directly. Come be a part of the community of FPCJ by being a part of the first Annual Clayton Community Festival for All. See details inside.

Grace and Peace for the journey,
Pastor Sue

One Generation Away PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:00

1 Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. 2 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm, [therefore] 18 fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11: 1-2, 18-19)

"The Church is one generation away from extinction.” While I do not know the origin of this quote, the truth of the message haunts me. In the church we call ourselves the family of God because we are adopted by God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. As with all families, then, we have a responsibility to God and each other to teach the youngest generation about God’s faithfulness and commandments, and above all, about God’s son, Jesus Christ. We must be deliberate in passing our faith on to our children. We must be explicit in teaching the Scriptures, explaining our doctrine and the love of God to them.

Thanks be to God our church family is growing! But this means that you, as “aunts” and “uncles” of the faith, need to step up to help our parents and grandparents in teaching God’s love. They can not, and should not do it alone. Both children’s Sunday school and the nursery need volunteers. Embrace and accept the importance of our call to actively disciple the next generation of Christians. Don’t be a distant relative.

I have heard many excuses for not teaching, among them, “I’m already too busy.” “I took my turn, let someone else take a turn.” Or, “I’m not gifted in that area.” I can remember Sunday school teachers from my childhood, several of whom were older. I remember grandparent types who loved for me to sit with them in worship; I remember them in my children’s lives, too.

First, thank God for the faithful few who have been carrying this load for so long, and then please, please, please- call Terry Sapp, Nancy Parkhouse or Traci White to volunteer to help in sharing and nurturing the faith formation of our children in Sunday school and in the nursery.

I am burdened for the growth of this church and the continuation of our faith. The church grows through relationships with God and each other, not in wishing it were so! Remember, we are only one generation away from extinction. Volunteer today.

Grace and Peace for the journey,
Pastor Sue

Go; Show and Tell! PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 August 2010 00:00

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).

Do you remember your first day of the school year? The building's freshly waxed floors; classroom desks scrubbed and neatly arranged; newly painted walls begging for student’s art projects and poems; bulletin boards decorated with positive messages for young minds. I remember the words of a grade school bulletin board: “You are special. You matter.” What I most especially remember was the teacher who taught us what those words meant. My grade school chorus teacher, Mrs. Cooley, brought those words to life in the way she spoke to us, and smiled at us, and even disciplined us. We loved Mrs. Cooley because we knew she cared about us, and she told us by showing us.

You are special. You matter. Isn’t that the message of Jesus Christ? Jesus went out of his way to teach us how special we are to God, and how much we matter in God’s Kingdom. I think if Jesus had a bulletin board, his message would have been very similar to Mrs. Cooley’s.


But Jesus didn’t have a bulletin board because Jesus didn’t stay in one place to teach. Jesus was all about “show and tell”. Jesus went out, he left the synagogue where they had already heard the message of God, and went to the people who were hungry for loving relationships. He spoke of God’s love every day in the market place, at the sea side, on the hillsides and in the valleys. He called the children to him; spent time with them, told parables about them. He showed them and told them of God’s love.


I urge you to do the same. Become involved at Suder Elementary school. Continue the good work started last year by spending 1-2 hours per week tutoring, mentoring, shelving library books, helping with bus duty; whatever is needed. And believe me, the need is great!


FPCJ was recognized and awarded the distinction of “Partner in Education” with Suder Elementary, by the Clayton County Public School Administration. Let’s continue to have a positive impact in our community by showing and telling the children and staff at Suder that they are important, they do matter, and they are special. Go to them like Jesus comes to us, building relationships. Teach them like Jesus teaches us, by showing up and showing them. Go; show, and tell! For Jesus’ sake and the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Grace and Peace for the journey,
Pastor Sue

Thank You PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 April 2010 00:00

"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil.1:3-5).

While we were not surprised, we were still amazed. Rick and I knew what a wonderful group of disciples you were, but we were not prepared for how completely you would step in to make sure the daily privileges and responsibilities of the church would continue while we were gone. Amazing!

When we got the call Good Friday that Rick’s mother had a stroke, God began preparing the way for us to go be with her in Florida. As a pastor I had moments of angst at the thought of leaving with such important worship services immediately ahead, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise and Easter Communion. Those are services into which pastors pour extra time and energy so that God’s redemptive story of Jesus’ resurrection will be well told and experienced by all.

I happened to be having lunch with three congregation members, two of them elders, and by the time lunch was over, together we had formulated the plans for how worship would continue. Barbara Rhinehart, Linda McElroy and Melissa Ham helped me think clearly as to what needed to be done. Linda said she would lead the evening’s Service of Shadows and Easter sunrise, and Barbara and Melissa assured me that all would be well. After a few more phone calls the plans were completed. We would leave. You would continue. Blake and Marcia’s calm and steady presence over the phone reminded me again of what wonderful, trusted colleagues they are and trusted friends, Rev. Cyndy Dixon and Paul Blair promised to work together to help provide the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ with communion.

I imagine you were not surprised or amazed at how well the services went. From the stories I hear of your past, you have always been a church who steps up to serve. I hope you were delighted with how God worked everything for good. I hope you were reminded by God how the story continues. Even in death there is new life. New gifts for leadership are being realized among you; new stories of God’s people at FPCJ are being told.

Rick and I are grateful for your love for God and for us. Without your love and respect for us, the memory of Mom’s last days would have been very different. Because of you we were able to be fully present with her and other family members as we realized in new ways that even in death there is new life. Thank you for your love and prayers. Good Friday and Easter have new depths of meaning in our lives, as we hope they do in yours also.Thanks be to God for his immeasurable love.

Grace and Peace for the journey,
Pastor Sue


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