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Resources for the 5th Sunday of Easter
St. Thomas Day - St. Thomas, the Doubter

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 13:35

Scripture Lessons:
Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 148
Revelation 21:1-6
John 13: 31-35

Prayer of Confession

Giver of all life, you call us into a relationship of love with you and with our fellow human beings. We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, that we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. Forgive us, we pray, and empower us so we may love you more than everything else, you who have loved us first. Let us seek to love you in receiving and serving, in our going out and our going in. Free us for a life in joyful obedience and commitment to you, our neighbor, and our world. May your love inspire and infuse our everyday lives. In Jesus name. Amen.


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Children's Messages


Sermon Excerpt

Catching Up With God, Acts 11:1-15
by Frank Schaefer   

I'd like to begin by sharing a little humorous notice: about The Perfect Pastor.

....The Perfect Pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes, condemns sin roundly, but never hurts anyone's feelings. S/he works from 8 a.m. until midnight, and is also the church janitor.

....The Perfect Pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the parish,  is 29 years old and has 40 years' worth of experience. Above all, s/he is handsome ...

This humorous letter has something to do with todayís message. It is just human nature that we have our certain expectations: a congregation has certain expectations of their new pastor, and more often than not, there are a few surprises. Even if a church would hire the re-incarnated Jesus, Iím sure some people would be complaining about something. Often in the gospels, not even the disciples could catch up with what Jesus was doing. Often they were dumbfounded as Jesus did something they did not expect. It was almost like Jesus was saying: "surprise" at every corner of the way.

Well, after Jesus had ascended to heaven and the church began to thrive following Pentecost, God had more surprises in store. This morning we read about a major crisis in the young church of Christ--one that required the meeting of the apostolic church board in Jerusalem.

Peter must have been sweating bullets when he was called before the apostolic board in Jerusalem.

I know very well how Peter must have felt. Iíve been before the board of the ordained ministry. That really put the fear of God in me. Can you imagine what it is like to be asked theological questions by a panel of 6 board members, trying to determine if my knowledge, my background, my calling, etc. is good enough to be an ordained minister.

Perhaps that's how Peter felt as he was charged with serious charges before the council at Jerusalem: he was accused of having watered down the gospel of Christ. . .  Subscribers: click here for the full manuscript.


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