Navigate / search

April 18, 2019 (Maundy Thursday)

Hosanna or Crucify Him, by Pastor Jiyeon

Mark 15:1-15

Jesus before Pilate

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

 Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom.Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

April 7, 2019

The Reference Revealed, by Pastor Drew

John 19:31-36

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’

Sports Activation Day Registration

June 1, 2019, 10 am to Noon

St. Stephen’s UMC Parking Lots

SSUMC-Sports-Activation-Day-Flyer

March 31, 2019

Grace Above the Law, by Pastor Jiyeon

John 8:1-11

while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’

March 24, 2019

Who’s the Boss, by Pastor Mark

Luke 22:39-51

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ [[ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

 While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him.

March 17, 2019

On the Syrophoenician Woman, by Pastor Drew

Mark 7:24-30

The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

March 10, 2019

Between Doubt and Faith, by Pastor Jiyeon

John 4:5-26, 39-42

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’

 Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come back.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am he,the one who is speaking to you.’

 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word.They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Saviour of the world.’

March 3, 2019

I Was Blind, but Now I See, by Pastor Jiyeon

John 9:1-12

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’

February 24, 2019

Listen, by Pastor Mark

Acts 2:1-21

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

Peter Addresses the Crowd

 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 
“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
   and your old men shall dream dreams. 
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
     and they shall prophesy. 
And I will show portents in the heaven above
   and signs on the earth below,
     blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 
The sun shall be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood,
     before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

February 17, 2019

Stop and Count, by Pastor Mark

Luke 12:22-32

Do Not Worry

 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

 ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Pancakes & Ashes

Details

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Lenten activity stations, and worship service.

Donations will be accepted to benefit the Youth Summer Mission Trips

Schedule of Activities:

  • 5:30 pm – 7 pm: Pancake Supper, hosted by youth in Fellowship Hall
  • 6 pm – 7 pm: Lent stations, activities, devotions & crafts for all ages to help us focus more fully on following Jesus during the Lenten season
  • 7 pm – 7:30 pm: Worship service, featuring youth band in the Sanctuary

No Need To RSVP
All are welcome!
Please stop by any time during the event – and stay for some or all of the activities!

Child care is available in the Nursery during the event.

FAQ

What is Shrove or Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras)?  The day before Lent begins is known as Shrove Tuesday.  For those who practice fasting during the season of Lent, all tempting foods are used up in a great feast (eggs, butter, sugar, meat) prior to Ash Wednesday.  In our church, we serve pancakes to remember this tradition.

What is Lent?  Lent is a Christian season 40 days (excluding Sundays) prior to Easter.  Lent is observed in several Christian denominations with a variety of traditions, all with the focus of prayer and preparation for Easter.

What is Ash Wednesday?  Ash Wednesday is the first day of the forty-day Lenten period.  It gets its name from the practice of rubbing ashes on your forehead.  At our service, everyone is invited to come forward to receive the ashes.  One of the pastors will smudge the ashes in a cross on your forehead.  You are invited to participate, but it is NOT required.

How much does this event cost?  Pancakes & Ashes is a free event.  For the Pancake Supper hosted by the Youth Ministry, a free-will donation is accepted.  All donations will go towards Youth Summer Mission Trips.  The Lenten activity stations are also free.

What ages are allowed? All ages are invited and allowed at this event. You are invited to stay for as short and as long as you want. Our church offers childcare for major events, including this one. However, we hope you’ll stay together as a family and enjoy the activities. Children are definitely a welcome part of our church experience.

Is there stuff planned for kids? Yes. In fact, all of our activities are designed to be experienced as a household. We have crafts which can take as little or as much time as you’d like, and plenty to take home with you to finish and enjoy later. Specifically, families will be able to assemble Lenten centerpieces to take home, eat pancakes, play board games, and much more!  The supper is served from 5:30-7:00pm.  The stations are open from 6:00-6:55pm.  The 7:00pm worship service is especially designed for children to understand and participate.

Do I have to be a member of the church to attend? No. This is a chance for us to share with our community a part of our church’s culture. You do not have to be a member to attend.

Do I have to be a Christian to attend? No. This is a chance for us to share with our community a part of our culture. You will not be asked to join the church or proselytized to. We intend this to be a gift given to all, without price or expectation.

Is there food? Yes. We will have a Pancake Supper with pancakes, sausage and juice, free for all. A free-will donation will be accepted to support Youth Summer Mission Trips.

What time should we arrive? You may arrive any time between 5:30pm and 7:00pm.  Please come when you can and stay for any or all of the activities. The Pancake Supper will be served during this time. Craft and activity stations will be open from 6:00-6:55pm. If you visit every station, it should take you about 45 minutes to enjoy.  At 7:00pm there is a 30-minute family worship service featuring the Youth Band.  Part of the service will include a Bible story and the imposition of ashes. 

What is there to do at Pancakes & Ashes? A lot! The main event is a Pancake Supper.  We’ll have a variety of stations for you to visit during your time. Stations include a Lenten centerpiece station where you may make your own candle centerpiece (all contents provided for free), a family board game room, and several other hands-on-activity stations for exploring the practice of fasting during Lent. You can also help us make tissue paper flowers to prepare for Easter.  After 7:00pm, there is a short worship service.

Why is Lent 40 days?  The number 40 is found several times in the Bible– it rained 40 days and nights during the flood, the Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying, and was tempted, at the start of His earthly ministry.  The Lenten season mirrors these Biblical stories.

So, why ashes and where do they come from?  Ashes are a symbol of our temporary earthly bodies, which will one day decompose.  Ashes also connect us with the ancient practice of heaping ashes of your head as a sign of your repentance.  Our church tradition is to save the palm branches from Palm Sunday and burn them the following year for Ash Wednesday.  You are invited to participate, NOT required. 

What is fasting?  Fasting is a Biblical principle that we find in both the Old and New Testaments.  The references to fasting in the Bible present a time period of prayer during which one abstained from food.   Often we hear people say, “I’m giving up _____ for Lent.”  Lent is a personal time of self-reflection.  Some choose to fast from a certain food item (ex. coffee or chocolate), while others in the spirit of fasting, choose to restrict their activities (ex. digital fasting).  Fasting is an opportunity for you to get closer to God. It is a means to empty yourself of your desires, opening yourself to God.

Get Thinking about Lent

Will I give something up this year?  What does the Bible say about fasting?  How does fasting work with kids?  This year’s Lenten stations at Pancakes & Ashes focus on fasting.  To get you thinking ahead, check out these resources on fasting, and find ideas of how you can practice Lent with your family this year.

UMC Video about Fasting

UMC: On Lent, prayer and fasting

UMC: What do we believe about fasting?

Focus on Fasting with Kids in Mind

February 10, 2018

Bring It Back, by Pastor Mark

Nehemiah 9:6-12

 And Ezra said: ‘You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you. You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham;and you found his heart faithful before you, and made with him a covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite; and you have fulfilled your promise, for you are righteous.

 ‘And you saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea. You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted insolently against our ancestors. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. And you divided the sea before them, so that they passed through the sea on dry land, but you threw their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. Moreover, you led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the way in which they should go.

February 3, 2018

Success, by Pastor Mark

Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector

 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’