— 10 a.m. and later — ►Worship service online only
Sermon: ‘Sitting on God’s Right Hand’
Luke 24:44–53 — The Rev. Keith Cardwell
Acolyte: Lainey Thomas Time with the children: Lynn Aspray Scripture reader: Kathy Menk
Send us a photo of yourself wearing red
Pentecost is Sunday, May 31. The color red represents Pentecostal fire.
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire
that separated and came to rest on each of them.” — Acts 2:3
What we want you to do is to dress in red and send us a photo for use in our online worship that day. Send the photo by email, text or Facebook, by Thursday, May 28. Send to Pastor Jody Beth or Keith or the church office.
Also, the worship committee will deliver a Pentecost package to the children and youth with fun wind- and flame-related items. There’s a question game to go with it. Children and youth who answer the questions correctly win a special prize. More on that later!
A message from Kathy
Pastor Keith has given me an opportunity to tell you what it has meant to me to serve God and the wonderful people of Swift Church for the past 15 years.
I came here in 2005, a retired schoolteacher who was not ready to retire. I had never been a secretary before, but I knew I was good at organizing and I thought I could handle it. I had no idea at that time what this job would mean to my spiritual journey. I have met and worked with so many kind and compassionate Christians in this job, and I count every one of you as a spiritual mentor.
As often is the case, I look back now and realize how God prepared me for this job before I got here, how He gave me the skills I needed to succeed, and how He has directed every day I have spent in this office. I remember one of my first days on the job, having to run the copy machine, and I had never seen such a fancy machine. But I took a deep breath and said, “God, I need your help here.” And my fingers starting pushing buttons that I didn’t know if I should be pushing, and WOW! The copies came out just like I had hoped they would. From that day on, I knew God was with me and guiding me whenever I wasn’t sure what to do next. Spiritual marker #1.
In 2012, I was a pilgrim at Alabama Presbyterian Cursillo #29 — second spiritual marker in my journey. As a gift from one of my very special Christian mentors, I received a copy of the daily devotional “Experiencing God.” From the very moment I started reading that book, I have felt God’s presence and heard his voice speaking to me from every page. I then learned that “Experiencing God” is a Bible study by Henry and Richard Blackaby, and I searched for more information about the study. Long story short: A group of my friends bought the workbooks and did the study together over a 13-week period. It is a lot of work, but it is the most life-changing experience I have had. Spiritual marker #3.
I have continued to read this daily devotional every day since I received it, and similar to reading the Bible, I can read the same words over every year, but get a different meaning from them each time. So I asked Pastor Keith if I could take what I have gleaned from “Experiencing God” and apply it to Robert Schnase’s Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations for this last issue of weekly announcements that I will produce for Swift Church. I pray these words from Henry and Richard Blackaby are as meaningful to you as they are to me. And if you ever get the chance to take this Bible study or read this daily devotional, I hope you will.
ALL praise and glory be to God!
— Kathy Menk
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
Throughout the Scriptures, God speaks of His people as a community that accomplishes more together than separately. During difficult times it is critical that we are walking in fellowship with other Christians. When we are a part of a caring community of believers we will find strength in the comfort and encouragement of those who care about us. That is why He established the church and released the Holy Spirit to empower the community of believers to spread the gospel. Seek to be a person who willingly joins others in carrying out God’s assignments. Be the source of support and encouragement that those around you need.
Intentional faith development
“Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much,
and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.” — Luke 16:10
Throughout your life, God will grow you in your faith. He will continually bring you to times when you must trust Him. He will lead you into situations that require a “little” faith, and if you are faithful, He will then take you into situations that require even greater trust in Him. Your faith and experiencing God are directly linked. Every step of faith leads you to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. He will lead you to do things that are absolutely impossible in your own strength. But God will grant you victory, step by step, as you obey Him. When God gives you an assignment, it is no longer an impossibility, but rather it is an absolute certainty. All He requires is your obedience. Ask God to increase your faith, and then begin living a life that reflects absolute trust in Him. You will experience the joy of seeing your Lord perform a miracle, and so will those around you.
►Online Zoom Bible study
It’s open to all members and friends
The Thursday morning Bible study “meets” as an online study, through a tool called Zoom. It can be accessed on a computer or smart phone from 10 to 10:40. We also send out a weekly email to help keep us connected.
Materials are your Bible and a study book, Knowing the Bible: Exodus. We are going through Exodus chapter by chapter; an appropriate book to study in these days of what may feel like exile to many of us.
For more information, contact Pastor Jody Beth, 251-213-6625.
Risk-taking mission and service
“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God: this is your spiritual worship.” — Romans 12:1
God is not asking us to die for Him, but rather to live for Him. God asks us to lay down our lives on His altar as a living sacrifice. We belong entirely to Him. We cannot make a partial sacrifice of our lives; our offering must be wholehearted. We do not serve Him in our spare time or with our leftover resources. The way you live your life is your offering to Him. When Christians today are asked what aspects of the Christian life are most important to them, missions is not usually ranked as a priority. This is because we have lost track of why God called us in the first place. We were not saved from our sin simply so that we would qualify for heaven. God delivered us so we would have a relationship with Him through which He could carry out His mission to redeem a lost world. Is your heart so filled with love for God that you are watching for the first opportunity to say with Isaiah, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!”?
The food pantry remains open every Wednesday, 10 a.m. to noon, until further notice. Delivery is also offered to all members and friends, to keep people from having to go to the store and/or the food pantry. If your work hours have been cut, you are required to participate! Contact Pastor Jody Beth, 213-6625 to have a bag dropped off outside your home or work.
►Swift financial help
If you are in financial need because of COVID-19 — lack of work, medical bills, no stimulus check, or other reasons — please contact Pastors Keith or Jody Beth for a confidential conversation about how Swift Church can help you financially.
“You have received free of charge; give free of charge.” — Matthew 10:8b
There is no room for misers in God’s kingdom. When we begin to struggle in giving what we have to others, we have forgotten where we received our possessions. Every good thing we have ever received has come from God (James 1:17). All that we have acquired has been dependent on His grace. Jesus reminds us to be prepared to give our possessions as freely and joyfully as we received them. It should be a pleasure for us to give what we have to others. If you struggle to give freely to others, you have become more attached to the gift than to the Giver. Meditate on all that your Lord has given you. Resolve to express your gratitude to Him through your giving.
►Tithes and offerings
Although we are not meeting “in person,” please remember to mail or drop off your tithing during this time of separation. You can also give online through the secure donation portal linked from our website.
A prayer for our nation
Dear God, as we face these uncertain times in our nation and the world, we ask you, Lord, to dwell among us. We are comforted by the knowledge that you alone are our Savior and Lord, and the ultimate Master of life. We trust our nation to your loving care, Lord. Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it. Give us your light and your truth to guide us in our ways so that we may seek your will in our lives and impact the world around us for your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
►Session creates task force
The Swift Presbyterian Church session met Monday, May 18. Significant discussion focused on the safety of reopening the sanctuary.
A task force was created to study in great detail the options and return to the session as quickly as possible with guidelines and recommendations for what it will look like when we return to in-person worship. Also, how to continue online worship for folks not ready to return.
We will inform the congregation as the process develops.
Pray for the church leadership and for our faith community.
►Please let us know . . .
During this time of online worship, please know that you can call the church or email to notify us of any joys or concerns; birthdays, anniversaries, health issues or family deaths so that we may put it in the weekly emailed announcements for your church family to pray with you or to praise God for your joy. (We don’t publish personal prayer concerns on the website.) email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The 2020 church directories have been mailed out. Please let the church office know if you didn’t receive yours.
Thanks so much to Sue Ann Lay for her many hours of work on this. Please check your information for accuracy. If corrections are needed, be sure to contact the church office.
►New administrative assistant
Welcome to Sena Cooper, who started in the office on May 19. Her first day on her own will be June 2.
Please stop in and say “hi” sometime.
►Joys and celebrations
■ Upcoming birthdays: May 27 — Kathie LeDrew; May 30 — Kathy Menk
■ Congratulations: Tristen Fitts, dean’s list, Auburn, and Luke Fitts, president’s list, Montevallo (Mimi’s grandchildren)
• Inge and Larry Sthreshley in Democratic Republic of Congo
►Pray for military friends and families.
• Haleigh Fulmer: U.S. Marine Corps, Middle East • Sgt. 1C Marc Barkley: Afghanistan • Dennis Trey Brown: U.S. Army, Afghanistan •Zane Brewer: U.S. Marine Corps, Jacksonville, N.C. •David Esparza: U.S. Marine Corps, Jacksonville, N.C. •Jeffrey Cain: U.S. Coast Guard, St. Petersburg, Fla. •Jeremy Rechkemmer: U.S. Army in Stuttgart, Germany • Capt. Jeremy Timm: National Guard in Arkansas • Cody Havel: U.S. Navy, Jacksonville, Fla. • M.Sgt. Jason Rogers: U.S. Marine Corps, Nashville, Tenn.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.
SWIFT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Rev. Keith Cardwell, pastor: 251-923-6961 Jody Beth Melton, assistant pastor:
251-213-6625 Lisa Cardwell, music director Abby Sikes, preschool director Church office: 251-943-8367