I'm really pumped about our Sunday morning together this weekend. Dr. John Byron, my New Testament professor at Ashland Theological Seminary, will be our special guest speaker. You are in for a treat!
This week I pulled out my notes from my New Testament II class back in March 2006. Each evening I typed 10 to 12 pages of notes! Why so much? Aside from my own OCD tendencies, each of John's lectures were filled with personal discoveries of his own studies and travels, which I found to be fascinating. In fact, the very first night of class, a colleague of Dr. Byron's had to fill in for him. John was still in Israel, where he has taken many seminarians on multiple tours.
This Sunday morning Dr. Byron will be speaking to you on a passage from 1 Thessalonians. John literally wrote the book on Thessalonians. Last year John's commentary on 1st and 2nd Thessalonians was released. You don't have to be a seminarian to read it, understand it, or appreciate it.
Some of you may be thinking that Mark is just enthusiastic about his seminary professor. I am. But I have good reason to be. Don't just take my word for it. Ask Dave or Jenny Repp, who traveled with Mary Kay and me up to Ashland a couple months back to hear John give a public lecture. They'll tell you our time together whizzed by.
So what specifically will we be studying during our time together Sunday? We will be considering the progression of the gospel message in the church at Thessalonica in the 1st century. This model still works today - for us at Church Requel in Mansfield, Ohio. Want a head start? Check out the Bible app sermon notes.
Of course our Church Requel worship services are never just about teaching. We will worship in singing, praying, communion, fellowship. The whole experience should be ... well, an experience! I'm especially excited that Dave Johnson has agreed to lead us in our singing time. It's been far too long. Ian will join him on the bass guitar. And rumor has it that Tim and Jillian will be driving up from Dayton to join us too.
As I see it - you're going to want to be at CR Sunday morning. And you're going to want to bring a friend. They will thank you!
We have some other great opportunities to look forward to as well...
- Mansfield Christian School Image and Potluck. Next Sunday will be another great opportunity. Twenty-two young people will sing and share their personal faith stories with you. Afterward we'll all enjoy a fabulous potluck meal together!
- Mother's Day - Watoto African Children's Choir. We'll have a great time together Mother's Day morning. Then you'll want to celebrate with a great Mother's Day feast at home. THEN you'll want to come back to Church Requel at 7pm to watch and hear this phenomenal children's choir. I've seen videos of their tour. It's truly exceptional!
- Sweet Williams Trio on June 7th - I'm 90% sure on this one, so I'll include this too. Mark your calendar on June 7th for some bluegrass gospel music! Envision this in your head - one hammer dulcimer + one banjo + one acoustic guitar + our own praise team singing. It's going to be so much fun. I guarantee you will - ahem - fly away!
We are making big plans for our church. Every week this summer will be special! The best part, though, is just getting together with all of you. I love our fellowship time together. One of the things you're going to learn from Dr. Byron this weekend is that the gospel spread in Thessaloniki because people were hearing good things about the people and what they were doing. The same thing, I believe, is true about you. Christ's love in us, expressed outwardly to one another and to our neighbors, is being talked about. Keep on loving! See you Sunday at 11! - Pastor Mark