The Role of Friends


It’s Memorial Day Weekend!

What a great time to hang out with friends and family.  Backyard barbecues will be firing up all across Maine as we “officially” kick off the summer season.

Good friends and the time we spend with them are important to us.   Having a few good friends means having someone to celebrate the good times, and also walk with you through the difficult ones.

But being a true friend can mean more than that…  being a friend to someone can also make you a “bridge” between them and Christ.

How does God use people as bridges?   We’ll explore that this Sunday as we dig into Luke’s Gospel.

See you Sunday morning! – Pastor Mac

Meet Your New Assistant



Jesus would have been awesome on Jeopardy.   He was (and still is) after all, omniscient.   No category could stump him.   He’d bet it all on the Daily Double and win every time!

But the world has changed a lot since the time the Gospels were written.  There are many new questions out there, questions on things that didn’t exist in the first century.   What’s the Christian insight into stem cell research?  You’re not going to find the answer to that anywhere in the Beatitudes.

How do we discern the Truth in a world where opinions are a dime a dozen, and everyone’s an internet expert?   Jesus actually provided his followers with a guide to everything he didn’t get a chance to tell us…   we just need to tune into the right source.

Curious?  Good!  A wise man once said that we should “Never lose a Holy curiosity.” (Albert Einstein)

Join us Sunday for “Meet Your New Assistant”

See you Sunday morning! – Pastor Mac

Why do we suffer?


My wife’s new camera came back from China filled with photos of amazing places like this one.   Beijing and the surrounding countryside are wonders to behold.  Some of the antiquities date back to before Jesus walked the earth.   It is a truly unique culture.

Yet not everything is different.   People go to work every day…  buy things for their homes… celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.   Much of modern life in Beijing is close to modern life in Portland, Maine.

While attending a ‘secret church’ on Sunday morning, a local asked me a question that I’ve heard repeated many times:  “Why is my friend suffering?”   Her friend was “Sister Eem”, a member of their church who was stricken with a terrible illness.   This young woman wanted to know:  “How could Sister Eem be a Christian, and yet still be suffering like this?”

There are no perfect answers to that question…  only scattered clues here and there in the text.   This Sunday we’ll look at some of the clues Paul left us regarding the problem of pain.

See you Sunday!

Are We Still Building Fences?

By the time Peter and his friends from Joppa returned to Jerusalem, news about outsiders accepting God’s message had already spread [to the] believers there. Some of the circumcised believers didn’t welcome Peter with joy, but with criticism:

“Why did you violate divine law by associating with outsiders and sitting at the table with them for a meal? This is an outrage!”
~ Acts 11:1-3 (The Voice)

It has often been said that “Good fences make for Good Neighbors”.  That’s true in some cases, I suppose.   I grew up in a place with lots of fences… mainly to keep the cows and chickens from wandering into the neighbor’s gardens!

But fences can also be harmful when they keep us from sharing God’s Grace and Love with others.  The fences we build around our hearts can block us from becoming useful workers in God’s Kingdom.

Jesus was a master at tearing down fences…  and we must be as well.   This Sunday we’ll see how Peter got into trouble when he “jumped the fence”, and why we should consider jumping a few fences of our own.

Come and help us answer the question:
“Are We Still Building Fences?”

This Sunday at 10am!

~ Pastor Mac

Who Speaks into Your Life


Back in 1900 the artist Francis Barraud painted a portrait of his brother’s dog “Nipper” listening to “His Master’s Voice” on a device known then as a “Victor Talking Machine” (later called a record player).   In this modern take of that iconic scene,  “Nipper” is apparently Skyping with his owner on an IBM Thinkpad.   Times have changed!

Up until a century ago most people had only their friends, the newspaper, and some books to convey information to them.   Fast forward 100 years and we are deluged with thousands of “voices” speaking to us.  We “follow” people on Twitter.  We “friend” people on Facebook.  You Tube hosts 630+ million hours of video clips.  Cable TV brings 300 channels into our home.   All of these voices are competing for our attention… Competing for a chance to speak into our lives.

How do we sort out Jesus’ voice from the cacophony around us?   Which voice contains truth, and which voices are really just background chatter?  Put more succinctly:  Who do you follow?

Come and worship as we sort out all the competing voices in:

“Who speaks into your life?”    This Sunday at 10am.

“Gifts for Busy Disciples”


Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”   And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”    John 20

 “Gifts for Busy Disciples”    This Sunday at 10am.

The tomb will be empty… But we already knew that!


Here we are again, standing at the empty tomb, peering in, wondering… could it really be true?

Of course it’s true!   All of it!  The question is:  What brings us back again and again?

This is somewhere around the 1983rd anniversary of Jesus resurrection… the day we call Easter.   Even though we’ve all celebrated it many times over, it never fails puts a spring in our step and hope in our hearts!

This Sunday we’ll celebrate the Risen Jesus and see just why we return year after year, century after century, to proclaim all over again:  He is Risen!

Come for  “A Risen Lord & A Joyous People”    Sunday at 10am.

Fresh Palms and Old Sins


This is one of the earliest Holy Weeks in quite a while… We were celebrating Christmas barely 12 weeks ago.  Now we gather to wave Palm leaves and draw swords.

Did you read that right?  Yes.  Swords.   Big, sharp, cut off your nose (or your ear) type swords.

Swords are mentioned twice in the events of Holy Week.   First Jesus tells his disciples they ought to go and buy a few. (!)   Then Peter draws his sword (and uses it) as a mob comes to arrest his Lord and master.

And you thought political rallies could get rough!  How did the events of Holy Week get so violent, so quick?  How did we go from Palm leaves to swords in just a few short days?

This week we’ll worship with some really good music… pray for people in need, and try to understand what disciples brandishing swords says about Jesus, Ourselves, and the Cross.   Come for  “Waving Palms and Brandishing Swords” Sunday at 10am.

See you in Worship!

A Whole New Thing


“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”.    – Isaiah 43:18-19,

Ancient God + Stubborn People = New Stories

A recent study revealed that humans begin to deteriorate earlier than we thought.  Bones begin breaking down at age 35.   Hearing fades at age 50.  Our brain loses up to 10,000 neurons a day while we’re still in our 20’s.

That explains why I once put the cookie dough ice cream box into the fridge, instead of the freezer.  What a mess!

But wearing out is not so big a problem as simply getting stuck in place. Think of friends you knew 10 years ago… aren’t they mostly the same as they were back then?  Sure, some have changed jobs, others have changed addresses… but are they themselves really any different at a core level?

Probably not.   Which doesn’t bode well for us as we try to follow Christ.   Following Jesus is all about changing… moving away from who we were and becoming something new. We’re not great at that.

Still, God can do impossible things with His people.   He can write new stories for the most stubborn of hearts.  He can pour new life into old churches.  He can give us new paths to walk in… ones we haven’t even considered yet.

This Sunday at 10am we’ll discover how God turns our old lives into new stories as we look at “A Whole New Thing”.

See you in Worship!