Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Lamb and the Winged Lion

Mark 9:23 "Everything is possible for him who believes"

The anticipation of Advent gave way to the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the light of the world.  We sang carols and read again the stories of Mary, Joseph and the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.  The passages came from Luke and Matthew, not from the second gospel, Mark. Why?  Double checking confirmed that indeed there is no account of the birth of the Lamb of God in the second gospel. . . John Mark, the winged lion, are you the "quiet gospel"?  Why, St. Mark?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bible Study

Soon after my mother died a Christian neighbor asked me to attend a men's Bible study he and a couple of his church friends had started.  I had a feeling that God was reaching out to me through my friend Tim.  I was at a point in my life that needed answers and God heard my prayers.  Like many, I had grown up in a Christian family, attended church regularly and went through all of the motions that would be expected of a Christian.  During the Bible study more questions developed.  Questions that personal reflection could not answer.

I was forced to ask the experts! Dan was very helpful and invited me to attend a new Bible class he was starting.  I felt a little uneasy about my lack of biblical knowledge.  I knew the "big" stories but felt inadequate about my knowledge of the Bible as a whole.  I leaped!  My fears were unfounded.  The class was made up of people just like me who had questions to problems and felt that they might get answers through Holy Scripture.  As the Bible study progressed, I discovered that I had only been hearing the words spoken on Sunday.  It became apparent to me that understanding comes from studying and discussing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Your Body is a Temple

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit with you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  for you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body."  1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

This Tuesday's Action is to be a good steward of your body:

  • Attend a Yoga class on Tuesdays with Pastor Susan 9:30 AM (Check the calendar for dates)
  • Attend the Chair Exercise class every Wednesday 10:30 AM
  • Take a walk or train for an event (Give the church office a call for a contact person)
  • Go to the gym
  • Eat healthy food all day
  • Get enough sleep
  • Make a doctor's appointment for a check up
If you have more ideas on how to be a good steward of your body, please add them to the comments below.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Bible verse:  Matthew 22: 34-39

For at least six or seven years, maybe more, we silently festered and groused about our neighbors.  Their kids were somewhat rowdy, cracking our new siding with golf balls, and keeping us up late with noisy trampoline parties.  Their old bear of a dog barked incessantly whenever he was left alone in the yard.  We really didn't see the point in getting to know them.  We secretly hoped for the day that moving vans would arrive!

Last year, Anna - their little girl - showed up on our doorstep, selling gift-wrap for a school fund-raiser. She was adorable our hearts started to soften.  Maybe they weren't so bad, after all...We made sure to have a special treat for her at Halloween.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mark 2: 2-12

So many gathered around there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.  Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.  and when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, the removed the roof above; and after having dug through it they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves, and he said to them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven' or to say 'Stand up and take your mat and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"---he said to the paralytic "say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home."  And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!" Mark 2: 2-12

Friday, February 22, 2013

God's Plans For Us
"For I  know the plans I have for you...plans to give you hope and a future"  Jeremiah 29:11

My circle is reading the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  Its author uses Luke10:38-41 (which tells of a time when Jesus and his disciples were guests in the home of Mary and Martha) as a springboard from which to explore the importance of finding "Mary moments" amidst the hubbub of a busy "Martha world."

For most of my life, I have definitely been more of a Martha---just ask anyone who knows me!

But I realized recently, I have a Mary body.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What We Give: What We Get

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."  Acts 20:35

In 1999, I attended a divorce care meeting at St. Mark.  I'd been divorced for over a year but I still felt lost and found myself struggling to get through each day.  One of the leaders mentioned their belief that we all have a guardian angel.  The next day I left for California to visit my son, daughter and son-in-law, who had been giving me great moral support.  After my son, Matt, went to work, I took a walk.  A block from his apartment I saw something laying on the edge of the sidewalk. It was a "Guardian Angel" pin, still attached to the display card which said, "Angel Blessing upon You!"  Of all the people that walked along that sidewalk, why was I the one who saw it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Good Friend

For everything there is a season, and a time for ever matter under heaven."  Ecclesiastes 3:1

A friend of mine who touched my life
Has left his room called life on earth.
He's now at rest beyond life's strife.
Now in the void are memories
Of fellowship, laughter, joy, and mirth

As sorrow ebbs my faith endures.
We can't predict our journey's end.
We cannot see around each bend.
But we can live each precious day
With God's great love our firm mainstay.

Jud Miner

Written for St. Mark Presbyterian Lenten Devotional, 2005

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Action Tuesday

"But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves." James 1: 22

From the St. Mark Presbyterian 2002 Devotion Book

During Lent 2002, Tuesdays...are being set aside for practical application of the Word to life.  Instead of reading a devotional, you are encourage to intentionally perform some simple additional act of kindness and compassion, to take a step that enhances a relationship, or help build a bridge of reconciliation and peacemaking...Try to choose something that you would not ordinarily do, or something you need to do, but have been putting off to another day.  Let Tuesday be that day!"

We invite you to leave in the comments below some ideas on how we can  be doers of the word.  If you need some ideas, Click here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

God Cares

"Lord, don't you care?"  Luke 10:40

Our Circle usually meets for an early morning hour, twice a month.  We are a small group of women who care for and support one another as we share concerns and joys and study God's word.  Together, we seek His wisdom in guiding our lives in ways that please and honor Him.

Our latest study utilizes the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. In Luke 10:40, Martha asks, "Lord don't you care...?"  Well, we believe that God does care---deeply---for every single one of us.  After reading Psalm 103 together, we made a list of some of the many ways we have personally experienced His grace and love:

  • He forgives our sins and failures, even when we fail to do the same for ourselves and others.
  • He supplies us with all our care needs, places us in families, blesses us with many friends, and has given us the richness of His earth.  God has filled our lives with many good things!
  • He watches over our body's needs, heals many illnesses and diseases, and He always stays with us---in life and in death.
  • He reduces our fears and worries, lifts our burdens, and offers us peace; sometimes He does this by providing others to minister to, and affirm us, in our faith.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Little Easters

From the St. Mark Presbyterian Church Lenten Devotional Book:  The Lord is Risen Indeed!

"Technically Sundays are not days of Lent.  They are little Easters to anticipate the coming celebration of Christ's victory of death at Easter.

Lent begins forty days prior to Easter, not counting Sundays.  During Lent 2002 [2013], you are encouraged to take Sundays as a day of worship and reflection.  Attend either the 8:30 or 10:30 Service every Sunday (or the 5:00 pm Saturday).

This booklet gives the ecumenical lectionary readings for each Sunday.  Not all are used in every service.  Take a few moments to look them up, read and think about them.  Ask yourself, "What changes in my life might I be called upon to make because of what I have read?"

Lectionary Readings for 2013:
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

Saturday, February 16, 2013

It's Never Too Late

He who gives attention to the Word will find good.  Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord" Proverbs 16:20

I was 14-years-old before I realized there were other things to do on Sunday than attend church.  Sunday School, Youth Fellowship, visit relatives or take a long walk with my dog.

In Sunday School, my teachers were striving to introduce me to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Youth Fellowship and Christian Summer camps provided new experiences and insights toward leading a Christian life.  From the beginning, these adults were trying to guide me toward this journey of faith and arm me with lessons I could take with me.  In college, two classes in religion were required for graduation.  We dubbed them "Praying 101" and "Advanced Praying"! The professors were inspiring and knowledgeable, and to this day I am grateful for what I learned.  "All your sons will be taught by the Lord and great will be the peace of your children." Isaiah 54:3

Over the years, I have taught Sunday school, spent 7 years in Bible Study Fellowship, and am currently attending Bookmarks class and a Koinonia group.  But the most amazing thing to me is that when I study the Bible, I discover uplifting facts abut my Lord and Savior; I realize that I need to read the Old Testament to understand the New Testament.  So it's never too late to start, restart, or continue to learn.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Spiritual Maturity

 "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11

It's always amazing to me how hard we work at getting it right with God.

As a child, I understood sin and knew we could never escape its power.  On bad days, I pictured God reading my innermost thoughts and shaking his head as if to say "that's going to cost you".   I mean, I always felt justified getting angry whenever I felt wronged by a friend or family member so how could I, at the ripe old age of 10, escape his wrath on my road to ruin?

But a funny thing happened on the way to spiritual adulthood.  I received God's blessing in the form of two wonderful daughters.  It was at this point in my life things became perfectly clear.  No matter how well they behaved or misbehaved, my love for them never changed nor was it ever diminished.  Up until this point I always felt you had to earn God's love.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Works alone don't open the gates of heave.  Acceptance of God's unending love holds the key.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chinese New Year at Claymont Preschool


Thanks to John Northrip, whose daughter Ingamarie attended Claymont Preschool at St. Mark a few years ago, this year's children enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year.  We learned this is the year of the snake, and saw where China is on our BIG earth. We paraded in Fellowship Hall and enjoyed taking turns under the Chinese Lion and playing musical instruments, especially the loud gongs. Back in the classroom, we decorated masks and scared our parents when they came to pick us up after school.   


1 Corinthians 13: 1-7

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Advent and Lent are times of preparation.  In Advent we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord.  In Lent we prepare to remember and to celebrate the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord.  In these times of preparation we may take on new disciplines, new ways of reflecting and focusing on God's work to us and God's intentions for our lives as addressed by Christ's coming into our world.

Lent has often been seen as a time for disciplined "giving up" of something that is important to us.  It is assumed that such sacrifice will make us more cognizant of Christ in our lives and will help us focus more clearly on His role in our lives.  Such may be the case for some persons.  But, as is stated in the Handbook of the Christian Year, "Lent is not giving up something but rather taking upon ourselves the intention and the receptivity to God's grace so that we may worthily participate in the mystery of God-with-us."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ash Wednesday Marks Season of Reflection, Celebration

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. –Psalm 51:10-12

From quiet reflection to joyous celebration, the season of Lent and Easter offer a bit of everything. St. Mark Presbyterian Church offers numerous activities, events and services throughout this season to give visitors an opportunity to participate in every aspect of this important annual journey.

Ash Wednesday and Lenten Wednesday Services: The journey begins with Ash Wednesday service at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in the sanctuary; visitors may also participate in Lenten services at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 and 27 and March 6 and 13. Also, visit “What Wondrous Love,” the Holy Week in Word and Art, presented by the Adult Education Committee. For additional fellowship time with friends and family, stop by early and join us for a Midweek dinner. Sign up for dinner at

Jerusalem Festival: Children will love being immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of an authentic Jerusalem Market. Join us during our morning services March 10 for this fun and memorable experience.

Palm Sunday: Join us as we honor Christ our King with a palm leaf processional during services March 24 at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Maundy Thursday: Our Maundy Thursday offers a time for quiet reflection as we think about the days and events leading up to the crucifixion. Join us at 7:30 p.m. March 28.

Bunny Breakfast:  Our Easter celebration begins with a pancake breakfast and Easter egg hunt March 30. The bunny breakfast is a fun opportunity for families to share some quality time together and reflect on the joy of the season.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lenten Devotionals

During Lent, we will be publishing devotionals written by church members in the early 2000's. If you have any books other than those pictured that you would like to donate, please put them in the Communications Mailbox in the office.  If you would like to write a new piece, please contact Jaclyn Morgan or the St. Mark church office.

The introduction of the 2005 book says:
"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing". 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 
Friends in Christ, 
Lent is traditionally a time of reflection and preparation for the remembrance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. 
Our  goal in offering "Stories From the Heart" is to provide a daily focus for our reflections during Lent.  This booklet contains some of the many stories of faith the people we know and worship with each week have chosen to share.  We hope you will find them thought provoking, uplifting and encouraging.   
The Members of the Worship Committee

Friday, February 8, 2013

Go-getters Valentine's Pizza Party

 Although the Go-getters Luncheon group often goes out to lunch, we stay at church during the winter months.  February, pizza is brought in and we play Bingo for entertainment.  It is a great way for Senior women to get together for social fellowship in the winter months.  Next month we will also "stay in" with sandwiches brought in.  Contact the St. Mark church office if you are interested in joining us.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Signs of Spring

There are many signs that Spring is coming---some bulbs are blooming and other bulbs are showing growth.  Some have reported flocks of robins, and still others report the groundhog did not see his shadow---Spring will be early this year.

For me Lent is a sign of spring.  As opposed to my Catholic cousins and many Protestants, I don't give anything up for Lent.  Instead, I take something on----I read the Bible more, read devotionals more, make a concerted effort to pray more. I don't eat more fish, but instead give more food to Circle of Concern.  It is a spiritual re-birth for me not sacrifice.

Won't you join me in reflecting more on what Lent means by writing a piece for this blog ? (put it in the Historian's mailbox or e-mail me)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

First Church of the Living Room

By Kathy Deters

I have a confession to make: I haven’t been to church since Christmas Eve.

Like most of the Midwest, we got socked by a nasty cold virus that took us down, systematically, one by one…coughs, fevers, ear infections, followed by another round of coughs, fevers and ear infections. For weeks it dragged on, our house a veritable symphony of coughing at night and lifeless activity as we struggled through the daytime hours. As it passed through each family member one by one, then turned around and knocked us all down again, my family resembled extras from a bad zombie flick.

Finally, after more than a month of antibiotics, cough medicines, ear drops and doctor’s appointments, we agreed over Saturday dinner that we were, without a doubt, well enough to return to church. And then we woke up today to find four inches of freshly fallen, untouched snow on our street.

And like a zombie movie, we wondered if the snowpacalypse was as bad outside our subdivision as it was within. Had the highways between St. Charles County and St. Louis County been plowed? Had the bridge over the Missouri River been treated? Were cars slipping and sliding willy and nilly in Chesterfield? And so we resigned to miss church…again.

As we sit snowed in, I lament that I won’t get to enjoy the choir’s music, that I won’t hear the pastor’s message (though this is now available on the Discover St. Mark website), that I won’t have the opportunity to visit with dear friends (though it’s nice to be able to stay connected with many of them over Facebook). But mostly I regret that my kids are missing this important time at church.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Two Prayers

You show us the light,
It is very bright;
You give us everything,
Some pray for nothing;
Some read your book,
Some don't even look;
You give us-
Love, and
From the 1984 Book of Thoughts and Prayers
Junior High Sunday School Class
Dear Lord,

Look upon us from heaven where you live in Your Holiness and Glory.

Save us from sin and deliver us to heaven.