Church Family Newsletter | October 29, 2021
It has been another busy weekend for the Jones Family - from a concert in San Jose, to practice at the Suisun Kroc Center, to a marching band competition in Foothill, to a birthday celebration on a stormy day, to a light night escape room, a second escape room in San Francisco, and then a quick tour of the Jelly Belly Factory.
It may all seem a bit ridiculous at times, but when you have four kids - and you are trying to support each of them - it demands a lot of time and energy. When I think of how time is quickly passing by, Gwyn and I are really trying to "make the most of every opportunity" because (one day too soon) they will be gone and raising their own families. (Trying not to cry thinking about that!)
This phrase is actually found in Colossians 4:
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
In context, Paul urges the Colossians to be careful in how they interact and relate to unbelievers. Sure, we were in those concert halls and stadiums to support our children, but there are always people observing things we do (especially when posted on Facebook). I pray that our actions would be appealing and not off-putting; drawing people closer to God, rather than offending them.
We should have fun! Jesus-followers should have the most fun! But remember: "Believers should remember that the goal is to win a soul rather than to win an argument." Our words - and actions - with God's help should bring flavor and healing to the world.
Major AnnMarguerite Jones
This past Sunday, in her sermon, Major AnnMarguerite Jones quoted from Acts Chapter 9, which has the account we usually refer to as “Paul’s Damascus Road experience.”
I was intensely moved again by the realization that just two words spoken in love at the right time and empowered by the Holy Spirit can (and did) change the course of history!
Let me quote the passage here from the New International Version translation:
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
I’m sure every believer is familiar with this story, undoubtedly related first-hand to Dr. Luke by Paul himself.
One has to wonder, however, how history might have been changed if Ananias had not set aside his understandable terror at presenting himself before Saul.
As we know, Ananias pointed out to God all the bad things that could happen and probably would happen if he carried out the mission to which he was appointed. I (we) are forever indebted to Ananias’ obedience and courage in the face of known danger and his willingness to believe God’s purposes rather than give in to his own emotions. His actions are a sermon in itself.
There is a saying in our modern culture that says, “Go big or go home!” And Ananias decides to go big! He could have just complied with God’s will and merely been the messenger delivering the good news to Saul. But no! Ananias goes for broke and does what Jesus did! He goes to Judas’ house, on Straight Street, knocks on the door, and asks if Saul from Tarsus is lodging there. Being told yes, he asks to see him, and entering into the room he says the two words which epitomize the mind of Christ in a believer.
He says, “Brother Saul!” [Pause to let the stupendous enormity of that sink in!]
Saul was his sworn enemy! Saul was on a mission to eradicate people like him who followed “The Way!” Saul had the weight and power of the religious establishment in Jerusalem solidly behind him! But Ananias is not swayed by any of that - for to him it had been revealed that Saul was to be God’s instrument in spreading the news about Jesus to the whole world - therefore they were brothers in Christ!
It is quite probable that you and I are believers today because of the obedience of Ananias! Can you imagine the effect those words had on Saul? Here was first-hand evidence of God’s forgiveness, grace, and love in action!
In the same way, I believe that you and I should not be deterred by seemingly overwhelming obstacles to proclaiming the Good News in our circumstances. We should see every human being, even avowed enemies, as souls for whom Jesus died and embrace them as brothers and sisters, not because of who they have been or are, but because of who they are destined to become when they are reconciled to Christ.
Thank you, Ananias, for your faithfulness and example to us all!
Be like Ananias!
Blessings on you and yours,
We encourage you to come and pray before Sunday's Holiness and Worship Service. Pray over the requests that have been shared during the week. Pray for those seeking the Lord. Pray for those who are lost. So many things to pray for ...
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” Matthew 18:19-20.
This Week's Schedule
9:30 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
10:00 AM - Prayer Room Opens - Side Room of the Courtyard
10:00 AM - Corps Cadets & Sunday School - Classrooms 2 & 3
11:00 AM - Worship Service - In-Person and Facebook/YouTube
12:15 PM - Youth Music Rehearsals
1:00 PM - All-Youth Activity (No Junior Band or Music Electives)
6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
6:00 PM - Women's Bible Study - Hybrid
7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
10:00 AM - CAMEO: Chinese Food Cooking Demonstration by Guests from El Sobrante Group
6:00 PM - YouthForce - Golf Tee Land in Castro Valley#
#Meet at the church if you would like to carpool. $10-12 per person.
Last year, we were unable to have our Corps Thanksgiving Luncheon. But this is a new year, and we plan on hosting it on Sunday, November 21st, after the Sunday Worship Service. However, we know that not everyone may feel comfortable staying. Please make your reservation in the link below so that we know how many place settings to prepare. Plus, if you are able to bring a dish to share, please sign-up on the paper list in the Chapel Foyer.
RSVP HERE https://form.jotform.com/212996209285163
We will be providing 50 meals to veterans and their families that are staying in local hotels or shelters. Mike O'Reilly will be heading up that service project. If you would like to drop off raw goods or ingredients to prepare the meal or help with the preparation, please let him know.
HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE
Traditionally, the corps and community have provided frozen turkeys to be distributed to the families requesting assistance for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, due to the concerns of a supply shortage and storage complications, we will provide grocery gift cards instead. We still need your help. Please see the flyer below for details.
Major Ann was able to pick up some of the orders last year and brought them to the corps for pick-up. If this will easier for you, please let her know and she make that arrangement with you. When asked for a "student name," put "Morgan Jones."
PLACE DIRECT ORDERS HERE https://www.claytonbands.org/
Memorial Poinsettias: You may request to have a poinsettia plant displayed in the chapel in memory of a loved one. And then you may take the plant home after the Christmas Sunday Worship Service, December 19th. Envelopes will be placed in the Chapel Foyer for you to share the information. See sample below.
Upcoming Concert: Tell Your Friends & Family Now!
Future Officers' Fellowship Weekend
The Future Officers’ Fellowship retreat is a time for individuals considering full-time ministry as officers in The Salvation Army to come away for the weekend to prepare their heart, mind, and soul for this calling.
This will be a valuable time together as God speaks and confirms in their hearts His calling on their lives. The schedule will include opportunities for classes, interaction with CFOT staff and cadets, and time for discovering what officership looks like.
The FOF Weekend event registration will be open October 13- December 1, 2021! Please read through for key details.
Dates: February 11-13, 2022 (Check-in starting at 4 pm; and on Sunday the 13th, we will be done after lunch.)
Location: College for Officer Training at Crestmont (CFOT). Lodging will be at CFOT.
- Senior Soldier (or on course to become a Sr. Soldier)
- Age: At least 18 years of age (by September 6th) to early 50’s (age of eligibility for officership).
- Regularly attends and participates in corps programs
- Strongly considering future officership
- Endorsed by their corps officer and division
Registration Fee: $40 per person (paid by the delegate at registration) on events.usawest.org
Limited spots: We only have 95 delegate spots for FOF 2022.
Please talk to Major Gwyn or AnnMarguerite Jones if you are interested in attending before registering.