May 19th Letter

Happy Thursday Church!                                                                                            May 19, 2016

I hope you are having a blessed day.  We wake up this morning to the very sad news of the tragic loss of life from a plane crash in Egypt, which seems suspicious of yet another act of terrorism. While we probably don’t know anyone involved in this heartbreaking situation, the whole world grieves at this loss.  I can’t help but think of our own son Chris who is in the air as I write this letter on a plane back to China for the summer.  While I worry every time he makes that flight I commend him to God and trust God to watch over his life.  In reality that is what we must do daily with our own life and the lives of those we love – live under the provision and care of God.  I must admit though, waking up to hear about the plane crash in Egypt on the day he was flying is a little too surreal.  Please pray for Chris . . . as well as for Sue and I as he travels home.

This Sunday at Zion

Last Sunday we started a new sermon series “Being Christian in a World of Turmoil and Terror” with a message from the parable of the Good Samaritan.  How do we respond to the turmoil our society is facing?  It begins with being a neighbor to the people God puts in our lives.  This week the series continues with a message titled “Prayer Talk; the Language of Friends” from Luke 11.  The text is the parable of a man that asks his neighbor for some bread in the middle of the night and the man meets the request because of societal expectations of friends.  While Jesus does offer some guidelines for the structure of prayer (the Lord’s Prayer) in this passage he is stressing the relational aspect of prayer.  Prayer, when at its best, must be an ongoing conversation with God about the needs we have in life.  How are we to “be Christian” in this world of turmoil?  We must have an ongoing prayer talk with God just like good friends do.

Friday Night in Cape Charles

Angelique Gibbons asked me to share with our Zion family that Cape Charles Baptist church is having a night of worship at 7 pm.  Here is a link to more information if you are interested in attending.

Be Brave Conference – Next Friday Evening

Please share the word about this conference with girls you know.  All the information is on our church website – please contact Angelique Gibbons to register.

I hope you have a great weekend.  I know many of you are hoping for dryer weather so you can do more outside but our farmers desperately need dryer weather for the health and success of their crops.  Please pray we get some sunshine so the farmers can do what they need to do at this critical time of the year.  I look forward to seeing you on Sunday – I love you and love being your pastor.

In His Service with You –

Pastor Andrew

May 12

Happy Thursday Church!

I hope you are having a blessed week!  Last night we showed the Courageous Movie again and had 18 guys there to see it – most of them were from ZBC.  I was encouraged by the attendance and hope God will use that movie to move our men (including me) to a stronger desire to be the man God calls us to be.

New Sermon Series – Being Christian in a World of Turmoil and Terror

What does being a Christian look like in this new world we live in?  I know what being a Christian looks like in an America that holds strong biblical values and is safe from radical Islam in its various forms.  But do we know how to be Christian in a world where society does not reflect biblical values and every citizen lives under the threat and possibility of random acts of terror.  Furthermore, the current election cycle reveals that our nation is sharply divided regarding what this republic should look like in the future.  We hear politicians talk about “revolutions” and recapturing the great past of America; neither is realistically possible.  Apart from voting, we feel helpless to do anything to right the wrongs we see happening before our very eyes and many feel like voting is not even going to be that helpful.

All of this is has prompted me to search Scripture to try to understand what it means to “be Christian” in this world that has changed so drastically from what it was a generation ago.  God directed my mind and heart to ten chapters in the middle section of Luke’s Gospel known as the “travel narrative of Jesus.”  In Luke 9:51-56, the beginning of the travel narrative, we see Jesus leaving his home town area of Galilee for Jerusalem to face in just a few short weeks the painful reality of the crucifixion.  Now the disciples are all thinking Jesus is going to lead them in a political revolution of Israel and free them from Roman occupation.  When the very first village they come to rejects Jesus, James and John (the Sons of Thunder) react politically.  They wanted to call down fire from heaven to forcefully deal with the opposition.  Jesus soundly rejects that tactic.  Instead, over the next ten chapters, through a series of stories known as parables Jesus describes what is the right response to things in this world that seem to be opposing the righteous kingdom of God.  In other words, what it means to “Be Christian in a World of Turmoil and Terror.” 

This Sunday we start with the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, a message titled Be a Neighbor without Limits.  This parable starts with a Lawyer asking Jesus who his neighbor is, thinking there should be some limits to neighboring.  Jesus tells this very familiar Parable and ends with a question of his own, “Who was the neighbor to the man in need?”  The issue is not what limits my love for others, but how can I be the neighbor God wants me to be.  I think we can all have feelings of frustration toward those that oppose our way of thinking.  To even be like James and John who wanted to use force to bring about the change.  Instead Jesus calls us to a higher road.  A road of being a neighbor without limits.

I’m looking forward to preaching this new series and I pray God will use it to help us deal with all that is happening in the world around us.

Baby Shower – this Sunday

Aaron and Joy Hudson are expecting a baby girl in June!  Plan to celebrate this happy time with the Hudson’s this Sunday at 2 pm in the Social Hall where you can Shower them with a gift.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Sue and I have no plans for the weekend.  It’s nice to not have plans once in a while.  I love you and love being your pastor.

In His Service with You,

Pastor Andrew Matthews

Letter – May 5, 2016

Happy Thursday Church!

I hope you are having a blessed week!  It seems like there are two months in the fall and two months in the spring that so many events / activities get scheduled.  I suppose to avoid the bad weather of the winter and to stay free for the nice weather in the summer.  I think one of the hardest things about life is keeping it in balance.  How can we do all that we want to do or are expected to do and still have time for our closest relationships with other people and with God.  It is a personal struggle at times for me and I hear it from other people frequently.   The question I ask myself that helps me the most is “what do I really value?”  The answer to that has to be where I will give my time and energy or I will get out of balance.  And you know what happen to things out of balance . . . they wear out sooner than they should.  Stay balanced for the long haul!

Friday Night at Zion

Join us for dinner and a silent auction to help Caleb Laxton fund his Eagle Scout project, which by the way will be a huge benefit to our church.  Caleb will be constructing a new out building for storage at our church.  This dinner is a win-win-win.  You win by getting a great meal (donation basis), Caleb wins by raising the money and our church wins by getting a new storage building!  Plan to join us and come prepared to give and buy at the silent auction.  Dinner and Auction start at 6 pm.

Saturday Morning at Zion

This Saturday is the last Men Breakfast until October.  Men, come join with other men from all over the Eastern Shore for delicious food, great fellowship and encouragement from God’s Word.  This week Pastor Caleb Horne from the Hollies Baptist church will be speaking.

Walk for Life

This Saturday a number of people from our church are participating in the Walk for Life in support of the Accomack, North Hampton Pregnancy Center.  This is a ministry on the front lines – the lives of the unborn that have absolutely no voice in our society.  Pray for a good event that will provide both exposure and support for this ministry.

This Sunday at Zion – It’s Mother’s Day!

We will start the morning with breakfast for all the ladies of the church, from the youngest to the oldest, mother or not.  We want to honor the ladies of the church!  Breakfast starts at 9 am.  I hear we are serving waffles and all that goes with that!  Staying on the “Mother’s Day” theme, my message this week is titled Mothers: the Original Mentors.  In this message I will draw from some mothers in the Bible and how they mentored not only their children but extended family members and other women.  As I think about my own mother’s influence on me I know I would not be the person I am without her mentorship of me in many areas of life.  The important role mothers play in our homes and society cannot be overstated.  We also have a small gift for mothers this Sunday – A book of inspirational writings for mothers.  I got enough so you can take one with you to give to a mother not at our service this Sunday.

As I was writing this letter I received a call from Dave Dryden telling me Barbra Corbin’s sister in law in Florida passed away and that Brian and Barbra were on their way to be with the family in Florida.  Please pray for safe travels for Brian & Barbra as well as for the family to find God’s comfort in their grieving.

I hope you have a great weekend!  I hope to see you at some or even all of what is happening at Zion this weekend.  I love you and love being your Pastor.

In His Service with You,

Pastor Andrew

April 28 Letter

Happy Thursday Church!

I hope you are having a blessed week!  I know today is cool for April in Virginia but I saw on the news this morning that places in the mid-west are expecting over a foot of snow today.  I also was speaking with my dad yesterday and he said it was cold where he lives and they were expecting snow overnight.  When you are tempted to complain remember that someone, some other place has it worse than you.

This Sunday at Zion

This week we will celebrate the Lord’s Table.  We typically would have had communion the first Sunday of April but because we had just had it as part of our Holy week services the week before I thought it would be good to wait until May to have it in the worship service.   I will be sharing a short message highlighting the unity seen in the elements of communion.

Eagle Scout Project Fundraiser – Next Friday, May 6th

Please set this date aside and join us for dinner and a silent auction to help Caleb Laxton fund his Eagle Scout project, which by the way will be a huge benefit to our church.  Caleb will be constructing a new out building for storage at our church.  This dinner is a win-win-win.  You win by getting a great meal (donation basis), Caleb wins by raising the money and our church wins by getting a new storage building!  Plan to join us and come prepared to give and buy at the silent auction.

Kristie Annis is organizing the silent auction.  She asked me to share with the church that she can accept donations at any time for Caleb’s silent auction but that all auction items will need to be in the social hall by Friday, May 6 at 5:00 p.m., if possible.  If you have something you can donate that might fetch a good donation for this project please be in contact with Kristie Annis.  710-2717 / stevenkristie@verizon.net

I hope you have a great weekend!  A few days ago Sue found some fresh rhubarb and made me stewed rhubarb with strawberries.  This was something my mother made all the time when I was growing up – it’s delicious with some lightly toasted bread.  God blesses us with wonderful things from the ground this time of year – enjoy and give thanks to him.  I look forward to seeing you this weekend.  I love you and love being your pastor.

In His Service with You –

Pastor Andrew

April 21 Letter

Happy Thursday Church!

I hope you are having a blessed week!  Fellowship – spending time with believers is so important to the Christian experience.  Sue and I had a nice visit with Chris last weekend in New York.  He will be leaving to go back home to China within the month and we wanted to see him one more time this year before he left. The weekend was full: lots of sightseeing, lots of eating delicious food but mostly enjoying some really great fellowship.  Saturday night I was in Times Square – Monday afternoon I was on Metompkin Bay digging clams with some other men for the dinner this Saturday.  And that too was great fellowship.  Fellowship is an intangible that fits in any circumstance.  While the environments are drastically different fellowship happens in Times Square and Metompkin Bay because Holy Spirit, the fellowship maker, dwells within God’s people.

This Saturday at Zion – Seniors Honor Dinner

If you consider yourself a senior (that’s a personal decision) you are invited to a dinner in your honor Saturday evening in the Social Hall at 6 pm. The menu includes ham and clam fritters.  If you need a ride please contact either Rick Wallace or me and we will make arrangements for you to get to the dinner.  If you are not a senior and would like to help cook or serve the meal contact Rick.

This Sunday at Zion

This week my message is titled “Help Wanted: Foot Washers Needed” from John 13.  The day before the crucifixion at the last supper Jesus assumed the role of a servant to his disciples by performing the most menial of tasks; washing their feet.  In the ancient world feet would get very dirty because the roads were dirt and the common footwear still left much of the foot exposed.  A person could have just bathed, but walking only a few hundred feet could make your feet dirty – thus the need to wash your feet often.  This is a picture of the Christian journey.  We are made clean in Christ (like a bath) but in the normal “walk” of life we can pick up some dirt from this world that can really stink up our witness for Christ.  Jesus has given us a way to deal with the dirt.  We don’t need to be saved all over again (take another bath) but we do need to get our feet washed . . . washed by someone else no less.  In the body of Christ we need to be willing to get our feet washed and to be a foot washer.  In short, we need each other to really live the kind of lives God has called us to live.

Business Meeting

After service this Sunday we will be having a short business meeting to deal with only two items: 1) the nomination of Kit Laxton as deacon and 2) a new Memorial Fund Secretary.  There will be no other business so this should not take long.

Men’s Movie Night – Sunday @ 7 pm in the Social Hall

Courageous is an entertaining and challenging movie.  Every man will connect with the stresses the men in this story are dealing with and will find hope for dealing with those tensions from the resolution the men make at the conclusion of the movie.  Join us and invite a friend to come.

Beth Moore Conference Ticket

The women’s ministry has one ticket left for the Beth Moore Conference next Weekend.  Please contact Michelle Williams if you are interested in it.

I hope you have a great weekend!  Tonight I am speaking at the Exmore Baptist Church’s men fellowship dinner.  If any guys from Zion would like to come along with me let me know and we can travel together.  I look forward to seeing you this weekend.  I love you and love being your Pastor.

In His Service With You,

Pastor Andrew

April 7

Happy Thursday Church!                                                                                    April 7, 2016

I hope you are having a blessed week!  Sue and I have found over our years of ministry that when we openly share our lives, God prompts others to share openly as well.  That has already happened after last Sunday when Sue and I shared our testimonies during the service; some with us and I know some with other people.  The important thing is that we take a good look in the mirror and ask God what he wants to do to make us more like him.  That is what last Sunday was about.  I think you have always gotten the sense that I am proud to have Sue as my wife . . . now you know a little more of why I feel the way I do about her.

This Sunday at Zion – This week we are not in a series but I’m excited to share a message with you from Matthew 6 titled “Establishing Priorities for Healthy Living.”  God’s priorities are the right priorities and are what is best for us in the long run.  Do you ever get caught up in responding to the urgent (what makes the most noise at the time) at the cost of being able to do the important things in life?  This week’s passage will address that very issue, showing us ways to have time for the important things in life by establishing priorities.  BAPTISM CLASS – this Sunday during Sunday School on the second floor of the CE building.  Please remember that the Backpacks / Duffle bags for foster children are due at the church this Sunday.

Bridge Network of Churches Spring Meeting – This Tuesday is our Association’s Spring Meeting at the Exmore Baptist Church – 7 pm.  We do send delegates from our church but anyone form the church is welcome to attend.  As I said last Sunday our association is one of the factors that attracted me to serve God in this part of Virginia.  Our association has good leadership and provides good support to the churches of the Eastern Shore.

New Faces at Zion – I’m sure you have noticed a number of new people in our Sunday morning services recently.  I’d like to say I know how this happened but I don’t . . . other than that last summer I asked you to pray for our church to have positive contact with unchurched people in our community, and some of you prayed.  Some of you have been praying the Prayer of Jabez, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory . . .”  I believe God is honoring that attitude of prayer.  Pray now that God would help all of us to befriend people new to our church so they will feel comfortable and be drawn closer to God.

I hope you have a great weekend! A number of years ago we had an Italian friend and his wife had an authentic, from scratch, recipe for Chicken Parmesan.  She taught it to Sue and my life has been all the fuller ever since (my belly as well.)  Saturday Sue is making this for me – it is my favorite meal she makes.  My mouth is watering already.  I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at church.  I love you and love being your Pastor.

In His Service with You,

Pastor Andrew

Wednesday Letter

Happy Wednesday Church

I hope you are having a blessed week!  I know this is only Wednesday but I wanted to get my letter out before our Holy Week Services start tomorrow evening.  Just a reminder that the only activity at church tonight is the Financial Peace University Course – no Prayer meeting / Bible study this week only.

Once again our world is a different place because of what happened in Belgium yesterday.  My prayer is that we don’t become numb to these kinds of things and that we let it rip at our hearts just like 911 did almost 15 years ago.  Pray for the people of Belgium and for our leaders as they deal with this.  Here is a link to an article that will be in USA Today that explains a bit why this is getting worse instead of better and what needs to be done to stop it.

Maunday Thursday Service: Thursday night at 7 pm in the Sanctuary.  As we share in a communion service, people attending the service will be asked to share a testimony of affirmation for another Christian.  I would like for this to be someone that is still alive and a part of your life right now.  What I am asking you to do is to make yourself vulnerable to others by sharing how God has used them to help you live for God.  Let’s also avoid the “I’m thankful for everyone” kind of statements.  Please give some thought to people that have helped your journey through life and affirm them.  I can’t wait to hear these testimonies.

Good Friday Service: Friday at 7 pm in the Sanctuary.  This will be a new Tenebrae Service (A service of shadows and gradual darkness.)  I have found some new readings that I think will speak to your hearts as we remember the death of Christ.  The service will end in darkness and you will be asked to leave in silence with the anticipation of the resurrection on Sunday A.M.

Easter Egg Hunt: 2 pm Saturday at the Young Farm.  This is always a fun time for children and parents.  This is a great event to invite a family you know to join us.  Click Here for Directions

Easter Sunrise Service: 6:30 am Sunday at Parks Pavillion – Click here for Directions.  The weather is supposed to be good for Sunday but please dress appropriately.  Jesus arose from the grave at Sunrise – join us as we celebrate that event at the same time of day it happened that first Easter.  Coffee and hams biscuits will be available after the brief service.

Easter Sunday Worship Service:  Easter Sunday is one of the best times of the year to invite someone to church with you – you will be surprised at how open they will be to your invitation.  This year my Easter Sunday message will be from John’s account of the resurrection – Finding Yourself on The First Easter Morning.  John records three specific people that find the empty tomb that first Easter; Mary Magdalene, Peter and John.  These three people could not be more different than each other and I would suggest that all of us can relate to one of them. The good news is that they all found the risen Christ that day . . . and you can too.

Holy Week sets us up for the best weekend ever – the resurrection of Christ on Easter.  Christians for almost 2000 years have celebrated the passion of the Christ during Holy Week – you are invited to keep the tradition going.  I look forward to seeing you this week and on the weekend!  I can love you and love being your pastor because Christ first loved us and gave himself for us.

In His Service with You,

Pastor Andrew Matthews

March 17 Letter

Happy Thursday!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I hope you’re having a blessed week!  Since it is St. Patrick’s Day here is a little background on the Saint from Ireland:

“As a teenage boy, he was taken from Wales by Irish raiders and sold into slavery. He eventually escaped and returned to his family, but instead of returning to a normal life, he joined the church and returned to Ireland as a bishop. In his Letter, one of two surviving works by Patrick, he explains the reason for his return: “I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God.”

St. Patrick is famous for taking an ordinary part of nature, the common clover (shamrock) and attributing a Christian belief to it, the Trinity. That God is three distinct persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit yet one God.  Today when you see all the shamrocks and even the prevalence of the color green please be reminded this Christian Saint used that to teach the trinity – a fundamental doctrine of orthodox Christianity.

This Sunday at Zion

This week we wrap up our winter sermon series Ancient Words with a message on the Tower of Babble titled “The Root and Cure of Cultural Differences.”  Cultural differences in our world have been and continue to be a great source of tension for the human race.  There is both a theological cause and cure for this problem.  The church of Christ ought to be the great unifier of cultures and races around the globe – it is what our world needs and only the church can provide it.  The second birth surpasses our first birth, replacing the prominence of race and culture from the first birth.  The second birth places us in the race of God’s family as well as the culture of his righteousness, providing a common culture that unifies the human race and removes our differences.

I hope you will join us for some of our Holy Week Services.  This is the most spiritually intense season of the year and a time when I believe God want to do business in our lives.  Here is what we have planned for the week –

  • Maunday Thursday Service – March 24th @7 pm in the Sanctuary. In obedience to Christ’s command to “Love one another” people attending this service are invited to share testimonies of affirmation for other Christians.  We will also celebrate the Lord’s Table of Communion.
  • Good Friday Service – March 25th @ 7 pm in the Sanctuary. Join us as we recount the events of the passion of Christ on the day of His Crucifixion.
  • Easter Egg Hunt – Sat. March 26th 2pm Young’s Farm. This is fun for the entire family.  Lots of eggs and prizes for kids.  Contact the church for directions if needed.
  • Easter Sunrise Service / 6:30 am at Parks Pavilion (click here for directions) Join us for sunrise over Metompkin Bay as we remember that first Easter morning and the resurrection of Jesus.
  • Easter Sunday Service – March 27th @ 10:30 am

I Hope you have a great weekend!  Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day and keep an eye out for those symbols of the Christian Faith.  I look forward to seeing you and Sunday.  I love you and love being your pastor.

In His Service with You –

Pastor Andrew