Where: Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church at 11:15am
“1 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. 4 For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 7 Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. 8 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. 9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. 11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice 13 Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” (Psalm 96 KJV)
“26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Cæsarea.” (Acts 8:26-40 KJV)
- I arrived late once again, right [before the Announcements, two thirds (2/3) into the service].
- Every time I think that I should have brought my checkbook to give my offering. I have not given an offering in about two or three Sundays.
- God uses people to teach others about Christ, in part to unite people. We should tell others our experiences of God and our faith. We must “follow through” [words used by Reverend Randy Weber during the sermon] and continue helping those we teach about God.
- Giving without a name might just be better, instead of using my checkbook — no bragging — although I [could] use these figures on my taxes.
- Giving should not be for the church, but returning to God for what He has given us.
- The deacons pointed out that the homeless use the steps of this church as a refuge/shelter where they can sleep and/or rest at night.
- Not too often, there are two readings — one from Old Testament and another from New Testament. I guess this was a special occasion of some sort.
- I continue to give a small offering as I can’t afford tithing. It’s always cash to keep it anonymous and avoid any form of bragging.
- It’s good to know that the ministry of a church doesn’t stop at its doors even if this means fighting the government. Read the following two articles about the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which I can’t post in its entirely here due to legalities. By the way, the person who cared for the homeless, served the homeless coffee and something to eat every morning at 5am — Joe Vedella — died late last year, but left a huge legacy.
“The city’s zoning administrator denied the organization a conditional permit last year, and in September the shelter filed a lawsuit citing the religious land-use act. The Becket fund joined the lawsuit in February.
The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York cited the same act on appeal after winning an injunction that prevents police from forcibly removing the homeless from the front steps of the church. Westgate Tabernacle in West Palm Beach, Fla., filed a suit last month citing the act after the county fined the shelter for breaking zoning ordinances.”
http://archive.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=4062 (The Associated Press 04/02/2002)
“For several years, throughout 2000 and 2001, the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City had a formal policy of allowing homeless people to sleep on the church’s steps and on portions of the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue that are church property. The church operates a homeless shelter in the basement of the church, but it is limited to ten elderly men who receive counseling and whom the church tries to help move to permanent housing. As the pastor put it in a recent sermon, ‘We have ten homeless men who stay inside, but we’ve got about 25 or 30 who sleep outside the building… these homeless friends are part of our ministry… Outside on our signboard there’s a sign that says This is God’s House, All Are Welcome. All are welcome, and we mean it.'”