Welcome to St. Andrew

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In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to join us on Zoom for the
All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, August 9th – 10:00am – 11:00am
It will be a time for Check-in, Prayers, and getting better acquainted in Small Group Conversation.
We hope you’ll join us – Bring a church friend!

Use the Zoom link in our Saturday and Sunday emails.
Email the church office if you need the Zoom link: Link Request

SUNDAY – AUGUST 9, 2020

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Avengers: Endgame – Tracy Walthard

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service 
for Sunday, August 9, 2020

Many thanks to Ron Moser (production), Amy Cox (production, formatting and posting), Jan Reynolds (song and prayer selection, artistic touches), Tracy Walthard (production, Discovery Time and sermon), Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).

Song of Praise

“Waymaker”, written by Sinach, performed by Michael W. Smith, Vanessa Campagna & Madelyn Berry

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

PRESCHOOL LESSON:

Preschool Memory Verse for August: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

Preschool Main Point for the week of August 9:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for August: : “Lord, You are great. You are really worthy of Praise. No one can completely understand how great You are.” Psalm 145:3

Grades K-5 Key Question for the week of August 9:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of August 9:

Be sure to check our Facebook page for Sunday School videos to share with your children: St. Andrew Sonoma Facebook Page

Message for Youth

Life is a series of choices we make everyday. We make choices in the words we speak, in our actions and our reactions. We make choices in who we hangout with, what we watch, read and listen to. It’s a very long list. Who and what is guiding you and your choices? It’s very important to know and to be aware of who and what is influencing the choices in your life. Your choices impact more than just you.

As I interact with people during this crazy time, whether it’s my family, friends, at work, through social media or strangers in the grocery store, I see so many choices being made. Choices, (intentional or unintentional) to be grateful, bitter, fearful, thankful, frustrated, hopeful or joyful. When I sit and reflect, I wonder what people are seeing in me- love or hate? Hope or fear? What choices am I making and how are they effecting those around me?

It’s not always easy making good choices. It’s not always easy to be nice or thankful. Things happen that will rock my world. So I’m not always in a positive frame of mind. I am definitely not perfect and I will mess up. That’s why it’s so important to know who and what is guiding me and my choices. God and His constant love, or the world and its inconsistent messages?

So where do you go for help? For guidance? Psalm 121: 1-2 “I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I just need to lift my eyes and turn to God when I need guidance, inspiration, forgiveness, and hope! When I’m frustrated by something, I can take a moment to ask God to help me. Help me to see things from another perspective, from the other person’s eyes, from one of love and grace instead of anger, resentment and selfishness. In that moment, I have the choice of how to react to the situation, what words I will speak. In that moment, I can be a blessing or I can be damaging. I want to be a blessing. And I want to be blessed. How about you?

As you go about your day, remember that you have choices and that those choices impact you and the people around you. We can pause before speaking or acting and go to God and ask for His guidance! I’m praying that you will choose to act in love, to show grace and lift your eyes to our Lord to guide you in this beautiful, complicated and messy life. Blessings, Dawne Carver

Joys and Concerns

Please let us know how we can support you in prayer this week. We will share requests for prayer with Deacons and staff, and with the congregation as appropriate.
Click on the image below to submit a prayer request.

Pastoral Prayer

Click the arrow below to hear Rev. Jan read this morning’s Prayer from Prayerforanxiety.com or read the Prayer below

And now we pray the way that Jesus taught us:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen

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“Spirit of the Living God”, words and music by Daniel Iverson, performed by Michael Crawford

Faith Offering

(Lyrics by Hillsong)

Please continue your giving during this time, so that St. Andrew may continue to serve our local community and our membership. We recognize that some of you have been impacted financially by economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of you who can, please continue to give on a regular basis.

There are several options available:

  • Give electronically to the St. Andrew General Fund
  • Set up your donation to St. Andrew to be paid through your bill paying service at your personal bank.
  • Mail a check to St. Andrew, or drop your envelope into our locked mail box: 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476

Scripture

Exodus 9:16
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Psalm 139:13-15
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Sermon

Popcorn Parable

Avengers: Endgame

“Take Off Your Cape”

Exodus 9:16

Tracy Walthard

Click the arrow below to see and hear Tracy’s Sermon

or read the Sermon below

This morning we will be looking at the highest grossing movie in history, Avengers: Endgame. It was last year’s blockbuster summer movie, and it’s good! For those of you that have not seen this epic three-hour movie, you might not know that it is the final of twenty-two Avenger movies in a series that spanned over a decade, all culminating in Endgame. My quick summary: There are superheroes among us and throughout the universe, each has their own power, fancy suit, and names like Thor, Captain America, Ant Man, and Black Widow. There is a super villain, Thanos, who is seeking six infinity stones (when combined they are the essence of creation). Acquiring all six will allow him to realize his quest to eliminate one-half of all living things with a snap of his finger.

This is an epic tale of super heroes with superhuman strength, courage and, well, – failure. Yes, I said failure. You see, at the end of the previous movie, Infinity War, all the Avengers came together to fight this ultimate evil and save the planet, ONLY THEY FAILED! Thanos snapped his finger and one-half of humanity scattered like ashes to the wind. And that’s where the movie ended! Worst. Ending. Ever! We had to wait a year for Endgame to see if our superheroes could rewrite history.

Before we jump into the movie, I want to talk about superheroes. You might be thinking, I have nothing to learn from a movie about superheroes because one, they aren’t real, and two, I’m definitely not a superhero. But I want to challenge that perception. At some point as children, we all watched the movies and fantasized about our own superpowers. My two year old granddaughter just received an amazing collection of capes. To watch her and her cousin run through the yard, capes flying, is a flashback to my own childhood. To a time I thought I could leap a building in a single bound (pardon my mixing Avengers and DC superhero series). For my children, it was Harry Potter capes and they all believed they were magic wizards. We have all been there.

Unfortunately, as we become adults and realize superheroes aren’t real, we don’t give ourselves permission to stop trying to be one. I frequently called my mom, “SuperMom” and trust me, she was! When my own children call me that, I cringe inside, because I know I’m no super mom. In so many areas of my life I strive to be a “super” – the super mom, the super wife, the best teacher, the best leader. And when I fail to meet my own expectations of what that looks like, I have to live with the failure.

What is your “SUPER” you are striving for and missing? What is the area you have unrealistic expectations for yourself, and always come up short, leaving you feeling “not enough?” Well, this sermon is for you. I believe we are all trying to be superheros, and like the Avengers, fall short.

As the movie opens we see the superheroes five years later, after their colossal failure, struggling with the loss of one-half of humanity. Meeting each of them in the beginning of the movie is a study in psychology and depression. Our superheroes, like regular people, seem to have responded to the bitter disappointments of life and their failures in one of three ways-

1) Withdrawal– we find Iron Man secluded from the world. Trying to live a quiet life with his wife and daughter. Not able to face the reality of life on the planet after he failed to save it.

2) Hurting Others– HawkEye- After losing his entire family in the vanishing, he is consumed with anger and is lashing out. He is seeking out all the people he feels didn’t have a right to survive and killing them off, one by one. Unable to deal with his own part- he is defecting and hurting others.

3) Hurting Self– Oh, poor Thor. Thor is the most perfect male specimen in prior movies, but unable to face his failure, he has decided he is unworthy of happiness, success, or living. He overeats, drinks heavily and plays video games all day.

The entire first hour of the movie is filled with their wallowing and guilt. Their inability to move forward and passed their failure. I think we have all been there. We have faced a failure that is consuming; it hurts. The disappointment from others and yourself knocks us out for a period of time. Depending on the situation, I’m prone to a binge in the refrigerator, but my main “go to” is withdrawal. I will gladly hide away from the world and lick my wounds alone. Though it is ok to take time to process, it’s not ok to engage in self-sabotage and continue to keep our talents from the world.

Remember, God created us for a purpose, just as our superheroes are created for a purpose.

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

The world needs you to show up just as we desperately needed the Avengers to pull themselves together.

This story is a mixture of the tale of beating Thanos and restoring humanity, but mostly, it’s a story of coming to understand who you are, not who you are expected to be. Learning to love your humanity, share your strengths, and build resilience in life’s challenges.

Thor was one of my favorite characters. In the prior movies, he was probably my favorite because of his physique and his accent, but he remained my favorite in this movie because of his failings and vulnerability.

The Avengers have begun to reassemble. They have new hope, thanks to Ant Man, that with time travel they may be able to reverse all that has happened. Thor joins the team, but he doesn’t believe himself worthy. The Avengers send three teams back in time to collect the six infinity stones before Thanos can get them. During Thor’s trip back, he encounters his mother, who has since passed away. She is shocked to see him in such conditions, and gives him the encouragement he needs:

I think the words spoken by his mother are the crux of the whole movie! “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be. The measure of the person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.”

We are created by God. How well are we doing at succeeding at who GOD created us to be, not the fake superhero expectations we have placed upon ourselves? Not the critics sitting outside the area, afraid to enter and fight the battles we are called to fight! We need to be defining ourselves by how well we are doing at becoming who we are meant to be!

Well, Thor does rebound, although sadly during the movie he doesn’t transform back to his prior physique. And the other Avengers all experience a similar journey back in time, to get an infinity stone, but really to better understand who they are without the superhero title. And when the time comes to battle Thanos once more, they are more than ready!

I tried to create a montague to give you an idea of how many superheroes all gave their talent toward the cause. They are working together, each with their own strengths toward a common goal- defeat evil, restore humanity! No one superhero is the victor, the ultimate champion. Along the way, we lose super heroes and learn, like people, they are not invincible. However, each plays a part that without them, all would have been lost. Even Ant Man- clearly the least likely superhero- I mean a scrawny ant! Has a part to play.

We are like the superheroes, each with a part to play in God’s plan. If we think our part, gift, or talent too small, or ourselves too unworthy to show up, humanity suffers. We were created for the community, to support, love, and build each other up. We were created to carry each other’s burdens, and to remind each other that we are created by God. We are meant to share our gifts and talents and light with the world. Failure is not an option.

So, today, I ask you to take off your superhero cape. Yes, the children can play and fantasize, but we also need to help them know, we don’t expect them to live a life of perfection, overachieving. We need to just let our children know that as a child of God, they are worthy, so superhero antics are not needed. Scripture says:

Psalm 139:13-15
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

We are worthy because God wonderfully made us, equipped us, and loves us. We need to look at our loved ones in our lives and tell them, “take off the cape, don’t listen to the critics in the arena, listen only to God, who says you are worthy. You are enough.” And then we need to look at ourselves and say, “I am worthy. I am enough. I am child of God, learning to become who I was created to be.”

Maybe Thor says it best when he turns his kingdom over to Valkyria-

Yes, failure is part of life and part of all of our stories, but like Endgame, it’s not the End of the story! Like Stark (Iron Man) says at the end, we all want happy endings, but that’s not how all endings go. There will be failures and disappointments in life, but WE are not the failure or the disappointment. We can’t be, because we are wonderfully made. Our job is to show up, bring glory to God, and become who we are!

Closing Song

“From the Inside Out” – by Joel Houston, performed by Hillsong Worship

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