Welcome to St. Andrew

Scroll Down to Experience This Virtual Worship Service

In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to join us on Zoom for the
All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, July 26 – 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 – JULY 26, 2020

“The Greatest Showman” – Tracy Walthard

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, July 26, 2020

Many thanks to Ron Moser (technical trouble-shooting), Amy Cox (production, formatting and posting), Jan Reynolds (song and prayer selections and artistic touches), Tracy Walthard (production and sermon), Lindsey Walthard, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).

Praise Song

“Psalm 139 – Far Too Wonderful”, words by Sean Carter & Shane Barnard – arranged by Erik Foster, performed by Shane & Shane

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow below to watch Lindsey Walthard present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

Preschool Memory verse: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” John 20:31

Grades K-5 Memory verse: “God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift.” Ephesians 2:8

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

Message for Youth

“We did it!” That’s been going through my head all week long! It’s something I say at the end of Caravan Sunday service while my hands shoot up in victory. It’s a celebration that God opened our eyes and our hearts to something awesome and no matter how little or how big, we will be transformed. And in sharing that with the congregation, you all would be transformed as well.

Well, we had a different kind of Caravan experience this year and we did share some of our experiences last week through our virtual service, but we didn’t get to share our moments in person as a church family. I realize that is why “We did it!” keeps playing in my head. I didn’t get to say that last week at the end of the virtual service. It’s a different end to a different experience. I’m reminded again that our thoughts and plans are not God’s thoughts and plans. Just because our experience was different doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or that God wasn’t there.

You see, God was with us opening our eyes and our hearts here in Sonoma, at our church. All we had to do was to look and feel. To take a moment and ask God to show us what He wanted us to see and to feel. My heart was opened to the excitement and laughter at being together, to serve and to learn to trust God through the ups and downs of life. My eyes were opened to seeing how the youth worked together to make the adventure come alive for the children through their creativity and energy. I got to see how this past week brought us together in a whole new way. Different, yes, but still very good. I have new memories that are making me smile, bringing joyful laughter and giving me hope when I’m feeling overwhelmed in this world. I was reminded (once again!) that God is so much bigger than me. And through Him, anything is possible!

Through our week together, I have been inspired and energized. I feel empowered to dream more and that with God at the center of those dreams, good things will happen. Really amazing things will happen. I needed that. More than I thought. And I feel like we all did.
As I sit and remember our week together, I realize that God gave me what I needed right in this moment. Yes, I’m bummed we didn’t get to go away for a caravan. But I see so many blessings in being here. Blessings that would not have been. So as I write this, I’m throwing my hands up in celebration with tears of joy in my eyes, gratitude in my heart for God who meets us where we are and shouting out “We did it!” 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

Today’s video prayer is based on the words of Rev. Howard Thurman. Howard Washington Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981) was an African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. He led the first multi-racial church in San Francisco, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples.

View the video of this morning’s prayer by clicking on the arrow or read the prayer below:

Prayer by Howard Thurman

Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me

Open unto me, light for my darkness

Open unto me, courage for my fear
Open unto me, hope for my despair
Open unto me, peace for my turmoil
Open unto me, joy for my sorrow
Open unto me, strength for my weakness
Open unto me, wisdom for my confusion
Open unto me, forgiveness for my sins
Open unto me, tenderness for my toughness
Open unto me, love for my hates
Open unto me, Thy Self for myself

Lord, Lord, open unto me!

Faith Offering

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

Sermon

“The Greatest Showman”

Deuteronomy 8:10-14, Ephesians 1:4-5 and Luke 15:11-32

Tracy Walthard

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

“The Greatest Showman” is based on the story of legendary circus creator, PT Barnum. The story begins with Phineas as a young boy, poor and struggling, but infatuated with a wealthy socialite. Her father, of course, doesn’t approve, because clearly Phineas is beneath her. This sets the stage for one of the many themes, “measuring up” or “not being enough”. At some point in our lives, we have all felt the need to prove our worth to an individual, organization, or ourselves. But for Phineas, it becomes his life obsession to prove he is worthy of his beloved Charity (who, by the way, he does win against her father’s wishes). He strives to prove his father-in-law wrong. But even when he has accomplished all that, he continues to try and prove he is even bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

Phineas and Charity run away to the city and settle into a slummy apartment. He finds a boring job, and they start their family. All seems well and they are happy, at least Charity and the children are. But, as we learn early in the movie, Phineas is a dreamer. A BIG dreamer. The family is faced with an unexpected job loss. Desperate, Phineas decides to turn the calamity into opportunity and dreams big when he buys a wax museum and turns it into a live circus show.

But before we look at the folly that befalls PT Barnum, let’s explore a second theme of this movie. Although Phineas seems unable to accept and celebrate himself, he is given a talent, a gift to see potential in others, to help them claim their identity and face the world head on.

In the process of starting his circus, he reaches out to the discarded of society, the downcast and rejected. The bearded woman, the black trampezzest, the young man with dwarfism, the giant…. The list goes on.

In a scene where he is trying to get Tom Thumb, a Little Person, to join, Tom Thumb says:

Tom Thumb: You want people to laugh at me.
P.T. Barnum: [smiling] Well they’re laughing anyway, kid, so you might as well get paid.

Phineas brings this group of misfits together, gives them a sense of belonging, of family. Because Phineas sees a value and purpose in them, they begin to see it too. And on opening night they shine!

I love this song, because it’s about loving who you are, who God created you to be. So often the outside world tells us we aren’t enough, we are too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny, too loud, too introverted, too wild, too cautious, too stupid…. But that’s not the voice we are supposed to be listening to. We are supposed to be listening to the voice of God, our Creator, our Father. What does he say?

Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

We give him great pleasure! God loves us and has chosen to adopt us. We are without fault in his eyes. We are enough! We all need to remember that, and we need people who will remind us of our value. We need PT Barnums’ to tell us we are valuable and worthy of being seen!

If only Phineas could have heard his own message! In life, I’m often very good at celebrating someone else. Seeing their strengths, encouraging them, but then will turn around and negative talk myself. “I didn’t have a strong beginning to that sermon, I missed emphasizing the impactful message, I missed my child’s soccer game for work, I didn’t exercise enough today—- my negative self talk can go on and on. Like Phineas, I’m always out doing a side-hustle to prove myself.

Even as Phineas builds wealth, moves his family from the slums, acquires a mansion on the best side of town and enrolls his daughter in a prestigious ballet school, he doesn’t feel “enough”. I think this is a life struggle for many of us. Because we are trying to prove ourselves to external sources and compare ourselves to others, what we achieve is never enough. Phineas expands his business to a more refined audience and begins to promote the European phenomenon, Jenny Lind. The song she debuts to an American audience says it all.

How sad. Imagine having achieved it all, only to discover it isn’t enough! God blesses us with unique gifts, talent, and opportunities. When we lose track that it is GOD who has provided, not we who have achieved, we risk falling into this “Never Enough” trap. We lose gratitude for who we are and what we have. God knew this, and so did Moses. Before he sent the people into the promised land, where they would live a life of plenty and glean the rewards of a milk and honey world, Moses warned them-

Deuteronomy 8:10-14 NLT
When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

Do we remember daily to stay grounded in gratitude for what God has provided? If not, even these blessings will be unfulfilling- they will Never Be Enough.

The new venture of promoting Jenny Lind becomes Phineas’ downfall. He is chasing fame and acceptance and desperately trying to fill a part of his brokenness that only God can heal. He becomes intertwined with Jenny and after she realizes he won’t be leaving his wife and children for her, she stages a photo-op that makes it appear that they are having an affair. He frantically tries to return home before word reaches his precious Charity. Not only is he too late, and she is packing her bags to return to her father, but the circus catches fire and burns down. He is literally left in the ruins of his own making.

But, God often uses these moments to allow us to rise like phoenix out of the ashes. Phineas is able to see his sin, his useless life quest to achieve more and be more, he sees that he has lost his family and his circus family. There is a moment between Phineas and Charity where he releases how useless his quest has been.

P.T. Barnum: I’ve brought hardship on you and on our family. You warned me. I wouldn’t listen. I just… I wanted to be more than I was.
Charity Barnum: I never wanted anything but the man I fell in love with.

While facing that loss, he is able to see the beautiful blessings life had given him, He sees all he was blind to, and he grieves. Like the prodigal son who leaves his family in pursuit of selfish gain, he returns home. Phineas reaches out first to his Circus Family-

This is one of my favorite scenes. I love the humbleness of Phineas and the gracious forgiveness his circus family gives him. When watching it, it struck me, THIS IS THE STORY OF THE PRODIGAL SON! Right down the party they seem to be having.

Luke 15:11-32
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’”

Phineas needs to do a bit more work to win Charity back, but as her name predicts, the family is united. And as we know, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Circus reaches world wide fame.

My take away from this movie? No matter what others see or think about us, we need to accept who God made us to be. You are a child of God. Adopted and loved by Him. Know that you do not need to seek value from the world, because He loves you and sees you as faultless.

Jesus didn’t listen to the world, who said he was “just a carpenter.” Most of his ministry was spent with people rejecting him, the purpose God created him for.

We have all been rejected and broken. And likely, God has brought people into your life to lift you up. Remember to give thanks for the blessings God has placed in your life, so you will know “ENOUGH.” Remember to look for opportunities to help others find their purpose and embrace their “enoughness.” And remember, if you stray, God is always there ready for you “Come Home.”

Closing Song

“Remind Me Who I Am” – by Jason Gray & Jason Ingram, performed by Jason Gray

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