Weekly Sunshine E-mail

November 17, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to watch a PBS Frontline documentary called “The Interrupters”. It was about former Chicago gang members who try to stop gang violence by interrupting the cycle of continuous retaliation. They work with an organization called CeaseFire (which has a chapter in Pennsylvania). CeaseFire approaches at gang violence as if it were a virus that can only be stopped by interrupting the infection cycle. These folks are on call in their neighborhoods. If there is a gang shooting, they go to the scene right away and start talking to the gathered crowd. They listen for words of retaliation and hate. Then they try to interrupt the spread of infection of new violence. They start telling the vengeful folks that there are better ways to deal with the event. That there are different ways to live. Many times their interruptions work. They are peace makers.

What is interesting about these people is that they remind me of the story of Jesus and the Gerasene demoniac in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus is confronted by a man with an unclean spirit who is wreaking havoc on the towns people. Jesu intervenes, and interrupts and brings some peace to the community. Jesus, too, acts as a peace maker. Can we do that, too? Would that help to stop or slow the seemingly increased violence in our country and our world? Maybe. Let’s talk about it Sunday at John McMillan Presbyterian Church this Sunday at 8:30 and 11 when Pastor Jeff preaches “Thoughts and Prayers” based on Mark 5: 1-20.

November 10, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall
 My mother was a smoker. She enjoyed her cigarettes. A lot! When she turned 65 I asked her if she might think of quitting. Her response was immediate. “Not a chance! I just like to smoke.” Yet she did not want me to smoke. For my entire life, I was told that smoking was bad for me and that it was a habit I should avoid. Whenever I pointed out the inconsistency of her actions, she would reply with a wagging finger and these well-worn words.
“Do as I say and not what I do!”
I think I could be so bold as to say we have all heard those words from either our parents or other folks with authority over us. Some of us might even have said them to our kids!
So where did these words come from? Here is an excerpt from Elyse Bruce’s “Historically Speaking” website that gives background to idioms like this.
This is an admonitory phrase that has been used by parents the world over for generations and yet, very few people seem to know its origins. In the Spectator on June 24, 1911, this advice was published: “It has always been considered allowable to say to children, ‘Do as I say, rather than as I do.'”
This phrase, however, harkens back to several generations before 1911. In John Selden’s book Table Talk which was published posthumously in 1689 (and written in 1654 just prior to his death), he wrote: “Preachers say, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.'” And while the advice is sound, he was not the first author to offer it. In 1546, John Heywood’s … [book of English proverbs included] the following …: “It is as folke dooe, and not as folke say.”
However, the Anglo-Saxons in the 12th Century were known to say: … “Although I do worse than I teach you, do not do as I do, but do as I teach you if I teach you well.”
However, when all is said and done, this saying can be traced all the way back to the Bible in the Book of St. Matthew (verses 1-3) where the King James Version states: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples saying “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
So, there you have it! And while Ms. Bruce’s Biblical citation is wanting, she is correct, this phrase is Biblical! We find it in this week’s scripture: Matthew 23: 1-12. Jesus says that this was the best way to approach the Pharisees. Do as they teach, but not as they do! Because they did not do what they taught!
It is a common complaint against Christians. So, what do we do about it?
Come and hear about it this Sunday at John McMillan Presbyterian Church when Pastor Jeff preaches “Practice what we Preach” at both services (8:30 and 11). Come – Join us!

November 2, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall
Rev. Dr. Silas Ncozana to preach at John McMillan Presbyterian Church at both the 8:30 and 11:00 worship services. Dr. Ncozana comes to us from Malawi where he is the former General Secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and a founding member of the team that created the Malawi – Pittsburgh Partnership which now has grown into the International Partnership and includes the South Sudanese Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Dr. Ncozana has had a great impact on Malawian and Central African Christianity and is a published author on the topic. Dr, Ncozana will also meet with visitors and members of the congregation during the Christian Education Hour between services.

In addition, we will celebrate All Saints’ Sunday with a brief in-service remembrance ceremony and candle lighting. If you want to remember a family member, friend or loved one, bring a candle and light it during the service, or use one provided by the church.
The service will be topped of with the Lord’s Supper.
Come and join us as we worship the living God.

October 26, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall
I am a devoted fan of National Public Radio. I listen to Morning Edition, 1A, Fresh Air and All Things Considered during the week. On Saturdays, I like to listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. I once was a devoted listener to the Grateful Dead Hour on Sunday evenings, but that show moved to a different station. I am also a fan of Rhythm Sweet and Hot. You get the picture. I enjoy public radio. Of course, there is one down side. I experienced it this week. I turned on the radio and heard those dreaded words. “Pledge drive”. Nuts! I hate the pledge drive! I love the shows, but hate the pledge drive. Which made me think of the annual church stewardship campaign. Every fall, JMPC, along with most other churches, asks its members and friends to dedicate a portion of their finances to the support of the church’s ministries in the coming year. One particular type of pledge drive, the sale of indulgences, actually split the church in 1517! The beginning of the Reformation! We don’t sell indulgences in the PCUSA, but we do still have pledge drives. And nowadays, much like public radio, where our support goes to pay for the programs we like, our financial support for the church pays for the church ministries and missions we like. But we still hate the dreaded “pledge drive”. Many of us feel pressured and uncomfortable. But maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should be grateful! What???? Yep! That’s what Paul told the Corinthians in his second letter to them when he talked about guilt free giving. Come and hear about it this Sunday at 8:30 and 11 at John McMillan Presbyterian Church when we celebrate Consecration Sunday and Reformation Sunday. (Yes, they are actually connected!). Pastor Jeff will preach “Thanks-Giving” based on 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15. We will then collect the Estimates of Giving cards and consecrate all the financial commitments to the church for the coming year. Then – THE ANNUAL CHILI DOG FEAST at 12. Come and help us celebrate.

October 19, 2017

Pastor Matt Fricker
As I sit and reflect what has been on the news recently I can honestly say I am worried. I am worried for my family, friends, and just the world in general. The amount of devastation caused by hurricanes, wars, and 1 man in Las Vegas has been too much to deal with to say the least. Recently I found a quote from Mister Rogers (he went to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)! “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I really love the positive thoughts and wise words his mother had for him. There is so much we cannot directly control, especially in some of these tragedies. However, what we can control is how we respond in the chaos and fear. On Sunday we will hear a story of Jesus forgiving the sins and healing a paralyzed man. We find Jesus healing people throughout the new testament, but this story is different. Jesus forgives the mans sins because of the faith of the ones that helped him. We certainly cannot control what other people say or do, but we can help them through their difficulties and pain. Our faith can help their faith in ways we may not understand. Please join us Sunday to reflect on this story and reflect on ways that our faith can be a blessing to people in our lives, and how we can be helpers in a chaotic world!
Peace in Christ

October 12, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall

At dinner, many years ago, my family would have bread at every meal. My Dad would make us break it into two pieces before we ate it. If we didn’t break our bread in two, we heard about it. Buttering bread torn in two is hard! One day I got up the nerve to finally asked him why we did that.

That is when I hear this story for the first time.

In 1943, my father was a Marine on a boat called the Zoella Lykes (Google it!) It was a troop transport taking Marine Bombing Squadron 611 ground forces to “somewhere in the Pacific” which ultimately turned out to be the Philippines. The ship got separated from its convoy in mid Pacific and because there was radio silence the Zoella Lykes was never able to catch up and join the convoy. It would go into island ports after the convoy had gone, and because it had no orders for resupply, the ship was sent back to sea without any new supplies of food. This went on for

three monthsThe Marines began to starve.

For my Dad, this was not necessarily something new. He was raised during the depression when food was often scarce. Being hungry was nothing new to him. And it created interesting habits. He said that when he was a boy, the family would take their bread and break it into

four pieces. The idea was that breaking the bread into four pieces turned one piece of bread into four pieces of bread. I made him feel like he was getting more to eat. It was creating abundance out of scarcity. It worked for him. So, he continued it all his life (though in later years we stopped breaking the bread into fourths and instead into halves). This trick helped him when he was trying to survive on the Zoella Lykes. I think of that story whenever I read about the feeding of the 5,000.

Come and hear about it this Sunday at John McMillan Presbyterian Church when Pastor Jeff preaches “Enough” based on Matthew 14: 13-21. Come and join us as we explore the story of Jesus feeding of the 5,000 and what it means.

October 8, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall

Making your way in the world today

takes everything you’ve got. 
Taking a break from all your worries,

sure would help a lot. 
Wouldn’t you like to get away? 

Sometimes you want to go …
Where everybody knows your name, 
and they’re always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name. 
You wanna go where people know, 
people are all the same, 
You wanna go where everybody knows 
your name. 


Remember that show? A tavern in Boston where a group of people gathered regularly. Why? Everybody knew each other. It was television “comfort food”. Nothing particularly controversial. Just a diverse group of folks who liked being with each other. The show ran from 1982 through 1993 and it seemed that a whole lot of people spent time trying to find that kind of place where they could just show up and feel welcome. Where they felt safe. Where they could just get away with folks who knew who they were.

That sure strikes home in 2017, doesn’t it? Getting through the day can take a lot. Getting through a week can be really hard. Wouldn’t it be nice to get away to a place where the most important thing people care about is that you are there? A place where you can have some peace. Learn a new thing. Sing a couple songs. Listen to some great music. Just breathe and contemplate our place in God’s creation and God’s presence in our lives?

Come to John McMillan Presbyterian Church where we do the best we can to provide such a place. Come this Sunday at 8:30 and 11. Meet our many new members. Go to a class. Just find a quiet place to sit. Then worship the living God. Come. We want you to know our troubles are all the same and that people are all the same … and we want to know your name.

October 1, 2017

Pastor Jeff Tindall

When you come to church at JMPC on Sunday, you will see many people wearing buttons that say “Why JMPC”. It is both an invitation to ask a question and the beginning of an answer.

First the question: “Why do you attend JMPC?” It is a valid question. Why does someone attend our church? The question also impliedly asks, “Why should I attend JMPC?” Now we all know that the primary mission of every church is to proclaim the Gospel, right? But what makes JMPC unique? What does JMPC offer us and what do we offer JMPC? These questions are important because people who are both new visitors and longtime members alike want to be a part of a community that stands for something, does important things and maybe … just maybe … changes lives. So, “Why JMPC” indeed.
So, what is the answer?
Why do we attend JMPC?
The answer is different for every age group, family and individual. Some have been here from the beginning and this is their church home. They are comfortable and content. Others are new. They tell us they are here because they feel like they have found a new church home, are welcomed and included. There are many variations between the two.

So, when you come Sunday, ask someone wearing a button. If you are wearing a button, have an answer!

And when you have these conversations, you will note, I believe, that no one will say it’s because of anything other than our mission to know, glorify and serve God. Which means excellent worship, Christian education for all ages and interests, friendly chatter at coffee hour and at other times, mission opportunities (locally, nationally and internationally) and chances to make a difference in the world, the community and individual lives.

And one more thing. We live in a busy world that often drains us. At JMPC, we offer an hour or two on Sundays and other times where you can just come and have a bit of peace.

We do all these things as nothing other than disciples of Jesus, living the Jesus way. Come and see. We worship at 8:30 and 11 every Sunday with Christian education, cookies and coffee in between. Why JMPC? Come and ask.