Oconee Presbyterian Church
09-22-19, Book of Ruth, Week 1 of 2, From Judges to Ruth

09-22-19, Book of Ruth, Week 1 of 2, From Judges to Ruth

September 22, 2019

The book of Judges is so hard to read. It has violence against the natives in a land, against foreigners into a land, and against women. Right after Judges is the book of Ruth. In it, women are treated with more dignity. Foreigners are treated with welcome, hospitality, and generosity. Of those two sides of the story, Jesus is born from the Ruth side. Jesus is a descendant of the family that loves the stranger, welcomes the outcast, and shows generosity to the foreigner. Perhaps if we were to do the same, we would find future scriptures written about us!

Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Ruth 1

09-15-19, Inclusion Sunday, Week 1 of 1, Nothing About Us Without Us

09-15-19, Inclusion Sunday, Week 1 of 1, Nothing About Us Without Us

September 15, 2019

Jesus has a special way of recognizing the humanity in those the culture considered less than human. He often left the "normal" people to intentionally give his attention to the least in the culture... the women, the children, the oppressed, and the dis/differently-abled. Today, as CHrist's body, the church is called to be radically inclusive of those who are differently-abled. But do we? How could we? This week, one of our own young adults preaches on the call of God to see and include the differently-abled in all aspects of church life.

Emma Peacock preaching John 9 and Mark 8

09-08-19, Better Together, Week 1 of 1, Child Youth Adult Groups

09-08-19, Better Together, Week 1 of 1, Child Youth Adult Groups

September 8, 2019

Jesus started his public ministry by gathering people into crowds and groups. Yes, he would get everyone that could hear together at once, just like we do in worship each Sunday. Then, he also set aside time and space for a smaller group to sit, study, eat, and reflect with him. To be a student, follower, disciple of Jesus means we show up for the big gathering up worship, AND we also commit ourselves to regularly attending a small group. Today, our three ministry staff read scripture and preach, then outline the groups available for Children, Youth, and Adults.

Rev. Christin Norman preaching Ephesians 3, Chris Mokros & Caleb McArthur preaching Colossians 3, Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Luke 5

09-01-19, Faith into Action, Week 4 of 4, Paradox of Kingdom Coming

09-01-19, Faith into Action, Week 4 of 4, Paradox of Kingdom Coming

September 1, 2019

Kingdom is coming! We try to remember that, hope for it, believe it. Kingdom is coming because of Jesus' faith, not ours, Jesus' faithfulness, not ours. Kingdom is coming for all God's people. There's nothing we could believe or do to make it come. There's nothing we could believe or do to stop it coming. Then, can we just sit back, relax, and wait? The paradox of faith is that we believe Kingdom is already coming, AND we also respond in faith to help Kingdom come closer and sooner.

Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Hebrews 13

08-25-19, Faith into Action, Week 3 of 4, Does God Discipline or Punish

08-25-19, Faith into Action, Week 3 of 4, Does God Discipline or Punish

August 25, 2019

We've heard it said God is like a parent. Today's scripture says that as well. But it also suggests God disciplines us, punishes us, makes us endure trials, and only does this to those who are GOd's children. Is that who this God is, as a parent? What if our English translation is misleading us? Rev. Joel shows us the Greek behind these four concepts, and helps us see God is like a parent, but unlike any parent we've ever known.

Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Hebrews 12

08-18-19, Faith into Action, Week 2 of 4, Faith of Moses

08-18-19, Faith into Action, Week 2 of 4, Faith of Moses

August 18, 2019

This week, Rev. Joel begins with a reflection on the political tensions in a "purple" church, and imagines how we as followers of Christ with diverse political opinions can somehow find our unity in pursuing the higher polis, city, kingdom of God.

Then, Joel turns to Hebrews 11 and 12 to hear about the faith of Moses, and to wonder why that kind of faith was remembered and honored in the long run.

Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Hebrews 11 and 12

08-11-19, Faith into Action, Week 1 of 4, Holy Polis of God

08-11-19, Faith into Action, Week 1 of 4, Holy Polis of God

August 11, 2019

After a three month sabbatical, from May through July, our pastor Rev. Joel returns to the pulpit. He comes back to us to share one of his goals for the Sabbatical... to focus on his own faith. Today, he begins a new sermon series on Faith, what faith is and what faith does in a community, using Hebrews 11-13.

From Hebrews, faith is the "assurance of things we can only hope for, and a conviction of things not seen." Abraham is an example of faith. Well, what did Abraham hope for? What was Abraham so convicted about, that he could not yet see? Abraham believed in the city (polis) of God. Can we see it yet? Do we hope for it? Are we so convicted we will work for it? That is the milk of faith.

Rev. Joel L. Tolbert preaching Hebrews 11

08-04-19, Back to School, Week 1 of 1, Finding God in the Busy-Ness

08-04-19, Back to School, Week 1 of 1, Finding God in the Busy-Ness

August 4, 2019

The Pastoral sabbatical is over, and Rev. Joel is back among us. Joel isn't preaching today. Instead, Rev. Dr. Glenn Doak is our guest preacher today. Glenn preached Joel's first Sunday away and moderated Session all summer. On this weekend, there were two significant mass shootings in our country. Glenn decided to change all his plans, and preach on Psalm 46, and how to find and commune with God in the midst of the chaos and busy-ness around us.

Rev. Dr. Glenn Doak preaching Psalm 46

07-28-19, Pastor Sabbatical, Week 14 of 14, Chill Be Still

07-28-19, Pastor Sabbatical, Week 14 of 14, Chill Be Still

July 28, 2019

Our pastor, Rev. Joel Tolbert, is away for a well-earned three-month sabbatical, from May through July. Meanwhile, this summer, we welcome guests to lead and preach.

This week, we welcome Rev. Craig Topple. Craig helps us see the difference between work and rest, from the first story of creation, and from Mary and Martha. What does it look like for God to rest? Why is work sometimes the wrong thing to do now or next? How does creativity come out of stillness?

Rev. Craig Topple preaching Luke 10

07-21-19, Pastor Sabbatical, Week 13 of 14, Ask and It Will Be Given

07-21-19, Pastor Sabbatical, Week 13 of 14, Ask and It Will Be Given

July 21, 2019

Our pastor, Rev. Joel Tolbert, is away for a well-earned three-month sabbatical, from May through July. Meanwhile, this summer, we welcome guests to lead and preach.

This week, we welcome Rev. Hillary Shuford, the Executive Presbyter of Northeast Georgia Presbytery. She reads from the letters and gospels and invites us to know the peace, forgiveness, wholeness, and peace that is only possible in Jesus the Christ through prayer, using the Lord's prayer.

Rev. Hillary Shuford preaching Colossians 2 and Luke 11