At the PAL and in Ephesians

This weekend we will return to the Police Athletic League for our Sunday services. The PAL will be our location going forward for now until we are able to find something else to fit our needs and meet our hopes of having a more permanent and accessible home in the community we seek to reach, namely the downtown St. Pete area. 

We are extremely grateful for the PAL and for the leaders of this organization as they welcome us in to their space every single week. We ought to be grateful as well for what God has helped us to see in the last few weeks as we scrambled a bit through being 'homeless.' I believe, in particular, we were able to see 3 things: 

  1. God provided. We were able to use the PAL for a few weeks immediately after loosing our home at 912 Central and we also had a wonderful space to use together on Easter weekend because of a ministry that others in St. Pete helped us connect to. In addition to this, we had a wonderful day of weather last weekend, in the midst of storms rolling in and out of the area, so that we could enjoy a relaxing and rich time together in the park. 
  2. We were served by others. While it was mostly behind the scenes, this entire experience of loosing our meeting space provided opportunity for many pastors and many churches to love us, pray for us, help us, and serve us in different ways. Stonehouse Church is in a great place in St. Pete so far as ministry partnerships go. We are not in this city in a manner of competition and discord with other churches but rather enjoy the warmth, love, and kindness of others and reciprocate these virtues outward as well. It was another pastor who connected us to the warehouse space for Easter; it was the leader of that ministry who fought for us to allow us to use the space to celebrate Christ's resurrection together; we received many calls & texts of encouragement and prayer from area pastors; and several others offered space in their own churches for us to meet in on Sundays as well. These things ought to be celebrated because it isn't every day that you find churches working together and praying for one another like this. Praise be to God! 
  3. The church was strengthened. An inconvenient situation like loosing a place to meet is something that can, and in some cases has, brought an end to the gathering of God's people together as the local church. For us this has not been the case. In fact, someone recently celebrated with me the fact that Stonehouse is not a church of convenience, nor is it filled with people who are seeking their comfort first - it is, however, a church filled with people who are enthralled with the gospel, who are engaged in community, and are hungry to know, worship, and spread the name of Jesus in St. Pete. Inconvenience is only that, it's temporary, perhaps annoying, and a little bit of a departure from normal but it is in no way something that will bring an end to the praise of Jesus among us. 

Let us move ahead thanking God for his provision, for the support and partnership of others, and for the strength that He alone has produced by his power. 

As we return to the PAL we will be getting into the book of Ephesians together by walking through a 13 week series entitled "Reshaped." Ephesians weaves the story of the gospel into the story of our lives thereby reshaping all of life in light of the glorious good news of Jesus Christ. Our verse by verse journey through this wonderful epistle will help us to grasp the truths of Christ as we see how everything — the Church, our marriages, our jobs, our families, the fight against evil, the hard work of building unity, etc. — is connected to what Jesus Christ has done in his coming, living, dying and rising. We'll be in chapter 1 verses 3-14 this Sunday. 

As we go through Ephesians on Sundays so too will we discuss the book week to week in our City Groups. A helpful resource for doing this will be the book "Ephesians For You" which leaders will have to help guide our weekly discussions. It may be helpful for you to have a copy of this book as well so we wanted to provide the link should you desire to get your own copy (hardcover & paperback available on Amazon). We will have a few paperbacks on hand next Sunday (4/22) for you if you would like to have a copy but aren't able to obtain one for yourself (please see me or Jason about this, we'd love the chance to help!). 

I'm looking forward to this series and trust the Lord to do his work among us as we seek him in his Word. Plan to join us at the PAL week by week through this spring and into the summer months and we'll see what God provides for us further ahead into the future. For his name and his glory alone! 

-dp-

Church in the Park - Sunday, April 8th

This Sunday we are going to be holding “Church in the Park” at Flora Wylie Park! 

We’ll be there from 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring your chairs, your outdoor games and your friends.

At about 11:00 we’ll hold a shortened service followed by lunch (provided) before hanging out and enjoying community together in the park. 

Look for us near the intersection of 14th Ave. N. and N. Shore Dr. NE, we’ll have some pop-up market type tents out so you can find us easily. 

For mapping purposes use this address: 

1401 N Shore Dr NE

St. Pete  33701

Easter Sunday at Stonehouse Church

This Sunday we will be gathering together to celebrate the risen Christ in a space graciously provided for us by our new friends at New Hope Christian Fellowship. We thank God for his wonderful provision for us as a church family during this time. 

The meeting space is in a warehouse near the new St. Pete police station currently under construction. If you’re putting an address in your phone to find the warehouse you’ll want to use 1330 Burlington Ave. N. however the entrance to the space we’ll be using is on the 2nd Ave. N. side of the building. The warehouse sits between 13th St. N. and 14th St. N. Look for our tent and sign outside along 2nd Ave. N. and you’ll know you’re in the right place! 

We’ll have some coffee and breakfast snacks as usual ready at 10:00am and begin our service at 10:30. 

With this different space we have a few things to adapt to for the day such as the following: 

  • The parking near the warehouse is all street parking. The availalble parking is unmetered; some spaces have a 2 hour limit and others have no limit. Parking is available along 2nd Ave. N., Burlington Ave. N., 13th St. N., and north from the warehouse on 14th St. N. 

  • The space we’ll be using is one large room meaning we’ll have no separate kids area. We’ll encourage parents to have their kids worship with them in our opening time of singing and then we will provide snacks, an activity, and a few helpers in the back of the room around tables. It will be a unique situation for us, and parents, we may need your help - having you sit with your child(ren) during the message. Having your kids worship with you following the message will also help make this different setup work well for everyone. Thank you ahead of time for your flexibility as together we endure the recent ubrupt changes in meeting space. 

  • The restroom in the warehouse is out the door of the space we’ll be in and down a hallway making a few turns through an unfamiliar location for us. We will have some signs up to try and help make navigating this easier for everyone. 

All in all these changes and challenges are short term in duration and facing them means that at the very least we still have the opportunity to worship together as a family even if it is in a new and different way. 

Certainly this is a challenging time but the Lord is providing for us and even using this time to further connect us with other ministries and churches in St. Pete. The expression of love and care, the added prayers and supportive communication I’ve received from all over our city is evidence of God’s love toward us at Stonehouse Church. Rest assured church, our risen King is alive and by his Spirit he is leading all of the twists and turns of this time - he knows us, he loves us, he sees our labors in him and he hears our prayers. He is not slow to answer, nor powerless to help, he is working his will exactly according to his plan and though we may have our doubts “all things [are] working together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) 

Finally, let us turn the eyes of our hearts toward the cross and the empty tomb, leading toward a deep contemplation of what Christ faced in being abandoned by all of his friends. He was left to face trial by his own people, turned over to Pilate and an angry mob of violent sinners all of whom he willing dihed for by hanging on that tree taking sin upon him as he humbled himself even to death on a cross. May the words of a hymn by Isaac Watts help us think on how great a love we’ve been shown: 

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

We consider the cross and look forward to the celebration of resurrection together on Easter! We’ll see you Sunday at 10:30 in the warehouse! 

 

Sudden change for Stonehouse meeting location

Hey folks, 

We received some unfortunate news this week about meeting on the 3rd floor at 912 Central Ave.

We have been asked to discontinue our services at this location effective immediately. 

The decision came down on Wednesday of this week and since then we’ve been trying to secure a situation that will work for us this weeknd.

The best solution that we have is to relocate to the Police Athletic League (PAL) for our 10:30am service for this week and likely for the next few weeks. The address, if you haven't been there before, is 1450 16th St. N. (you can see the map on the front page of our website) 

If you can lend a hand on Sunday it would be tremendous... starting at 8:30 we will need to load up some of our gear at 912 Central Ave and bring it over to the PAL to setup for service. Please email info@stonehousefl.org or text 727-344-9680 if you can help. 

As we’ve learned before, the church is not a building but a people and we have an opportunity to  see our faithful leader Jesus bring us further into that reality through this situation. We will continue to look for a new location as we have already begun to do so and we ask for the church to join together in prayer asking our gracious Father to lead this time and set us in the exact spot he wants us. For now, we'll see you tomorrow at the PAL! 

- Derrick