Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are continuing our current preaching series, Your 11. This series is looking at the types of people we need in our life to help us on our faith journeys. This week Pastor Daryl will look at the life of Timothy and invite us to consider who we might mentor as our protege. Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!

Parking Reminder- We're encouraging our members to "park politely." That means for those who are physically able, please park at the Fruitland Park Elementary School lot (accessed from Fountain Street) or at the remote lot on the corner of Catawba St/Rose Ave (we have golf cart shuttle from this lot). All of this will help make room in the main lot for those who need access to the handicapped spaces and also for our first time visitors. We have also been asked to no longer park on the grass of the red, brick house across the street, as renters will move in there soon. Thank you for your help in this!



2. Wonderful Wednesdays - As part of our ministry to the children of Fruitland Park Elementary and of this neighborhood, we are getting ready to gear up our Wonderful Wednesday program for this year. In your bulletin this week will be a flyer talking about all of the ways in which you can be involved in this awesome ministry, where we ministered to over 110 children every week. We encourage each of you to take the flyer home, pray over it, and see what God lays on your heart. Then, take that step in faith and volunteer by calling the church office or you can email Faye Umble by clicking here. This is our chance to share the grace and love of Christ with the children of this community and we need you to help us to do that.





3. We Need You! - We are in need of volunteers to help with a few areas of the church.

  • One is with the tech aspects of worship at our 8am and 11am worship services. We will provide all the training, but we need people to help with the PowerPoint and sound board operations during the services. These positions are very important to the flow and experience of worship and truly add to our time together. 
  • The second is with ushers at our 11am service. Again all the training will be provided. 
  • And the third is helping to coordinate greeters for our 8am service. 
If you are interested in helping with any of these opportunities, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.





4. Interested in Gardening? - Our Church Council recently approved a partnership between Community and a church member for a community garden on the northeast corner of College Avenue and Berckman Street. We have already secured donations for many of the items needed like wood for raised beds, soil, an irrigation system, seeds, a shed, etc.

We need you to help with planting, maintenance of the garden, and working with the children from our Wonderful Wednesday program and the elementary school to teach them about gardening. Produce from the garden will benefit families from the school as well as our food pantry. Please email Pastor Debbie if you are interested in helping by clicking here. We hope to break ground in August and begin planting in September and would love to have you be a part of this incredible opportunity!


Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Midweek Moment

After sixteen years of preaching, I confess that I still get nervous every single Sunday that I get up to preach. I think a healthy dose of nerves is a good thing because it means that after all this time, the experience of preaching has not become rote and routine. I remain fully aware that interpreting God's word as a proclaimer in worship is always a very unique privilege. I was however, probably a bit more nervous this past Sunday as I shared about the biblical Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) who stands for those that have been rejected by society and culture for some reason and spoke about my own Zacchaeus - naming our son Davis and sharing with you his background as an orphan in China. If you weren't in worship, here's a link to the recorded version of the sermon, done at the 11am service. 

That particular sermon seems to have resonated with many of you. I received a lot of feedback on Sunday after each worship service as you shared personal experiences with me, and I have received several emails from folks this week continuing to offer stories about their own Zacchaeus. Many people wanted to name their own Zacchaeus for me. Others shared their experience of feeling rejected; of being a Zacchaeus. 

It is a privilege to hear from you about how the sermon impacted you personally. Every preacher loves when people remember what you say past Tuesday of the next week! More substantial for us preachers is finding out that an individual was moved to take some kind of action step in their own life regarding the impact of the preaching Word - that the preaching Word is transforming us from the inside out.

One of the last things I shared in the sermon was a quote from David Platt, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. In his book, Radial: Reclaiming Your Faith from the American Dream, he had this to say about orphans: “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It’s easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” 

I know that the same thing which is true about orphans is true for the Zacchaeus' of our lives. People are easier to ignore, write off, disregard or discard before we take off the label we have put on them and instead see their face, learn their name, and hear their story. What a tremendous difference it can make in our communities when we take the time to hear, to sit with others, learn their names, and hear their stories. 

I encourage you to keep reflecting on the experience of Zacchaeus, the rich man who wanted to see Jesus but lessened his chances for interaction by climbing a tree to avoid townspeople who rejected him.  And to reflect on these questions: Who are the Zacchaeus’ around you? The people groups not already represented in our church? My challenge this week is that if you do not already have a Zacchaeus, you begin to pray about where and how you might reach out to someone stuck up a tree and begin to relate to them.

  
We are together on this journey. Blessings,





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are continuing our current preaching series, Your 11. This series is looking at the types of people we need in our life to help us on our faith journeys. This week Pastor Debbie will look at the life of Zacchaeus and invite us to consider how we view the people that are often rejected. Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!

Parking Reminder- We're encouraging our members to "park politely." That means for those who are physically able, please park at the Fruitland Park Elementary School lot (accessed from Fountain Street) or at the remote lot on the corner of Catawba St/Rose Ave (we have golf cart shuttle from this lot). All of this will help make room in the main lot for those who need access to the handicapped spaces and also for our first time visitors. We have also been asked to no longer park on the grass of the red, brick house across the street, as renters will move in there soon. Thank you for your help in this!





2. Churchwide BBQ - This Sunday is our Annual Churchwide BBQ! It will take place in our Family Life Center after the 11am service. This will a time for us to welcome our new Contemporary Worship Director, Joey Landstedt, and his family; Jen, Shya, Elsa, and Josiah. If have not RSVP'd as of yet, come on anyway. We have spoken to the chef and have been assured there will be plenty of food for everyone. We hope to see you all there for great food and a great time!





3. Wonderful Wednesdays - As part of our ministry to the children of Fruitland Park Elementary and of this neighborhood, we are getting ready to gear up our Wonderful Wednesday program for this year. In your bulletin this week will be a flyer talking about all of the ways in which you can be involved in this awesome ministry, where we ministered to over 110 children every week. We encourage each of you to take the flyer home, pray over it, and see what God lays on your heart. Then, take that step in faith and volunteer by calling the church office or you can email Faye Umble by clicking here. This is our chance to share the grace and love of Christ with the children of this community and we need you to help us to do that.





4. We Need You! - We are in need of volunteers to help with a few areas of the church.

  • One is with the tech aspects of worship at our 8am and 11am worship services. We will provide all the training, but we need people to help with the PowerPoint and sound board operations during the services. These positions are very important to the flow and experience of worship and truly add to our time together. 
  • The second is with ushers at our 11am service. Again all the training will be provided. 
  • And the third is helping to coordinate greeters for our 8am service. 
If you are interested in helping with any of these opportunities, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.





5. Interested in Gardening? - Our Church Council recently approved a partnership between Community and a church member for a community garden on the northeast corner of College Avenue and Berckman Street. We have already secured donations for many of the items needed like wood for raised beds, soil, an irrigation system, seeds, a shed, etc.

We need you to help with planting, maintenance of the garden, and working with the children from our Wonderful Wednesday program and the elementary school to teach them about gardening. Produce from the garden will benefit families from the school as well as our food pantry. Please email Pastor Debbie if you are interested in helping by clicking here. We hope to break ground in August and begin planting in September and would love to have you be a part of this incredible opportunity!


Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Midweek Moment

There are moments in life that affirm certain beliefs in our minds. When your child is born, you become certain that you now know what it means to love someone more than yourself. When you feel like life is overwhelming you and someone comes along side of you to help, you become certain that you now know the benefit of living in community. When you touch a hot pan and burn your hand, you become certain that you know now that you will never do that again.

This past Sunday, I had one of those moments. But rather than it being something I was taught for the first time, it was a wonderful reaffirmation of something I knew; the meaning of worship. Serving in a church, sometimes we can dismiss the importance and power of worship. Either you had a really rough week leading up to worship, some crisis pops up the morning of worship, and it becomes difficult to be present in that moment of worship. It is almost like you go through the motions and miss out on the one thing that can help you with what you are experiencing.

This past Sunday, at our 9:30am worship service, I was reminded about that power. Allow me to set the stage for you. Our Worship Band was playing their big set in the middle of the service and they were doing an amazing job. I was almost lost in the moment. And had it not been for the fact I was getting ready to preach, I probably would have become lost in that moment. But part of my mind was occupied, going over my sermon and watching for the cue for me to go up on the platform. They got to their final song of that set, Set a Fire. The chorus is, “So set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of you God, I want more of you God.”

As we sang that chorus, suddenly I could now longer sing the words. I could see them on the screen, I had not lost the ability to speak, but the willingness of my spirit to sing was simply gone. It was in that silence, that I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to take a bit of a different approach when it was my turn on the platform. Generally, when the Worship Band finishes their set, I would go up, read the Scripture and begin to preach. This day I was being asked to pray. But not just pray, but to bind myself with the congregation and have all of us pray for each other. I fought the urge, mainly because I think it surprised me. I had a plan, wanted to stick to that plan, and God was asking for my participation and my obedience in doing something a bit different.

Not knowing exactly what I was supposed to do in that moment, I went up on stage after the set was over. I told the congregation that we were going to pray and that purpose of the prayer was to pray for each other. So I gave them a few seconds to get the names of the people on their left and right. I explained that when I said the words, “and Father we give to you ______”, they were to audibly say the names they just learned, and could even include their own name. We prayed, the congregation joined in, and it was amazing. I told the congregation that I was not sure why we were doing this, other than the fact that the Holy Spirit asked. For me, it was moment where the veil between Heaven and Earth was thinned and the movement of the Holy Spirit was very apparent.

Well, I went on with the service, experiencing the joy of obedience, and thanked God for the moment and opportunity. After the service was over, someone approached me. With tears in their eyes, they mouthed the words, “thank you”. I gave them a space to expound on what they were feeling and words simply were not enough to describe their gratitude. Not for anything I had said or done, but for God’s presence in that moment.

My friends, there are times where the Spirit of God can and does ask us for obedience. Obedience to pay attention, to offer kindness to another, or to simply move aside so the Spirit can move. It those moments we may not know why, as I had no idea why we were to pray last Sunday, other than that was what was being asked of us. That person needed that prayer, God was seeking to use that entire body to fill that need, and through our obedience, something amazing was done in our Family Life Center.

Thank you, God, for using us, thank you God for allowing us to be a part of that moment, and thank you God that you are always present among us. May that Sunday not be relegated to a moment, but may it become our tradition. May we always enter your house, with an expectation and readiness to hear you, feel you, and experience you, in a way that transforms us and helps us become more like you in all we say, in all we do, and in all that we are.

Have a great week my friends and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are continuing our new preaching series, Your 11. This series is looking at the types of people we need in our life to help us on our faith journeys. This week Pastor Daryl will look at the life of Jonathan, how we all can benefit from that true friend! Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!

Parking Reminder - We're encouraging our members to "park politely." That means for those who are physically able, please park at the Fruitland Park Elementary School lot (accessed from Fountain Street) or at the remote lot on the corner of Catawba St/Rose Ave (we have golf cart shuttle from this lot). We have also been asked to no longer park on the grass of the red, brick house across the street as renters will move in there soon. All of this will help make room in the main lot for those who need access to the handicapped spaces and also for our first time visitors. Thanks for your help in this!


2. Chancel Choir - We're so thankful that those on the choir tour have returned safely from Italy!! Make sure to speak to them and find out about their adventures.

The choir also has an upcoming mission trip to South Florida on Sunday July 16 through Saturday July 22. Please keep them in your prayers for that upcoming trip.














3. Magician Show - The Honduras Mission Team has one final fundraiser for their trip in August - an evening of magic with Christian magician David Berardi on Wednesday July 12th at 6pm in the Family Life Center. Suggested donation is $10 per person, or $25 for families of 3 or more.









4. We Need You! - We are in need of volunteers to help with a few areas of the church.
  • One is with the tech aspects of worship at our 8am and 11am worship services. We will provide all the training, but we need people to help with the PowerPoint and sound board operations during the services. These positions are very important to the flow and experience of worship and truly add to our time together. 
  • The second is with ushers at our 11am service. Again all the training will be provided.
  • And the third is helping to coordinate greeters for our 8am service. 
If you are interested in helping with any of these opportunities, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.




5. Interested in Gardening? - Church Council recently approved a partnership between CUMC and a church member for a community garden on the northeast corner of College Avenue and Berckman Street. We have already secured donations for many of the items needed like wood for raised beds, soil, an irrigation system, seeds, a shed, etc.

We need you to help with planting, keep up with the garden, and work with the children from our Wonderful Wednesday program and the elementary school to teach them about gardening. Produce from the garden will benefit families from the school as well as our food pantry. Please email Pastor Debbie if you are interested in helping by clicking here. We hope to break ground in August and begin planting in September and would love to have you be a part of this incredible opportunity!


Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are continuing our new preaching series, Your 11. This series is looking at the types of people we need in our life to help us on our faith journeys. This week Pastor Loida will look at the life of Nathan, how we all can benefit from that one person we can give permission to speak truth into our lives! Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!

Parking Reminder - We're encouraging our members to "park politely." That means for those who are physically able, please park at the Fruitland Park Elementary School lot (accessed from Fountain Street) or at the remote lot on the corner of Catawba St/Rose Ave (we have golf cart shuttle from this lot). We have also been asked to no longer park on the grass of the red, brick house across the street as renters will move in there soon. All of this will help make room in the main lot for those who need access to the handicapped spaces and also for our first time visitors. Thanks for your help in this!





2. We Need You! - We are in need of volunteers to help with a few areas of the church.
  • One is with the tech aspects of worship at our 8am and 11am worship services. We will provide all the training, but we need people to help with the PowerPoint and sound board operations during the services. These positions are very important to the flow and experience of worship and truly add to our time together. 
  • The second is with ushers at our 11am service. Again all the training will be provided.
  • And the third is helping to coordinate greeters for our 8am service. 
If you are interested in helping with any of these opportunities, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.





3. Interested in Gardening? - Church Council recently approved a partnership between CUMC and a church member for a community garden on the northeast corner of College Avenue and Berckman Street. We have already secured donations for many of the items needed like wood for raised beds, soil, an irrigation system, seeds, a shed, etc.

We need you to help with planting, keep up with the garden, and work with the children from our Wonderful Wednesday program and the elementary school to teach them about gardening. Produce from the garden will benefit families from the school as well as our food pantry. Please email Pastor Debbie if you are interested in helping by clicking here. We hope to break ground in August and begin planting in September and would love to have you be a part of this incredible opportunity!



Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Midweek Moment

Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all the people. Many of you may remember that from your childhood. You would take your fingers and lock them, with the tips of your fingers touching the opposite palm and say “here is the church”. Then, you would unlock and raise up your index fingers and bring them together to make a church steeple and say, “here is the steeple”. The final phase would happen when you opened up your palms, keeping the rest of your fingers locked, and wiggle your fingers to represent, “all the people”. It is a great way to engage little ones and teach them a bit about community. (and it is fun to do, too!)

This week we are living out the real-life version of that little rhyme as we host our annual Vacation Bible School. While we may not have a steeple, though the pitch of our Sanctuary roof may count as a long steeple, we definitely have “all the people”. We have children from our congregation, we have children from the neighborhood, and we have children who are meeting us for the very first time. Each night at closing ceremonies, the lead inventor – our very own Sandi Moore, asks the children a question. “Did you have a good time tonight?” The answer is a very loud, very excited…YES!!!!!

That is one of the many great things about Community. You have said you want children in our midst and you back that up. You love to hear them, you get excited to see them, and you volunteer to support them. The way you step up and transform this campus each year is amazing. I have the privilege of being a crew leader this year, and every night as my crew and I walk down these halls, they all say, “it’s like we are walking in the middle of a factory!” My reply is always the same, “you are!”

These children have been so eager to come each night to see what we have in store for them. So eager in fact, they have been talking about it at home. The parents of my crew members tell me each night, when they pick up their kids, how their children look forward to coming back. Last night, one of the children in my crew asked if we could do this again next week. That gives me goosebumps!

This is all part of the church being the church! Opening our doors, turning on our lights, lining up a tremendous group of volunteers, going to the lengths we do to decorate and donate supplies, giving of our hearts and time to all that come, is the fulfillment of why we are here. I am so honored to be a part of a church that does these things and does not count the cost – but rather looks to the impact instead.

I want to encourage you to continue praying for our Vacation Bible School this year. Pray for fun to be had, for hearts to be opened and for God to be seen. Each night we get to ask our crews where they saw God that day. With that in mind, I want to invite you to participate in that question as well. After all, if the children are looking for God, I think we can as well.

We are making a difference in these young one’s lives, we are being faithful to God’s purposes in this world, and the results are being seen. Thank you to all that have prayed for this week, donated supplies, given of their time, and invited people to come. Because of each of you, seeds are being planted, and fruit is on its way!

Have a great week!