Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Debbie will continue our preaching series, entitled Big Rocks. The Big Rocks are those concepts/attitudes and actions that should be our focus as Christ-followers: Love, Grace, Discipleship, Koinonia (Fellowship), and Mission. Staying focused on these big rocks keeps us from being sidetracked by the small rocks of temptation, distraction, and busyness. Our focus this week will be on the big rock of Grace with a story from the Old Testament of Mephibosheth and King David (II Samuel 9:1-13).  Invite a friend and join us as we look at these big rocks with the hope of making our faith journeys rock solid!



2. Wacky World Camp - Our 11am service last week got to meet some of the Wacky World campers in worship as they sang for us. You are invited to attend their Summer Finale, on August 7th at 5pm in the Family Life Center. Come out and hear about the wacky adventures this summer and all of the ways they encountered God.  If you are free, I hope you make plans to attend.




3. New Member Class - There will be a New Member Class held on Monday, August 31st and Tuesday, September 1st. Monday night will include dinner and both sessions will go from 6pm to approximately 8:30pm. If you have been attending CUMC for a while and want to take the step of commitment in joining the church, you are welcome to attend. Please contact the church office at 787-1829 or email us by clicking here to RSVP for this class.



4. We Need Your Help! - Our Children’s Ministry is growing here at Community UMC and that truly is a wonderful thing! With these new faces coming that means we need more hands to look after them and make sure they are well taken care of and that is where you all come in. There are several areas that are need of volunteers and we are asking that you be in prayer about the places where you might be able to plug in.

We need:
  • Sunday School Volunteers to teach and assist with children’s Sunday School during the 9:30am Worship Service. You can help in our Pre-K - 1st,  2nd - 4th, or 5th - 6th grade classes. Training is provided. 
  • Nursery Volunteers to help with the babies and toddlers during our 9:30am Worship Service. 
  • Tutoring Facilitators to work in conjunction with Faye in overseeing the Tutoring Program. Duties include set - up and tear - down of supplies, managing paperwork, and communicating with the school. Tutoring meets Wednesday afternoons: October through April.
If you have any questions, please contact Faye in the church office for more information. We hope to see you sign up soon!

5. Office Manager Retirement - Our present Office Manager,  Linda Kitchens, will be retiring at the end of September. Linda has been praying about this decision for a while as she will be moving to Lake Mary to be closer to family and be a full time grandmother. We know that her ministry in the office has been a blessing to the church over the last several years. We are incredibly appreciative and thankful for all of her efforts during the pastoral transition in welcoming us and making thing smooth. Please join us for praying for Linda that she would feel God's many blessings in her upcoming retirement.


Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Midweek Moment

When you look up the definition of the word grace there are a lot of options in the dictionary. Sometimes it is a woman’s name. It’s what we call the small prayer before we eat at meals. The word can denote elegance and effortlessness of action. My musical grandparents talked of grace notes, those extra flourishes in music, that are not essential to the melody or harmony.


When I think about the grace one of the images that comes to mind is our communion table, which stands as a reminder of God’s incredible grace to us. The “Christian” definition of the term grace is the undeserved favor of God acting in our lives. This particular communion table image here hangs in the office that Pastor Daryl and I share – a gift from a parishioner many years ago. It’s beautiful to see the children sharing in the meal with Jesus and the joy on all of the faces around the table. God’s grace is amazing and it should elicit joy and wonderment that God extends his love and grace to us.



The communion table reminds me of God’s grace in a couple of different ways. One it is the great equalizer. Every single one of us comes to the table on the same playing field before God – as sinners in need of grace. The bread and the cup are symbols that we receive as gifts in communion, they are not taken. That is because God is always the initiator of grace. We can do nothing to earn it; grace is a free gift lavished upon us.

And finally, the words of confession and the pronouncement of forgiveness in the church’s historical communion liturgy remind us of when God acted: “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. And that proves God’s love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven.” God did not wait to restore our relationship with him until we had cleaned ourselves up and earned it. Jesus gave of himself upon the cross before we even knew we were sinners in need of God’s grace. What a tremendous gift and blessing!  


I’m excited for our opportunity this weekend to explore more about this big rock of grace acting in our lives as we share in the sacrament of communion together. May we be mindful of the ways and places that we have been recipients of God’s grace and the ways and places that we can share God’s grace with others.

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday, 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Daryl will begin a new preaching series, entitled Big Rocks. One way of living a life of ministry is to focus on the big rocks of this life...Love, Grace, Discipleship, Koinonia (Fellowship), and Mission. Staying focused on these big rocks keeps us from being sidetracked by the small rocks of temptation, distraction, and busyness. Invite a friend and join us as we look at these big rocks with the hope of making our faith journeys rock solid!






2. Wacky World Camp - On Friday, August 7th at 5pm in the Family Life Center our Wacky World campers will put on the Summer Finale. You are all invited to come and hear about the wacky adventures this summer and all of the ways they encountered God. As a special treat, we will have them sing two songs during our 11am worship service this week, to give us a taste of what they have in store. If you are free, I hope you make plans to attend.






3. New Member Class - There will be a New Member Class held on Monday, August 31st and Tuesday, September 1st. Monday night will include dinner and both sessions will go from 6pm to approximately 8:30pm. If you have been attending CUMC for a while and want to take the step of commitment in joining the church, you are welcome to attend. Please contact the church office at 787-1829 or email us by clicking here to RSVP for this class.




http://s3.amazonaws.com/images.upperroom.org/devotional/en/issue_covers/slideshow/180.png?1435670242

4. An Author in our Midst! - Pay special attention to your Upper Room devotion on Wednesday, July 29th! That day’s devotion, “Seeing With New Eyes,” was written by our own Delores Kight. Delores and her husband, Chuck, became part of our Community family in February of this year. Congratulations Delores!






5. We Need Your Help! - Our Children’s Ministry is growing here at Community UMC and that truly is a wonderful thing! With these new faces coming that means we need more hands to look after them and make sure they are well taken care of and that is where you all come in. There are several areas that are need of volunteers and we are asking that you be in prayer about the places where you might be able to plug in.

We need:
  • Sunday School Volunteers to teach and assist with children’s Sunday School during the 9:30am Worship Service. You can help in our Pre-K - 1st,  2nd - 4th, or 5th - 6th grade classes. Training is provided.
  • Nursery Volunteers to help with the babies and toddlers during our 9:30am Worship Service.
  • Tutoring Facilitators to work in conjunction with Faye in overseeing the Tutoring Program. Duties include set - up and tear - down of supplies, managing paperwork, and communicating with the school. Tutoring meets Wednesday afternoons: October through April.
If you have any questions, please contact Faye in the church office for more information. We hope to see you sign up soon!




Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Midweek Moment

Several years ago, Pastor Debbie and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Holy Land. We began our travels in Cairo, Egypt and followed the path of the Ancient Israelites from their captivity and release in Egypt, through the Red Sea, and up to Jerusalem. We saw many wonderful places and it was so comforting to experience that constant presence of the Holy Spirit in that place.

One of the places that truly resonated with us was the Mount of the Beatitudes. Today it is more of a hillside, that is covered in beautiful green grass overlooking the Sea of Galilee. It was in this place Jesus preached to the 5000 and shared with them those qualities that draw us closer to God. You can find that sermon in the Gospel of Matthew, beginning in chapter five.

While we were standing on this hillside looking out over the sea, just taking in the moment, I noticed something. We were standing on the edge of the Sea and the water was gently washing over a bed of rocks beneath our feet. I casually reached down and picked one of those rocks up. In fact, it is the one pictured above. I noticed how smooth it was all over. That dark spot you see in the center actually has a polished look and feel to it. I wondered how long had the water gently washed over this rock, filing down the rough edges, and exposing the beauty it had within. I thought about how this was an exercise in faithfulness and consistency, between the water and the rock.

It was in the midst of that wondering that I realized something. I was a rock. I understood that all of us that are believers, are like this rock. We all have those rough edges that need smoothing out. With the image of God imprinted within in us, we all have tremendous beauty inside of us. But there is a key to unlocking all of that; the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Just as the water faithfully and consistently worked on that rock, shaping it and transforming it, the Holy Spirit does the same for us. Every day the Holy Spirit meets us where we are, as we are, seeking to encounter us. It is in those encounters that those rough edges are smoothed out, that our inner beauty is unlocked and our true potential is realized. And the great part about it, is that this encounter can happen each and every day!

I want to invite you each of you to take time and make a covenant with God, that you will honor that daily encounter and make yourself available to work of the Holy Spirit within you. Just as the water shaped that rock and and made it shine, God is eager to shape you and allow you realize God’s image within you. Please be open to that work, so that together we can change this world for Christ!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Debbie will be preaching at all three services and concluding the series, Nice to Meet You!. She will be talking about her life verse, Philippians 4:13, and her life-long struggle between doing (I can do) to simply being a child of God (in whose strength I rely). Invite a friend and we hope to see you all there!






2. Construction Has Begun!!!! - The next phase of our construction here at CUMC includes remodeling of the bathrooms outside the Fellowship Hall as well as adding a second story to our Education Building. Things have gotten underway this week with the demolition of the current bathroom equipment. Keep checking back for more updates to our progress.






3. New Member Class - There will be a New Member Class held on Monday, August 31st and Tuesday, September 1st. Monday night will include dinner and both sessions will go from 6pm to approximately 8:30pm. If you have been attending CUMC for a while and want to make the step of commitment in joining the church, you are welcome to attend. Please contact the church office at 787-1829 or communityumcfp@gmail.com to RSVP for this class.




Have a great weekend and we will see you soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Midweek Moment

Daryl and I have similar, complementary styles of leadership, but you will learn over time as you get to know us that we have very different personalities. I tend to be more “type-A” and more task-oriented (I always have at least one checklist going!)

My life verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” For most of my life I took that verse as reinforcement for my task-oriented ways. In fact, I really saw it as a challenge to DO everything that I could. I could quite easily be a workaholic if Daryl did not help balance me out. In the first church I served many years ago, I fell quickly into the trap of doing too much. There was always something to be done at church and if a volunteer did not pop up right away, I took the job on myself. That worked great until it came time to move a few years later and I had to hand-off all of the extra jobs that I had picked up along the way that the new pastor did not want on his plate. The concept of doing was so engrained in me that even our vacations as a family were planned out and so over-scheduled we really could have used a vacation from our vacation after our return.

Over the years I have had to learn the concept and practice of Sabbath rest to counteract all of the “doing” in my life. Daryl and I take the same day off together each week (Fridays) and I’ve learned not to trade one kind of to-do list for another but to concentrate on being and on relationship. Finding that Sabbath rhythm has been tremendously restorative to my spiritual life and crazily enough has actually given me renewed energy for all of the necessary tasks of life and ministry.

Do you have any time or space in your life for Sabbath? Time to simply be in the presence of God, which can give strength for all of your activity? I pray that you do. Whether a whole day devoted to the rhythm of Sabbath or moments of Sabbath in each and every day, I hope that you can find time to just be without having to be “doing.” For our identity, value and self-worth as believers comes not from our accomplishments, but rather because each one of us is a child of God, made in his image.

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. The Blog - We like to use various tools to communicate with you and one of them will be this blog. We will both write posts here throughout the week to share with you upcoming events and a few of our thoughts. Each week, around Wednesday, we will post a Midweek Moment. This could be a reflection from the upcoming sermon, a random thought, or an awesome God moment we experienced.  Each Thursday we will post the Thursday Thoughts, a column outlining upcoming events and information we want to share with you. Therefore, we want to encourage you to check it out frequently. There is also a feature down the right side, just below our bios, where you can subscribe to the blog and have any posts we make automatically emailed to you. It is a two step process, so after you enter your email address, make sure to confirm it when you get the subscription email, and you will be all set. We hope to see you here often!






2. Thank you! - We also want to take a moment and thank all of you for the warm welcome and radical hospitality we have experienced since we arrived. From the cards, meals, gifts, handshakes, and hugs you have given to us, we are so moved and grateful. We feel very much like a part of the Community UMC family and we look forward to many years ministering with you.






3. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Daryl will be preaching and continuing with the series, Nice to Meet You!. He will be talking about the joy that drives him in ministry and using Zephaniah 3:17 as the foundation. Joy is a gift from God and something he feels God's wants us to experience in this life. Invite a friend and we hope to see you all there!




Have a great weekend and we will see you soon!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Midweek Moment

Right now our house looks like a cardboard Stonehenge! There are stacks of boxes everywhere and they are in almost every room. We are making progress and we just keep clinging to the mantra, “one box at a time.” So far in this unpacking endeavor, Pastor Debbie and I have been following the divide and conquer technique. She would work in one room and I would be in another trying to get everything settled. But the issue invariably arises where we need either another set of hands or input about where we are going to place a certain item. That means summoning the other person, waiting for them to come to a stopping place where they are working, and then maneuvering their way to you. That can often times bring the pace of the task to a crawl.

Last week I came home from the office and we were going to spend the evening unpacking. I found myself just walking around. There was so much to do and I could not find a place to start. I was simply overwhelmed. Call it divine intervention, but an idea hit me. I asked Debbie, “why not try working together tonight?” I thought we could pool our efforts and maybe that would be more efficient. We agreed and picked the kitchen as the place to start.

I unpacked and she put away. My friends, it worked! In just a few short hours we had the entire kitchen unpacked, decorated, and setup; including wall hangings. We were so overjoyed that we danced! Right there in the kitchen we did a little jig.

One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing” (CEB). This is part of a prophecy from Zephaniah to the people of Jerusalem to repent and turn back to God. But what sticks out to me is how God reacts to being in the presence of God’s children. God rejoices, God sings. The NRSV version of Scripture says, “[God] will exult over you with loud singing.” Not just humming a tune, but exulting over us with loud singing! Folks, that is exciting stuff!

Not only does God love you, not only does God want to be a part of your life, but when God gets the opportunity to be with you, God will exult over you with loud singing. Loud enough for other people to hear! Now, I have to imagine in that instance not only will God be happy, but so will you.

As Pastor Debbie and I celebrated the kitchen being completed, we were seizing a bit of joy. There are still more rooms to do, the job of unpacking is not completed, but we took just a moment to celebrate. We thanked God for what was in front of us and allowed for a pause in our day to experience joy.

That is my prayer for each of you. Find that occasion every day to pause in the midst of your activities to find joy. Thank God for what you have, let God know you are excited about the future, and experience the joy that comes when God “exults over you with loud singing.” Joy is a wonderful thing, joy is a gift from God, and joy is what can bring you closer to the One that loved you first!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!