Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Debbie will begin a new preaching series, Teach Us To Pray as we focus upon all the different parts of the Lord's Prayer. Our focus this week will be on the first part of the prayer "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name" as we consider the names we use to describe God and finding ways to incorporate praise and adoration into our prayer lives.


2. New Member Class - It is getting close! There will be a New Member Class held next 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.



3. 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!

    4. Wednesday Night Dinner and Activities

    Wednesday Night Dinners and Bible Studies get going again for the fall on Wednesday September 16th.  Following the dinners there will be several offerings of classes for all ages.

    Offerings for Children and Youth 
    * nursery for infants up to 3 years of age
    * those in Pre-K and Kindergarten will be attending Kid's Club
    * those in 1st-4th grades will be able to choose between Kid's Club and the Children's Musical
    * those in 5th-6th grades will be able to choose between Connect Small Group and the Children's Musical
    * those in middle school and high school will have small group time

    Offerings for Adults
    * Pastor Daryl will be teaching the latest Adam Hamilton Bible Study "The Call" exploring the conversion and missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul
    * Pastor Debbie will be leading an in-depth Scripture study of the Gospel of Luke
    * Nancy Perkins will be leading a class on Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God" study
    * There will also be a class for parents with young children. Most information coming soon.



    5. Cuba Mission Trip - Next month Elsa Kaye and two others will be traveling from Community to our sister church in Cuba. They are gathering medicines in preparation for the trip. A list went out this past week as an insert in the bulletin and will run again. A suitcase for the collection of medicines has been placed in the sanctuary narthex for your convenience. Thank you for your support of our sister church and please keep our mission team in your prayers.

    Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    Midweek Moment

    This week we begin a new preaching series on Teach Us to Pray and we'll be exploring the Lord's prayer together. This week we'll be looking at the first phrase: "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." As I was thinking about the names we use for God this week, I was also drawn to a passage in Exodus where God introduced himself by name to Moses: "God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM." He said further, "thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever and this is my title for all generations." (Exodus 3:14-15). 

    I shared with the staff in our devotional time yesterday that music is one of my favorite ways of worshipping God and the lyrics of songs often speak to my heart. One of my favorite Christian songwriters in recent years is Nichole Nordeman. Her lyrics often seem to reflect where I find myself spiritually. The song "I AM" is a touching reminder of how God reveals himself to us in so many different ways and seasons of our lives. 

    Pencil marks on a wall 
I wasn't always this tall, 

    You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed, 

    You watched my team win, 
You watched my team lose, 

    You watched when my bicycle went down again,

    CHORUS: 
And When I was weak unable to speak, still I could call You by name, 

    and I said “Elbow healer, Superhero,
come if You can,” and You said “I am”

    Only 16, life is so mean, what kind of curfew is at ten PM 

    You saw my mistakes, You watched my heart break 

    Heard when I swore I’d never love again

    CHORUS: 
When I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call You by name, 

    and I said “Heart-ache Healer, Secret-keeper,
be my Best Friend” and You said “I am”

    You saw me wear white, by pale candlelight,

    I said forever to what lies ahead 

    two kids and a dream, with kids that can scream 

    too much it might seem when it’s two AM

    CHORUS: 
when I am weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name. 

    “Oh Shepherd, Savior, Pasture-maker,
hold on to my hand,” and You say “I am.”

    The winds of change, 
And circumstance blow in and all around
us
    so we find a foothold that’s familiar, 

    And bless the moments that we feel You nearer 


    When life had begun, I was woven and spun,

    You let the angels dance around the throne,
    who can say when, 
But they’ll dance again,
    when I am free and finally headed home

    CHORUS: 
I will be weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name 

    “Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer,
Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer,

    Lord and King, Beginning and 
the End, I am, yes, I am.”

    No matter what the season of your physical or spiritual life that you may be in right now, God knows and God desires to walk alongside you through it. We serve a mighty and amazing God whose nature and character cannot be described adequately in just one name, for he reveals himself to us in numerous ways: Creator, Savior, Spirit, Heart-ache healer, Pasture-maker, Life-sustainer and more. Take some time this week to reflect on the different names for God and which one means the most to you in this season of your life. 

    Blessings, 



    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Thursday Thoughts

    1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Daryl will conclude 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 mission as we look to the Great Commission Jesus gave to his disciples and how that command still applies to us today. Invite a friend and join us as we look at these big rocks with the hope of making our faith journeys rock solid!





    2. New Member Class - It is getting close! 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.





    3. Ron Howard - Many of you have heard about the passing of our dear friend, Ron Howard. There will be a Memorial Service for Ron on Wednesday, August 26th at 11am in the Sanctuary. I want to encourage you to come on out to share our love for Ron and support Martha as we celebrate Ron's life, led by Chaplain Ralph. There will be a reception following the service in Fellowship Hall.







    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. Cuba Mission Trip - Next month Elsa Kaye and two others will be traveling from Community to our sister church in Cuba. They are gathering medicines in preparation for the trip. A list went out this past week as an insert in the bulletin and will run again. A suitcase for the collection of medicines has been placed in the sanctuary narthex for your convenience. Thank you for your support of our sister church and please keep our mission team in your prayers. Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!





    Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    Midweek Moment

    This past Sunday Pastor Debbie, the boys, and I had the wonderful opportunity to experience the Connect and Youth Ministries in action. As the parents of three young boys you can imagine those ministries have some attraction for us. For our oldest son, Parker, this avenue for connection has been especially important to him as he seeks to find his place within his new church family.

    We showed up just a few minutes before it was to begin and we had zero expectations about what to expect. We went in with an open mindset to experience whatever the evening held in store for us. We walked in and people were already milling about with one another. Some were playing board games, others were playing corn hole, and others were just chatting.

    Pastor Debbie and I made our way around and introduced ourselves and just tried to blend in until dinner. Once dinner was served we realized that Davis was doing the same thing as he ended up at a table full of the young youth ladies who were fawning all over him as he hammed it up and entertained.

    After dinner came the main event, the volleyball game. We were divided into two teams and I begin to watch how people interacted with one another. I did not know if I should expect a strict rules based game or if there would be intense competition. After a few minutes what I did find was grace, compassion, and acceptance on a wonderful level.

    The game instantly turned into an opportunity for people to feel connected and appreciated. As people served the ball they were given multiple chances to get the ball over the net. If you needed to move forward, come on up! If you missed the ball, you were given a hug. I just watched with immense gratitude for how life was being lived out. I was moved at how grace was the main cause for the night and how easily and deeply all were accepted.

    My friends, that night was a microcosm of what life should look like every day. Especially for us that call ourselves Christians. Christ came to earth to model for us what loving another truly looks like and gave us examples of how the love of his Father can break down walls and invite community. Christ showed us, in a real and tangible way, what agape love looks like in action.

    I am so grateful to the young people of Community UMC for the example and the reminder of what Christian fellowship looks like. I am grateful to the leaders and parents for the investment you place in these amazing young people. I am grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of that truly moving and awesome night. May each of us know that grace of God as we love one another and live our lives for the glory of the one that loved us first.

    Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

    Thursday, August 13, 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 Koinonia (Fellowship) as we look at the example of the early church and how they lived life in Acts 2:42-47. Invite a friend and join us as we look at these big rocks with the hope of making our faith journeys rock solid!


    2. In Sympathy - It is with heavy hearts we share with you that Pastor Chris's mother Judy died early this morning. There will be a funeral for her at some point in the next week at Christ Church in Fort Lauderdale. Please keep Pastor Chris in your prayers as well as his father and siblings at this time.

    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. Cuba Mission Trip - Next month Elsa Kaye and two others will be traveling from Community to our sister church in Cuba. They are gathering medicines in preparation for the trip. A list went out this past week as an insert in the bulletin and will run again. A suitcase for the collection of medicines has been placed in the sanctuary narthex for your convenience. Thank you for your support of our sister church and please keep our mission team in your prayers.

    Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Midweek Moment

    Daryl and I are spending the week in Daytona Beach gathered together with the other leaders from the Residents in Ministry process for our annual planning meeting and training event. Residents in Ministry is a program within the Florida Annual Conference designed to help shepherd our provisional elders and deacons within our structure for the first three years of their ministries through training and support. Pastor Chris went through this very same process prior to his ordination in June. One component of the process is a monthly district-wide group meeting and another is a series of six conference retreats over three years. Daryl and I both spent valuable time in this process ourselves and are thankful for the opportunities to give back and invest in other leaders in the same way we had been mentored. I serve as a member of the conference design team and Daryl serves as the mentor for our North Central district gatherings. 

    This  past Sunday in worship Pastor Daryl was speaking about the big rock of discipleship, staying connected to our life source, the "true vine" Jesus. My time of reading the Bible and participating/leading in Bible study has been a wonderful source of fruit in my life and in my ministry. So has my time in worship and my prayer life. 
    But I also know that there are many valuable things to be gained by living out my faith in community (which is also one of the emphases of our Wesleyan heritage as Methodists). I learned that as a participant years ago in the RIM process. My colleagues in ministry on the RIM design team help me with this now. The covenant groups that Daryl and I are a part of and meet with regularly are also essential at this as well.

    Isn't it interesting that Jesus didn't do the work of ministry on his own for three years? He invested in a community of leaders and it was within that community that the disciples first learned the implications of living out Jesus' words. In that community they learned what it meant to really "love your neighbor" as yourself and wrestle with the implications of Jesus' teachings (remember Peter's question of "how many times do I have to forgive my brother?") I hope and pray that you have a community of learning and support to surround you. While we are part of the general community of Community UMC when gathered together for worship, that community is really too large for the kind of growth and learning and support that I am talking about. You really need to be involved in a smaller group for that to develop. We have a lot of opportunities for that setup already within the discipleship ministries of the church - classes on Sunday mornings at 9:30 and 11, classes on Wednesday nights (starting up again in mid-September, United Methodist Women circles, the men's Tuesday morning prayer group - and there are other offerings throughout the week as well.   

    We so often function as "lone ranger" Christians and certainly our society encourages that individualistic spirit. But as believers we are called to not only an individual relationship with Christ but also to live out that faith within a community called together by the Holy Spirit as the body of Christ. We will be exploring this more in worship on Sunday as I preach about the big rock of fellowship and community.

    My prayer for each and everyone of you is that you will be blessed by being part of a small community of learning and support within the church. And please if you need help in identifying how that would look for you or plugging into an existing group, I would be most happy to assist you in that process. Blessings on the journey!


    Thursday, August 6, 2015

    Thursday Thoughts


    1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Daryl 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 Discipleship as we look to Jesus' description of the vine and the branches from John 15. 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 two weeks got to meet some of the Wacky World campers in worship as they sang for us. You are invited to attend their Summer Finale tomorrow, 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 this as smooth as possible. 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!


    Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Midweek Moment

    One of the things I love about John Wesley was his insistence for people to understand the state and condition of their soul. Let’s try a little experiment. I want you to think about all of the times you have passed another person and offered the following greeting, “Hi! How ya doing?” If you are anything like me, you have probably done this more times that you can count. Now ask yourself how many have times have you waited for them to answer.

    Think about it for a bit. It has almost become a cultural norm for us to participate in this behavior and I am certainly guilty of this on numerous occasions. We are either in such a rush, so focused on where we are going, or sometimes too scared at what their response might be, that we never wait for the answer.

    Rev. Wesley wanted more from people. When people joined the early Methodist Church you were immediately placed in a small group. You were required to attend on a regular basis and in those meetings you were asked the question, “How is it with your soul?” Now my friends here is the kicker, everyone waited for the answer. On a regular basis you had to think about your relationship with God and then articulate to others on the depth and closeness of that relationship. It was a means for people to truly think about their discipleship and make sure that relationship was growing and not becoming stagnant.

    This week in worship we are going to do something similar as we look at our own journeys of discipleship and using Jesus’ metaphor about the vine and the branches ponder how connected we are in Christ. Jesus describes himself as the true vine and us as the branches. The only way for us to grow, the only way for us to abide in Christ, is to stay connected. It is that connection that will allow us to be those beacons of hope and light to a world in search of God. It is that connection that will enable us to grow in our relationship with Christ and be transformed as we reclaim the image of God imprinted upon our souls.

    Any relationship that is going to last requires care and examination. It requires that we ask questions of it and then wait for the answers. This week as you find yourself out and about, as your find yourself asking the question of others, “How ya doing?”, shock them and look them in the eye and wait for the answer. Allow the power from the connection you have with Christ to open a space for them to share, be the strength for you to listen, and create the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move. You just might be surprised at what will happen.

    Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!