Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Midweek Moment

I came upon this verse today: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” It comes from 2 Corinthians 12:10 and comes at the end of a testimony given by Paul. Paul was talking about a vision he had from God. He describes this vision as being so grand that it cannot be described. He goes on to talk about how that experience of the vision is worth boasting about and how there are other things in his life about which he could also boast. But then he stops and says that in order to keep himself from getting puffed up he was given a messenger from Satan to subdue his ego.

Many of you are familiar with what happens next as Paul describes how he pleads with God to remove this “thorn in his flesh” and then we hear that oft quoted verse, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Paul echoes that sentiment in the next verse where we read, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? It sounds virtually impossible for us to find strength in the midst of weakness, to find courage in the midst of fear. But that is what Paul is saying. Paul is trying to help us understand that it is extremely difficult to live this life out of our own strength and that if we are left to our own devices, our own ego that will not be sufficient. God has told us, called us, even encourages us to live through him, to rely on him, and to be vessels by which the Holy Spirit engages this world.

When we can allow God to take control, when we can turn all that we are and all that we have, spiritually and materially, over to God, God can and will do amazing things! Paul is encouraging us to stop living for ourselves and to live for God. He is telling us that better things await us, if we can live in our weakness rely on God’s strength for our lives.

I understand that this idea can easily fall into the “easier said than done” category. After all it is difficult to let go of ourselves, our desires, and egos. But when we can let God have control, complete and utter control, then we can witness the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

This week, may you find that reassurance to live into your weakness. May you find the power of the Holy Spirit as you exult others over yourself, put the needs of others before your own, seek to live humbly while giving what you can to others. May you be that vessel God uses to break down walls, change lives, and build his Kingdom here on earth. May you know the joy of living a life with God and for God as you share that joy with others, this day and every day!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday Pastor Debbie will conclude our current preaching series, Teach Us To Pray, as we focus upon all the different parts of the Lord's Prayer. Our focus this week will center on the final piece of the prayer: "and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the power forever." We'll talk about the nature of sin and temptation and how we find strength in God to face those challenges. It's also UMW Sunday and you will notice the women assisting in various parts of the worship services and hear briefly about their mission and ministry.  Invite a friend to join us as we look to these ideals and more. Hope to see you there!

2. Wednesday Night Dinner and Activities - Dinner menus are printed each week in the bulletin. Please make your reservations for dinners by signing on the attendance pads in worship or by calling the church office by Monday of each week. Dinner is $6 a person or $14 for a family (three or more).

As part of this time together there will several discipleship opportunities for ALL AGES to participate:

Offerings for Children and Youth:
  • Nursery for infants up to 3 years of age 
  • Pre-K and Kindergarten: Kid's Club 
  • 1st-4th grades will be able to choose between Kid's Club and the Children's Musical 
  • 5th-6th grades will be able to choose between Connect Small Group and the Children's Musical 
  • Middle school and High school will have small group time

  • Pastor Daryl will be teaching the latest Adam Hamilton Bible Study "The Call" exploring the conversion and missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul (Sanctuary) 
  • Pastor Debbie will be leading an in-depth Scripture study of the Gospel of Luke (Fellowship Hall) 
  • Nancy Perkins will be leading a class on Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God" study (Library) 
  • Small Group Topical Study - designed for singles and couples in their 30s, 40s and 50s this group will explore topics such as marriage, parenting, missions, spiritual growth practices, etc. The first six weeks will be spent studying Donald Miller's "Meaningful Relationships" on Parenting. (Room 3108) 
We hope all of you will make plans to come and be a part of this wonderful time of community and discipleship.

3. Church-wide Mission Study - The 2015 United Methodist Mission Study is "Latin America - History, People and Faith." Sessions will include worship, video, discussion and NO homework. Sessions meet on Thursdays through October 15th in the Fellowship Hall from 10-11:30am. Pat and Don Holmes will be the facilitators. Signup by calling the church office.

4. Farewell Luncheon - The time is coming when we will bid adieu to Linda, our beloved Office Manager. One of the ways we will do this is with a covered dish luncheon in her honor THIS Sunday, September 27th after the 11am service in our Family Life Center. Linda is retiring October 1st and this will be an opportunity for you wish her well and thank her for all she has done for our church family. Please bring your favorite dish to share and we hope to see you all there as we honor Linda!

5. Concert by Liberty Voices
The CUMC Concert Series sponsored by the Music Ministry returns this Sunday evening as host the Liberty Voices for a concert in our sanctuary at 6pm. This is an acapella group from a famous central Florida attraction!! Tickets are $10 and are available through the church office, at Wednesday evening suppers and after worship.

As always be sure to read your bulletin to see all the wonderful opportunities available to you as you live out your life with Christ! Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Midweek Moment

Dear Friends, 

Change at times can be very hard. Walking into the unknown, facing the uncertain. But those times can be made so much easier when you have the right person walking with you! 

Currently we are in the midst of a transition as we are entering the future with a new person serving as the Office Manager for Community United Methodist Church. We wanted to make sure we had the right person to walk with us so that we could make this transition as smooth as possible. So with that said, we want to introduce you to Arlene Guba. Arlene is a recent transplant to the Villages from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and comes to us with years of office experience. She is married and has two grown children and two grandchildren. 

Arlene comes to us with incredibly high recommendations and we are so thrilled she is here. We want to encourage you to come by the office when you have a chance and introduce yourself to Arlene and offer her your personal welcome to the CUMC family. Let us show her the grace and friendship that is part of our nature. I am sure you will find her warm hospitality and welcoming spirit inviting. Please join us in welcoming Arlene to the Community family. We are so glad that she is here! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Midweek Moment

Greetings All!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “All good things must come to an end”? This proverb was written around 1374 and it is accredited to Geoffrey Chaucer. Over our lifetimes I am sure most people have heard this phrase attributed to favorite TV shows that are going off the air, wonderful vacations that have concluded, and even relationships between colleagues.

This month we will utter this phrase collectively as we say goodbye to Linda Kitchens, our beloved Office Manager. Linda began with Community UMC five years ago and has served this church ever so wonderfully since. She has served with many pastors, two District Superintendents, and under two bishops. She has been an extremely vital part of our family for those five years. She has served as our face to the public, working in the office greeting everyone as they visited us and she has been the one that knew the answers to our questions. She has done a masterful job with all that we have asked of her and we are ever grateful for the season of life we shared with her. Life will be different as we bid Linda adieu and therefore, all good things must come to an end. Please join me now in praying for Linda as she starts this new chapter in her life:

O God, you are the strength and the protector of your people. We humbly place Linda in your hands as she is about to depart us and move closer to family. Keep and preserve her, O Lord, in all health and safety, both of body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Linda, you mean so much to us. While we are saddened to see you go, we are so excited for you and your future. May you enjoy every good thing that comes your way. May God’s blessings be poured out upon you, till your cup overflows.

We love you and we will miss you!
The people of Community United Methodist Church