Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday we will begin a new series focusing on stewardship and how we can use our time, talent, gifts, service and witness to build up the Kingdom of God. As believers we understand God as the giver of every good and perfect gift. We consistently call on God to help provide for us in our day to day lives. And God answers. This week we will look ...Bring a friend and I hope to see you there!





2. Parking Lot Ministry - Our winter friends are beginning to rejoin the family and that means we will need to maximize our parking spaces. There are two ways you can help. One, follow the parking lot flow for winter. This week in your bulletin you will find an insert outlining what that looks like. If we can follow this procedure this will help ensure we can get in and out in a safe way. Two, we need people to help with the parking lot ministry. If you are interested in being a part of this vital ministry, please contact the church office so we can get you plugged in. If we all work together, all of this will go much smoother. Thanks for your consideration!





3. Prayer Request - This Sunday after worship our local mission team will depart to the New Port Richey area to assist people in that area with a few projects. We would ask that you all be in prayer for them for safe travels, a safe experience as they help others, and that the power of the Holy Spirit would move through them as the offer themselves as the heart, hands, and feet of Christ to another. Mission team, we are proud of you and your willingness to serve!





4. Pastor Daryl's Study Class - They have began a new study on Max Lucado's book, Grace. From his book Max writes...We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and premeal prayers. We talk as though we know what grace means.

But do we really understand it? Have we settled for wimpy grace? It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn, fits nicely on a church sign. Never causes trouble or demands a response. When asked, “Do you believe in grace?” who could say no?

Max Lucado asks a deeper question: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid to die to ready to fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. Let’s make certain grace gets you. Invite a friend and we hope to see you there!



Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, October 28, 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 of asking and not waiting for an answer, 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 their relationship with God was growing and not becoming stagnant.

For us personally it can be helpful to 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 you 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!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday Thoughts


1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday we will conclude our preaching series focusing on pointing people to faith. We have looked in detail at the idea of relational evangelism, who is in our unique "sphere of influence" and how we can learn to communicate the good news in a way that is meaningful to other people. This week we will look at the challenge to go and share our stories. We will also have an opportunity for you to anointed as well. Bring a friend and come and join us as we grow together. Hope to see you there!






2. Parking Lot Ministry - our winter friends are beginning to rejoin the family and that means we will need to maximize our parking spaces. In order for us to do that effectively, we need people to help with the parking lot ministry. If you are interested in being a part of this vital ministry, please contact the church office so we can get you plugged in. Thanks for your consideration!






3. Pumpkin Patch - Next week is the last week for the patch. We want to be sure you take the time to stop by the patch and greet our neighbors as they visit us. Also, on the last day, October 31st, we will host our annual Trunk-n-Treat. Please contact the church office if you would like to be involved in this outreach opportunity!








4. Pastor Daryl's Study Class - Next week they will begin a new study on Max Lucado's book, Grace. From his book Max writes...We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and premeal prayers. We talk as though we know what grace means.

But do we really understand it? Have we settled for wimpy grace? It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn, fits nicely on a church sign. Never causes trouble or demands a response. When asked, “Do you believe in grace?” who could say no?

Max Lucado asks a deeper question: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid to die to ready to fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. Let’s make certain grace gets you. Invite a friend and we hope to see you there!



Have a great week and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Midweek Moment

This past week when I arrived home after very long day at the church, Davis greeted me with a question; “Baba, did you miss me at church?” I thought what a sweet question and placed my hands on his cheeks, gave him a kiss, and told him I missed him very much at church. His response was even better, “Thank you Baba, I missed you too.” What a wonderful way to be greeted by another person!

I have thought about that question over the last several days and it occurs to me Davis may not be the only one asking that question of each and every one of us. I wonder at times if God asks the same question of creation. How many people that do not know God, talk to God, or spend time with God have that question asked of them by God? I also wonder how many of us could help those same people answer that question asked of them by God.

People of strong faith, people with little faith, and all of us in between will have that question asked of us at some point. I do not know of any person that has not had their faith wane, even if just for a moment, at some point in their life. For some, they regain their faith quickly. But for others that little wane may just be the beginning of a long slide. That is where we come into the picture. We are called to be those agents of hope, those friends of light, those vessels by which the power of the Holy Spirit can be made known.

It is our pleasure and privilege to be God’s representatives in this world to help the rest of creation come to know God or come back to God. I have shared before, that I do not feel walking up to a stranger and asking if they know Jesus is always the best way to be that representative. I think witnessing within our current relationships can bear much more fruit for the Kingdom.

I want to encourage all of you, to be open to those opportunities of faith and encouragement in your daily life. When you see that opportunity, walk gently but go boldly. Go knowing your God goes with you and help another hear the question asked of them by God, “Do you miss me?”. That may be all the encouragement they need to answer yes, so they may hear those glorious words from God, “I missed you too!”

A reunion is a wonderful thing, but a reunion with God is a blessed thing. To help usher in those blessed moments in this life is a treasure you will never forget. It is a time when that veil between heaven and earth is thinned and we truly are in the presence of the One that loved us first.

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday we will begin continue our preaching series focusing pointing people to faith. We'll look more in detail at the idea of relational evangelism, who is in our unique "sphere of influence" and how we can learn to communicate the good news in a way that is meaningful to other people. Our Scripture text for the day is the story of Jesus and Zaccheus. Bring a friend and come and join us as we grow together. Hope to see you there!


2. Pumpkins are Coming! - The pumpkins arrive THIS Saturday at 8am. We'll be there with the kids to unload and look forward to seeing others of you there as well. Many hands make light work after all!

There are many ways to support this mission endeavor. You can be a storyteller, sell pumpkins in the patch, or help take down the patch when its all over. While this pumpkin patch does help raise funds for our youth and children's ministry, it is also a fantastic way to meet our neighbors and welcome them to our campus. You never know what seed might be planted or what prayer might be answered through our patch this year. Hope to see you in the Patch this October!


3. Charge Conference - Our annual Charge Conference is THIS Sunday afternoon at 3pm at New Covenant UMC (3470 Woodridge Dr., in The Villages). We will gather with the other United Methodist churches in the area for a time of worship and reflection on missions and ministries this past year. We will also look to the future and the ways we can impact our communities. We will go over reports and have a few votes that will need to be taken. It is open for all people to attend and all members can vote. We hope to see you there as we represent Community UMC!



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Midweek Moment


Last week we began the series on Best Kept Secret: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith. Pastor Daryl shared our common fears about the word evangelism - what will we say? how will people respond? do I know enough? 

As people of faith who walk with God, we have the most amazing news in the entire world. We should endeavor to make sure that the good news of the Gospel is not the best kept secret around. Sharing our faith does not have to be just "cold call" evangelism where we beat people over the head with a Bible and a track or the 4 spiritual laws. It can be relational as we build relationships with those around us. 

In particular for those who wrestle with sharing this good news with others or with inviting your friends to church, there's a few questions for you to consider. Because the answer to these things can help you in being more clear about your own spiritual walk as well as why we need to communicate these things to the people around us.  

Why do people need Jesus? 
What is significant about Jesus? Why is it important for people to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? What difference has your relationship with Jesus made in your own life? 

Why do people need the church? 
What is important about the body of Christ known as the church? What difference does being part of a community make in your life? 

Why do people need Community United Methodist Church? 
What is significant about being part of the United Methodist Church? What impact does Community make in the lives of people inside and outside of its walls? What difference has being a part of this church made in your life and family? 


Let's prayerfully consider these questions as we continue exploring the Best Kept Secret over the next two weeks. I look forward to seeing you in worship this weekend!

Blessings,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday we will begin a new preaching series focusing on the purpose and mission of evangelism. The word evangelism can and does elicit a whole host of emotions among us. For some, it is excitement. For others, is it almost a paralyzing fear. Over the next several weeks Pastors Daryl and Debbie will share with you the purpose of evangelism, as well as some ways to look at it where we all can find our ways of living out this practice our own lives. Bring a friend (see what I did there!) and come and join us as we grow together. Hope to see you there!








2. Pumpkins are Coming! - Our annual Pumpkin Patch is right around the corner and there are many ways in which you can help support this mission and fundraising endeavor. We are looking for people to help unload the pumpkins, be storytellers, sell pumpkins in the patch, and setup and take down the patch. While this pumpkin patch does help raise funds for our youth and children's ministry, it is also a fantastic way to meet our neighbors and welcome them to our campus. You never know what seed might be planted or what prayer might be answered through our patch this year.

We want to encourage you to pray about how you might be involved and also to read through Faye's article in the October Newsletter, by clicking here, for more details about the many ways you can plug in to this opportunity. Hope to see you out there!






3. Charge Conference - Our annual Charge Conference is coming up soon. We will gather with the other United Methodist churches in the area for a time of worship and reflection on missions and ministries this past year. We will also look to the future and the ways we can impact our communities. We will go over reports and have a few votes that will need to be taken. It is open for all people to attend and all members can vote. It will be held on October 18th, at New Covenant UMC, 3470 Woodridge Dr., in The Villages, beginning at 3pm. We hope to see you there as we represent Community UMC!






4. Bid Red Bus - Our next Community UMC Blood Drive is Wednesday, October 14th. The Big Red Bus will be in our parking lot, near the Family Life Center, from 2-7pm. Appointments can be made in the narthex on Sunday or you can go online at www.OneBlood.org. We want to encourage you to donate as you can!






5. 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.





Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Midweek Moment

This past Sunday we had the extraordinary honor of having our youth lead us in worship. They served as our ushers, greeters, announcement givers, prayer leaders, liturgists, and also served as our guest preachers! Let me remind you what a big deal this was in our context. They had to serve in all these capacities in front of almost 900 people. Imagine having to pray, read names, say hi, pass the plates, welcome others, and preach with all of those people watching and hanging on every word you said and action you committed. That can be a bit unnerving!

And the awesome thing is that not only did they do it well, they did it with a significant amounts of charisma. They were articulate, confident, energetic, and everything was well thought out. My friends, no one gave them the words to say. They crafted their own words and thoughts and what you heard was their own creation. I was in awe and feeling so proud of them! I have had many of you remark to me that you felt much the same way.

It is an incredible blessing to have young people of this caliber in our family. To see how much they have sold out for Christ, to see how willingly and eagerly they chose to serve in worship last week, to hear of the stories of how they are choosing to live out their faith, leaves me with goose bumps.

My friends, I want to invite all of you to join me in praying for these treasures in our midst! Pray for the image of God to continud to be revealed within them, pray for their walk with Christ to deepen each and every day, pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to continue making a claim upon their lives. Pray for any and every way that their witness can be an example of our living God to all they encounter.

And after you pray for them, pray for those that work with them and invest in them. We have great leaders and volunteers in place that do a fantastic job with them! Folks, these young people are our responsibility to teach and mold. They need us and we definitely need them. That is how God works! It is in relationship that we experience our Creator best, it is in investing in others that we are transformed ourselves.

What a tremendous day of worship, but even more exciting, what a tremendous honor it will be to watch these young people grow and make their faith their own. We all have a roll to play and it is one that I know, if you are willing to join in, will take you to heights you have never experienced before!

Have a great week and I will see you all Sunday!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday we will have the incredible honor of experiencing worship lead by our outstanding youth. They will serve as our ushers, greeters, liturgists, and Riley Standifer will share with us about faith from his perspective. It will sure to be a sacred time as we experience God through our young people. I want to encourage you to come and bring a friend as we support our youth and let them know how very special they are to the life of Community UMC! 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 
Offerings for Adults: PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING ROOM CHANGES!!!!
  • 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. Sunday School Leaders - We are looking for volunteers that have a heart for Middle and High School students and would be willing to lead Sunday School classes at 11:00am on Sunday mornings. You do not need to be a Biblical scholar or have all the answers. Our students need a leader that can laugh, encourage, and care for them. To learn more, contact Pastor Debbie by clicking here or you can call the church office.





5. Pumpkins are Coming! - Our annual Pumpkin Patch is right around the corner and there are many ways in which you can help support this mission and fundraising endeavor. We are looking for people to help unload the pumpkins, be storytellers, sell pumpkins in the patch, and setup and take down the patch. While this pumpkin patch does help raise funds for our youth and children's ministry, it is also a fantastic way to meet our neighbors and welcome them to our campus. You never know what seed might be planted or what prayer might be answered through our patch this year. We want to encourage you to pray about how you might be involved and also to read through Faye's article in the October Newsletter, by clicking here, for more details about the many ways you can plug in to this opportunity. Hope to see you out there!



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!