Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday Thought

December Happenings - As we wrap up 2016 that are a few dates and times we wanted to pass along to all of you.

  • December 23rd - The church office will close at Noon and reopen on December 27th 
  • December 24th - We will have three Christmas Eve services 
    • 5pm - Family Friendly Service in the Family Life Center 
    • 7pm and 9pm - Traditional Candlelight service in our Sanctuary 
  • December 25th - We will have one service at 9am to hear Scripture and sing a few favorite Christmas Carols 
  • December 30th - The church office will close at Noon and reopen on January 3rd


We hope to see you and your family, along with all the neighbors and friends you can bring, at one of our Christmas Eve services listed above. It will be a time of celebration and commemoration as we honor the gift given to us so long ago. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Blessings,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our Advent Series, Reel Christmas. Each week we will take to a classic Christmas Movie to see how the ideals of redemption, transformation, and incarnation are revealed. The movies we will use to examine these are It's a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. This week, Pastor Debbie will guide us as we look to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and how God uses all people for mighty and wonderful things. There should be a little something for everyone and this is a perfect time to invite a friend, or two, to come and be a part of our Advent season as we prepare ourselves for the Christ Child. Hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!





2. Blue Christmas - This time of year is intended to be full of hope and joy. It is intended to be a time to celebrate and experience the love of Christ and family. However, for those that have lost someone to death, it can be a time of great sorrow and grief. This Sunday, December 18th, at 3:00pm, we are going to gather for a Blue Christmas service in our Sanctuary. This service is one of remembrance and hope where we will acknowledge our grief, but also the hope that comes from God’s constant presence. I pray you will join us for this time worship, invite someone else who could also benefit from this experience, as we collectively find strength from the bond God and life in community provides.





3. December Calendar - As we continue through December that are a few dates and times we wanted to pass along to all of you.

  • December 23rd - The church office will close at Noon and reopen on December 27th
  • December 24th - We will have three Christmas Eve services
    • 5pm - Family Friendly Service in the Family Life Center
    • 7pm and 9pm - Traditional Candlelight service in our Sanctuary
  • December 25th - We will have one service at 9am to hear Scripture and sing a few favorite Christmas Carols
  • December 30th - The church office will close at Noon and reopen on January 3rd






4. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - Our Wednesday Dinners and GROW Night programs have concluded for the Fall Season. We had a great time of fellowship with fantastic meals and are grateful to all that participated and volunteered. As the new season kicks off, we could use a few more hands to volunteer with the dinners. You do not have to commit to a weekly slot, or even to an entire night. We will use whatever time and whatever frequency you are available. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here, or call us at 787-1829 and we will get you plugged in. Thanks in advance for your help!





5. We Need You! - We are in need of a few people to help 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. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Midweek Moment

As I sit here and type this, it is very “blah” outside. The sky is overcast, the sun is masked, and it just gives me this dreary feeling. Now last night I watched a few minutes of the old claymation favorite, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, with my boys. In one scene the town is full of snow and decorations, and everyone is outside dancing around having a wonderful time. Remembering that scene and then looking at what is currently outside my window…big difference.

This time of year can often have that type of contrast for those people that we love and care about. While for a child, this time of year is full of hope and possibilities; with the coming of Santa, the possibilities of the gifts they may receive, and the fun times to be spent with family and friends. For others, this can be a time of intense loneliness and grief. Especially, if this is the first Christmas without a loved one.

During this time of Advent, we are encouraged to participate in the practice of preparation. Engaging in that preparation can and does mean several things. It means we are honest with God about where we are on our spiritual journey and the state of our relationship with God. It means that as we prepare for the second coming of Christ, we do our best to live into everything God has blessed us with and into the person God created us to be. To be genuine in all of this, one of the things we must be honest about is the state of our spirit. While it is my sincere hope that each person reading this is in the midst of a joy so deep and profound that they can hardly stand it, I know that is not the reality for all of us.

Therefore, this year we are going to participate in a Blue Christmas service. This Sunday, December 18th, at 3:00 P.M. in the Sanctuary, we are going to gather for a time of worship. We are going to acknowledge the sorrows and grief we may be experiencing and we are also going to acknowledge the hope we have in Jesus Christ. There will be a time of singing, a chance to pray, a time to listen, and if you feel lead, a time to participate. If you have lost a loved one, if you are grieving this Advent season, if you are struggling to find the joy of Christmas, then please come and join us. All are invited and everyone is welcome.

I pray this season you experience the peace of God, the love of Christ, and the hope of the Holy Spirit in ways like never before. I long for the joy of this season to wash over you in a deep and meaningful way. God loves you and so does Community UMC. Please do not forget that.

May the hope, peace, joy and love of our Triune God be yours today and every day!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our Advent Series, Reel Christmas. Each week we will take to a classic Christmas Movie to see how the ideals of redemption, transformation, and incarnation are revealed. The movies we will use to examine these are It's a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. This week, Pastor Daryl will guide us as we look to  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and the relationship of the Grinch and the residents of Whoville and how to find experience peace in this season. There should be a little something for everyone and this is a perfect time to invite a friend, or two, to come and be a part of our Advent season as we prepare ourselves for the Christ Child. Hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!



2. Christmas Cantata - The Music Ministry is working hard preparing for the concert, "The Many Moods of Christmas". You will have two opportunities to experience this on Sunday, December 11th, at 3:30pm and 6pm. Please mark your calendars, invite a friend and come and share in this presentation.




3. Blue Christmas - This time of year is intended to be full of hope and joy. It is intended to be a time to celebrate and experience the love of Christ and family. However; for those that have lost someone to death, it can be a time of great sorrow and grief. On Sunday, December 18th, at 3:00pm, we are going to gather for a Blue Christmas service in our Sanctuary. This service is one of remembrance and hope where we will acknowledge our grief, but also the hope that comes from God’s constant presence. I pray you will join us for this time worship, invite someone else who could also benefit from this experience,  as we collectively find strength from the bond it will provide.



5. Advent Devotions - Advent has begun! We want to encourage your participation in one of the programs sponsored by our Conference's Life Enrichment Center, a daily devotional called "#PictureAdvent." You can click here to sign up and receive them each day by email. There are also links there for other ways you can participate in this season of spiritual preparation on social media like Facebook and Instagram. We pray you experience the presence of God in new and exciting ways this Advent.




6. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - We are having a wonderful time at our Wednesday Grow Night Dinners and Classes this fall. The company has been fantastic and the food has been delicious. Dinners and classes of the fall season end next week, December 14. Dinners and classes will resume Wednesday, January 11. 

As the new season kicks off, we could use a few more hands to volunteer with the dinners.  You do not have to commit to a weekly slot, or even to an entire night. We will use whatever time and whatever frequency you are available. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here, or call us at 787-1829 and we will get you plugged in. Thanks in advance for your help! 



7. We Need You! - We are in need of a few people to help 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. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our Advent Series, Reel Christmas. Each week we will take to a classic Christmas Movie to see how the ideals of redemption, transformation, and incarnation are revealed. The movies we will use to examine these are It's a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. This week, Pastor Debbie will guide us as we look to A Christmas Carol, and the redemption that takes place in the life of Ebenezer Scrooge. It is sure to be a wonderful time of reliving a few old classics, as well as a few new ones. There should be a little something for everyone and this will be a perfect time to invite a friend, or two, to come and be a part of our Advent season as we prepare ourselves for the Christ Child. Hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!





2. 2017 Planning - November 20th was Commitment Sunday, our wrap up to our annual focus on complete stewardship. This is an important time in the life of Community UMC as we plan for 2017, seeking to be everything God has called and created us to be. If you have been unable to turn in your forms as of yet, there is still time. We will always gratefully accept your volunteer form and work to get you plugged into the appropriate ministry areas. However, there is a deadline for the pledge cards to have those included in our budget planning work and that deadline is this Sunday, December 4th. Any pledge cards turned in after that will not be able to be used to create our 2017 budget, as we have to have that budget completed and approved by the end of the year. So please do not delay in getting those turned in, either to the office during the week, or in the offering plate on Sunday mornings. We received a wonderful response thus far and are excited to see what these next few weeks hold as the rest of the forms are submitted.





3. We Need You! - We are in need of a few people to help 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. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.





4. Wednesday Night Dinners - We are having a wonderful time at our Wednesday Night Dinners this fall. The company has been fantastic and the food has been delicious. Currently we are looking for a few more hands to help with this endeavor. If you are available on Wednesday nights we need your help. You do not have to commit to a weekly slot, or even to an entire night. We will use whatever time and whatever frequency you are available. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here, or call us at 787-1829 and we will get you plugged in. Thanks in advance for your help!





5. Advent Devotions - Advent has begun! We want to encourage your participation in one of the programs sponsored by our Conference's Life Enrichment Center, a daily devotional called "#PictureAdvent." You can click here to sign up and receive them each day by email. There are also links there for other ways you can participate in this season of spiritual preparation on social media like Facebook and Instagram. We pray you experience the presence of God in new and exciting ways this Advent.





6. Christmas Cantata - The Music Ministry is working hard preparing for the concert, "The Many Moods of Christmas". You will have two opportunities to experience this on Sunday, December 11th, at 3:30pm and 6pm. Please mark your calendars, invite a friend and come and share in this presentation.






7. Blue Christmas - This time of year is intended to be full of hope and joy. It is intended to be a time to celebrate and experience the love of Christ and family. However; for those that have lost someone to death, it can be a time of great sorrow and grief. On Sunday, December 18th, at 3:00pm, we are going to gather for a Blue Christmas service in our Sanctuary. This service is one of remembrance and hope where we will acknowledge our grief, but also the hope that comes from God’s constant presence. I pray you will join us for this time worship, invite someone else who could also benefit from this experience,  as we collectively find strength from the bond it will provide.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Midweek Moment

I’m sitting in the Sanctuary as I write this. It is quiet. It is dark. It is just me. But as I sit here, I am keenly aware it is not empty.

I have just walked through and touched and prayed for every row, every pew, both altar rails, the altar area, the narthex and all that has happened and will happen in those spaces. I have thanked God for every tear, laugh, and life that has been impacted in this special space. I have prayed for every person that has been here, and will ever be here, that has opened their heart to the power of the Holy Spirit. I have prayed for every person that has volunteered of themselves to help create an atmosphere that would allow for those sacred moments to happen. I have prayed for every person that has used their God-given gifts to lead those that were gathered to a fresh and new experience of our Risen Savior.

And as I said those prayers, walked this space, and envisioned those sacred moments, I knew I was not alone in that moment. I could feel that I was not alone in that moment. God was with me, the Holy Spirit was around me, and it was good.

I tell you all of this to ask a question. When was the last time you had the opportunity to walk, touch, and pray? When was the last time you set aside a moment to just be with God, laying aside all other thoughts and activities?

This season of Advent is about preparing and waiting. Preparing ourselves for what it means to live as “sold out” disciples of Jesus Christ; and waiting for the next arrival of our Risen Savior into this world. This cannot, and will not, happen without effort on our part. We need to find the time, guard the time for that work to be done.

I want to invite and encourage each of you to go to, or identify, your sacred space. That one place where you feel God the strongest, where the veil between Heaven and Earth is thinned just a bit. I want you to go and to be still. I want you to listen for God and the power of the Holy Spirit to speak to you in that moment. Don’t force it, just let it unfold; let it happen. If it does not happen the first time, go again. If it does happen the first time, go again. This life can be distracting, creating obstacles to our work of preparation and waiting. But God is always there…waiting and hoping, prepared with an experience that will change our lives. All we have to do, is show up.

Have a great first week of Advent, my friends,

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will begin our Advent Series, Reel Christmas. Each week we will take to a classic Christmas Movie to see how the ideals of redemption, transformation, and incarnation are revealed. The movies we will use to examine these are It's a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. This week, Pastor Loida will start us off with It's a Wonderful Life, as she outlines the how the story of Advent can help keep our hope alive. It is sure to be a wonderful time of reliving a few old classics, as well as a few new ones. There should be a little something for everyone and this will be a perfect time to invite a friend, or two, to come and be a part of our Advent season as we prepare ourselves for the Christ Child. Hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!





2. 2017 Planning - This past week was Commitment Sunday, our wrap up to our annual focus on complete stewardship. This is an important time in the life of Community UMC as we plan for 2017, seeking to be everything God has called and created us to be. If you were unable to turn your forms last week, there is still time. We will always gratefully accept your volunteer form and work to get you plugged into the appropriate ministry areas. However, there is a deadline for the pledge cards and that deadline is Sunday, December 4th. Any pledge cards turned in after that will not be able to be used to create our 2017 budget, as we have to have that budget completed and approved by the end of the year. So please do not delay in getting those turned in, either to the office during the week, or in the offering plate on Sunday mornings. We received a wonderful initial response and are excited to see what these next weeks hold as the rest of the forms are submitted.






3. We Need You! - We are in need of a few people to help 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. If you are interested, please contact the church office by clicking here or calling us at (352) 787-1829. Thank you in advance for your consideration.





4. Wednesday Night Dinners - We are having a wonderful time at our Wednesday Night Dinners this fall. The company has been fantastic and the food has been delicious. Currently we are looking for a few more hands to help with this endeavor. If you are available on Wednesday nights we need your help. You do not have to commit to a weekly slot, or even to an entire night. We will use whatever time and whatever frequency you are available. If you are interested, please contact the church office and we will get you plugged in. Thanks in advance for your help!






5. Planning Ahead for Advent! - Advent begins at the end of this month! We want to encourage your participation in one of the programs sponsored by our Conference's Life Enrichment Center is a daily devotional called "#PictureAdvent." You can click here to sign up and receive them each day by email. There are also links there for other ways you can participate in this season of spiritual preparation on social media like Facebook and Instagram. We pray you experience the presence of God in new and exciting ways this Advent.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Midweek Moment

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. A day that has been marked in various ways over the years. For some of us, it is marked as a time to spend with family, near and far. For others, it is day marked by watching massive amounts of football. And for most of us, it is day to eat, rest and digest, and then eat a little more.

Here at Community we have spent that last several weeks in worship talking about the many reasons we are thankful. We have focused on the many blessings we have as a congregation, the numerous lives that have been touched by those blessings from God, and the awesome responsibility we have to continue to be good stewards for the future as we work together to establish God’s Kingdom in the here and the now.

It seems sometimes that this holiday has become more and more about fulfilling our desires, with food and shopping deals, than about remembering to be thankful for all that we have and all that we have been blessed with by God. I have seen this sentiment expressed in this little saying making its way around the internet: "Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have."

I think about my life, and I am so humbled. God has blessed Pastor Debbie and I in so many ways; from being able to adopt Davis, to having two other incredible young boys as sons, the provisions we have in this life, to being able to be your Co-pastors here at Community.

I encourage you all to take time this Thanksgiving, in your prayer time or around your Thanksgiving table, or both, and thank God. Thank God for all that you have and all that God has given you, and be specific. Name your blessings. I think you will find there might be some blessings you forgot, or maybe some that were so wonderful you want to thank God again. But what I know is that in that time not only will you be thanking God, but you will be drawing closer to God. You may also find yourself drawn closer to others as well.

As United Methodists, we are called to be thankful, in all things. This year, I encourage you to discover or re-discover that heritage. Give thanks tomorrow, give thanks the next day, and remember, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, NIV).

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will conclude our annual focus on complete stewardship, focusing on how we can use our time, talent, gifts, service and witness, be all in and build up the Kingdom of God. As believers we understand God as the giver of every good and perfect gift and how we can consistently call on God to help provide for us in our day to day lives. And God answers. During this series we have looked specifically at the ideas of management and investment. This week we will look to commitment as we seek to be "all in" for God. We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us this Sunday, at 8am, 9:30am, or 11am for worship!





2. Commitment Sunday - This Sunday is Commitment Sunday, as we wrap up our annual focus on complete stewardship. At the end of each service there will be a time for you to bring forward your volunteer form and your pledge cards and dedicate them to God. Last week, Pastor Daryl asked everyone to spend the next seven days praying over those forms and listening for God's wisdom and direction.

This is an important time in the life of Community UMC as we plan for 2017, seeking to be everything God has called and created us to be. If you need a form there will be extras at church Sunday for you to use.





3. Hanging the Holly! - Jump start your holiday celebrations by helping to decorate our Sanctuary for the Advent season. We can guarantee you a time of friendship, music, and tasty treats! Plan to join us Sunday evening, November 20th, at 5pm as get our worship ready for Advent. Invite a friend and we hope to see you there!





4. Wednesday Night Dinners - We are having a wonderful time at our Wednesday Night Dinners this fall. The company has been fantastic and the food has been delicious. Currently we are looking for a few more hands to help with this endeavor. If you are available on Wednesday nights we need your help. You do not have to commit to a weekly slot, or even to an entire night. We will use whatever time and whatever frequency you are available. If you are interested, please contact the church office and we will get you plugged in. Thanks in advance for your help!




5. Planning Ahead for Advent! - Advent begins at the end of this month! We want to encourage your participation in one of the programs sponsored by our Conference's Life Enrichment Center is a daily devotional called "#PictureAdvent." You can click here to sign up and receive them each day by email. There are also links there for other ways you can participate in this season of spiritual preparation on social media like Facebook and Instagram. We pray you experience the presence of God in new and exciting ways this Advent.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Midweek Moment

In worship over the last several weeks we have been talking about our complete stewardship for 2017. At the conclusion of our State of the Church address a few weeks ago, I asked all of you to consider being “all in” as we move into next year, being totally committed to your faith and turning your entire life over to God as we seek to build bridges together.

That total giving of yourself means you give of your time to God, by reading Scripture, spending time in quiet prayer and meditation, or volunteering at church or heading up a program. It can be any opportunity where you use your time to draw closer to God. It also means you give of your talents. Let those gifts God has blessed you with come forth as you work to build God’s Kingdom on earth by getting active in missions and ministries that share God’s love and grace with others. It is also means you give of your gifts, your treasure, your finances. This means that if you are not tithing, giving 10% of your income to God, that you are working your way up to tithing. This is where most people struggle. When you can turn this part of your life over to God, then you are opening yourself to be used in ways like never before. Finally, it means you give of your witness; telling people how much God has done for you in your life.

None of this is an “or” proposition. If you are all in, then you are giving of your time, your talents, your gifts, your service and your witness. We cannot pick and choose and be all in. We cannot hold something back and be all in.

Folks, I want to encourage you to be all in. I want to encourage you to give all you have and all you are over to God and allow those blessings to pour over you. I want you to be drenched in the providence and blessing of God. I want you to feel God’s grace dripping off of you as your cup overflows. To be an effective witness, we have to be all in. When we open every part of ourselves to God and allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, then we will feel that presence within us as we live out our journeys of faith.

Now none of this is to say that God does not love you or will not bless you, where you are – as you are. What I am saying is that when we completely open ourselves up to God, the things God can do, the experiences God can create, the mountains God can move, the bridges God can build are beyond words. And those moments are what I want for each of you.

This Sunday, you will have the opportunity to express your commitment to be “all in” as there will be a time for everyone to bring forward their volunteer form and pledge cards at the end of each service. You will be invited to bring those forward, pray over them if you wish, and dedicate them to our Creator.

What happens this Sunday, will play an extremely large role in dictating all that we will be able to do and accomplish in 2017 and the bridges we will able to help build. I want to invite you to spend time in prayer this week and ask God to help you be all in. Ask God how you can turn every facet of your life over to God’s influence, so that together we can build bridges that will help everyone, everywhere know that there is hope in their future, that we love them, and that most importantly God loves them too!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our annual focus on complete stewardship, focusing on 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 and how we consistently call on God to help provide for us in our day to day lives. And God answers. During this series will look specifically at the ideas of management, investment, and commitment as we seek to be "all in" for God. This whole series will culminate with Commitment Sunday on November 20th, as we consecrate our pledge cards at each of our worship services. This is a very important time in the life of the church as this is one of the cornerstones to help us plan for 2017. We hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us this Sunday, at 8am, 9:30am, or 11am for worship!





2. New Member Class - Our next New Member Class is coming up this Sunday, November 13th, beginning at 12:30pm, in the Fellowship Hall. We will serve lunch and childcare will be provided. If you have been attending CUMC for a while and want to take the step of commitment in joining the church, we welcome and invite you to attend. Please contact the church office at 787-1829 to RSVP. We hope to see you there!





3. Wednesday Night Dinners - We are having a wonderful time at our Wednesday Night Dinners this fall. The company has been fantastic and the food has been delicious. Currently we are looking for a few more hands to help with this endeavor. If you are available on Wednesday nights we need your help. You do not have to commit to a weekly slot, or even to an entire night. We will use whatever time and whatever frequency you are available. If you are interested, please contact the church office and we will get you plugged in. Thanks in advance for your help!





4. Planning Ahead for Advent! - Advent begins at the end of this month! We want to encourage your participation in one of the programs sponsored by our Conference's Life Enrichment Center is a daily devotional called "#PictureAdvent." You can click here to sign up and receive them each day by email. There are also links there for other ways you can participate in this season of spiritual preparation on social media like Facebook and Instagram. We pray you experience the presence of God in new and exciting ways this Advent.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Midweek Moment

My friends, the day has come and the deed is done. The 2016 Presidential Election is finished and that means many things for us as a country. It means the phone calls at home will cease. It means the influx of fliers to our mailboxes will stop. It means all of the signs we see in our community will disappear. It means the ads on television will discontinue. In many ways our lives will return to some state of normalcy. Even with all of those activities and spectacles concluding, there is something else that is just beginning.

As I look over the results of the election, one thing I can conclude is that we are a nation divided. The top two candidates practically came to a draw with the popular vote, our country fairly evenly split between the two.

The other thing about this election is the passion it invoked, as there were people deeply devoted to their candidate of choice. In addition to those passions, were still others that exhibited feelings just as deep for neither of the top two choices.

What all of this means is that a segment of our country is happy and a segment of our country is not. Many people are overjoyed at what the next four years will hold for us and many people are scared for what could take place. While emotions were high in anticipation of how the election would unfold, they are just as high as we all deal with the results.

In this church, Community United Methodist of Fruitland Park, those same stories play out here. We have people that are happy and people that are not. But there is a difference here at Community as we are first and foremost, citizens of the Kingdom of God. That means several things for us. It means that our first priority in this season of transition is that we sow seeds of love amongst all people. It means we understand that all people feel differently about this outcome and we are not to diminish these feelings. It means that we do not gloat in our happiness and it means that we are not to disparage those that are excited.

It also means, that all of us now need to shift from campaigning for one person and all work to bring a sense of unity for everyone. We need to provide space for each and every one of us to experience any and all emotions we have with the outcome and speak love into each other’s feelings. It means that as 2017 rolls around we find a way to unite together to pray for our country and for its leaders.

And now I am calling on all of us, to use that same passion we had going into this election and now direct it to making sure all people know the love of God. Take that same energy you had in making a case for your candidate, or against both candidates, and use it to make the case for God. We are not divided by party as Christians, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. Let this season be one of unity, of togetherness, and of God’s love breaking through in this community, in this country, like never before.

Blessings and know I love each of you in the name of Jesus Christ!