Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Midweek Moment

Buckets, buckets and more buckets!!!


When you come to worship this weekend there will be blue buckets and lids in the Sanctuary narthex and in the Family Life Center as well for you to pick up and fill with cleaning supplies during the week. 

Why the bucket brigade? 

Because we are responding to a call that has gone out through the Florida Conference of the UMC to help our sisters and brothers in the Louisiana conference who experienced so much devastation from the flooding there earlier this month. 

Last week Bishop Ken Carter encouraged every church in the Florida Conference to take up an offering for UMCOR - the United Methodist Committee on Relief - to help the flooding victims in Louisiana. UMCOR is our Methodist connection's "hands and feet" of first response in disaster situations. UMCOR's overhead expenses are covered through special church offerings during the year, so that in the case of a disaster, 100% of what is donated to that disaster appeal goes to where it is needed! We put out the word on Sunday in worship and on the spot with no prior notice, received $700 towards UMCOR's efforts!! 

And his wife, the Rev. Pam Carter who serves as the director of missions at First UMC in Lakeland, began challenging the churches of the Florida Conference to fill a semi-trailer full of "flood buckets" to help in the relief efforts as well. A semi-trailer will hold 1,850 flood buckets. There will be a semi-trailer making four stops around the conference on Tuesday September 13 to pickup flood buckets and then head to Louisiana. 

An UMCOR flood bucket is packed to include many things to supply families with much needed cleaning supplies, things like laundry detergent, dish soap, household cleaner, air freshener, scrub brush, bug spray, sponges, scouring pads, clothesline with clothespins, trash bags, dust masks and work gloves. 

We mentioned the flood bucket challenge in worship on Sunday first at the 8am service. It was a tremendous God moment. Because one of the folks who was serving as the liturgist in worship at that service works for Lowe's. She was able to talk to her manager on Monday morning and secure a donation of 150 5-gallon buckets and lids! That's amazing!! She's also in the choir and was talking to Robbie, our Minister of Music about it after the service. The choir raised some funds towards helping folks in Louisiana and put that towards buying another 150 buckets and lids at cost through Lowe's. So now we have 300 blue buckets available to fill!!!! 

You are invited this Sunday to pickup a bucket with a lid, and a list from UMCOR with the specific items and sizes needed to fill the buckets. According to UMCOR's website the approximate value of a flood bucket is about $60. (You may be able to bring that cost down with some good bargain shopping!!) Folks can bring their buckets back to worship with them on September 11th and we will make sure that all the filled buckets get to the pickup point in Gainesville. 

I hope you will join us in supporting our brothers and sisters in Louisiana!

Blessings, 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Do you ever feel like the world is weighing heavy upon your shoulders? Like your spirit is being weighed down so strong that you cannot move? This week we will continue our series entitled, Traveling Light, where we will look to those questions, and more. This series will look at the importance of releasing ourselves from the weight of feelings like want, guilt, shame, grief, and doubt, among others. This week Pastor Debbie will look to the burden of guilt and arrogance, focusing on John 10:11-18. I hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am, as we seek to better understand the help God is eager and willing to offer to each and every one of us.





2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings. Also, the offsite lot at the corner of Rose Avenue and Catawba Street is open and available with golf carts running back and forth.





3. Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! - Our Wednesday programming is getting ready to kick off again, beginning on September 7th. Wonderful Wednesdays, Tutoring, Wednesday Night Dinners, and GROW Night will all launch. In your bulletin this week will be fliers and announcements that have information about these events, including volunteers that are still needed. Please take a moment to look this information over so you can plug in and become involved. This a wonderful time for us to deepen not only our fellowship but our faith as well. Hope to see all of you around on Wednesdays and we GROW together!





4. Louisiana Relief - Many of you have heard about, or have family members affected by, the devastation taking place in Louisiana with all of the flooding. One of the best things we can do at this moment is pray for all involved. However, if you feel led to do more we want to invite you to donate funds to UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. This is a United Methodist organization dedicated to providing tangible relief to people, the world over, affected by disaster. If you would like to donate to UMCOR, you can drop your donation in the plate on Sunday mornings. Simply mark your donation, "UMCOR - Louisiana" and we will make sure it gets delivered. Since UMCOR is sponsored by special givings from all UMC churches, 100% of all donations received go to the people in need.





Have a great week and see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Midweek Moment

This past week I had an amazing opportunity. It is one that I am still reliving, still turning over in my mind. There was some work being done at the parsonage. The back yard is constantly and completely shaded and therefore grass will no longer grow there. Our wonderful and dedicated group of Trustees came up with a plan to do a bit of work to take advantage of that space. I had gone over to the house to thank the people that were working on it, to let them know how grateful I was for their time and effort.

I had thanked each person and told them how much I appreciated their effort and I was getting ready to leave when one of them asked if I was a pastor. (I assume they were informed by their boss that this was a pastor’s home, prior to the job)

Now when that question gets asked, there is a physical reaction within me. I experience just about every emotion on the spectrum. I get excited, nervous, energized, anxious, and the list goes on and on. When that question gets asked, you never know what is going to follow. You do not know if you are going to get blamed for something or accused of something. You do not know the background of the incoming question either. What you do know is that person sees you as a representative of God and you are getting ready to have an important opportunity to witness to someone.

The young man had been speaking to a friend of his and was told that only a certain number of people were going to make it into Heaven and wanted to know if that was true. In our brief interaction, I assured him God’s love for us was so immense and that God’s desire is to spend eternity with all of us, so Heaven has to big enough to accommodate that vast love, and I am I sure it is so.

Another gentleman overheard our conversation and worked up the courage to come over and ask a question of his own. Finally, the boss himself came over and posed his own query. My friends, it was amazing! Now as a good pastor and ambassador, I did make sure they all knew where we are located, our service times, and invited them to come visit us. But what was so exhilarating was the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit in that moment.

I had gone over to say “thank you” to a handful of people, but God used it build a few bridges. I had gone over with no preconceived notions, but God used it to spread his love. When you go out in this world, you have to pay attention because you never know when a chance to share your faith will arise. And the best part is you do not have to be a pastor to have these types of experiences! Once anyone knows you are a disciple of Christ and follower of God, you could get asked these types of questions, and the best thing we can do is be ready. You do not have to go out and create these situations, you do not have to go and start sharing your faith with the first person you see. But you can be ready for what it happens.

We can prepare ourselves by spending daily time with God, finding times to study our faith and our Scriptures, taking advantage of the many corporate worship and fellowship opportunities here at Community. I want to encourage all of us to take a moment and examine our faith walk and see where we can make some positive adjustments. Remember, you never know when the opportunity to talk about God’s love will happen and when you are ready and the Spirit moves through you it is truly an amazing experience!

Take care!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Do you ever feel like the world is weighing heavy upon your shoulders? Like your spirit is being weighed down so strong that you cannot move? This week we will continue our series entitled, Traveling Light, where we will look to those questions, and more. This series will look at the importance of releasing ourselves from the weight of feelings like want, guilt, shame, grief, and doubt, among others. This week Pastor Daryl will look to the burden of worry, focusing on Matthew 6:25-34.  I hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am, as we seek to better understand the help God is eager and willing to offer to each and every one of us.



2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings.


3. New Member Class - Our next New Member Class is coming up this Sunday, August 21st, 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 or email the office by clicking here to RSVP. We hope to see you there!




Have a great week and see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Midweek Moment

Sunday in worship we kicked off our newest preaching series, Traveling Light. In this series over the next several weeks we will be exploring Psalm 23 as the key to help us lay down the extra baggage and burdens of our lives that we inadvertently pick up along the way - things that God never intended for us to carry in this life.

I mentioned in the course of that sermon how beloved Psalm 23 is, how it has permeated beyond the church into the culture and how many Christians have memorized that particular passage or have it hung up in their homes in some way.

Afterwards, Jackie Kelley reached out to Daryl and I, to share the following image from her home.


Her husband Dick had found these nails while he was out and about walking in The Villages and collected them and then formed them into a cross and laid them on top of this copy of Psalm 23. I love the story and the thought behind that - that our Savior is also our Shepherd!

I have to daily make the choice to give up the heavy burden of self-reliance and to allow myself to be led by the Shepherd. When I am able to do that, I feel such a release from the heavy weight of that burden. It's a blessing to know that ultimately things rest in the Shepherd's hands.

I pray that you will find this new series on Psalm 23 to be a meaningful time for you and that you will find yourself being able to lay down some of your burdens and concerns so that you can "travel light" and experience the full and abundant life that God desires for each one of his sheep.

Blessings








Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - Do you ever feel like the world is weighing heavy upon your shoulders? Like your spirit is being weighed down so strong that you cannot move? This week we will begin a new series entitled, Traveling Light, where we will look to those questions, and more. This six week series will look at the importance of releasing ourselves from the weight of feelings like want, guilt, shame, grief, and doubt, among others. This week Pastor Debbie will look to the burden of self-reliance, focusing on John 10:7-18. I hope you will invite a friend and make plans to join us each week, at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am, as we seek to better understand the help God is eager and willing to offer to each and every one of us.





2. Sunday Morning Parking - Over the last several years we have been so blessed to be able to use the parking lot at Fruitland Park Elementary school on Sunday mornings for additional parking for our church family. With the construction on 466A/Miller Road, the County has gate access from this road into the school blocked off. We are still able to use the school parking lot, but during construction we will need to access the school parking lot from the entrance on Fountain Street. We wanted you to be aware of the change for your parking needs on Sunday mornings.





3. New Member Class - Our next New Member Class is coming up this month on Sunday, August 21st, 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 or email the office by clicking here to RSVP. We hope to see you there!




Have a great week and see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Midweek Moment

I spent last week at one of my favorite places on earth, Siesta Key. I have been taking vacations there since I was about 10 years old. It is a beautiful beach with soft, fine, white sand and is located in Sarasota County. I have incredible memories of times spent there with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. It truly is a special place for me.

Now that I have a family of my own, Debbie and I have been faithful to continue this tradition of taking a week each year to go to Siesta Key to spend time together as a family, leave our routines behind, and create more family memories. But over time this place has developed more importance for me as a place to pray.

Our routine is to wake up, eat breakfast, and head out to the beach. The boys play in the sand and surf, Debbie loves to take a book, and while I do partake in the sand and surf and the literary escape, I have taken to spending a good amount of time in prayer. I sit in my chair, let the water wash over my feet, close my eyes, and pray. I speak and then I sit in silence and listen. I listen to the water, the birds, the wind, the people walking by, and the families playing in the water. I listen for whatever God, through the Holy Spirit, might want to share with me. Sometimes it is just a wonderful space to relax and listen, other times I have a very real conversation with our Creator. There is a back and forth; a time for me to speak and a time for me to listen.

The unfortunate part is that I do not live on Siesta Key. I cannot take time each day to sit in the surf to listen and pray. So I must find that space here, in my routines, in my daily life, and I must confess sometimes it is a challenge. So the question I want to invite us to ask ourselves this week is “where is my place to pray”?

Where can you go to unplug from routine? Where is the place that helps you connect to God in a deep and personal way? Do you go there often? I find at times that I have allowed myself to become too busy to pray. That is a dangerous place to be, it is a deadly place to stay.

So this week I want to encourage you to find your place, go to your place, and pray. Pray and listen, listen and pray. God does want to talk to you and have a conversation with you. All we have to do is let it happen.

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday,