Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will begin a new series: How to Neighbor. Jesus gave to us what many call the Greatest Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Over the next several weeks we are going to unpack what that looks like for us with the people that literally live next door to us. We can get bogged down in the command to love all people, that we forget to love any people. Come and join us for this in depth look at how we can share the love of Christ with the people that live the nearest to us. Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!





2. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - Our Wednesday Dinners and GROW Night programs are off to a great start for the Winter/Spring session. Here's a brief look at the classes being offered for adults:

  • Profiles in Courageous Faith - Pastor Debbie 
  • Disciple Fast Track - Pastor Loida 
  • Why? Making Sense of God's Will - Pastor Daryl 
  • Knowing, Loving and Serving God - Don and Pat Holmes 
  • Workbook on Virtues and Fruit of the Spirit - Robbie Milam 
  • What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God - Marty Walton 
  • Young Adult Class - Kevin Milhorn 
  • First Place 4 Health - Kim Reed 

We hope you will take advantage of these many varied and incredible options to grow your faith and deepen your relationships here at CUMC. See you there!





3. Winterfest is Coming Soon!!! - Mark your calendars now for Winterfest which will be the 2nd Saturday of February - February 11th!!!! There are opportunities get signed up on Sunday morning and to get your new Winterfest t-shirts - with the new logo! We are especially looking for help with parking, ride monitors, and registration. We need everyone to help make this a successful event. If you would like more information about the ways in which you can volunteer, you can visit page 9 of this month's newsletter by clicking here. This is a great way for us to connect with the community and show them just how much they are loved by God - and by us!





4. Undie Sunday - Concluding this Sunday, January 29th, will be our annual Undie Sunday drive. We will have boxes to collect underwear, socks, and shoes for the children of Fruitland Park and Leesburg Elementary Schools at each service. The items we are collecting need are to be new and the sizes that are needed are:

  • Shoes: sizes 1-9 
  • Underwear, socks, camisoles, and training bras: sizes 4-16 
Your generosity is greatly appreciated and will go a long way in making the lives of these precious children that much better.





5. We Need You! - We are in need of volunteers to help with two areas of the church.

One is 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.

The other is with Wednesday Night Dinners. We need to people to help with serving and cleanup of our dinners each week. Even if you cannot work often or for complete shifts, we can use you for whatever time you have available.

If you are interested in helping in either of these opportunities, 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, January 25, 2017

Midweek Moment

I have a fairly short list of things that are my “WOW!” list. Now there are many things that make me happy and will bring a smile to my face. But my “WOW!” list is reserved for those things that leave me speechless, give me goosebumps, and last for more than a moment. The things on my “WOW!” list will take my breath away, deepen my faith, and leave me in awe of my God.

One of the items on that list is a great experience in worship. You know those moments when the Holy Spirit is moving so deep through the music and the Word, that the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I love those moments and the accompanying emotions of those moments can stay with me for days. And here at Community UMC, there are a lot of those types of moments! I love those moments and truth be told, I need those moments. When I can live in that moment, God’s voice seems clearer, God’s presence seems deeper, my outlook and perspective on many aspects of life seems more positive. Those experiences can give me strength to get through the toughest of weeks and situations as well as the clarity to see great visions for the future.

That is why worship is so vital, and worship within a community so important. That is why this staff and our fabulous lay volunteers put so much effort into our Sunday mornings. We want each and every person that walks through our doors to have the chance to experience God, each and every time they enter. We want the words that are offered, the music that they hear, the sacraments we observe and the offerings we give to God, to be a means by which people can experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in their midst.

That got me thinking about how we can make those moments last and I want to try an experiment. I want us to look for those moments and guard them. I want to see what would happen if we can make a corporate commitment to cease all talk of church business on Sunday mornings. That means any idea/comment/issue that we feel, we wait till a later day. Now if a water pipe bursts and the bathroom is flooding, that is one thing and needs immediate attention. But all others…we wait. Those conversations and comments I am talking about are those things that do not have to be taken care of, or cannot be taken of, on a Sunday. Imagine what would it be like if all we did on Sunday mornings was worship and look for ways to experience God?

I know it is tempting to talk church business on Sunday mornings because we are all here. But let us try and refrain. Let us not have parking lot meetings, send emails with problems/comments, or search out people in the hallways on Sundays to take care of things. Let us make Sundays strictly a day of worship and fellowship. A day we can celebrate Christ, the blessings of God, and deepen our bonds with one another. A day where we can come to this sacred place and our only focus in on God and the Holy Spirit’s movement in our midst.

I think if we all band together in this endeavor, we will all experience richer Sunday mornings and deeper worship experiences; ones that will draw us in and leave us in awe of our awesome God!

Blessings,

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will conclude our series: The Search for Happy! We all seem to want happiness in our own lives and for our friends and family. Yet somehow this feeling is often elusive. This week, Pastor Debbie will be preaching about "The Shocking Secret Happy People Learn" using Philippians 3:1 and 4:4. Invite a friend and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!





2. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - Our Wednesday Dinners and GROW Night programs are off to a great start for the Winter/Spring session. Here's a brief look at the classes being offered for adults:
  • Profiles in Courageous Faith - Pastor Debbie
  • Disciple Fast Track - Pastor Loida
  • Why? Making Sense of God's Will - Pastor Daryl
  • Knowing, Loving and Serving God - Don and Pat Holmes
  • Workbook on Virtues and Fruit of the Spirit - Robbie Milam
  • Serving from the Heart - Gloria Martin
  • What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God - Marty Walton
  • Young Adult Class - Kevin Milhorn
  • First Place 4 Health - Kim Reed
We hope you will take advantage of these incredible options to grow your faith and deepen your relationships here at CUMC. See you there!






3. Winterfest is Coming Soon!!! - Mark your calendars now for Winterfest which will be the 2nd Saturday of February - February 11th!!!! There are opportunities get signed up on Sunday morning and to get your new Winterfest t-shirts - there is a new logo! We need everyone to help make this a successful event. If you would like more information about the ways in which you can volunteer, you can visit page 9 of this month's newsletter by clicking here. This is a great way for us to connect with the community and show them just how much they are loved by God - and by us!






4. Upcoming Events - We have a couple of upcoming events that we want to make sure you are all

aware of in the next few weeks.

  • Concert - On Sunday, January 22nd, at 6 P.M., in the Sanctuary, the CUMC Music Ministry will host Mrs. Lindsay Huggins. There are no tickets for this event but a love offering will be accepted. More information can be found in the bulletin.
  • Undie Sunday - Over the next two Sundays - and concluding January 29th - we will have boxes to collect underwear, socks, and shoes for the children of Fruitland Park and Leesburg Elementary Schools. These items need are to be new and the sizes that are needed are:
    • Shoes: sizes 1-9
    • Underwear, socks, camisoles, and training bras: sizes 4-16
Your generosity is greatly appreciated and will go a long way in making the lives of these precious children that much better.







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, January 18, 2017

Midweek Moment

This past weekend Debbie and I spent time with the boys at one of our favorite places in the world, the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Leesburg. We were there for one of our family's favorite rituals; The Clergy Kids and Family Retreat. 

Camp is a sacred place for me. My first experience at the Warren Willis Youth Camp was in elementary school as a church camper. I started coming to camp for a week each summer every year after that and loved it! Debbie has equally special memories attached to the camp from her experiences growing up and later as serving as a Summer Camp Counselor for a year. So when we heard in 2010 that there was a special weekend at camp for Clergy Kids we jumped at the chance to not only spend some time with our boys, but to also introduce our boys to our special place. Before we went to our first retreat in 2011, hanging out with other clergy kids and pastors was just a bonus in our minds. 

But we very quickly realized that this is a special community of folks. The kids look forward ALL year long to coming together and hanging out with one other....because at Clergy Kids they build an attachment to a place (camp) that is always theirs no matter where their parents might move in the conference and they build relationships with friends that they will never lose no matter where their parents might move in the conference. That's a significant investment we want to keep giving our boys.... a network of support from people who know the unique challenges you face when your mom and/or your dad is the pastor of a church. One of the highlights every year is the candlelight ceremony that takes places as part of Saturday night worship. This is a time where we recognize our graduating seniors, pray over them, and give them a chance to share what this retreat has meant to them over the years. This year we also incorporated those transitioning from middle to high school and elementary to middle school. This is always a very moving part of our worship together and this year was no exception.

One of the most special gifts that Clergy Kids gives us as a family is a chance to worship together. While Parker, Wesley, Davis, Debbie and myself are all in a sanctuary during worship each Sunday, Debbie and I do not get to sit with them to help them process what's happening. This past weekend we had several different worship times where we were all able to be together and worship as a family.

This was our seventh Clergy Kids retreat. We're invested enough in Clergy Kids that we help plan themes for the guest speakers and the kids' times as well as heavily promote it to all the Clergy Families that we know. This year there were several new families who joined us and we had one of our larger gatherings with 60 folks there. 

Thank you for allowing us the time away to participate in Clergy Kids and make this very important and lasting investment in the lives of our children. 

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our series: The Search for Happy! We all seem to want happiness in our own lives and for our friends and family. Yet somehow this feeling is often elusive. This week, Pastor Loida will be preaching about "Four Ways to Make Your Life Miserable" using Hebrews 3:12-14. We'll see practical things we can avoid in our life that lead us to joy instead of misery. Hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!



2. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - Our Wednesday Dinners and GROW Night programs are off to a great start for the Winter/Spring session. Here's a brief look at the classes being offered for adults:
* Profiles in Courageous Faith - Pastor Debbie
* Disciple Fast Track - Pastor Loida
* Why? Making Sense of God's Will - Pastor Daryl
* Knowing, Loving and Serving God - Don and Pat Holmes
* Workbook on Virtues and Fruit of the Spirit - Robbie Milam
* Serving from the Heart - Gloria Martin
* What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God - Marty Walton
* Young Adult Class - Kevin Milhorn
* First Place 4 Health - Kim Reed


3. Introducing our Newest Staff Member - Joey Landstedt! - Last Sunday was his first Sunday as our  new full-time Minister of Contemporary Worship and Technical Arts. Joey is a graduate of Leesburg High School, is an accomplished musician and has 15 years of ministry experience. From 2005-2008 he worked at CUMC as the first part-time Contemporary Worship leader. We are excited to welcome him back home in this new role. Joey and his wife Jennifer have three children: Shya, Elsa and Josiah.




4. Winterfest is Coming Soon!!! Mark your calendars now for Winterfest which will be the 2nd Saturday of February - February 11th!!!! There are opportunities get signed up on Sunday morning and to get your new Winterfest t-shirts - there is a new logo!








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, January 11, 2017

Midweek Moment


Earlier this week the majority of our church staff gathered together at the Berckman House here in Fruitland Park for our staff retreat. This is the second retreat that Pastor Daryl and I have led for staff since our arrival in July 2015. Since we saw four new faces join our tribe in the last seven months, it was a great opportunity to spend some time getting to know one another, to talk about our calling to this work of ministry and to work on our staff social covenant for the upcoming year. It is a privilege and a blessing for Pastor Daryl and I to be able to do life and ministry with these outstanding folks!

A staff retreat like that is a great start to the year. There is much enthusiasm and excitement on everyone's part for what God will do in us and through us in 2017. 

We also received some exciting news as a church yesterday that we wanted to share with you. United Methodist blogger Len Wilson released his annual list of the "Top 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches" in the country. You can read the article here: Top 25 Fastest Growing UMC Churches. We celebrate the four churches in the Florida Annual Conference listed in the top 25: #2 Community of Hope in Loxahatchee; #8 Sun City Center; #11 First UMC of Coral Springs; and #16 our neighbor, New Covenant UMC in The Villages.  And for the second year in a row, we were listed in the honorable mention section just below the top 25. Len's comment about our church is that based on five year trends he expects us to crack into the top 25 list next year. That is exciting to hear, demonstrating that in the midst of transition we were able to maintain our placement.   

Part of the wonderful DNA of our church is a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that makes it feel like a much smaller congregation. But we are a large church. In fact we're the 23rd largest church in the Florida Annual Conference in terms of average worship attendance. And we feel like we are positioned now with the right staff to help us continue reaching out to the community around us in the future, adding more focus to Adult Discipleship, Youth Ministry and Contemporary Worship. I don't have the full numbers from tonight yet, but the winter/spring session of GROW night got off to a wonderful start with classes for children and youth AND 9 classes for adults!!!! 

We're 11 days into a brand new year and we're off to a tremendous beginning! Please continue to keep our church and its ministries, staff and leadership in your prayers as we continue to be faithful to hear God's voice and follow God's leading. 

Blessings

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will begin a new series: The Search for Happy! We all seem to want happiness in our own lives and for our friends and family. Yet somehow this feeling is often elusive. This week, Pastor Daryl will be preaching about "Better Than Happy" using Philippians 1:12-21 talking about how to orient our lives to meaning found in God.  Hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!



2. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - Our Wednesday Dinners and GROW Night programs begin again for the Winter Season next Wednesday, January 11th! 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!

Remember too that we have classes for everyone, ages 0 to 100! Here's a brief look at the classes being offered for adults in the spring:
* Profiles in Courageous Faith - Pastor Debbie
* Disciple Fast Track - Pastor Loida
* Why? Making Sense of God's Will - Pastor Daryl
* Knowing, Loving and Serving God - Don and Pat Holmes
* Workbook on Virtues and Fruit of the Spirit - Robbie Milam
* Serving from the Heart - Gloria Martin
* What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God - Marty Walton
* Young Adult Class - Kevin Milhorn
* First Place 4 Health - Kim Reed


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. Winterfest is Coming Soon!!! Mark your calendars now for Winterfest which will be the 2nd Saturday of February - February 11th!!!! Opportunities to sign up will be coming soon on Sundays.







Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Midweek Moment

A Happy New Year to all of you!! Pastor Daryl and I were blessed to be able to spend time with family over the holidays and we are thankful for Pastor Loida's leadership in worship with all of you this past Sunday. We've heard great things about the worship services on Sunday as you engaged in the Wesleyan Covenant Renewal Service and celebrated the sacrament of communion together. 

While many people make New Year's Resolutions that they do not end up keeping, covenant renewal is a wonderful way to begin a new year as a community of disciples of Jesus Christ.  John Wesley encouraged the people called Methodist to make the conscious choice each year to renew their covenant to God; much like Joshua called the people of Israel to renew their covenant: "Choose you this day whom you will serve....but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:14-15). The centerpiece of the covenant is often called Wesley's Covenant Prayer which invites us to follow Christ's model of servant leadership in offering ourselves for the kingdom. Here it is in modern language from the cards handed out in Sunday's worship service. If you were not in church to receive one of these cards on Sunday, we have more in the office! 

I hope that you have taken some time to prayerfully consider what practice you want to engage in for this coming year as an effort to deepen and strengthen your relationship and connection to God. For myself I have a chosen a few things to work on. First is a word to frame the entire year: Positive. I've chosen a word each year for the last several years to remind me of things I want to be mindful of. With the word positive, my efforts will be centered around finding the good and the joy in situations. Our perspective certainly affects our outlook: "Be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:23-24). 

In addition to my daily quiet time where I read Scripture, I have also committed with a few other pastors to read more in this year for my personal spiritual and leadership development. Some will be from familiar authors and others will be books to challenge and wrestle with outside of my usual perspectives. My goal is two books a month. I will be sharing some of those books with you on the blog this year. 

Whatever you choose to help deepen your spiritual development, I hope the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer will be part of your journey and that you will find a sense of meaningful purpose and peace from praying it on a regular basis. Pastor Daryl, Pastor Loida, and I will certainly be praying it alongside of you.

Blessings