Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday Thoughts


1. Sunday Morning Worship- This week we are concluding our series on "How to Neighbor" with a special guest speaker in worship - our very own district superintendent - the Rev. June Edwards. June will be preaching on "Picture This" based upon Acts 11:19-26.  We also get to celebrate taking in new members at all three services this weekend! Invite a friend, or a even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!




2. Ash Wednesday - We want to invite you to begin the Lenten season next week with observing Ash Wednesday. Instead of our regular GROW Night classes after dinner next week we will have an Ash Wednesday service in the sanctuary. We will gather for a time of reflection, anointing and prayer, and to have ashes placed on our foreheads as a community of faith.
Also, if you would like to get your ashes early in the morning to wear all day long, you are invited to visit Pastor Debbie and Pastor Loida in the church parking lot from 7:30-8:30am.




3. GROW Gatherings, I AM: Exploring Lent  Saturday March 4th!!! - As an expansion of our GROW discipleship ministries, we are offering a church-wide intergenerational retreat to help kickoff the Lenten season here at CUMC. The retreat will take place on Saturday March 4 at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp here in Fruitland Park from 9am-3pm. We will be exploring the season of Lent and the preaching series for the season, the I AM sayings of Jesus.



4. Grow Night Dinners and Classes - Our Wednesday Dinners and GROW Night programs are in full swing and doing great! Classes will resume on March 8th. Here's a brief look at the classes being offered for adults:
  • Profiles in Courageous Faith - Pastor Debbie 
  • Disciple Fast Track - Pastor Loida 
  • Renegade Gospel - 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!


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, February 22, 2017

Midweek Moment

I want to share with you an email I received a few days ago. It talks about a unique opportunity we have to live into the incredible connection we have as United Methodists.

I invite you to read the following: As you know during 2016 General Conference, The United Methodist Church hit a crisis point that made it clear to everyone watching and participating that we needed to seek God’s wisdom for our future, especially around human sexuality. A request was made of the Council of Bishops to lead our church forward during this time of great crisis and great opportunity.  Since then, A Way Forward Commission has been formed consisting of 32 people from the global United Methodist Church with the sincere hope to bring unity on human sexuality and other matters.  

Beginning the first week of January 2017, annual and central conferences across the world have been invited to pray for a week for A Way Forward.  This 75-week season of prayer is called Praying Our Way Forward and has a two-fold focus:  We are praying that God will help us fulfill the mission of the church – To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World – and we are praying to be One in Christ.   

This is our opportunity to join with our fellow United Methodists and pray for God’s wisdom and help. I want to be clear that this invitation to pray is not to push one idea or position on this matter, or any matter. It is simply a call to pray. A call to ask for God’s wisdom. A call to ask for God’s guidance and direction. A call to live into one of the things we hold most dear as United Methodists; our connection.

Our week to pray here in the Florida Annual Conference begins on Sunday, February 26 and runs through Saturday, March 4. I encourage you to pray daily for this commission and for the people involved. May our future be one that is bright, bathed in the grace of Christ, and one that brings hope and future to all seeking the name of God.

Blessings and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts


1. Sunday Morning Worship- This week we are continuing our wonderful series "How to Neighbor" as Pastor Loida focuses upon "World Full of Neighbors" based upon Luke 7:36-50, as we reflect on how we can not only meet our neighbors but receive them as well. This is another step in 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." We can get bogged down in the command to love all people, that we forget to love any people. We'll continue to unpack what it looks like for us to neighbor the people that literally live next door to us. 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 in full swing and doing great! 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. New Member Class - Our next New Member Class is coming up THIS Sunday, February, 19th, 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!




4. GROW Gatherings, I AM: Exploring Lent - Don't Forget to Sign Up!!!! - As an expansion of our GROW discipleship ministries, we are offering a church-wide intergenerational retreat to help kickoff the Lenten season here at CUMC. The retreat will take place on Saturday March 4 at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp here in Fruitland Park from 9am-3pm. We will be exploring the season of Lent and the preaching series for the season, the I AM sayings of Jesus. To register you can call the church office at 787-1829 or email us by clicking here.




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.


6. Ash Wednesday - We want to invite you all to our Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 1st as we begin the season of Lent together. We will gather for a time of reflection, anointing, and to have ashes placed on our foreheads as a community of faith. It will begin at 6:15pm in the Sanctuary and everyone is invited. As a result there will be no GROW Night classes that Wednesday, so everyone will have a chance to come a be a part of this special time.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Midweek Moment

One of the principles we are discussing right now in our "How to Neighbor" preaching series, is the need and importance of reaching out to those people that literally live right next door to us. For some of us that is an old habit we have grown with over the years. For others of us, it can be a daunting task. Regardless of where we are on the spectrum, it takes strength to engage in this practice. One of the places where we can find that strength is through a desire to submit to God’s agenda each day. Some people attach a time of prayer to a regular activity that they do each day; like walking a dog or walking around their neighborhood. Others pray as soon as they wake. Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek Church, says he gets out of bed in such a way that his knees hit the floor before his feet, so he is in a posture of prayer rather than a posture of movement.

I believe that it is vital that we daily dedicate ourselves to God and God’s will. Each day we need to take time to realign ourselves with the power of the Holy Spirit, to deny ourselves, and be certain we are doing all we can to follow where Christ leads us. As situations change, as opportunities unfold, we need to be ready to go as Jesus calls us. One of the ways we can do this is through prayer. Some people like to pray on their own, just giving over to God anything and everything that is on their heart. Others prefer some direction and a few words to get them started. Several years ago I published five daily prayers in a church newsletter; Early Morning Prayer, Mid-Morning Prayer, Mid-Day Prayer, Early-Evening Prayer, and Evening Prayer. These are all found in our United Methodist Book of Worship. The words and images conveyed in these prayers are fabulous. But one of the greatest gifts, if you use each of these daily, is that five times a day you are talking with God. Five times a day you are giving God a chance to speak to you and help reestablish your desire to continue working through God’s will.

Today, a collogue of mine shared a wonderful video online that reminds us of our need for God. This video is a nine-part acapella track of the hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour. I have included it below so can listen to it. I encourage you to remember that while we do need God every hour, the best part is that God is faithful to be there every hour.


Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

We have a jam packed post this time, 7 items in all! We have quite a few things coming up in the life of the church so be sure to read all the way to end!


1. Sunday Morning Worship- This week we are continuing our wonderful series "How to Neighbor" as Pastor Debbie focuses upon "Seeing and Being Seen" based upon Matthew 28:16-20. There is an importance in speaking to others and an intentionality that requires us to break out of our comfort zone and create bonds with our neighbors. This is another step in 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." We can get bogged down in the command to love all people, that we forget to love any people. We'll continue to unpack what it looks like for us to neighbor the people that literally live next door to us. 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 in full swing and doing great! 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 here!! - This Saturday from 10am - 4pm, we will open our campus to thousands of people as we show them a great day filled with food, fun, and love!

Over the next two days, as well as on Saturday as we host our friends and our neighbors, please pray. Please join us as we pray together for strong volunteers, for willing spirits, and for God’s Spirit to do mighty things at Winterfest. We are seeking to be the heart, the hands, and the feet of Christ to this neighborhood as we love them, just as they are.







4. New Member Class - Our next New Member Class is coming up Sunday, February, 19th, 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!






5. GROW Gatherings, I AM: Exploring Lent - As an expansion of our GROW discipleship ministries, we are offering a church-wide intergenerational retreat to help kickoff the Lenten season here at CUMC. The retreat will take place on Saturday March 4 at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp here in Fruitland Park from 9am-3pm. We will be exploring the season of Lent and the preaching series for the season, the I AM sayings of Jesus. To register you can call the church office at 787-1829 or email us by clicking here.






6. 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.






7. Ash Wednesday - We want to invite you all to our Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 1st as we begin the season of Lent together. We will gather for a time of reflection, anointing, and to have ashes placed on our foreheads as a community of faith. It will begin at 6:15pm in the Sanctuary and everyone is invited. As a result there will be no GROW Night classes that Wednesday, so everyone will have a chance to come a be a part of this special time.



Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Midweek Moment

Three days and counting! Three days until we open our doors! Three days until we come together and serve! Three days until we transform our campus into something spectacular! In case you have not guessed what is coming in three days, I am talking about WINTERFEST!!!

If you have never had the chance to come to Winterfest, I want you to imagine our entire grass lot covered with all sorts of food tents, rides, and an ice slide. You can come and climb a rock wall, jump in a bounce house, eat fried dough and hot dogs, and travel down a slide made of ice. And that is just a portion of what is available. The list goes on and on – cake walks, chili cook-off, prizes, entertainment from local groups, a place to be prayed over, and more. Oh, and did I mention that everything is free. Free admission, free rides, free food, and free prizes. It is all free!

Why do we do this you might wonder? Because we want to share the love of Jesus with others. We want to give the people of this community a safe place to bring their families and feel the love and acceptance of God. This is a time for us to open our doors, our hearts, and ourselves to the movement of the Holy Spirit and love on this community.

This event is kind of symbolic of the grace of God. The people we will serve and love in three days, have done nothing to pay for this, they have done nothing to deserve this, and they may not even know how much they might need this. Regardless of all of that, we are giving it to them anyway and there is nothing we are expecting from them in return. All of this is freely given. It is our hope that in the midst of this time, as they walk through this campus, they will feel the real grace of God and know they are loved.

At our meeting Monday night, there were a tremendous number of first time volunteers. That is a testament to the importance of this event. People can see what a fantastic opportunity this is to share the love of Christ with others.

Over the next three days, as well as on Saturday as we host our friends and our neighbors, please pray. Please join me as we pray together for strong volunteers, for willing spirits, and for God’s Spirit to do mighty things at Winterfest. We are seeking to be the heart, the hands, and the feet of Christ to this neighborhood as we love them, just as they are.

I am so excited to see what the Holy Spirit will do as we make ourselves willing instruments of God’s grace, love the thousands of people we will encounter as we serve them, and just make a place for God’s love to be felt by all that set foot in this place.

Have a great week and I hope to see you Saturday!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we are continuing our wonderful series "How to Neighbor" as Pastor Daryl focuses upon "The Power of Invitation and Interruption" with Luke 8:43-48. 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." We can get bogged down in the command to love all people, that we forget to love any people. We'll continue to unpack what it looks like for us to neighbor the people that literally live next door to us.  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. 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.



5. GROW Gatherings: I AM: Exploring Lent - As an expansion of our GROW discipleship ministries, we are offering a church-wide intergenerational retreat to help kickoff the Lenten season here at CUMC. The retreat will take place on Saturday March 4 at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp here in Fruitland Park from 9am-3pm. We will be exploring the season of Lent and the preaching series for the season, the I AM sayings of Jesus. Call or email the church office today to sign up!!


Have a great weekend and we will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Midweek Moment

In staff meeting yesterday, I had the opportunity to share a brief 90 second video with everyone from George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars movie series, about the basic difference between the two main groups of people: the Empire (represented by Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers) and the Rebellion (represented by the Jedi). I invite you to follow the link here and watch the video for yourself.

As a Star Wars fan, I was fascinated to hear George Lucas explain the inherent difference between the two types of people in the Star Wars universe and in our own world. While he uses the terms compassionate vs. selfish in his descriptions, what echoed for me was part of what we talked about in the "Search For Happy" preaching series. That the people who walk in the light are the ones who put others ahead of themselves and their own motives - remember our acronym JOY? Jesus, Others and Yourself.

George Lucas' thoughts also resonated with me in terms of our current series about "How to Neighbor." Because when we follow the command to "Love God" with absolutely everything that we are, it cannot help but overflow for us in terms of being able to "Love our neighbors." Again putting others ahead of ourselves.

Colossians 3:12 reminds us that we are "God's chosen ones, holy and beloved" and that we are to "clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience." Let's remember this verse as we connect our personal Search For Happy with our community effort of How to Neighbor in the days and weeks ahead.

Blessings!!