Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This weekend we are celebrating Christmas Eve in worship!!!!

Adult Sunday School classes will meet at 9:00am this Sunday and there will be time for coffee and doughnuts in the Fellowship Hall at 9:45am.

Sunday morning we will host ONE single worship service at 10:30am in the sanctuary. Our Chancel Choir and the 9Thirty band will both be leading us in a service of Lessons and Carols.

Sunday evening, we will host 3 candlelight Christmas Eve services. The contemporary service will be at 5pm in the Family Life Center. There will be two traditional services at 7pm and 9pm in the sanctuary. Pastor Daryl and Pastor Debbie will be co-preaching on the March of Merriment using the Song of Zechariah in Luke 1:68-79. Invite a friend or even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!




2. Christmas Eve Offering for Missions - We are donating our entire Christmas Eve offering at all three evening services to missions this year. We will be raising money for Water is Basic, an organization that helps build new wells and repair old wells in South Sudan in Africa. It costs approximately $7,500 for a new well and about $1,250 for a well repair. In South Sudan, one in every four children dies before the age of 5; mostly because of illnesses caused by diseased water. Help make a tremendous difference in the lives of children and in whole communities this Christmas with your offering.






3. Be In the Know! - One of the great things about Community is all the options and choices you have to help make disciples and build the Kingdom. And we want you to know about as many of them as possible. The best way to do that is for you to sign up for any of the various ways we have set up to communicate with you. Here is a list of them and how you can sign up or follow them:

  • Churchwide Email System - just call the church office to sign up or email us by clicking here.
  • Pastor's Blog - you can find the blog by clicking here. Once you are there, bookmark and you can even subscribe to have email updates of new posts sent to you automatically. The subscribe box is on the side underneath Pastor Debbie's Photo and Bio.
  • Our Church Website - you can find our church website by clicking here. Don't forget to bookmark it once you are there.
  • Our Church Facebook Page - there are many updates, photos, and even Facebook Live Videos we post on this page, a great resource! You can find that page by clicking here.
  • Our Church Text Messaging Feature - get updates about the church sent to you via text message (text message and data rates may apply). You can sign up for that by sending the text @cumcfp to the number 81010.
  • Our Church Publications - and as always you can find great information in our weekly bulletin and monthly newsletter
I hope you will take advantage of as many of these avenues for communication as possible. There is a lot happening at Community and I do not want you to miss a thing!


Have a great weekend and we will see you soon!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Midweek Moment



In staff meeting yesterday, we spent time together simply reflecting upon the Christmas story. We used a compilation of the Christmas story texts from the Gospel accounts in Matthew, Luke and John. Each of us took a turn around the table reading one of the paragraphs and then when we were done we shared our reflections about how the story resonated with us in a new way this year. I wanted to share this with all of you and encourage you in this week to find a few moments to read the Christmas scriptures in the same way and reflect for yourselves.

May you experience the incredible power and presence of God this week as we encounter the One in the Manger!

Blessings






The Christmas Story in Scripture 

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

In those days, the Emperor Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And so everyone went back to his hometown to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee where he lived, back to Bethlehem in Judea, which was the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. Joseph went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn child, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in manger in the stable, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7) 

That same night, out on the hillsides of Bethlehem, there was a group of shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that shall be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12) 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a manger. (Luke 2:13-16) 

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child and all were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. The shepherds returned to their fields, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:17-20) 

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd by people Israel.'" Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." (Matthew 2:1-8) 

When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the start that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then opening their treasure chests they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. (Matthew 2:9-12)

He was in the world and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13) 

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. (John 1:14-18) 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our preaching series: Traveling the Highways of Advent. Pastor Debbie will be preaching this weekend with a focus upon "The Highway of Enthusiasm" from Matthew 3:1-12. We look to the excitement that comes in the anticipation of Jesus and how that excitement is a wellspring of strength and courage that will enable us to be the light of the world. Invite a friend or even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!





2. Advent Opportunities - Here are a few worship opportunities we want to invite you to be a part of this Advent season:


  • Blue Christmas Worship Service - Sunday, December 17th, at 3pm, in the Sanctuary 
  • Christmas Eve MORNING Worship - one combined service, including our Choir and Worship Band, at 10:30am as we celebrate the service of Lessons and Carols, in the Sanctuary 
  • Christmas Eve EVENING worship - Candlelight - Contemporary Service at 5pm in the Family Life Center; Traditional Services at 7pm and 9pm, in the Sanctuary


Mark your calendars now so you will not miss any of these opportunities!





3. Christmas Eve Offering for Missions - We are donating our entire Christmas Eve offering at all our evening services to missions this year. We will be raising money for Water is Basic, an organization that helps build new wells and repair old wells in South Sudan in Africa. It costs approximately $7,500 for a new well and about $1,250 for a well repair. In South Sudan, one in every four children dies before the age of 5; mostly because of illnesses caused by diseased water. Help make a tremendous difference in the lives of children and in whole communities this Christmas with your offering.






4. Be In the Know! - One of the great things about Community is all the options and choices you have to help make disciples and build the Kingdom. And we want you to know about as many of them as possible. The best way to do that is for you to sign up for any of the various ways we have set up to communicate with you. Here is a list of them and how you can sign up or follow them:

  • Churchwide Email System - just call the church office to sign up or email us by clicking here.
  • Pastor's Blog - you can find the blog by clicking here. Once you are there, bookmark and you can even subscribe to have email updates of new posts sent to you automatically. The subscribe box is on the side underneath Pastor Debbie's Photo and Bio.
  • Our Church Website - you can find our church website by clicking here. Don't forget to bookmark it once you are there.
  • Our Church Facebook Page - there are many updates, photos, and even Facebook Live Videos we post on this page, a great resource! You can find that page by clicking here.
  • Our Church Text Messaging Feature - get updates about the church sent to you via text message (text message and data rates may apply). You can sign up for that by sending the text @cumcfp to the number 81010.
  • Our Church Publications - and as always you can find great information in our weekly bulletin and monthly newsletter
I hope you will take advantage of as many of these avenues for communication as possible. There is a lot happening at Community and I do not want you to miss a thing!




Have a great weekend and we will see you soon!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Midweek Moment

Hey Friends,

Below is a video that I posted on our church's Facebook page today. It talks about our Blue Christmas service that is happening this Sunday, December 17th, at 3pm, in our Sanctuary. I invite you to give it a listen and if it will help you or someone you know, please come. Join us as we gather to give our turn our grief over to God and trust in his presence and lean our faith that the joy will come again.

Remember, you are valued, you are important, and you are loved.

Blessings,




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday Thoughts



1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our preaching series: Traveling the Highways of Advent. Pastor Daryl will be preaching this weekend with a focus upon "Byway in Between" from Revelation 21:1-7 as we live into the now and the not-yet of Advent.

Invite a friend or even a neighbor, and we hope to see you all there at either 8am, 9:30am, or 11am!






2. Looking Ahead in Advent - Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar for things coming up this season of Advent -

* Christmas Grace concerts - Thursday December 7th at 6pm and Saturday December 9th at 2pm
* Many Moods of Christmas concerts - Sunday December 10th at 3:30pm and 6pm
* Blue Christmas Worship Service - Sunday December 17th at 3pm
* Christmas Eve MORNING worship - one service at 10:30am
* Christmas Eve EVENING worship - contemporary service at 5pm in the Family Life Center; traditional services at 7pm and 9pm in the sanctuary


3. GROW Night Dinner and Classes

We have just one week of GROW Night left on Wednesday December 13th.

Even if you are not part of GROW NIGHT, you are invited to our closing program at 6:15pm in the Family Life Center. There will be time to hear about the upcoming spring semester of classes and we will also be participating in a small service project together to bless some of the folks in our church's visitation ministry.

GROW Night will take a break from December 20 through January 3rd. Dinner and a new slate of classes will resume on Wednesday January 10th, 2018.


4. Christmas Eve Offering for Missions - Our Christmas Eve offering at all our evening services will ALL be going to missions this year. We will be raising money for Water is Basic, an organization that helps build new wells and repair old wells in the South Sudan in Africa. It costs approximately $7,500 for a new well and about $1,250 for a well repair. In the South Sudan, one in every four children dies before the age of 5; most because of illnesses caused by diseased water. Help make a tremendous difference in the lives of children and in whole communities this Christmas with your offering.



Blessings! See you soon!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Midweek Moment

Thank you so much for your generous response to the children of our community in the last few weeks. Our Angel Tree gifts have been making their way back into the church and what a delight to see all of the gifts! We have heard a few special stories this week from folks who were out shopping. One gentleman was out shopping for a 12 year old girl who wanted a soccer ball and boots. When he shared with folks around him as to why he shopping, he was assisted in his search for the soccer ball by a mom with two daughters who play soccer! And a clerk in another store helped him to find the perfect pair of boots. The deadline for gift return is this Sunday and then our Angel Tree volunteers will be helping to catalog all of the items and distribute them next week to the families.

We are also thankful for the men from the congregation who have stepped up to volunteer with Fruitland Park Elementary's new mentoring program for third grade boys. Ten men attended a meeting last week about the mentoring program and began meeting with their new mentorees this week. Please keep this new program in prayer, for the students and volunteers as they work to create relationships.

What a great way to find moments of meaningfulness in this Advent season. I pray that you have many more in the days ahead, whether it's in Sunday worship, Sunday school, Christmas concerts, the GROW Night closing program or the Blue Christmas service.

I look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday!
Blessings,