Thursday, March 28, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our Lenten preaching series centered on Jesus' Final Words From the Cross. Pastor Debbie will walk us through word four - "I am thirsty" based upon the Scripture passage from John 19:28.

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am. All are invited and all are welcome.





2. Extra GROW Opportunity - On Thursday, April 11th, there will be a class on "Deepening My Prayer Life" from 3-4:30pm - everything you have ever wanted to know about how to pray presented in an hour and a half.

If you would like to take part in this, please email Pastor Loida to sign up by clicking here.





3. Holy Week Opportunities - We have many opportunities for you to observe and walk through Lent.

* Palm Sunday (April 14): The Music Ministries of CUMC will be presenting a Palm Sunday cantata, entitled "Once Upon A Tree." There will be two seatings in the sanctuary: 3:30pm and 6:00pm.

* Maundy Thursday (April 18): Two different services and experiences. A traditional service with communion and foot washing in the Sanctuary at 6:30pm and an experiential service walking you from the Garden to the Table in the Family Life Center at 7:30pm.

* Good Friday (April 19): This is a community-wide Good Friday service held at noon at the Summerhill campus of New Covenant UMC - 3740 Woodridge Drive, The Villages, FL 32162, with all the local United Methodist church participating.

* Easter Sunrise Worship (April 21): In addition to our regular three worship services, we will be having Easter Sunrise worship in the Chapel at Warren Willis Camp on Lake Griffin at 6:45am. The address is 4990 Picciola Road, Fruitland Park, FL 34731.

* Easter Sunday: Holy Week Walk-Through - Between services on Easter Sunday, you'll have the opportunity to participate in an interactive experience that will walk you through the activities of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday. Join us upstairs in Room 201 before or after services to begin the journey (9-9:30am, 10:30-11am, noon-12:30pm).





4. A New Adventure! - A new year can bring with it new adventures. If you are looking for a new adventure in your life here at Community, we have an opportunity for you. We are looking for volunteers in several areas of our Sunday morning time together. We are looking for Ushers, Communion Stewards, Golf Cart Drivers, and Tech Booth Operators. No previous experience is needed and we will provide all the training. We are extremely grateful for those that are volunteering in these capacities right now and would love to welcome more people to these ministries.

It takes many hands to make our Sunday mornings as special as they are, and we could use your help. If you are interested in volunteering in any of these areas, please contact the church office at 787-1829, or email us by clicking here and we will get you plugged in.



Have a great weekend and we will see you on Sunday!






Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Midweek Moment

Greetings my friends,

This past Tuesday we welcomed Drew Feustel to our church for a speaking engagement. Drew is a geophysicist and a veteran NASA astronaut. He has completed three space missions, 2009, 2011, and 2018. His first mission was in May 2009 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. In 2011, he flew to the International Space Station on a two-week mission aboard the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Finally, Drew returned to earth last October after completing 6½ months on the ISS, commanding Expedition 56. In conjunction with those missions, he has completed 9 spacewalks.

It was a great presentation and the over 200 people that attended, I felt truly enjoyed it. We had people from all walks and all ages. Drew showed images, shared a video and posed for pictures with the crowd. You could tell he loves what he does and is a great storyteller.

As I sat with my three boys and listened to Drew’s adventures in space – what it feels like to take off in the shuttle versus a rocket, what it feels like to land in a shuttle versus a capsule, the importance of exercise when living aboard the ISS, and what some of the requirements are for training for missions like that - there was one line Drew said that really stuck with me.

About half way through his presentation he made mention about looking down at the planet Earth from the ISS and feeling the separation that came from realizing that there were over 7 billion people on the planet, and he was part of a six-person crew aboard the ISS. Drew was in place that very few have been and was able to step out of the confines of earth and life on this planet, to see a picture much bigger than many of us ever have. That dichotomy was a perspective changer for me.

Drew was aboard a station humanity created. He arrived at that station aboard a ship humanity created. But he was viewing a planet that God created, from a truly unique vantage point. That comment and situation got me thinking about how many times do I get lost in a day and all its demands and lose sight of the big picture. How many times have I fallen victim to tunnel vision and lost sight of the many things happening around me? Being able to see those images of Earth, to hear Drew speak about the awe of looking down on this planet and speaking about how space exploration is only 50 years old, but creation spans eons is humbling.

My friends, I know we are all busy. We all have demands on our time and for our attention. I know it is incredibly easy to get lost in “life” and lose track of the grandeur of where we are and of whose we are. As we continue to move through Lent, examining our relationship with God, I invite you to take time every day to regain that perspective of this creation. I encourage you to let your mind wander and get immersed in the grand creation that God has blessed us with to live upon. I urge you to allow the feelings of those experiences to simply wash over you, showering you with awe, drawing you closer to your Creator, our Creator. Our God is truly an awesome God, and it is a great thing to remember that as often as we can.

Have a great week and I will see you on Sunday!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

1. Sunday Morning Worship - This week we will continue our preaching series centered on Jesus' Final Words From the Cross. Pastor Loida will walk us through word 3 -  "Woman behold your son; Son behold your Mother" (John 19:25b-27). 

Invite a friend to come with you this weekend. We'll be worshipping at 8am, 9:30am, and 11am.


2. Extra GROW Opportunities During Lent 
On Thursday, March 21st, Pastor Loida will be teaching a class on "How to Read Your Bible" from 3-4:30pm - everything you have ever wanted to know about how to read the Bible presented in an hour and a half.

And on Thursday April 11th, there will be a class on "Deepening My Prayer Life" from 3-4:30pm - everything you have ever wanted to know about how to pray presented in an hour and a half.

Email Pastor Loida to sign up for either or both of these opportunities - ldivine.cumc@gmail.com 


3. Special Guest Speaker - Astronaut Drew Feustel - Tuesday March 26th at 6:00pm in the Sanctuary 

Andrew "Drew" Feustel is a geophysicist and veteran NASA astronaut. He's completed three space missions, first in 2009 aboard Atlantis to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. In 2011, he flew to the International Space Station on a two-week mission aboard Endeavor's last flight. Last October he returned from 6.5 months aboard the International Space Station commanding Expedition 56. He has completed 9 spacewalks. Come and hear Drew speak about his experiences and have the opportunity to ask questions.



4. Holy Week Opportunities 

* Palm Sunday (April 14) - The Music Ministries of CUMC will be presenting a Palm Sunday cantata, entitled "Once Upon A Tree." There will be two seatings in the sanctuary: 3:30pm and 6:pm.

* Maundy Thursday (April 18) - Two different services and experiences. A traditional service with communion and foot washing in the Sanctuary at 6:30pm and an experiential service walking you from the Table to the Garden in the Family Life Center at 7:30pm.

* Good Friday (April 19) - This is a community wide Good Friday service held at noon at the Summerhill campus of New Covenant UMC - 3740 Woodridge Drive, The Villages, FL 32162

* Easter Sunrise Worship (April 21) - In addition to our regular three worship services, we will be having Easter Sunrise worship in the Chapel at Warren Willis Camp on Lake Griffin at 6:45am. The address is 4990 Picciola Road, Fruitland Park, FL 34731.

* Easter Sunday - Holy Week Walk-Through - Between services on Easter Sunday, you'll have the opportunity to participate in an interactive experience that will walk you through the activities of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Resurrection Sunday. Join us upstairs in Room 201 before or after services to begin the journey (9-9:30am, 10:30-11am, noon-12:30pm).


5. A New Adventure! - A new year can bring with it new adventures. If you are looking for a new adventure in your life here at Community, we have an opportunity for you. We are looking for volunteers in several areas of our Sunday morning time together. We are looking for Ushers, Communion Stewards, Golf Cart Drivers, and Tech Booth Operators. No previous experience is needed and we will provide all the training. We are extremely grateful for those that are volunteering in these capacities right now and would love to welcome more people to these ministries.

It takes many hands to make our Sunday mornings as special as they are, and we could use your help. If you are interested in volunteering in any of these areas, please contact the church office at 787-1829, or email us by clicking here and we will get you plugged in. We look forward to seeing you at worship and working with you as we worship our Gracious God together!



Have a wonderful rest of your week and we look forward to seeing you in worship this weekend!



Blessings, 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Midweek Moment

Last Wednesday we gathered in different ways and spaces to commemorate the start of Lent.

Pastor Loida and I spent time in the parking lot that morning putting ashes on the foreheads of those who came through and spending time in prayer for them. Several people remarked that they were thankful because they were not going to be able to make it to worship in the evening; others simply wanted the opportunity to start off their day with prayer and carry the witness of their ashes with them everywhere they went. It was beautiful and special - even in the cold weather - to be able to share those moments with people.

And then in the evening we gathered in the sanctuary for worship. God's Echo provided the special music and we opened up the altar rail not only for the imposition of ashes, but also earlier in the service for people to be anointed with oil and to be prayed over for whatever was on their heart and mind. We had eleven people up at the rail to pray with folks that night: Pastor Daryl and myself, Pastor Loida, Pastor Mal, Pastor John, Pastor Charlotte, both of our music directors: Joey Landstedt and Diane Wright, and three retired pastors from our congregation: Bob and Linda Standifer, and Marcia Thompson. After I prayed with the first person who came to me at the rail, I looked up and saw one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced in worship - there was a double line down the center aisle of the church stretching from the front all the way to the back of the sanctuary! So many people responded to the call to be anointed and prayed over. It was truly a sacred privilege to be invited to pray for people in this way, and then later to also make the sign of the cross on people's foreheads with the ashes.

As we continue to reflect on relationship to God in this season, we will be exploring Jesus' 7 Final Words from the Cross in worship. If you knew no other words of Jesus from the Bible, you could understand the heart of the Gospel from the things that he says - a word of forgiveness, a word of grace, a word of care and concern for one another, a word about God's presence, a word about suffering, a word about following God's will and a word of prayer.

I hope and pray that you will join us in worship and that your heart will be touched in this season.

Blessings