A young-ish United Methodist pastor's perspective of living our faith, loving God, and loving neighbor while on this adventure we call life. Amazing things can happen when we put our trust in God, love God, love our neighbors, and engage our community by living our faith.
**The opinions expressed in my blog are my own and not those of Community UMC, Quincy, CA or The United Methodist Church.
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Adventures for January 2018, Newsletter Article
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not
perceive it? I will make a way in the
wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:
New Year and Welcome to 2018!!!
be totally honest, after the year we had in 2017, I am ready for a clean slate
and fresh beginning. As with each new
year, all of us have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and experience a new
beginning. I always come into each new
year with a sense of hope and optimism, although I am aware that we don’t
always know what to expect what will happen in each new year. I do my best to trust God and follow God’s
lead, even though it may involve going outside my comfort zone or into places I
don’t necessarily want to go. However, I
know that if I’m going to grow as a person and a follower of Christ, I ultimately
must go into those places and even through the deepest valleys at times. Still, God will be there before us to make a
way through those deserts and valleys, as well as the rough times in our
lives. It doesn’t mean those rough
patches will go away, but we can gain a sense of peace and assurance when we
come to fully rely on and trust in God.
we jump into 2018, this is a good opportunity to cast our vision for 2018,
trusting God in the new, established, and in-between. We did a good job coming up with several
attainable ideas with many great and wonderful ideas expressed. We will be having another planning retreat in
the near future, so stay tuned to next month’s “Quill” and on Sunday
mornings. What kind of new things are we
looking for God to do in our church in the meantime? What are some opportunities that God may be
calling your name to serve?
the increase in children in worship and Sunday School, is God calling you to
teach? This coming Fall, we will have a
need for a middle school Sunday School class for the first time in quite
January, I would also like to incorporate acolytes in worship again (acolytes
help supplement the ushers, light the altar candles, and assist the pastor in
parts of the worship service as assigned).
I would like to have a short acolyte training following worship January
14 for any kids 3rd grade and up, so watch the church calendar and
Sunday’s bulletin and mission opportunities.
We are also hoping to get a small group for children K-6 once a week,
but need helpers and volunteers to make it happen. The vision is to have this be a time of Bible
stories, singing, recreation, and snacks.
We will also have Vacation Bible
School this summer and planning will be starting shortly. How about youth ministry (jr. high/high
school)? Might God be calling you
there? For adults, we will continue the
Thursday morning Bible study with Charlotte Walters, although am thinking of
having a Wednesday evening group for working adults and young adults (the 18-40
group) at 4:30 and lead into Community Supper.
is an important part of the life of our church and it’s a time I like to call a
‘recharge of our spiritual batteries.’ Regular worship is essential on our
Christian journey as it is a time to learn, sing, pray, and be together in
community and is done best in community.
If you haven’t been to worship in awhile, I want to invite and encourage
you to come to worship on Sundays. I do
understand that there are factors that keep us from attending regularly, such
as work schedules, or health and I’m aware there are other factors too which
are understandable. Is God calling you
to serve as reader, usher, greeter, sing in the choir, or ring in the bell
choir, help decorate the altar at different points throughout the year? There are opportunities to serve in worship and
the arts or in welcome & hospitality.
we are seeing some new energy and quite a few new faces in our church, we have
a number of people who cannot make it to church or church activities as
regularly as they used to, but still want to stay connected. Is God calling you into caring
ministries? While I will do hospital
visits if I’m aware that anyone is in the hospital here in Quincy, Portola,
Reno, or Chico, I am not always able to get out and about to people’s houses as
much as I would like which is where our caring ministries plays an important
role. Barbara Blust coordinates a team
of lay people who do home visitations and will sometimes accompany me on some
of my visits, but it is also important that we take of each other in the
church. If you are interested in being a
part of caring/visitation ministries, come and see Barbara or myself.
you can see, we have some wonderful opportunities ahead in the coming year and
I am excited about all of the possibilities that are ahead in 2018. Will we succeed in each one? Maybe, maybe not. Except we won’t know unless we try and
another thing is, it’s okay if something doesn’t work out as we originally
planned, as maybe God had something else in mind. The important part is that we tried. More importantly, we can talk and get
excited, although we also need people whose hearts are strangely warmed be
willing to step up and take the lead and run with it. All of have gifts and our lay leaders, lay
leadership development team, and myself are happy to talk with you and guide
you along the way.
if you have ideas for new ministries, talk with me, our lay leaders Marty Byrne
and Leslie Mikesell, or Pastor Ray. Not
all ideas can always be incorporated immediately or may require additional steps
before implementing, but I am eager to hear your ideas and will also encourage
us to step out of the box a little where we can. We will definitely have our ups and downs
throughout 2018, yet I’m excited to see where God leads us and what new things God
may have in store for us here in Quincy in the year to come.
Usually, I have used this space to post my weekly sermons and monthly newsletter articles, although this year for Lent, we did a series about rehab at Community UMC and because of the highly personal nature of the stories shared in the series, chose not to post the sermons from Lent this year. We began our time of Lent in the wilderness, reflecting on the things that tempt us and where we too may find ourselves in the wilderness. We then talked about our need for intervention, whether it's God intervening, or people who love us so much that they intervene to keep us from doing harm to ourselves or others. The third week, we talked about working the program, linking The Ten Commandments to how we work the program of our faith, but how we may have had to work the program through therapy or 12-steps, etc.. We then heard a powerful story about recovery, thinking about how we can make it through some of the challenges life throws at us, ultimately leading to promise as we await the…
Hands: Become Known”Rev.
6: 13-16 This last month and a half, I have been attempting to not use a full manuscript, but an outline. However, I have decided to return to manuscripts, as I do not presently have recording capability in worship yet. What are we known for?I think I may have teased it some last week
when I talked about some of the ministries we have going on in our church or
that are housed in our church.Or, in
the case of people seeking assistance, we are oftentimes the first church
people will call because we are known for our willingness to help or at least
try to help where we are equipped to do so.And even though there are people out here without a church home, we have
a relationship with many (which is important in its own right), even though we
might not see them in worship on Sunday morning.We are known for our music ministry and our
choir, even though the choir is on its summer break right now.Our denominati…
the season of Lent, the 40 Days leading up to Easter (not counting Sundays), we
will be starting a new series, beginning on Ash Wednesday at 5:00pm, February 14 through Palm/Passion
Sunday, which will be March 25. Starting
on Monday, February 19 at 10am and Wednesday, February 21 at 4:30pm, we will be
offering a Lenten study around Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes’ book, Gifts of the Dark Wood, which offers some different insights around
the sometimes dark places in our lives and how they can end up being a blessing
in disguise. To reserve a copy of the
book, please contact the church office.
You are welcome to donate $10 to the book fund when you pick your book
worship services, starting with Ash Wednesday on February 14 will touch on the
theme of rehabilitation. According to
the team at Discipleship Ministries in Nashville (Dawn Chesser, Taylor
Burton-Edwards, & Jackson Henry), There is much to mine from
considering our Lenten journey this year within the frame of rehab, …