Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bible Challenge 11/23 - 11/29

Greetings All!

This week we will finish up the book of Acts and start into the Epistles (letters). First up is Paul's letter to the church at Rome, followed by his first letter to the church at Corinth.

Romans - Most scholars believe that this book was written in Corinth at the end of Paul's second missionary journey there, dating it somewhere around 55-56AD. The book of Romans is Paul's greatest theological legacy to the church. The longest by far of his letters, it's intent is to explain that salvation is offered through the Gospel (or good news) of Jesus Christ. Since Paul has not been to Rome at this point, he outlines the good news of Jesus thoroughly so that Paul's teaching will not be confused with other false teachers. Paul' argument regarding God and Jesus is as follows: 1) God's wrath revealed against the unrighteous (1:18-3:20); 2) God credits righteousness to all (3:21-5:21); 3) The gift of God's righteousness results in righteous living (6:1-8:39); 4) God's righteousness in the case of Israel (9:1-11:36); 5) God's righteousness reflected in the righteous lives of believers (12:1-15:13); and 6) God's righteousness shared by Paul as minister to the Gentiles (15:14-33).

I Corinthians - I Corinthians was written from Ephesus (16:8), a city on the west coast of today's Turkey, about 180 miles by sea from Corinth. According to Acts, Paul founded the church in Corinth (Acts 18:17), then spent approximately three years in Ephesus. The letter is thought to have been written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53-57 AD.

Corinth was the meeting point of many nationalities because the main current of the trade between Asia and western Europe passed through its harbors. Paul's first visit lasted nearly two years and his converts were mainly Greeks. In his first epistle, he mainly concentrates on addressing some divisions in the church, some problems with immorality and teaching about marriage, Christian liberty, worship and resurrection.

Here is the schedule:

23 - Acts 27-28; Romans 1-2

24 - Romans 3-6

25 - Romans 7-10

26 - Romans 11-14

27 - Romans 15-16; I Corinthians 1-2

28 - I Corinthians 3-6

29 - I Corinthians 7-10

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Midweek Moment

As I sit here and write this piece today, my mind is racing. I am thinking about the end of Parker’s and Wesley’s baseball seasons. I am thinking about the members of my family that I will see at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am thinking about the members of my family that I have lost this year that I will not see at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am thinking about when I have to be where and at what time. And none of this takes into consideration the many activities and opportunities that are taking place here at Druid Hills and those I will participate in to support Debbie and Belleview UMC.

I tell you all of this because I know all of you are dealing with the same thoughts in your own lives. We all have invitations we have accepted, places that we want to be and often times are wondering how we will get it all done with only 24 hours in a day. When I read or hear someone say there are only so many days or weeks before Christmas, I do not know about you but my heart rate picks up a tick.

Therefore, I want to encourage all of us to take a break. Not a long break mind you, but a break. Every day I want to encourage you to take a few moments in the morning before you get started with your day or in the evening just before you lay down to rest and I want you to thank God. No phones, no computers, no books, no disruptions; just you and God. Thank God for all God has done for you that day. Thank God for all the opportunities you have to share love and life with those closest to you. Thank God for being God and walking with you through the joyous times and the sad times. This is not the same as your daily prayer time. This is different. This is separate.

We are all busy; we all have demands placed on our time. But my hope for you is that as you engage in this practice any anxiety you are harboring may ease up; any stress that is building may dissipate a bit; and the focus of your day may shift from “have to” to “excited to”. You see it can be in that “excited to” mentality that you might notice God, feel Christ, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is in that anticipatory state of mind that the meaning of Christ’s birth can come alive. It is in that type of childlike hopefulness that we can feel the excitement that comes with remembering that all those years ago, when Christ gave up his place in Heaven to walk across the cosmos and meet us as we were, where we were, to show us how much we are loved, that our lives will be forever changed.

May you each feel that assurance and hope this Advent season. May you each have your faith strengthened and may you all feel yourselves drawn closer to God. The gift of Jesus is one that reminds us that not only are we loved by our Creator, but that our Creator loves each and every one of us here. Share that love with another, do not get lost in the hustle and bustle, and may you all have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

State of the Church Address: November 16, 2014
Jeremiah 29:11-14

I am pleased to announce that we now the capability to record our entire worship service with video. I hope this will help you create a closer connection to the service as you will now have the opportunity to see and hear the music, liturgy, and the sermon from our times together.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bible Challenge 11/16 - 11/22

Greetings All!

This week we will finish up the Gospel of John and come within a few chapter of finishing the entire book of Acts as well, the history book of the New Testament.

Acts or Acts of the Apostles, is the second of Luke's major writings, showing how the disciples spread the goods news of the Gospel after Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven. The key verse for this book is Acts 1:8: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This verses sets the tone for all of the action in the book. The first major segment is chapters 1-7 where the actions centers around the Jews in Jerusalem and Peter is the main figure. The timeline here is about 2 years from Pentecost through the stoning of Stephen.

In Acts, the second major segment is chapters 8-12 and shows the spread of the Gospel out from Jerusalem into the regions of Judea and Samaria. Here the central figure is Philip and his main audience is the Samaritans. The timeline here is 13 years from Stephen's stoning to Paul's missionary journeys. Finally the last segment of the book in chapters 13-28 details the spread of the Gospel past the known areas of Jesus and the disciples out to the uttermost parts of the earth as Paul travels all around the Roman world preaching to the Gentiles. This covers about 14 years from his first missionary journey through to his release from the Romans.

Here is the schedule:

16 - John 20-21; Acts 1-2

17 - Acts 3-6

18 - Acts 7-10

19 - Acts 11-14

20 - Acts 15-18

21 - Acts 19-22

22 - Acts 23-26

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Fives

1. State of the Church Sunday - This Sunday we will engage in another State of the Church address. We will look at how things have progressed over the past year and the celebrations we have and the challenges we face. This will be a wonderful time to take a look back and make sure we are being those effective disciples of Jesus Christ that we are all called to be. Invite a friend and come and join us as we march into our future!

2. FAD Night - We will not have FAD night for the next two weeks due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume on December 4th and we hope to see you all there!

3. Prayer Workshop - Prayer is that blessed connection between us and our Creator. Prayer is the way we share our lives and our emotions with God, and one way we understand God's will for our lives. This Advent we are blessed to have Marge Grieves lead us in a prayer workshop entitled, "Come Let Us Adore Him." It will incorporate the power of prayer into the Advent Season as we prepare our hearts and souls for the coming of the Christ child.

One of Marge's spiritual gifts is that of prayer. If you have ever had the privilege of listening to her as she ushers you into the presence of God through prayer, you know it is a tremendous moment. The workshop will run December 4th, 11th, and 18th and it will be offered at 10am and again as part of FAD Night. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to deepen your faith walk.

4. Advent Challenge - We are past the half way point of our challenge this year and we are just a bit north of half way to our goal of $5,000. This year the monies raised will be split between a local and global charity. Of our goal, $2,900 will go to our global charity, Stop Hunger Now, as we strive to host another meal packaging event to help those children around the world that are suffering from malnourishment. The other $2,100 will go to our local mission, a Church Has Left the Building event, scheduled for early 2015.

Please prayerfully consider how you might give, above and beyond your normal giving, to support this challenge so we may reach out and share the love of Christ with other people. If you want more information about this challenge, including updates for how much you have raised, please click here.

5. Upcoming Dates - We have some fun and wonderful outreach opportunities, as well as a few very important events coming up that I want you all to know about so you can mark your calendars.
  • Church-wide Thanksgiving Dinner - Friday, November 21st at 6pm in Fellowship Hall 
  •  UMW Advent Breakfast - Saturday, December 6th at 9:30am in Fellowship Hall 
  •  Christmas Caroling - Sunday, December 13th at 3pm in Fellowship Hall 
  • Blue Christmas Service - Sunday, December 14th at 12:30pm in the Sanctuary 

Have a great weekend and I will see you Sunday!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Midweek Moment

I hope you enjoyed Sunday as much as I did. There were so many things to celebrate, joys to be shared, memories to be relived, and new ones to make. And it all began with the Sanctuary building itself!

I loved the additional banners that were hung along the walls. We have such talented people in our family that have a true gift for creativity and crafting our banners. So much so, that there are many banners that are hid behind the walls being stored. It was fantastic to see more of them out on display!

I loved watching our veterans stand as they heard their service anthem being played. We have many veterans in our family and it is because of their dedication and service that we have the freedom to enjoy our time of worship each week.

I loved the new monitors and how they enhanced our time together! The singing of the hymns sounded louder. Watching everyone look up to sing seemed to create a different and wonderful atmosphere in our time together.

I especially loved having Rev. June Edwards come back and preach for us. Her genuineness and authenticity were incredible. Her message was timely for us and I felt gave us a real hope for our future.

This was one of those Sundays that have stayed with me and I have relived that service over and over again in my mind. It was one of those services where I felt the movement of Holy Spirit in a very tangible way. I pray this service was as meaningful for you and that you all derived a sense of encouragement and enthusiasm for us to continue to go out and be all God created us to be!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bible Challenge 11/09 - 11/15

Greetings All!

This week we will finish up the Gospels of Luke and come within a few chapter of finishing the entire Gospel of John as well.

John's Gospel, written by one of the disciples, is very different than the others and so is NOT included as a synoptic or similar Gospel. While it does mention some of the same stories of people and healings and miracles, the timeline of Jesus' ministry is different than the others and John also includes large chunks of teaching (like chapters 6, 10, and 13-16) that explain who Jesus is that are not included in any other Gospels. John is clear though about his criteria for what is included within his Gospel: "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But THESE are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31)

Here is the schedule:

09, Sunday: Luke 16-19

10, Monday: Luke 20-23

11, Tuesday: Luke 24; John 1-3

12, Wednesday: John 4-7

13, Thursday: John 8-11

14, Friday: John 12-15

15, Saturday: John 16-19

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.