Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday, we will have the incredible joy of hearing the combined Chancel Choirs of Belleview and Druid Hills perform the Christmas Cantata, "A Promise Kept". Last week they performed at Belleview to rave reviews! I hope you will come and hear the Word of God expressed in song in what is sure to be a special and sacred time. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!





2. FAD Night - We have concluded FAD Night for 2014. I hope you all enjoyed this time of food and fun and gained something out of this time together. We will gear up again on January 8, 2015 with a guest speaker from Education First. They are a foreign exchange program that brings students to America from oversees to learn and experience life abroad. They will be using our facilities in February as the education site for a group of students from China. I want to encourage you to come out and listen to what this ministry offers these young people and be open to ways we might be able to help. I hope to see you all there!





3. Christmas Eve Worship - Wednesday, December 24th, we will gather at 6 P.M. in our Sanctuary for our Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. This will be a time for fellowship, for prayer, for singing, and to hear the Word of God proclaimed. We will conclude our preaching series, Anticipate, as we look to the anticipation we have with the coming of Christ, then and for the future. We will conclude our worship time by processing out of the Sanctuary, by candlelight, singing Silent Night and this year we are adding a new element to this time. It is a surprise so you will have to come to see what it is! This service a a wonderfully moving time for all of us to come together and be moved by the Holy Spirit. I look forward to seeing you and all you invite to come with you on this special night.





4. Advent Challenge - 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. Office Hours - Just a little reminder that the church office will be closed December 24th, 25th and 26th as well as December 31st, January 1st, January 2nd for the holidays. I pray your holiday celebrations are wonderful and filled with memories.





Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Midweek Moment

I spent all of Tuesday working with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry. I am the Registrar for that committee and we are charged to work with all of the people from this area that are answering a call into full time church ministry.

Yesterday we talked about and interviewed over 30 candidates. As they shared their stories and answered our questions, I grew incredibly hopeful. These are incredibly sharp and gifted people. These are people that range in age from their early 20’s to their mid 60’s. These are people that come from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. These are people that have a wide range of spiritual gifts and have all stepped out on faith to go where God has called them to go.

As I thought about the impact these people will make for the Kingdom of God, my hope flourished. Our church, our conference, our denomination will be in good hands as these people make their way through the process and venture out to lead and direct our congregations.

And just as my hope grew in those interviews thinking about the future of the church, I hope your hope is growing as you travel through Advent and think about your future with God. This whole season is about reflecting on who we are in God, where we are on our faith journey, and the path that is laid out before us as we continue to travel. There are some difficult conversations you will have on this trek of faith; there are some horrific hurdles you will have to navigate; but there is also a deep and abiding presence that will carry you throughout.

That gift of God’s presence, affirmed in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and carried out today through the power of the Holy Spirit is part of what we remember during Advent. God’s love made manifest in the person and life of Jesus, showing us what love really looks like, showing us what this world could really look like if we all lived by that love, is what we remember at Advent.

As you ponder your faith walk this Advent, I pray this understanding gives you hope. I pray that you find God in new and wonderful ways. I pray that Jesus comes to you in a very real and powerful way in the coming days.

We have hope of a certain future, an assured future with our Lord and Creator. And in that we can always find hope.

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bible Challenge 12/14 - 12/20

Greetings All!

This week we will finish up Paul's letters to Timothy, as well as the epistles of Titus, Philemon, Hebrews and the Ephesians, then read all the way through James.

Titus - Titus is mentioned in Galatians as one of Paul's traveling companions to Jerusalem. He was then dispatched to Corinth and later went to Crete as the bishop there. This letter mainly deals with the requirements for bishops and elders in the church.

Philemon - Philemon was a wealthy Christian and leader (possibly bishop) of the church in Colosse. This is the shortest of all Paul's letters and deals mainly with the topic of forgiveness.

Hebrews - The author of this letter is not known or identified although many associate it with Paul or suppose it to be written in his style by one of his followers. The book provides a unique look at Jesus as both exalted Son of God and high priest of the people. Most believe the title to be a reference to its original audience: Jewish Christians of the second century who are apparently being tempted to avoid severe persecution by "shrinking back" in their faith. It is a letter written with hope and perseverance in mind.

James - Most believe the author of this letter to be James the brother of Jesus. Many people wrestle with this letter because it appears to contradict Paul's stance on justification by faith alone. James emphasizes works, but not in the sense of justifying oneself before God; rather in the sense that works are evidence of a person's inward faith.

Here is the schedule:

14 - I Timothy 4-6; II Timothy 1

15 - II Timothy 2-3; Titus 1-2

16 - Titus 3; Philemon; Hebrews 1-2

17 - Hebrews 3-6

18 - Hebrews 7-10

19 - Hebrews 11-13; James 1

20 - James 2-5

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, December 12, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday, we will continue our Advent series entitled, Anticipate. Have you ever been waiting for something, something you are so excited about that your heart is in your throat, your legs won't keep still, and your mind is constantly racing? That excitement and anticipation can be a part of Advent. It is in that anticipation that we can find opportunities to prepare ourselves to not only appreciate the wonderful gift of the first advent, but also prepare ourselves as we await the second advent. Last week we looked at the anticipation of promise found in Scripture and how Jesus' life fulfilled those promises. This week we are turning our attention to the anticipation we have as Christ as our King. Invite a friend and we hope to see you all there.





2. FAD Night - We have one more week left in our three week run before the Christmas Holidays. I want to encourage you come on out each Thursday at 5:30pm as we gather to eat, to learn, and fellowship with one another. This time will also feature Marge Grieves leading us in a prayer workshop as part of our discipleship time. Invite a friend and I 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. We have one more week in this workshop; December 18th, 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 less than $250 away this year from 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.

  • Christmas Caroling - Sunday, December 13th at 3pm in Fellowship Hall 
  • Blue Christmas Service - Sunday, December 14th at 12:30pm in the Sanctuary 
  • Christmas Eve Service - Wednesday, December 24th at 6pm





Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bible Challenge 12/07 - 12/13

Greetings All!

This week we will finish up Paul's letter to the Ephesians, then read all the way through Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I Timothy and parts of II Timothy. One of my favorite passages is Paul's admonition in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God.

Philippians - Philippians has a different tone than many of Paul's letters - it is written about 62AD to the church in Philippi (now Filippoi, Greece) which was one of the first church's that Paul ever started. From the tone of his letter, Philippi is often called Paul's "sweetheart" church.

Colossians - Colossians is directed to the church at Colosse (now Honaz, Turkey) and was probably written during Paul's first imprisonment in Rome. Apparently, the church had been incorporating pagan elements into their practice including the worship of elemental spirits and Paul's letter declares Christ's supremacy over the entire created universe and reminds the believers to live godly lives.

I and II Thessalonians - Thesaalonica was a city in Greece that still exists today. These two books were written probably only months apart around 52AD. Paul only stayed with this church for a few weeks after beginning it and seems to be writing the first letter to encourage them in their faith and remind them of some important doctrines of the faith. Apparently there was some misunderstanding regarding the return of Christ and the second shorter letter appears to deal solely with correcting that understanding.

I and II Timothy - Paul found Timothy during one of his visits to Lystra where Timothy is mentioned as a disciple. From the Scriptures it seems his mother and grandmother were Jews who had become believers; the only thing mentioned about his father was that he was Greek. Timothy becomes Paul's traveling companion going to Phyrgia, Galatia, Mysia, Troad, Philippi, Veria and Corinth. Eventually around 65AD, Paul installs Timothy as the bishop of the church at Ephesus, a post he would hold for at least the next fifteen years. Timothy was eventually stoned to death when he took a stand against a pagan procession of idols, ceremonies and songs. The first letter from Paul to Timothy seems to deal mainly with forms of worship, organization of the church, the responsibilities of the bishops and deacons and keeping faithful amid surrounding errors. The second letter seems to be more of a personal goodbye as Paul is nearing the end of his life.

Here is the schedule:

7 - Ephesian 4-6; Philippians 1

8 - Philippians 2-4; Colossians 1

9 - Colossians 2-4; I Thessalonians 1

10 - I Thessalonians 2-5

11 - II Thessalonians 1-3; I Timothy 1

12 - I Timothy 2-5

13 - I Timothy 6; II Timothy 1-3

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, December 5, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sunday Worship - This Sunday, December 7th, we will begin a new Advent series entitled, Anticipate. We will begin this week as we look the anticipation with can have in the idea of promise. Invite a friend and we hope to see you all there.





2. FAD Night - We have started up again for a three week run before the Christmas Holidays. I want to encourage you come on out each Thursday at 5:30pm as we gather to eat, to learn, and fellowship with one another. This time will also feature Marge Grieves leading us in a prayer workshop as part of our discipleship time. Invite a friend and I 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. We have two more weeks in this workshop; December 11th and 18th, 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 less than $500 away this year 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.
  • 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 week and I will see you Sunday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Midweek Moment

Last Sunday marked the beginning of Advent. We began the season by celebrating our Hanging of the Greens Service and spending our time together looking at the purpose and significance of our holiday decorations.

However, for others this season is very, very different. I want to share with you just an excerpt from our Board of Discipleship website that explains just a bit about what Advent truly means.

Advent is a season for remembering and celebrating the culmination of all things in Christ. Advent puts Christmas into its proper place, not as a comforting destination or early winter way station, but rather as nothing less than the completely disruptive inbreaking of the God who, through this birth, makes all things new.

In prior years we have talked about how Advent is a time of preparation. Last week in worship we revealed that what we are preparing for is not the First Advent that culminated in Christ’s birth, but the second Advent for when Jesus will return. But this quote helps us to put a finer point on the matter. It is more than just preparation; more than just making sure we behave; more than just getting ourselves right before God.

Advent is making room for the “disruptive inbreaking of the God who, through this birth, makes all things new.” It means new life, fresh faith, and emergent hope. It means that redemption comes alive as not only our faith journeys but the journeys of others are transformed. It is that tremendous gift from our Creator that restores us before God and draws us closer to our Lord. It is that reminder that everything changed with the birth of that tiny baby in Bethlehem, all those years ago.

This advent, I pray you experience that newness. A newness so transforming that it leaves you trembling and overwhelmed. A newness that leaves no doubt in your soul that you have been touched by the power of the Holy Spirit. I hope it helps you see more things, all things, from a new perspective, from Christ’s perspective. Make room in your life for that newness, for that change, for that transformation. Because once we receive that power and redemption from on high, then comes the best part…sharing it with others!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!