Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bible Challenge 07/27 - 08/02

Greetings All!

This week we finish up the fourth section of Psalms (90-106) and begin the final section of this large book of poetry (Psalms 107-150). In this last section, 15 Psalms are ascribed to David and we get the shortest Psalm (#117 with 2 verses).

Here is the schedule:

Sunday, 27: Psalms 91-94

Monday, 28: Psalms 95-98

Tuesday, 29: Psalms 99-102

Wednesday, 30: Psalms103-106

Thursday, 31: Psalms107-110

Friday, 01: Psalms 111-114

Saturday, 02: Psalms 115-118

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, July 25, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sermon Series - We will conclude our preaching series entitled, Jargon Unchained, this Sunday. If you have spent any time in a church, specifically a United Methodist Church you know we have jargon. We have those words that mean a great deal to us, its members, but to visitors and people new to the faith these words may not hold much meaning. So over the next several weeks we are going to take some of our more important pieces of jargon and we are going to explore them and unpack them, as we seek to better understand what they can mean in our lives. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!





2. Homeless Children Collection Drive - Our S.O.S. group is spearheading a collection drive to help meet the needs of the over 2,700 homeless children in Marion County. Our bulletin for the last several weeks has an insert with a great press release detailing more information about this program as well as a listing of the items that are being requested. Please prayerfully consider what you might be able to give and be generous in sharing this information with as many people as you can. Together we can make a difference for the children of Marion County.

This Sunday we are culminating this drive as we will have a special guest in worship to whom we will present these items. It will surely be a special time of worship and mission and I hope you all can be there!





3. Mops and Ladders - Ladders and Mops is what we have termed an age old practice. People Helping People. In brief, if you need a hand with something, just give a call. This can be anything from changing a bulb, moving boxes, changing a door handle, lawn cleanup, fixing a flat tire, cleaning a room, replacing a ceiling fan, painting a wall....the list goes on. No job is too small. Unfortunately, some jobs are too big. That would be those requiring a building permit or a licensed professional.

Those that can help others need only sign up. We will need a list or description of how you can be of assistance to others. Then, one of our match-makers will get in touch with you, should the need arise. Anyone may participate. Anyone with a need to have something done or the ability to help someone in need. Or Both!

Last but not least, a few coordinators are needed. These folks take and make calls. You will be our “official” match-makers. If you are interested in being a Match-Maker or want to discover more about Ladders and Mops, we will be gathering on August 03, 2014 at 12:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. If you are unable to attend this gathering but are still interested, please see Ray Foren.





4. Advent Challenge - Last year's challenge was so incredibly successful and so many lives were touched by this act of generosity, the leadership of the church wanted to do it again this year. Once again our goal between now and Christmas Eve is to raise $5,000 to 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. Lay Servant Ministries - If you are interested in being a Certified Lay Servant there will be an annual training in mid-August. You are invited to join them in helping to "Equip the Saints" and spend a great weekend with Lay Servant Ministries! The guest speaker on Friday night, August 15th, will be Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. Classes on Saturday and Sunday morning will be held in four areas: preaching, discipleship, missions, as well as fasting and prayer. Instructors include Rev. Geraldine McClellan, Rev. Harold Lewis, Rev. Jeanine Clontz, and Mrs. Dee Allen.

For more information and to register, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact the church office or see the announcement in this week's bulletin.




I will see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Midweek Moment

Most of us love Jesus because someone allowed His love to love us through them. The biggest hindrance to the growth of God’s kingdom on earth is the failure of so-called Christians to allow the love of God to give them love for other people.
– Thomas Carruth

One of my daily routines is to read through an online forum where my colleagues post quotes from other theologians, scholars, and devotional books. It is a great way to be exposed to the thinking of others and allow ourselves to grow together in our faith. This morning I saw the above quote by Thomas Carruth and this was one of the points I was trying to make last week in our time together.

I realize I repeatedly talk about the importance of loving our neighbors. I know I use the phrase, “allow us to be a beacon of hope and light” with great frequency when I pray and when I preach. All of that is because of the importance of the message that Thomas Carruth is trying to make above.

We know all people, regardless of geography, are to be considered our neighbor. And as such, we are to love them. The best way, the most effective way, for people to experience the love of Christ is for them to feel that love through us. As we live our lives, go through our daily routines, speak and interact with others, we are actively building or hindering the growth of the Kingdom of God.

If we always use grace when we speak to others, we can build. If we always allow the love of Christ to be the force that dictates our thoughts and actions, we can build. If we are always mindful to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as we move through our days, we can build.

However, if we find ourselves quick to anger, quick to judge, quick to speak to others with a hostile tone and hurtful words, building cannot and will not happen. We are called, as Disciples of Christ, to be in this world and not of it. We are called to be set apart and live our lives according to God’s rule of grace and love. Now this does not mean will we never get angry and are some sort of marginal Christian if we do. It means that we strive to control those emotions, pray about those feelings, and not let them dictate how we treat others.

Think about it this way. I usually have several business cards on me. When I give one of them away, I want to make a good impression on the recipient. I smile, I say kind things, and I speak with an encouraging tone. As a representative of Druid Hills United Methodist, I want them to feel favorably about us during and after that interaction. If I throw that card at them, tell them they are “less than” if they do not come see us, talk only about the church and do let them share a bit of themselves with me, they will probably never grace our doors. It is the same for each of us as Disciples. We are Christ’s business cards. We are God’s ambassadors. But it is not only our interactions with others that speak for Jesus. It is the way we live our life, the examples we set, and the words we utter when we think no one is watching.

Loving others is not easy and I do not want you to think I am advocating that idea. Loving others, at all times and in all ways, is extremely difficult. But as you read the quote above the key words are “to allow the love of God to give them love for other people.” You are not commissioned and sent out alone. God will be by your side moment by moment.

I want to encourage you to find ways to allow that source of love to flow freely through you. Give up those feelings that block that flow, pray for strength to allow God’s love to be your guiding force, spend time focusing on the idea that you are the vessel not source.

Faith is a life long journey, allow God to speak to you, allow Christ to love you, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you. That is the best way we can all strive towards sanctification and truly be God’s kingdom builders on Earth!

Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bible Challenge 07/20 - 07/26

Greetings All!

All of our reading this week again come from the book of Psalms, finishing up the third section with chapter 89 and dipping into the fourth section from chapter 90.

How are you doing in Psalms? Psalms has a couple of functions: as a hymnbook and also as a book of poetry. Songs that can be identified as such in the Psalms include songs of thanksgiving (e.g., Ps 30), hymns of praise (e.g., Ps 117) and royal psalms, which may have been used in coronations and weddings. Identification of some psalms as prayers is also seen within the text, for example in the conclusion to Psalm 72, "The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended." The largest category of Psalms, though not grouped as such in the text, is that of lament (expressions of complaint and pleas for help from God).

Here is the schedule:

Sunday, 20: Psalms 63-66

Monday, 21: Psalms 67-70

Tuesday, 22: Psalms 71-74

Wednesday, 23: Psalms 75-78

Thursday, 24: Psalms 79-82

Friday, 25: Psalms 83-86

Saturday, 26: Psalms 87-90

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, July 18, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sermon Series - We are in the midst of our preaching series entitled, Jargon Unchained. If you have spent any time in a church, specifically a United Methodist Church you know we have jargon. We have those words that mean a great deal to us, its members, but to visitors and people new to the faith these words may not hold much meaning. So over the next several weeks we are going to take some of our more important pieces of jargon and we are going to explore them and unpack them, as we seek to better understand what they can mean in our lives. If you would like to peak ahead, you can click here for the sermon schedule. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!





2. Homeless Children Collection Drive - Our S.O.S. group is spearheading a collection drive to help meet the needs of the over 2,700 homeless children in Marion County. Our bulletin for the last several weeks has an insert with a great press release detailing more information about this program as well as a listing of the items that are being requested. Please prayerfully consider what you might be able to give and be generous in sharing this information with as many people as you can. Together we can make a difference for the children of Marion County.

This Sunday we are culminating this drive with a collection time here at the church from 12 P.M. - 2 P.M. Please bring any all items for donation as we seek to help those that need it. Thank you in advance for your generous participation in this drive!





3. Mops and Ladders - Ladders & Mops is what we have termed an age old practice. People Helping People. In brief, if you need a hand with something, just give a call. This can be anything from changing a bulb, moving boxes, changing a door handle, lawn cleanup, fixing a flat tire, cleaning a room, replacing a ceiling fan, painting a wall....the list goes on. No job is too small. Unfortunately, some jobs are too big. That would be those requiring a building permit or a licensed professional.

Those that can help others need only sign up. We will need a list or description of how you can be of assistance to others. Then, one of our match-makers will get in touch with you, should the need arise. Anyone may participate. Anyone with a need to have something done or the ability to help someone in need. Or Both!

Last but not least, a few coordinators are needed. These folks take and make calls. You will be our “official” match-makers. If you are interested in being a Match-Maker or want to discover more about Ladders & Mops, we will be gathering on August 03, 2014 at 12:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. If you are unable to attend this gathering but are still interested, please see Ray Foren.





4. Advent Challenge - This June I issued another Advent Challenge for 2014. Last year's was so incredibly successful and so many lives were touched by this act of generosity, the leadership of the church wanted to do it again this year. Once again our goal between now and Christmas Eve is to raise $5,000 to 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. Ocala Health and Rehab - This Sunday is our week to go and minister to the residents of Ocala Health and Rehab. I want to extend an invitation to all of you to come and join us, Sunday at 2pm. Ocala Health and Rehab is located just down the street from the church on the corner of Lake Weir Road and SE 24th Road. We begin with a few hymns, I give a brief devotion, and we wrap it up with a few more hymns and a prayer. It is a wonderful time of fellowship and spreading the love of Christ. I am sure you will enjoy it and be glad you participated! I hope to see you there!



I will see you all Sunday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Midweek Moment

For me it is not usual to linger too long on a particular worship service. Usually by Tuesday my mind has already transitioned to the next week; the preparations that I need to make and the sermon I need to write. But last week was not usual.

I feel last week’s service had a deeper moving by the Holy Spirit within it. And maybe that is because I needed more of the Spirit that day. I shared that my mother-in-law passed away last Saturday. So I took time to prepare how I was going to share that announcement. My main goal was to make sure as I uttered those words, that I had the strength to do so. I practiced several times, made several calls for Debbie to share the news with extended family, and all in all felt good about it. However, when I stood before you Sunday morning to offer the opening prayer, I could feel all the strength I thought I had disappear through my feet. My voice cracked and I could feel the tears wanting to flow. It was not too bad but I knew my goose was cooked and I would not have the strength on my own to get through the rest of the service.

But as things progressed I felt the Spirit’s strength more and more. In fact, we proceeded just fine for a while. I was excited to have Bill Cantrell come forward and for us to lay hands on him and anoint him with oil. Those moments are always very powerful to me. But then came the hymn, the hymn where we open up the rail for all of us to pray. I felt drawn to the rail in a very deep way. I went and prayed and no sooner did my knees hit the floor and my elbows touch the rail, the tears flowed. I had not cried like that at any time up to that point. Then just as quickly, I felt the comforting touch of two people, one on each side. As I cried through that prayer, I could feel the love of the congregation and the support of God in my soul.

The love that you all shared with me, the compassionate touch you all offered to Bill, truly made this past Sunday a very moving experience. Thank you for being open to the Spirit’s moving, thank you for being the vessels by which God ministered to me, thank you for being there for me when I needed you.

I am always so grateful for those times when that veil between Heaven and Earth is thinned, even if just a bit. And Sunday was one of those days!

Have a great week!