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!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bible Challenge 07/13 - 07/19

Greetings All!

This week our readings come entirely from the book of Psalms again.

Our focus is mainly the second section of Psalms this week which extends from chapter 42 through chapter 72. Of these 31 Psalms, 18 are ascribed to David and the rest are anonymous. 

One of the interesting things about many of the Psalms in this week's reading are the connections that can be made to Jesus and the New Testament. Below is a partial list of references about the Messiah in these psalms and how they are answered in Jesus (this chart comes from The Messiah Revealed website).


SubjectProphecyFulfillment



The Messiah's offering of himself would replace all sacrifices.Psalm 40:6-8aHebrews 10:10-13
The Messiah would say the scriptures were written of him.Psalm 40:6-8bLuke 24:44
The Messiah would come to do God's will.Psalm 40:7-8John 5:30
The Messiah would not conceal his mission from the congregation.Psalm 40:9-10Luke 4:16-21
The Messiah's betrayer would be a friend whom he broke bread with.Psalm 41:9Mark 14:17-18
The Messiah would speak with a message of grace.Psalm 45:2Luke 4:22

The Messiah's throne would be everlasting.Psalm 45:6-7aLuke 1:31-33
The Messiah would be God.Psalm 45:6-7bHebrews 1:8-9
The Messiah would act with righteousnessPsalm 45:6-7cJohn 5:30

May your reading of Psalms this week give you fresh eyes for the Gospels!

Here is the schedule:

13, Sunday: Psalms 35-38

14, Monday: Psalms 39-42

15, Tuesday: Psalms 43-46

16, Wednesday: Psalms 47-50

17, Thursday: Psalms 51-54

18, Friday: Psalms 55-58

19, Saturday: Psalms 59-62

 May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.

Friday, July 11, 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 this week 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.

If you wish to drop off an item you can bring it to the office, Monday through Friday from 9 A.M. - Noon or you can come and bring it on the drop off day: Sunday, July 20th from 12 P.M. - 2 P.M.





3. Quarter Buckets - We have been very successful over the years in meeting our pledge for the United Methodist Children's Home thanks to the generosity of our Quarter Buckets. Consistently we have exceeded the goal set out for us. However, we are beginning to see a challenge in meeting our goal to provide scholarships for our young people to go to summer camp in Leesburg. While we have met the obligation for those that have already expressed interest this year, as of now we do not have enough funds for next year. Therefore, the leadership has moved that we use part of the money raised in our quarter buckets to go to our camp fund. Beginning this month, the monies raised in the buckets on the first, third, and fifth Sundays will go to the Children's Home and the monies raised on the second and fourth Sundays will go to the camp fund. Also, as it has always been, the money collected during the fellowship lunch each week will continue to be used in the camp fund. Thank you in advance for your continued support of our children's ministry programs.





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. Thank You - I want to use this space to offer a very heart felt thank you. I cannot express how much it has meant to me to have your love and support this week as I have walked with Debbie and her family during this very difficult time. Many of you have been where I am and know the challenges my family is facing. Your prayers and words of support have been a source of strength for me and have allowed me to remain present with Debbie during this time. So, thank you for being the heart, hands, and feet of Christ for me and my family this week. I love you all!




I will see you all Sunday!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Midweek Moment

I am writing this as I sit next to my mother-in-law in the ICU Wing at Moffitt. Many of you have texted and emailed your concern for Ellen, Debbie, and the rest of our family and for that I am very grateful.

As all of you know times like these are very difficult on so many levels; especially emotionally and physically. I have sat here and watched and listened as our family has come together to do whatever we can for one another. I have watched distant relatives play with and occupy the boys. I have watched as we have each taken turns offering care to Ellen. I have felt the love that we have given to Ellen and one another during these past few days. This time has been comforting, scary, and strengthening all in the same breath.

I do not know what each moment will hold or which emotions will rise up, but I do know one thing; God is here. God is giving us the strength to run on very little sleep. God is helping us bond and work together to care for this woman we all love very much. God is opening our hearts so that love and grace are the order of the day, above all else.

Last week I encouraged you all to take the time to tell someone how much you loved them. I invited you to allow the love of God to wash over you and then move through you as you offered that love to another. This week I can tell you what a God inspired type of love looks like, feels like, and the deep and indelible impact that makes on a person’s life. This week the words of I Corinthians has come alive in my life.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

That is what true love is for me. That is the love that I have felt this week from my family and that is the love I have felt this week from you as you have reached out to me. I pray that each of you feel this type of love in your life on a daily basis as this is the way that God loves you!

Till we see each other again,