Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bible Challenge 08/31 - 09/06

Greetings All!

This week we continue our reading in the book of the major prophet Isaiah. From chapter 40 onward, there is a turning point in Isaiah's message as it focuses upon God's forgiveness, consolation and hope as God speaks through Isaiah, and the revealing of his plan of blessing and salvation through the coming Messiah. The New Testament quotes the book of Isaiah 66 times, more than any other Old Testament book except for Psalms.

We get a reference to the one we know as John the Baptist in chapter 40 as the voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God". (Isaiah 40:3)

We also see a few references to the suffering that the Messiah would go through on our behalf:

  • "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)

  • "I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting." (Isaiah 50:6)

Here is the schedule:

31, Sunday: Isaiah 30-33

01, Monday: Isaiah 34-37

02, Tuesday: Isaiah 38-41

03, Wednesday: Isaiah 42-45

04, Thursday: Isaiah 46-49

05, Friday: Isaiah 50-53

06, Saturday: Isaiah 54-57

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, August 29, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sermon Series - This Sunday we are continuing a new preaching series entitled, The 11, based upon a book by Rev. Leonard Sweet. To live our life alone not only robs us of wonderful experiences and fellowship, it is almost impossible. We need to people to walk with us, support us, and absolutely love us along the way. We need others to help us be the best person we can be, the person God intends for us to be. For the next several weeks we are going to look at the types of people we need in our lives as a way of helping you identify who in your life fills those roles for you. It is sure to be an exciting time of discernment and maybe even a bit surprising. For a schedule you can click here. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!





2.FAD Night - FAD (Faith and Discipleship) Night is starting next Thursday, September 4th! FAD Night is a time for us to share a simple meal together and then break off into our groups; children, youth, and adults. After that we come back together for a time of music and prayer. FAD Night will run each Thursday from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

As we get ready to gear back up we are in need of volunteers to cook the simple meal. We would like to set up a team of at least 8 different people to cook on a rotation to help ease the workload. As of now we have six. If you are interested please call the church office or email us by clicking here and let us know. FAD Night was a wonderful experience in the Spring and we need you to help us keep it that way. Also, to RSVP for FAD Night, so our wonderful cooks can plan, please call the church office, sign up at the Connection Table, or email the office by clicking here.





3. New Bible Study - As FAD Night gets started again, so does another Bible Study opportunity as we go Scriptural this time with the Immersion study of the Gospel of Luke. Journey inside the pages of Scripture to meet a personal God who enters individual lives and begins a creative work from the inside out. Shaped with the individual in mind, Immersion encourages simultaneous engagement both with the Word of God and with the God of the Word to become a new creation in Christ.

Immersion, inspired by a fresh translation--the Common English Bible--stands firmly on Scripture and helps readers explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of their personal faith. More importantly, you’ll be able to discover God’s revelation through readings and reflections.

This class will be offered each Thursday at 10am and again in the evening as part of our FAD night, in the Fellowship Hall, from September 4th - October 23rd. For more information and to sign up, please pick up a registration form in the narthex, call the church office, or click here.




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. Pulpit Swap - I am excited to be able to tell you that this Sunday, August 31st, we will engage in our Fifth Sunday pulpit swap with Belleview UMC. I invite you to come hear the gentle spirit and inspired wisdom of Pastor Debbie as she continues with our series on The 1l as you will look to "Who is your Timothy."

I am confident that you will be blessed and transformed as you experience the Holy Spirit through her. Invite a friend and come be a part of movement of the Holy Spirit.







Have a great weekend and I will see you soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Midweek Moment

This past Sunday evening several churches in our district gathered together at St. Mark’s UMC for worship and words simply cannot describe what happened!

Our District Superintendent has organized every church in our District into mission fields. The purpose of these groupings is to help our churches develop and live into a real sense of community. One of the focuses for these mission fields is for us to determine what the missional needs are for this community and then figure out how we can meet some of those needs. We have been named Mission Field Peter and the churches in our group are: Zion UMC, Wesley Chapel – Cotton Plant UMC, St. Mark’s UMC, St. Paul’s UMC, First Ocala UMC, Little Chapel UMC, Belleview UMC, and Druid Hills UMC. The pastors for these churches have been meeting and looking at how we can partner together and make an impact for Christ in this part of Ocala.

These discussions and the subsequent visioning lead us to this past Sunday evening. We invited every member of our congregations to come together for a meal and time of worship. Each church chipped in and worked together to make sure all the facets of our time were covered. But this was much, much more than just a gathering. Let me explain.

We began at 5 P.M. with a barbeque meal. Around 4 P.M. it started raining and shortly into our time together the power went out, including the power in the kitchen (and the A/C!). But that did not stop us. We opened up doors, placed lit candles on the tables and we broke bread together. People were laughing; they were traveling around the tables and finding their friends from different churches and in some cases long lost acquaintances. The fellowship was deep and joyful, genuine and just awesome to witness. Eventually the power did come back on, but you barely noticed as there was already so much light in the room from the fellowship that was happening.

Then came time for worship. We moved from the Fellowship Hall into the Sanctuary where we sang, where we prayed, where we celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Communion and where we listened. Each pastor took a turn leading worship and bringing greetings from their particular congregation. With St. Mark’s serving as our host, their pastor, Rev. Susan Gray, delivered a testimony. St. Mark’s will be transitioning part of their campus into a homeless shelter appropriately named, Open Arms Village. Pastor Susan shared with us how this vision came to be, the progress they had made, and their hope for the future.

This whole evening was so moving. It was the fellowship, it was the worship service, it was each church reaching out and welcoming one another. Pastor Susan reflected on the service later that evening and said, “We may have eaten in the dark, but we worshiped in the light.” Amen, Pastor Susan….Amen!

Have a great week and I will see you soon!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bible Challenge 08/24 - 08/30

Greetings All!

This week we continue our reading in the book of Isaiah. There are 5 major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel) and 12 minor prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). The distinction between "major" and "minor" has nothing to do with importance and everything to do with the size of the book. And you will find that these are not in any kind of chronological order and eventually will bounce back and forth between prophets to the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.

Remember this book is named after the prophet Isaiah who ministered to the southern kingdom of Judah for a period of about sixty years (740-680 BC) through four different kings. Isaiah came from a privileged family and he was well educated. Some people have even called him the "Shakespeare of the Bible" because of the beauty and poetry of his words. He lived in the city of Jerusalem for most of his life. He was married (his wife is called a prophetess) and had at least two sons that are mentioned in the book of Isaiah. He lived at the same time as three other minor prophets: Amos, Micah and Hosea. Strong tradition suggests that he died a martyrs death under the reign of King Manasseh by being placed within the hallow of a tree trunk and sawed in two.

The name Isaiah means "the salvation of the Lord" and the book is often referred to as the "Book of Salvation." The first 39 chapters deal mainly with strong messages of judgment against Judah and a call to repentance and holiness. He predicted the demise and captivity of Judah, yet comforted people with the hope that God had promised a Redeemer. Many of Isaiah's prophecies concern a Savior and seem to be answered in the person of Jesus Christ. Consider Isaiah 7:14 for an example: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."

Here is the schedule:

24, Sunday: Isaiah 2-5

25, Monday: Isaiah 6-9

26, Tuesday: Isaiah 10-13

27, Wednesday: Isaiah 14-17

28, Thursday: Isaiah 18-21

29, Friday: Isaiah 22-25

30, Saturday: Isaiah 26-29

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, August 22, 2014

Friday Fives

1. Sermon Series - This Sunday we are continuing a new preaching series entitled, The 11, based upon a book by Rev. Leonard Sweet. To live our life alone not only robs us of wonderful experiences and fellowship, it is almost impossible. We need to people to walk with us, support us, and absolutely love us along the way. We need others to help us be the best person we can be, the person God intends for us to be. For the next several weeks we are going to look at the types of people we need in our lives as a way of helping you identify who in your life fills those roles for you. It is sure to be an exciting time of discernment and maybe even a bit surprising. For a schedule you can click here. Invite a friend and I hope to see you all there!






2.FAD Night - FAD (Faith and Discipleship) Night is starting again on September 4th, just a few short weeks away! FAD Night is a time for us to share a simple meal together and then break off into our groups; children, youth, and adults. After that we come back together for a time of music and prayer. FAD Night will run each Thursday from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

As we get ready to gear back up we are in need of volunteers to cook the simple meal. We would like to set up a team of at least 8 different people to cook on a rotation to help ease the workload. If you are interested please call the church office or email us by clicking here and let us know. FAD Night was a wonderful experience in the Spring and we need you to help us keep it that way.





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.

We are still in need of some people to volunteer to do the work. If you are interested in making yourself available to be called by one of our matchmakers to go out and help those in our congregation, please contact Ray Foren. This is a wonderful way for us to help one another and live out the mandate to "Love our neighbor."





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. You Are Invited! - St. Mark's UMC is hosting a worship service and dinner on Sunday, August 24th, from 5-7 P.M., to launch their new mission Open Arms Village. This mission will cater to the homeless population in Marion County by providing a place to live and counseling. The area United Methodist Churches are all gathering to lead and participate in the worship service as a way to mark its beginning. We want to invite all of you to come and show your support as we live out our connection as United Methodists together.





Have a great weekend and I will see you soon!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Midweek Moment

The routine has set in. School is back in session, our seasonal Fall programs are getting geared up, and people’s family commitments are starting up once again. This means that we are going to start doling out our time as well as our efforts and energies as we engage in those events and activities.

This time of year can and is very exciting. The hope of what the Fall will bring, the anticipation of new challenges, the new achievements that will be earned, and new opportunities for growth and learning. All of this can elicit a true sense of hope in all of us.

That same kind of hope and excitement can be felt here at Druid Hills as well. We have many opportunities for that growth and learning, for those challenges and achievements, as we live out our life together in this body of Christ.

For instance, F.A.D. (Faith and Discipleship) Night will gear up again on September 4th. Our Pumpkin Patch is starting to take shape again for this October. We still have spots open to serve a meal at InterFaith. S.O.S. (Sisters of Soul) is organizing a yard sale for October. We are still in the midst of our Advent Campaign as we strive to raise money to host another meal packing event here on site. We are partnering with St. Mark’s UMC to support and help out with their new homeless mission, Open Arms Village. These are just a few of the many, many opportunities we have to live out our faith as this Fall season begins.

To get the information on these opportunities you can check out our website, www.druidhillsocala.org, read my blog, www.pastordaryl.blogspot.com, read our bulletin, read our newsletter, listen to Bob’s announcements before worship, and check out the Connection Station on Sunday mornings. I want to encourage you to be proactive in seeking out ways to live out your faith, be willing to try new things and work with new people. The power of the Holy Spirit can and does move in mighty and unexpected ways. It is also in those spaces and places where you are out of your comfort zone that the Holy Spirit has more room to work.

I pray this last half of 2014 is one where your horizons are expanded, your grace is multiplied, your friends are increased, and your transformation is continued. May you be that beacon of God’s love to another and may we all see God’s Kingdom continued to be built on earth as it is in Heaven.

Have a great September everyone!