Thursday, March 30, 2017

The story of a suitcase given to Mission Central


Recently, we were able to donate a suitcase to Linda Beck, who was heading to Cuba for a week.  She wanted to fill the suitcase with items to donate and to donate the suitcase itself. She estimated that she might help as many as 50 different families with these supplies. Even the smallest things like lotion, ink pens and toothpaste can make a huge difference in other countries.
We received the following message from Linda upon her return:
“I have to tell you….what I took to Cuba was so well received. Not only were the things IN the luggage well received, but the luggage itself was a huge hit. It went to our 23 year old tour guide, a recent graduate of the University of Havana, who has never before owned a suitcase. Her dream is to get to Ireland one day and she hopes to be able to take the suitcase with her. She also took most of the things to distribute and showed me some pictures of the people who were so happy for a bottle of lotion or a pen. She was also going to give the sneakers I was able to bring along to the doctors who spend a lot of time on their feet.  So, THANK YOU for helping to get more things to Cuba!”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Heard the News


The audio is faint, but hearable. Thanks to Michele for preaching during my absence!

Confirmation Class at Wesley Village (1 of 2)



Our Confirmation Class leading worship at Wesley Village. Thanks to Tim and Kim for your leadership!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reflecting on John Wesley's Tomb

Pilgrims visit the tomb of John Wesley and learn a valuable lesson for ministry from his epitaph. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.
A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino*
February 27, 2017

A lesson in stone

On March 2, 1791, in the home on the other side of the property, “with a simple ‘Farewell’ upon his lips, John Wesley, in the eighty-eighth year of his age, passed from the scene of his great evangelistic toils on earth to the joy of his everlasting reward,” biographer Richard Green eloquently writes of Wesley’s death (John Wesley—Evangelist, 1905).
A week later, early on the morning of March 9, a small group gathered at the tomb where Wesley’s body was laid to rest. Beginning the service at around 5:00 a.m. helped keep the gathering intimate. Reports indicate that tens of thousands visited City Road Chapel (as Wesley's Chapel was then known) the day before to pay their last respects.
The epitaph on Wesley’s tomb is remarkable. It shares the story of his life and ministry. Describing Wesley as a great light that enlightened the nations and called the church to renewal, the inscription references his lengthy career of writing and work for the church. He “witnessed in the hearts and lives of many thousands,” the epitaph reads, and saw God’s provision for his work to last for future generations.
Before giving the date and circumstances of his death, the inscription concludes, “Reader, if thou art constrain’d to bless the instrument, give God the glory.” We might more commonly say, if you feel compelled to honor the person, praise God more.
After reading these words, one pilgrim whispered, “ever the evangelist, even in death.” Even his tomb calls us closer to Jesus.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Field Trip to the Pastor's Study


One of our Ark classrooms had a science field trip to my study - brain coral, deer femur, geode, snake skin, horseshoe crab, and more!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mission Central HUB team


Thanks to Cheryl for coordinating and to the youth and Kim for joining the team!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Disrupting the cradle-to-prison pipeline


By Kathy L. Gilbert
Feb. 28, 2017 | UMNS
Art unlocked Ndume Olatushani’s mind when his body was confined to a 4-by-9-foot cell, serving 28 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Starting March 1, Olatushani’s work will be part of a Stations of the Cross art exhibit in Washington that depicts the tortured journey of Jesus walking through Jerusalem on his way to execution.
“I’m not claiming to be Jesus Christ but I know what it is like to be persecuted and almost executed,” Olatushani told United Methodist News Service.
Stations of the Cross will be on display in 14 locations around Washington beginning on Ash Wednesday through April 16. Olatushani’s installation will be Station 1 outside the United Methodist Building.
He smiles to think about his art on the lawn of the United Methodist Building, which is next door to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fail Forward (2): Homeless


11-12 Mar 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Lent 2
Psalm 121 (call to worship)
John 3.1-17 (kids)
Genesis 12.1-4 (message), with Romans 4.1-5, 13-17

Last week, first in the “Fail Forward” series: Hungry
      How our hungers are so often self-destructive, other-
      Expelled from the paradise garden
Hope, the “forward” dimension, was found in God’s promise

Today’s theme, Homeless
      Being homeless is, for most of us, a fearful idea
            Lack the skills and fortitude
      One way to talk about the call of God – only think of it metaphorically
      But for Abraham and for Jesus, being homeless was a fact of life

Jesus: The Son of Man has no place to lay his head
First disciples: Leave nets & father (Volf, 40)
      (economic security & social security)
Rich Mullins song lyrics, “You did not have a home”
There were places you visited frequently,
You took of your shoes and put up your feet,
But you knew that the whole world belonged to the meek
So you did not have a home

      The world can’t stand what it cannot own
      But it can’t own you because you did not have a home
      Birds have nests, foxes have dens
      But the hope of the world rests on the shoulders
            Of a homeless man
      You had the shoulders of a homeless man
      No, you did not have a home

Rescuing Children

Johannes Baun (from left), Rose Saffa and Mohamed Nabieu, who were helped at the Child Rescue Center, are giving back the help they received by working at the center. The rescue center was founded to care for children impoverished by the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone civil war. Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS.
Photo by Phileas Jusu, UMNS
Johannes Baun (from left), Rose Saffa and Mohamed Nabieu, who were helped at the Child Rescue Center, are giving back the help they received by working at the center. The rescue center was founded to care for children impoverished by the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone civil war.
By Phileas Jusu
Feb. 22, 2017 | BO, Sierra Leone (UMNS)
Mohamed Emmanuel Nabieu was 8 years old when his father was shot during a rebel attack and he was separated from his mother during the Sierra Leone civil war.
After living on the streets for four months, workers from the United Methodist Child Rescue Center found him and offered help. Now, as program director of the center, he works to pay back the help he received to other orphaned and abandoned children.
“My father was shot right in front of me. In the confusion of fleeing from my village...  I lost contact with my mother. My mum went away in a different direction with a different group of people while I headed for Bo City,” Nabieu recalls of the turbulent times during the 1991-2002 war.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Churches welcoming refugees in Nigeria

A woman holds a baby while seated among refugees at the United Methodist Church ATC/Nukkai in Jalingo, Nigeria. United Methodist churches in Nigeria are serving as refugee camps for people displaced after attacks on villages in Lau, a local government area in Taraba State in Northern Nigeria. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UMNS.
Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UMNS
A woman holds a baby while seated among refugees at the United Methodist Church ATC/Nukkai in Jalingo, Nigeria. United Methodist churches in Nigeria are serving as refugee camps for people displaced after attacks on villages in Lau, a local government area in Taraba State in Northern Nigeria.
By the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel
Feb. 14, 2017 | LAU, Taraba State, Nigeria (UMNS)
United Methodist churches in Nigeria are serving as refugee camps for people displaced after attacks carried out by unknown gunmen in Lau, a local government area in Taraba State in Northern Nigeria. 
The violence is believed by many to be part of a continuing conflict between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the Lau areas.
In January, the village of Karim Lazai was burned down, four people were killed and more than 1,700 people, mostly women and children, were forced to flee.
This month, the situation escalated to four more villages and other areas of Lau, bringing the death toll to 15, with more than 200 homes destroyed. The incidents have forced more than 7,000 people to flee their homes and take refuge in various places outside the local government area.
United Methodist churches in ATC/Nukkai, Yelwa Abbare, Jauro Bakari, Lankaviri and Mayodassa have opened their doors to refugees. Connectional Ministries Director Driver Bitrust Jalo said more than 3,500 of the people affected by the attacks are members of The United Methodist Church.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fat Sunday (4 of 4)




Hunger (Fail Forward #1)


4-5 Mar 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Lent 1
Psalm 32 (call to worship)
Matthew 4.1-11 (kids)
Genesis 2.15 – 3.7 (message)

All our hungers
      Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life (1 John 2.16)
      When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin … death (James 1.15)
      Wealth, sex, power (ancient church)

Good things perverted by sin
      Our relationship with food – a good thing – perverted
            Eating disorders
            Industrialization, chemicals, work force
            Bag of chips … just a few? Or, “once you pop…”
      No wonder this story of the “original sin” involves food!
            “You will be like God!”
            Genesis 3:6  saw that the tree was good for food
      Sin dressed up as forbidden fruit (Romans 7, MSG)
            The rule, the “no”, only increases its appeal
            All we need is a big red button with the words, “Don’t”

Sunday, March 5, 2017

John Wesley: A brand plucked from the burning

H. P. Parker's painting of Wesley's rescue was a way of supporting a dissenting faction of the church. Image courtesy WikiGallery.org.
by Joe Iovino
A servant named Betty went to the nursery to get the youngest children. Picking up the little ones, including Charles who was barely a year old, she called to 5-year-old Jacky (young John Wesley) and told him to follow her to safety. When she arrived in the garden, however, Jacky was missing.
Susanna explains that Betty “left Jacky to follow her, but he, going to the door and seeing all on fire, ran back again.”
Samuel attempted to get to his son several times, only to be beaten back by the flames that now consumed the staircase. Defeated, he returned to the garden convinced Jacky would not be saved. The family knelt and “prayed God to receive his soul,” he later wrote.

Plucked from the burning

“I believe it was just at that time I waked,” John Wesley would write many years later.
Remembering it “as though it were but yesterday,” Wesley recalls yelling for help and going to the door. Finally, he went to the window where “one in the yard saw me.”
With no time to find a ladder, a couple of quick-thinking neighbors did the next best thing. One stood on the other’s shoulders and pulled Jacky through the window “just as the roof fell into the chamber [his room],” Susanna reports.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Scout Sunday (3 of 3)



Thanks again to all who make Scouting happen and to everyone who made our Feb 5 celebration possible.

Eyewitness to Majesty


25-26 Feb 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Transfiguration
Psalm 99 (call to worship)
Matthew 17.1-9 (kids)
2 Peter 1.16-21 (message)

Lots going on in the text
      Defense of Scripture’s authority
            Not simply a human book, but God’s
            “You would do well to pay attention … as to a lamp in dark”
      Report of Jesus’ transfiguration
            As confirmation of prophecy
            As reported by eyewitnesses

An undercurrent yet to be developed:
      “as we made known to you the power and coming of the Lord”
      Coming, Parousia, commonly referred to as 2nd coming, return
            In ancient tradition, was visit to your town by a god/king
            The town turns out to greet the king (rapture), brings in
False teachers deny the Scripture/prophets
      On the grounds that the Parousia has not occurred
      The delay means we cannot trust the Scripture

This is why Peter defends Scripture and confirms it as eyewitness

Wednesday, March 1, 2017