Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Blessing in Christ: Praise of his Glorious Grace (2019-1113 message)



12-13 Jan 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Psalm, Psalm 147
Children, John 1.10-18 (God in disguise in Jesus the Word)
Message, Ephesians 1.1-14

Theme:
Visiting at mom and dad’s. Dad introducing me to his friends. Oh, Doctor to be! My dad’s chest swells a couple sizes when I’m around.

Message:
Ephesians begins with the wonder of Christ Jesus, beyond imagination, “all in all,” our fullness and our destiny. It continues with practical direction on being in Christ. For eight weeks, we are going to study this short letter. One of its marvelous features is its prayers. Repeatedly, Paul offers his prayers for the readers of this letter – prayers for us – and he closes asking for our prayer for him. One of those prayers will be our theme Scripture as a church for 2019:
Ephesians 3:18-21  I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,  21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Baptized into Christ (his story becomes our story)
      Youth and children’s ministry

Monday, January 28, 2019

When Jesus Goes AWOL






29-30 Dec 2018, Christ Mountain Top, Christmas 1
Praying the Psalm, Jeremiah 29.11-14
Children, Luke 15.8-10
Message, Luke 2.41-52

Theme:
Story: Three grandkids were playing at grandma’s, and grandma’s way of watching them was to watch her soaps on TV and then check on the kids when the show was over. Grandpa stopped by – the other grandpa – looked in on the grandma, and told her he was taking the youngest with him. Off they went. When the show was over, she did her regular thing and checked on the kids, only to find that her headcount was off by one. She didn’t remember the other grandpa stopping by – must have been a crucial scene in the show – and the other two kids didn’t get the question right. So … police, fire company, all the neighbors are called – and all are mobilizing to find this boy. Then, the grandpa shows up with the boy, back from their adventure, only to discover the whole community is in a uproar.
      Today, we are considering when Jesus goes AWOL. How is it when it’s Jesus that we’re looking for? How systematic are we in our search? What happens when our system fails and we still haven’t found the child?

Children:
Story of the lost coin

Message:
Story: The town’s orneriest boys who were finally taken to the preacher to put the fear of God in them.  The preacher sits down at his desk, across from the youngest boy, and asks, “Where is God?”  The boys eyes got big and he ran out to his brother.  “We’re in real big trouble this time.  God’s missin’ an’ they think we’ve got something to do with it!”

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday, January 11, 2019

Christmas Eve Reflections Service 2018


Psalm 98
Isaiah 52.7-10
Luke 2.1-7
Luke 2.8-20

Having a baby turns your life upside down
      Sleep
      Social status: No longer important in your own right, just as the parent of the grandchild
      Jesse, when Robin worked weekends

Shepherds?
      “ineligible to be judges or witnesses since frequently they grazed their flocks on other people’s lands. Thus, they were among the type of dishonest people who were excluded from court.” (Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah, 420 f38).
      Who do we consider to be “eligible” for grace?
      Mary’s Song: God fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich empty away

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Blind soccer players with the opportunity of a lifetime


Six students from Murewa United Methodist High School in Zimbabwe have been selected to play in the International Blind Soccer Association’s women’s match in Japan in 2019. Front row, from left, are students Fadzai Kimberley Nyakudya, Chengetai Chipanga and Monalisa Makoma; back row, from left, are Teresa Mharadzirwa, teacher/guide Constance Tendere Munemo, Tanisha Zonde, goalkeeper Gellie Mawarire, Tarumbidzwa Taruvinga, sports director Pilani Nyanhanda and Titus Tsiga. Photo by Chenayi Kumuterera, UMNS.
Six students from Murewa United Methodist High School in Zimbabwe have been selected to play in the International Blind Soccer Association’s women’s match in Japan in 2019. Front row, from left, are students Fadzai Kimberley Nyakudya, Chengetai Chipanga and Monalisa Makoma; back row, from left, are Teresa Mharadzirwa, teacher/guide Constance Tendere Munemo, Tanisha Zonde, goalkeeper Gellie Mawarire, Tarumbidzwa Taruvinga, sports director Pilani Nyanhanda and Titus Tsiga. Photo by Chenayi Kumuterera, UMNS.
By Chenayi Kumuterera
Dec. 12, 2018 | HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS)


Tarumbidzwa Taruvinga, 17, has been blind since birth. A student at Murewa United Methodist High School, she never dreamed she would travel to Japan for a chance to compete in an international blind soccer tournament in Tokyo and Saitama. But now, if she gets enough funding, that is on her 2019 agenda.

“I just want to thank the almighty God for granting me this opportunity,” she said. “Being a firstborn brought up in a visually handicapped family, it’s amazing. 

“I was so excited and could not believe my ears. … My parents were also excited to hear such good news and opportunity in my life.” Her parents, also blind, attended Murewa United Methodist High School as well. 

“I will be glad to return and teach both boys and girls about the rules of blind football and techniques,”  Taruvinga added.

“I keep praying to Jesus for the funding of my trip,” she said. “I would play my best to raise the flag of excellence to my country, school and church.”

Six students from Murewa High School were selected to participate in the Feb. 20-24 soccer match: Taruvinga, Chengetai Chipanga, Kudakwashe Kundishora, Monalisa Makomo, Fadzai Kimberley Nyakudya and Tanisha Zonde. 

Christmas Caroling (1)




Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Christmas Eve Family Service 2018


Psalm 98
Isaiah 52.7-10
Luke 2.1-7
Luke 2.8-20

Having a baby turns your life upside down
      Sleep
      Social status: No longer important in your own right, just as the parent of the grandchild
      Jesse, when Robin worked weekends

Shepherds?
      “ineligible to be judges or witnesses since frequently they grazed their flocks on other people’s lands. Thus, they were among the type of dishonest people who were excluded from court.” (Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah, 420 f38).
      Who do we consider to be “eligible” for grace?
      Mary’s Song: God fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich empty away

Baptism!


Welcome Everly into the family! In the top pic, mom and dad flank the godparents. Congrats! (Dec 9)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Literacy in Angola


Maria Cândida Teixeira (left), the Angolan minister of education, says “more than four million Angolans between the ages of 15 and 35 still do not know how to read or write.” She spoke in Luanda during the signing of an agreement between the ministry of education and The United Methodist Church in Angola to improve literacy. Photo by Orlando da Cruz, UMNS.
Maria Cândida Teixeira (left), the Angolan minister of education, says “more than four million Angolans between the ages of 15 and 35 still do not know how to read or write.” She spoke in Luanda during the signing of an agreement between the ministry of education and The United Methodist Church in Angola to improve literacy. Photo by Orlando da Cruz, UMNS.
By Orlando da Cruz

Oct. 10, 2018 | LUANDA, Angola (UMNS)

The United Methodist Church in Angola is continuing its efforts to fight illiteracy in the country, partnering with the government on a new initiative that will turn its chapels into education centers to teach reading and writing.
The “We Can” partnership was introduced by representatives of United Methodism’s Western Angola Conference and senior officials from the country’s Ministry of Education. Together, they plan to offer literacy classes in churches in the Western Angola Conference, which covers 12 of the country’s 18 provinces.
Current statistics show an illiteracy rate of approximately 23 percent in the southwest African country.
“At present,” said Maria Cândida Teixeira, Angolan minister of education, “more than 4 million Angolans between the ages of 15 and 35 still do not know how to read or write.”
Many factors, she continued, “justify the high number.” Problems such as domestic violence, early pregnancy, crime and prostitution are linked to lack of — or insufficient — education, she noted.
In Angola, the fight against illiteracy dates back to the post-independence era (1975), when about 85 percent of the adult population could not read or write. Since the arrival of missionaries led by Bishop William Taylor in 1885, The United Methodist Church and its predecessors have played a leading role in Angola’s educational system.

Advent Wreath, 4

Advent Trumpet

Tim adds his trumpet to morning worship this past Advent season. Thanks!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Baby Changes the World

Celebrating


The celebration luncheon table (Nov 18), including a 50th birthday for Pastor JP!

Level Up


Thanks to Joe and George for leveling this sagging platform (above the church basement steps) and properly connecting it to the brick wall. Notice, in the top picture, at the top left, how the base of the platform had separated from the walls above. In the top middle, you can see how much the back corner had dropped. It is structurally sound and SAFE once more! Thanks guys.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Eve at the Lord's Table

This prayer for Holy Communion (specifically the Preface and Great Thanksgiving), used on Christmas Eve each year at the Reflections Service, was adapted by Pastor JP Bohanan from the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (from the 4th century Liturgy of Saint James) and the prayer “Adore Te Devote” (attributed to Saint Thomas Aquinas, 1225-1274).


INVITATION: Christ our Lord invites ...

CONFESSION:
Merciful God,
we confess that we have not loved you
            with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
we have broken your law,
we have rebelled against your love,
we have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

            (Prayers of silent confession)

PARDON:
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Glory to God!  Amen.

CALL TO PRAYER:
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

PREFACE:
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood;
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Holy, Holy,
Holy, Lord Most High!

. . . we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
            Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
            Hosanna in the highest!

GREAT THANKSGIVING:
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore
Masked by these bare shadows,
            shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service, low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing,
pierces through the veil.
I believe whate'er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.

Jesus, whom now veiled, I by faith decry,
What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
With the blissful vision blest, my God, of thee.

WORDS OF INSTITUTION:
On the night in which . . .

. . . as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died! 
Christ is risen! 
Christ will come again!

CONSECRATION/epiklesis:

Pour out your Holy Spirit . . .

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Children's Ark Christmas Program



Check out the full photo album!

Covenant Prayer for the New Year


A tradition we annually celebrate close to the New Year, handed down from John Wesley. This year, we did so on Sunday December 30. Happy New Year! And, more importantly, Holy New Year!

Adapted from The United Methodist Book of Worship
and The United Methodist Hymnal

Commit yourselves to Christ.
Give yourselves to him, that you may belong to him.
Christ has many services to be done.
Some are more easy and honorable,
          others are more difficult and disgraceful.
Some are suitable to our inclinations and interests,
          others are contrary to both.                                                                                                                                           
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves.
But then there are other works where we
cannot please Christ,
          cannot love Christ,
          except by denying ourselves.

Let us, therefore, go to Christ, and pray:

I am no longer mine, but yours.
Put me to what you will,
          rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing,
          put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you
          or laid aside for you,
exalted for you
          or brought low for you.
Let me be full,
          let me be empty,
let me have all things,
          let me have nothing.
I freely and with a willing heart
          give it all to your pleasure and disposal.

Christ will be the Savior of his servants.
Christ will have no servants except by consent;
Christ will not accept anything except full consent
          to all he requires.
Christ will be all in all,
or he will be nothing.

God requires that you shall put away all your idols.

From the bottom of my heart,
I renounce them all,
covenanting with you that no known sin
shall be allowed in my life.

Through Christ, God offers to be your God again.

Before all heaven and earth,
          I choose you as my Lord and my God.
I take you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
for my portion,
          and vow to give up myself, body and soul,
as your child,
          to follow you in love and faithfulness
all the days of my life.

Historical Note:
The Covenant Service goes back to the writing of Richard Alleine, a Puritan, whose work was included by John Wesley (the father figure of the Methodist movement) in his reference collection, A Christian Library.  Wesley adapted it for use in worship in 1755 and used the covenant service as he visited the Methodist Societies across the British Isles.  He wrote in his journal that it was regularly “an occasion for a variety of spiritual experiences” including “a sense of pardon,” “full salvation,” and “a fresh manifestation of [God’s] graces.”  While the language is updated and abridged, it remains a series of dramatic and demanding prayers offering total devotion to God in Christ.