Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Worship - Live Online 2020-0329

The building is closed but the ministry goes on! We will hold one live service this weekend which will be available to be watched or re-watched at the same link. Hope to see you then!



Participating in online worship:
  • If you have a joy to share, please send me a photograph in advance. We may include it in the service.
  • YouTube has a live chat available, so be sure to give a shout out to say you’re there and to greet a friend. You can also use it to post prayer concerns, just like we do when we register in worship.
  • If you cannot participate live, you can watch (or rewatch) it later at any time.
  • Give your offering via mail, your bank’s bill pay system, or PayPal on our website. 
  • Some of us are struggling financially. Please be sure to let me know of any personal needs.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Social Distancing Easter Egg Hunt


Beginning March 29th.

Please join us in a social distancing Easter Egg Hunt.

Have your children or yourself cut out and decorate Easter Eggs to hang in your window.

Take a walk around your neighborhood and see how many Easter Eggs you can find.
Exercise is still allowed during the "Stay at Home" declaration.
Remember to maintain Social Distancing for safety.

Invite your friends and neighbors to participate.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and have a Happy Easter!

Stained Glass Windows

Hi, everyone! We miss our friends from Sunday school and choir, so we want to have a United Methodist Church Facebook Challenge: Stained Glass Windows! Please design, paint, and post a picture of your artwork. We used painters tape and washable paint. If you do not have washable paint, you can add a few drops of dish soap to non-washable paint and it should wipe off. Test a small area first! ~ Jacque

Please pass this fun challenge on to friends and neighbors. Let's make our world a more beautiful place! ~ Pastor JP

You can post pictures of your windows to the Facebook event on our page.




Books - Jabberwocky

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Elementary #2, Wind 2020-0308



7-8 Mar 2020, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 121 (inserted, see below)
Children, Genesis 12.1-4 (Abram called to leave)
Message, John 3.1-17 (born again, Spirit/wind goes where it wills)
Mission Moment, Kids program at Sherman Hills

Last week we began our Lent message series, Elementary, with the theme “Word.” We heard the temptation of Jesus and the temptation of Eve and Adam. Those in the paradise garden put a higher value on what they desired than on the Word God had given. Jesus, faced with the Bible-thumpin’ devil, declared that he needed the Word more than bread, more than adoration and respect, more than power to make the world better. We discussed how important discernment is for life, and how our discernment, and our victory over temptation, is shaped by being honest with ourselves and having a mind renewed through the Word. In our worship visual center, we had a collection of Bibles.
       Today we continue this series with the theme Wind. “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3.8). In the Greek text, the word for Spirit and the word for wind are the same word, pneuma. Father Abram is called to leave and go to “a land I will show you.” “You do not know where it comes from or where it is going.” In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes of Abraham and Christ and tells us that righteousness comes not by works but by faith, by the kind of faith that embraces uncertainty and steps out into the unknown trusting only in God. The psalm assures us that the Lord will protect your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and forever more. In our visual center today we have one hand held fan and a bunch of paper with the text of John 3.8 that you are invited to fold into accordion fans: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
       Upcoming weeks will see the themes of Water, Light, Life, and Death. Then, Easter!
Years ago, in a small group that was reading through John’s gospel together, one of the young women in the group gasped as we worked on this story from John 3: This means that if I trust in Jesus a new life is possible, a life eternal, a life like God’s! Exactly! That is what it means to be “born of the Spirit.” That is what it means to “leave your land, your people, your father’s house.”
       Yet, so often, we do not believe that this is possible. We do not believe that a new life is possible. We feel trapped in cycles of abuse, poverty, crime, depression, addiction, mental health struggles, job loss, grief, loss of memory, hostility, a divided nation and culture. We feel trapped in our own lives with no way out, stuck in a prison that is partly of our own making.

Books - Old Black Fly

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Elementary #4, Light, 2020-0322


The message starts about 15:48. The entire service is included in the video.

Praying the Scripture, Psalm 23
Message/Kids, 1 Samuel 16.1-13, John 9.1-41
Mission Moment, UMCOR Sunday video

Theme Introduction (at the beginning of the service):
Light shows up throughout today’s Scripture passages. In the psalm, we travel through the valley of the shadow of death, and we need light. In 1 Samuel, we get a delightful story about the prophet Samuel, called a “seer” in the story. Even though he is called a “seer,” he can’t “see straight.” He needs the word of God to guide him. And, yes, the word play is in the original Hebrew text. In John’s gospel, Jesus opens the eyes of a blind man who actually “sees” – more clearly than those who have always had sight – who Jesus is.

So, this week, I encourage all you kids, and all you kids at heart, to play with light and sight:
       Make silly or scary faces with the flashlight in the dark
       Make shadow puppets on the wall
       Use mirrors to move light around a corner in your home
       Take turns wearing a blindfold and guiding each other around an obstacle course in your yard or living room
       Align two distant object, like table legs or trees, with one eye, then switch eyes
       Get the laser pointer out and play with the cat

I also want to introduce you to a prayer, a way to pray the first line of the 23rd psalm: “The LORD is my shepherd.” These five words are a huge claim to make in anxious and uncertain times. When I was a kid, both of my older siblings had to have surgery for broken eardrums. Our pastor taught them to pray that line by counting out the words on their fingers, saying them as they go, and clasping the pointer finger on the word “my.” [Demonstrate.]

Message:
Uncertainty in our world – fear, anxiety
       Stores are still out of toilet paper
Pursuing a false certainty

Methodist History



Thanks to George for pics from his travel.

Sunday Worship - Live Online!

The building is closed but the ministry goes on!
We will hold one live service this weekend which will then be available to be watched or rewatched at the same link. Hope to see you then!


The service will be livestreamed on YouTube. It’s our first run through on a large scale (other than small tests) and we may have a few glitches, but we will meet together with Jesus no matter what. The worship service will also be available on YouTube at the same link, and on our website, to view afterwards. 


Participating in online worship:
  • If you have a joy to share, please send me a photograph in advance. We may include it in the service.
  • YouTube has a live chat available, so be sure to give a shout out to say you’re there and to greet a friend. You can also use it to post prayer concerns, just like we do when we register in worship.
  • If you cannot participate live, you can watch (or rewatch) it later at any time.
  • Give your offering via mail, your bank’s bill pay system, or PayPal on our website. This Sunday is One Great Hour of Sharing (UMCOR Sunday), and you can make a special gift through PayPal for this purpose as well.
  • Some of us are struggling financially. Please be sure to let me know of any personal needs.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Prague pastor goes where God sends him

The Rev. Lev Shults (right), pastor of the Russian-speaking Agape United Methodist Church in Prague, visits a tattoo parlor. Shults believes you cannot always wait for people to come to church, the church needs to also go to the people. Photo by Urs Schweizer, Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.
The Rev. Lev Shults (right), pastor of the Russian-speaking Agape United Methodist Church in Prague, visits a tattoo parlor. Shults believes you cannot always wait for people to come to church, the church needs to also go to the people. Photo by Urs Schweizer, Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe.
By Urs Schweizer
Feb. 21, 2020 | PRAGUE, Czech Republic (UM News)
As leader of the only Russian-speaking United Methodist congregation in the Czech Republic, Pastor Lev Shults knows about the need for reconciled cooperation across the borders of cultures and nations. That is why he calls it a blessing that in his church, Russians and Ukrainians — despite the antagonism between their countries of origin — share a common journey. 

“I believe that Christians coming from different countries should always be able to find common ground in Jesus Christ,” he said. But he is also aware of reality: “Unfortunately, not every Russian or Ukrainian church can claim the same.”
 
Shults isn’t blinded by an idealistic view of a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. His great-grandfather was persecuted for his faith, accused of being an enemy of the people, sentenced to death on Stalin's orders and executed by firing squad in 1937. His father, pastor of two Russian parishes, was a German prisoner of war for three years. But Shults, too, dedicates his life to the proclamation of the Gospel. 

“I am convinced that as a pastor and a missionary, I carry a certain responsibility to use every opportunity that God opens up to me to share the Gospel,” he said.

He founded Agape United Methodist Church in Prague in late 2017, joining 22 other Czech-speaking churches in the country. There are about 100,000 Russian-speaking people living in the area of capital city Prague, though most of them do not attend any local church. Shults’ church currently has about 30 members, and he makes a point to go outside the church walls to create relationships with the surrounding community.

“If we make ourselves available to the Lord for his use, he will bring us in touch with all kinds of people, from the famous and respected to the simple and despised,” Shults said. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Word (Elementary #1)



29 Feb-1 Mar 2020, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 32, p 766
Children, Genesis 2.15-17, 3.1-7 (Adam & Eve, command and temptation)
Message, Matthew 4.1-11 (Jesus tempted)

Today we begin our Lent message series, Elementary. Elementary because we are looking at the weekly texts through the lens of a very basic and central image. This week, our image is Word. It shows up in the story of the first humans, who receive a Word from God that they go on to ignore. It shows up in the Jesus story and he and the Devil both quote from the Word.
       Each week, we’re going to try to have some kind of visual display that fits the theme. This week’s display is a set of Bibles, some of them quite fragile. I encourage you to take some time to look at them before you leave.
       Upcoming weeks will see the themes of Wind, Water, Light, Life, and Death. Then, Easter!

So, I go to the drug store to get some saline nasal spray. Only, it isn’t where it should be. It’s on the very bottom shelf so that you have to see unnecessary and more expensive remedies before you ever notice the simple thing.
       And, when I finally do find them, the traditional squeeze bottle is out of stock. Instead, I find weird looking dispensers that look like a mini Reddi Whip cannister. And I’m supposed to stick that up my nose? Then, you read the ingredients and it’s not plain saline. It’s saline with some extra drug, some enhancer. But I really didn’t come to the drug store to get drugs, just plain old saline nasal spray. Then I discover, for the naturalists, there’s saline with grapeseed extract. Nope. Not for me. I’m not the essential oils “type,” if there is a type.
       I know, I know. If you add some lemon balm oil and essence of nard to that grapeseed extract and rub it on your temples it will cure your headaches. Nope. Not for me. So I pass up the grapeseed extract and finally find pure and simple saline nasal spray. Only it’s in this weird cannister that looks like a soda can mated with a turkey baster. And that’s just what you get.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Offering Hope in Kenya's Slums

Grace Wall from Clarksbury United Methodist Church in Harmony, N.C., teaches students at New Hope Education Center how to brush and floss their teeth effectively. The primary school, run by Huruma United Methodist Church, supports orphans and other vulnerable children in the Mathare Valley slums on the eastern side of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by Gad Maiga, UM News.
Grace Wall from Clarksbury United Methodist Church in Harmony, N.C., teaches students at New Hope Education Center how to brush and floss their teeth effectively. The primary school, run by Huruma United Methodist Church, supports orphans and other vulnerable children in the Mathare Valley slums on the eastern side of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by Gad Maiga, UM News.
By Gad Maiga
Feb. 25, 2020 | NAIROBI, Kenya (UM News)

Huruma United Methodist Church’s primary school is providing new hope and opportunities for vulnerable children living in the Mathare Valley slums on the eastern side of Nairobi.
More than half a million households reside in an area that is roughly half a square mile. Children who are not in school through eighth grade often are consumed by a culture of gangs, drugs, prostitution and other criminal activity.
Every year, about 13,000 young girls from Mathare leave school permanently due to pregnancy, according to Kenya’s Centre for the Study of Adolescence.
There are an estimated 70,000 children in the Mathare Valley, with only three to four schools to educate them, according to Collaborative Upgrading Plan research conducted by the University of Nairobi and University of California in 2011.
Since 2016, the church’s New Hope Education Center has been providing educational and psychosocial support to orphans and other vulnerable children.
Gilbert Songoi, New Hope head teacher, said the children and the school face numerous obstacles.
“Having kids attend school is a mammoth task … Most students miss classes due to bad weather and illness, lack of school fees, family reasons and work-related activities.
“Some parents sell their children's textbooks in order to satisfy their desire for drinking, and others to buy food. Many pupils are orphans and cannot even afford basic items used in school.”
The Rev. Davies Musigo, senior pastor at Huruma United Methodist Church and the coordinator of New Hope Education Center, said the school aims to offer basic education to children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
“Last year, we rescued three street kids.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Crossing the river to the Congo

Central Congo Bishop Daniel Lunge is extending his evangelism efforts across the Congo River to help establish a United Methodist presence in the Republic of Congo.
The bishop met with Christian Ntondele, a graduate of Cameroon’s Protestant University of Central Africa, in Kinshasa on Feb. 13 to talk about the next steps in bringing the first church to this central African country, also known as Congo-Brazzaville or the Congo Republic.
Brazzaville, the capital, is on the Congo River opposite Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Lunge serves.
The Rev. Collins Etchi Ako, a United Methodist Board of Global Ministries missionary assigned to the East Congo Episcopal Area, initiated the meeting between Ntondele and Lunge.
He said the bishop had expressed a desire to evangelize in the neighboring Republic of Congo. Ako, originally from Cameroon, also is a graduate of Protestant University, where he met both Lunge and Ntondele at different times.
“This was an opportunity for me to help build a bridge between Dr. Ntondele and The United Methodist Church in the DRC. After spending close to six years in Cameroon and actively participating in the implantation of The United Methodist Church (there), I knew this was an opportunity for Dr. Ntondele to realize his dream of implanting The United Methodist Church in the Republic of Congo,” Ako said.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Acolytes Lead Us

Our acolytes lead us - and our children learn to lead - in worship!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Where the Wise, Being With #6



22-23 Feb 2020, Christ Mountain Top
Praying the Scripture, Psalm 27, pp 758-759
       Sung response (as in the hymnal)
Children, Jeremiah 9.23-24 (things we brag about)
Message, 1 Corinthians 1.17-31 (wise, strong, etc.)

Story: What kind of church are you? “All about Jesus.”

Did I put the scandal of Jesus front and center? Jesus is wonderful, and I want everyone to know him and love him. He will change your life. And he will rock your world. That’s why there’s scandal. The Greek word for “stumbling block” is scandalon, the root from which we get our English word scandal.

Today we conclude our message series that I have titled “Being With.” Each week we have approached the text from the focus point of a particular question in the text. The first week, it was the question of John the baptizer to Jesus when Jesus came for baptism: “Do you come to me?” The question points out that Jesus chooses to identify with outsider sinners, that he has “friends in low places.” The second week, the questions were those to the man and woman in the garden and then to one of their sons: “Where are you?” “Where is your brother?” These questions expose our basic conflicts with God and with each other and call us to the practice of reconciliation in conflict. Then we had “Where is the house you will build for me?” This question from the prophet points out that God’s dwelling place is among us, that we are God’s house. And even if we are fixer-uppers, God is not waiting to move in. Then, “When did we… see you?” That story calls us to see Jesus, to meet Jesus, in the poor and marginalized and to be with them. Last week, “Aren’t you concerned?” a question that exposes the ways we are self-obsessed and completely oblivious to those whom we are with, even oblivious to being with Jesus himself.
       Today’s question is “Where the Wise?” It exposes the scandal of Jesus and the cross and invites us to be with God and each other in fresh ways.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Breakfast Club

Youth gathering for breakfast on a January Sunday at the Chalet. Contact Kim Carpenter, Ric Aguayo, or Robin Erchinger for info.

Monday, March 2, 2020