Pray Hard

U.S. News and World Report in December of 2004 did a magazine focusing on the power of prayer: Jeffrey L. Shelter wrote in his article, "The Power of Prayer":

"A pierced and tattooed man quietly bows his head at a noisy lunch counter. A child in pink pajamas kneels at her bedside and recites a familiar blessing. A baseball player crosses himself as he steps to the plate on national television. A white-haired woman lights a candle and weeps silently into her handkerchief for her dying husband. A dark-suited minister prays for peace on Earth, and the Congregation in one voice cries out, "Amen."
 
Prayer has become familiar terrain in modern America. It is woven into the daily rhythms of life, its ethos embedded in the public and private experiences of millions. Indeed, a recent Roper poll found that nearly half of all Americans said they pray or meditate every day-far more than those who regularly participate in religious services. Over the centuries, its practitioners have included saints and scoundrels, skeptics and believers, the meek and the mighty-people of every creed and culture and of every station in life who, whether out of pious faith or primal fear, have reached out to a reality greater than themselves. Prayer has been called the native language of the soul and the universal expression of an innate human desire to make contact with the divine.”

I read that article and my heart and mind resonates with its assertion.  But I like many of you are still left to ask the question, “Why?” Why pray?  Does prayer really matter?  Is the time that we spend in prayer worthwhile or is it just wasted time?  Does prayer make any difference?  Is prayer really nothing more than just some sort of pious self-talk?  Does the God of the universe really care about little ol’ me?   Can God possibly care about my prayers?  Why pray if God already knows everything anyway?
 
On Sunday we will be looking deeper into these questions as we dig deeper into this very important aspect of our faith and relationship with God.
 
I will be looking for you on Sunday!
 
Randy

Pray Boldly

This coming Sunday, November 4 is going to be a very special and exciting day in the life of our church!
 
The morning will begin with our Praise Service in the Sanctuary. At that service we will celebrate All Saints Sunday.  The service will feature a special time to remember and honor those in our church family who have gone on to be with the Lord in the past year. We will also share Holy Communion together. 
 
Following the Sunday School hour, the entire congregation will gather in the Fellowship Hall at the 11:00 o’clock hour for Celebration Sunday! Our Stewardship Team has planned a very special morning that will enable the entire congregation to gather as one body for a time to fellowship and to celebrate the many ways God has used our hands to accomplish His plans.
 
This exciting event will feature remarks from our pastors and lay leaders and inspiring music by our Children’s Choir, Praise Teams and Chancel Choir. There will be a special memorial tribute to all of our members who have gone on to be with the Lord in the past year. The morning will conclude with our 2018 God’s Plans…Our Hands Video celebrating the many ways we have seen God working through our church in the past year and the announcement of the results of the stewardship campaign. These and several other surprises will make this a time you won’t want to miss!
 
Please come and join us as we celebrate and give thanks to God for the great things He has done!
 
Other important reminders:

  • In honor of All Saints Sunday please remember to bring a framed picture of those in your life whose legacy has inspired you in your journey of faith that you can add to our display.

  • Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend.  Please do not forget to set your clocks back one hour on Saturday night before you go to bed.

  • Stewardship Commitment Forms:  If you have not yet had the chance to turn in your 2019 commitment form please consider doing that this week.  You may bring it with you on Sunday and place it in the offering plate.  You may also drop it by or mail it in to the church office. Or this year you may also complete a Commitment Form online by clicking the following link to our website: https://www.newcreationumc.org/2019-letter-of-financial-support

 

  • Thank you for your generous support of the work of the church!

 
Randy

Open Handed or Tight Fisted

As we approach Commitment Sunday on October 28 and the climax of our Fall Stewardship Campaign, I hope that you have given some time to prayerfully reflect on the stewardship of the resources that God has entrusted to you.  Stewardship for Christians is a way of life that recognizes that everything we have is God’s, and we are simply managing those resources while here on earth. Through our stewardship, we are the heart, spirit and hands of God, reaching out in love to share with our world.   
 
Hopefully you received the second stewardship mailing last week. The mailing included a letter with important information, a step-up chart, and your 2019 Stewardship Commitment Form.  Recognizing that the Lord calls us to use Our Hands to accomplish His Plans we pray that you will commit to honor Christ through the commitment of your time, talent and treasure in an even deeper way in the year to come.   Please complete the Commitment Form and seal it in the envelope and bring it with you to church on Sunday. You may also mail it in to the church office. This year you may also fill out a Commitment Form online by going to our church website.
 
During the service, together we will present and consecrate our gifts and commitments to the Lord.  This is always a very special and sacred service.
 
Thank you for allowing God to use your hands to accomplish His plans.  We really appreciate your commitment to our congregation!
 
Randy

God's Plans...Our Hands

This week we are beginning the final phase of our year-long stewardship emphasis God’s Plans … Our Hands.  In this campaign we have learned that stewardship for Christians is a way of life that recognizes that everything we have is God’s, and we are simply managing those resources while here on earth. Through our stewardship, we are the heart, spirit and hands of God, reaching out in love to share with our world.  It is this obedience and believing that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.  This is truly how God’s plans are fulfilled through our actions.   
 
We want everyone to experience the joy of sharing meaningfully in the ministry and mission God has called us to. I know that some react to the term stewardship by rolling their eyes and searching for the nearest exit. But that reaction indicates a misunderstanding of the concept. To expect that we won’t talk about stewardship, or that our members won’t encourage one another to practice it, would be like expecting a symphony director and its members not to talk about or encourage one another to play their respective parts.
 
The call to stewardship is the invitation for us to do our part as members of Christ’s Body on earth; to use our hands to accomplish God’s plans. We are not just observers in an audience witnessing the wonderful work of God. We are members of the orchestra who get to and, in fact, are expected to actively participate in that wonderful work. Doing our part so that the great work of God may unfold for the benefit of all—this is stewardship and it is where the joy of living the Christian life is experienced.
 
The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:16, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”  Whether in ways that seem small or significant, whether with gifts that appear miniscule or major, the persistent call is for each of us to simply do our part. God alone knows which gifts are the greatest.  God alone is the one who can turn even the humblest offerings into those that change the world.
 
Randy

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

There is an old expression that goes, “There are two things you cannot avoid, death and taxes.”  Well I think that it would be more accurate to say there are three things you can’t avoid in this life; death, taxes, and temptation.
 
Temptation is something we all have to deal with in our lives.  It is always there.  In fact, someone has said temptation is like a telemarketer, it comes to us when it is least convenient

  • it comes back again and again

  • it keeps pushing even after you say "No"

  • it makes what it is selling sound great . . . but there is always a catch

Someone else asked, "Why is it that opportunity knocks only once . . . but temptation knocks persistently? 
 
This is especially true as we strive to live as Christians and to live a holy and Godly life in this world.  All of us who strive to live a Christian life know what it is like to be tempted.  It’s like the T-shirt that I saw one time.  It said, “Lead me not into temptation - I can find it for myself.”
We all understand that temptation is a part of life.  We also understand that temptation leads to trouble.
 
Jesus understood this, that’s why he concluded the prayer He taught His disciples with these words: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13) Join us on Sunday as we conclude our series on The Lord’s Prayer and as we explore how we can stand strong in the midst of temptation.
 
Randy

Our Daily Bread

Sometimes we can become so familiar with something that it loses its meaning, or we take it for granted. This is especially true with things that we have memorized and repeat often. Things like The Pledge of Allegiance or The Apostles’ Creed. Another one is of course, The Lord’s Prayer. Most of us learned the words of the prayer and memorized them as a child. We repeat those words every Sunday in our worship service. And many of us use it as a part of our daily devotional routine. I fear that the words of that prayer are so familiar to us the words just roll of our tongues sometimes without even pausing to realize their meaning and significance. I am hoping that is beginning to change. 
 
Over the last several weeks we have seen that Jesus was giving us far more than just a recitation to repeat. He was giving us a picture of God. He was helping us to see better come to know and love God.
 
So far we have seen that God is the perfect loving parent; Our Father in heaven. We have looked at the reasons why His name is great and is to be hallowed. Pastor Stephanie helped us see how by doing God’s will we usher in His kingdom here on Earth.
 
This week we will look at the next phrase of the prayer, “Give us today our daily bread.”  Are we merely asking the Lord literally for bread, or even to provide us with food?  What does bread represent?  What does it mean to depend upon God?  Can he truly be trusted to provide for our daily needs?
 
On Sunday we will explore these and other similar questions.  I believe that the truth’s we will share will open up a whole new way of looking at life in those times in life when you’re worried and anxious.  Join us as we learn what it means to trust in God to supply our daily needs.
 
I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday!
Randy

Hallowed Be Thy Name

As most of you know Robin and I are soon to become grandparents for the first time. Our son Robbie and his wife Kelli are expecting their first child near the end of January. To say that we are excited is an understatement! We can hardly wait for that little one to arrive so that we can love and spoil them! In the next week or so, we will have “The Big Reveal Party” where we will all find out if this blessing from God will be a little boy or a little girl.
 
One of the things that we have all enjoyed in this time of anticipation is thinking about names for the baby. Robbie and Kelli have already given this a lot of thought. They have names picked out for both a boy or a girl. The names they have chosen have special meaning for them and will serve as a way to honor and identify that child for their entire life.
 
You know, there's great power in a name. It says who we are, it's what we are known by to all those around us. When you get to know someone, and you learn their name, you learn something deeper about who they are. And there's nothing so powerful as the name of our Lord God. There are over 256 names given in the Bible for Jesus, some used exclusively for Him and some used interchangeably with God the Father.
 
Meditating on God's names helps me to adore Him, to worship Him.  His names represent His character.  Our God is one God, but He is so complex that no one name can adequately capture who He is.  God desires for us to know Him and so He has chosen to reveal Himself through many different names. These names are a gift to us; each one has the power to draw us closer to Him, to help us better understand who He is.  The better we know Him, the more we are able to love and worship Him.
 
This week as we continue our look at the Lord’s Prayer, we will look at the phrase, “Hallowed be Thy name.” I used to think those words were a call to worship and pretty much dismissed them as part of the preface to the actual prayer. I hadn’t realized that they are the first petition (or request) the prayer makes. In those four prayerful words, “Hallowed be thy name,” we are appealing to God to help us keep His commandment about not dishonoring
His name! That sentence, however, means far more than just not cursing or committing perjury after promising to tell the truth.
 
I hope you will join us on Sunday as we explore the question, “Why should I hallow
God’s name?”
 
Randy

Our Father

The Lord’s Prayer.  Most of you have known the Lord’s Prayer; the Our Father, for many, many years.  Maybe when you were a child, you memorized it in Sunday school.  We recite it every Sunday in our worship services.  Most of you can pray it even without thinking about it.  “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth…” and you don’t even think about it.  But these are profound statements. 
 
Actually, The Lord’s Prayer is several prayers. Each phrase is really a prayer in and of itself.  With these familiar words, Jesus not only taught how to pray, but he described the God to whom we are praying. The prayer reveals to us the God He wants us all to know and love! Each of those phrases, if you look at them in detail provide for us powerful picture of who God is but also serve as a means of more profound connection with God and a source of inner peace. 
 
So on Sunday, we’re going to begin a new series of messages taking a detailed look at the Lord’s Prayer.  We will examine each individual phrase and what it means to your life.  I believe that as you begin to better understand the Lord’s Prayer and you don’t just pray it; you live it – it will change your life.
 
This week we will examine the opening phrase of the prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven.”
 
I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday!
Randy
 

He's Still Got the Whole World in His Hands

 

How many of us have listened to the local, national and global news and wondered, “What in the world is going on?”  Just this week there’s been another mass shooting. Political rancor seems to be at an all-time high. There are daily reports of violence in the streets of our neighboring cities. Without a firm foundation of biblical truth, we can easily be overcome with fear and despair.

 

When I was growing up, we used to sing: “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” and I believed it.  I could just picture God’s huge hands holding the world.  Then we grow up, get married, have a family, get a job, and as life starts happening, we slowly lose focus of this.  Careers, problems, bills, responsibilities, and problems grow bigger and bigger.  And as that happens, the hands of God seem to look smaller and smaller. 

 

The good news is God’s hands have not changed.  What happens is our outlook changes.  He still has the whole world in His hands!

 

Do not lose sight of God’s hands.  When the news threatens to dislodge your peace or cause despair, when the ups and downs of daily life cause stress and frustration, remember who holds you in His hands.  Just keep singing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

 

See you Sunday!

 

Randy

 

My Story

We are finishing up an amazing week here at the church.  Each day over 80 youth have filled our building as through worship, study, prayer, missions, and fun around the theme, My Story, No Filter. They have learned that God loves us and cares about us and the story of our lives just the way we are, no filter needed.  As I have witnessed the energy and enthusiasm on the faces of all the youth as they worshipped and listened to our speaker and leaders I have been reminded of God’s unconditional love. As I watched the young people enthusiastically engaging in mission and service activities in our church and community I have been reminded that God calls us to help make a difference in the story of other people’s lives.
 
There are so many people to thank for making this amazing week possible - staff, leaders, and volunteers.  This is what makes our church so amazing; many people using their talents and gifts to reach out to the youth of our community to the honor and glory of God.  The effort of all these dedicated servants has made an impact on the lives of these youth that will not soon fade.
 
A couple of remarkable results have come from Youth Week. Our young people packaged 20,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. This makes 170,000 meals over the last ten years! And on Thursday our youth assembled and packaged 420 hygiene kits that will go to support the work of UMCOR. Finally, 11 young people who did not own a Bible of their own were presented with their very own Bible! The support of this entire congregation makes all of these ministries possible. Thank you!
 
Please plan to join us on Sunday for our Youth Sunday worship services. We will have services at 8:30 and 11:00 am. Our youth will be leading the services and sharing with the entire congregation their passion for the Lord.  The 11:00 AM service will feature one combined service so that the entire New Creation family can worship together and enjoy the service our youth have prepared. Please make a special effort to be here to support them.
 
See you Sunday!
 
Randy

Walking Obediently

Over the last several weeks we have been in a series called Walking in the Way. Jesus once described our faith as walking a road. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” This is what this series has been about; how to walk this road that Jesus points us to; the path that actually leads to life.
 
Each week we have looked at one of the best places to learn how to walk this road, the book of psalms. We have learned how to walk blamelessly with God by staying in community with God’s people and immersing ourselves in God’s Word. We have learned to walk confidently with God even in times of trouble through when we remember His faithfulness and His greatness.
 
This week we are going to look at a third thing the psalms tell us is essential to walking the path that leads to life, walking obediently. Obedience is a difficult word for many of us. We think rules are meant to be broken. We think the speed limit sign is a suggestion. We mix the colors with the whites when we do the laundry. But what about in our walk with Jesus? There have been times in my life when I have walked disobediently with God. And in those times, I’ve found myself on this downhill, easy to walk road, that ultimately leads to a place of utter destruction. But as I walk obediently with God, even though often it is not as easy, I find I’m walking on a road that leads to life; that leads to joy.
 
I hope you will join us as we look at how we can walk obediently with God and be free for this joyful obedience.
 
Randy
 

Walking Confidently

As we strive to walk with God there are times when that walk is easy. The path is smooth and level. The journey is without any obstacle or complication. When everything is going well, it’s easy to believe in God’s faithful love and that He indeed is working out His plans for our lives.
 
But what about when the walk is tough? When things aren’t going well? When the path is hard and steep and fraught with danger and trouble? When our boss berates us, when our kids disobey us, when our spouse ignores us, and when our health fails us, has God abandoned us? Are His plans still in motion? How can we walk confidently even in the midst of all the problems?
 
That is our question this week as we continue our series Walking in the Way. Thankfully we are not alone when it comes to walking through trouble. King David is one of the heroes of the Bible and yet he experienced many times of trouble. He wrote many of the psalms, many of which were songs of lament in the midst of trouble. We will look at one of the most beautiful and powerful of those Psalms, Psalm 138.
 
We often struggle to be thankful and confident when we’re disappointed or hurt. We hold God responsible for our troubles and easily forget all the ways in which He has blessed us. Psalm 138 reminds us of the many reasons we can be genuinely grateful, without a hint of resentment or bitterness, even in the midst of our hardships. As we take a look at this psalm we will find the many reasons that we like David can walk confidently with God even in the midst of troubles.
 
We all face troubles and difficulties in life. We are in one of three camps. We are either coming out of trouble. We are in the midst of trouble. Or whether we know it or not we are heading towards times of trouble. Whatever road you are walking right now this message is for you. We will find that as David even when we are surrounded by trouble, we can confidently say, “Surely the Lord would work out the plans for his life.” How? By reflecting on God’s character.
 
Invite a friend and don’t miss worship this Sunday!
 
Randy

Walking Blamelessly

A Message from the Pastor

Do you like to walk? When we lived in Sterling one of the things I enjoyed was the walking trail that ran behind our parsonage. The W&OD Trail was an old railroad line that had been converted into a public trail. The trail was nicely paved, neatly kept, and well lighted. It ran nearly 45 miles from Shirlington near Washington, DC west through Sterling all the way to Purcellville, VA. I loved being able to walk right out of our back door, take the path cut through the woods and pick up the trail. I logged many miles running and walking along that trail through the years. The walking/running was good physical exercise and the beauty of God’s creation and seeing God’s handy-work was great for one’s spirit. I would often listen to uplifting praise music or spend time in prayer with God.
 
Along the trail, you would meet people of all ages some walking, some running, some riding bikes, some walking dogs, some walking as families and others by themselves. Some seemed to be on a mission as they walked, and others appeared to have no agenda. Some would smile and say “Hi” or ask, “How is your day?” and others wouldn’t even look your way.
 
When I think of “walking,” the similarities between walking physically and walking spiritually are a lot alike. Followers of Jesus often use the phrase “walk with God” to describe their relationship with God. The spiritual journey is a pilgrimage, a walk. Throughout the song and prayer book of the Bible, the Book of Psalms, the songwriters and poets use “walk” to describe this reality as well.
 
In these next four weeks of July, we at New Creation will look at four dynamics of this “walk with God.” We will examine four of the most well-known psalms in the Bible and explore what they teach us about walking in the Way.
 
This week we will begin the series with a look at Psalm 1 and how it teaches us to “Walk Blamelessly.” I pray that you will join me in praying for this week’s message as we begin this new series and I pray that you invite your friends and family to join us each week.
 
Randy
 

The Paradox of Freedom

A Message from the Pastor

On Wednesday of next week, on the 4th of July we will celebrate our nation’s 242nd birthday. It was nearly two and a half centuries ago that the United States of America was born. A nation based on the ideals of liberty, responsibility, Godliness, and the freedom to become what God intended us to become was a new and revolutionary idea.

The celebration of our nation’s birthday is really a celebration of freedom. We celebrate the precious gift of freedom we have because of the price others paid. You see, we must remember that freedom isn’t free. Freedom is very expensive. It has come to us because of the blood of many brave men and women shed in defense of our freedom. It has cost some people everything, including their lives. Freedom isn’t free, but it is infinitely valuable.
 
On Sunday we will exercise our freedom and gather to worship here in God’s house at New Creation UMC.  As we do we will celebrate another form of freedom; a freedom that has also been purchased for us by the shedding of blood; the blood of God’s only Son.  Scripture says, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35-36)

On Sunday we will remember and celebrate His sacrifice that offers us that freedom as we observe Holy Communion.  If you want to be truly free, free from all that has tied your life down and buried you under a mountainous weight of fear and guilt, then this Sunday’s message is for you.

See you on Sunday!

Randy
 

Shipwrecked

Have you ever been out to sea during a storm? A storm feels much more intense when you are at the mercy of the sea, being tossed about, unsure if you will ever see blue skies again. In our scripture from Acts, Paul and other prisoners find themselves in a big storm at sea. They spent 15 days in a horrible storm until they are shipwrecked.
 
Maybe you haven't been in a shipwreck on sea, but perhaps you have felt shipwrecked due to a broken relationship, life not turning out like you had planned, finances sinking you, grief overwhelming you, or an illness sapping you. These storms seem just as intense as a storm on the water, leaving you without much hope.
 
Paul models for us how to face a storm head on, by keeping his trust and faith in Christ. Beginning on Sunday evening our Vacation Bible School participants will be looking at how Jesus rescues us from the shipwreck. Please be in prayer for our Vacation Bible School leaders, volunteer, children and their families as they discover God's love in amazing ways.
 
Rosemary Dorow will be bringing the message at our Modern service, about Doing a New Thing and sharing a new endeavor our church is undertaking called Next Level Innovations. We look forward to worshiping our amazing God with you.
 
Blessings,
 
Stephanie

Doing a New Thing

A Message from the Pastor

 
This weekend I along with Pastor Stephanie and our other lay delegates will be attending the 2017 Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference in Hampton.  This is a very significant time in the life of the church as clergy and lay delegates from all over the conference convene to do the business of our Conference. 

Each year when conference arrives it is a wonderful mix of business and inspiration.  This year will be no different.  The theme of this year’s conference is “Servant Leaders Making a Difference;” guided by the scriptural passage of 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

It is such a blessing to be a part of this great conference of the United Methodist Church and to see the amazing things God is doing through our church here in Virginia and around the world.  I pray that God will continue to inspire us to do our part to further the work of His kingdom here in our Western Branch community and united with our sisters and brothers all around the world.

On Sunday we will have one of New Creation’s servant leaders, Rosemary Dorow, share the message at our Praise and Traditional services. Rosemary heads up our 2020 Vision Task Force. She will be introducing the congregation to a new and exciting process called Next Level Innovations (NLI) that our church has been chosen to participate in that will incorporate the work already accomplished by the Task Force and help us identify and implement some innovations that will propel our church into an even greater future of dynamic ministry. You will not want to miss her presentation!

See you Sunday
Randy

The Provision of the Holy Spirit

To follow Jesus, one must be a disciple, ambassador, and member.  Following Jesus is more than just believing in him, it is belonging.  Believing without belonging makes us spiritual orphans!  To truly realize what it means to follow Christ, we need to be part of a church family.  The church is the body of Christ.  A member is only valuable when it is connected to the body.  Therefore, if we truly want to realize the power of Jesus in their lives, we must be connected to a church family.  Many see the church as a building or an event, but more than that, it is a family in relationship with God.  There is a significant difference between attending a church service and being a member of a church family. 
 
This week as we continue our series Catch the Spirit we are going to be looking at one of greatest gifts that the Holy Spirit provides in our lives; the gift of a spiritual family. As we allow ourselves to be filled with the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit then we have a bond of unity with other believers.
 
The early church is a powerful example of this. We read in Acts 2:42-47 that after Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles there was an overwhelming since of unity. In those powerful verses we catch a glimpse of the Spirit’s provision:

  •  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”
  •  “They devoted themselves…to the fellowship”
  • “They devoted themselves… to the breaking of bread”
  •  “They devoted themselves…to prayer”
  •  “They gave to anyone as he had a need…”
  •  “They praised God and enjoyed the favor of all the people”

 
And the scripture tells the result was nothing short of miraculous: “Everyday, the number in their group continued to grow as the Lord added those who were being saved.”
 
You cannot truly follow Jesus without being connected in relationship to a church family.  Others may feel that they don’t need to be connected, but they will never be able realize Christ in their lives without a group to belong to.  You can’t be a football player without belonging to a team. You can’t be a soldier without belonging to a platoon.  You can’t be a bee without belonging to a hive.  Who do you know who claims to know Christ but does not belong to a church family? 
 
Join your church family in worship this Sunday as we Catch the Spirit!
 
Randy

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Did you know:  That yesterday, May 24 was a special day in United Methodist History?  Two hundred eighty years ago on May 24, 1738, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement, “Went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street (London), where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
 
That experience not only transformed Wesley’s heart, but it also ignited a movement from which our theological and doctrinal heritage as Methodists was born.
 
Wesley’s “heart-warming” experience seems very similar to me of the experience that the disciples had as they gathered together 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection on the Day of Pentecost. Suddenly they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind. They saw tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. These were miraculous signs of the gift that Jesus had promised, the gift of the Holy Spirit. And as with Wesley the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit changed everything!
 
This group of frightened, uneducated disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit then went on to change the world by sharing the message of the Good News of the gospel.
 
Do you ever wish you could have that kind of power in your life? The good news is that you can. The truth is that Pentecost is your birthright as a follower of Jesus. Here’s what Paul says in Romans. He says, “The very same power, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)
 
This Sunday we will begin a three-part message series entitled, Catch the Spirit. We will be talking about the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This week we will look at the power that the Spirit gives us.
 
Please also take time this weekend to stop and to say a prayer for all our troops and their families.  Pray a special prayer of thanksgiving for those who have made the ultimate
sacrifice and their families who mourn.  If you are not traveling, I hope you will join us for worship on Sunday as we will be observing Memorial Day with a special litany and prayer
of remembrance.
 
Randy

Pentecost

Fifty days after Jesus' resurrection, the disciples experienced another holy and crazy event on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down to earth in the form of a mighty, rushing wind and as tongues of fire. Jesus had promised throughout his ministry the Holy Spirit was coming to be with the disciples until the end of the age, and finally this promise came true. 


Join us at our 8:30 a.m. praise service as we look at the scripture from Acts that describes the first Pentecost and as we explore how we continue to benefit from the Holy Spirit. 
 
Our confirmation students will be leading us in worship at our 11 a.m. blended service in the Sanctuary as they are confirmed in the faith and become full members of the church. What a celebration for our church, as many have taught these young people and nurtured them in the faith, and now they are ready to take the vows of membership for themselves.
 
Please wear red, a color used to symbolize the Holy Spirit, as we celebrate all God is doing in and among us. We worship an amazing God who continues to transform each of us through the Holy Spirit!
 
Pastor Stephanie

 

A Model of Motherhood

t was Sunday at church and a little girl was to recite the Scripture that she had memorized for the occasion.  When she got in front of the congregation, the sight of hundreds of eyes staring at her caused her to freeze and forget her memory verse.
 
Every line that she had so carefully rehearsed faded from her mind and she stood there unable to utter a single word.  Sitting there in the front row, her mother was almost as frantic as the little girl.  The mother gestured, moving her lips, trying to form the words for the child, but it did no good.
 
Finally, the mother in desperation whispered the opening phrase of the memorized Scripture: “I am the light of the world…”
 
Immediately the child’s face lit up with a smile, as she stood tall and now said with supreme confidence: “My mother is the light of the world.”
 
Sunday is Mother’s Day; a day that we set aside once a year to honor mothers, a day to show our appreciation and gratitude to the one who has given up so much of their lives for you and me.
 
But you know mothers deserve more than just one day to honor all that they mean to us. Moms these days have a pretty tough job, don’t they? They have to juggle all of the responsibilities of children, home, family, community, work, school, church. Mother’s doctor us when we are sick. They console us when we are hurt. They comfort us when we are afraid. They love us with an unconditional love.
 
John Killinger in his book Lost in Wonder, Love and Praise includes the following affirmation:
“I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity. I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of him, both in this life and in the next.”
 
I hope that each of you will pause a truly thank God for the wonderful gift that he has given each of us in our mothers.  They are truly a light in our world!  Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!  We love you!!

Randy