Sin

In our 5:17 Breakthrough Prayer we have been asking for God to, “Breakthrough in our lives and in our church.” God has been answering that prayer! This week we want to begin sharing with you some of the Breakthrough Testimonies we have received from members of our congregation. The first one below comes from Terry Rivenbark:

When visiting my mom who lives in a nearby “super senior” residence, I always read passages from the Upper Room before leaving. Recently, I have also started reading her one of 120 daily readings from Billy Graham’s book “Breakfast with Billy Graham.”  Pastor Randy and Pastor Stephanie’s first 2019 sermon on January 6 (which was My relationship with God) introduced us to 5:17 where the focus is on how we can become a new person, or new creation in Christ.

 Back to my mom…

On my first visit with my mom after their sermon, I randomly opened Billy Graham’s book and started reading “Christ Made Me Want to Change.”  After a few moments I realized this is 5:17! He even quoted 2 Corinthians 5:17 later in the reading!  Rev. Graham wrote that after he accepted Christ he became interested in helping people, which he had never done before. He also started looking at people in a different way. In closing he stated that Christ will change the way you think and thus you will become a new creation. Just think if 5:17 was instrumental in changing Billy Graham’s life and helped him to bring so many to Christ, then the possibilities must be endless for us at New Creation! 

As a believer this has to be God speaking to me and not just a coincidence. I was flabbergasted!  God just challenged me to change and to be a better person! I have accepted the challenge and started working on becoming a better me. Now I must say that the jury is still out on my improvements.  However, I know that because of Christ, I am a new creation!

If you have seen breakthroughs in your life, we would love to hear from you! Please email Pastor Randy or Pastor Stephanie with your story.

 

Grace

A message from the Pastor


This week we enter the season of Lent. This is a season to deepen our devotion to God and to add a new discipline to our routine. Last week we challenged you to take our Breakthrough Prayer to a deeper level by giving you 5:17 Prayer Timers and asking you to spend 5 minutes and 17 seconds each day in prayer. We hope you are using those to intensify your prayer for breakthrough in your life and in our church.

Each week in Lent we want to share a “Timer Tip” from one of our members to encourage you in this Lenten Discipline. This week’s Timer Tip comes from one of our Lay Leaders, Michael Strickland:
 
Friends - After several weeks of praying the Breakthrough Prayer at least twice a day, and as we now move into a new phase of using the 5:17 minute prayer timer, I want to develop a more complete understanding of what this prayer can mean to me and the life of our church.  So, as I consider how to incorporate the 5:17 timer into this prayer innovation, I am moved to do the following.   
 
The Breakthrough Prayer comprises 5 sentences that begin:
 
1.  Almighty God, today breakthrough...
2.  Make us...
3.  Transform us...
4.  Show us...
5.  Give us....
 
I want to spend at least 1 minute each day more deeply meditating on each of those sentences and listening for God's voice and God's wisdom as to what each sentence means to me and New Creation today.  I believe this will result in a more personal attachment to these wonderful words and a path forward to service, whatever form that may take.  Only God knows what breakthroughs await!
 
May you have a great week as you decide how to use this with your timer for prayer!

Randy

Good News

A message from the Pastor

The birth of a new baby. A wedding or engagement. When something exciting happens in our life, we want to share the good news with others. We may put an announcement in the newspaper, call or text a friend, or update our social media status. Modern-day technology makes it easier than ever to share our announcements with people all over the world. When we have good news, it is hard to keep it to ourselves.
 
Whether face-to-face or through social media, we are not ashamed to share the latest happenings in our lives. Shouldn’t we be even more excited to share the message of God’s great love and grace with the world? Events such as births, engagements, and weddings are certainly exciting, but what better news could there be to share than the good news of Jesus and His salvation?
  
Paul declared that he was unashamed to proclaim the gospel. He understood the power of the gospel message in bringing God’s eternal salvation to all who put their faith in Christ. With the Spirit’s empowerment, the bold apostle would let nothing deter him from proclaiming the powerful message that people so desperately need. Centuries later, the same gospel message still has the power to transform lives. Let’s not be ashamed to testify to the good work God is doing in our lives and our world today.
 
Join us on Sunday as we begin a brand-new series that will take us through the season of Lent where each week, we will explore the core elements of the good news of the gospel from our Wesleyan Methodist perspective and how to live it and give it away to others.
 
Randy

Joining The Lord

A message from the Pastor

As followers of Christ we are constantly surrounded and even bombarded with the needs of others. There are physical and spiritual needs crying all around us. The physical needs are not only in far-off places where political unrest, civil war, earthquakes, floods, famines and other natural disasters take many lives and leave thousands homeless.

But we also have a responsibility to meet the needs "at home." There are many physical and spiritual needs right in our community, in our schools, in our work place, our neighborhood and our church. In fact, when we take off the blinders, we find that there are so many needs around us that we don't know where to begin! The problems seem so gigantic and complicated and hopeless and frightening that we get discouraged and end up doing little or nothing.

What can we do? What should we do? The answers to those two important questions are given to us in one of Jesus’ most famous miracles; the miracle of the feeding of the 4000 thousand. This miracle is a separate event from the feeding of the 5000.

Once again, Jesus sees the large group of people who had gathered, and his heart was filled with compassion. The disciples are perplexed as to what to do in this situation. Imagine the disciples' thinking and reasoning at this point! "Hey, wait a minute, Lord. This isn't our responsibility! These people came over here on their own, without any food or forethought. Why should we get involved in bailing them out? Look at the magnitude of the need! We just don't have the resources! Jesus asks, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” And once again, Jesus took what the disciples had to offer and multiplied it to meet the needs of all the people in abundance.

The lesson for us is clear. "Give what you have." We are not expected to give what we don't have, but we are expected to give what we do have! As we strive to love the 757, that is what we must do. Our responsibility is to give what we have to Him--no more but no less! The little we have can meet the greatest need when it is given to Christ and then multiplied by Him.

See you Sunday,

Randy

Engaging With My Neighbor

On the 15th of May, in the Jungle of Nool, In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,        He was splashing… enjoying the jungle’s great joys… When Horton the elephant heard a            small noise.”
 
These are the classic opening lines of the Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who, which is a tremendous story about an elephant named Horton who one day discovers and hears this small community of creatures living on a speck of dust called “Whos”.  And Horton is convinced of their existence and he hears them.  And the story tells of him persevering and promising and vowing to care for and protect these small creatures called Whos amidst persecution and harassment from Sour Kangaroos and a gang of monkeys and a vulture named Vlad. 
 
And he does.  He protects them.  One of the driving motivations, one of the driving sayings, one of the driving truths that motivates and pushes Horton is this: “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

You know this phrase seems to be a truth that comes out of the very heart of Jesus, doesn’t it?  Perhaps our Savior might say, “A person is worthy of love…no matter how small.”  Or maybe, “A person is worthy of love…no matter how large; no matter how poor.  No matter how smelly.  No matter how ugly or mean.  No matter what color their skin or what language they speak.”

This week we continue our series Loving the 757. We will look at how we can follow the example of Jesus and engage with people around us in a way that enables them to know that we care. We will also look at the early church and the approach that they took to reach out to persons great and small.

Randy

Praying for my Neighbor

Coca-Cola is one product that has far outgrown its humble beginnings. In 1886, Dr. John Pemberton first introduced Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. The pharmacist concocted a caramel-colored syrup in a three-legged brass kettle in his backyard. He first "distributed" Coca-Cola by carrying it in a jug down the street to Jacobs’s Pharmacy.

 

After little more than 130 years later, surveys show that 97% of the world has heard of Coca-Cola. 72% of the world has seen a can of Coca-Cola. 51% of the world has tasted a can of Coca-Cola. All due to the fact that the company made a commitment years ago that everyone on the planet would have a taste of their soft drink.

 

We should stand up and take note here! 97% of the world has heard of this sugar and water concoction while 2 billion people worldwide have no access to the good news of Jesus Christ! It is estimated that 17 million people die every year without having heard the name of Jesus! 

 

This Sunday we will continue our series Loving the 757. There are many persons right here in our community who do not know the good news of Jesus. There are many people who are hurting, seeking, and searching for something or someone to fill the void in their lives. We believe that Jesus is the answer and that, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation!”

 

How do we spread the word about who Jesus is and what he does in our lives? How do we live so that our lives are a living testimony to the Good News of the Gospel?  What are we doing as a church to spread the word so that the people in our community can “taste and see that the Lord is good?” (Psalm 34:8)

 

Randy

 

Raising the Temperature

A message from the Pastor


2019 is off to an awesome start at New Creation! As we began the new year, we introduced our 5:17 Breakthrough Prayer. We want to thank you for making that a part of your daily routine! We believe there is tremendous power when God’s people join together in prayer. Many of you have shared with us how praying that prayer has impacted your life.
 
During the month of January our 5:17 sermon series focused on the first portion of the Breakthrough Prayer: “Make us a new creation. Transform us by the power and presence of your Holy Spirit.” We found that God and His Word is full of wisdom and direction to transform us, to make us a new creation in just about every area of life; our relationship with the Lord, our time, our health, and our finances.
 
As we move into the month of February, we are going to focus our attention on the next portion of the prayer. The Breakthrough Prayer continues, “Show us how to make a difference in our community and in the world.” If we truly mean what we pray as we offer these words, it leads us to ask ourselves some important questions: How well do we know our community? Who are our neighbors? Do we see them the way Jesus sees them? Do we really care about hurting people?  Are we convinced that everyone we know, without exception, needs to find the forgiveness, friendship, life, and leadership Jesus offers?  Do we really believe that?  If so, are we willing to take risks to share that good news with them?  And are we willing to invest our time, energy, and resources in developing a church that will attract, challenge, and teach them to step across that line of faith?
 
Join us on Sunday as we begin a new series entitled Loving the 757 as we explore some of these important questions.
 
As part of the series we challenge you to add to your daily 5:17 prayer a time to intentionally pray for our community. A guided prayer calendar is being provided to help you target your prayers.
 
Randy

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

ike most pastors, I’m always reading—books to help me with sermon prep—books dealing with church leadership and growth—books for Bible studies—books for my own personal spiritual growth—and sometimes a book for just plain fun. A few years ago, for one of my “fun reads” I read John Grisham’s novel, King of Torts. If you’ve read it, then you know that the main character is a young lawyer working for the poor down in D.C. One day he is offered a chance to make a great deal of money very quickly on a mass litigation lawsuit. He accepts the offer, makes millions almost overnight, and then—working on a hot tip—goes after another lucrative case—a huge malpractice suit that yields him even more millions—so much money in fact that the papers dub him, “The King of Torts.”
 
Now—you would think that with all those millions, our hero would be happy, but not so. In fact, as the months go by, he finds that his vast fortune causes him a lot of anxiety and stress—mainly because as his income increases, so do his expenses and because they do his millions begin to slip through his fingers like sand through an hourglass. So, instead of ENJOYING his money he constantly WORRIES about it and works harder and harder to win the next big case so that he can garner even more wealth. By the end of the book the “King of Torts” realizes that money can be a source of distress and tension. He learns an important truth—which I think is the moral of Grisham’s story and here it is:
 
Money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it can bring more pain than pleasure!
 
And Grisham is correct, because no matter how much money we have if we’re not very careful, it can become one of the most significant sources of stress in our lives. In fact, that’s why at the beginning of the year many people make resolutions that have to do with money.
 
Join us on Sunday as we conclude our 5:17 series by examining some of the things Jesus has to teach us about our attitude toward our money.
 
Randy

You Are What You Eat

The New Year is off to a great start! Thank you to everyone who has taken the challenge to pray our 5:17 Breakthrough prayer. I have already heard a number of you share with me testimony about how God has been moving in your lives and in our church. Breakthroughs are happening! God is doing new and exciting things among us! Please continue to keep praying our breakthrough prayer as you are able every day at 5:17 AM and/or 5:17 PM.
 
This Sunday we are going to continue our 5:17 series by addressing another of the most prominent areas that we  often desire to make changes at the beginning of a new year.  Often after the holiday season, a time for most of us when we over indulge, we resolve to eat less and exercise more.  We resolve to live a healthier lifestyle.  For me this is a resolution I seem to make every year.  Why is it so difficult for us to maintain discipline in this area? 
 
On Sunday we are going to explore some biblical principles that will help us gain better perspective on the issues that surround our bodies and our physical health.  We will look at how God can help us to overcome destructive thinking and behaviors so that we can live healthier lives both physically and spiritually. 
 
Let’s continue this positive momentum and fill God’s house as we learn and grow together as God’s people!
 
See you Sunday!
 
Randy
 

Its About Time

A message from the Pastor


As we seek to make changes in our lives one of the areas we tend to focus on is the use of our time. Many of us resolve to slow down and not live at such a hectic and busy pace.

Why do we do live our lives like this?  Why do we continue to try to keep up this pace? I think it is because we have bought into what one author calls the Four Myths of busyness.


Myth #1: Busy equals important.

We have a warped sense of pride when we are able to report, “I am just too busy”.  We seem to feel more significant when we report that we have “too much to do”.  We actually take a measure of pride in announcing to people that we are workaholics!  Actually, being overly busy cuts us off from the time we need to spend cultivating the important relationships in our life: with our spouse, our kids, our friends, our God.

Myth #2: Someone wins the rat race.

This is a lie because the rat race is all about "what you do" and God is more interested in "who we are."  God will not ask at the judgment, "How busy were you?" Rather, He will ask, "Are you like Jesus?"

Myth #3: Hurrying will buy us more time.

All this technology we now have was supposed to create tons of free time, but in fact it has increased the pace at which we have to work.  Our society is hurrying faster than it ever has, yet, ironically, we seem to have less time than ever before.  Someone said, “The problem with living life in the fast lane is that you get to the toll booth quicker!”  Hurrying will buy more heart attacks, ulcers, stress, and headaches; but not more time.

Myth #4: "Down time" is wasted.

We are made to feel guilty if we aren’t constantly "doing something."  But God instituted the Sabbath into the system and the Scripture is filled with the idea of "God’s rest."

I hope you will all slow down long enough to join us on Sunday as we explore this in              more detail.

Randy

A Fresh Start

As we begin 2019 it is my prayer that we will be focused with a renewed passion and intensity on the vision that God has set before us.  Focus is so important.  For example, diffused light has no power at all.  On the other hand, focused light has tremendous power.  For instance, by focusing the power of the sun through a magnifying glass, you can set a leaf on fire.  But you can’t set a leaf on fire if the same light is unfocused.  When light is concentrated at an even higher level, like a laser beam it can even cut through a block of steel. 
 
In the same way a focused life and a focused church will have far greater impact than unfocused ones.  I believe that is what God desires of us, a focused life and a focused church.  I want to challenge each of you to join me in doing three things that I believe will help us maintain a powerful focus:
 

  1. PRAY – Prayer must be at the foundation of everything we do. This year we will introducing a process of breakthrough prayer. We will be joining together to pray daily for God to breakthrough in new and miraculous ways in our lives and in our church.      A praying church is a powerful church.

 

  1. PARTICIPATE – Be faithful in your attendance in worship, Sunday school, and other important meetings. Get involved by using the gifts and talents that God gave you to make an impact. We cannot afford to remain in neutral.

 

  1. PRIORITIZE – Let us put Christ first in everything. Let us come together in unity under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As we listen and follow Him we will not have time to become diffused and distracted by trivial issues. Instead we become a powerful force unyielding in our pursuit of our mission and goals.

 
I believe that if we are faithful in these things God will do the rest, empowering us to shine brighter than ever before.
 
Happy New Year!
 
Randy
 

Luke 2:41-52

We have just celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, the light that came into the world. We remember what happened in Bethlehem so long ago, how the whole world changed that special night.

We tend to jump right into Jesus' baptism and ministry. However the gospel of Luke offers us a glimpse into Jesus' early years, telling of Jesus presented in the temple and when Jesus is 12 and stays behind in Jerusalem. We can imagine the panic Mary and Joseph felt as they realized a day's journey into returning home that their oldest son Jesus was not with them.

Jesus reminds us of what is most important, spending time with our father. As we close out 2018 and look forward to 2019, it is a good time to reexamine our faith. Are we as close to God as we can get? Can we spend more time in our father's house? Do we need to recommit our lives to God? 

Cara Geiger will be preaching at the modern service. Cara will be preaching on 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, how we are the body of Christ together.
 
Pastor Stephanie

Who Will Be A Witness?

One of the most influential men in all of history is a man who lived in the desert. He ate locusts and wild honey, wore clothes from camel’s hair with a leather belt, and lived for one purpose alone – to point others to Jesus Christ. His name is John the Baptist.
 
In his day John was a figure of national prominence. It is worth noting that the ancient historian Josephus wrote more about the life of John the Baptist than about Jesus Christ. John was so well known, so popular and revolutionary, that some even thought he was the Messiah.
 
The Bible says of John, “This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:7–8).
 
“That all through him might believe…” The word him is not referring to Jesus but to John. It’s saying that John was not the light; he was just bearing witness of the light. And it is also saying that through him people might believe. In other words, God was working through John.
 
John was a popular man. A lot of people admired him. If John had wanted it, he could have been a great leader. He could have made a lot of money. But John knew that is not what it was about. He was there to point people to Jesus. He used his popularity and the momentum God had given him to point people in the right direction.
 
This week we continue our Advent series as we take a deeper look at John the Baptist’s life and ministry and discover what we can learn from him as we strive to be a witness for Jesus and influence people in our family, in our neighborhood, or in our workplace and point them to Jesus.
 
Randy

Worthy of Worship

Christmas is a season of light. Everywhere you look there are lights; in windows, on trees, hanging from houses, lining fences. Lights are everywhere this time of year.  Why? Because lights are a symbol of hope. A person lost in a dark cave turns a corner and is relieved to see a ray of sunlight breaking through a crack. A person adrift on a life raft in the middle of the ocean at night is excited when he’s able to say, “I see the light of a ship on the horizon.”
And that is exactly what we need.  All around we see people who walk in darkness:

. . . the darkness of depression
. . . the darkness of disease
. . . the darkness of despair
. . . the darkness of doubt
 
Spiritually speaking, people are living in a world of darkness. We yearn for light to shine into the darkness around us.  Advent comes each year reminding us that into our darkness and night radiant beams of holy light have dawned.  The prophet Isaiah says it like this, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)
 
That’s the good news! Just when the world most needed God’s light, a babe was born in Bethlehem of Judea. This Sunday as we begin the Advent Season, we will begin a new series of messages exploring the meaning of Christ’s birth as it is explained in the Gospel of John.
 
That is the first thing that we find is that in the birth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ the redeeming Light of the World has come.  “In him was life, and that life was the light of all people.” (John 1:4) No wonder the star shone so brightly over Bethlehem. Light was coming into our world.  No wonder that our Christmas trees and our houses are adorned with hundreds of lights. That’s what Christmas is all about. Light has come into our dark world. 
 
Randy

Persistent in Prayer

There are some who would say to you, “If you have enough faith, if you pray God will answer your prayer.”  I wish I promise you that if you prayed nothing bad would ever happen to you; that you would never get sick, that you would never lose your job, that your kids would never go through a rebellious phase.  Sometimes you hear promises like that on the radio and television.  I would love to be able to promise you that, but I can’t.
 
 In fact, chances are you will go through difficult times; times when you pray for something and don’t get the answer that you want.  You may feel times of loneliness and desolation, and you wonder, “Is anyone even listening?  Is there anyone here?  Does anyone care?  What do you do about times like that?
 
On Sunday as we continue our series on being a “Circle Maker” in prayer we will deal with an issue that is common but can be very troubling.  It is one that occurs with everyone who prays at some point.  It is the issue of unanswered prayer.  There are extravagant promises in the Bible about how our prayers get answered.  And yet at some point, every one of us is going to pray a prayer that just doesn’t result in the answer we want.  What about that?  How does that work?   
 
Have you ever dealt with that question?  Maybe you or a friend or a co-worker, or a family member is struggling with that right now.  I hope you will invite them and join you as we gather in worship on Sunday and how we must be persistent in prayer.
 
Randy

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