JOIN US FOR WORSHIP
THIS SUNDAY, OCT 16th, 2016
8:45 A.M. TRADITIONAL WORSHIP IN THE SANCTUARY
(traditional worship with a more intimate atmosphere, includes special music and sermon)
10:00 A.M. TRADITIONAL WORSHIP IN THE SANCTUARY
(traditional worship with special music and preaching, including a children’s moment)
11:15 A.M. THE OPEN DOOR AT BUSKIRK-CHUMLEY THEATER
(contemporary, informal worship with preaching and children’s moment)
“Would You Like Some?”
Things didn’t turn out the way the church leaders had planned. The midweek evening with activities and meetings, preceded by a meal, never drew the crowd of 75 or 100 they had hoped to attract. Only a handful of church leaders and staff came to the meal, along with some neighborhood children who were not impressed with the menu of kale-based salads, rice and beans, quinoa, and the mix of chopped pecans and avocados.
Over time the number of adults from the church attending the meals dwindled but the number of children from the neighborhood increased.
THE CHILDREN KEPT COMING
The children kept coming. They didn’t love the food but came anyhow and they joined the adults for evening prayer. The young ones weren’t familiar with the church, didn’t have parents around to hush them when they got noisy, and didn’t know rules like “don’t play the piano” or “the kitchen is for grown ups.” After dinner they would roam the halls and poke their heads into committee meetings.
The original plan to draw large numbers of church members to a shared meal and Bible study failed. The volunteers ended up spending hours cooking and cleaning up after ravenous kids.
WOULD YOU LIKE SOME?
The adults decided to stop offering a mid-week meal, but the children kept coming. One day the pastor found two eight-year olds in the upstairs kitchen, cooking ramen noodles on a stove. They smiled at the pastor and blurted out, “We brought our own food! Would you like some?”
The next week the pastor found children outside the locked door to the kitchen. They were happily munching uncooked ramen noodles, straight from the package. Again, they offered to share.
OFFERING TO SHARE EVEN OUT OF A LITTLE
This story reminds me of two things. First, God does good work even when our plans don’t. Even when things don’t go as we had hoped, the Spirit often shows up and does something good…and surprising.
Second, sharing is not about having so much you don’t know what to do with it all, but sharing—generosity—is being eager to bless others even though you may not have much. Some of the most generous people you know, I suspect, may have very little in the way of money or things. We first make the decision to be generous, to care, to share, and then that decision gets lived out—whether we have much or next to nothing.
Is generosity one of the core values of your life? It can be so whether you have much or next to nothing.
WE DON’T CALL IT RAMEN NOODLE SUNDAY
We don’t call it Ramen Noodle Sunday, but the 23rd of October is our Stewardship Sunday. This is a day when we pledge our giving and generosity for the coming year. Pledges can be made using our new Faith Pledge Form online or on paper.
Beginning today, you can access the secure Faith Pledge Form online at http://www.fumcb.org/pledge2017.
Those who pledged for 2016 will also receive a letter and Faith Pledge Form in the mail this coming week. If you’re not pledging online, on Stewardship Sunday we invite you to bring your Faith Pledge Form to worship or return it by mail using the provided envelope. (Additional forms and return envelopes will be available at the church.)
This is an act of giving thanks for what we have received, an act of love because we care about our church, community and world, and an act of worship offered to the God who loves us.
The story of the feeding of the multitude is told several times in the New Testament gospels, but the version I like best is found in John 6. I love John’s telling of the story because he includes the detail about a young person whose lunch was used to feed thousands.
We may not have much, but we can experience the joy of a generous life. Uncooked ramen noodles may be all we have, but we can turn to God and our neighbors, “Would you like some?”
- See you in worship this Sunday as we continue our series DEFYING GRAVITY. Our worship celebrations include great music (Chancel Choir at 8:45 and 10am in the Sanctuary, the Open Door Band at 11:15am at Buskirk-Chumley), a good word as one of our own shares briefly about their life of faith and giving, five baptisms (!) at 10am plus a baptism at The Open Door! We’ll also talk about how to be grounded (in a good way). Curious about the sermon text? Look at Matthew 6:19-24.
HURRICANE RELIEF. If you want to give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) work in Haiti and/or the American Southeast, make your checks out to First Methodist with a memo that the gift is for UMCOR. (You can also indicate either Haiti or SE to designate your gift, if you so wish.)
Join us Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. in 218/219 for our last session of FINANCIAL WELLNESS. This week we’ll be exploring creative and wise ways to leave a legacy. Learn more at www.fumcb.org/financial-wellness.
See you Sunday!
Grace and peace,
Updates on the First Methodist building:
- This Fall, we have spent tens of thousands to remove mold from classrooms.
- Work is going on to repair some of the “valleys” on our roof.
- While repairing the Washington Street stairs won’t “fix” the building, we are getting estimates on what it will cost to rebuild them.
A few reminders about entering and exiting the building:
- The Northwest alley door can be used on Sunday mornings. All other alley doors must remain locked to address safety concerns.
- Wooden doors on 4th street should be used for emergencies only.
Financial Wellness Continues This Sunday Evening!
If we are a church that loves people and wants people to be well (just as Jesus wanted the rich man to be well…to be free…to be happy!), then we need to offer resources. So, a team of great volunteers, led by Jonathan Purvis, are working with me to offer a very simple 4-week series of classes about money we are calling Financial Wellness.
Financial Wellness will be conclude this Sunday evening from 5:30-6:30 here at First Methodist. Sessions will be straight-forward, easily understandable for non-money types (like me!), and last only one hour. Presenters will be people from inside our church, people you probably know, people you can trust. They will be sharing what they know… helpful insights from their experiences. Each evening will also include a time for questions!
There is no cost for the course. Childcare will be provided (we would like to know if you will be using our childcare) and refreshments will be served.
The topics for Financial Wellness will be:
- 9/25 – Financial Health & Getting Out of Debt.
- 10/2 – Beginning & Building a Budget.
- 10/9 – Handling College & Getting Ready for Retirement.
- This Sunday: 10/16 – Having a Lasting Impact.
TRIP TO HOLY LAND SET FOR FEBRUARY 2017
View details online, contact the church office and/or pick up a brochure for the Holy Land Trip in February of 2017. Led by Pastor Mark Fenstermacher, the trip is with experienced tour operator EO (Educational Opportunities Inc.). At this point it appears we may have approximately 20 persons making this life-changing journey. The cost is just over $3,000 per person (including airfare, hotel accommodations, tour guide, motor coach transportation in Israel, morning and evening meals, etc.) for those who did not register by July 11th. Contact Ms. Cath Foreman if you have questions. Click here to view the trip website
This Sunday we continue our sermon series titled “Defying Gravity!”