JOIN US FOR WORSHIP
THIS SUNDAY, OCT 23rd, 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)
It’s been a long and good day. This preacher man is nearly out of words, but tonight the phrase “thank you” keeps running through my head and heart.
While looking forward to being with our college students tonight, I’m thankful for your financial gifts which allow us to reach out to students at Ivy Tech and Indiana University. I’m able to be with them, they have access to a loving, serving faith community, because you give what you give!
Coming back to my office, after being with the students and talking about how God calls us to be the kind of leaders who lead with love and kindness (being subversive outlaws to a secular society as we share God’s Good News), I feel like I have stood on holy ground with them. This is all happening because of the way you give: thank you.
One afternoon I was fortunate to stand on the top of Mount Nebo, looking out over the Jordan Valley. Much of the terrain was rocky and dry, with few signs of plant life. In the distance, however, far below us, there was a line of green running from the north in Lebanon south towards the Sea of Galilee. The line of green was created by the trees bordering the Jordan River.
Wherever the water goes, things grow.
Wherever your money, given out of your love for God, your gladness at the blessings in your life, and your concern for others, is put to good use there is new life. Wherever people give generously, faithfully, joyfully, and sacrificially, things happen. Lives are changed. Needs are addressed. God is glorified.
Thank you for the money you give. Some of you plan your giving to God. Some of you give God your best through a commitment to a “first fruits” kind of giving. Some of you discover deep joy in tithing (giving 10% of your income and resources to God). Like a river supporting trees in the desert, your giving grows lives, souls, community, justice, compassion and hope.
THERE IS GREEN (LIFE) IN DIRECTION
There is green -life- in every direction because of the money you give. I can look out and see the ragged line of green, outlining the path of the river, that marks the places in Bloomington and the world where there is new life because of your gifts.
There is a college ministry because you give.
There are growing numbers of children who are receiving faith formation and experiencing community because you give.
When a woman needed gasoline to get to and from work this week, I was able to put gasoline in her van because you give.
There is a Wednesday Food Pantry, doing amazing things every week, because you give.
There are worship experiences where God’s Good News is celebrated and shared, where music inspires, and where all are welcome at the communion table. Our worship life glorifies God and blesses people, challenges and comforts and grows people as disciples of Jesus Christ, because you give.
There is an Interfaith Winter Shelter, offering men and women a safe place to sleep during the winter, because you give.
There are relief efforts underway in Haiti and the Southeastern United States, following a recent hurricane, because you give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
There are freshwater wells in Africa because the children of First Methodist gave generously during Vacation Bible School.
TREES FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS
The Bible begins with a description of life in a garden, and the Bible ends (Revelation 22) with the description of the garden restored. Looking at the final chapter of history, the visionary named John wrote about God healing creation and a garden where a river of “life-giving water shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street..
On each side of the river is the tree of life, Revelation 22:2b says. The tree of life produces twelve crops of fruit. There is fruit produced each month and “The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations.”
Because of your prayers, your gifts of time, your dollars, and your faith I see fruit being produced here that has the power to heal souls, relationships and communities. God’s love and truth in Jesus, the story of the cross and the empty tomb, the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit, has the power to bring life into the most desolate places of our world.
Tonight I was blessed to meet with college students and share a holy moment because you give. This morning I was able to put gasoline in the tank of the van being driven by a woman on her way to work because you give.
I am so thankful. I am so very thankful…
Stand here for a moment with me, and look out across this great valley. Can you see that line of green that marks the location of the river? Wherever the water goes, there is new life in the wilderness. Wherever your gifts flow, there is new life in the wilderness.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Mark Fenstermacher
STEWARDSHIP SUNDAY CELEBRATION:
WHAT’S GOING ON?
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.
There is a new option for every household in our congregation. This year you can express your love for God and your care for people by making your financial pledge to support God’s work in 2017 either by using a printed Pledge Form or by going on-line. This new option allows every person to make their pledge more easily, and saves each of us from the hassle of misplacing the pledge card at home or in our office.
You can access the secure Faith Pledge Form online at http://www.fumcb.org/pledge2017.
Those who pledged for 2016 should have received a letter and Faith Pledge Form in the mail this week. (If we missed you, call the church office or email us. We learned long ago that we’re not perfect!)
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.)
We hope to hear from every household and church member by November 1st. After that date, our Stewardship Team will follow up with families to answer questions and provide a Pledge Form if one is needed
- See you in worship this Sunday as we conclude our series DEFYING GRAVITY with our STEWARDSHIP SUNDAY CELEBRATION. Our worship services will 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 Andrew Bunger shares briefly about faith and giving, a sermon on “When We Get It Right,” and each service will end with the people of God bringing forward their 2017 Pledge Forms as an act of joyous worship.
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.)
Next Friday is PUMPKIN NIGHT! All families are invited to bring a pumpkin to decorate (extras will be available if you’re unable to bring one). There will be face painting, cookie decorating, a cake walk and lots of fun games and delicious treats. Wear your costumes and bring some friends on Friday, October 28th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at First Methodist. Enter through the Atrium doors.
News about the First Methodist building:
- New speakers have been installed in the Sanctuary. Portions of the main speaker, hanging from the ceiling, have not worked for years.
- 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. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
A few reminders about entering and exiting the building:
- To better welcome guests and parishioners, and to provide a safe environment, the only entrances open on Sunday mornings are those with ushers or greeters staffing them.
- The Northwest alley door can be used on Sunday mornings. All other alley doors are locked to help us provide the safest environment possible for children, youth and adults.
- The wooden doors on 4th street should be used for emergency exit only.
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 conclude our sermon series titled “Defying Gravity!” with our
STEWARDSHIP SUNDAY CELEBRATION.
Pray – Bring your Pledge Form for 2017 – Join others in presenting them
at the conclusion of our worship as a joyous expression of our faith.