See You at Church

I do enjoy social media.  I like that it gives me the choice to read what is out there or to scroll past it if I so desire.  Recently, on facebook, I came across a post from a fellow parishioner and it made me smile.  Here is what he had to say:

“You will want to make plans now to attend the Sunday services of the Hampton United Methodist Church. For the first time in 54 years, they are rolling me out to be the reader of not ONE, but TWO Bible verses in church.

About six months ago our trustees committee was in the sanctuary listening to the new sound system when someone said, “Hey Pat, read something and we’ll see how it sounds in the back and in the balcony.” SO, there had been a funeral there earlier in the day and so I read the back of their program which was the person’s obituary. Word seemed to spread fast and I was told I needed to be a reader in church. I said, “OK.” A month ago someone said, “Pat, have you ever been the reader in church?” I said, “No, I was never asked.” — So this Sunday is my debut.

You never know what you will get if you don’t ask.

I’m sure there will be full house for this monumental event…. and listenership on KLMJ will increase as well. 

There are a couple of things happening in this post that are marks of a Christian intentionally practicing his faith.

First, he said yes.  Whenever the church asks something of you, do you say ‘Yes’, or is your mind racing in one hundred different directions thinking about how to say ‘No.’?

Our society has changed so much over the years, especially here in the United States.  There was a time when the the church was the central location for all activities in a community.  A time when the entire day of Sunday was spent at church with the church family.  Today, people have to check their calendars to see if they can make Sunday worship.  They might have scheduled something else.  I appreciate my family, they know if it Sunday morning, they will find me at the church.  If they want to have a dinner on Sunday and want me there, it needs to be scheduled late enough for me to get there.

Second, he invited people.  He didn’t just invite, he shared his story on why he was extending the invitation.  He let people know what was going on with him, why he was reaching out and projected an outcome, an expectation that people would turn out and either meet him at church or listen to the radio broadcast.  I personally did not make it to the church that Sunday, due to the weather, but I did listen on the radio.  Pat Palmer, you did a great job, I have heard many compliments regarding your part in the service and thank you.

The mission of the Hampton United Methodist Church (HUMC) is ‘to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ.’  This cannot be done without extending oneself to the work of the church or to the people around us.  Here, at HUMC we are growing in our faith, we are living out our call to go and make disciples, we are family, brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • I wish to extend the invitation Pat put out there on his facebook page and invite you.  Not only to worship on Sunday mornings (or Saturday evenings) but also to Bible Study on Sunday evenings and Tuesday afternoons.

  • I invite you to join the groups who like to sew, knit and crochet on Monday evenings or Tuesday afternoons.

  • I invite you to be part of the youth organization with Children 1st on Wednesday afternoons or Wednesday evenings.

  • Those who have the gift of music and enjoy singing our choir meets most Wednesday evenings and shares their gift on Sunday mornings.

  • There is also a group that meets on Thursday mornings called BeFrienders, this group reaches out the the community through cards and pray for those with health issues and provides communion to the assisted living facilities in the community.

  • Monthly a men’s group meets for breakfast, sharing in fellowship and devotion.

  • The United Methodist Women meet monthly throughout the year, during the winter months they deviate from their meeting duties and offer fellowship during their meeting time for anyone who drops by.

  • Thursday evenings HUMC provides the site for the Community Meals.  Organizations from the community work collaboratively with the church to provide nutritious meals and fellowship for whoever stops in.

  • I know I am forgetting things, but off the top of my head I would say this is a great beginning for sharing what the life of HUMC is like.

I look forward to seeing you at church…

I Choose the True Road to Somewhere

Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with Your clear revelation.  I choose the true road to Somewhere; I post Your road signs at every curve and corner.  I grasp and cling to whatever You tell me…I’ll run the course You lay out for me if You’ll just show me how.

(Psalms 119:129-32 MSG)

I began a new book study yesterday and came across this passage in the first chapter.  I have plenty on my plate today; Tuesdays on the Town prep, Praise and Pork Chop prep, Annual Conference prep, however, these verses will not let me rest until I share them!

We are on a journey, together with Christ.  Right?  What wonderful directions he gives when there is no road map to be found.  Let us not loose sight of the prize, striving for perfection, living the everlasting life with Christ.  I am so blessed to be on this journey with so many of you.  At times like this I can feel the joy that God has in store for each and everyone of us.  There are times when we do not understand, and we don’t have to, because God know the plans he has for us and that reassurance is all we need.

I get excited on nights like last night.  There were so many people here in the church working on different ministries, my heart is warmed beyond all hope.  FLOCK was here knitting and crocheting away, prep for Tuesday’s on the Town promotion of the pasty sale by the church and a group painting items to be use during Tuesday’s on the Town, the Franklin County Fair Parade and Vacation Bible School.  It is all about relationship…building relationships with Christ as well as one another on the journey to the heart of God.  Can I hear an Amen?

4:29 PM

 

A year or maybe two years ago we prayed this prayer during worship here at Hampton  United Methodist Church.  A prayer right here, in our hymnals.  I thought wouldn’t it be cool if we stopped everyday at 4:29 PM and prayed?

I had what I thought was a ridiculous idea at the time regarding a way we could all pray together, everyday, no matter where we are.  So along with the many ridiculous ideas I often have I filed it away in the back of my mind somewhere in the ‘5 1/2 inches between my ears.’

Today, driving here (and I do enjoy my drives to Hampton, it is a great time for me and God to have conversation.  I don’t need a phone, so I can do this safely while I drive.)  I asked God to give me some thought or idea to share with my family here and can you believe it?  I remembered this prayer and the number I needed to find it.  Most  of the time I can’t remember what I was doing 2 minutes ago, let alone a year or more.  As soon as I hit the office, I opened up the hymnal to 429 and there it was!

Well, if you are still reading, here is my challenge to you, as well as myself:

Take out your cellphone, open it up to your clock, set the time for 4:29 PM, set an alarm at the softest, quietest sound you will be able to hear, set the repeat feature for everyday and save.  Now each day at 4:29 PM you will be reminded to stop and say a prayer.  Now let me say this again:

TAKE OUT YOUR CELLPHONE, OPEN IT UP TO YOUR CLOCK, SET THE TIME FOR 4:29 PM, SET AN ALARM AT THE SOFTEST, QUIETEST SOUND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HEAR, SET THE REPEAT FEATURE FOR EVERYDAY AND SAVE.

I often end up having a conversation with God, like today.  I am so blessed that he reminded me of what must not have been such a ridiculous idea after all.  From today forward we, yes, we, you and me and however else accepts the challenge, we will lift up what is on our hearts and minds at 4:29 PM.  How powerful is that?

A Quiet Week

 

This should be a quiet week, to reflect?  to rest? to start the next project?  How about reflecting?  Sunday I had the honor to lead worship as Hampton United Methodist Church celebrated with their graduates.  Now, as I recall or rather cannot recall anything about my own graduation, I felt there was nothing life changing or profound that I was going to be able to share with the graduates and as I contemplated the direction to go in my message that morning, Jesus directed me.

We give the graduates a Parallel Bible with the New International Version (NIV) and The Message for study and comparison.  It was interesting to share with these former students and the congregation the differences in the two Bible versions.  The scripture for the day was Proverbs 22:1-12,  Verse 6 is one of my favorites as a youth, I know my parents were in constant need to keep me pointed in the right direction–and many times as an adult I have prayed I had kept my kids pointed in the right direction.  Read the difference between the NIV.  “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”  Now from The Message.  “Point your kids in the right direction–when they’re old they won’t be lost.”  I don’t know about you, but I get the same message from these two verses, yet would understand our young people if they have a preference for The Message over the NIV.  It was fun and interesting to compare a chapter in Psalms and to point out a couple of chapters in Proverbs the I had highlighted for them.  The reason for highlighting is to suggest when they turn to the Bible they can be reassured this is a starting place if they are unsure where to begin.

Yes, I write and color in my Bibles, as well as store little momentos.  I have part of a chapter in Isaiah highlighted with the 20th verse underlined.  In the margin I have written “INP – Bishop Trimble – 2008”.  This helps me remember, it was a time between my first and second trip to Nigeria.  I was at a meeting at the UM Conference Center in Des Moines for a meeing with the Bishops of both Iowa and Nigeria, and others.  As Bishop Trimble read the words of the 20th verse I was moved.  I highlight, underline and write in the margin to make it easier to find, but also that I don’t forget.  I also have my favorite verse underlined in 2nd Timothy:

For the Spirit God ave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  NIV

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.  The Message

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.  New English Translation (NET)

I asked the graduates to keep their Bibles close, on a shelf in their bedroom/dorm room, in a drawer, wherever, and when that need to read comes, whether it be tomorrow, a week, a month, or 5 years from now, they can go to it, the Bible, and read God’s word and know God is with them always and forever.  Just as he is for you and for me.