Souper Bowl Sunday February 2, 2019

Today.  Now.  by Laurie Haller

I rise from my bed of sleep to adore your holy name, to live for you this day, to work with you in the bringing in of your reign, and to find in you eternal life. I consciously renew my calling as this day begins, thanking you for the privilege of living my life in this way. I know that I need to take care of myself if I am to be of any use to those I am called to serve. Grant me grace to walk in health and wholeness. Most of all, thank you that I can live today, knowing that I am your beloved. Amen. 

Where did January go?  At times it seemed like it was going fast, other times it seemed to drag, either way, January has come and gone.  The school had No Snow, Snow Days  Temperatures dipped so low they broke records.  There were fears of cars not starting, water pipes freezing and power outages.  Power outages escalate fear of keeping the house warm along with other concerns.  We can be thankful here at Hampton we got through the month without any catastrophes.  Also, this is a good time to remember to turn your worries into prayers and lay them at the foot of the cross.

So, let’s look ahead to February.  Last Sunday there was an announcement for Super Bowl – Souper Bowl Sunday.  Somehow we missed this on the calendar as we were planning for the first of the year. Without much lead time or promotion the congregation showed up today with 8 different kinds of soup, awesome.  We had two chicken and noodles, so one was put back to feed the youth on Wednesday night.  We often do not recognize the simple blessing in the midst of our everyday lives.  Another blessing came in the form of Becky Zak’s birthday.  Her family brought a large birthday cake to share, in addition to all the cookies, bars and cakes brought in for fellowship.

We must not forget the purpose behind Souper Bowl Sunday, it is a chance for everyone to vote for their favorite team playing in the Super Bowl.  The vote comes in the form of financial donation in the bucket of your favorite team.  This year the team with the most votes was the Los Angeles Rams. $103 was raised for mission.  The Mission Committee will determine where this donation will go at their next meeting.

I love the way HUMC lives into ‘being the hands and feet of Jesus.’  Something as simple as soup, brings people together in relationship.  Without much time or effort people were fed, conversations occurred around the game we will all be watching later today.  Funds were raised to be used for a mission involving food and feeding the hungry.  We are blessed.

As Pastor Michael shared in his message, people came to church to worship and left feeling better than when they arrived, at least I know I did.

Your Sister in Christ, Sue Kromminga

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.