What are most important things within your life?
In the Old Testament God rewarded Solomon because he asked for wisdom to rule the nation rather than money, a long life, or victory over his enemies. I always thought that to be an interesting story but as I consider life, I realize that there have been times when I have prayed for health, the finances to make ends meet or even more, and yes, in some shape or form victory over situations and even people who have opposed me.
I do believe that God does answer prayer; although not always in the affirmative. Sometimes we are better off without, or better off learning to deal with the conflicts within life. Life is often a matter of not getting what we want or being where we want to be, and often it is in the more or less uncomfortable places that we find wisdom –perhaps that which we really needed but didn’t ask for. We discover that God is with us even if we are down and out and struggling to just get along through the day.
What do you pray for? What about knowing Jesus better? Perhaps in our Christian walk this is where God is striving to lead us anyway. Jesus once said what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and yet loose his or her soul? We can reverse the thought. What does it cost a person to loose the whole world and yet gain one’s soul? God wants to give us that which is eternal and permanently ours –A life that will never be taken away.
Dear we pray for a deeper faith? At first we might consider this to be a dangerous prayer. What changes might it bring for you? What blessing might it bring?
Read this month’s newsletter by clicking “HERE”
• Governance Board meeting tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 5:00 PM – Potluck Dinner; year-end projects and planning; all are welcome to participate.
• Sign-up sheet on table (next to kitchen) for the Egeler Benefit Dinner on Fri., Dec. 7 – 5-7 PM. Need volunteers to help set up, serve and clean up. Your help would be appreciated.
• Now that most of the snowbirds have left for warmer climates, we need volunteers to USHER. Please let Pete know as soon as possible!
• The Giving Tree is up! Mittens requests are for: Walmart, Target and Meijer “gift cards,” and Meijer and EZ Mart “gas cards.” These will be distributed to local families. Your donations will be appreciated. Deadline for giving: Dec. 16
I invite you to join me at 9:30 for a 30 minute Advent Devotional before church. I will be sharing with you from a video study “A Savior is Born” from Right Now Media during each Sunday morning of Advent in December. If you have your free account you can download the study guide and view any of the videos that you might miss. Since our time is limited we will not be using all the material and so you might also continue with the study on your own afterwards. If you need a free account to RightNow Media let me know. The church pays one price so that the benefit is free for all those associated with our church. I hope to see you there.
The workbook is also available below.
My past few sermons have been about the great fish stories of the Gospels: Jesus calling of Peter, Jesus paying a temple tax with a money spiting fish, and the feeding of the 5000 with two fish and five loaves.
This Sunday we are going to be finishing our stories as we hear about Peter in the boat. Jesus is risen and when Peter gets back to Galilee he goes fishing. He climbs in a fishing boat and fishes all night and catches nothing. In the morning the disciples encounter the risen Christ for the third time and Jesus calls and challenges Peter to live the greater life he intended for him. “Do you love me more than these?” “Then feed my lambs.” What happened to Peter, and why did he go fishing? Where did God intend for him to be?
What about us? What can Peter’s boat mean to us? Do we sometimes loose track of Jesus call to live the greater life? Does God ever give up on us? Come Sunday, and we will be thinking about some of these things.
Sometimes you see humorous pieces around car shops. In one shop there is a small sign that states if you have a complaint take a number. Below the sign is a small tag with “1” written upon it attached to a ring. The ring is attached to a pin and the pin is inserted into what looks like a hand grenade. So, who wants to complain? Really no one likes complaints; although, sometimes complaining is necessary and just. Any good business will help their customers find satisfaction. How does God deal with our complaints? Does heaven have a complaint department?
Comes this Sunday as we consider the Apostle Paul’s disposition with regard to many things he could have complaint about.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (NRSV)
The old notion is that a person must work to live. The more successful one is in their work, than the more comfortable they will live. Many people work for this greater life of wealth and comfort.
In contrast Jesus died so that all may live. Jesus never seemed to put to much stock in gaining material advantages, being wholly comfortable, or interpreting the importance of life by counting the number of possession one owns. Instead of being self serving he concerned himself with the lives of others.
Paul argues that all should live for him who died, and that this is true life -everlasting. The pattern we need follow in this life is to live more like Jesus. It is then that we find a life given and not earned. We are met by grace.
What life are you living for? How do these two notions meet and greet one another, or are they in conflict?
The saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is a very old English proverb. It recognizes that people create new solutions where there is need. Problems and the desire to overcome some particular obstacle may serve as a catalyst for the creation of new inventions and ideas. However, the process of inventing usually takes a whole focused effort. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” Edison is known for the things he created, but each success was built upon a multitude of failures. His greatest genius may have been in his perseverance and being willing to deal with a problem from multiple perspectives.
I once read a book about developing a youth ministry within the local church. One of the points the author made was that our problem isn’t that we fail, but that we fail too slowly. The thought was that failure is often a part of the process of finding success. When something doesn’t work it simply needs to be recognized, abandoned or adapted, and then something different tried. Eventually, success is likely to be achieved. The only necessity is that a church does not give up.
Every church is confronted with the need to grow and change. I think there are always roads that lead to growth and life for churches, both large and small. The largest challenge is being willing to take the journey down roads that may be unknown or untried. I think most congregations prefer to be still and remain comfortable. However, it is not typical that being still will produce growth. We have to allow ourselves to be confronted with both the needs of life and the calling of God upon us. What new ideas, projects, and ministries is God calling us to? How should these needs and calling generate innovation within us? Are we willing to try and fail and keep trying?
The Bible speaks about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Perhaps only as we so love and move; wholly engaged with the challenges we face, and focused upon finding a solution that God may truly bless us. What does it take to make a church grow?
Get ready for an action-packed 5-day super hero training camp where kids discover their strength in God! Hero Central VBS prepares kids to Do good! Seek peace and go after it! Ps. 31:14B (CEB). Kids at VBS Hero Central learn that God’s heroes have:
- Heart (Samuel Anoints David)
- Courage (Abigail)
- Wisdom (Jesus Goes to the Temple)
- Hope (Beatitudes)
- Power (Pentecost)
Grab your cape and get ready to fly with epic music, spectacular science, crafty crafts, heroic recreation, and fantastic Bible stories!
VBS will be open at Empire United Methodist Church, 10500 Michigan St, Empire at 9:00 AM to Noon every day, June 25 – 29.
Empire United Methodist Church, St. Philip Neri Catholic Church and Glen Lake Community Reformed Church are sponsoring this community VBS event.
Contact Laurie Taghon at email@example.com – Empire United Methodist Church; or call Tina Dunphey – St. Philip Neri at 835-0518; Gretchen Schwaiger – Glen Lake Community Reform Church at 334-4537 to register your child.
You can find the PDF file for hiking the Sleeping Bear Trails below:
James crossing the walk way. When the sign at the beginning says the trail might be flooded you really should read it.
Barred Owl –Empire, MI
One of the most successful slogans says that “Diamonds are Forever.” This might be true. They are carbon crystals formed under great heat and pressure. Even if the suns of the universe should cease to shine, diamonds might still be present. (there just may be no one to appreciate them) Who knows how long it might take for the bonds of carbon atoms to simply dissolve. On earth diamonds are rather rare, but I once watched a show that theorized that diamonds fall as rain on the surface of Jupiter. The pressure of the atmosphere is so great that it causes the prevalence of carbon in the atmosphere to form crystals and plummet to the surface. Can you imagine a planet surface stacked deep in diamond crystals? Beauty, riches, and glory are relative concepts. How would we think about such things if we could witness heaven or see the person of God? What would happen if the eternal were become more real to us than that which is transient? Would a diamond still impress us? Would we see life any different?
This Sunday I am preaching on Isaiah 6:1-8 and Isaiah’s vision of God. What happens to us and to life when we perceive the eternal and the glory of God within?
Pentecost Sunday is here.
My Preaching text will be John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
4 … “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
As a wedding gift, a relative once gave us a homemade set of wind chimes. They were constructed from long metal tubes and would resonate in harmony as the wind caused them to sway and sound off. When we dared to put them up, they added music to the wind that was invisible. I suppose some might call the chimes noisy and even annoying, but there was also something beautiful in the tones and something mystical about being able to play with the wind. Perhaps in some ways our lives should be to the Spirit as those chimes were to the wind. What sounds, harmony, and movement come from your life as you feel the Spirit of God blowing? Does anyone perhaps even find you annoying?
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