Sunday, June 26, 2016

Young People Together

Top: A combined children and youth class for Holy Week. Below: Youth serving at the spaghetti supper.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Refugees in Jordan

According to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated nine million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011. Jordan is among the countries most affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. Nearly 10 percent of the country’s population are refugees from Syria. 

Nearly 81 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan are living outside of camps, in local communities, and 86 percent of the refugees are living below the Jordanian poverty line, according to UNHCR. The number of food-insecure Syrian refugee families has also increased from six percent in 2014 to 22 percent in early 2015. As a result, refugee and host communities resort to negative coping strategies such as early marriage, child labor, and survival sex.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Left Alone: The Elijah Cycle (4), 2016-0619

Call to Worship, Psalm 42 & 43
Children, 1 Kings 19.1-8
Message, 1 Kings 19.9-18
Annual Conference report by Tim and Jane

On the heels of a fantastic victory, with fire falling from heaven, people falling on their faces, a dramatic end to a drought, and a 17 mile run – leading the horses and chariots of the king from Carmel to Jezreel – the great prophet flees for his life, is utterly alone, and prays for death. Happy Father’s Day. Of course, some of our children could rival the drama in the story, so maybe we have some entre to the human experience reported here. And, many of us have experienced burnout and even depression, often enough on the heels of our greatest success.
      Commentators struggle with this passage
            A different Elijah, fit elsewhere in story?
                  So easily intimidated?
            A reading that Elijah is not fleeing and not venting (Leithart)
                  Based on textual variants of verb (see/fear, 19.3)
                  Based on echoes of other stories (Egypt to Sinai)

Four factors that contribute to his burnout/depression:
1.     He is exhausted, emotionally and physically
      Stress of the great victory
2.     He is not prepared for rejection
      Proof is irrelevant to someone whose mind is made up
      Proclamation of the gospel involves conflict
            “I did not come to bring peace but a sword”
            (Matthew 10.34, Leithart)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Children and the Conference

Children at the altar, followed by Tim and Jane's report from annual conference 2016.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Silence and the Band (2016-0619)

Opening the 10:45 service on Sunday, with a moment of silence after the recent Orlando mass shooting and a couple songs led by the Open Table band.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Little Church ... Big Ambition

From mailers to meals and magic shows, Liberty UMC in Quitman [Texas] is acting large and in charge by building relationships in the community.
Early in the year, a group of leaders at Liberty UMC in Quitman felt the need to do some kind of community outreach or event. Much to the evangelism team’s delight, church leaders budgeted $800-$1,000 and they got to work.
“We began devising a plan to host a fellowship dinner and invite the community,” John explains. “ Jerry Price and I scouted a local magician nearby and lo and behold, when we met him, we discovered he was even an ordained minister so we knew he could provide family-friendly entertainment,” says John. “We needed to promote it somehow so I went to the post office and investigated the process of sending it to five of the mail routes in our vicinity.”
In creating a simple postcard, the team then strategically decided to feature several events, beginning with the Easter Sunrise service and breakfast. They hoped the fellowship dinner, planned several weeks later would beckon Easter visitors to come back and inspire other residents out to enjoy a fun weeknight meal complete with a magician. After the plans were set, Liberty UMC had 4,000 postcards printed and dropped in the mail the week of Easter.

The rest of the story....

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Habitat Team (1 of 3)

Thanks to Steve for organizing the team. Looking forward to the next time!

Pain and Hope

By a friend of the Christ Church family, Jessie Larkins:

Eternal God, lead me now out of the familiar setting of my doubts and fears, beyond my pride and my need to be secure, into a strange and graceful ease with my true proportions and with yours; that in boundless silence I may grow strong enough to endure and flexible enough to share your grace. Amen.
–Guerillas of Grace, 28
These are tough days for those who mount pulpits to proclaim the Word of God. Sitting, as I am, on this Monday before Sunday, wondering how to write faithfully about these appointed texts for the week, I find my thoughts repeatedly drifting to my newsfeed. These stories cry out for the preacher to say a word about them, too.
This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the shootings at Mother Emmanuel AME in Charleston. Is there a word from the Lord for those who yet grieve the daily violence and injustice perpetrated against the black community in this country? Is there a word from the Lord for young women in the pews who watch these same newsfeeds in fear and disgust as a rapist walks away from his crimes with not much more than a slap on the wrist and we are all reminded of the power of privilege–or is it the privilege of power? Is there a word from the Lord for members of the LGBTQ community whose fragile (if they had it at all) sense of security was shattered yesterday when a gunman walked into a nightclub and perpetrated the largest mass shooting in US history? A word for those who might use this tragedy to pit this one vulnerable population against an equally vulnerable Muslim population? Is there a word from the Lord on days when the demons that threaten to break us are Legion and their names are racism, misogyny, homophobia, and religious extremism? Is there a word from the Lord on days like these when there are simply no words at all?