A Prayer for the Advent Season

November 30, 2016
 
Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. A United Methodist pastor wrote a special prayer which is easy for individuals, churches, or families to use during this season of anticipation. This video puts his words with imagery and features narration by the Rev. Gary Henderson. Easy to watch and share as an individual, or use before or during worship.

Advent Devotion

by the Rev. Jerry Chism

Oh Immanuel, God with us, truly in this Advent season we celebrate that you are not hidden in some faraway cloud, but you chose to be with us in the blur and mystery of our lives.

In the midst of lists and rush, you are with us as a song that echoes in our minds, as the light of a candle, as a card from a friend. They are signs of your presence.

We turn to you this season and pray that you would birth joy and healing, blessing and hope in us.
Let something wonderful begin in us — something surprising and holy.

May your hand be upon us. Let your love fill us. Let your joy overwhelm us.
Let our longing for you be met on a coming holy night. Immanuel with us once again.

Amen.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.


Thanksgiving Blessing from our Bishop

November 27, 2016

Click on the link to hear our new bishop, the Rev. Scott Jones.

http://www.txcumc.org/thanksgiving2016

 

 


congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

November 11, 2016

Council president offers post-election congratulations and prayers

Washington, D.C.: In a congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, Council president Bishop Bruce R. Ough sent a prayer and a plea for the nation to come together.

“We are a deeply divided nation in a world community marred by division, war and unprecedented forced migration,” writes Bishop Ough, following Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States. “This is a time for all Americans, particularly our political leaders, to put aside divisiveness and rancor and come together for the common good of this nation and the world.”

He further pledged that the Council of Bishops will work to “build bridges to understanding that will lead to overcoming the gulfs that divide the nation and the world.”

“I call to mind the best that is in us: we live under God; we are indivisible; and liberty and justice extend to all,” said Ough.

Gathered at St. Simons Island last week for their fall meeting, the bishops signed a Bible that will be presented to Trump following his inauguration in a tradition that dates back to the very first president of the United States when Bishop Francis Asbury presented a Bible to President George Washington in 1789. The tradition has continued with each subsequent president.

The full text of Bishop Ough’s letter follows:

Dear President-elect Trump:

On behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, I offer congratulations to you, Mr.    Trump, upon your election as the 45th president of the United States. Further, I thank Secretary Hillary Clinton for the gracious way she has accepted the voters’ decision.

The Council’s prayers are for you, your wife, Melania, and your family, and for Secretary Clinton, her husband, Bill, and their family, after such a tightly contested presidential race.

We are a deeply divided nation in a world community marred by division, war and unprecedented forced migration. This is a time for all Americans, particularly our political leaders, to put aside divisiveness and rancor and come together for the common good of this nation and the world. Thus, we pray for the healing of the nations and for God to grant you wisdom, compassion, moral conviction, courage and protection in your presidential leadership.

The Council of Bishops pledges to contribute to all efforts to build bridges to understanding that will lead to overcoming the gulfs that divide the nation and the world. I call to mind the best that is in us: we live under God; we are indivisible; and liberty and justice extend to all.

In 1789, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury presented President George Washington with a Bible. The United Methodist Church has maintained this 225-plus-years tradition of giving a Bible signed by the bishops to each subsequent U.S. president.

The Council of Bishops is composed of 68 active and 97 retired bishops overseeing The United Methodist Church’s 12.3 million members in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. Mr. Trump, I look forward to an opportunity, following your inauguration, to present a Bible to you.

And so, I pray for you and our nation:

 Holy God, creator of us all,

 Send your Spirit of peace, justice and freedom upon us;

 Break down the walls of political partisanship and economic disparity,

 and make us one.

 Give us wisdom to walk in your ways.

 Remind us that your ways are not our ways;

 That your power and might transcend the plans of every nation.

 Teach us again to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

 Amen.

The Peace of the Lord,

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President

On behalf of the Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church

United Methodist Communications

umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 9, 2016

 


God is One

November 9, 2016

trinity3 Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6(NIV)

 

Through faith we are united despite political affiliation, denomination or cultural preference.

trinity2

Jesus Prays for All Believers

 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23 (NIV)

God is the author of unity, especially in the demonstration of the Trinity

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 “They’ll Know We Are Christians,”

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. And we pray that all unity may one day be restored And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; They will know we are Christians by our love. We will work with each other, we will work side by side. We will work with each other, we will work side by side. And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; They will know we are Christians by our love. By our love, by our love, And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love They will know we are Christians by our love By our love, by our love. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love.

 “We Are One in Christ,”

What a wonderful church life, All the saints truly are one, No matter where and who we are,     We are one! Nothing can set us apart, For we have the same life, Although Satan tried and tried,     We are one!

We are, we are, we are one in Christ! Abiding in the true vine, Receiving all the riches of the life divine,     We are one! We are, we are, we are one in Christ! Growing in the tree of life, In Him we fellowship unto eternal life,     We are one!

What a glorious church life, Christ in us has made us one, Eating the tree of life,     We are one! How can we ever depart Such a sweet and blessed life? Christ in us and we in Christ!     We are one!

  “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”Blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds Is like to that above. Before our Father’s throne, We pour our ardent prayers; Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, Our comforts, and our cares. We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear; And often for each other flows The sympathizing tear. When we asunder part, It gives us inward pain; But we shall still be joined in heart, And hope to meet again.

trinity4


Eternal Comfort and Good Hope

November 9, 2016

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Eternal Comfort and Good Hope, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

Posted on November 7, 2016     by grantimusmax

Brothers and sisters, we have a request for you concerning our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming and when we are gathered together to be with him. 2 We don’t want you to be easily confused in your mind or upset if you hear that the day of the Lord is already here, whether you hear it through some spirit, a message, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. That day won’t come unless the rebellion comes first and the person who is lawless is revealed, who is headed for destruction. 4 He is the opponent of every so-called god or object of worship and promotes himself over them. So he sits in God’s temple, displaying himself to show that he is God. 5 You remember that I used to tell you these things while I was with you, don’t you? …13 But we always must thank God for you, brothers and sisters who are loved by God. This is because he chose you from the beginning to be the first crop of the harvest. This brought salvation, through your dedication to God by the Spirit and through your belief in the truth. 14 God called all of you through our good news so you could possess the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions we taught you, whether we taught you in person or through our letter. 16 Our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and a good hope. 17 May he encourage your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do or say. –2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

hurricane

Today, brothers and sisters, is a day we find ourselves in the eye of a hurricane.

Today is a Holy day. One of the holiest days of the Christian year. It’s the day we celebrate the Saints. We sing in memory of their lives. It’s the day we join hand-in-hand and remember. We remember who we are. Who we have been. And we also rejoice in who we will become, who we are becoming.

And yet… it exists as a small island of light and hope in the midst of a maelstrom of activity, chaos, doubt and uncertainty. We have weathered one of the most difficult years on record, I think we can all safely admit that. In fact, one would not be mistaken in thinking that the end is near.

ballot

Tuesday of this week, our nation reaches the final culminating day of the past 18 months: Election day. And though I am hesitant to speak about it, I cannot deny the tremendous and tumultuous chaos this political season has caused in our church, and in our nation. There has never been a race like this before, not in most of our lifetimes. Our base fears have been tapped in ways that have long since been dormant. Anger has risen between sister and brother over candidates, issues, and beliefs. We stand as a people rent in two by political difference, in a season unlike any other.

I cannot tell you who to vote for, as some may want me to do. To do so would be a breach of my pastoral covenant with you all. If I did, I would risk my ability to minister to all people. Effectively, if I make my political inclinations known, I alienate a vast swath of people who may or may not ever meet Jesus any other way, or who seek guidance from a ministerial presence. What I can do is to vote your conscience. Vote with your values. And vote with the kingdom of God in mind.

I mention God’s kingdom because that is what have to look forward to today. All Saints’ Sunday is when we look back on the faithful who have influenced, and forward to the life in Christ that is promised to us.

This is our focus today, on the eternal hope and good comfort that God promises us in Jesus Christ, found only in the kingdom of heaven. Such comfort, however, only comes after the troubles of the present age, troubles that were known all too well in the days in which this letter was written.

Concerning The Day of the Lord

saints

The early Christian community was all too aware of the problems of the world. In fact, most of the time, they were often the victims of the worst of what the world could offer.

Christians were a community of outsiders, both religiously and politically. Religiously, they were often antagonized by Roman and Greek religious groups, but also the Jewish community from which they had their roots. The story of Christ is rooted in the Jewish scripture and theology, as Jesus and all of the disciples were all Jewish. And yet they were reviled by all camps, ousted as cultists and even atheists, in their days’ reckoning.

Not only that, politically they were seen as anarchists, because of their refusal to call Caesar Lord. For them, there was only one Lord, and that was Jesus Christ. As a result, they were frequently targeted by political authorities, and disenfranchised as citizens.

This resulted in quite a bit of suffering on the part of the Christians of the first few centuries.

Public stoning, burning at the stake, fed to lions, imprisonment, and much more were faced by the saints. Their witness stood as a testament to their faith, however. The did not waver, nor did they fear for their own lives. They lived for Christ, and that Christ had given them new life. They were a strange but powerful group on their own.

And yet… that left many questions for the saints who were not martyred. What would happen to them? And are all these persecutions signs of the end times, the coming Day of the Lord? Would Jesus return, and were the sitting authorities in reality the Anti Christ?

These were very real questions that they faced, and so the writer of 2 Thessalonians takes them seriously.

The writer very clearly acknowledges their fears, but also in a way puts them to rest. He says to not be deceived, and that the Day of the Lord will only happen at an appointed time. In the meantime, however, he gives them–and us–these words:

Thank God for you. Yes you! You, the ones left behind to share the witness with those who will come after. Thank God for your lives, because you are loved by God. God made you to be the first crop of the harvest, the first fruit that will be shared for all time.

So, live up to your example, and stand firm. It’s not time for the day of the Lord. This isn’t the end. Rather, this is the beginning. God loves you, so let that love give you eternal hope and good comfort. God will do amazing things through you for centuries to come.

Saints Living the Gospel

I am happy to report that, as a matter of fact, the Saints did just that. They lived the Gospel.

They lived the Gospel, and many died for the Gospel, and in the kingdom of heaven they live again. They endure. Their witness endures throughout the generations. And today, we celebrate that witness.

saints2

That’s the great thing about All Saints Day. We get to remember the lessons of the past, the traditions that were shared, and joy that echoes the love of God through the ages. God loved them, and God continues to love us. Though saints may live in glory, their glory lives on in us as well. These saints never quit being a part of the church. Their story lives in us.

So think about the saints today, and remember them. Not just ones from history books, but from your history. Think on them, and give thanks for them. They give thanks for you, because you continue the tradition of sharing the love of God with the world. We rejoice in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


As we enter into a Sacred time of Prayer

November 6, 2016

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

shepherd

In the words of Christian activist and author Shane Claiborne, we’re not called to follow an elephant or a donkey — we’re called to follow the slaughtered lamb,” he said. “We’re inviting churches to join with us as we gather to proclaim our allegiance to Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God,” The Rev. Michael Scarlett, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Pocatello, Idaho.

Let us pray

God of creation,

Give us eyes to see your handiwork all around us. Give us ears to hear the music that you have stirred to life in the swaying of the trees and the singing of the birds. Give us heightened senses to be aware of your creativity, even as we take this breath. Draw us into your life that spans far beyond our own days and years.

God of each season,

You hold all things together. Even when seasons are difficult or uncertain, you are always present and available. Even as our nation approaches a season of change in leadership, we pray for reminders that you are sovereign.

God of this nation,

We thank you for the many privileges that we enjoy as Americans. May we not take for granted the gift and responsibility that accompany those privileges. Let us not lose sight of the fact that all around the world, there are people who crave the opportunity to cast a vote once in their lifetime. Guide us in our voting.

We pray for Donald Trump and we pray for Hillary Clinton. We pray for those seeking the presidency who are neither Republican nor Democrat. Regardless of our preferences, we give you thanks for the desire of these people to lead and serve. We pray for wisdom for these individuals. May wisdom manifest in their actions, speech, and attitudes. Guide them in their leading.

We pray for your presence in the days to come. May your peace guide our hands and hearts. May your love be seen and known in communities near and far.

In the name of Christ — the one who could not be stopped by death — we pray, Amen.

The Rev. Brad Greene

Election Day Litany

Lord, listen to your children praying

Campaign season is noisy

press conferences

national conventions

protests

rallies

debates

Our ears are overwhelmed

Despite all the noise, the sound of uncertainty reverberates throughout our nation

We struggle to perceive the movement of the Spirit over the clamor

We claim to separate faith and politics

And yet the two cannot help but collide: melody and harmony

Woven into the composition of our social order

And so on this Election Day we gather and pray

Lord, send your spirit in this place

our homes and work spaces

our houses of worship

our polling stations

our voting booths

and campaign headquarters

That your healing presence would resound through broken places in our systems and government

Lord, listen to your children praying

Make your ways, our ways

Your tune, our tune

Ground us in your melody of goodness

Bless us as if we were each an instrument of peace

Creating harmonies of love that ring louder than the static of indifference

Send us love that frees us from hatred and bitterness toward one another

Send us power that resonates justice and protects human dignity

Send us grace that we would sing songs of hope and unity

Send us love, send us power, send us grace

Rev. Sarah Casey, 2016

Psalm 23 – A psalm of David.shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.


ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN TO GET YOUR TICKETS

November 5, 2016

The 24th Annual Style Show and Luncheon, “Let Your Light Shine,” will be held on Friday, November 11, 2106.  Doors open at 10:30, Luncheon served at 11:00 and Style Show begins at noon.  Tickets are $15 and are available now at the church or from any Methodist Woman.  Call Donna at 787.2183 for information or to purchase tickets.

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A long line of guests wait patiently for doors to open last November. 

Be sure you aren’t left out in the cold… get your tickets now!

No matter what time of year it is, a fashion show can be a popular event. It’s fun for the people involved in putting it on, for the models walking the runway, and for everyone who comes to see it, especially if they’re watching friends and family members strolling through the tables.  Even if the models are unknown to the show-goer, a style show is like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. Each model reveals clothing that may reflect new or classic styles, shoes and handbags, jewelry, scarves and other accessories to complete “a look” that guests may want to emulate; a finished look that has all the puzzle pieces in the right place.

 

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In 2015 Lynn Smith models the newest trend in vests over a tunic top, slim-legged pants, and boots. 

A turquoise flowered necklace completes the ensemble. 

As most East Texan women love to view fashions in a lovely setting, so do they love to enjoy delicious food as a prelude to a fashion show. The guys do too… don’t forget to buy your sweetie a ticket as a surprise lunch treat!  The luncheon menu will satisfy one and all as there is something for everyone, savory to sweet!  Additionally, over twenty door prizes will be won by lucky guests during “half-time.”  You may be one of the lucky ones who leave holding onto a gold bag filled with a special gift.

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Mary Ann Briggs shows the versatility of this “little black dress” creating a casual look with a big buckled silver belt,

bracelet and necklace.  Consider the possibilities using different accessories.  Be sure to attend to see

what the models will have in store for you this year. 

Less than a week remains until the opening of the fellowship hall doors that will see guests from across the area sweep in, anxiously awaiting the food, fashions, fellowship, and fun that is the Annual Style Show and Luncheon. Get your tickets ASAP!  Call Donna NOW! @ 409.787.2183.

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