United Methodist Prayer for Families

May 22, 2017

In the United Methodist calendar, May is designated as Christian Home Month. Discipleship Ministries offers many resources to help families on their spiritual journeys, including this prayer for families written by MaryJane Pierce Norton.

We invite you to view this video meditation, share the link with others and download the video for use in worship, Sunday school or other settings @ http://www.umc.org/videos.

 

Prayer

Gracious God, who created all of humankind and showed to us the importance of relationships with one another,

we commend to your care all the families of our community and our world.

We pray that each home may be a home where love is felt.

We pray for homes where, instead of love, hurt, abuse, and suffering abide.

We pray for children, youth, and adults, recognizing the importance of and the gift of every age as we grow.

May your grace be present to all.

Grant us wisdom to know where there is no love, courage to act out of love for others, and peace to trust in your grace.

Help us to live so that the commandments of love for you and love for others are shown in the ways we live together.

 

Source:

United Methodist Communications http://www.umc.org/videos.


Vacation Bible School

April 27, 2017

CALLING ALL VBS HEROES to First United Methodist Church in Hemphill

Cokebury’s VBS HERO CENTRAL is designed to introduce students to a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  This VBS is based on the Bible and the gospel of the living Christ.

* Students will discover their strength in God

           *Explore God’s mission for their lives

*Encounter epic adventures alongside biblical heroes

*Realize qualities that make them truly heroes in God

 

While at VBS, children learn Bible stories, meet new types of people, have a good time with friends, and enjoy fun activities they can’t have at home.  At VBS, children learn Bible verses, act out Bible stories, sing contemporary Biblical music, watch, and participate in skits, create crafts, play games in recreation, discover science activities, and have a healthy snack.

VBS also offers an opportunity for adults to grow as servant-leaders. There are many ways you can participate and help:

1) Pray.  Pray now that volunteers continue to come forward.  Pray for children to come.  Pray that we fulfill the opportunity to minister to the children.

2) Volunteer. Volunteer to help with creating decorations, providing supplies, preparing materials, taking photos, providing snacks/ snack ingredients, and of course, working with the children as a teacher or teacher’s helper.  There are many other ways not listed that you can volunteer.

3) Contribute.  Contribute with your prayers, your gifts, and your service.

Our VBS will be held on Monday, June 12 through Friday, June 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Mark your calendars.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the children in Hemphill and Sabine County but also for your grandchildren who may visit you.  Call your children and share the dates; plan for your grandkids to share in VBS.  Let the VBS Directors, Janette and George Young, know so volunteers can be positioned in the best place.  The Youngs also need to know tee-shirt sizes for those working for VBS.

The craft leaders have asked for the congregation to save empty paper towel and TP rolls for a craft item for each budding hero.  Be aware of coming dates for a Decorating Party (color and cut out pictures, etc), of any snacks to be provided, and be certain to invite any children in your neighborhood or kids you know.  There will be classes for kids who are three by June 1st through kids going into the 6th grade.  Older students are wanted / welcomed / needed as volunteer youth helpers all week.

Our overall theme for Hero Central VBS is Psalm 34:14b, “Do Good! Seek peace, and go after it!”  In short, VBS is an invaluable opportunity to reach beyond the walls of FUMC into the heart of the community.  Won’t you help us?  Commit and pray for a successful year at VBS this summer.

 


Where did Good Friday get its name?

April 12, 2017

The source of our term for the Friday before Easter, “Good Friday,” is not clear.  It may be a corruption of the English phrase “God’s Friday,” according to Professor Laurence Hull Stookey in Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church (p. 96). It is the common name for the day among English- and Dutch-speaking people. It is a day that proclaims God’s purpose of loving and redeeming the world through the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a day that is good because God was drawing the world to God’s self in Christ. As seen in John’s gospel, particularly, God was in control. God was not making the best of a bad situation, but was working out God’s intention for the world — winning salvation for all people. We call it “good” because we look backward at the crucifixion through the lens of Easter!

Join us for Good Friday Service, April 14, 2017 @ 5:00 p.m.

 


Window Changes Reflect Vision

April 12, 2017

 

At First United Methodist Church Hemphill our vision is

to light the way to Christ through

compassion, fellowship, and spiritual growth.


UMCOR Sunday

March 16, 2017

“A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water.” Proverbs 11:25, NRSV

March 26 is UMCOR Sunday, formerly One Great Hour of Sharing.

 

GIVE NOW – A SPECIAL SUNDAY

Your gift offers people everywhere help and hope.

For more information on the vision, the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, go to:

http://www.umcgiving.org/UMCOR

 


Holy Conferencing web cast

March 14, 2017

“Holy Conversations / Tough Issues”
Live Stream: March 16

at 7:00 p.m. via Facebook Live

with Bishop Jones.

http://www.txcumc.org/bishoplivevideo

Bishop Jones will be hosting a live Q&A on March 16th at 7:00 p.m.

via Facebook Live to continue the conversation from the last live event.

To participate, you will want to “like” our Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/TexasAnnualConference/.

https://www.facebook.com/TexasAnnualConference/

Please feel free to submit questions in advance to:

communications@txcumc.org.

 

Behold how good and pleasant it is when the people of God dwell in unity! Psalm 133

 

For additional information on Holy Conferencing, click on

http://resources.michiganumc.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/05/2014_11_03_MI_Area_Guidelines_for_Holy_Conferencing_FINAL_ver_PCE3RFSH.pdf


“The invitation is to all:” A Wesley hymn devotion for Lent

March 11, 2017

A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino*

March 1, 2017, Ash Wednesday

This is the first in a series about hymns during Lent. Read more about musical devotions.

 

United Methodists are likely to sing Charles Wesley’s “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast” sometime during Lent, the weeks leading up to Easter. The hymn invites everyone to receive new life in Jesus Christ.

Some people have a spiritual gift for making others feel welcome. Gifted parents make their sons and daughters’ fiancées feel part of the family on their first Easter together. Generous students and welcoming coworkers eat lunch with those who are new. Kind church members alleviate the anxiety of parents of squirming kids by offering a warm smile from across the row.

Jesus demonstrated the ability to turn a stranger into a friend. He ate with those whom others kept at arm’s length; chose a tax collector as part of his inner circle; and made Samaritans heroes in his stories. Jesus invited all to follow him, regardless of their personal history or social standing.

Lent: A season of welcome

Lent is often understood as a time that is all about us, the people who are already part of the church. We use the season to focus on our inner lives through fasting and abstinence and spend extra time in private prayer and devotion. We attend special worship services and Bible studies where we use old words like penitence that need explaining.

But Lent is also a time of welcome.

Baptism, the sacrament through which we are initiated into the Church, was a central part of the earliest celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Before the church formalized Lent into a liturgical season, they used the weeks before Easter to prepare converts to be welcomed into the community of faith through baptism.

In 18th century England, some people felt welcome in the church, while others did not. Righting this wrong was part of the impetus of John Wesley and the early Methodist movement.

The first Methodists were intentional about welcoming everyone. They preached where people gathered—town squares and fields near mines. In their meetinghouses, they educated children and distributed medical care to those who could not afford to see a doctor. They also visited prisons to share the gospel of Jesus Christ there.

These ministries grew out of what Wesley taught about God’s grace. He used the phrase prevenient grace to describe the love God has for everyone, even before we are aware of it (prevenient means “coming before”).

This also meant Wesley viewed the sacrament of Holy Communion differently from many of his colleagues. He began to celebrate an “open table,” which United Methodists still practice today. This means that regardless of church membership or lack of it, all who love Jesus, earnestly repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another are welcome at the table where they can begin a new life of discipleship..

The invitation in song

Charles Wesley’s “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast,” extends the invitation in song.

First published under the heading, “Hymn 50, The Great Supper, Luke 14:16-24” in Hymns for Those that Seek and Those that have Redemption in the Blood of Jesus Christ (Redemption Hymns 1747), the song invites us both to the communion table (see The United Methodist Hymnal #616) and to enter new life in Jesus Christ (see UMH #339). Together, the two occurrences in the hymnal use only nine of the 24 verses Wesley penned. Read Charles Wesley’s complete text here.

 

“Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast” performed by Rev. Clyde McLennan,

http://www.smallchurchmusic3.com.

 

The scripture reference in the heading is a parable Jesus tells about many who decline an invitation to a banquet by giving a variety of excuses. Wesley as narrator begins in the role of the servant charged with making the invitation on behalf of the host:

Come, sinners, to the gospel-feast,

 Let every soul be Jesu’s guest,

 You need not one be left behind,

 For God hath bidden all mankind.

 

Sent by my Lord, on you I call,

The invitation is to all.

Come all the world: come, sinner, thou,

 All things in Christ are ready now. (verses 1-2)

 

Wesley wants to be sure we each know there is a place for us at the communion table and in life with Jesus. If anyone thinks the invitation is not for them, Wesley is clear,

Sinners my gracious Lord receives,

 Harlots, and publicans, and thieves,

 Drunkards, and all the hellish crew,

 I have a message now to you. (verse 13)

 

Living the song

In the verses that follow, Wesley urges us who have accepted Christ’s invitation to become servants who invite others to come to the feast and enter into this new life of discipleship. He puts these words on Jesus’ lips,

Tell them, my grace for all is free,

 They cannot be too bad for me.

Tell them, their sins are all forgiven,

 Tell every creature under heaven. (verses 17b-18a)

 

Wesley then closes the hymn with a reminder that this gracious invitation is also a call to live a new life in Jesus that can begin today.

This is the time, no more delay,

 This is the acceptable day,

 Come in, this moment, at his call,

 And live for him who died for all. (verse 24)

This Lent, as we seek to strengthen our inner lives in preparation for Easter, let us also be people of invitation. May we not only come to the table ourselves, but invite others to join us in a relationship with Jesus Christ. With the words of Wesley’s hymn on our lips, we open the doors of our hearts, homes, and churches to welcome all to know the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ.

 

*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications.