Kenneth Oliver is born

February 29, 2016

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We thank You that You have given life to Kenneth and we welcome him. We speak to him and tell him he is loved and supported on his journey. God has blessed you once again with the birth and daily improvement in Kenneth. We join you in giving thanks to God. Amen.

daddy and kenneth

 


A Charge to Keep have I

February 24, 2016

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A World Worth Knowing

Lenten Spiritual Practices for Action

Wednesday 24, 2016

 

John Wesley described Methodism’s purpose as a movement in this way: to “reform the nation and, in particular, the Church; to spread scriptural holiness over the land.” The Wesley brothers came to this perspective after much Bible study and prayer. In eighteenth-century England, the Church of England was the national church. The Wesleys felt, however, that it did not speak to the needs of the people or address the social ills within the nation at the time. The Wesleyan understanding of mission took shape during this era as John and Charles addressed social needs like education, poverty, disease, and mental health in their preaching and teaching.

Methodist Christians began the first Sunday schools to teach children how to read. They collected offerings to alleviate the conditions of those in poverty. In a time when medical doctors were concentrated in London, Methodist circuit preachers carried copies of Primitive Physick with them, a book by John Wesley that helped diagnose and apply medical techniques to those who were ill.

Methodists also worked to change the appalling conditions in mental institutions and jails. By proclaiming the grace of Jesus Christ, the Wesleys brought change to many of the social ills in England. Persisting in this mission remained a challenge in the lifetime of the Wesleys. John was not always welcomed in places where he preached and ministered. Other Methodists faced contempt and ridicule.

James Logan, in How Great a Flame, tells the story of Martha Thompson, a housemaid in London born in 1731. While doing errands she passed a crowd of people who were singing outdoors. She listened to the singing and then noticed a small man who began preaching to the crowd. It was John Wesley. When she returned home and told her mistress what she saw, the mistress told her to avoid Wesley because “he will drive you mad, he will ruin you.”

Martha, however, returned often to hear John Wesley preach. One day during the singing of “The Lord Jehovah Reigns,” she experienced an inner peace, which Wesley called the “inner witness of the Spirit.” She continued to praise and give glory to God, even after she had returned home. Ultimately, this led to her committal at Bedlam, a notorious mental asylum. At Bedlam she continued to witness for Christ. Thompson was eventually released from Bedlam and remained an active Methodist Christian witness until her death.

Stories similar to Martha Thompson’s were common in eighteenth-century England. Methodists were often unwelcome in society, and their words and actions brought hostility. Charles Wesley, inspired by his reading of Matthew Henry’s commentary on Leviticus 8:35, wrote a hymn of encouragement to the early Methodists who were experiencing animosity from the public.

A charge to keep I have,

a God to glorify,

a never-dying soul to save

To serve the present age,

my calling to fulfill;

O may it all my powers engage

to do my Master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care,

as in thy sight to live,

and oh, thy servant, Lord, prepare

a strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,

and on thyself rely,

assured, if I my trust betray,

I shall forever die.

 

This hymn offers strength and comfort to Christians of the eighteenth- and twenty-first centuries alike, all of whom have received as their calling to fulfill, “to serve the present age.” The hymn speaks to all aspects of Christian ministry and mission. Whenever we sing this hymn, we reaffirm the call of Christ to engage in ministry with the world. O may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will!

We may pay no attention to the meaning of these words as we sing them, but they speak of our common ties with Christians around the world to bear witness to grace through word and deed. We find one of the clearest statements of God’s will in Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus speaks about the judgment of the nations. Jesus says to those at his right hand:

Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 34-36).

These words express the actions that Christ wills for us. Not only are these actions a charge we have been given, they are a charge we have to keep. God invites us to find deep satisfaction in the work.

For Your Growth

Read the words of “A Charge to Keep I Have” again. Consider why you believe that God thinks the world is worthy of redemption and love. Today, pray for each of the situations on the list you created the day before. Pray that God will bring reconciliation where division exists and justice where oppression rules.

Sent by: United Methodist Communications 810 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203-4704 umcom@umcom.org   |  Phone: 615.742.5400


Lent and Easter quiz

February 21, 2016

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http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/lent-quiz-test-your-knowledge-of-the-season?_ga=1.256179211.1090201264.1456099913

As a service of United Methodist Communications, the above link has been provided.

See how much you know about the traditions and symbols of Lent & Easter by clicking on the questions.

Please return each weekday during Lent for a new question.

We encourage you to share the link to this page with others, too. Good luck!


A commitment to excellence

February 21, 2016

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

Mario Andretti, Race Car Driver

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes,

because an excellent spirit [was] in him;

and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:3 – KJV)


A new District Superintendent for the East District

February 21, 2016

vinson_anthony_443Our current District Superintendent, the Rev. Chuck Huffman, says that he is “pleased to announce that Bishop Huie has appointed Rev. Tony Vinson as the new Superintendent of the East District, effective July 1.  Tony currently serves as Senior Pastor of Clear Lake UMC.  Some you will remember that Tony served as Pastor of Perritte Memorial UMC from June 1988 through May 1993.  Tony is very familiar with the East District, and he has a great love and appreciation for the more rural ministry of the district.”

from the Clear Lake UMC web page –

Rev. Vinson lists his hobbies: Playing the Guitar, harmonica, and a no. 2 pencil, collecting Baseball cards.

His favorite Bible Verse  is Philippians 4:8 – Finally friends, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


Summary of the Town Hall meetings

February 21, 2016

First, we would like to thank our Lay Leader, Pat Friese, for leading both meetings. Secondly, we would like to thank all church members who were able to attend the meetings and share their hopes, dreams, love for our church and ask questions. We sincerely hope that we have satisfied all areas of concern. If not, please don’t hesitate to talk with, call or email any member of the VCI team.

Summarizing the most discussed points:

  • There is no cost to First United Methodist Church Hemphill for the services of the coach, the leader of the Day of Prayer and Repentance service, the services of a communications expert, the leader of the Visioning Workshop, nor the coaching assistance to our pastor.
  • All of these services are provided by the Texas Conference.
  • No one is required to attend additional meetings. The process that our prescriptions recommend include piggy-backing existing ministry teams. However, we are aware that there will be church members who vibrantly wish to jump on board. They will be warmly welcomed!
  • Some of the prescriptions create a one-time, limited time only team.
  • There is urgent need for our church to look forward to keep our church going and growing.
  • All of the books read by the original VCI team are available for any church member to read.
The “Why” behind Vibrant Church Initiative
·         The reasons vary from church to church as to why 29 congregations in the Texas Annual Conference have said “yes” to enrolling in the Vibrant Church Initiative process over the last three years. For the VCI team here at First United Methodist Church Hemphill one of the reasons is the desire for our church to thrive instead of just survive.
  • We, the team members, are praying that others in our congregation will have the same vision and the interest in expanding our faith responses to enhance our discipleship opportunities.
  • Here at FUMC Hemphill we have already finished the first two components of the process. This is the last step of the journey to experiencing the benefits of learning within the coaching culture offered through the Vibrant Church Initiative.

Key points to remember:

  • There will be a vote at the called church conference on March 6. Only church members will be able to vote; all voters must be present at the conference.
  • The prescriptions will be voted on in their entirety.

Please be in prayer for our church. Most wonderful God, Holy Father, Precious Son, Holy Spirit, be with us in this process of renewal. As you breathed life into us in the very beginning, we pray for new life to be given to us. May we, in this time of discernment, be given the wisdom to seek a new, powerful vision for our community of faith. Bring us closer together as sisters and brothers, and enlighten us to your ways. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:11-13 (NIV)

Yours in Christ, The VCI team

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Town Hall meeting #2

February 13, 2016

 

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Members are asked to attend the second Town Hall meeting if they were not able to hear the report of the Vibrant Church Initiative consulting team.

The meeting will be Tuesday, February 16 @ 10:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.

The purpose of the meeting is to clarify the report and make sure all church members have the opportunity to ask questions.

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