"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Below is information on the initial United Methodist response to the earthquake in Chile. We pray for the people of Chile in this great time of need.
UMCOR Responds to Earthquake in Chile
February 27, 2010—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to the needs of people affected by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile early on Saturday. Preliminary reports indicate at least 147 people have died, homes and hospitals have been destroyed, and the earthquake triggered a tsunami that is rolling across the Pacific.
Bishop Joel N. Martinez, interim General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries said, “I have just received the terrible news about the major 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile. The early reports of great destruction and widespread injuries and the increasing death count point to a need for a full response by all humanitarian agencies and governments in the coming days and weeks.”
UMOR is working with partners in Chile: Iglesia Metodista de Chile (IMECH), Ministerio Social Methodista (MISOM) and Equipo Metodista de Acción Humanitaria (EMAH) to respond with resources and support.
Bishop Martinez continued, “I received a message from the Iglesia Metodista de Chile and have expressed to Bishop Mario Martinez Tapia that we respond with our prayers, our solidarity, and our commitment to offer the resources and services of UMCOR to help the church respond.”
In an email, Juan Salazar, President of the Methodist Social Ministry in Chile, says of their initial evaluations of damage, “the information that arises each time indicates that the effects are greater than originally assessed.”
UMCOR executives, Melissa Crutchfield and Tom Hazelwood expressed via email, “our thoughts and prayers are with you all as you mobilize EMAH and IMECH in response to the earthquake this morning. We will continue to keep in touch and to keep you in our prayers. UMCOR and the people of the United Methodist Church stand with you and will help in any way we can.”
Disaster Response Training
Crutchfield and Hazelwood conducted a three-day disaster preparedness and emergency response training for IMECH district coordinators in October 2009. About 20 participants of the Chilean Methodist Church from different districts and regions engaged in the eight-hour a day training, which fostered networking opportunities with local authorities and relevant partners in the emergency response field. The disaster response training offered support IMECH, MISOM and EMAH district coordinators to build a disaster response network in preparation for disasters.
In a blog entry in the UMCOR Notebook, Hazelwood writes, “When we spoke of the use of volunteers and their value to UMCOR’s ministry of disaster response, the people of Chile knew and understood perfectly. They know what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ when there is trouble.”
How to Help
Bishop Martinez says, “I call on our generous United Methodist constituents to join in the response to the Chile Emergency Advance to strengthen UMCOR’s ability to be fully present with resources.”
At this point, it is not anticipated that relief supply kits will be needed. Financial support can be made to Chile Emergency Advance # 3021178.
Gifts can also be made by check to UMCOR and mailed to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. For local church and Annual Conference credit, place your gift in the offering plate on Sundays. Please indicate in the memo line of the check that it is for the Chile Emergency.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sermon - "Crosses of Jesus - St. Andrew's Cross"
Features - 3rd Sunday in Lent
Scripture - Isaiah 66:1-2; James 4:7-10; & Luke 13:1-9
Theme - Today is the 3rd part of a six-part sermon series on the theme, “The Crosses of Jesus” in which we are focusing on the meaning of several types of Christian crosses to help us journey toward the cross of Holy Week during this Season of Lent. On this third Sunday of the series, our focus is on the meaning of St. Andrew’s Cross.
Friday, February 26, 2010
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I used to call him old man.
That would be my dad.
It started just after my graduation from college in 1979
when he purchased a Lazy Boy recliner.
It wasn't long after that,
that the new invention of the television remote
came into his hands.
I remember telling him as an arrogant twenty something...
I can't believe that you are so lazy
that you can't get out of your Lazy Boy
to change the channel!
My, oh my, how times have changed since then,
as I look upon my satellite dish
with dual receivers and dual remotes
from my cushy sectional sofa.....
It was the Lazy Boy, I believe,
that accelerated my dad into being an old man
At first, he would begin to nod off in the chair by the 10 o'clock news.
Soon after, he was in la la land by the nine o'clock documentaries
Within a year,
nothing was guaranteed after the 8pm sitcoms,
If you wanted to know something from my dad,
you had better ask him by Jeopardy.
or just wait till breakfast.
Meanwhile I was a night owl.
I loved staying up till midnight and beyond.
The late night news,
The Tonight Show,
and later on,
the Letterman Show,
they were all staples of my daily schedule.
Over the years,
I have remained a night owl.
That is until I began building my house this year....
If there were an awards committee
for the best first halves of movies,
I should be on it.
Start a flick after 9pm???
you might as well ship it right back to the video store.
Olympic coverage till midnight????
you might as well award the gold by sunset.
the furthest I have made it into that show is:
Game, set, match.
I have really tried to stave off my senior citizen evening nap.
After working a full time job ,
and coming home to construction,
I have come to cherish an hour or two of relaxing in front of the TV before bedtime.
Against every doctor recommended diet,
I have found that eating late night dinners helps.
It's quite a feat to fall asleep while eating.
Turning the temperature down helps too,
nothing like trying to fall asleep while you are shivering.
But I have found that the best solution to avoid being like my dad,
is to remain upright.
No lying down on the couch,
That was till last evening.
I was sitting upright at full attention at 7pm,
soda and snacks in hand.
Nothing like a good hockey match to get your blood going.
USA versus Canada!
Olympic medals at stake!
Patriotic pride on the line!
Let's get fired up!
USA! USA! USA!
I woke up in the third period
with drool running down my cheek.
I have officially become my dad.
Then I realized.....
He may have ended the day in a Lazy Boy,
but he was anything BUT lazy.
His evening snores trumpeted to the world
that he had put in a hard day's work.
His evening nap
was a recognition of all the energy
he expended daily for his family.
I also realized,
there isn't anything wrong
with being like your dad.
Not when your dad was a man of God.
As children of God,
we are all called to model our heavenly Father,
as exampled in the flesh by Jesus.
We are even told in the Sermon on the Mount,
to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.*
That is, perfect as in mature,
casting off those qualities
that lead to destructive ends.
I used to call him old man.
Now I realize there's nothing wrong with that,
not if those advancing years leads to spiritual maturity.
So call me old man,
or whatever you want.
Just don't call me after 8pm.
It will probably go right to voice mail......
Monday, February 22, 2010
CALL TO PRAYER AND FASTING
I am Bishop Bruce Ough. Grace and peace to you from God, our Creator, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are about to enter the season of Lent. This is a season that begins with ashes pressed upon our heads and ends with the triumphant song “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!” Lent is:
- a time of self-denial and return to disciplined living;
- a time to repent and experience God’s extravagant forgiveness and mercy;
- a time to be set free from past patterns of self-indulgence and negative behavior;
- a time to embrace a life of joyful holiness.
The pattern of Lent was set by Jesus during his forty days of solitude, prayer and fasting in the Judean desert. This was an essential period of preparation for his public ministry. And, throughout his ministry, Jesus urged those who wanted to become his followers to “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Jesus is calling us to live as he did. Jesus is calling us to deny our preferences for the sake of His kingdom purposes. Jesus is calling us to die to our selfishness so that others may have a more abundant life. Jesus is calling us to address the problems and issues people face – disease, poverty, prejudice, hunger, loneliness, hatred, fear, sin-sick hearts – with an extravagant generosity, compassion and love that the world will consider strange and wonderful.
- Jesus is calling us to live out of God’s abundance,
when the world says hoard your resources.
- Jesus is calling us to witness for peace,
when the world is mad with war and violence.
- Jesus is calling us to seek justice,
when the world says look out for yourself.
- Jesus is calling us to proclaim hope,
when the world embraces doubt, despair and cynicism.
- Jesus is calling us to offer salvation,
when the world offers false security.
This Lent, I am calling upon every United Methodist in West Ohio Conference to embrace the pattern of Jesus and enter into forty days of prayer and fasting. I invite you to fast at least one day a week and offer your savings to the poor. Pray for God to give us a “heart for the lost.” Pray that God’s “house may be filled.” Pray for and offer your lives for the desperate and dis-spirited people of Haiti, and around the world.
As we move ever deeper into our Lenten journey, I invite you to prayerfully seek ways to live that bring abundant life to others. I invite you to lose your life for Jesus’ sake, so that your life may be whole, complete, joy-filled, saved.
And, so I pray for each of you:
Pour out your Holy Spirit and
anoint your faithful servants.
Cause your good gifts to flow
in and through their lives and ministry.
Receive their prayers and fasting
as a holy and living sacrifice
that others may have abundant life.
Prepare your people during these days of Lent
for the inexpressible joy and
triumphant hope of the Risen Christ,
In whose name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Sermon - "Crosses of Jesus - The Jerusalem Cross"
Features - 2nd Sunday in Lent
Scripture - Philippians 3:17-4:1 & Luke 13:31-35
Theme - Today is the 2nd part of a six-part sermon series on the theme, “The Crosses of Jesus” in which we are focusing on the meaning of several types of Christian crosses to help us journey toward the cross of Holy Week during this Season of Lent. On this second Sunday of the series, our focus is on the meaning of the Jerusalem Cross.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
1st Sunday in Lent Prayer (Feb. 21)
O God our deliverer, you led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide now the people of your church, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
So much for global warming......
When the 28 inch storm came over the weekend,
most of us thought it couldn't get any worse.
Be careful what you think.....
The additional 20 inches of snow that came 4 days later disproved that.
That would be the 20 inches accompanied by blizzard like winds for several days.
I love snow.
There is nothing better than a big snowstorm when you are a skier.
That is, unless you have put your skis away for the year
because you are building a house.
There is something soothing
about being nestled in during a storm.
A feeling of safety, of comfort, of being cared for.
Time to slow down, enjoy some hot chocolate,
put together a puzzle .
When I was growing up on the farm,
our family called it "hunkering down."
I could tell with this storm that it was
going to be quite a bit of hunkering down.
The only problem was that this year
hunkering down meant
more time to work inside on my house remodeling project.
And the only problem with that was
that after the storm was done,
there was all the work to be done outside.
You know what I mean,
those 6 foot drifts across the driveway
that need to be shoveled....
so that you could get to the state road...
that was closed!
walkways to be tackled with the snow blower......
ice that need to be treated or scraped...
pets that needed to be rescued....
(see the update below)
After a 8 hour shoveling workout
that rivaled anything I have ever done at the gym,
I thought I was in good shape.....
that was until I looked up,
and saw my 30 by 36 foot low pitch roof
bearing the weight of 2 feet of snow.
Snow that was predicted to lie there for days, if not weeks.
With all apologies to Tevye,
I didn't need a fiddler on the roof.
I needed a snow blower on the roof.
Oh, if I were a rich man.......
No such luck.
3 more hours of shoveling.
That would be shoveling snow off the roof
onto the very walkways that I had just finished clearing.
Oh, if I were a smart man......
Hunkering down takes a lot of patience,
it also takes some brains.
and some muscle.
It also takes faith...
faith that better days lie ahead,
faith that God is with us through the storm,
faith that we will be given all that we need to move on.
The next time
I need to remember,
that before I hunker down,
I need to look up....
in more ways than one.
I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent, and are referred to as the Sundays in Lent. The number 40 is connected with many biblical events, but especially with the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry by facing the temptations that could lead him to abandon his mission and calling. Christians today use this period of time for introspection, self examination, and repentance. Lent has traditionally been marked by penitential prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
During the six Sundays of Lent at Lancaster First United Methodist Church, (Feb. 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, & 28) our sermon series will be on "The Crosses of Jesus." We will focus on six different types of crosses which the church has used over the centuries to help us gain a deeper meaning of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Sermon - "Crosses of Jesus - The Latin Cross"
Features - 1st Sunday in Lent & Holy Communion
Scripture - I Corinthians 1:18-25 & Luke 4:1-13
Theme - Today, we begin a six-part sermon series on the theme, “The Crosses of Jesus” in which we will focus on the meaning of several types of Christian crosses to help us journey toward the cross of Holy Week during this Season of Lent. On this first Sunday of the series, our focus will be on the meaning of the Latin cross which is probably the most popular form of the Christian cross.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Transfiguration Sunday Prayer
Holy God, upon the mountain you revealed our Messiah, who by his death and resurrection would fulfill both the law and the prophets. By his transfiguration enlighten our path that we may dare to suffer with him in the service of humanity and so share in the everlasting glory of him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Sermon - “A Heart for Lancaster"
Features - Transfiguration Sunday; “New Ministry Initiative Launch Sunday;” & Boy Scout Recognition
Scripture - Exodus 34:29-35 & Luke 9:28-43a
Theme - Today is Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday before the Season of Lent begins. After Jesus is transfigured on the mountain, Jesus and his disciples return to the bottom of the mountain and immediately resume a ministry of offering God’s healing love. On this Valentine’s Sunday, our church is launching a new ministry initiative to help us reach more people with the love of Jesus Christ in the city of Lancaster.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Drew Brees, the New Orlean Saints quarterback, recently gave a 9 minute interview regarding his Christian faith. Toward the end of his interview, he talks about the importance of prayer, trusting in God, and reading the scriptures on a daily basis.
These are some of the same cross training tips we will be hearing about this Sunday as we focus on the care of our souls. Enjoy the interview.
The moral of the story is....
When you are in a hurry,
take your time.
My mornings can be a bit hectic.
Although I have no children to usher off to school,
getting to the office early
is a bit of a challenge.
Beyond the normal wake up routine
of shower, breakfast, and dressing,
there are pills for the dog,
pills for me,
checking e mail,
making my "to do" list for the day
feeding the cats,
feeding the dog,
feeding the donkey.
(yeah, you read that right)
Oh, there is also
returning voice mails,
an occasional load of laundry,
packing a lunch,
picking up the newspaper ,
checking in on my mom....
You get the idea.
Most of us have busy days.
I was having one of those days,
which was exacerbated by
the need to get into the office
an hour earlier than usual.
I was feeling very good about my progress
as I made it to the car,
we had a snowstorm the night before.
I had brushed the snow off the car
scraped the ice off the wind shield,
and had the car running to warm the inside.
As usual, I made my way to the car
with my hands full,
including my cup of pomegranate juice.
(filled with anti-oxidants)
With no free hands to open the door of my car,
I decided to place my cup on top of the car.
Let me say this about that......
It is not a prudent idea
to place a flimsy plastic cup
on top of a convex shaped car roof,
particularly when the convex car roof
is coated with a thin layer of ice.
As I was loading items into the back seat of the car,
I heard this scraping noise.
Not sure what it was,
I looked up......
just in time to see the cup of pomegranate juice
come careening over the edge of the car roof
onto my face.
Sometimes you go to the polar bear plunge,
and sometimes the polar bear plunge
comes to you
Let me say,
there is nothing quite as exhilarating
on a 23 degree day
as a cup of icy cold pomegranate juice
running down your head
and proceeding down your back.
This is not the way to get
your daily anti-oxidants.
This required a trip back to the house,
a change of clothes.
I didn't make it to the office on time.
The problem wasn't all the things
that I had to do.
The problem was that the agenda
had affected my judgment.
It caused to feel rushed,
to make less than wise decisions.
In the end, it cost me more time.
Jesus warned us about the
danger of being consumed by
the expectations that we place upon ourselves,
His dear friend, Martha was scurrying
trying to see that all the entertaining details
of her house guests were met.
Over in the corner,
there sat sister Mary,
seated at the feet of the One
who created time,
listening to His every word.
except listening to the Lord of the universe.
Consider the irony,
Martha was worried about getting the food ready
for the household of guests,
while completely forgetting that the one
who fed 5,000 in the blink of an eye,
was offering food for the soul.
Martha received her own wake up splash
of pomegranate juice in the face when Jesus said,
(insert your name here)
you are worried and bothered about
so many things;
but only a few things are necessary,
really only one,
(insert the name of someone you know
who has learned how to live in the moment)
has chosen the good part, which shall not
be taken from her. Luke 10:41b-42
The next time
you find yourself letting your schedule,
your list of things to do,
remember that as a child of God
all we need to do is...
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
If you don't,
don't be surprised
if you get a pomegranate juice in the face
wake up call.
Perhaps the moral of the story is really,
When you are in a hurry,
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010