Bismarck Calvary United Methodist
Sunday, October 21, 2018
A United Methodist Congregation

PASTOR'S PENCIL

 
GREETINGS!
 

THE SERMON GUIDE

The sermons for September & October 2018 will be:

Sermon Guide for September & October 2018

Date

Message Title

Scripture

September 2

“Wrestling with God”

Genesis 32

September 9

“Changing My Life into…?”

1 John 2

September 16

“Walking in the Spirit”

Genesis 24

September 23

“The Great Refiner”

Isaiah 1

September 30 – HARVEST FEST

Mark Meier speaking

 

October 7 –

World Communion Sunday

 

“Decisions, Decisions”

 

Deuteronomy 30

October 14 – Guest Speaker

To Be Announced

 

October 21

“Preventive Christianity”

Hebrews 10

October 28

“Temptation in our Life”

James 1

November 4

(first of Malachi series of 4)

 

“Love Doubted”

 

Malachi 1

 

 

JOURNEY RENEWAL

     As we shared last month, on July 1 we passed our Journey Renewal prescriptions with a 70% margin and so the Dakotas Conference will continue to help us with coaching to attain a new life cycle at Calvary.  We have not as yet been assigned any coaches but that will be coming shortly.

     However, we have forged ahead with initiating a few of the prescriptions that were offered:

First, Strategic Outreach.  A neighborhood “Block Party/Car Show” was held in the church and parking lot on August 11 which was deemed a success even though it was a very hot afternoon.  This event included excellent marketing and promotion, with clear “hand-offs” for further connection and involvement being handed out.  We now pray for people to also come check us out on Sunday and Wednesday evenings as well as future events that were advertised.

Second, Maximizing Ministry with Children and Families.  We have been evaluating our Wednesday programing with AWANA etc.  If you will look in the Christian Education part of this newsletter you will see some things we are changing, including a Wednesday Worship time to see how the Lord may use this time.

     Third, we have been working at calling everyone to be part of the process through encouraging us to all work together through extended greeting times, God Moments during worship, messages on the topic and calls to prayer through prayer cards, becoming part of Prayer Team and prayer walks prior to our block party.

     We will continue to forge ahead with the Holy Spirit’s direction.

 

Thank You!

     We owe a big thank you to the many donors who made our Block Party/Car Show a great success.  Thanks go out to:  Car owners who displayed their cars and to Steve & Ginny McCallum who gave valuable advice and assistance; Capital Trophy for providing the car dash board plaques; to Dale & Cindy from Dakota Community Bank who brought their grill and did all the grilling in the heat, plus paid for the hot dogs and buns; and to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company (our church neighbor) for their donation of soft drinks.  Many thanks also to the following businesses who donated gift cards:  Sam’s, Walmart, Clark Gas Station, Sickies Burgers, Subway, Paradiso, Scotty’s, HuHot Mongolian Grill, Applebee’s and McDonalds.  Thank you to the individuals who donated the computer, two bicycles, gift cards and popcorn.  Thank you also to all the church members who donated chips, bottled water, helium, balloons, candy and many other items that were requested and contributed to the success of the event.  Finally, thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make each station run smoothly.  God bless each of you.

 

Another Thank You!

     A big thank you also goes out to all those who have made donations to the décor of Calvary United Methodist Church over the last two years.  We are so grateful for the new and fresh appearance of our church.  We received many compliments from the Journey Renewal Consultation team about the décor of our church.  It should also be noted that at least 80% to 90% of the new décor has been donated – and we are all so grateful to those who have been so generous. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

JOURNEY RENEWAL CONTINUES

     On May 20, the Dakotas Conference Journey Renewal Partnership Team met with the leadership of our church.  They said, “Our prayer is that God will use this process to focus and maximize the potential of your congregation for fruitfulness for Christ.  We pray this will be a Pentecost moment in the history of this congregation and that the good things about Calvary UMC will become a spring board for the GREAT things God wants to do in and through this congregation.”  After sharing five strengths and five challenges for our congregation, the following prescriptions were shared:

 

1.    Maximizing Ministry with Children and Families

Throughout the weekend, people at Calvary spoke of their dream of seeing more children and families begin to call Calvary their church home and have opportunities to grow as followers of Jesus. In order to make this a reality, the following steps will be taken:

 

  A task force will be formed to do a comprehensive evaluation of Wednesday programming to determine ways in which its impact can be maximized.  This will include exploring options such as:

§  Engaging in new ways of promoting the program in the neighborhood.

§  Providing special times when kids are encouraged and equipped to invite friends.

§  Offering a small group or relationship-building option for parents of children with a focus on topics such as parenting, finances, marriage, etc.

§  Creating a new worship experience that appeals to children, youth and young families.  

    Each church member will be asked to pray for how God is calling them as individuals to support the ministries with children—to be spiritual “parents and grandparents.” This will include things such as:

§  Volunteering to serve in Sunday School or at Awana.

§  Helping with the set-up/preparation so those working with the kids can focus their energies on the children.

§  Writing notes of encouragement to young parents or church members who volunteer with kids to let them know they are appreciated and prayed for.

§  Knitting/crocheting prayer squares for kids.

§  Making cookies or other goodies for Sunday school/Awana/kids events.

§  Serving at special events so kids witness the tangible love of Christ through people of all ages.   

As this team gets clarity on how to maximize the impact of the church’s ministries with children, they will also explore how they can help youth stay engaged in discipleship and in the life of the church. This may start with things such as regularly involving them in worship leadership, integrating them into the leadership of kid’s ministries, creating opportunities or spaces for them to connect with each other and other UMC youth, and intentionally seeking THEIR perspectives on faith, discipleship and how the church can best support them and other youth on their journey.

 


 

2.    Strategic Outreach

In order to reach new people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, as well as make the best use of resources, a team will be formed to develop a strategic plan for neighborhood/community outreach. Guided by a coach, this team will identify task groups for the purpose of:  

  Mission Field Research

§  This group will focus on developing a close relationship with teachers and administration at Rita Murphy Elementary school to determine how Calvary UMC can BE Good News to the children and staff of the school. They will also reach out to the leadership at the Coca-Cola plant to better understand the needs of their workers and discover how the church might be in ministry with them. 

 

§  Streamlined and strategic event planning Based on the mission field research as well as key MissionInsite data (eg 33% of parents in a one-mile radius are single parents), the team will determine what events might be most strategic and in alignment with their volunteer capacity and missional goals.  Examples of events might include: a parent’s day/night out babysitting event; a VBS-like activity day on a school holiday when parents have to work; a parenting class; a neighborhood “block party” held at the city park next to the church; a grandparent/grandkid sock hop, etc. These events will include excellent marketing and promotion, clear “hand-offs” for further connection and involvement, and structured follow-up for invitation. (This team will be provided with Triad training a concept of planning events in a way that “bridge” to the next event, moving people into closer relationship with the church each time they attend.)

 

3.    Stewarding our Gifts

Throughout the weekend, we heard a concern that there were not enough volunteers to accomplish the vision for ministry that people have.  Therefore, in order to most effectively steward the resources—human and otherwise—at Calvary, a leadership coach will work with Pastor Perry and church leadership to evaluate church administrative systems and practices to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness. This will include things such as looking at how and when meetings are planned, how discipleship is integrated into meetings to keep leadership focused on the “Why,” and what functions can be streamlined in order to make the best use of limited time resources. This recommendation will focus on how youth and young adults can be mentored and empowered in leadership and service that best fits their gifts and capacity. Additionally, it will explore how leaders who have served faithfully can be

given permission to discern God’s next calling to service and equipped to do so.  Finally, in order to address financial concerns, a coach will work with Pastor Perry and church leadership to implement best practices in financial stewardship development and financial management and investment for future sustainability and impact.

 

4.    United in Christ

Finally, because people dreamed of overcoming a sense of negativity with a feeling of being united in Christ and in mission and ministry to the Bismarck area, the following steps will be taken to create this culture:

 

  “You Belong Here”—The congregation will be trained and equipped to give intentional attention to becoming as prepared as possible to make every person who walks through our doors feel welcomed—promote the feeling we are glad they are here. This will include thinking through all aspects of the Sunday morning/Wednesday evening experiences and how everything from signage to greeting to an invitation “to join us again” can make a person feel like there is a place for them.  

 

 

 

§  Celebration and Appreciation—Because “we replicate what we celebrate,” an intentional focus will be placed on giving thanks to God as well as thanking others for allowing God to work through them. People will be encouraged to share or submit “Yay God” moments — stories of where they are seeing God at work and who they see God working through.  They will also be encouraged and equipped to express thanks to others who have blessed them or who they see making a difference. “Two-Minute God Stories” will be integrated into worship as well as children’s ministry, so young and old alike will be reminded of our “Why” and the importance of sharing what we have found in Christ and in a church home. 

§  Fueling Momentum—Breakthrough Prayer asks God to break through into the church in powerful new ways, thus revealing God’s preferred reality.  However, prayer doesn’t just act as a catalyst.  It also acts as a firm, rooted foundation for a Holy Spirit movement.  Any powerful God movement is bound to have spiritual pushback and a foundation of prayer anchors us in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to do more than we could ask or imagine.  In order to continue to fuel the God movements in and through the church, Breakthrough Prayer and prayer walking will continue at the start of each meeting/gathering with a special focus on praying for ministry to and with young families and the neighborhood. Breakthrough Prayer will also be utilized in ministry with children and will be the launching off point for planning any outreach or ministry.

     On July 1 we passed these prescriptions with a 70% margin and so the Dakotas Conference will continue to help us with coaching to attain a new life cycle at Calvary.

 

 

 

CALVARY’S HISTORY

     Calvary United Methodist Church has both a long and short history involving two congregations, three denominations, two languages, and a hospital.

     The long history dates back to 1881 when an itinerant minister for the Evangelical Church, Rev. R.W. Teichman, held preaching services in the Bismarck-Mandan area.  Rev. F.W. Tesch was assigned to the Mission in 1883, followed by R.W. Teichman in 1885 and Rev. G.F. Liening in 1888.  In 1889, no pastor was assigned until Rev. W.C. Menges in 1906.  In 1907, the Swedish Lutheran Church on the corner of 7th St. & Rosser Ave was purchased and was called First Evangelical Church.  This location fostered a close relationship of cooperation with Quain & Ramstad Clinic that dates back to this time.  In 1907, the Evangelical Churches of North and South Dakota began construction of the first unit of “The Bismarck Hospital and Deaconess Home of the Dakota Conference of the Evangelical Church”.  This association gave the church a real sense of prestige in the community. 

     In 1911, a two-story parsonage was built on the rear of the church property facing Rosser Avenue.

     Services were held in both English and German, and, at times in different locations.  This first building was moved across the street and a new Neo-Gothic style architecture brick church with many stained glass windows was built on the spot in 1914 (we still have the cornerstone in our back room and the stained glass).  With the merger of the Evangelical Church and the United Brethren Church in 1946, the named was changed to First Evangelical United Brethren Church.  In 1949, the parsonage was sold and moved off the property in anticipation of adding on to the church and a new parsonage was purchased at 414 7th St.  The Church building not only became too small but it was found that it was structurally impossible to make the changes that were desired and so a new church was built on the corner of 11th St and Avenue F (924 N 11th St.) during 1955.

     For a time, the church at 7th & Rosser was rented to a Congregational/United Church of Christ Church.  This was followed by talk of Labor Unions interested in purchasing the building and putting a bar in the basement, plus an undertaker was also interested in the building.

     In the fall of 1958, the feeling arose that there was a need to re-open the church at 7th & Rosser to minister to the people in the downtown area and people in the area presented a petition of 60 signatures to the Conference asking to start a second church.

     The first service of this mission church (Second Evangelical United Brethren Church) was held on December 7, 1958, with Rev. Robert H. Strutz as supply pastor.  The congregation was officially organized on June 14, 1959, and changed the name a year later to Calvary Evangelical United Brethren Church.  The Church building was purchased from First Church for $25,000 (mortgage was paid in full in April of 1963). 

     Rev. Robert H. Strutz was appointed to serve the church along with Mandan in 1959.  Forty-one charter members began the church in 1959.  Just one remains a member at this time (Frieda Roth).  The merger of the EUB & Methodist Episcopal Church in 1968 brought another name change of Calvary United Methodist Church.  Calvary experienced slow growth through the 60’s.  A women’s missionary society, later known as the United Methodist Women, was organized in 1962 as well as a Youth Fellowship in 1963. 

     A complete redecorating of the church sanctuary was accomplished in 1971 to enhance its beauty and highlight the stained glass windows.

     A more moderate growth of the church took place in the late 60’s through the 70’s into the early 80’s with 232 new members being brought into the church with a tremendous 60 professions of faith in 1982.  This growth in membership and a realization that the church building was beginning to need some major repairs prompted the need for a new church building.  The District Building committee recommended property on south 12th Street. However, that meant taking over the “Open Door” ministry and the church decided against that kind of commitment.  I am told that the present JC Park property at the corner of Century Avenue and Fourth Street was also considered, but instead almost an acre of land was purchased at 609 N 34th St. for $62,500 on June 1, 1981 because it was close to an influential church member.  Ground was broken with members pulling the plow in June of 1982 and a new $300,000 church building begun.  The old church was sold to Bismarck Hospital (Med Center One/Sanford Health) and an auction sold some of the furniture, fixtures, etc. to help benefit the building fund and it was then demolished with the stained glass windows being preserved in the new church.

     Calvary moved to its new location and held its first service on January 2 or 9, 1983.  At the end of 1982, the membership had grown to 299 (with 199 in attendance), the second largest membership in its history.  But by 1987 the membership had dropped to 173 (with 123 in attendance) because of 119 withdrawals, 55 transfers and 18 deaths. It seemed that many left because of how the pastor was conducting the worship services and two or three families created a split encouraging many to leave the church.

     The late 80’s and early 90’s saw another sharp rise in membership with Rev. Brickzin and 171 new members being brought into the fold.  When Rev. Brickzin left Calvary in 1995, he also left the denomination but that does not seem to have had an effect on the church.  However, it must be noted that membership at the end of 1996 was its highest ever at 301 and yet attendance was lagging in the 130’s, so maybe that was some effect on the congregation.

     Membership and attendance has been in continuous decline since 2000 with just a slight upward bump from 2003-2006 when the Mandan churches merged and First UMC, now Legacy UMC, was going through changes.  The membership at Calvary is presently 207 with 111 in attendance.

Pastors who have served the congregation and members added during their tenure were:

 

Pastor

(Average Per Year)

Rev. Robert Strutz (also Mandan) 1959-1960

41 Charter Members

Rev. Ira Herzberg (1960-1968)

(served as Visitation Pastor, 1968-1986)

(Herzbergs had their own house and so upon his retirement in 1968, a parsonage was purchased at 1223 N 22nd St.)(loan was paid off 4/1979)

44 New Members        (5.5)

Rev. Norman Winkelman (1968-1979)

140 New Members      (12.7)

Rev. Walter Elmer (1979-1981)

19 New Members        (9.5)

Rev. Arthur Wesley (1981-1983)

73 New Members        (36.5)

Moved into New Church building at present address 1982-83

Rev. Gerald Fike (1983-1987)

46 New Members        (11.5)

1982 was the high point of membership at 299, but the number fell to 173 by 1987

Rev. Mark Brickzin (1987-1995)

171 New Members      (21.4)

Rev. Jim Cissel (1995-2001)

64 New Members        (10.7)

From 1995-2005 Sterling United Methodist was also a part of the Charge.

Rev. Joel Winckler (2001-2010)

138 New Members      (15.3)

Mandan churches merged and many came to Calvary 2003-2006; also Legacy changes.

Rev. Perry Schnabel (2010-present)

76 New Members        (9.5)

 

      Highlights of the last couple decades:

v  Building Improvements: New Sound System and Booth – 2003, Elevator – 2005, New Carpet upper floor – 2009, New Carpet in basement – 2010, Administrative Manager Desk – 2011, New Video System & Booth – 2012, Information Center – 2015, Coffee Center – 2017, Church Décor – 2017-2018.

v  Missions Financial in the last 20 years: Open Door since 1976, with Board Members doing some volunteer work, Ruth Meier’s House-only occasionally, Salvation Army-only occasionally, Teen Challenge, Gideon’s International (we do have one Gideon), Interfaith, Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café, various other projects the United Methodist Women have have supported financially, Covenant Missionaries (Graner’s) since 2006, Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) Singer’s since 2010 and Bryce Pilon since 2017.

v  Missions Outreach in the last 15 years: Served “The Banquet” at Trinity Lutheran since 2005, at least once a year, Trunk or Treat, or a version there of, at various times since 2005, Food Pantry (grocery cart) with one volunteer delivering and working 3 hours a week, Church Website since 2007, Visitation Team in 2008 but only lasted about a year and a half, Calvary Computer Club a few times since 2011, AWANA since 2012, CEF “Big Event” for a few years – but this is no longer held, Dakota’s Christmas boxes for a few years but switched to Samaritan’s Purse Operation  Christmas Child with much better participation, Solar Ovens until they moved to Zeeland. Did one year of an ‘Oven a Month’, video-record service and upload to U-tube and send to shut-ins 2017 (it was audio-recorded prior to that), Facebook Page 2017.  We have two men volunteering on their own behalf (not in the name of the church) at two elementary schools (Martin Luther and Lincoln), Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café – one person volunteering every other week.

     After the church went back to one charge, a second person was eventually brought on staff but that only lasted three years, it was a financial strain.  The church began having two services in 2007.  It was meant that the first service would be more contemporary but that has never really happened.  The first service has never grown to more than about 30 people at the most in attendance.

 

 

"JOURNEY RENEWAL SHARING"

     A congregational self-study was required for our Journey Renewal.  Pastor spent the last couple months gathering a great deal of data about the church over the last 20 or so years.  I found only a very brief history of the church was written for the 25th Anniversary and none at all was written for the 50th Anniversary. This required a lot of digging in old records and the asking of many questions.  The data found by Pastor and Curtis Mertz was shared with the Administrative Team on February 25 as we, as a Team, also answered many questions about the church as required by the Congregational Self-Study.  Further information gathered in this meeting was added to the material and was compiled into a substantial booklet sent off on March 15 to the Consultation Team of the Dakota’s Conference. 

     The Consultation Team Visit has now been scheduled for Saturday, May 19 & Sunday, May 20, 2018. 

Ø  The Consultation Team will meet on Saturday morning with the Pastor.

Ø  They will meet Saturday afternoon with some key leaders for scheduled half-hour interviews.

Ø  Saturday evening, the Consultation Team will meet with a Youth Focus Group and an Adult Focus Group who will all be individually asked to attend.

Ø  Sunday morning worship will be at 10:00 am with Rev. Rebecca Trefz from the consultation team speaking.

Ø  Potluck will follow at 11:00 am (even if you never stay for a potluck, you will want to attend this one).  This fellowship activity will include a session for EVERYONE.  It will cover such topics as Your “God” Story, Mystery Worshipper Reports, Training on the Life Cycle of a Congregation, and Hopes for the Future.  You will want to be part of this activity.

     The previous Finance Committee decided not to withdraw a CD for payment of 2017 apportionments.  This was the first time in many years that we did not pay 100% of our apportionments.  We were told by the Dakotas Conference Finance people that we did need to set up a schedule to get back to paying 100% of our apportionments.  This has not been done as yet, in large part due to Finance Committee resignations.  New appointments to the Finance Committee have been made and we now have a full Administrative Team as listed below.  Apportionments and other business will be taken up at our next meeting on April 22, 2018 at 2 pm.

     By the time you receive this, we will have held our community Easter Walk with Jesus.  Pray that we have great follow-up from this event and offer more prayer as we plan the next event.

                                                                                                Pastor Perry Schnabel

 
PASTOR'S MUSINGS
 

Missions

We are receiving monthly mission gifts for various projects that we support.  So far this year the following has been given:

  February gifts to Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café were: $473.25

  March gifts to Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) were: $883.25

 

The Gideons International exit offering on May 13 amounted to $177.  Thank you to all who contributed.

April gifts to Graner’s Support were: $ -0-
May gifts to Camp Scholarship support were: $112

 

Missions for the next few months are as follows:

Ø  June gifts will support Interfaith/Benevolence.

Ø  July gifts will support Teen Challenge.

Ø  August gifts will support Open Door.

 

Christian Education

Thank you for a wonderful “Walk with Jesus” activity.  It was very well done.

 

Upcoming events to keep an eye open for are:

  June 4-8, 2018 6-8 pm, Daily Vacation Bible School entitled, “Shipwrecked”.

  Camp promotion during the summer.  Junior High Camp is June 18-23, 2018 and Family II camp at Crystal Springs Camp near Medina, ND, is July 27-29, 2018.  We are hoping to get our confirmation youth to the first one and many of our families with children to go to the second and even our Senior Saints are welcome – it will be a fun time.

  We are also planning a CAR SHOW for our parking lot August 11.  Watch for more details.

See the CE table on the stairway for more information.

 

Break-through Prayer Initiative

Yes, God has answered some of our prayers at Calvary but we can go so much further.  Thanks to Co-Conference Lay Leader, Jane Hincks, we have a prayer team now up and running.  It meets every Sunday morning at 9:30 am in War Room and led by Alisha Mertz and Lacy Nelson.  Please join these ladies in praying for our church.

 

Hospitality

Sunday Morning coffee personnel.  The first and second Sunday of the month are covered.  More volunteers are still needed for the other Sundays.  Please see Pastor or Sally Walker & Ginny McCallum for more details

 

Town Hall Meetings

We will have two town hall meetings to discuss our Journey Renewal Prescriptions.  The meetings will be held on June 13th & 20th with a potluck @ 6 pm and discussion to follow. Charge Conference on July 1.

 

Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café

This ministry is at 220 N 23rd St in Bismarck.  Volunteers are needed.  Scheduling is available at www.soupcafe.org for 2 hour slots from 8 am to 7:30 pm.  We presently have one person from our church volunteering every other Thursday.  Are there perhaps others?

 

PASTOR'S CHUCKLES - OR NOT!

Complaints - Standard Fare for Ministers

     I came across an article that is just too good not to share.  In fact, the author said that they should teach classes in seminary on it but they don’t.  The article is entitled, “10 Complaints You Should Never Give Your Pastor” by Joe McKeever.  In it, he says, “Pray for the pastor.  It would appear that ministers have to put up with more complaining and griping than any group on the planet.”  He goes on to say, “Here is my personal list of the worst things I’ve heard said in church:

1.    The pastor is not meeting my needs.

He’s not there to meet your needs.  Jesus does that.

2.    I’m not being spiritually fed.

Babies have to be spoon-fed.  Adults can feed themselves.

3.    I have a right….

The Christian faith is about the grace and mercy of God.  At no point is a child of God to insist on his rights.

4.    I’m not one to gossip, but….

That’s always the prelude to gossip.  Stifling the urge…….is one of the hardest skills to acquire.

5.    Now, I’m not saying who, but some people are unhappy about……

Anonymous criticism is one of the most cowardly things ever concocted in hell.  When the pastor asks, “Who exactly is this you say is unhappy?” his critic answers, “Well, I’m not at liberty to say.” (At that point, the preacher should then get up and show his visitor the door. “This conversation is over, friend.” And if they don’t leave, the pastor should.)

6.    I gave the money for that, so I’ll make the decision as to how it’s to be used.

Once our gifts are in the offering plate, they belong to the Lord and His church.  The donor relinquishes all control and is entitled to nothing as a result. (Even the IRS agrees with that.)

7.    Sorry, I don’t have a gift for that.

Every believer can serve in a hundred ways, whether we are “gifted” in a particular area or not.  No one requires a specific anointing of God to share their faith or make a gift or pray a prayer or teach a class.

8.    Why don’t “they” do something?

A friend says three groups of people can be found in every congregation.  There are consumers: “Just browsing.”  There are customers: “We come to this church because of the _________ program.”  There are the shareholders: Announce a _________ and these are the ones who show up.  You build a church with the shareholders, not with the other two groups.

9.    The preacher is a dictator.

Personally, I’d be careful in accusing the pastor of being a dictator.

10. I don’t know what the Bible says, but I know what I believe.

Each believer should bring our convictions and beliefs under the Lordship of Jesus and the authority of God’s Word.  I suspect that one of the greatest tests of maturity and faithfulness in the Kingdom is the ability to receive correction from the Word of God, even to the point of giving up cherished beliefs and doctrines we have held dear but now see as mistaken.”

May these ten give us all pause……

 

 

 "JOURNEY RENEWAL SHARING"

     By the time you read this we will have had the January 28 training designed to assist ADMINISTRATIVE TEAMS to better do their job, I hope this will have been beneficial to all members of the team.  December 2 was our last training session entitled, “Knowing and Loving your Neighbor”.  It was a very mind-expanding session that we are still processing and will become a part of Congregation Self-Study.  We will also be looking at it in some of our upcoming team meetings.  During the Stewardship training session, the finance committee was given a nod to escape paying our 2017 apportionments to the Dakota’s Conference.  The committee then decided not to cash in a maturing CD and not pay our 2017 apportionments.  This will be the first time in many years that we have not paid 100% of our apportionments.  We were told that we did need to set up a schedule to get back to paying 100% of our apportionments.

     Our congregation is in the stage over the next couple of months to complete a CONGREGATION SELF-STUDY for our Journey Renewal program.  The Administrative Team was asked to assist in this endeavor but volunteerism was limited.  There is a great deal of data that Pastor will be gathering to share with our team, discuss it and eventually share it with the consultation group.  This will mean perhaps 2-3 meetings prior to the next regular quarterly Administrative Team meeting.  In gathering this information, I am finding that only a very brief history of the church was written for the 25th Anniversary and that none at all was written for the 50th Anniversary, so this is going to take a lot of time to put together.  We need to get all of this completed at least 3 weeks ahead of our Consultation Visit which the conference would like to have at least by April or May.  Be in prayer for Pastor and the Team to get the work completed.

Some key things to remember:

  • The consultation visits are typically a Saturday noon to Sunday 2pm type of thing.
  • It’s important to have as many people present as possible.
  • The visit will involve one-on-one meetings with key leaders, focus groups with active participants and “up-and-comer” leaders, focus group with youth (if applicable), training session for as many people as possible.

 

Pastor's Musings

   On Missions

Missions are no longer a part of the church budget.  Instead, we will receive monthly mission gifts for various projects that we will support.  Missions for the next few months are as follows:

Ø  January gifts supported Open Door

Ø  February gifts will support Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café

Ø  March gifts will support Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) (past support has been $1800/yr)

Ø  Lenten Offering will be equally shared by Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café and Cru

 

 

  BREAKTHROUGH PRAYER INITIATIVE

     We are in need of Clara’s enthusiasm for a relationship with God in Prayer!

     Yes, God has answered some of our prayers at Calvary but can go so much further.  We need to take the next step in our prayer initiative.  We need one or two people who are willing to call people together in our War Room prior to and between our Sunday Worship Services.  We need to pray for our worship services, the pastor and those participating in the service as well as all people that God will bring to the services, including visitors.  You do not even have to ask Pastor’s permission – just DO IT.

 

   CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

     Our Co-CE Coordinators have drafted the following Missions’ statement:

     To give our children a beginning direction to a relationship with God.  We intend to go beyond learning about God and stories in the Bible.  We hope through children’s ministry the children will learn to have an everlasting relationship with Christ Jesus, our Savior.  That to them, He is an actual person, not just a story from the Bible.

     We want to help families build Christ-based relationships through our children’s ministry events where the whole family is welcome to attend!  We want the children to bring friends, cousins, or anyone who has a willingness to grow through Jesus!

     We strive to be Christ-like so the attending children can see a glimmer of what Christ is like.  And we want to do this with our whole church family, so that when someone hears about our Calvary Warriors, they know they are coming to a place where we strive to be Christ-like and they will be welcome to come back again and again.

     We want our warriors to be confident to go out and know that word of the Bible so they can spread it to whomever they encounter throughout life.  We want them to hold on to the Word so it can get them through challenges they will face throughout their lifetimes!

 

     Upcoming events to keep an eye open for are: During Easter, a ‘Walk with Jesus’ event.  Early summer, DVBS entitled, “Shipwrecked” and a Camp promotion during the summer.  See their CE table on the landing of the stairway leading to the basement for more information.

 

   HOSPITALITY

     Two people have volunteered as Sunday Morning coffee personnel.  Therefore the first and second Sunday of each month are covered.  We also have a confirmation student and mother who I believe are taking the third Sunday of the month for the present time.  It is possible the refreshments for the fourth Sunday are covered.  But more volunteers are always welcome.  Please see Pastor or Sally Walker & Ginny McCallum for more details.

 

   BIBLE STUDY

     We do have a new Bible study on Thursday evenings for Young Women.  GREAT! 

     Are there others (or perhaps some men) who may be interested in a Bible Study or a small group of some kind?  If so, please share your interest with me (I’m even willing to teach).  I’m hoping that when the new Finance Committee gets more organized that they will offer some kind of finance class in 2018.

 

   HEAVEN’S HELPERS SOUP CAFÉ

     This ministry to the community is now in operation at 220 N 23rd St in Bismarck.  Volunteers are needed to start plugging into the scheduling, with all ages of volunteers encouraged; children 12 and under will need to be accompanied by an adult and 18 and under will need parental permission. Scheduling is available at www.soupcafe.org for 2 hour slots from 8 am to 7:30 pm.  Check www.facebook.com/HeavensHelpersSoupCafe for updates. Be sure to sign up at the Church’s info table telling us you helped out here or somewhere else.

 

 

CALVARY 2017-2018 BREAKTHROUGH PRAYER INITIATIVE

     If you don’t already have one, please pick up our key chain.  This key chain is a reminder for all of us to pray for God to breakthrough in our individual lives and in the life of Calvary Church.  Each time you pick up or see this key chain, we want you to be reminded to pray for God to breakthrough into our lives and help us to do what He wants us to do as individuals and as a church.      WOW! Thank you for each one of you who are praying for our church.  Thanks for sharing in the church’s War Room – I know you have been there because of the requests left on the white board.  You are welcome to use the room on Sundays and Wednesday before, during and after services.  You are also welcome to come Monday through Friday during office hours 11-5 and pray in the room.  Continue to pray for God to breakthrough into our lives and the life of our church.     

     A Big Thank You to our co-Christian Education coordinators for their initiatives including the Sunday School table, “Say Yes” campaign, “Light Up the Night for Jesus” and now those beautiful black trees and birds on the orange wall in the Fellowship Hall — you just have got to see it.     

     Thank you also to our co-Hospitality coordinators for two very smoothly run lunches following two back-to-back funerals and a pot-luck.  Great work!  Also, thanks for the wonderful paint jobs in a few of our main floor rooms as well as two more to come.  Next, we will tackle the other 3 bathrooms in 2018.  Any suggestions?  Hospitality coordinators are also looking for Sunday Morning coffee personnel beginning in 2018.  One person has already volunteered to take the second Sunday of the month – do we have other volunteers?  Please see Pastor or Sally Walker & Ginny McCallum for more details.     

     Thank you to all of you who participated in the Prayer Initiative Training as well as the Stewardship Training.  They were both so helpful and informative and I appreciated so much your interest and participation.  We have two more trainings coming up in December and January.  December 2 at 10:30 am at Legacy United Methodist there will be a training called, “Knowing and Loving your Neighbor”.  This training is for everyone and I challenge everyone to come and pack out the room – I’m sure we can all learn something from this presentation.  The second one is for our ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM only and it will be held on January 28 @ 2:00 pm. Please put these two dates on your calendars and plan to be there.     

     We also have a new Bible study that has begun and we are very grateful for their meeting in the War Room.  Are there others who may be interested in a Bible Study or a small group of some kind please share your interest with me.  We are hoping that the Finance Committee will offer classes in 2018, talk to them if you have ideas.     

     FINALLY, we need your input.  Our congregation is being asked over the next number of months to complete a CONGREGATION SELF-STUDY for our Journey Renewal program.  The Administrative Team will of course be asked to assist in this endeavor but we would like additional input.  It will mean 5 meetings beyond the regular quarterly Administrative Team meetings.  There is data gathering that must be done by some individuals prior to the 5 meetings so that we can share this information with the group, discuss it, and eventually share it with the consultation group who will share prescriptions with us out of some of this data.  Are you interested?  We could use someone with knowledge of Calvary’s history back to 1959 or so.  Please let me know of your interest or the interest of a friend.  We will need to get started on this quickly.

 

"JOURNEY RENEWAL SHARING"

     Let me begin with this story from “Leading the Discipleship” by Brandon Guindon, Lance Wigton & Luke Yetter.

     “When I was in high school, my dad, grandfather and I went elk hunting, as we often did in the fall.  This trip was different than the others because we had invited a new friend.  He was our neighbor, and we were glad to have him along.  After an hour or so we reached our hunting destination.  It was dark, early in the morning, and, as I remember, exceptionally cold.  As each of us collected our gear and slung our rifles, my dad laid out the basic plan of the morning hunt.  Off we went, hunting one of Idaho’s most wonderful game animals.  Several hours into the hunt just down the hill below me, I heard a shot fired.  It didn’t sound like a typical, big-game, large caliber rifle shot though.  As I immediately began to process what I had just heard and figure out where exactly it had come from, someone cried out, “I got one! I got one!”  Rushing over to investigate what sounded like the voice of our new hunting partner, I was shocked by what I DIDN”T see.  There was no downed elk, but with a huge smile on his face, our neighbor held in his right hand his gun and in his left his trophy: a tree squirrel.  The gun I heard was a .22.  No wonder I never heard the loud crack of the typical large caliber gun that would take down an elk.  Our new friend had created all this commotion and ruined the morning hunt – all over a tree squirrel!  I couldn’t help but think, HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU HAVE THOUGHT WE WERE HUNTING SQUIRRELS?”

     “We reflect on that story because there are parallels to what we see in the church today.  This new friend’s idea of what ‘success’ was for the day was not at all what the rest of us thought.  Somewhere the goal was not clear or had been totally lost.  In fact HIS goal, which he was so proud of, actually ruined MY goal.  In his mind the day was a total success; in mine, utter failure.  How could two hunters have such massively different goals?

     What contributed to the failed hunt that day?  Lack of communication, no clear goal and assumed ideals and assumed goals.

     This problem plagues the church today, and so often encourages church leaders to hunt for the wrong goals.  Then, when they reach those goals, they learn their co-leaders were not on the same page.

     “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)  According to this passage, what is the main goal of the church?  More people?  More money?  What do you think?  It is discipleship!

     Do we know what discipleship or a disciple looks like? Maybe this will help –

     “Desalegn, a Christian brother in Ethiopia is a powerful leader.  God has used him to lead significant change in the evangelical church in Ethiopia.  Like the Western church, Ethiopia has strayed from the biblical model of discipleship.  They too have generally defined “winning” for the church as levels of attendance and biblical knowledge.  In a meeting with many of the country’s highest level leaders, Desalegn made a profound statement, he said,

     “We have lost our focus, we have strayed.  Our churches have lost direction.  At one time in our country we faced persecution, and the church was forced to rely on relationship with God and each other because we had nothing else.  Now we do not know each other.  We only focus on sermons and singing music.  Lives are not changing, and they are very shallow.  The church has lost Jesus’ method of making disciples.  We must return to His ways!”

     How many strongly or somewhat agree with him?  How many are neutral about this statement of his?  How many strongly or somewhat disagree with him?  WHY? 

      A vital part of discipleship is a relationship built on trust and strong communication.  That is why I shared all the things about trust in the last newsletter.  We can’t have trust if people do not show up for meetings or participate.  Let’s go back to the main goal of the church:  Discipleship.

Do we have clarity on what that looks like?  What is a disciple of Jesus Christ?

     What does a disciple of Jesus Christ do?  What evidence do you look for when determining if someone is a disciple of Jesus Christ?  What discipleship behaviors have people learned in our church – what did you learn growing up here?

     What ‘products’ (programs, groups, events, activities, etc.) exist in our congregation that reinforce this discipleship or beliefs (for good or worse)?

     Later on this fall I will be asking some of you to help with a church self-study that will help to give us an interesting perspective on our church and how it operates.

     Now remember we said a vital part of discipleship is a relationship.  Do we have that kind of environment in our church?  A relational environment is the vehicle that we have to travel in to get to the destination.  But remember, the relationship or relational environment is not the destination – discipleship is the goal.  But relational environment is a vital ingredient in building trust and leading change.  So what are the key components of a healthy relational environment?

-          Everyone in the church is being open and honest with each other.

-          The church helps take care of each other’s needs outside the church building.

-          When someone is missing from the church, people call to check on them.

-          There are open discussions and people can ask questions to help examine faith, scripture, life, etc.

-          New people are welcome and invited.

What others would you add?

Which of these relational things do we do well and which ones are areas for growth?

What can we do to create this kind of environment?

 

     Journey Renewal is going to bring some changes.  We are beginning a New Prayer Initiative.  From the training session we had at the end of August, the ten people in attendance who are now our Calvary Prayer Team, has come up with the following initiative:

 

CALVARY 2017-2018 BREAKTHROUGH

PRAYER INITIATIVE

     If you don’t already have one of these, please pick up our key chain.  This key chain is a reminder for all of us to pray for God to breakthrough in our individual lives and in the life of Calvary Church.  Each time you pick up or see this key chain we want you to be reminded to pray for God to breakthrough into our lives and help us to do what He wants us to do as individuals and as a church.

Ø    The Key chain has a flashlight to remind us that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

Ø    The Key chain also has a compass to remind us that Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Ø    The Key chain has our name “Calvary Church” on it with our denominational emblem.

Ø    The Key chain also has the words “Breakthrough Prayer” to remind us of the kind of prayer that we are being asked to pray.  We are not giving you any specific words to pray this time, just the encouragement of Ephesians 6:18a, to “Pray at All Times” that breakthroughs will happen.

Ø    Last, the Key chain also has a whistle.  Why a whistle?  Let me share this:      

 

        “There is a story about a simple shepherd boy who did not know how to pray.  He was sad because he did not know how to reach the Gates of Heaven.  Nevertheless, he desired so strongly to know and to be close to the Creator that he stood outside the house of prayer, took his whistle, and blew it will all this heart.

        Meanwhile, inside the house of prayer was a group of people who knew all the prayers but who also could not open the Gates of Heaven.  When they heard the boy blowing his whistle outside, they called out, “Stop it!” and then muttered to themselves, ‘How can he do such a thing?  Here we are in prayer and meditation, and he blowing a whistle.’

        A Rabbi was in there among the people and he said, ‘Wait, stop yelling at him.  The gates are open. The boy has opened up the Gates of Heaven with the sincerity of his heart!”

Many of us may be at a loss for words when it comes to this prayer.  But really, it doesn’t matter because when our heart is pure and when we sing and pray in gratitude and love for being alive, we all are the boy with the whistle.  So if nothing else blow your whistle, God will hear.  BE IN PRAYER! God is moving in our midst, changes are happening.

 

 

"JOURNEY RENEWAL SHARING"

 

     In Acts 10:28 Peter realized that he had to change his thinking and change his actions.  That is what Journey Renewal is all about – change.  In our Cohort meeting on June 6, 2017, the lesson was on TRUST & COMMUNICATION:

Main idea:

Change naturally brings with it fear.  When we are in a state of fear our brains don’t ‘work’ right.  So, instilling trust is vital to counteracting fear.

     Do you trust me?  Do I trust all of you?  The idea I share comes from Charles Feltman’s book, “The Thin Book of Trust”.

     First, what is trust?  Trust is choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.  In other words, trust or distrust is a risk assessment – do we believe that whatever we offer will be supported or at least not harmed?

     The assessment: trust consists of four distinct assessments about how someone is likely to act.   These assessments are sincerity, reliability, competence and care.  Together these four define what we consider to be a person’s trustworthiness.

     Let me flesh out these four assessments:

THE 4 DISTINCTIONS OF TRUST from “The Thin Book of Trust”

1.    SINCERITY – “I mean what I say, say what I mean, and act accordingly.”

Sincerity is the assessment that you are honest, that you say what you mean and mean what you say; you can be believed and taken seriously.  It also means when you express an opinion it is valid, useful, and is backed up by sound thinking as evidence.  Finally, it means that your actions will align with your words.

2.    RELIABILITY – “You can count on me to deliver what I promise!”  Reliability is the assessment that you meet the commitments you make, that you keep your promises.

3.    COMPETENCE – “I know I can do this.  I don’t know if I can do that.”  Competence is the assessment that you have the ability to do what you are doing or propose to do.  In the workplace, this usually means the other person believes you have the requisite capacity, skill, knowledge, and resources to do a particular task or job.

4.    CARE – “We’re in this together.”  Care is the assessment that you have the other person’s interests in mind as well as your own when you make decisions and take actions.  Of the four assessments of trustworthiness, care is in some ways the most important for building lasting trust.  When people believe you are only concerned with your self-interest and don’t consider their interests as well, they may trust your sincerity, reliability and competence, but they will tend to limit their trust of you to specific situations or transactions.  On the other hand, when people believe you hold their interest in mind, they will extend their trust more broadly to you.

 

     So with this in mind, back to the original question: DO YOU TRUST ME?  DO I TRUST YOU?

On the other hand, distrust reflects our fear that the other person will mishandle damage, lose, destroy, steal or use what we give for their gain.  How is this seen in our behavior?   

 TRUST

Cooperating, collaborating, engaging in conversations, dialog and debate of ideas, listening, communicating freely, supporting others, sharing information, offering ideas, expecting the best, willingness to examine own actions.

DISTRUST

Defending, resisting, blaming, complaining, judging, avoiding, withholding information and ideas, expecting the worst, justifying protective actions based on distrust.


     When we distrust, we engage in strategies to protect ourselves.  Distrust and fear go hand-in-hand.  Whenever distrust of any kind creeps into relationships in the work place it produces attitudes and behaviors guaranteed to undermine effective work , including suspicion, resistance, defensiveness, interpersonal conflict, withholding of information and overzealous checking of other’s work.

     As a part of my assignment from this lesson I have been asked to identify one area in which I will follow through to help build trust.  The area I have identified is reliability.  I have at times not believed I could rely on some people in the church to deliver what was promised.  I have come to believe that perhaps part of the fault lies with me in that I did not make complete requests (maybe they were too vague) and that I perhaps didn’t wait for a full response, instead I just assumed the answer was yes and that people would just do what was asked.  I will attempt to do better. (It doesn’t increase my trust when only 7 of 13 members of the Administrative Team come to a meeting.)

     What part of trust are each of you going to work on? 

Journey Renewal = Change

     The first step in leading change is prayer – all of us praying – 609 Prayer, etc.  There are also four other steps in leading change. (By James Emery White).  One that we also need to share is:

 1.            ESTABLISH A SENSE OF URGENCY.

  Ø  People will not even consider change unless they are impacted on an emotional level. If change is not considered necessary, leadership expert John Kotter of Harvard writes, they ‘will find a thousand ingenious ways to withhold cooperation.”

  Ø  There must be a perceived problem, or need, that is generating a certain amount of emotional energy.  For the change agent, or agents, one of the keys to his is passion: if you do not seem to care, they will not bother to care.

  Ø  Not that this is more than simply articulating the logic of a particular set of actions.  People must be communicated with on an emotional level.  There must be a sense of urgency.  The Bible reminds us that we are transformed through the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).  So whatever the change may be, be sure to convey what the stakes are, and why the change is so important.

  Ø  For example, why should anyone contemplate evaluating a weekend service in light of its effectiveness at communicating the trust of Christ to a lost person?  If they do not perceive that lost people matter or that they are being reached quite well through current approaches, then any change that might be suggested will die at the starting gate.

  Ø  Leaders who want change must communicate the importance of those who are apart from Christ and the exact state of the church’s current effectiveness in reaching them. It is up to the leader to say, “We will stand before God one day and give an account of our lives.  And this generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of non-Christians.  And God will ask, “Did you do all that you could?  Did you match the intensity and fervor I brought to the cross?”

  Ø  People must be brought to the point where they view the lack of change as a tragedy; where they don’t simply embrace change but cry out for it. 

     As Pastor I am going to bring this urgency with a 5-Sunday series of messages on the subject of change beginning on July 30.

     Now, the question that I am being asked by our Cohort meeting to ask you, “What will you as an Administrative Team do to bring this urgency to the rest of the congregation?

 

 

 

"JOURNEY RENEWAL"

     Journey Renewal Partnership

Episcopal Invitation

     We at Calvary have been invited by Bishop Ough to be a part of a Journey Renewal Partnership.  As Christians, we have been called to ‘Follow Jesus’.  Bishop Bruce Ough is partnering to start new life cycles at all levels of our local churches. We have been chosen partly because of where we are as a church on our present life cycle.  We would have to say that Calvary United Methodist Church is presently at the decline stage of a life cycle.  Unless we do something to change the cycle we will end up in death.  Therefore, we need a jump start to a new life cycle.  This is what Journey Renewal is designed to help us to do.

     The specifics of the program were initially shared by the Bishop and others with six members of our church.  This material was then shared with the Administrative Team at our last meeting in April.  Those present at the meeting voted unanimously to go ahead with the program.  There are nine (9) steps to this Journey Renewal Partnership.  They are as follows and we are already into the third step.

April-May

1.    Attend Episcopal Invitation Gathering

Receive information to take to church leadership for prayer and discernment. Church Council or board votes on invitation

2.    Respond by Friday, May 19 with decision

If yes—Pastor and chair(s) of church council signs JRP covenant on behalf of congregation.

3.    Pastor schedules one-on-one coaching assessment call with Rebecca Trefz the week of May 22.  Pastor then attends first pastor cohort meeting on Tuesday, June 6 in Bismarck, ND.

Summer-Fall 2017

4.    Monthly trainings—alternating pastor cohorts and church leadership team training workshops.  The church leadership training workshops will be open to anyone in the congregation who would like to attend.  There will be four workshops along the way and we will let you know when and where they will be held so that you can attend.  This will allow everyone to have a say and part in this whole process.

 Ø  Church begins to prepare comprehensive “self-study”

Ø  “Fresh Eyes Visitor(s)” worship assessors begin attending each church—known and unknown

 Ø  Churches schedule their JOURNEY RENEWAL consultation visit according to congregational readiness 

Winter 2017-18/Spring 2018

5.    Journey Renewal Consultation Visit and Training

Ø  Consultation report with up to five unique prescriptions presented to the congregation within 2 weeks of visit

Ø  Congregation has 30 days for Town Hall meetings to discuss JRP report/prescriptions

6.    District Superintendent convenes a Church Conference meeting, at which official church members present may vote. 

  Ø  If vote is 70% or better, JOURNEY RENEWAL report/ prescriptions are accepted.

Next 2-3 years

7.    Pastor and leadership are surrounded by “prescription coach(es)”  who provide wisdom, guidance, encouragement and accountability to implement prescriptions over the next 2 to 3 years.

8.    Pastor remains in the JOURNEY RENEWAL coaching cohort for continuing training and accountability.

9.    Journey Renewal churches track fruitfulness measures according to Dakotas Conference procedures. 

Ø     A new life cycle has begun!

     This is the Administrative Team’s hope and prayer for our future here at Calvary United Methodist Church. 

     Will you all join us in prayer for a new life cycle to begin in this partnership?  Please come early, take your coffee to the first classroom next to the elevator and have a time with the Lord.  Please take this opportunity to prepare for worship and lift up our church to the Lord Almighty. 

 

 

 

New Johns Hopkins Study Reports on Whether

Sexual Orientation is Genetically Determined

(From “We Confess” Jan/Feb 2017 Issue of The Confessing Movement)

     A new study released August 22, 2016 from John Hopkins University concludes that there is “virtually no evidence that anyone gay or straight is born that way if that means their sexuality was genetically determined.”  The study, which also covers issues related to transgenderism, makes use of twin studies as well as 200 other peer-reviewed studies to reach its conclusions.

     The study also states that conditioning children to believe they need a sex reassignment to avoid mental health issues may not be helpful. Furthermore, people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery are at much higher risk for mental health problems with a suicide rate 19 times higher than that of the general population.  The study concludes that environmental factors are primarily responsible for sexual identity.

     The study has been condemned by gay-advocacy groups saying the researchers are biased.

     While the church needs to hear and be responsive to any scientific studies, its teachings are based not on “science” but on Scripture.  Still, this study has implications for the present discussion in the church on sexuality.  The pro-gay argument from genetics is the “God made me this way and therefore it is blessed by him.”  But that is a simplistic argument.  Perhaps it would be better to admit that we live in a fallen world and in a society already confused about relationships.  We do not understand everything behind sexual orientation but we appeal to Scripture as to how we are intended to live.  Marriage is between a man and a woman.

 

 

"Life-Giving Vitamins"

            EASTER is fast approaching, and you're probably feeling just a little rushed, even run down.  All the activity, all the religiosity, has you feeling more than just a little sluggish.  You definitely need a boost.

            Well, I have just the thing a hand full of vitamins.  We are all in need of a good vitamin now and then.  But, I have five (5) vitamins that are a must for our Christian survival, for without them life is lost.

            The first is Vitamin A.  This is the ACCEPTANCE vitamin.  It stands for new life or eternal life.  You see, Christ died for our sins, and by accepting Him, we get this new life.  John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,..."  Yes, it is a matter of receiving or ACCEPTING Jesus as our Savior.  Like a vitamin, Jesus can do nothing for us until we accept Him into our life.

            The second is Vitamin B.  This is the BELIEF vitamin.  It is essential to the development and normal functioning of our new life.  Our Great Physician explains that "all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).  But, like the father of the demon-possessed boy, many need to cry out, "I do believe; help my unbelief."  Swallow it whole.

            The third is Vitamin C.  This is the CONFESSION vitamin.  It must be daily used to keep it in perfect condition.  1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  But, to be forgiven we must first take the vitamin of confession.

            The fourth is Vitamin D.  This is the DETERMINATION vitamin.  It is also extremely vital.  This vitamin has a wonderful effect upon one's backbone, which of course is a must for good posture.  Simply determine, as 1 Corinthians 2:2 says, "not to know anything...save Jesus Christ and Him Crucified".  Oh, to have our eyes so fixed.

            The final vitamin is Vitamin E.  This is the well-known and absolutely necessary ENDURANCE vitamin.  2 Timothy 2:3 says, "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus."  The trouble is that too many soldiers for Christ are not good soldiers any more.  They are not willing to suffer the hardship; they are not willing to endure to the end.  I trust that you will be willing to take the vitamin of endurance and stay in it for the long haul and thus not become an after Easter Casuality. 

            Swallow your Vitamins! 

**   The following six Volunteer Staff positions are yet to be filled:

_____________, Mission Coordinator                 _____________, Prayer Coordinator

_____________, Worship Coordinator                _____________, Visitation Coordinator

_____________, Groups Coordinator                 _____________, Church Historian

If you feel God’s call upon your life to assist the church in these ways, or you would like more information on what the position entails, please talk to Pastor Perry ASAP.

     Please come early, take your coffee to the first classroom next to the elevator and have a time with the Lord.  Please take this opportunity to prepare for worship and lift up our church to the Lord Almighty.