Bismarck Calvary United Methodist
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
A United Methodist Congregation

PASTOR'S PENCIL

 
GREETINGS!
 

THE SERMON GUIDE

The sermons for AUGUST 2014 will be:

                   August 3, 2014 - "The Lord's Supper: Symbol of Sacrifice"  Hebrews 9 Communion Services
                   August 10, 2014 - "Philemon, Man With a Problem" Philemon
                   August 17, 2014 - "The Ultimate Giver" Mark 12
                   August 24, 2014 - "Fearless" Esther 4
                   August 31, 2014 - N/A
                   September 7 - "The Lord's Supper: A Tryst" Mark 14  Communion Services
 

"God's Working"

     How often do we recognize God at work?  It should be an everyday occurrence, but many times it probably is not.  It happens in every day affairs.

     Some men were once repairing high-tension lines after a storm.  The new poles they were using were "green" and thus able to conduct electricity.

     While working in the rain, they hoisted such a support where it could be dropped into the hole dug for it.  Trying to be helpful, one man thoughtlessly seized the end in order to guide it.

     Suddenly one of the workers made a run for him and knocked him sprawling.  He arose from the sloppy street - muddy and ready for a fight.  But his attacker pointed aloft to where the damp wooden shaft had contacted the power line carrying 33,000 volts of electricity.

     Said the rescued man, "Had my friend not taken such quick action I would have been a goner.  Yes, Slim saved my life, but he had to knock me over to do it."

     So too, the Lord often has to strike down sinners, as He did Saul, to get them to listen to His voice.  Has God been working in your life, even having to go to the point of some rough treatment in order to get your attention?

      Of course, God also works through other people to accomplish the necessary in our lives.

     There is an old Sufi story about a blind man and a crippled man who stumbled into each other in a forest.

     They were both lost, and they struck up a conversation sharing their sad stories.

     The blind man said, "I cannot see to find my way out."

     The crippled man nodded and responded, "I cannot get up to walk out."

     As they sat there sadly talking, the crippled man cried out, "I've got it!  You hoist me up onto your shoulders and I will tell you where to walk."  Together, they found their way out of the forest.

     "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!'  And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'.... If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (I Corinthians 12:26-27).

     All of us are like the two men in the forest.  We need help from time to time.  The pressures of the world, the discouragements of life, and the sin that entangles get us down.  We struggle to find out way back to the light - back to the right way.  We need help!  That's why God gives us a church family.  Each of us has a gift to share to build up the body of Christ.  Each of us can offer an encouraging work to a discouraged or struggling member.  Each of us can live our faith as a witness to the world.  I can't do it myself.  You can't do it by yourself.  But, together, we can make a difference!

     The Lord still needs your gifts!  Yes, there are things that need to be done here at Calvary.

     We have all of the following positions immediately available for anyone to carry out ministry for the Lord here at Calvary United Methodist Church:

Ø  Church Offering Counters - Call the office.

Ø  Prayer Partners – Just come to the Prayer Room on Sunday before church.

Ø  Christian Education Coordinator & Assistant Christian Education Coordinator & Teachers for 3 year-olds to 5th grade. Without these there will be no Sunday school for children.  Please contact the church office.

Ø  AWANA leaders and listeners are needed. Please contact the church office, Pastor or Beckie Dronen, our Commander.

Ø  Worship Leaders and Worship Team Members to help out in the services.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of what we need to make an impact for our Lord in our community through our church.  Is the Lord calling you?
 
 
PASTOR'S MUSING

     The Dakotas Conference this year sparked a lot of thought like, do I want to lead a dying congregation or a vital and growing congregation?  Well, of course, the latter but that means things are going to have to change because anything growing changes constantly.  To stay the same is to die a slow death.

     With this in mind, I have been reading our main speaker’s book, “Leading Beyond the Walls”.  It has some very interesting concepts.  I would like to share a couple.

     For one thing, to grow as a church he says that we need to pay close attention to the little things.  A visitor begins to form impressions of us before they even get out of the car as they view the appearance of our church, the grounds, the signs and even the availability of visitor parking close to the entrance.  Cheerful and caring greeters and ushers are also a vital necessity to make sure visitors are welcomed and know where to go as they enter the building.  Is everything clearly marked?  The narthex needs to be appealing and have a special information station (even better if it is manned). The entry should be appealing and bathrooms neat and clean.  Above all, are paint, carpet and walls in good condition and is everything well lit and cheerful?

     Second, I find his ideas on church membership intriguing.  He says that church membership comes with responsibilities and expectations.  He says the first expectation is that once someone becomes a member they are no longer allowed to park near the church or in visitor parking, but leave those spaces for visitors.  He says that like marriage, membership is a sign of commitment.  What does that mean?  It means fulfilling the membership vows we take as Methodists “to support the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness”.  That means that as a member of the church we make the following commitment:

“1) Attend worship every weekend unless you are sick or out of town (members who travel out       of town are encouraged to attend services in the location they are visiting).

2)   Participate in at least one activity each year aimed at helping you grow in your faith apart    from worship attendance (Sunday school, Bible study, retreats or other short-term classes      we offer).

3)   Give your time in Christian service at least once each year through the ministry of the       church.

4)   Give financially in proportion to your income with the goal of tithing.”

     If every member of our church followed through on these responsibilities, we would have a church with strong vital signs.  But if we don’t, we will struggle to even have life.  Are we ready to be the member that God wants us to be?

 
 
 

THE LORD IS CALLING YOU!

     The Lord is in need of your gifts!  As a Christian you have been gifted by the Lord with certain gifts and he is calling you forth to use those for His Kingdom, your church (Calvary United Methodist Church) and to assist your pastor (Rev. Perry Schnabel).  Yes, there are things that need to be done here at Calvary, but please, I do not want to hear – “The Pastor should do………”  I cannot do much more unless you want me to risk burn out, and besides, whatever I do that you could do stunts your own personal growth as a Christian for you are to be growing toward maturity.  Also – being too young or too old is not a disqualification – just see the many examples in scripture.

     In fact, is there a need that the Lord has made you aware of…then, why are you not doing it?  Find someone else who sees that need as well and go do it, you do not need my permission to perform ministry, unless it is going to take finances – and even then just ask.

     We have all of the following positions immediately available for anyone to carry out ministry for the Lord here at Calvary United Methodist Church:

Ø  Church Offering Counters to count and deposit church offerings following the Sunday morning services.  We could use two to four individuals to fill these positions.  Call the office or contact Lorette Hoopman, Finance Chairperson.

Ø  Prayer Partners Leader- We are in absolute need of prayer partners for our church who will gather for prayer for ten or fifteen minutes prior to either or both services on Sunday mornings, and of course, we need a leader who is willing to be there and just give a little direction to the ministry.  Contact the church office or Pastor.

Ø  Christian Education Coordinator & Assistant Christian Education Coordinator (honorariums available) who will give direction to our Youth Sunday School program, Children’s Activities Time, Youth Christmas Program and Daily Vacation Bible School.  These positions are available beginning in late July.  Please contact the church office or Pastor.

Ø  Sunday School Teachers for our youth (3-year-olds to 5th grade).  These positions are available beginning with the new school year but we need to know immediately if this is something you would like to do.  I will even accept some upper high school age young people for these positions.  Contact the church office or Pastor.

Ø  AWANA leaders and listeners are needed for next fall.  It is not too early to let us know of your interest in helping out in this terrific ministry to our youth (3-year-olds to 6th grade).  We have a number of youth not presently a part of Calvary United Methodist Church that come and it is a great opportunity to share your life with young people.  We need a few leaders and we also can use just listeners who will listen to the children say their memory verses.  High school students are also welcome to share in this ministry.  Please contact the church office, Pastor or Beckie Dronen, our Commander.

Ø  Adult Sunday School – is there someone interested in getting another Adult Sunday School class together that might concentrate on a specific subject, topic or book of the Bible?  Let me know – we will see what we can accomplish.

Ø  Worship Leaders and Worship Team Members:  Is the Lord calling you to help in our worship?  This could include previous confirmation students or adults willing to take part in certain portions of our services. We could also use additional Worship Team members to assist in leading the congregation in song.  Contact Pastor or the church office.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of what we need to make an impact for our Lord in our community through our church, but it is what comes immediately to my mind.  Is the Lord calling you?

 

"CALL - Please"

     In light of recent changes at Sanford Health and the need for everyone to let me or the church office know if you are hospitalized there, I came across the following article:

Dear Churchgoers,

     This may make me sound like I’m either complaining or not good at my job. Neither is the case, though the latter can be debated. The truth is, I’m not a mind reader. Now I bet some of my colleagues have such a Bat-phone line connection with God that with one look at your face, they know your niece's goldfish died. I don’t have such an in with God. I wish I did.

     It may be that I’m just not as holy as some of the pastors you see on television who can tell you what God’s will is for your life (for a nominal fee). I have to rely on a different source. You. Now I understand you might think I should know all the things that are happening with you. I really do want to. Most of my fellow pastors would agree. We love to know the things that are going on in your life. We want to hear all about it. But there’s a good chance that we won’t know if you never tell us.

     I’m a lot duller than I’m given credit for. I’d be one of the disciples Jesus would look at incredulously and ask, “Are you so dull?” Because you see, I’m a bit slow. Dense even. I definitely live up to the title associated with my moniker: I’m a dreamer. Now this has its upside—it makes me optimistic. It helps me come up with great ideas. But it also has a terrible downside in that it keeps me inside my own head. When you add my severe introvertedness on top of that — I just need help. From you.

     If you don’t tell me that your closest third cousin who lives on the other side of the country passed away, there’s a chance that I won’t know until it works its way through the grapevine of the church. Or if you’re in the hospital for a minor procedure and didn’t tell a soul, and you’re upset with me for not checking up on you, it’s probably because I just didn’t know. I know this sounds like an excuse (it is) but there are other people in the church that, God bless their soul, need me for something. You may be thinking, “Why does my pastor spend so much time with them and not much with me?” Well, there’s a small chance it’s because I don’t like you. (I know, I know. Horrible. But pastors are people too, and like all people, we’re broken.) But the more likely answer is that it’s because the other folks are probably letting me know when they need to see me.

     Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot a pastor needs to do throughout the week. We can’t always go through the directory to call folks one by one to see how they’re doing. We’d like to be able to do this, but things sometimes happen that take us away from the desk. Like the bathroom flooding. Again.

     You’re not bothering me if you’re at the hospital and want a visit. Call me. Don’t think you’re being a burden if you’re struggling and need to talk. Call. I want to have conversations about your faith, God, and your life’s journey. Believe me, I would rather do that than answer emails from the District Superintendent.

     Sharing life is one of the best things about ministry, and something I feel honored and privileged to do. But sometimes, I need your help to let me know what’s going on in your life. Don’t give me too much credit and assume that I know everything. I don’t. So let me know. I’ll be grateful that you called to share what’s going on. And I’ll definitely make my way to visit you soon.      (Article by Joseph Yoo, a Ministry Matters contributor and pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, CA.)
 
  
 
PRAYER TEAMS 
Our church is in need of Prayer Partners who will pray until our church catches the Holy Spirit’s vision for our church. Are there those among us who will pray prior to our services on Sundays or go on prayer walks around our community? Is there one among us who feels the call of the Holy Spirit on their heart to lead this vital ministry need? Please talk to Pastor or call the church office to become involved in this vital ministry.
 
 
 
 "Spiritual Life? Or Death!"
 
Dealing with the Spiritual lives of individuals is always an adventure into the unpredictable. One is never quite sure what they are going to encounter. There may be great thrills or huge disappointments. There may be truth or great pretense. Jesus often encountered both. There were those who humbly came seeking the truth and those who only had a facade.
 
It reminds me of a true story told by Vialo Weis of Oklahoma City. “When elderly Adele Gaboury turned up missing, concerned neighbors in Worcester, Massachusetts, informed the police. A brother told police she had gone into a nursing home.
 
Satisfied with that information, Gaboury’s neighbor’s began watching her property. Michael Crowley notices her mail, delivered through a slot in the door, piling high. When he opened the door, hundreds of pieces of mail drifted out. He notified police, and the deliveries were stopped.
 
Gaboury’s next-door neighbor, Eileen Dugan, started paying her grandson $10.00 twice a month to mow Gaboury’s lawn. Later Dugan’s son noticed Gaboury’s pipes had frozen, spilling water out the door. The utility company was called to shut off the water.
 
What no one guessed was that while they’d been trying to help, Gaboury had been inside her home. When police finally investigated the house as a health hazard, they were shocked to find her body. The Washington Post (10/27/93) reported that police now believe Gaboury died of natural causes four years ago.
 
The respectable, external appearance of Gaboury’s house had hidden the reality of what was on the inside. Something similar can happen to people: We may appear outwardly proper while spiritually dead. All sorts of religious activity may be happening outside, while the real problem is missed; spiritual death on the inside. We need life, not a tidy facade.”
 
Sadly though, I see lots of people who are continuing to do that on a daily basis. They are keeping up a nice tidy facade. They do enough religious activities and say enough of the right words to make it look good. Regrettably, many people are fooled into believing that there is real spiritual life in that person, when in reality there is only death. Like Adele, sometimes it takes four years or even longer for anyone to catch on. Of course, it does not assist the matter when we have so many people, like her neighbors, who are more than willing to help us cover up the reality of spiritual death instead of investigating more deeply to find the truth.
 
Is there spiritual life in your heart or is it only a tidy facade? People may not know, but the Lord, the Judge of the Universe knows. Is your name truly in the Book of Life?