Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A New Church Logo

“In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)

After nearly two years of prayer, creativity, design, modification, re-design, and further modification, our church finally has a new logo that conveys the sense of what we feel to be the identity and calling of our congregation. Recently adopted by our Administrative Council, the new logo is reflective of our mission/purpose of being “A Mosaic of God’s Family… Gathering, Growing, and Going.”

As a diverse congregation – a MOSAIC, with members from at least six different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, containing conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, traditional and contemporary folks, the young and the “not-as-young” – we GATHER at the foot of the cross and flame (representing our United Methodist heritage) to embrace God and embrace others (who may even be different from us). We then GROW in faith, love and joy as we together travel a path that sends us GOING out into our world to serve our fellow human beings, and to share the good news of Jesus with them. The path, in turn, leads us all back to our church --God’s tool to bring people to the foot of the cross to Gather and start the cycle all over again.

In the coming weeks, you'll notice our new logo appearing increasingly in all of our publications and other places as a reminder of who we are and who we’re called to be. So, our prayer is that the design will not only inspire you to remember our mission/purpose, but to help others find and claim it for themselves, as well.

Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Lord's Baseball Game

“By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

This coming week (beginning on Oct. 27), Major League Baseball’s “World Series” begins. As you’re watching, enjoy the following parable about the role of grace in our lives, shared by a member of one of my former churches:

“I stood with the Lord one day to observe a baseball game, where the Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team. The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. We watched as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name was Love. Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails. The next batter was Faith, and who also got a single, because Faith works with Love. The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: ball one! Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly Wisdom never swings at what Satan throws. The bases were loaded.

Then the Lord turned and told me he was bringing up his star player: Grace. “He doesn’t look like much!” I said as he stepped up to the plate. In fact, Satan’s whole team relaxed when they saw him. Thinking they’d won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. It sailed over the centerfield fence for a home run. The Lord’s team won!

The Lord then asked me if I knew why Love, Faith and Wisdom could get on base but couldn’t win the game. I answered that I didn’t know why. So the Lord explained, ‘If your love, faith, and wisdom had won the game you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, faith, and Wisdom will get you on base, but only my Grace can get you home.’”

[--Shared by Becky Jenkins, Trinity-on-the-Hill UMC, Augusta, GA]

Food for thought for all of us! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Church Fund-Raising Ideas

“Now as you excel in everything… so we want you to excel also
in this generous act of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7)

Last week’s sermon on the importance of each Christian investing our resources (including our finances) in and through the ministries of God’s church prompted at least one group of our members to brainstorm ideas for church fund-raising to help with our current income deficit. See what you think…

  1. Designate parking spots for those who tithe. Other available spots will be on a rental basis, say $200 per year, with names on the spaces. Free parking will be at the Campground. This will also resolve the issue of insufficient parking.
  2. Control the length of the sermon, thus departure time based on the collection. Some levels can be set such as; $1,000, noon; $1,500; 11:55; $2,000, 11:50; etc.
  3. Remove the seat cushions and rent cushions to the congregation. Members would also be able to buy their own cushions with names embroidered for something like $2,000. Cushions would not be transferrable.
  4. Have an electronic credit card processor passed by the ushers with the collection plate. That way members could get frequent flyer miles with their contribution.
  5. After the collection, make it a ritual to ask all who contributed to stand up. We think collections will soar.
  6. During hot periods, rent fans to the choir.
  7. Run advertisements on the big screens prior to starting church, just as is done at movie theaters. Start with members who have businesses having priority, but then expand as the membership increases.
  8. Bring wine back to communion. Establish a price list such as; grape juice – free; house wine, $3.00, imported, $5.00.
  9. Solicit sponsors for church repairs and then advertise them on the big screens.
  10. Plant something unusual in the Epistle, such as an error or an icon. Give a prize to the first person who notifies Jim of the detection. The prize will be sponsored by a business who will then be advertised on the big screens. This will not generate capital itself, but will aid in recommendation #11 below.
  11. Allow advertising in the Epistle. This could generate significant amounts of capital as well as improving readership.

I know what you’re thinking… “the preacher made those up!” Actually... No, I didn’t! They were truthfully thought up by several of your fellow members and shared with me in a subsequent email (with permission to share them with you). I thought you’d not only enjoy them, but might be challenge like I was to remember our mutual responsibility to do our part to support the work of God’s kingdom through our regular and generous financial giving through our church. Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where My Money Goes ...OR... The 10% Solution

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” (Malachi 3:10)

Some of you have seen this before, but it bears sharing again as a reminder of one of the spiritual callings we all have as Christians:


*To keep my family fed, clothed, sheltered ...60 to 70%

*To keep the government off my back ...20 to 30%

*To God for the following:
  1. Calling me into existence ...1%
  2. Allowing His perfect Son to become a human pin cushion and die as a substitute for my sins ...1%
  3. Loving and sustaining me through all those years I rejected His love and refused to surrender to Him ...1%
  4. Gladly receiving me like a son or daughter when I did surrender my life to Him ...1%
  5. Refusing to judge me no matter how often I judge others ...1%
  6. Believing in me when I couldn’t believe and didn’t even care anymore ...1%
  7. All those miraculous healings of my family, friends, or acquaintances ...1%
  8. The 66 books though which I learn the facts of my sinful nature and the sufficiency of God’s grace and love for me ...1%
  9. Patiently removing my bad habits and worries from me one at a time, despite how much I try to hold onto them ...1%
  10. Preparing me in every way for righteousness, joy and peace ...1%"

God is always faithful to us. The “tithe” (the first 10% of our income) is one way the Bible’s teaches that Christ-followers can be faithful back to God. So, are you honoring God in how you use your financial resources, starting with a tithe back to Him? If not, it’s never too late to start! Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Monday, October 4, 2010

How Hospitable Are You???

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for
by doing that some have entertained angels
without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

New to Marietta, they got up Sunday morning to worship at East Cobb U.M.C. They had driven by our facility and decided that we would be the first church they “tried out” as school started back. They were a family with a three-month old infant and a four-year old Kindergartner. Arriving 20 minutes before the scheduled start time of the service, they found a parking spot and approached the entrance.

One of our church’s Greeters welcomed them warmly, gave directions to the nursery, the worship area, and told them about our Children’s offerings for their Kindergartner. But, an alert member passing by did even more: they noticed what was going on and asked if they could help. The member then escorted the new family to the nursery, where their baby was placed in the loving care of our nursery workers. They showed them where KidZone Worship was held. Finally, the member escorted the parents to the worship area, where they were again welcomed by several other members during the greeting time.

Friends, I don’t care how hard it is to find a parking place or how much or little they enjoyed the worship, the music, or even the sermon. They will be back... because somebody was alert, cared, and went the extra mile – even though it might have been inconvenient – to help them feel “at home” at East Cobb U.M.C.

Do you know the name of those helpful church members? God does! Could we write down your name as one? This Fall you may have noticed that we have had a good number of guests and new worshipers that we’ve been welcoming each and every week to East Cobb UMC. They’re here on Sunday mornings for worship, Sunday nights for study groups, Wednesday night for supper, and some throughout the week for other church activities. So, let’s each offer our very best hospitality to welcome them in the name of the Lord! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!