Sunday, February 19, 2012

State of the Church

"And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)
 
One of the responsibilities that all United Methodist churches have at the first of each year is to give a statistical accounting of their annual ministry.  As this data was prepared for our “2011 Year-End-Report” to the North Georgia Annual Conference, I thought you might be interested in what I consider to be some of the highlights:
​* Total number of new members in 2011: +29;
​* New members joining in 2011 by profession or reaffirmation of Christian faith: +17 ;
​* Church membership as of December 31, 2011: 970 (the highest thus far in our church’s history);
​* Average attendance for all worship services during 2011: 357;
* Number of diverse nationalities/ethnic groups represented within our total membership:  5
​* Total number of “giving units” (persons/families) financially supporting our church’s mission and ministry: 266;
​* Average attendance in all Sunday School classes during 2011: 187;
​* Amount spent in 2011 on program ministry and operational expenses (excludes salaries): $188,116;
​* Amount spent during 2011 on buildings and improvements: $119,030;
* Amount given during 2011 for local, state, and world mission projects: $172,798 ;
​* Current value of all church-owned buildings & property: $5,680,000
 
As you can see, the statistics reveal that great things are happening at East Cobb U.M.C., with more great things still to come.  So if you haven’t already, I pray that this year you and your family will “get in” on what God is doing in our midst as we seek to carry out our mission of being “A Mosaic of God’s Family: Gathering; Growing; and Going”!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

You Might Be A Methodist If...

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…” (1 Peter 2:9)

For the past five weeks we’ve been learning more about what it means to be a “Methodist Christian”… to live for and serve God through the lens of Wesleyan/Methodist Christianity. As we conclude our series “Christianity the Wesleyan Way,” I wanted to share something that Susan Bridge -- one of our church’s own “saints” – shared with me  several years ago before her passing.  It’s an amusing look at what contemporary United Methodism is from the viewpoint of the famous NPR radio personality Garrison Keillor.  According to him…

-Methodists believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

-Methodists like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn, or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

-Methodists believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don’t notify them that they are there.

-Methodists usually follow the official liturgy and feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.

-Methodists believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship programs or when collecting the offering.

-Methodists think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while during the worship greeting time.

-Methodists drink coffee as if it were a third Sacrament.

-Methodists feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall

-Methodists are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

-Methodists still serve Jello in the proper liturgical color of the season, and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole add too much color

-Methodists believe that is it okay to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.

And finally, you know you are a United Methodist when...

-It’s 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the worship service.

-You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can.

-Doughnuts are a line item in the church budget… just like coffee.

-When you watch a Star Wars movie and they say “May the Force be with you,” you respond with “and also with you”

-When it takes ten minutes to say good-bye!”

Based on his description, I’d say we have a lot of true “Keillor Methodists” around at East Cobb UMC! Seriously, though, despite our many “quirks,” I count it a joy and privilege to be a Methodist Christian, and I pray that this series has helped you not only appreciate your Wesleyan/Methodist heritage, but most importantly helped you become the very best Christian you can be!  Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

24 Hours That Changed The World



What would you do if you only had 24 hours left to live? During the last 24 hours of Jesus' life, he was betrayed, doubted, denied, and brutally killed.  Yet, the events of those 24 hours changed the world and led to over 2 billion people claiming the Christian faith. Why did this one day influence history so much, and how does it still have the power to change us today? Come find out in a new Lenten-Easter series February 26 - April 8 exploring the last 24 hours of Jesus' life.

Series sermons will be offered at both morning worship services (9:30am & 11:00am):

February 26 B The Last Supper (Mark 14:22-25)

March 4 B Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42)

March 11B Accusation and Denial (Mark 14:43-46, 61-62, 66-72)

March 18 B Jesus, Barabbas and Pilate, Oh My! (Mark 15:1-15)

March 25 -- The Passion of Christ (Mark 15:16-21)

April 1 - Crucifixion and Death (Mark 15:22-39)

April 8 (Easter) - The Resurrection (Mark 16:1-6)

Series small groups will be offered each Sunday morning at 9:30am and 11:00am.  For more small group information, contact the church office.


Watch the series Preview Video here:
video


Come discover how Jesus’ last 24 hours on earth not only
changed the world, but can change you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Transformation

All of us... are being transformed into [God’s] image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

A handicapped girl with leg braces was once discouraged about her condition and wished she could quit her arduous physical therapy.  One day when her father insisted that she continue, she asked, “Daddy, don’t you love me just the way I am?”  He hugged her and replied, “Yes, honey, I love you just the way you are. But I love you too much to let you stay that way.”

God loves each of us just the way we are – imperfections and all.  He loves us even though we struggle with sin and with life’s pain and hurt.  He has forgiven us, accepted us, and brought healing to us because we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior.  But He loves us too much to let us remain as we are.

Instead, the Lord wants to change and transform us into His image.  In our struggles against sin, and through our sufferings, He desires to develop our character so that we become more like Christ.  That’s why our Christianity is never a one-event-happening, but is instead a daily surrender of our will to His.  Some biblical terms that we in the Methodist/Wesleyan branch of Christianity use to describe this process are “holiness,” “sanctification,” and moving towards “Christian perfection,” but they all add up to one thing... growing and maturing in the Lord – becoming more like Jesus today than we were yesterday, and more like him tomorrow than we are today!

So, as you and I face life’s difficulties, we need to remember that God loves us, and that He wants to use the tests, trials, and struggles we experience in life to transform us and make us better people.  Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!