Sunday, May 20, 2012

"World Methodist Evangelism" Offering

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’” (Mark 16:15)
Many of you are aware that each year our Bishop of North Georgia United Methodism (Michael Watson) designates an annual “Bishop’s Mission Offering” to be collected by North Georgia United Methodist churches in the weeks leading up to Annual Conference, and then shared by each church’s delegates at a worship service during Conference.

This year, Bishop Watson has named “World Methodist Evangelism” as the 2012 Annual Conference Bishop’s Mission Offering. Headquartered in our own backyard (in Atlanta), for the last forty years World Methodist Evangelism has labored to see the Methodist Christian movement alive, vibrant, growing and yearning to spread the good news of Christ Jesus throughout the whole world through word, deed, and sign that the world may know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a holy calling and it’s still our calling today!

Together with our sisters and brothers in the Methodist tradition all around the world, this offering will help us to multiply the witnesses of Christ Jesus through connecting congregations, connecting with evangelists, international Christian youth conferences on evangelism, faith-sharing initiatives and resources, training leaders through regional evangelism seminars in every part of the world. To find out more information about World Methodist Evangelism, VISIT THEIR WEBSITE HERE.

Some of you may already know that the stained-glass window to the left of the cross on the front wall of our own Sanctuary shows the logo for World Methodist Evangelism, and was given many years ago in support of this same cause! So, it’s certainly appropriate that I invite you to join me in participating in this special opportunity with an over-and-above-your-regular offering financial gift. To contribute, please make your check payable to East Cobb UMC and designate either it or cash to our “Bishop’s Mission Offering.”

We’ll be collecting funds through June 3rd, and will present our church’s combined check during the offering time at the Annual Conference afternoon worship service on Wednesday, June 13th. Please join me as we seek to proclaim the good news of Jesus throughout the whole world through this special offering.

Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Graduate's Prayer

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Here is a Graduation Prayer that I invite all of our 2017 graduates to pray…

“Dear Lord,

As I look toward the future
Bright hope conducts this prayer,
For I know the plans You have for me
Were wrought with divine care.

Holy Spirit, lead me.
Let me run at Your command,
Yet be still and know that You are God
When trouble is close at hand.

Your Word will be a lamp for me,
A guide to light my way,
A solid place to set my feet,
A compass when I stray.

May I live my life to praise You,
Not for fortune, nor for fame,
May everything I say and do
Bring glory to Your name.

May my eyes stay fixed upon You
As I seek the way that's pure,
Tasting Your love and goodness
Sleeping and rising secure.

Planted by Your living streams
I'll delight in all Your ways,
Hidden by Your sheltering wings
With new mercies for each day.

Even in a dangerous land
When storms threaten to destroy,
At the cross I'll stand upon the Rock
My Strength, my Hope, my Joy.

Dear Lord, show me Your favor,
At all times keep me blessed,
May Your face ever shine upon me,
With peace and perfect rest. Amen.”

                       [--Mary Fairchild]

I ask that the rest of you join me in celebrating the accomplishments of all those graduating this year, whether from High School, College, Graduate school, or somewhere else. Congratulations, graduates!  Remember, God loves you and so do I!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Godly Mothers of the Past

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

Sunday, May 13, 2012 is Mother’s Day -- the day that we celebrate and remember that special love God meant for us to be given by and for our mothers. But it's a day to remember not only the great influence our mothers either have or have had on our own faith, but also how the faith of other mothers throughout the centuries has been passed on so that we might experience and have faith today.

Consider some examples of Godly mothers throughout history:

-Hannah's commitment to the Lord in raising Samuel to become a great prophet for God;

-Sarah and Rebekah's prayers answered in the births of Isaac and Jacob, great leaders of Israel;

-The Godly example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the raising of her son to be the Savior of the world;

-Timothy's mother and grandmother Lois, both of who’s faith helped him be the great evangelist that he was;

-Monica, whose Godly influence and prayers lead Augustine to become a great leader of the early church;

-Susanna Wesley, whose Godly example helped mold John and Charles into the founders of world Methodism.

Of course, there's many more, but these give us just a glimpse of the importance of our mothers in the building and development of our spiritual lives. Today, be sure to take time to thank the Lord for your mother (or even someone who’s been like a mother to you) – they are a very special person! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Father, Forgive

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them...’” (Luke 23:34)

AThe hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

                       Father, forgive.

The covetous desires of men and nations to possess what is not theirs own,

Father, forgive.

The greed which exploits the labours of men, and lays waste the earth,

Father, forgive.

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,

Father, forgive.

Our indifference to the plight of the homeless and the refugee,

Father, forgive.

The lust which uses for ignoble ends the bodies of men and women,

Father, forgive.

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,

                        Father, forgive.@

  [BCoventry Cathedral Prayer; Coventry, England, 1964]

Need I say more?  Remember, God loves you and so do I!