Sunday, February 23, 2014


“At that time, I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you… when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.” (Zephaniah 3:20)

“Though you are homeless, though you’re alone
            I will be your Home.
Whatever’s the matter, whatever’s been done,
            I will be your Home.
I will be your Home. I will be your Home.
In this fearful, fallen place, I will be your Home.

When time reaches fullness, when I move my hand.
            I will bring you Home.
Home to your own place in a beautiful land,
            I will bring you Home.
I will bring you Home.  I will bring you Home.
From this fearful, fallen place, I will bring you Home.
I will bring you Home.”
            [--Michael Card, “I Will Bring You Home”, Album The Word: Recapturing the Imagination
                (Birdwing Music, 1992)]
As we as a church prepare to host our first week of “Family Promise” guests, my prayer is that we will all remember the meaning and value of “home” and how God Himself seeks to be “home” for each of us, regardless of what kind of roof we have over our heads. Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


“No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.  Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 
Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies....

We don’t yet see things clearly.  We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!  We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:  TRUST steadily in God, HOPE unswervingly, LOVE extravagantly.  And the best of the three is LOVE.”
            [--1 Corinthians 13:3b-8a,12-13, from THE MESSAGE]

As we conclude our series on developing healthy intimate relationships (marriages, friendships, family relationships, etc.), the Bible tells us that the principle and practice of unselfish, self-giving love should guide all we say and do.  So, my prayer for both myself and for you is that not only would we experience this kind of love from God in our own lives, but that we would share it with and show it to others that we love, as well!  Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

10 Habits of Happy Couples

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35)

1. Go to bed at the same time

2. Cultivate common interests.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode

5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong

6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work

7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning

8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel

9. Do a “weather” check during the day to see how their day is going.

10. Be proud to be seen with your partner.

[--My appreciation to one of our members for sharing this article from a Psychology Today article by MarkGoulston]
As we continue our series Love, To Stay, I hope you’ll consider how you practice the equivalents of these in all your relationships, but especially with the people to which you are closest! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

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 “2013 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 2013: +56

            • New members joining in 2013 by profession or reaffirmation of Christian
              faith: +29

• Number of persons baptized (all ages): 19

            Net growth of ECUMC church membership in 2013: +40

            • Church membership as of December 31, 2013: 1012 (the highest thus far in our
               church’s history)

            • Average attendance for all worship services during 2013: 362

            • Average attendance in all Sunday School classes during 2013: 249

• ECUMC diversity: percentage of membership not from Anglo-Caucasian origin: 

            Number of persons engaged in mission: 143

            Number of persons served in mission: 30,152
            • Number of family units financially supporting our church’s mission & ministry: 268

            Total offerings received:  $750,873

            • Amount spent in 2013 on program ministry and operational expenses (excludes
              salaries): $217,528

            • Amount given during 2013 for local, state, and world mission ministry: $145,499

            • Current value of all church-owned buildings & property: $5,804,581

            • Amount given thus-far towards "be BOLD" capital campaign: $416,899

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!