Sunday, August 24, 2014


Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

“The preacher never stopped talking about money.

The congregation clutched their billfolds and squirmed.

He told them not to worry so much about stuff that’ll rot and rust.

He told them that the folding stuff was not the currency to buy meaning and happiness.

He singled out one man and told him to sell everything and then give the proceeds to the poor.

He had them shaking their heads when he said, “Happy are the poor.”

As a result, some of the best dressed stomped out, their noses in the air.

A few of the wealthy and powerful slipped quietly into a back room and had a contract put out on the young preacher’s life.

And it only cost them thirty pieces of silver.”

            [--George White in his article “Money Talk” in alive now magazine (May/June 1986)]

According to Jesus (the “young preacher” in the story above, in case you didn’t figure it out), there’s no more deeply and thorough subject in the Bible than how we handle our money and possessions. 

So, does your giving through East Cobb UMC accurately reflect your commitment to God?  Is it sacrificial, generous, and a regular?  Or is it a mere token… the left-overs of whatever you don’t need anyway, given whenever you “get around to it”?  God wants (and deserves) more than our left-overs and an occasional consideration by us.

If you’re not already, I encourage and challenge us all to remember that where we put our “treasure”, our heart follows – making the converse also true:  if our heart is with God, our “treasure” show follow that, too.  My prayer is that your giving will be generous and truly match the heart you have for God. Remember, God  loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stephen Ministry At East Cobb UMC

“[God] consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

If you are not already aware, Stephen Ministry is a lay caring ministry of our church that enables fellow members to care for one another in the way Paul describes above. With over 1000 members, it’s impossible (and impractical) for our Pastors to be able to take care of all the congregational care needs of our church. So, our Stephen Ministry is therefore one of the vital complementary components of our overall Pastoral Care system.

Our ministry here at East Cobb UMC is a part of an interdenominational ministry that began in 1975 in St. Louis, MO and is now in over 10,000 churches around the world who have collectively trained over half a million Stephen Ministers in that time (including 10 currently in our church). Find out more about this ministry HERE.

Stephen Ministers themselves are fellow church members who’ve gone through 50 hours of training to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care for people who’re facing a crisis or simply going through a tough time. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, loneliness, cancer, a layoff, relocation, divorce, a spiritual crisis, recuperation, single parenthood, or any of countless other life challenges or hurts, our Stephen Ministers are here to care for you!

Your Stephen Minister will meet with you once a week for around an hour to listen to you, care for you, pray with and for you, and provide emotional and spiritual encouragement. Men are matched with male Stephen Ministers, and women are matched with female Stephen Ministers. The caring relationship is free, and lasts for as long as you need care – it’s a powerful way either to receive help yourself, or also a great way to help a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or relative who’s been struggling in any way.

To find out more about either...(#1) how you can become a Stephen Minister, OR (#2) how you or someone you know could be matched with one of our church’s confidential Stephen Ministers, either email our Stephen Ministry, speak in person with one of our Stephen Leaders (Jody Kershner or Eileen Forrester), or to Pastor Jim or Pastor Brian. Our Stephen Ministers are here for YOU!  Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back to School... Back to Church

“Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of heavenly forces.” (Malachi 3:7b)

Last week our children went back to school to start a new school year.  That should be a reminder to the rest of us that it’s also time to start back to church if we’ve gotten out of the habit over the summertime!  And just so everyone feels welcome and “at home”, here are some special new things we’ll be providing this Fall:

--Cots will be placed in the Narthex for those who say ‘Sunday is my only day to sleep late’

--Steel helmets will be provided for those who say ‘The roof would cave in if I ever came to church!’

--Blankets will be furnished for those who say the church is too cold, and fans will be given to those who think it’s too hot.

--We’ll have hearing aids available for those who say ‘the preacher talks to soft’, cotton for those who think that he talks too loud, and a few “Slow Down” road signs for those who think he talks too fast.

--There will be TV dinners for those who say they can’t go to church and cook lunch for their family at the same time.

--We’ve renovated part of our Sanctuary to have grass and trees for those who feel closest to God in nature, and part of the grassy area will have a putting green for those who think that Sunday morning should be for golfing.

--We’ve turned some of the pews to face backwards, so that those who say ‘I’ll come to church when I get my life turned around’ will feel at home without ever having to do that.

--We’ve also built several small, private rooms connected to the Sanctuary for those who say that they worship God at home alone, by themselves.

--And finally, the Church will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never been to church without them.

Okay, I admit it… we’re not really doing all of these things.  But it does highlight some of the many silly excuses we use for not coming to church.  This Fall as our children head back to school, why not put away your excuses and renew the habit of coming back weekly to the place where you can meet and grow with God, fellowship with people who care about you, and find a sense of purpose and meaning to life. 

“Seven days without worship make one weak!”  I hope that won't apply to you!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Be Still and Know...

Airplanes shot down over a war zone,… other planes lost at sea or downed by bad weather,… war in the Middle East and rumors of war in the Ukraine,… murders and other violence…. If there is ever a time when our world needs to the presence of God it is today.  Hear the words of hope offered in Psalm 46…

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

May you and I learn to “be still and know” that God is in charge, even in spite of the chaos of our world!  Remember, God loves you and I do, too!