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United Methodist Church

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Pastor's Blog

Mark's Minutes

Summertime

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Your Summer 2012 Church News Source!

Ah, the school year has ended. We've had graduations, promotions, celebrations, even a wedding! (God bless you Alex and Jessy!) Spring has now moved into summer. This Summer Edition Newsletter contains virtually everything you need to know about what's happening in your church from June to August. As you read through, put events and programs on your calendar. Pray for the missions and ministries that are coming up. Come to worship. Bring a friend or colleague. And a word for us all: let's not let our family summer get-a-ways make us neglect our giving to the Lord!

Traditional Service and Crosswinds Service Every Sunday !

I'm very excited about offering a traditional worship service every Sunday at 9AM and a Crosswinds led worship service every Sunday at 11AM. In prayerful talks with our music staff and leaders, we believe offering both every Sunday puts us in a position to best meet the worship needs and preferences of the church family, while at the same time offering an 11AM worship experience that will be most appealing to the emerging generation, namely 18-30 year-olds.

So, if you prefer traditional worship, there will be a traditional service every Sunday at 9AM. If you prefer the upbeat, more contemporary style, come to the Crosswinds led worship service at 11AM. Of course, it's not a big change from what Redwine has been doing in worship for the last twelve plus years (offering traditional and Crosswinds services two Sundays each per month.) Yet, I hope the new worship offering will do two things: (1) help you continue to engage in meaningful worship, and (2) have more regular and consistent appeal to the younger generation around us who need the Lord, church, and worship. Join us in worship and pray for a mighty moving of the Holy Spirit in this place that God will do the new thing that we know God wants to do here at Redwine UMC!

Summer Message Theme: “Olympic Christian Faith...”

Since the 2012 Summer Olympic Games will be held in London, England, from July 27-August 12, our Message Theme for the summer will be “Olympic Christian Faith.” As I prayerfully considered what scripture to use for the Series, I was led to the lectionary epistle selections for the summer: Corinthians and Ephesians. I got excited when I realized that Corinth is the town closest to Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Games and Ephesus is only a short distance away across the Aegean Sea. So, we're going to hear God's word of teaching, encouragement, and challenge that was originally directed to the people who lived the closest to the birthplace of the Olympic Games!

Here's the Schedule of Messages: “Olympic Christian Faith...”

  • June 3 Is Treasure in a Jar of Clay 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

  • June 10 Is the Secret to Overcoming Life 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

  • June 17 Lives to Please the Lord 2 Corinthians 5:6-17

  • June 24 Is a Model of Endurance 2 Corinthians 6:1-13

  • July 1 Excels in the Grace of Giving 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

  • July 8 Is a Christ-Powered Life 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

  • July 15 Is God’s Tool to Unite the World in Christ Ephesians 1:3-14

  • July 29 Is Katoikein ! Ephesians 3:14-21

  • August 5 Grows Up in Jesus Christ Ephesians 4:1-16

  • August 12 Imitates God Ephesians 4:25-5:2

  • August 19 Makes the Most of Every Opportunity Ephesians 5:15-20

  • August 26 Wears the Full Armor of God Ephesians 6:10-20

Have a Safe and Victorious Summer!      ---Mark

Annual Conference Special Offering

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Special Offering Will be Taken Next Sunday

Annual Conference is going to be held in Athens again this year from June 12-14. Each year, the one thousand local churches that make up our North Georgia Conference are asked to take an offering prior to Conference that will support a Special Offering selected by our Bishop, B. Michael Watson. This year’s Annual Conference Bishop’s Special Offering will go to support World Methodist Evangelism, including the World Methodist Evangelism Institute (WMEI). Once the local church takes its offering, the local church delegate(s) to Annual Conference are asked to present his or her church’s Special Offering during the Service of Remembrance that will be held at 2 o’clock on Wednesday, June 13.

I hope that you will come prepared next Sunday, June 3, to give as you can in support of this year’s Annual Conference Special Offering: World Methodist Evangelism and the World Methodist Evangelism Institute (WMEI). There are two things I like about this year’s offering:

First, it gives us as United Methodists a chance to be generous. I am so glad to be a part of a Church that recognizes need and responds to need through generous giving. Methodists are giving people! It makes me feel good to be a part of a people who love others, who have the heart of Jesus, and who give to help people in need and to the causes that further the name and work of Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Second, the WMEI has a special place in my heart. The WMEI is located within the North Georgia Conference and is in partnership with our Candler School of Theology at Emory University. For over thirty years, WMEI has held Methodist Evangelism Seminars all over the world. While a student at Candler School of Theology, I attended the 5th Annual WMEI Seminar, held in Sheffield, England. The seminars bring Methodists from all over the world to one location to teach, preach, sing, study, learn, and witness in the local context. What a great experience it is to do all of this and make new Methodist friends from all over the world! I still remember my roommate in England, Peter, a United Methodist minister from Dublin, Ireland. Some years later, a Methodist pastor from Calcutta, India, Rev. Shubod Mondahl, whom I had met at the Seminar, stayed with Lynn and me while he visited churches, preached, and made new friends here in America. I’ll have to share with you some of the unforgettable stories I heard from these international Methodist friends!

The WMEI has two world Seminars planned for 2012: August 14-21, in Lima, Peru, South America and the Africa Continental Evangelism Summit from December 1-8, at Africa University, Old Mutare, Zimbabwe.

You might wonder, “Who goes to these seminars?” The answer is, “You could!” Google WMEI. See who they are and what they do. If the Spirit inspires you to go, let me know if I can help you in any way!

Next Sunday, let’s give to support World Methodist Evangelism and the WMEI.

Your Pastor and Friend, Mark

Missions Sunday

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today is Missions Sunday!

Yes, Missions Sunday is finally here! I’ve been looking forward to Missions Sunday. I hope you have, too. Today, we’re going to celebrate and highlight some of the great missions and ministries that take place every day in our church. But our purpose for today is not just to celebrate and highlight missions and ministries. Our purpose for today is also to get more people excited about being involved in missions and ministry and bring more people into our missions and ministry teams! Today is a great opportunity for you to hear about ministries, see what “strikes a chord” in your spirit, and sign up today to join a missions or ministry team! My prayer is that every single person in the Redwine Church family would commit to a meaningful ministry in which to serve.

Here are some of the missions and ministries that we’ll be hearing from in our worship hours this morning:

  • Relay for Life
  • Backpack Love
  • Family Promise
  • Henderson Settlement
  • Orphanage Emmanuel
  • South Hall Food Pantry
  • Wake Up Wednesdays
  • Thrift Store
  • United Methodist Apportionments

A big and exciting component of today’s Missions Sunday is a Missions Fair in the Fellowship Hall that is ready for you after each worship service today. So, at 10AM and 12 noon, don’t go home! Go to the Fellowship Hall and walk through the Missions Fair. You’ll find tables set up by Mission or Ministry and a person at each table to talk about the ministry, answer questions, and sign you up when you decide to be a part!

Isn’t this exciting? Service and ministry is the purpose and function of the Church of Jesus Christ and Missions Sunday is designed to help you become involved in a meaningful ministry, if you aren’t already. Beside the Great Commission, my favorite church mission statement in the Bible is Ephesians 4:12: “To prepare God’s people for works of service so the body of Christ will be built up.”

Today, if you’re not participating in a mission or ministry, I hope you will “get on board!” It’s God plan and will for the Church. It’s God’s plan and will for you, too. See you at the Missions Fair!

Your Pastor and Friend, Mark

Mother's Day

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day

I greet you on this Mother’s Day! For most of us, our mothers are a fond memory and if you are or were blessed with a good and Godly mother, I remember and praise the Lord with you.

However, for some, mothers may not hold such a strong tie in the heart. For you, I share your pain and heaviness and pray that the Lord’s blessing and smile will lift you up today.

Through the years and seven churches I have served in ministry, I have had a few members say they stay away from church on Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day, Christmas, or Easter) because the day is too painful for them emotionally. It brings back memories of their loved one(s) and they just don’t want to sit in a pew and have to endure that publicly. I truly understand that. My sister has recently shared with me that she, too, has these same feelings.

Given the emotional nature of Mother’s Day, we’re not simply going to celebrate and praise mothers (though they surely deserve it!) No, greater even than that, we’re going to celebrate love today. We’re going to delve into Jesus’ words to us about love and lift them up and bring them right into our hearts. It is my hope and prayer that in our time together this morning, love itself will find its way into your heart in a warm way and that love itself brings blessing and encouragement and hope to you in a fresh and new way today.

Now, having said that, let me leave you with something “somebody” said about mothers.

  • Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby. Somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, “Normal,” is history.

  • Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct. Somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

  • Somebody said being a mother is boring. Somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

  • Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother. Somebody never helped a fourth grader with her math.

  • Somebody said you can't love the fifth child as much as you love the first. Somebody doesn't have five children.

  • Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery. Somebody never watched her “baby” get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten or on a plane headed for military boot camp.

  • Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her. Somebody isn't a mother.

Thank you, Mom, for everything. I miss you. I can see you in heaven close to the gate waiting for me with your arms open. One day I’ll be there. Before you know it, I’ll be there.

God bless you all today. Your Pastor and Friend, Mark

Confirmation Sunday

Monday, May 07, 2012

Why I Love Confirmation Sunday

This year's curriculum was titled, Credo: Know Your Story, Confirm Your Faith, Live Your Commitment. The Confirmation Experience is a continuation of a young person's faith journey which began at baptism (if he or she were baptized as an infant) and the beginning of his or her covenant relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ. It consists of instruction, discussion, study, homework, and prayer all designed to help each young person learn about faith and have a sense of how to live as a disciple of Christ in a covenant relationship with the church.

Today, Confirmation Sunday, our worship will center around celebrating our young people's Confirmation journey and hearing their own personally developed life and faith Credo! Say hello to this year’s Confirmands!

Allie Grace Matthew McManus
Phenix Frier E.B. Glover
Hunter Johnson Georgia Warnock
Kenna Beaman Tucker Rothschild

Here are just some of the reasons why I love Confirmation Sunday:

First, It Recognizes and Initiates Young People as “persons of age,” that is, as responsible church members who are aware:

1) of who they are in the sight of God, 2) of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for them on the cross, 3) of the presence of God through His Holy Spirit, and 4) that the Church is the bride and body of Jesus Christ established on earth to be God’s earthly Kingdom Outpost where people love each other, grow in discipleship, and serve others in mission both locally and globally. There is no higher calling than to be initiated into the fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ. I’ve always believed that. It’s thrilling and exciting to witness!

Second, The Church Family is an Active Participant in the Confirmation experience. Today the church will read and recite important liturgy that serves to embrace our young people and pledges love, prayers, and support to them all the days of their lives. Confirmation gives us, the Church, a chance to truly be the Church: to receive and initiate young disciples into its functioning ministry life. Confirmation is the Church of Jesus Christ carrying out Jesus’ great Commission of making disciples.

Third, The Holy Spirit is Active and Moving in our presence when we recognize, celebrate, and initiate our youngest disciples of Jesus Christ. This morning, let’s all open our hearts to feel the fresh blowing of God’s Holy Spirit as He moves among us in this celebration.

God bless you, Redwine Church family, as we take an active part in our Confirmands’ experience. God bless you, Confirmands. We love you and want you to know we are always here for you. Now, go and lead us in blessing and serving others. For surely we all know that you are our future.

Your Pastor and Friend, Mark