First United Methodist Church Westfield

Saturday Message

Posted by on Feb 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

With Presidents’ Day on Monday, and with schools closed yesterday and Thursday, this is a long weekend for many people. If you are already away, or plan to be away, travel safely and enjoy yourself. Just come back to us. We miss you when you’re not here.

We are still in the midst of our Stewardship Campaign. The campaign this year is a low-keyed one, but your participation is every bit as important as ever. This week you will receive a Stewardship packet that will include information about our 2018 budget and ministries, as well as a pledge card. When we join the church, we promised to support it with our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service. While so many of you already support the church with so many wonderful gifts (service, prayer, etc.), this little pledge card is an expression of your financial gifts toward the work of the church. We will dedicate our pledges next Sunday, February 25.

OK, on to Sunday worship.

Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent, and for Christians, Lent is that 40-day season (not counting Sundays) preceding Easter when we are called to consider Christ’s sacrifice for us. The season actually began this past Wednesday—Ash Wednesday—when we were reminded of our need to repent and to turn back to God. One way to mark time in Lent is to think of Jesus on his way to Jerusalem, where in his last days he will be betrayed, tried, and crucified. Each day he draws closer.

The primary passage for tomorrow is Mark 1:9-12. This is the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Mark’s version is much shorter than Matthew’s or Luke’s, and doesn’t provide Jesus’ specific temptations. In fact, it doesn’t say much at all. But it still has something profound to share. The sermon title is “The Greatest Temptation.”

Connie Palmer is the Lay Reader, and Kevin and Jill Spellman are the Greeters. Our hymns for the day are How Can We Name a Love, I Want Jesus to Walk with Me, and Lord Who Throughout these Forty Days. The Sanctuary Choir will be singing Walk Humbly with Your God, by Robert Powell.

Our Faith Development Series for the next six weeks is called “Everyone Has a Story.” Each week, a different person will share part of his or her faith journey. Listening to others tell their stories may give you a way to reflect on your own. This first week Su Iliff will share her faith journey. Next week Connie Palmer will talk. Class begins at 9:00 a.m. Hope to see you there.

If you are in town this weekend, I hope you will be in church tomorrow. There is no better place to be on a Sunday morning, as we gather together to learn, pray, worship Almighty God, and greet one another.

With prayers for peace you, and for this troubled world.

David

PS. I will be away all day today leading the preaching component of the Local Pastors Licensing School. I have done this several years now, and it is something I look forward to, as I get to meet clergy who are newer to the ordination process. As of Wednesday of this week, 26 people were registered – the largest class I have had. I have enjoyed leading this class in the past, and expect that I will enjoy leading it today, as well.

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Feb 10, 2018

Dear Friends,

I trust that you received a letter in the mail this week about our Stewardship Campaign for 2018. Ordinarily this is something we do in the fall, but both Chuck Sheffield (the Chair of our Finance Committee) and I had surgery which put us both out of commission for a number of weeks.

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Saturday Message

Posted by on Feb 3, 2018

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of the month, and as such it is a Communion Sunday. Our special Mission Offering will go toward the Westfield Food Pantry, so I encourage you to bring extra items for the food pantry.

On a related note, you are invited to support our Junior Youth Fellowship kids tomorrow following worship when they host the “Souper Bowl Contest and Luncheon.” The youth are working to raise awareness of Food Insecurity and to collect donations for the Westfield Food Pantry. $5 will get you a sample of each soup. Additional soup servings can be purchased. They have also created a display in the lobby where you can leave items for the food pantry in the box of your preferred Super Bowl team – the Eagles or Patriots. And if you don’t care who wins, you are welcome to drop your things for the Food Pantry in either box!

Our Scripture passage this week follows directly on last week’s. Last week we read Mark 1:21-28 where Jesus casts out an “unclean spirit” from a man in the synagogue. This week, we read Mark 1:29-39, where Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law while he is at Peter’s house. Word gets out, and people from near and far bring to Jesus people in need of healing. After a whirlwind day, Jesus leaves early to go out to a quiet place to pray, and from there goes out to the neighboring towns.

We have some wonderful hymns tomorrow: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty; There Is a Balm in Gilead; On Eagle’s Wings; Come Sinners to the Gospel Feast; and O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing. The choir will sing Christ, whose Glory Fills the Skies, by Rachel Aarons.

Tomorrow is also the day we kick-off our Stewardship Campaign for our 2018 budget. Most of you should have received a letter from Chuck Sheffield and myself (and if you didn’t, I trust you will on Monday). As part of our campaign, Kyle, Sarah, and Luke Ashworth will share what FUMC means to them and why they support this church.

During the Sunday School hour tomorrow, all who are interested in discussing the passage from Mark that will be the basis for my sermon are invited to join the conversation in the Fellowship Room at 9:00 a.m. We will start promptly at 9:00, as I will need to leave at 9:40 to get ready for church.

I hope to see you tomorrow for any and all of the day’s activities: Sunday School at 9:00, worship at 10:00, and lunch to support our youth and the Food Pantry at 11:15. Remember to bring extra items for the Food Pantry!

See you then!

With all hope and joy in believing,

David

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