This Lent, Jenny and I want to invite you to join us for “a forty-day journey of repentance” as we read Get Over Yourself; God’s Here! by Kate Moorehead. The title is a pretty good alternative translation of “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel.” In this book, author Kate Moorehead deals with serious and weighty theological issues in a very approachable manner that combines wit, wisdom, and integrity. Also, the book has a picture of an ostrich on the cover, and you just can’t beat that. We’ve ordered 25 copies directly from the publisher, and they will be available for $10.
Wendell Gugler passed away Monday, February 11, 2019. There will be a visitation here at First United Methodist Church on Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. There will be a Service of Death and Resurrection at a later date.
I’d have more respect for fundamentalists if they weren’t so selective in their fundamentalism. I’m yet to meet a fundamentalist who takes the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) or the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) literally.
— Shane Claiborne 
 Shane Claiborne. Twitter post, February 8, 2019, 3:59 p.m., http://bit.ly/2BD11Yt.
Received from the Ministerial Alliance:
Just a reminder: this Sunday, Feb. 17th is the kick off meeting for the Easter Sunrise Pageant. It will be held at 1st Baptist Church on Spruce St and 5th at 4:00. It would be good if churches would send a representative–we could use some new “actors” as well!
If anyone is interested in representing First UMC for this event (or participating as an actor), please let Jenny or I know.
If you ever wonder if the folks who use the Little Free Pantry really need the help, know that they do. A man just rode his bike to get here this morning when it was 17°F.
Discussing Paul’s letter to the Galatians, N. T. Wright reminds us that:
“Generations of Christians who have read Galatians as part of holy scripture have to remind themselves that, if Galatians is part of the Bible, it is Galatians as we have it [emphasis in the original] that is part of the Bible—warts and all, sharp edges and sarcastic remarks included. Perhaps, indeed, that is what “holy scripture” really is—not a calm, serene lists of truths to be learned or commands to be obeyed, but a jagged book that forces you to grow up in your thinking as you grapple with it.” — N. T. Wright 
Scripture (and I’m quite certain Wright would agree) is more than a jagged book, but it definitely has it’s jagged edges. I think it’s incumbent upon those who want to grow into Christian maturity to be willing to acknowledge and accept the “warts” in the book that we hold sacred. Too often we have ignored the Bible we have in favor of the bible we wish we had. The first is sacred and authoritative, the second is not.
 N. T. Wright, Paul: A Biography (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2018), 142-143.
A moment of personal privilege: I just made Deviled Eggs for the first time. (I thought that surely anything so delicious would to be hard to make.) I now have a secure supply chain for more anytime I want them, and that makes me so happy. I also know what I plan to bring to the next All-Church Potluck Dinner.
We have been notified that Abilene Schools are closed tomorrow (Thursday, February 7, 2019). For that reason, the church office will be closed as well. Stay warm and stay safe.
The church office is closing early this afternoon for carpet cleaning. Our apologies for any inconvenience.
Yesterday the Church Council met and approved the following statement welcoming everyone, which has been posted on the church’s website:
Aligning ourselves with the biblical witness, First United Methodist Church affirms Jesus’ example of inviting all people into God’s loving embrace. We believe that the diversity of our community enriches our journey together in faith. All people are welcome to join in our life together as we strive to live as a profoundly Christ-like church of open hearts, open mind, and open doors and work for the coming kingdom of God. And all means all.
Feel free to drop me a line a let me know what you’re thinking.
This coming Sunday (February 3, 2019) is the first Sunday of the month, the Sunday we collect items for the little free pantry. Here are a few needs if you want to contribute: canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned soup, and canned meat; cereal, breakfast, and granola bars; macaroni and cheese, ramen, spaghetti (and sauce); peanut butter and jelly, crackers (especially saltine crackers—they’re good for putting peanut butter and jelly on); add water only pancake mix and syrup; and fruit snacks.
A few final encouragements: 1. peanut butter, jelly, and crackers go really fast; 2. Ask yourself if you would eat what you are bringing; and 3. remember that the Little Free Pantry is, well, little.
The new carpet in the sanctuary (and the new carpet elsewhere) is scheduled to be cleaned next Tuesday, February 5, 2019. This cleaning shouldn’t interfere with any of the day’s scheduled activities, but I’m posting this in case you’re planning on stepping in.