Tomorrow, Sunday, November 11, 2018, I’ll be preaching on Ruth 2:1-16. I’m trying something different, I plan to look at Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi and see what we can glean about living with khesed (which I’ll explain tomorrow) in our time from their ancient examples.
This year the youth will once again pack and mail care packages to college students. If you have a college student and haven’t done so already, please get the address information to Wendy Robinson. Care packages will be prepared on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.
Don’t forget to enjoy an extra hour of sleep tomorrow (Sunday, November 4, 2018) as daylight savings time comes to an end and we “fall back” one hour.
There will be a funeral service for Jerry Sleichter tomorrow (Monday, October 29, 2018) at 2:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Visitation is today (Sunday, October 28, 2018) at Danner Funeral Home from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
This Sunday, I (John) will be preaching on John 3:1-17 with a particular focus on the familiar sixteenth verse. However, I’ll be doing this within the context of retelling the entire biblical narrative. Don’t worry though, I practiced this sermon on my mom, and it only went for 20 minutes.
In the first published book written in English by a woman, Julian of Norwich recorded sixteen mystical visions. The book was published in 1395 when the world was no less a stranger to evil, sin, suffering, and death than it is now. And yet, from Christ, she had these words of comfort:
‘It is true that sin is cause of all this suffering, but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’ 
Evil, sin, and death are real and life is hard, but God is good, and in the end, all shall be well.
 Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, trans. Barry Windeatt (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), chap. 27, Kindle.
I have been remiss in announcing the Baptism of Trace Jackson Larson, son of Shauni and Brady Larson, on July 22, 2018, at the 10:30 service. It was a delight to welcome Trace (and his mom) into membership at First United Methodist Church.
My friend and colleague, David Livingston recently wrote a blog post titled “The Power of And.” That got me thinking about the United Methodist Church in general and Abilene First UMC in particular.
You often hear something along the lines of: “we disagree, but we can be in the same church.” As I shared yesterday, I think it would be better if we said: “we disagree, and we should be in the same church.
I make this assertion because I firmly believe that in the church, God, through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, is working reunify humanity. As Paul wrote in Galatians 3:38: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” To have people of different persuasions and opinions sitting side by side in the same pew is one of the reasons God created the church. Here at Abilene First UMC, we’re doing that, let’s keep doing it.
The annual Fall Family Fun Event is today (Sunday, October 21, 2018) at 4:00 p.m. in Brown’s Park. Everyone is invited for hot dogs, s’mores, chips, games, pumpkin decorating, apple and doughnut bobbin’, a hayrack rides and lots of fun! Families are encouraged to bring a side dish to share.
“I know a great deal less than I used to.” — Nadia Bolz-Weber 
Amen. — John Collins
Nadia Bolz-Weber. Twitter post, October 16, 2018, 5:58 p.m., Link.
God regularly works through ordinary people doing what they normally do, who with a mixture of half-faith and devotion are holding themselves ready for whatever God has in mind. — N. T. Wright 
Hold yourselves ready for whatever God has in mind.
 N. T. Wright, Luke for Everyone (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 8.
Mark Holland is coming to present the One Church Plan this evening (Wednesday, October 17, 2018) at 6:30, but we will still have our regular (short) communion service at 6:00 p.m.