When we decorated for Advent and Christmas this past Sunday, I realized that I had not taken the Advent Candles down to Cypress Bridge to be recast. I have now done that. They can be picked up on Friday. Cypress Bridge is closed on Saturday (because it’s the Sabbath). I really need someone or someones to remind me to pick them up on Friday so that we can have them for Sunday. A little help, please.
Yesterday from the pulpit, I explained that attending church conference is about as exciting as registering to vote or serving jury duty, but that just as those things are essential to a functioning democracy, so attending church conference is important to a functioning church. Yesterday afternoon, at the District Superintendents’ request, Jenny and I set in on a church conference in Chapman, and I stand by what I said, it was not exciting. But there was one exception, Dee Williamston, our District Superintendent, gave an excellent meditation/mini-sermon that made it worth the trip and the time. She’ll be sharing the same message tonight. I encourage you to attend. We’ll meet at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
Don’t forget to enjoy an extra hour of sleep tomorrow (Sunday, November 3, 2019) as daylight savings time comes to an end and we “fall back” one hour.
Abilene made the November 2019 edition of Reader’s Digest because of the Cedar House recovery center started by Patti O’Malley. It was part of their “The Nicest Places in America” round up. Our own Amanda Cormack has a quote in the print edition (but not online) that represents Kansans as smart, articulate, thoughtful people. Both of them have done us proud.
Jesus indeed said, “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.”  Jesus predicted it and it does happen. However, when a Christian finds themselves hated, excluded, reviled, and defamed, it’s always a good idea for them to first do some self-examination and make sure they’re not acting like a jerk. I can confirm this from personal experience.
 Luke 6:22-23 (NRSV)
Just passing on a few things we’ve received via email:
From Neighbor to Neighbor: Sandbags are available at NE Second Street, for pick-up by residents in the 67410 zip code. Need help transporting and placing sandbags? Call 785-200-6750. Willing to help deliver/place sandbags? Call 785-200-6750
From Hollie Tapley, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Great Plains Conference of the UMC, we’ve heard that they are looking for 50 volunteers to help with sandbagging in Chapman. I’ll follow up with more details when I get them.
It keeps raining, and raining, and raining. When time allows, please keep Jenny and I posted as to how the flooding is affecting members and friends of First UMC. (We’re concerned about everyone, but we have a special responsibility for our parishioners.)
I recently heard someone on a podcast say that they are making New Year’s intentions, not New Year’s resolutions. This seems like a good idea to me. If you make a resolution to read the Bible every day, you may just give it up for the rest of the year once you miss a day. If you make an intention to read the Bible every day, then that’s something you can miss one day and then pick up the next. I don’t know why the difference in phrasing makes a difference to me, but it does, and I’m passing it on in case the same applies to you.
Lisa Page has written the following poem, titled simply “His Birth.”
What a beautiful time of season.
The birth of Jesus that is the reason.
Time for great praise and celebration.
Listen to the trumpets sounding from heaven above.
The angels gather round to show Jesus their love and respect.
How grateful we should be, for what our Lord is about to to give to thee.
A birth and a present like no other.
We should celebrate this day with lots of love and appreciation.
It’s not about us, it’s about the birth of Jesus Christ and what our Lord has given.
His only begotten son, so that we may believe, have faith, and be forgiven.
Happy Birthday Jesus. With love, Amen
I would encourage you to take some time today or during the next eleven days of Christmas to think about and perhaps write down (in poetry or prose) what Christmas means to you.
In preparation for Christmas Eve, I spent the afternoon visiting the sick and shut-in. I hope it was good for them, it was certainly good for me. There is a reason John Wesley included visitation among the means of grace—in my experience it is one of the most effective ways the Holy Spirit works to convey God’s love to us. If you haven’t done so already I would encourage you to “adopt” a shut-in and visit them regularly. If you don’t know any, I would be happy to introduce you.
Last week Jenny and I enjoyed the parade (actually the pre-parade) from a shady spot on the north lawn of the church. I’m not going to name the particular church, but I must say that I think it’s bad form to proselytize (in this case handing out brochures about your church) on another church’s property.
Don’t forget to enjoy an extra hour of sleep tomorrow (Sunday, November 5, 2017) as daylight savings time comes to an end and we “fall back” one hour.