12-18-18 FUMC Updates

I’m feeling incredibly JOYFUL today after the great support from OUR church at the Holiday in the Park last night – I was honored to help coordinate the City’s work on choosing a Mission Statement, and I was honored to work with the Pastors of the other churches to design and donate benches for the new City Rotary Park but I am feeling MOST blessed because of YOU, so many of YOU coming to support our Church in the Community.
 
I have worked hard to meet as MANY people as I can in this amazing community in which we live! Sometimes, I wish that all my time could be spent sitting in my office and immersing myself in doing research for sermons, reading wonderful books on scripture, writing congregational prayers and benedictions, teaching inspiring Bible studies or sitting for long visits with people who aren’t able to get to church. But honestly, I truly DO embrace our mission statement: to GO and make disciples for the transformation of the world! I truly DO feel compelled to reach those who do not know the love of Christ or who don’t have a church home to grow in their relationship with Him! The engine of this discipling, though, runs on love and without love, all our effort, intentionality, and strategies are wasted … so, my work in the community is JUST as it is within this congregation …  it’s focused on LOVE. I say all this to again say … THANK YOU for what YOU are doing to make disciples … and last night, your attendance was testimony to your support!
 
LAST WEDNESDAY NIGHT EVENTS OF THE YEAR: December 19th is our last Wednesday night meal and our last Christmas Bible study of December. I want to thank ALL the hard working, dedicated people who work to make our Wednesday night meals so incredible … those who shop, slice/dice, stir, serve the food, scrub pots and pans, pick up the salt and pepper, make the iced tea, make the desserts, etc. etc. etc.
 
CHRISTMAS EVE CAROLING AT AUTUMN WINDS: Monday, December 24th, 6:15 – 7:30 meet in the lobby … thanks to John Massey for coordinating a sing-along for folks who may not be able to get out for a Christmas service!  Song sheets will be provided and this is for ALL volunteers, NOT JUST CHOIR MEMBERS … just show up and sing with JOY!
 
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: Monday, December 24th, 10 PM … this is one of the BIGGEST services attended by guests of the entire year so let’s be great HOSTS!!  Here are some things to consider:
– Please PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that God touches the heart of people in this community who do NOT have a church home to come and worship Him with us! Let me say it again – pray, pray, pray!
– Be aware of people you don’t know and be sure to introduce yourself and thank them, for coming – one of the number 1 reasons people DON’T come back to a church is because people don’t speak to them
-Please park, if you are able, in the lot by the Baptist church leaving as many spaces at the church as possible for guests. (Ride share with your family too!)
– Visitors are tentative about how things “work” in the service and they don’t like to sit in the FRONT … please leave the rows in the back for our visitors
– We expect better attendance on Christmas Eve so please move IN to the center of the pews if the ushers ask you to make room.
 
DON’T FORGET … GIVING TREES FOR CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER will be up until December 30th … thanks so much for caring for the children in our community!  The trees are in the front lobby and there are plenty of clips left for YOUR cash or checks!
 
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

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‘Tis the season to be jolly but it’s also a season to focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ! When I was growing up, I was the oldest of 6 kids, all within 10 years of each other, and Christmas seemed so effortless for my mother! Everything was always joyful, organized, delicious and exciting!  She always said as long as she could sit in church on Sundays and see her family all together, it was all she needed to be the Mom she felt God called her to be!
 
Me? I have always worked outside my home, unlike my Mom, so things have not always been “calm and bright” … especially after I finally accepted my call to ministry, Christmas Eve and Christmas, became VERY different than they used to be. Gone are the days of pressing my mom’s beautiful linen tablecloths, of polishing the silver and preparing fancy meals … now, chili made in a crockpot is our standard Christmas Eve meal, and a simple  meal on Christmas Day has replaced the “once a year on Christmas” feast I USED to prepare!
 
And guess what … we all LOVE it this way! We have all adjusted to the casual, comfort of Christmas – less work, less stress, less money, less, less, less of what doesn’t matter!  We have more time to focus on each other and my focus on worship can be more relaxed and authentic!
 
During this Advent, please look for ways to find Jesus in all the nooks and crannies of your life … He is everywhere, waiting for you to embrace Him!
 
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Because of Bethlehem, 6:30 – 7:45, Wesley Hall
After our wonderful dinner on Wednesday night at 5:45, stroll over for an Advent study on what the birth of Christ REALLY means for us!  Last week, we compared the 1st coming of Christ, the birth, with the anticipated 2nd coming of Christ and THIS week, we’ll talk about how WORSHIP is more than just an hour on Sunday – it’s a mind set!  I hope you’ll come when you can … the lessons stand alone!
 
GIVING TREES IN THE CHURCH LOBBY … it’s so exciting to start seeing money and checks added to the Children’s Advocacy Center giving trees!  This giving is a gift to Jesus Himself as He says … ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ MA 25:40
 
UMW CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON, Thursday, December 6th, 12-1PM
All women of the church are invited to come fellowship and rest a bit over lunch.  There will be no meeting … just fun.  Bring a salad or if short on time – just come on and share the bounty.  Merry Christmas!
 
HOLIDAY in the PARK and BENCH JUDGING! Monday, 12/17, 6 – 7:30  I have mentioned to you in the past that I serve on the Cultural Arts District Board and we are working with the City on a night of caroling, cookies and cocoa, voting on a City mission statement AND voting on the benches that some of the churches are making for the City park!  I am so excited for you to see the bench that Elaina and Julie have designed and are painting, and that JA Newton, Conner and Cason Ragsdale built … you don’t HAVE to vote on this bench but I promise – you’re going to LOVE it!!  We’ll all end up enjoying fellowship around a bonfire so please come! Thanks, also, to Jeannie Thompson, Bettye Gilbert, Penny Boice and Carla Chitsey for making cookies for the HOLIDAY in the PARK.
 
Wishing you a faith filled season of JOY!
Debbie Lyons, Pastor
First United Methodist Church Winnsboro
301 Church Street, Winnsboro, TX. 75494
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