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8-31-21 FUMC Updates …My Grace is Sufficient

As I write this morning devotional I have a mix of emotions. This Sunday, we had a joyful day in worship as we welcomed 5 new members into our congregation: AJ Chilson, Pauline Phillips, Kaylee and William Rush, and Carolyn Stewart. God has called them to make a commitment to His Church with their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness and we were all so happy to see their excitement!  

After such a joyful Sunday my emotions shifted this week as I watched the flag-draped coffins of our 13 military heroes being returned home. I saw the faces of our remaining Americans and Afghan supporters desperate to get on one of the last planes. I saw the terror on the face of women left to live in a country of oppression and abuse, and the children who will now have to live in a country torn apart by factions of terrorist groups fighting each other for power.

It is too soon to know how history will view the decision of the United States to pull out of Afghanistan. It is also too soon to know the full consequences of that decision for the people of Afghanistan who are not part of the Taliban, or what will happen with our future war on terrorism. While the Taliban has promised peace, order, and amnesty, few people have any confidence in their promises.

I have been thinking about the word GRACE, the one word that I shared with our new members on Sunday that best reflects our Methodist beliefs. At a time when the Apostle Paul found himself struggling with spiritual pride, I think he helps us understand the full context of grace when he wrote:

So, to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9

God’s point, of course, is that His unconditional love for us never changes, and His will can always be accomplished through our weaknesses, failures, shortcomings, and imperfections!  God is ALWAYS working for good in all things for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! (Romans 8:28)

Think, for example, about a time you did not get what you wanted, but ultimately you got what you needed!  In what ways was God with you while you experienced disappointment, and in what ways was God with you when something different/unexpected was the better outcome?

This is an important time to pray for the safety of those left in Afghanistan and still under threat from the Taliban, especially those who have worked for the U.S. and women who have been enjoying their education, freedom, and civil liberties. Let us pray for our U.S. leaders who will still be making decisions that will affect our country and let us pray also that members of the Taliban, and any other terrorist groups that emerge, be guided by their most humane instincts. Finally, let us thank God for the work and sacrifices of all the servicemen and women who served in that country … may they know their service was important, valued, and necessary in trying to do the right things!

CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE CALENDAR FOR ONGOING EVENTS

MONDAYS:

8-9 am, Men’s Breakfast with Brother Henry, at Richie’s

1 -3 pm, Knitters and Stitchers in FLC

TUESDAYS:

8-9 am, Prayer in the Courtyard

9-11 am, Crafters in Asbury

THURSDAYS: starting September 9th

9:30-11 am, Book of Revelation Bible Study, FLC Classroom

THE BOOK OF REVELATION BIBLE STUDY, Thursday Mornings, 9:30 – 11 am starting September 9th, FLC Classroom … over the last year, you’ve probably wondered “What is the world coming to?” Well, wonder no more!  Jesus revealed to John the marvelous words of extravagant HOPE that come when Jesus comes again, and as promised … the LAMB WINS!  Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for a time that would work best for you to come – since 13 people said Thursday morning was better than the 4 who said Wednesday night, we’ll meet on Thursday mornings for 10 weeks starting SEPTEMBER 9th!  Fasten your seat belts, everyone!

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO BROUGHT UNDIES AND GIFT CARDS! We have delivered $455 worth of gift cards and lots of undies to Nurse Erika at the school! What a great feeling we have when generosity gets hold of us and we get to do something special!

CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK QUILT RAFFLE:  Don’t forget, the CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK QUILT can be YOURS if you’re the lucky winner of the raffle! Tickets will be available in the sanctuary on Sundays, $1 each or 6 for $5 or you can buy them directly. We would also love your help selling raffle tickets to YOUR friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Talk to AMY MOSS or ELLIE PAGE for details.

WHAT’S COMING UP:

9/21, 3rd TUESDAY BIBLE STUDY with Brother Henry, 10-11 am

9/22, CHOIR GATHERING, 6:30 PM in the sanctuary, while the choir is not meeting now due to the small choir loft space on the chancel, anyone who wants to be part of the choir please SAVE THIS DATE! We’ll gather in the sanctuary with Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne to start planning for the future and I hope all you who SING will be there!

DON’T FORGET – the directory is attached, if you want a printed copy please call me!  Check-in with someone who hasn’t been here in a while!

This Sunday is the LAST sermon in our worship series, THE BEST IS YET TO COME … you can always go back and listen to the only the messages on the website, or for Facebook users, you can go back and watch the FULL services anytime.

Praying, praying, praying,

Pastor Debbie