2-22-21 FUMC Update

What a GORGEOUS day it is today and even though it’s on the cool side, it’s amazing how WARM it feels after such a frigid week!  I have only heard from one family that had no water for the week (and they assured me it was “no problem” because they have handy people in their family who could fix it) and I hope those of you who were without hot water or water for a day or two are all thawed out!  Please let us know how you’re doing or if you need any help!

As I told you in church yesterday, we kept close eyes on our buildings through the ice storm and fortunately, Ken, Conner & Cheyanne walked the building again on Saturday morning and, low and behold, the Wesley Hall dishwasher must have JUST started to leak because the water hadn’t even hit the center of the kitchen!  Fortunately, we got the water turned off, mopped up the water, dried off the floors and it seems we’ll only need to replace the dishwasher!  I AM SO GRATEFUL!!

I spoke to Brother David last night at 1st Baptist and they, too, were able to be on top of their broken pipe damage quickly – I asked what we could do to help, and he said they think they have it managed. I AM SO GRATEFUL to have such a good working relationship with our neighbors doing God’s work!

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL … I must admit that while I spend very little time on Facebook, I did love seeing all your pictures in the snow last week! Some of you were trying to get a tiny bit of fresh air while appreciating the historic amount of snow we had! As the snow and ice began to melt, (it’s going to be 70 tomorrow!) most of us enjoyed the fact that we won’t likely have snow like this again for an awfully long time! Halleluiah!

For artists out there, our temperatures last week were too cold, and our snow was too powdery to see any great snow sculptures, but I came across some SPECTAULAR snow art on the internet! Did you know that for 30 years, almost every year in January there has been an International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, CO.?  Teams from around the world compete to hand-carve 20-ton blocks of snow into enormous, intricate works of art and artists are only allowed to use hand tools, creativity, and inspiration to bring their ideas to life! They are quite incredible, (check out this 1 minute VIDEO) … see the pictures and the rest of the devotional (CLICK HERE).

WIND IN THE WILDERNESS, Lenten Bible Study, Wednesday, 10 AM … last week we talked about how the Prophet Isaiah saw the winds of change coming and this week we’ll explore Jeremiah 23 and look at STICKS and STONES. Sign in and help videos on the calendar.

SANCTUARY OPEN FOR PRAYER: Tuesday mornings, 9 am – 10:30 am … prayer guides are in the 1st pew in front of the pulpit or take time to “be still and know that God is God”!

LENT DEVOTIONALS ATTACHED:  yesterday, February 21, was the 1st Sunday of Lent and we packed a LOT into the morning!  You can watch the message on YouTube or the entire service on Facebook.  You can always find the Mark reflections questions on the website but I also want to thank DON BEATY who shared Lent reflection questions for ALL the 6 weeks of Lent … THANK YOU DON! 

This Sunday we’ll be looking at MIRACLES and their MEANINGS in Mark … if you have been staying at home to keep safe but have now received your 2 COVID vaccines, we’d love to see you back!

Many blessings,
Pastor Debbie


2-16-21 FUMC Updates – Buildings Remain Closed Through Friday

Brrrrrrr!!! Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before the sacrificial season of Lent begins … this is the day of Mardi Gras and last-minute BINGING before the fasting begins. But today? Well, as if COVID didn’t damper the celebratory spirit enough, here we are like bears hibernating in winter, locked in our homes trying to stay warm! I’ve closed all my blinds to keep as much heat in as I can, I’ve closed the vents in the rooms I do not use, I cooked a few things that would require a stove (knowing that keeping things COLD wouldn’t be a problem), and with no electricity for the last 2 hours this morning, it’s been darker than it WOULD be on a normal day!  Who knew Texas could get this much snow and have such bitterly cold temperatures!

I have heard from some of you who have been without electricity for HOURS and HOURS and your spirits are good and you’re doing your best to stay warm! I know we’ve been told to prepare for rolling blackouts and I pray that all of you have everything you need to be safe and sound in the coming days … please let me know if you DO need anything!  The forecast is warning us that it could be difficult through mid-Friday but … to everything there is a season and throughout history, some seasons are a little tougher than others! This too shall pass!!

During my devotion time this morning I came across this scripture from JOB … it reminds me that God created the seasons, He knows what He’s doing and when we trust Him, we also know that amid the ICE AND SNOW, He is always working for good … always!!!

God roars with his wondrous voice;
    he does great things we can’t know.
He says to the snow, “Fall to earth,”
    and to the downpour of rain, “Be a mighty shower.”
He stamps the hand of every person
    so all can know his work.
The wild beast enters its lair,
    lies down in its den.
The storm comes from its chamber,
    the cold from the north wind.
By God’s breath ice forms;
    water’s expanse becomes solid.
He also fills clouds with moisture;
    his lightning scatters clouds.
He overturns the circling clouds;
    by his guidance they do their work,
    doing everything he commands over the entire earth.
Whether for punishment, for his world,
        or for kindness,
    God can make it all happen. JOB 37:5-13

BUILDINGS WILL REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH FRIDAY, 2/19 …this is certainly no surprise, but it does mean that our Ash Wednesday service will be on Facebook NOT in the sanctuary.

WHAT IS ASH WEDNESDAY? 2/17, 6:30 PM, Facebook LIVE … I hope you’ll all plan to make time for this incredibly special and sacred service that begins the Lent season. If you still do not have Facebook to watch it with us LIVE, it will be on YouTube as soon thereafter as we can get it uploaded. Throughout church history Christians have used the 40 days before Easter, (not including the 6 Sundays), to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us and to prepare for the glorious resurrection! We do this by intentional focus on fasting, prayer, penance, almsgiving, devotion, and study. It begins with Ash Wednesday, reminding us that because of sin, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, forced to live lives with toil, pain & trouble, and then ultimately die. And yet, in God’s mercy and grace, He sent His son to offer us FORGIVENESS and return to us the gift of His presence in ETERNAL LIFE.

On Wednesday night we’ll impose ashes on our foreheads together … while you can use a drop of simple olive oil, please light a candle at the beginning of the service as part of your sacred space, then at the end, you will blow that candle out and when the wick is cool, you can use the ash from the wick. If you don’t have a candle, you can use a match or a lighter to burn the bottom of a can from your cupboard and rub off the ‘SOOT’ when the can is cool.  This is all symbolic but the symbolism, which we’ll talk in-depth about on Wednesday night, is powerful.

ZOOM LENT STUDY WEDNESDAY, 2/17 10 AM … we begin our WIND IN THE WILDERNESS study with Isaiah who sees the winds of the Holy Spirit blowing in the worst of times.  The analogy of a magnificent skyscraper beginning with a deep hole in the ground is where we’ll begin so please join us … get the info on the calendar HERE.

I’m sending this email in the moments the electricity is now back on … I will now take off 1 of my 3 pair of socks, 2 of my 3 sweatshirts and my coat, and my “fingerless” mittens … make a cup of coffee and heat up some soup … and most importantly, take time to be GRATEFUL for electricity which I have taken for granted!!

Please call if you need anything!
Pastor Debbie