3-1-21 FUMC Updates

This week Shiela Haynes told me she was struggling to keep up with her passion for photographing high school sports because both the boys AND the girl’s teams were moving forward AND … BASEBALL WAS STARTING!  Yikes!  Where is this year going!

This reminded me of an article I read about one of our GREAT baseball legends, Hank Aaron, who died on January 22 at age 86. He is remembered not only for record-setting achievements on the ballfield, but also for humility, kindness, perseverance, grace, and faith! Many described him as being “the salt of the earth”! Hhmmm, I wondered … the salt of the earth … who do I know that I could describe like that today?  (The  rest of my devotional, CLICK HERE)

CRAFTERS ARE GETTING READY TO CRAFT AGAIN: Tuesday, 3/2, 9 am, Asbury Hall …we apologize for the late notice but the minute it was confirmed that Christmas in the Park will be back this year (NOVEMBER 13th), our crafters were ready to start getting a new plan in place! If you can’t come tomorrow please start thinking about your ideas and share them with Carla Chitsey.

CHANGE IN “MASK” PLANS: due to the drop in COVID cases and hospitalizations in East Texas, masks will only be required IN and OUT of our buildings or whenever you are “walking around”. We will still maintain 6′ social distancing and hand disinfecting but please pray that more and more people getting vaccinated will be able to start coming back to church … we miss MANY of you!!

CALENDAR CLICK HERE … we try to keep the calendar updated with what we know about so if you see things that are incorrect or things you want to add/delete, please let me know!  The link to join the WEDNESDAY Lent study is also there … this week we’re addressing WORST BABY NAMES EVER (and here’s something to make you think …“The LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, marry a prostitute and have children of prostitution, for the people of the land commit great prostitution by deserting the LORD’ ” (Hosea 1:2). YUP … what was God thinking?

MARK’S GOSPEL CONTINUES … yesterday we talked about MIRACLES (Reflection Questions, CLICK HERE) and this Sunday, 3/7 we’ll move into chapter 7 with a particular focus on the 2nd half of the chapter. If you’re still staying home, you can always watch on YouTube if you don’t have Facebook.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Debbie


2-2-21 FUMC Updates

It’s February and sadly, for you warm weather fans, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning which means there will be 6 more weeks of winter! But this year, due to COVID-19, there is no crowd on Gobblers Knob – the ceremonies went ahead as planned, but virtually this time around!  But don’t worry since 1886, Ground Hog Day will keep coming, every same, the same way it has every year for 135!

As I watched this annual tradition on the news this morning I couldn’t help but think of the movie GROUNDHOG DAY which came out in 1993 … since then, even the dictionary has a secondary definition of Groundhog Day: “a time loop of experience with everyday feeling the same. A time loop of experience with everyday feeling the same. A time loop of experience with everyday feeling the same”.

My devotional this week is a continuation from last week’s message on words that the OXFORD DICTIONARY selected as impactful in 2020 … I wondered if maybe GROUNDHOG DAY should have been I mean added to the list because come on … how many times during COVID have you used the phrase “it’s just another Groundhog Day!”?

As for shadows seen or not, rarely does Phil predict an early spring – in 135 years over a hundred times he’s emerged to announce in Groundhog-ese, six more weeks of winter “is what I see” but if tradition matters – some events feeling the same is comforting!

OUR WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL was posted yesterday on Facebook and on YouTube, but I have attached it here (CLICK HERE) for you as well … I wanted to continue the conversation I started last week on the Oxford Dictionary words of 2020 so I think you’ll find words like “blursday” and “infodemic” interesting!

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF OUR BRAND-NEW WORSHIP BROADCAST?  Ken Ragsdale and Kade Martin were hard at work last week looking for ways to improve our online worship experience to make viewing more engaging and, hopefully, to expand our outreach.  THEY HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK!  If you were in the sanctuary or not watching worship with us on Facebook this Sunday you can watch it on Facebook or here on our YouTube channel to see the difference in quality. 

It’s important to understand that online worship, while NEVER being able to replace in-person worship, IS going to be part of making disciples for Jesus Christ in the future. Today, people have a LOT more choice in where they worship online so while some faithful church members do watch their own church services, others have realized they can watch any service they want, anywhere they want! That being said, in this modern age of HD big screen TV’s, surround sound and beaming broadcasts, this moderate investment, made possible from designated gifts of people who saw the importance of digital evangelism in the past, will hopefully impact YOUR worship experience!  I also hope more of you will now be excited to click SHARE to your own page so YOUR friends might try something new! 

Barna Research has studied this:

“Churched adults logging in for services usually opt for their regular church home (40%), though 23% have streamed services from a different church, essentially “church-hopping” online. One-third of practicing Christians (34% vs. 16% non-practicing Christians) has also virtually attended a church other than their own in the past month; indeed, we see one-quarter of practicing Christians (26% vs. 12% non-practicing Christians) notes that, during the pandemic, this has become typical of their online attendance. This might not be such a departure from pre-COVID-19 attendance habits, as 35% of churched adults and 26% of practicing Christians told us in December 2019 that they usually divide their attendance among two or more churches.

Not only do some churched adults see online worship as an opportunity to try other services themselves, some also see it as a chance to invite friends—whether Christian (22%) or non-Christian (14%)—to “visit” their churches online.”

HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT HOW TO WATCH FACEBOOK OR YOUTUBE ON YOUR TV? There are lots of great “how to” articles and videos out there and you can do this from your phone, tablet, or PC … if you want to know more, check out this video.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?  Check the calendar

  • Tuesdays: prayer in the sanctuary, 9 am – 10:30 am
  • Wednesdays: ZOOM Bible study, 10am – 11:15 am (This week, “God Loves the People You Can’t Stand, Acts 10)
  • Sundays: 9:30 am … Coffee and Conversation is meeting in POTLUCK temporarily, and Family Ties is meeting in their Wesley classroom.

ATTACHED ARE THE MARK 4 REFLECTION QUESTIONS: if you’re studying along with us, I’ve attached (CLICK HERE) the Mark 4 … this Sunday we’ll look at the 2nd part of chapter 4 as the parable continue.

Grace and peace – stay safe and be kind!
Pastor Debbie