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The cover art along with the drawing on page 10, were created by Bob Hoekstra of Hoekstra Design Group. We are grateful for this opportunity to use his art to further express this issue’s focus on brokenness. Bob can be contacted at





In The Right Direction Picking up the Broken Pieces


One of my more traumatic childhood memories was the day my mother broke a large selection of china in her china closet. I had been playing at a friend’s house and when she came to pick me up she was truly distraught. She was putting a salt shaker away and it had slipped, breaking the glass shelf below it and the one below it. I still remember seeing her weep over the broken pieces.

crumble them even more out of frustration and anger. Or we can give them to the King. Do you remember the nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty”? Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again. That is true. The best of human efforts cannot put some brokenness back together again. But the King can!

Let me try to explain a bit more. We grew up fairly poor and the curved-glass china closet and its treasures were one of the few things of extravagance and beauty in our home. My mother had inherited the cabinet and its contents from her father and had added to it little by little over the years as her meager resources would allow. And now it was sitting in a jumbled heap.

Just as my mother needed a china expert to put the pieces of her heritage back together, so we need a heart specialist to put together the broken pieces of our lives. Some relationships are so torn, some dreams so crushed that we need someone larger than life to put us back together again.

My nine-year-old mind was mostly relieved that I hadn’t done the breaking—what a whipping that would have gotten me! As I look back on the whole event though, I realize that a lot more was broken than some porcelain. My mother’s heart was broken as well. Her dreams of her father and of her heritage and what might have been were jumbled together with all the shards that day. Nothing I could say or do was able to comfort her. I couldn’t put the pieces back together for her. Gradually her tears dried up and she found someone who could glue some of the pieces back together. They were never quite the same. We weren’t able to ever eat off them again. But they were back together and they added beauty to the china closet once again. Since that day, I have experienced many broken things: broken dreams, a terminally-ill wife, a broken heart. And I have found myself sitting among the wreckage, not knowing what to do or how to do it. I think that’s a pretty common human experience. What we do with that experience varies greatly. We can simply sweep the pieces under the rug and get on with things. We can try to force the pieces back together the best we know how. We can


When Jesus was just beginning His public ministry, he read from the book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed” Isaiah 61:1. Jesus saw it as His business to comfort and mend the broken-hearted. It’s still His business. In our times of brokenness, He wants us to cry out and reach out to Him. Sometimes, He even permits brokenness in our lives to get us closer to Him. King David understood it this way when he wrote: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” Psalm 34:18. All the Kings horses and all the Kings men can’t put Humpty Dumpty, or you or me, together again. But the King of Kings can!


Family Matters: I Was Broken “How can the sun dare to shine so gloriously this morning? God knows the brokenness I feel.� These were my thoughts as I drove to the airport that morning to collect my brother, Frank. I was glad he would be the first to arrive. He would provide calm moments amid the troubled ones. His knowledge of scripture would help as I planned the memorial service, too.


The day before had begun as a normal day. Bud and I shared conversation during breakfast. I had made one of his favorite combinations of breakfast sandwiches and home fries. He had plans to play golf with a friend at a club in Kissimmee in the afternoon. I was playing golf that morning with a new acquaintance of mine at our home course. Bud loved his golf! Since we had moved to Florida, he played golf every day. He was thrilled that I had learned to play, as well.

shoulder. All the way to the hospital, Jessica cried while I prayed. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." Strangely enough, I did feel serene. I was scared, confused, and sad, but serene. God's words to me were confirmed when we arrived at the hospital. Jessica and I would drive home to a house that Bud would never occupy again. She did not remember saying good-bye to him that morning, and she was inconsolable. I remembered every detail of that morning, though, and my life with him. When we had married, Bud and I had truly become one. And so, I left a part of me in that hospital that night. Reflecting on Bud's death, I learned some important lessons: the words you speak to someone may be the last words that person ever hears from you; God answers prayer; and, God can take the broken parts of you and create a new you.

During breakfast our 14-year-old daughter, Jessica, yelled "Good-bye. I love you" as she raced out to catch the school bus. Although Bud was not her natural father, they loved each other dearly. As soon as I finished eating, I had to leave to make my tee time. As I left the house, Bud was preparing to wash his car. We kissed each other good-bye. He said, "Have fun. I love you. Hit 'em good!" My reply to him was "I love you, too. I'll see you later." At 4:00 that afternoon, the telephone rang. A gentleman was saying things that could not be true: "Mrs. Kendall, your husband has suffered a heart attack. He is being transported by ambulance to Osceola Regional Medical Center." My hands began to shake and it was difficult for my tongue to work together with my mouth to form words. I managed to say "I'm on my way, but how is he?" He did not hear me, but God did. "He's gone" God told me, and I instantly felt His hand on my



Tales from the Crib and Beyond: WITH BARBARA TWACHTMAN

Children and Brokenness turned upside down.


Have you ever seen a child who comes from a broken home? One in which the parents have split up and now the child is forced to take turns living in two homes. It is disheartening sometimes to watch our little ones here at the Preschool try to figure out what to make of their new situation. Sometimes we see a child who seems beat down in spirit. Other children seem to act out and become aggressive at times. Some children are doing fine and then all of a sudden things start falling apart for them. They start crying for no apparent reason. They don’t want to come to school. They cling to the teacher more often. And we discover Dad just moved out. The pieces of the puzzle then come together and we understand that brokenness has come to the family. This kind of brokenness in a child is understandable. Unfortunately, families split up and children are caught in the middle. This brokenness in their lives is a thing in which children have to learn to cope. You can’t change the circumstances and make it right. Our job as parents and teachers is to help that child learn how to be sad about their situation, but also how to survive and thrive when their world is


But there is another kind of brokenness that happens to a child where the cause is not so evident. The family is not split but what I see is a lack of caring for that child in a way that isn’t always apparent but is just as heart wrenching. Many times I see parents who haven’t learned that their child must be one of their top priorities in life. I see parents who come in to pick up a child and never say Hi to them or ask them about their day because they are on the phone talking to someone else. I see parents who are in such a hurry that the only words that are said are “Hurry up”. I see parents who want to talk to the teacher and forget their child is standing at their side wanting their attention. And I see in those same children the sadness or depression or aggressiveness that comes from being abandoned emotionally. Brokenness is happening in their spirit and no one sees them crying out for help because that crying out is in the form of misbehavior. The behavior gets punished while the cause of the misbehavior, lack of parental involvement, never gets addressed. Brokenness comes in many forms. The difference between this and the divorced family situation is that parents have the power to change the circumstances and make it right. As parents, we need to do a self-check occasionally to find out if our actions may be causing brokenness in others. Do an evaluation today. You’ll be better for it, your children will be better for it and your family will be better for it.

For more information on Aloma UMC’s Early Childhood Learning Center, please visit us online at


What God is for


The message of what God is for has been overshadowed by the Church's obsession over what God is against. It seems that our default message has been to lay out the laundry list of do's and don'ts when talking about our faith. Asked about God, most people parrot what they hear from the Church: recent boycotts on companies not promoting family values; political campaigns or initiatives being supported to enact or repeal this or that law. Deeper than that is the reality that most non-believers state they know Christians most by their anger over the things we oppose. Let’s look at this from the relevant discussion surrounding homosexuality, the issue that my ministry, Exodus International, is daily focused on. Most gay and lesbian people do not differentiate between behavior and identity. So, when Christians say we are opposed to homosexuality, due to our biblical beliefs, gay and lesbian people and most others listening, interpret our message and our God as anti-gay. This mischaracterization is something that should deeply bother us as believers. How do we clearly and truthfully share biblical truth while expressing the complete compassion, grace and love of Christ? Start by digging deeply into the reality of who God is and how He feels about all people. Romans 5:8 says, God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Our attitude, then, toward people must consistently be lovingly demonstrative. And when they treat us with contempt and intolerance? Romans 2:4 answers this well, Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the


kindness of God leads you to repentance? We must be kind, tolerant and patient. None of those things require us to change our biblical positions but they do require that we change our dispositions. How you share your beliefs is as important as what you believe. Are you so focused on what not to do as a Christian that you have lost the joy of your salvation, forgetting all you actually gained by accepting Christ? Daily, many Christians wake up feeling guilty because they don't measure up and stay harnessed to the treadmill of penance, constantly seeking to "do better" to earn the forgiveness already given to them. We filter that into our evangelism opportunities and it's no wonder that what people know of us is that we are against this, opposed to that, tethered to a list of what not to do. Christ died to make us free from the bondage of performance-oriented religion. We gained more when we came to Christ than we lost. Let’s dig deeper, as believers, into what God is for, uncover the awesomeness of His matchless grace and in the process, begin to truly communicate that the Bible is full of really, really good news. Employing this will transform our own walk with Christ and cause us to want to share the good news of salvation with others. Alan Chambers is husband to Leslie, father to Isaac and Molly, Winter Park native and President of Exodus International. He also has same-sex attractions and has chosen to live his life through the filter of his relationship with Christ and not through the filter of a set of temptations. Exodus is a global outreach seeking to make the Church famous for its love and care for people with same-sex attractions. For more info:



As I have come to realize, through my life I have achieved many, many levels of “brokenness”. My life, typical to today’s standards, began at an early age when my parents got divorced. Being a difficult thing for a child to go through, it ultimately propelled me into a state of rebellion that was to lead my life down some very dark and scary places. At the ripe age of 12, I discovered alcohol and cigarettes and this changed the way I felt inside. I thought I was better looking, talked better, grew to 6 feet tall and at times I’m sure I could have flown like Superman! I struggled through my teenage years looking for acceptance and I found it in the people who did the same things I did, drinking. I went to church as a child, participated in youth, and for a brief time even sang in the choir. No one knew my secret, no one but God that is. I thought, no I knew, that I could run my life better than anyone, my parents, my youth pastor and even some counselors my parents made me go see. At the age of 15, I was so out of control that my parents claimed me “ungovernable”


and sent my to a boy’s camp where I could get the “help” I needed. Fast forward a few years and I get married at the age of 20 and am expecting my first child. You would think that this would have slowed me down, but it didn’t. The drinking became worse and we were soon divorced. I still thought that there was nothing wrong with me, it was everyone else! A few years go by and I get married to my second wife. Now this marriage was going to work because we met in the bar and she drank like I did! Little did I know that when we had children together she stopped her drinking and expected me to do the same. Here was that secret life back in full swing and better than ever. Well, that marriage ended in divorce also as a direct result of my drinking. I was alone again and looking, searching for something to fill that void, that hole in my soul. I tried for another couple of years to start over but by this time my alcoholism and drug addiction had control of my life. There was periodic times when I would pick up and read the Bible and I think it was God getting me prepared for the journey that lied ahead. On September 4th of 2007 I woke up in jail after a night of heavy drinking. In a blackout, I got in a low speed chase with the police and had to be stopped by “stop sticks”. God had brought me to my knees. I had nothing to do but look up and ask for His help. I was finally “broken”. Today, God has me on an amazing journey. Today, I live for Him, through His son’s sacrifice. Today, I have something I don’t deserve, GRACE!


From our Missionaries:


By Missionary James Cunneen Brokenness—what a relevant topic for today’s world. Everywhere we look, we see brokenness in people’s lives. Whether it’s a family in Zimbabwe struggling to have the basic necessities of life or a student on a US college campus coming from a broken family . . . the pain of life seems much the same as it was in the 1st century when Jesus looked at the multitudes in Galilee and felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9: 36). What people need—whether Zimbabwean or American—is a shepherd, the shepherd, Jesus. He is the one who can heal the brokenness of peoples’ hearts and lives, and that fact brings us to a great irony: to be healed of brokenness, one must first be broken . . . broken of the prideful but futile self-reliance that causes all the problems to begin with. David said it best in Psalm 51, as he confessed his sin and sought a restored relationship with God: Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation . . . a broken and contrite heart, O God, James Cunneen serves in Orlando with Life to Life Ministry at Thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51: 12 & 17). UCF and oversees Life to Life Africa in Zimbabwe and Swaziland Africa. With this kind of brokenness, comes the joy of a relationship with God, and the nearness He promises in Psalm 34: 18: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, For more information about Life to Life Ministry and and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. Cunneen’s work in Africa, please contact him at

By Missionary Steve Mersinger Matthew 21:44: And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. I’ve never heard this verse used in a gospel presentation, but maybe we should start employing it. We normally get the second half right and make it clear about the brokenness of those who choose to let the rock fall on them and live apart from Christ. Too often the impending consequences are unforeseen and before the brokenness sets in, we see them living a satisfying and content life singing the tune of that great Sinatra song, “I did it my way”. Unfortunately, as catchy as the song is, it may truly be the theme song of hell itself.

However, those who choose to let the rock dash them, are dashed in isolation and separation. For those of us who are dashed upon the rock, it is the rock of salvation upon which we are dashed. It is the chief cornerstone that was rejected, and when we face our brokenness, we face it with the arms of the broken God surrounding us. The one who was rejected enters into our rejection, the one who was betrayed holds us in the midst of our betrayals, the one who was tried carries us through our trials. Brokenness is inevitable; what lies to us is to choose upon which path we will walk.

It’s easy for us to see the allure by those who do it their way. There are consequences to following Jesus and they fly in the face of our self-reliance and independence. We find that to follow Him means to lay our lives down and die to our very selves; to not live our own lives any longer, but to live in Christ. Too often this part gets left out and we find ourselves wondering at the challenges that face us in our life in Christ.

Steve Mersinger serves in Brazil under AMAS, a project of the Brazilian Methodist Church. For more information, please contact him at or mersinger.




The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

MARK JAEGER DIRECTOR OF WORSHIP MINISTRIES, ALOMA UMC Mark Jaeger is Worship Leader at Aloma UMC and also works with the Committee for Congregational Excellence in identifying and helping churches in this district heal from brokenness and conflict.

DISCOVERING THE POWER OF BROKENNESS Though we try hard to deny it, if we are being realistic, we must admit that there is brokenness in the church. Let’s face it, from the very beginning, things within the church have never been perfect, even among the first disciples. Brokenness has always been a part of who we are. The church is made up of people, imperfect human beings. Though we have Jesus as our perfect head, we, as humans, are still destined to make mistakes or have character issues or to downright fail at some point. The church was never meant to be “perfect”. It is meant to be a place where we learn to grow through our imperfections, to become more like Christ by discovering true humility and authenticity. Accepting our own brokenness helps us get there. We want to deny brokenness because we think that it doesn’t belong. But the opposite is true; we need brokenness to grow. Though it can be damaging, brokenness does belong. We must learn to expect it, recognize it, admit it and do what it takes to work through it. Denial will not only stunt our growth, but can also be toxic to ourselves and whole communities. It is critical for us to respond to it as soon as possible.

politics than about what God is doing in the church? Do I hear myself being critical of others, especially when they aren’t nearby? Am I feeling hurt by the church and sharing that hurt with those outside the church? What is my joy level? Has my prayer life increased or diminished? These are just an example of the types of things that will help identify how our brokenness may be showing up. Admit it: Don’t be afraid. All of us must go through this now and then. Recognize brokenness as something that allows God to show His grace through us. It gives us humility, transparency and authenticity. It helps us trust that we can be forgiven. It makes us more graceful toward others and more ready to forgive. Recognizing it is a sign that we are growing. Work through it: Dealing with our brokenness is not always passive. It may require action on your part. For instance, if we are at odds in a relationship, practice the guidelines in Matthew 18. Go to that person. When you don’t go to them, resentment builds up like a cancer. When you do, forgiveness and transformation can happen, giving us a fresh taste of God’s presence. In the end, we get a chance to see God work. Our faith grows and we grow.

“Brokenness has always been a part of who we Expect it: Brokenness can occur anywhere in the church. Many broken people brokenness shows us where we need to are” In the end,work come to the church from outside and how we need to grow. We need seeking healing and restoration. Inside the church, brokenness can be revealed in any of us, including leadership. Relationships may falter, expectations may not be met, power struggles can occur and change may cause a sense of fear and loss. For these reasons and many others, we can expect brokenness to be revealed.

Recognize it: This is an exercise aimed at ourselves. Pointing out others’ brokenness is not very effective and normally makes things worse. In order for real change to occur, we must look carefully at our own lives. We all have some brokenness that can come out from time to time. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves. Has my focus shifted away from being who God called me to be? Am I more focused on getting what I think is important and less on hearing God? Do I find myself talking more about church


not, and should not, run from it. If we as individuals can learn to understand this and move toward courageously dealing with our brokenness, amazing things can occur. God’s power will be seen more often. Transformation will happen in our lives and relationships. Stories of these miracles will be heard around the church. Grace, forgiveness and hope will begin to outweigh criticism, condemnation and pain. It sounds like a great vision – and the path to it is in our hands. If you would like to see an interesting interview with Frank Schaeffer regarding this topic, check out the link below.


Final Take: My dad had many sayings appropriate to situations that didn’t go right. “Cat Puke”, “Blovitz!” “I’ll be a suck-egg mule from Habana Cuba!” are some of my favorites. There are times when I still find nothing quite replaces the classics.


So our house in Live Oak was heated by gas, and one winter it seemed as though our house was not being heated efficiently – or odor free. I mentioned this to some people at the church and they all suggested that I needed to vacuum out the soot from the heater. No one suggested that I call someone to do this, and when I mentioned that I had never performed this operation, they told me how easy it was – almost as if the entire community had grown up doing nothing else. I got out the vacuum one Saturday when it was warm enough not to need the heater and I took off the front, and then a few more pieces until I was looking at the sooty part (which was actually the whole inside). It was a wonder that any heat got through to us. The heater, by the way was in the hallway smack dab in the middle of the house. Off I go, vacuuming gobs of soot from the offending parts of the heater, imagining how cleanly and efficiently this thing will work when I’m done, in just a few short minutes.

As far as I could tell, very little soot was left in either the heater or the vacuum. It was now on every single surface of the entire house. The walls. The carpet. The ceiling. The furniture. Me. I turned off the vacuum, (I may have said ’blovitz!’, ‘holy soot’, or some such appropriate exclamation…) and replaced the bag. The vacuum cleaner didn’t work nearly as well on the newly redistributed soot. Very little worked, except for an insane amount of scrubbing and rinsing. (There may still be some nooks and or crannies that have some soot lodged in them.) You see what happened here: the broken state of the vacuum had to be broken of its brokenness for it to be at all useful for its intended purpose. Luckily, all that involved was to replace the bag. My own ‘soot’, of course, has been much more problematic. God had to go through quite some trouble to open the door for me to be made whole, and even then it only worked when I recognized my own need to be ‘broken’. (The vacuum, to its credit neither whined, nor did it try to get the old bag back.) I, on the other hand might at times have been a tad more vocal. If that makes me a suck-egg mule, so be it.

The only problem was that it was getting harder and harder to see clearly. I found myself getting closer and closer to the nozzle just to make out what was going on in there. It was as though the light in the hall was getting dimmer on its own. This struck me as odd, so I turned aside to see this self-dimming light. Only to see instead that the vacuum bag had broken. So the vacuum cleaner, instead of holding the soot in a nice clean bag, was spitting soot out the (cleverly designed) outlet that pointed straight up.



During the week of June 25th, Aloma UMC hosted over 100 Pre-K through 5th grade students during its FREE annual Vacation Bible School. In addition to having fun with friends and meeting new friends, VBS attendees learned a very important lesson: to TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT! If your child wasn’t able to attend, don’t worry! Aloma UMC provides fun, Biblically based programs for kids during the week. For more information, please contact Merry Kendall, Director of Family Ministries at or at (407) 671-2180 ext. 318.



July Events

To register for a special event, please visit



Prayer Gathering Sunday, July 1st 6:00pm - 7:30pm Sanctuary We will be featuring a video by Francis Chan who will be one of our guest speakers for our Fall Revival, followed by a time of open prayer.

Sunday School Classes:

Family Dinner Wednesday, July 25th 5:45 pm Fellowship Hall Julys Family Dinner In honor of Flag Day, we will have a red, white, and blue Family Dinner on Wednesday, June 20! Join us from 5:45-7:00 pm in Fellowship Hall as we indulge in meatball subs, bowtie pasta salad, applesauce, and a build-your-own-dessert! Bring your patriotic song knowledge and a mildly competitive spirit. This evening of FREE food and fun is sponsored by Family Ministries and is designed for persons of all ages and family sizes – even if you are a family of one. If you are able, we ask that you consider bringing a $1/person love offering to cover some of the costs of this monthly event. To ensure that there is enough food for all to enjoy, reservations are only accepted until noon on Monday, July 23. Make your reservation now!

* B.I.G House Sunday School 4-year-olds through 3rd Grade * Garage Sunday School 4th through 6th Grade What God is For By: Alan Chambers * Youth Sunday School 7th through 12th Grade For Sunday School classes, children, tweens, and youth join their families in the sanctuary at 10:30 for the opening of worship and are dismissed to their age-appropriate groups.

Have you liked us on Facebook yet? What are you waiting for! The Aloma UMC Facebook page offers up-to-date information on church services, events, and weekly blog posts from Rev. Jim and Pastor Andy. Get in the know! You can find us at



July Events ADULTS Men’s Prayer Meeting Every Saturday from 7:30 am to 9:00 am Located in Room 30 Friendship Class Every Sunday from 10:30 am to 11:30 am Located in Room 24 Insight for Living Every Sunday from 10:30 am to 11:30 am Located in Fellowship Hall Seekers Sunday School Class Every Sunday from 10:30 am to 11:30 am Located in Room 25 Couples and Spares Sunday School Class Every Sunday from 10:30 am to 11:30 am Located in Room 32 Life in Jesus Bible Study Every Sunday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am Located in Room 25 Men’s Bible Study Every Tuesday morning from 6:00 am to 9:00 am Located in the Church Office Building.

Christian Quilters Every 2nd and 4th Monday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Located in Room 32 Tuesday Morning Bible Study Every Tuesday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm Located in Room 32 Women’s Prayer Group Every Wednesdays from 6:15pm – 6:45pm Located in Genesis Room NOTE: This group will NOT meet on Family Dinner nights. Men’s Small Group Bible Study Every Wednesday from 5:30pm - 6:30pm Located in room 23

SENIORS Senior Exercise Every Tuesday 9:15 am to 10:00 am Located in Room 24

*For information on how to join a small group, please contact Pastor Andy at

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The Brokenness Issue  
The Brokenness Issue  

The July issue of ADVANCE focuses on brokenness, that moment when a person hits his/her bottom. Brokenness can stem from different things: s...