Advent 2013 Experiencing Overflowing Joy
In God’s Story In Our Story
Faith United Methodist Church 300 Ninth Street NW – North Canton, OH 44720 330.499.6040 www.faithumchurch.org
Advent 2013: Experiencing Overflowing Joy In God’s Story, In Our Story This fall our congregation began a chronological exploration of the Bible called The Story. We’ve spent the past few months in the early books of the Old Testament exploring how our story intersects with God’s story. On this journey into faith we’ve encountered challenges and struggles, hopes and joys. We’ve come upon many questions that help us to discern and understand what we believe and how God is calling us to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today. As we move into the seasons of Advent and Christmas, we continue exploring the Old Testament scriptures that point to God’s plan for redeeming the world. “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.” - Isaiah 9:6-7 To think that the Almighty God loves us so much that he will stop at nothing to be with us and is willing to go to such great lengths to draw us to him, to redeem us and save us is simply incredible. To understand that God wants a personal relationship with each and every one of us, not because of who we are or what we do, but simply because God loves us, is awe-inspiring. To know that Jesus has been born for us so that we might have life is indescribable. To be so transformed by the love and grace of Christ that we can’t help but to share it with others is extraordinary. Share God’s love with others and you will find His love in you. This is overflowing joy. This is God’s story. This is our story. This is the greatest story. It is our hope that you find joy this Christmas season. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is hard. But, we do know that God is always with us to give us peace and comfort. Through the writings and the activities and the illustrations in this Advent Book, may you experience joy that will make you smile and remember what Christmas is all about. We have tried to do something different this year. You will see that there is one writing per week. On the following days, we have included scriptures, activities, illustrations, prayers, and reflections to inspire, encourage, and challenge you during the season of Advent to consider how your story intersects with God’s story. Whether you are a family of one or many, we hope that you can embrace the season with what we have offered in this Advent Book. May God richly bless you and fill you with overflowing joy as you celebrate the birth of His Son, the season leading up to that birth, and the promise that God is with you now and forever.
Advent Book Coordinator
Director of Christian Education & Spiritual Formation
~ Join the conversation ~ This year, Faith’s Advent devotions will also be available on our Faith Formation Blog. The blog will give us the opportunity to share questions and comments regarding this year’s Advent devotions and activities. Join the conversation as we share our stories on the journey of faith! Follow the link from our website:
www.faithumchurch.org or go directly to the blog, www.faithumchurch.wordpress.com
Overflowing Joy Even on a cold winter’s day I am picturing the Cataract Waterfall who’s flow is different in all seasons. Sometimes it trickles over the rock or steadily rolls and at other times it courses with fierce power. In some seasons the flow is measured to preserve the lake and wildlife above. In other seasons the dam is opened wide. In either case it overflows. Joy is our response to the gifts of life which we receive from God in Christ. Therefore, where there is God there is joy. And where there is joy there is overflow. We often think that to overflow only can mean to spill over with abundance. This perception when applied to joy short changes joy’s power in all seasons. In all seasons the source of our joy, God’s love in Jesus, is a constant flow. Our response to that overflowing joy invites differing gifts. The small trickle over the falls in our Canada home offers a beautiful view of the multicolored geological formations below. The music of the water is gentle, enticing and in harmony with the song of the wind in the trees and the call of the loon. This kind of overflow invites reflective journal writing while sitting on the sun-warmed rock. This kind of overflow invites conversation over a shore dinner. This kind of overflow deepens the quiet in the soul. The steady flow calls us to come and play. The icy water makes us shriek with surprise while at the same time providing relief to our sun-burned shoulders. This kind of overflow encourages the heart. The coursing tirade inspires our awe at its cleansing power. Whole trees and debris are swept away. Foam churns at the base of the rocks. Spray rises to touch our faces at the top of a high cliff. This kind of overflow inspires us to action. Overflowing joy looks different for each of us in different seasons. Sometimes that overflow of joy is a trickle which deepens the quiet in our soul and relationship with God and God’s people. Other times that overflow of joy is playful and we find our hearts encouraged and encouraging others. And in some seasons the overflow of joy moves us into the world to clean out the debris of life for the sake of others in the name of Jesus. In all seasons there is joy because in all seasons God, the source of joy, is our companion. In this season of Advent when we prepare our hearts to receive the incarnate God in Jesus of Nazareth may the joy which is found in him overflow in and through you. Lord, We give thanks for your presence with us in Jesus in all seasons. Overflow your love and joy in us this day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Pastors Cara & Steve
Suggestions for Alternative Gift-Giving Looking for a creative gift idea? Do you want to give a gift that makes a difference in our community and world? Consider giving a donation in someone's honor or to the glory of God by supporting a ministry through our local congregation and the UMC. In light of our 2014 congregational focus, Seeing Christ Being Christ, an alternative gift allows gift givers & recipients to SEE CHRIST and BE CHRIST in our community and around the world all year long. Certificates will be available for you to share with those you gift. For example: A gift has been given in your honor enabling 3 children to attend Faith UMC’s Camp Read-A-Lot literacy program. Gift of $100 will pay for one week of meals for Faith’s Wednesday Night Faith Connection Dinner. Gift of $5 will pay for one individual Wednesday Night meal. Gift of $30 will help to pay for one child to attend Wednesday Night Faith Connections program for an entire season! Gift of $25 will purchase one 3rd Grade Bible Gift of $25 will pay for one child to attend VBS Gift of $7 will pay for one VBS music DVD Gift of $20 will pay for one child to attend Camp Read-A-Lot Gift of $12.50 will pay for one child’s Sunday School materials for one quarter. Gift of $50 will help to cover a child’s Sunday School materials for an entire year! Gift of $25 will pay for one middle school student to participate in our summer middle school mission trip Gift of $25, $50, $75, or $100 will go towards helping our senior high students serve those in need at Henderson Settlement for our high school mission trip. Gift of $25, $50, $75, or $100 will help a child or youth attend Summer Camp Gift of $25, $50, $75, or $100 will help to begin a new adult small group Gift of $15 will cover the cost of an adult small group or Bible study resource Gift of $10 will pay for fabric for a dignity gown for a breast cancer patient. Gift of $5 will purchase fleece fabric to make scarves for Faith Kitchen. Operation Christmas Child - $7.00 will pay for the shipping & distribution costs of 1 shoe box. $20 will cover the costs of the contents of 1 shoe box Gift of $5 or more will provide publication costs for Faith’s Living Faith ministry books. Gift of $5 or more will provide publication costs for an Advent or Lent devotion book. Gift of $25 will provide a gift card for those hungry in our community. Gift of $25 will provide a gas gift card for those in need in our community. Gift of $5, $10, $25, or $50 will help to provide outreach Bibles to put God’s Word in the hands of someone needing to hear the Good News! Books, DVD’s, music CD’s for Faith’s Prayer Room or Library & Media Center Children’s books for Camp Read-A-Lot UMCOR Disaster Relief Pennies for Paraguay Camphor Mission, Liberia Faith Kitchen
December 1, 2013 ~ First Sunday of Advent
The Story: Standing Tall, Falling Hard PREPARING THE WAY “So in the course of time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, which means “I asked the Lord for him.” - 1 Samuel 1:20 Christmas is not the remembrance of something that happened in the past but the celebration of the way to which each of us is called. As we read this week’s chapter (10) from “The Story” one thing that occurred to me was that God never gives up on His people even when they go astray. There also seems to be a common thread when He is trying to reach them and get them back to His love and wish for them even though it seems they are not going to accept His ways. He on four different occasions when He is to select a leader for His people chose a woman that is without child, three of them barren and one the virgin birth. The first of them was Sarah who gives birth to Isaac (Genesis 18: 9-10 and 21: 1-3); the second woman is Hannah who gave birth to Samuel (1 Samuel 1: 20); the third is Elizabeth who brings John the Baptist into the world with the purpose of baptizing Jesus; the fourth was Mary who gave birth to Jesus. The people follow God’s way for a period of time and then they fall from His way and are back to the old way and many times it is worse than before. Like people of all times we are given the choice of what way to go and many times we get into trouble because we choose what seems to be the easy way out. It is almost like a person that has an eating, drug, alcohol or tobacco addiction and they take the steps to overcome their problem and one miss step and they have the problem again and often worse than before and it is more difficult to get back on the correct path. However God is there and waiting for us to return to His loving arms. I am going to share with you the birth of our first born Sean 43 years ago. Josephine and I had been trying to have a child for about five years without success and thought that it was never going to happen and one day we received the good news and were elated. He was born two months early and everything seemed to be going fine when we found out that he had a serious medical problem and after several operations and shunts he still wasn’t getting any better. After consulting with the local doctor we took him to Children Hospital in Columbus. He was to spend the most of the next seven months there and things didn’t seem to be going as we had prayed and hoped for. One night on my way home from visiting him and Josephine I pulled off the side of the road and with tears in my eyes I told God that this baby of about one year had taught me more about life than anything that had gone on before in my life. I also told Him like Abraham who was willing to sacrifice Isacc I was willing to sacrifice Sean but if he would cure him and let him live I would give up smoking and I was a 2 to 3 packs a day user. That was 42 years ago and I have kept my promise and you know that God has kept His. I share this story as a way of offering an insight as to what God can do and maybe a glimpse of what we need to do to help us reach for what God wants for all of us. PRAYER: God we come to you this day with heartfelt thanks for all of the blessing that you have bestowed upon us and we ask that you come into our life with the plans as to how we can grow closer to you and the promises you have told us that are there when we give ourselves completely to you. Amen
Butch Ransom In what ways have you experienced the joy of God’s blessings in your life?
First Week of Advent 2013
Suggested Scripture Readings for the First Week of Advent Sunday: 1 Samuel 1:20 Monday: Matthew 1:18 1:18--25 Tuesday: 2 Samuel 7: 11--16 Wednesday: Luke 1:8 1:8--20 Thursday: Psalm 85:1 85:1--13 Friday: Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:2 9:2--7 Saturday: Isaiah 11:1 11:1--9 ALTAR God loves it when we set aside a place to meet Him. You can create a special space in your home to build an “altar” to be your focus for this Advent season. When you read the devotion, do the activity, talk about Advent and Christmas; let the altar be the focal point to keep you centered on the task at hand. You need a clear glass that can be any shape or size and a candle or a light. Find some small stones or some marbles. Place the stones or marbles in the bottom of the glass – use as many as you would like. Place the light or candle on top of the stones or marbles. Keep this centerpiece on a table away from other “busy” places in your home. Light the candle each time you use this Advent Book or other devotional during the Advent season. This will keep you focused on God as you celebrate the coming of His Son. You can also use an Advent wreath. The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes God’s never-ending love. The greens on the wreath symbolize life. An Advent wreath contains four candles representing the four Sundays leading to Christmas. The colors of the candles are usually purple or blue. Sometimes a pink candle is used on the 3rd week to represent joy. A white candle is often placed in the center of the wreath to symbolize Jesus.
December 3rd is known as Giving Tuesday. How can you give of your time, talents, and resources to make a difference in your community this Advent? How can you spread overflowing joy?
First Week of Advent 2013
Story a Day for Advent “…we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Psalm 78:4 The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year. The word Advent means “to come.” Advent is a season of waiting, a season of preparation. It’s a time for waiting and watching for Christ. During the season of Advent we prepare our hearts and our lives to celebrate God’s greatest gift, the birth of our Lord & Savior. We prepare to receive Christ into our hearts and wait expectantly for Jesus to come again. Advent is a hopeful time as we anticipate that wonderful gift of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. This is a fun time of year, but we are also faced with many distractions that can keep us from focusing on the true meaning of the season. God reminds us through His Word that we are to tell others the wonders He has done. Our children need us to pass down the stories of God’s goodness and hope so that a future generation will one day praise the Lord (Psalm 102:18). Create some family memories by making time to tell the stories of Christmas, of God’s work in the world,. Share family memories during the season of Advent. Select 24 Christmas stories, family memories, or scripture passages and read one as a family each night during Advent. You may want to use a basket or bag & write down the titles of those favorite stories & select one each night to enjoy together as a family. Consider asking grandparents or other relatives to share their favorite scriptures or family traditions. After reading the story, spend some time talking about the story. Share why it is a family favorite or how the lesson in the story or scripture applies to your lives today. Practice retelling the story and talk about some creative ways to share the story with others. If your family is not nearby, consider taking advantage of the technology available to you. Share your stories by phone, Facebook or Twitter, or even Skype your stories! Some suggestions to get you started: Favorite Christmas stories from your childhood, scripture passages from an Advent calendar, or readings from a Jesse Tree devotional (some of the great stories of God preparing the world for the birth of his Son). Check out Faith’s library for some suggestions! Whatever you choose, remember to have fun, keep it simple, & focused on keeping Christ at the center of your holiday preparations!
First Week of Advent 2013 Stop by Faith UMC on Wednesday, December 4 and walk our labyrinth anytime between 9:30 am and 8 pm or use the finger labyrinth printed below. Also join us for a special service, ‘Walking Toward Comfort & Joy’ at 11:00 am and 6:45 pm.
Walking to Bethlehem: A Labyrinth Journey “You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:12-13 When we hear the word journey, we most often think of traveling from one place to another over a period of time. A journey might also be passage or progress from one stage to another. Both definitions might be used to describe one’s faith journey. Over 2,000 years ago, Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem; a 70 mile journey laden with danger, discomfort, and fear. A journey we only imagine being possible with deep trust and faith in God. Today, we invite you to explore Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem through the experience of a prayer labyrinth. The labyrinth is a spiritual tool that many people use to grow closer to God. It is found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. The labyrinth represents a journey, a pilgrimage, an intentional time to seek God. Labyrinths can be large for walking, indoors or outdoors, and small designed for your fingers to walk. You can even walk a labyrinth on your computer screen using your mouse. Unlike a maze, there are no dead ends or false paths. Simply follow the path to the center. As the path winds, it becomes a reflection for where we are in our lives; touching sorrows and releasing joys. There is no right or wrong way to experience the labyrinth. Trace or walk the labyrinth without words, sing it, pray, or repeat a few lines of scripture. Feel free to skip, run, crawl or dance as you journey. Use whatever means might help you to open yourself to God’s presence. As you ‘walk’ the labyrinth be aware of your spiritual focus and how you are drawn to God. Journey with an open heart and mind! Begin the journey by taking a few moments to quiet and prepare yourself. You might choose to begin your labyrinth journey with a prayer hymn such as this twentieth century hymn by Daniel Iverson: Spirit of the Living God fall fresh on me. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. Walk the labyrinth as if you are on a journey to Bethlehem to worship Christ! Begin with a favorite Advent hymn, such as O Come, O Come, Emmanuel or Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. Read through the following scriptures as you prepare for this journey to Bethlehem: Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:2-7, Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-56, Luke 2:1-20 What journey might God be calling you to explore? Joseph’s journey to obedience? Mary’s journey from questions to praise? The Magi’s journey to worship Christ the King and experience His wonder? The shepherd’s journey from amazement to proclamation as they share their joy, glorifying and praising God? Mary & Joseph’s journey to Egypt to escape Herod and protect Jesus? As you explore these journeys surrounding the stories of the birth of Christ you may find God is calling you to journey. Perhaps you are finding yourself on an unwanted journey or heading in a direction that you may not have anticipated or find surprising. Journeys of disappointment, sorrow, and pain are bound to be part of our life story as are journeys of wonder and great joy. Allow the good news revealed in the experiences of those who journeyed to Bethlehem over 2000 years ago remind you that God walks with you on your journey as well. Seek God and submit to the journey He has prepared for you knowing that He is with you. May you find peace, hope, and strength in Him that will sustain you wherever you are in your journey this Advent. If you are not sure about this spiritual exercise, we encourage you to try it at least three times before coming to any conclusions. You just might be surprised!
December 8, 2013 ~ Second Sunday of Advent
The Story: From Shepherd to King 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, â€œDo not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.â€? God knew what David could accomplish and could see his love and trust for God in his heart. We, like Samuel, often judge people by their looks and material items. I have been taught by my father that first impressions matter and therefore, I never was allowed to leave the house for school unless I was dressed appropriately. I tended to think that was the way to judge people. As I matured, I found that the first impression is not always the right impression. In high school I worked in retail and met the most wonderful person that many would never look at twice. She had the most wonderful heart and the more I knew her, her looks meant nothing. This has happened to me many more times in my life and I find that if I have the patience and the willingness, I will discern that the spirit of a person is full of love and God. My role as a Stephen Minister has helped me see the hurt and pain of individuals and to listen before I judge and my Walk to Emmaus has opened my eyes to what God can do At this time of year we see many people who are in need and we look at them and judge them long before we know their situations. I am as guilty of this as anyone. It is my hope that my soul will allow me to see what is in their hearts and offer a way to make their Christmas and life better. We are a society of materialism and we love our toys, but we must remember to view those less fortunate with a willing spirit to find that God is in their hearts too. Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray that as I meet people in this world that I will not judge them as to the outward appearance but I will remember what you told Samuel and look inside to find what is in their hearts. I know that I will be pleasantly surprised at the goodness in the world and the love for You. Amen
When have you experienced joy seeing Christ in others?
Second Week of Advent 2013
Suggested Scripture Readings for the Second Week of Advent: Sunday: 1 Samuel 16:7 Monday: Luke 1:24 1:24--55 Tuesday: John 10:7 10:7--10 Wednesday: Psalm 146 Thursday: Isaiah 40:1 40:1--11 Friday: Mark 13:24 13:24--37 Saturday: Psalm 98 ACTS OF GRACE The theme for our church this year is Acts of Grace. As the year comes to an end, think of an act of grace that you can do as a reminder that God is always with us—guiding and directing our lives. Jesus came into the world to serve. Go and do likewise.
Get to know your mailman, newspaper carrier, bus driver, hair stylist, teacher, waitress, or others who provide service to you throughout the year. Do something special for them to express your appreciation (bake them cookies or bread, write them a note of encouragement, etc).
Create a family night basket complete with ingredients for homemade pizza, popcorn, candy, video rental gift cards, coloring book & crayons, a family devotional, etc. Give it to a single parent family.
Offer to wrap gifts, babysit, or provide a meal for an overworked and tired parent.
Invite 3 people from your neighborhood or extended family to church during Advent and on Christmas Eve.
Visit someone from your congregation who is unable to come to church or someone you haven’t seen in church recently. Pray for them.
Mug someone. Buy some inexpensive mugs and fill them with hot chocolate packets and inspirational notes. Leave them on the desks of co-workers or businesses you visit during Advent and Christmas.
Make a commitment to practice welcoming others on Sunday morning. Introduce someone you know to someone they may not yet know.
Give an alternative gift in honor of someone this year. Make a donation to a mission project or charity that is important to them. Consider supporting a ministry through our local congregation or the UMC.
Consider how you might be cut back on the amount of time you spend decorating, shopping, and baking for the holidays. Use the extra time to practice random acts of kindness and spread joy and love to others. Be Christ in the world!
Write letters or send a care package to someone serving in the military, in a nursing home, or in prison.
Give an equal amount of what you spend on Christmas gifts for family and friends to outreach ministries & missions that serve the poor in spirit and those in need.
Go caroling! Join us on December 18 to carol in Faith UMC’s neighborhood. Go out into the community and meet people you don't know—don't just visit people from your congregation. Make it an outreach project! Hand out colorful brochures or flyers with basic church information (location, web URL, etc.).
Give the gift of your presence to someone who may be alone or hurting this Christmas. Do the same for those closest to you!
Second Week of Advent 2013
12 Days of Christmas Family Activity This is a fun, family activity that helps your family to focus on a spirit of giving and serving others while reaching out to someone in need of joy and love at Christmas. As a family, prayerfully consider whom you know that you would like to surprise with little gifts or acts of service to brighten their lives during the season of Advent. Maybe there is a family in your neighborhood that is facing some challenges, or a widow in your church family who may be alone during the holidays. Perhaps you have a relative you rarely get to visit or know someone serving in the military. The point is not to spend money on gifts, but to focus on being creative as you reach out to surprise and serve someone else. For 12 days surprise this person by either leaving gifts on their doorstep or sending a surprise in the mail. You may want to begin with one item the first day and ending with 12 on the last day. As a family, plan the surprises you will give. Involve children in making the items. Some suggestions include a plate of cookies, a card, a drawing, an ornament, a CD, or an act of service such as shoveling the sidewalk or brushing snow off of vehicles. You may also want to include a note with clues about what could be expected to happen next. Leave a Bible verse and some encouraging words along with your gifts. Whatever gifts you choose to leave, make it fun as you find ways to surprise the person and keep your identity a secret. Make praying for this person a part of the experience as well. May your family enjoy the blessings that come from giving of yourselves to bring joy to someone else during the Christmas season! â€œGod loves a cheerful giver.â€? 2 Corinthians 9:7b
Second Week of Advent 2013
Chrismon Ornaments Chrismons are Christmas tree decorations that teach the word of God. The word Chrismon is the combination of two words, Christ and monogram (an intial or symbol that represents an individual). Chrismons tell the story of Christ through the use of ancient Christian symbols that date back to the origin of the church in the first century AD. A Chrismon tree is decorated with symbols or monograms about Jesus Christ, our Savior. The evergreen tree symbolizes eternal life. The white lights used to decorate the tree represent Jesus, the Light of the World. Chrismon ornaments are white and gold symbolizing the purity, perfection, majesty and glory of Christ. Make some for your family Christmas tree and use the ornaments to tell the story of Christ. To learn more about Chrismons join us at Faith UMC on December 11th for dinner and a Chrismon workshop. Bring your friends and family and make some ornaments for our church tree as well as your home. After learning about the Chrismons, spend some time looking around the church for ways these symbols are used to tell the story of Christ in other ways.
The circle and triangle represent the eternity of the Trinity.
Star Gazing Take a drive on a clear night and enjoy some of the Christmas lights around your neighborhood. End the evening by spending some time exploring the night sky, one of God’ most beautiful creations. Dress warm & bring along some blankets & hot cocoa as it may take a half an hour for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark so you’ll see the most stars. While gazing at the stars, try some of these suggested discussion questions: What helps you to find your way in the dark? Can you count the number of stars that you see? What do you notice about the moon? Share your hopes & dreams with each other as you gaze at the night sky. How does it feel to know that God who created the galaxies and placed each star in the sky knows all about you, even the number of hairs on your head? Read Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2: 1-20, Isaiah 9:2-6. What stirs in your heart as you read of the wonder of Jesus’ birth under the night sky? Imagine what it would have been like to have been one of those shepherds. How might you have reacted to the angel’s message? What does it mean that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us? How does Jesus help you to find your way in a darkened world? How does Jesus bring us joy? Close in prayer under the night sky: Loving Creator, thank you for the beauty and wonder of the night sky. Help us to take time each day to appreciate your amazing creation. As the stars and moon light up this dark night, we are reminded to give you thanks for sending Jesus to help us find our way in this darkened world. In His name we pray. Amen.
December 15, 2013—Third Sunday of Advent
The Story: Trials of a King Scripture: Psalm 18:1-3 “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” In reading about the life of David, I am always struck by his attitude of faith and ardent love for God even in his times of trial. God had given David the attributes of physical strength, courage, love, justice, and charity. And yet, David was plagued by transgressions throughout his life. Despite his continual sin, he always sought to repent and ask for forgiveness. Also, when God did forgive him, he was truly grateful and full of praise for all God had done in his life. David and God had a very personal relationship where David would speak to God and God would respond with delight. David’s faith would be tested his entire life and, yet, God surrounded him with love and protection. David should be the role model for all sinners. I know he is for me. I have made many mistakes in my life. I have judged people so that I could feel better about myself. But, doing so gave me a false sense of security. I really wasn’t any better. In fact, I was worse for judging them. Even though, I still catch myself in situations where I might judge. God has worked in me throughout the years to give me the ability to think before I speak or act! He does this by surrounding me with his love and speaks to me personally with advice. No, I don’t hear a voice but I do feel a deep sense that tells me what my response should be. I once worked with a very difficult person. She thought her teaching methods were right and that strategies others used were insignificant. She was quite vocal about this and hurt feelings. I myself felt her sting and retaliated along with others by talking about her behind her back. I felt better when I could conspire against her. But, God corralled me and made me look at her life, her strategies, and her rigid ways. I realized that there were many reasons for the way she acted and then tried to be more sensitive to her. We never really became friends but were more understanding colleagues afterwards. Throughout the whole ordeal, God gave me confidence, sensitivity, and caring for my neighbor just as He did for David. I am surrounded by His love always and feel His spirit work within me each day. Praise the Lord!
Jesus and Me Drawing by 5 year old Nykko
Dear God, You are my rock, my salvation, the one I need at all times. Help me to hold my tongue and refrain from acts that would hurt others. Help me learn from my mistakes. Protect me from my enemies. Help me to repent of my sins, ask You for forgiveness, and love you throughout my life. Be with me always. Amen.
Judy McLaughlin In what ways have the trials you have faced in your life resulted in blessing and joy and a closer relationship with God?
Third Week of Advent 2013
Suggest Scripture Readings for the Third Week of Advent: Sunday: Psalm 18:1 18:1--3 Monday: Psalm 80:1 80:1--18 Tuesday: Mark 13:24 13:24--37 Wednesday: Psalm 62:5 Thursday: Mark 1:1 1:1--14 Friday: Psalm 80:19 Saturday: Psalm 85:1 85:1--2
WALK Take a walk outside – either in a park or in neighborhood. Look around at God’s handiwork in nature. Is it cold or warm? Is the sun shining? Notice things around you. Do you see anyone else out walking? A cheerful greeting, a handshake, a hug, a smile – these are ways God would like us to greet others that we see - wherever we are. As Mary and Joseph walked to Bethlehem, what do you think they saw as they looked around? An indoor Advent Prayer Walk, Walking Towards Bethlehem is available at Faith UMC. Come walk the hallway through the Gathering Area, Gallery Hall, and Library Hall and prayerfully reflect on Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem anticipating the birth of Christ. How many laps will it take to walk this 70 mile journey at Faith UMC during Advent? How might reflecting on this walk help you to experience the coming of Christ this Advent?
Third Week of Advent 2013
POEM Write down some of your thoughts about Christmas. Then see how creative you can be by making a poem out of your thoughts. Poems can be short or long. They don’t have to rhyme. They can be funny or serious or thoughtful or silly. It is your choice. You can write your poem as a family or as individuals. Have fun. Be creative. Let your thoughts go wherever they will. Keep your poem with your Advent materials. You will be asked to do something with it later in Advent. An example of a poem: Christmas is about giving – Presents and our time. Giving can cost dollars Or not even a dime.
FAVORITE CAROL OR SONG Take turns singing your favorite Christmas carol or Christmas song. Invite everyone to join in the singing. Or play your carol or song on an instrument of your choice – piano, guitar, kazoo, drum, harmonica, string instrument, band instrument (these are a few that come to mind). Have fun and make a joyful noise to our Lord and King.
Third Week of Advent 2013 Advent Prayer Bead Devotions
Prayer beads are a set of beads designed to help people pray. Prayer beads give you something to hold on to and help you focus as you pray. These Advent beads were created to tell the story of the greatest gift every given, God’s gift of Jesus to us! They are a tool you can use to help guide your prayers during the season of Advent. Supplies needed to make the Advent prayer beads pictured here 24 gauge wire, heart and cross charm, 11 spacer beads, and 14 larger beads in the colors mentioned in the devotion written below. 1. Begin with the heart. Ask God to open your heart and mind as you experience the greatest love story ever! God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.- John 3:16 2. Move to the black bead. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” – Isaiah 9:2 In what ways are you walking in darkness? Pray about the darkness in your life asking God to show you the light. Pray for those who are living in darkness in need of the light of Christ in their lives. 3. Move to the pink & grey beads representing a simple girl, Mary, and a humble man, Joseph. Mary responds to the angel after hearing that God has chosen her to be the mother of His son, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” -(Luke 1:38) – Joseph “did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife.” (Matthew 1:24) Consider Mary and Joseph’s humble obedience. Pray for God to help you learn to be humbly obedient in your life. 4. Move to the set of 3 purple & 1 pink bead. Purple is the liturgical color for the season of Advent. The color pink often represents the 3rd Sunday as a symbol of joy. As you move your hand over each bead pray for hope, peace, joy, and love. ~Hope: What are your hopes for your life, your family, our world? ~Peace: Pray for peace in your life and in the world. ~Joy: Give thanks to God. What reasons do you have to be joy-filled? ~Love: Pray for God’s love to fill your heart and your life. 5. Move to the white bead. White is the color that represents, purity, holiness, and light. This bead is the Christ bead. “A child is born to us, a son is given to us…He will be namedWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 - “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12 Jesus is the light of the world. Give thanks to God for his indescribable gift! 6. Move to the dusty colored bead. “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11. The angels first announced the good news to the shepherds. What does this tell you about God’s love? Pray for those who live on the margins of our society who need to hear the Good News of Christ. 7. Move to the gold, silver, and copper beads. These beads represent the gifts of the Magi. “They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11 What gifts do you bring to Jesus? Pray, asking God to show you how he has gifted you to serve him. 8. The next bead is different from the rest. “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.” – Romans 12:2 God sent Jesus to teach us how to live and how to love. Pray for the Holy Spirit to create a desire in you to grow and and discover God’s Word and to learn how to live your life as Jesus taught. 9. Move to the red bead. This bead represents the blood of Christ. Remember that Jesus came to die on the cross for you. Thank Jesus for his sacrificial love. How is Jesus calling you to serve him with sacrificial love? 10. The cross. Thank God for naming you his beloved child. Go and share his love! Check out this link http://faithumchurch.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/advent-prayer-beads/ for printable instructions and devotions written especially for children to use with these Advent Prayer Beads! May God richly bless you as you seek to prepare to celebrate Christ’s coming this Advent!
December 22, 2012— Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Story: The King Who Had It All “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.” - 1 Kings 3:9-10 As we consider the life of Solomon this week in The Story, Mike and I would like to reflect on the wisdom and blessings that have been bestowed on us at Faith UMC. Advent season is so much a part of the memories. We made our first Advent wreath at a workshop at church. We still use that wreath to light the candles each night for our devotions during Advent. We gain wisdom as we study the scriptures. Lighting the wreath in church as a family prepared us for the message of a sermon and the wisdom of our pastors. During this same season the annual Christmas dinner was held. We were asked to be on the planning committee our first year at the church. I’m sure it was not for our culinary wisdom. It was to help make us feel like we were part of the family, especially God’s family! The church has offered so much wisdom to our family over the years. We are thankful for many patient and loving Sunday School teachers, Bible School teachers, youth leaders, choir directors and study group leaders. Our girls will never forget Mr. Rudy and his kind and loving ways with the 4 year olds. We shared in the wisdom of many Bible scholars. Some were trained at the seminary level; some were trained by God Himself in the way they lived their lives and helped us to interpret “The Story”. Do you remember Roast Beef Dinners? We learned to serve almost 500 people with wonderful food every month. We learned kindness and patience as we raised money for missions. We learned much about the art of giving as the girls traveled on mission trips, as UMW reading and study showed us where we could be of help in many parts of the world. We are glad to return to our family here at Faith. We want to continue our story and to learn from The Story. We encourage you to make good use of all of the wonderful opportunities at this church and gain wisdom from many sources. Many, many blessings to you and your family! Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love and devotion to us. Please make us worthy of all you bestow on us. Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love and devotion to us. Please make us worthy of all you bestow on us.
Mike and Sharon McConnell
In what ways have the overflowing joys you have experienced in the past given you hope for the future?
Fourth Week of Advent
Suggest Scripture Readings for the Fourth Week of Advent: Sunday: 1 Kings 3:9 3:9--10 Monday: 1 Corinthians 1:7 1:7--16 Tuesday: Luke 2:1 2:1--20 Wednesday: John 1:1 1:1--10, John 3:16 Thursday: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 5:16--24 Friday: Psalm 126 Saturday: Psalm 117
HERITAGE Think about your heritage. Where did your ancestors come from? Explore your nationality and learn more about that country. What stories do you remember about your grandparents? Did they talk about any customs they had growing up? What customs does your family have that may be passed down to future generations? Talk about Christmas rituals and traditions you observe from year to year. Are there special stories to be told? Special foods to be cooked? Special cookies or breads to be baked? God created all the different countries so that we could all be different â€“ and make the world an interesting place. Joseph followed his heritage by traveling to Bethlehem to be registered. He was following God when he took Mary with him. How can we learn more about our heritage? What can we learn from our heritage? Make following God an important part of your heritage.
Fourth Week of Advent 2013
FAMILY STORY Write your own family story. Think about your memories of certain events. Include favorites of everyone. Write about favorite things you do together. How has God been a part of your family? Write a short biography of each person in your family. Then, dream about the future, and write about those dreams. God will be with you as you dream, as He has been with you throughout your past. Follow His lead and you will be blessed over and over and over again.
WRITE A PSALM OF PRAISE Praise The Lord Oh My Soul Read Luke 1:39-56 Consider Mary & Elizabeth & their relationship with the Lord. Reread Mary’s Song (vs. 46 – 55). It is also printed inside the cover of this Advent book. Mary’s song of praise, known as The Magnificat, invites us to participate with God in his mission for the world. What does The Magnificat say about the heart of God? What beautiful words Mary uses to give glory to her God and King. There are many things for which we can give God glory and honor. Reflect on times you have experienced overflowing love and joy. Try to put it into a sentence of praise to the Lord and write your own psalm of praise. Make it a shared or community psalm by inviting your family, friends, or small group members to add a line to the psalm. The Lord has done great things for us!
Fourth Week of Advent 2013 What does the nativity mean for us today? How can rediscovering Christmas change our lives & our world? The season of Advent is an opportunity for us to celebrate the wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right. It is a season of worship. Every year we hear the Christmas story, but do we really get it? What does our response to the story of Jesus’ birth say about our hearts? Christmas changed the world the day Jesus was born in a cold, dark stable. Christmas will change the world again. Do you really believe this? Every character who encounters the infant King in the nativity story has the same response. They worship. Examine the characters in the Christmas story & look at their response to Jesus coming. How do they worship Jesus? How does what you learn about their response to the news of our Savior’s birth move you to respond to the greatest gift God has ever given you? Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-56, Luke 2:1-20 Mary: Joseph: Shepherds: Wise men: Think about your actions & activities. Is Jesus truly the desire of your heart? What do you worship? Where does your worship drive your heart? What message does your worship send to those around you? Is your worship an outpouring of your heart? What changes do you need to make this Christmas season? Will you celebrate, sing, dance, pray, meditate, & love your way into the Advent story & experience the story that is of great joy for all people? Will you be like Mary & sing to God, like Joseph & obey without regard to cost, like the shepherds and drop everything to worship Jesus, or like the wise men and face anything that stands in the way of your worship? Will you be so filled with the love of Christ that you will stop at nothing to share Jesus’ message of love & hope with others? Do you take Jesus seriously & desire the same things that move His heart? Do you give like God has given to you? This Christmas season remember there are those who are shopping for more than just material gifts. We live in a world full of people looking for hope, acceptance and love. How is God calling you to move into the Christmas story & be Jesus to them? What will you do to reclaim Christmas? For further exploration read The Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, & Greg Holder, Christmas Is Not Your Birthday and A Different Kind of Christmas by Mike Slaughter, visit www.rethinkchurch.org
December 25, 2013
Christmas Day “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us.’).—Matthew 1:21-23
“Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you— wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.” - Luke 2:8-19
Dear God, Help us to remember that today is Jesus’ birthday. Thank you for your gift of Love to the world! Help us to celebrate Christ’s birth with joy-filled hearts like that of the shepherds who could not wait to go and see Christ and share the exciting news of the birth of our Savior, Immanuel, God with us. Let us praise and glorify your holy name. Amen!
December 29, 2012—Season of Christmas
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.” “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” - Matthew 2:1, 6, 9-11 What excitement! The birth of a King! The birth of a special baby boy – God’s own Son! Whew!!! As we continue to celebrate this special time, let’s reflect on the impact of this event. Jesus was born in a lowly manger. And yet….angels heralded His arrival. Shepherds came to give Him glory. Wise men brought gifts. There was singing and exclaiming this Good News. It’s not every day that a Savior is born. I remember the births of our children like it was yesterday. I remember rejoicing and singing – at least in my heart. Chris and Jenn were born 29 and 27 years ago. They have since gotten an education; moved out of the house; and moved to Oregon, where they are becoming responsible young adults. I am very proud of them. God was proud of His Son also – from the day He was born to the day He died on the cross. We all have things to celebrate – each and every day. There may be times we don’t feel like celebrating, but the fact that God is with us always is enough to get us through the roughest times. God continues to give us gifts – nature, friends, church, family. God gave us a gift on that night long ago – the gift of His Son. Let’s not forget the importance and the impact of that gift. The love I have for my children is very great. The love I have for my family and friends is very special. The love I have for God is exceptional. God’s love for me is even better. Let us rejoice, proclaim, celebrate God’s love and the gift of His Son – who is Love. Let us lift up our hands; laugh out loud, dance, clap, sing, show joy and happiness any way we can. And let’s do it in the name of Jesus! Halleluia!!! Prayer: Gracious Lord, thanks for all the gifts you give us each day. Thanks for the greatest gift of all – Your Son, Jesus Christ. Continue to guide and direct us throughout life so that we can live like Him. May our lives reflect the love You have shown us. Amen.
Season of Christmas
Suggest Scripture Readings for the Season of Christmas: Sunday: Matthew 2:1 2:1--18 Monday: Psalm 118:24 Tuesday: Isaiah 61:1 61:1--11 Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: 2 Peter 3:8 3:8--15
SNOWFLAKES No two snowflakes are the same. Each one is beautiful, even without bright colors or splendor. Together with other snowflakes, they can create a beautiful scene. Using paper – white or pastel colors – make your own snowflakes of different sizes, different shapes, different designs. Hang them up in windows or around the house. See how they can bring beauty wherever they are. Thank God for the beauty of all creation; for the details in something as tiny and ornate as a snowflake and as majestic as a mountain! Celebrate the joy in all creation!
TIME CAPSULE Make a time capsule for 2013. Include things about your family. Use the following suggestions, but make it your own. It is to be something special that will bring excitement when you open it in the future. Decorate a container – a shoe box, a tin, a plastic box, an oatmeal box are a few examples. Fill the container with things about you and everyone in your family. Some suggestions are the activities you made or wrote about in this year’s Advent book, a favorite ornament (or one you made), favorite scriptures, favorite Christmas carols and songs, your family story, a snowflake you made. Seal the container with tape or string or ribbon or wrapping paper. Put it in a closet or other safe place until the year 2020 (or any year you choose). Then, remember to open it at the appointed time and reflect on and celebrate the overflowing joy you and your family have experienced. Give thanks to God!
January 1, 2014
John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by you or laid aside by you, enabled for you or brought low by you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen. Pray John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer as you begin this New Year. Surrender yourself to the Lord and seek Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Suggestions for using the Covenant Prayer in your daily spiritual practice: Rewrite the prayer in your own words. Make praying the Wesley Covenant Prayer a part of your daily devotions. After praying the prayer, take one line each day and meditate on what living a life reflective of this line would mean for you.
John Wesley’s Daily Prayer O God, the giver of all good gifts, thank you for giving me this day in which to renew my commitment to walk in Your ways. Help me to perceive the ways in which I can improve my obedience to you. Be present at all times, in every task, in whatever company I keep; let Your love be my compass throughout today’s journey. AMEN
Season of Christmas
The Story: A Kingdom Torn In Two The early history of David’s Kingdom that became divided: Rehoboam King of Judah (southern two tribes with Jerusalem as captial) vs. Jeroboam King of Israel (northern ten tribes with Shechem as captial) Rehoboam - Feared taxing his people lighter than had his father King Solomon. So he sought counsel from those older/wiser; as well as, from his peers/young colleagues. He inquired not the counsel of God. He disastrously chose the counsel of his peers. From whom do you get your counsel? Who are you listening to? Jeroboam - Creates/shapes religion for his own purposes/taste/convenience. He listened to his own voice and followed his own heart. Are you taking counsel from your own self without regard to what is important to God? My Story… The past three years I was a caregiver for my husband who had a very rare terminal brain disease. Beginning on the date of diagnosis, November 6, 2012, he endured every hour of each day knowing his brain was dying. As we began this journey late in 2010 we did not know what was before us. What we did know, something wasn’t right. His cognitive and motor abilities were declining for reasons unknown, even to the best medical doctors in our local area.
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Like Rehoboam and Jeroboam my humanness/ego came to the surface numerous times in this journey, usually when I was put in a situation that was unfamiliar and/or I was ill-prepared for. Unlike our two kings one thing I did know was we were thrust into a situation that required three things first and foremost: faith in God, hope, and love. And when these three are in place peace and joy follows. Much like the Advent Wreath – Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love when bound together signify the Light of Christ. And Christ’s light (even when I/we couldn’t/wouldn’t see it) guided us every day of our three plus years of caring for one for another. The Lord’s Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen.
Three prayers helped me along the way - The Lord’s Prayer, The Serenity Prayer and John Wesley’s Daily Prayer. Keeping these words close to my heart helped me keep the faith, hope…fully and love sacrificially.
What spiritual practices (means of grace) help you to keep the hope and love of Christ close to your heart?
Season of Christmas
Suggest Scripture Readings for the Season of Christmas: Sunday: Romans 16:25 16:25--27 Monday: Psalm 118:24 Tuesday: Hebrews 1:1 1:1--12 Wednesday: Nehemiah 8:10 Thursday: Psalm 40:1 40:1--10 Friday: Isaiah 64:1 64:1--9 Saturday: Matthew 5:13 5:13--16
Story Time Story telling is a beautiful art. It’s a creative way to pass down family tales & traditions from one generation to the next. This Christmas spend some time sharing those special stories with your family & friends. Relive the memories of Christmas past by reflecting on your most memorable Christmas moment or a favorite Christmas tradition. Begin by sharing the greatest story ever told. Read Luke 2:1-20 as a family. Take turns reading the verses. Be creative in the way you tell the story. For fun, get out the bathrobes, sheets, & towels, put on costumes & act out the story. Put yourselves in the story. What would it have been like if you had been one of the shepherds, the inn keeper, or the wise men? Spend some time talking about why the birth of Jesus is the greatest story ever told. Share how Jesus makes a difference in your lives. Make this story time special, remembering the words of Psalm 78:4, “…we will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Tell your children & grandchildren, nieces or nephews your favorite Bible verse and why this passage of scripture has special meaning for you. Take turns reading your favorite Bible stories or talking about your favorite Bible characters. What special quality makes those biblical characters stand out for you? Which Bible character would you want to be like? Ask each other to share which character you see reflected in each other’s lives. Share how you see Jesus in each other. Talk about how God has blessed your family & friends during the past year. End with prayer asking God to help each of you grow in your understanding of how His story is the greatest story ever told!
January 6, 2013 Epiphany
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12 Epiphany of the Lord, celebrated on January 6th, is the climax of the Advent/Christmas season. The term Epiphany means "to show" or "to make known" or even "to reveal." In Western churches, Epiphany Day has marked the observance of the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child (Matthew 2:1-12), revealing Jesus to the world as Lord and King. The original celebration day of the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season was Epiphany. This was a celebration of the revelation of God's light and power in Christ (Luke 2:32 & John 1:1- 2:11). Jesus is the light of the world! Thank God for revealing himself to us in Jesus! The wise men followed the star to find the baby Jesus. The disciples learned to follow Jesus. We are called to do likewise and must answer the question, What does it mean to follow Jesus? Make time for Jesus and let God fill your life with his holy light so that his light can shine through you into the world! Our world needs to experience more and more of God’s love. Our world needs to experience the light of Jesus in its darkness.
Write Your Faith Story
Notes, Reflection, and Prayers
Thank You We praise God and extend a special thank you to all who shared their gifts and talents to make this yearâ€™s Advent Book possible.
To God be the glory!
Faith United Methodist Church Revs. Cara and Steve Stultz Costello, Co-pastors Advent Book Coordinator—Pam Wig Education Ministry Team Chair—Sandy Vaughn Director of Christian Education & Spiritual Formation—Kathy Schmucker
Faith UMC Motto
Journey into Faith-Learning, Loving, Leading
Faith United Methodist Church seeks to be a dynamic, growing community that gathers around Christ in Word and Worship to pray, learn, care, share, and serve together.
We individually and in small groups, and as a congregation profess Christ as Savior and Lord and align ourselves with God’s will. We: PRAY following Christ’s model and listen for God’s response. LEARN to be true disciples of Christ through ongoing study of scripture and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. CARE for one another and those around us by modeling the gracious love of Christ as we share the gospel. SHARE what we receive in thankfulness for all that God has given. SERVE one another, our church, our community, and our world as we follow Christ’s example.
Faith UMC’s Education/Spritual Formation Team Vision: To promote spiritual growth through Christian education programs that are Christ centered and faith-based. Mission: To provide people of all ages educational opportunities that nurture faith, provide knowledge, and inspire and empower them to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Advent Book Ministry Group
This task supports the mission and vision of Faith UMC by focusing on the spiritual growth of individuals while building the Body of Christ spiritually. It incorporates the goal of building intergenerational connections by recruiting people of all ages to write devotions and prayers, and by encouraging the use of the Advent devotional resources among all ages.
Faith United Methodist Church www.faithumchurch.org