The Gathering PASTORS’ PEN
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Potential…Possibilities…Opportunities…this is what God offers all of us in 2013. Our heavenly Father has already been to 2013, He knows the future, and He has plans for our good and plans full of hope to bless each of us. Not that God has promised us freedom from pain, hardship, or suffering, but that through whatever may come…God will be with us, He will deliver us from all things, and He will bring us blessings and victory ultimately in all things. God has a plan for my life…for your life. What a Promise to relish in and to trust in as we prepare to enter uncharted waters of the future. When Jeremiah writes, what God gives him to prophesy to the surviving elders among the exiles who are in captivity to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire, is an announcement to God’s people that even though they were captives in an evil dilemma, God had a plan for their lives and that plan includes their best interests. Because of their current situation, as God announces His promise, can you imagine their struggle in comprehending, let alone believing, and trusting this promise…they were in exile, they were slaves, and all they loved had been taken away from them. How could God have plans for them to bring good their way? Yet He did. He would give them the strength to bear their struggles and then the wisdom, power, and the miraculous to eventually overcome their enemies in such a way that they were stronger because of God working in them. Each of us, like the people of Israel in Jeremiah’s time, have known and may know this very moment, the feeling of captivity and/or the undeniable feeling of fear for the future. But be well assured, “God has plans for you…plans to give you hope and a future.” 2013 is a Promissory Note from God, that He has plans to bless us in the coming year if we look for Him in all things…if we keep our eyes fixed upon Him always…and if we seek Him throughout the year! May God bless us all in the coming year…repeat after me…”God has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future”…God has plans for me…for my GOOD! Happy New Year! God’s Blessings! Pastor Ed
COMING EVENTS SUPER BOWL AND CHILI COOK-OFF
PRIMETIMERS The Primetimers will have lunch on Monday, January 14, at 11:30 a.m. in the Garden Room at the downtown campus. Lunch will be a variety of homemade soups for $5.00. After lunch, Dr. Steven Nolt, Professor of History at Goshen College, will speak. Dr. Nolt is the author of several books about the Amish, and he will be speaking to us about “The Amish Way.” The bus will pick up at Greencroft at 11:00 a.m. All others will drive themselves to the church. If you have questions, please call Bob Morris at 534-2791.
FREE MOVIE On Sunday, January 20, at 4:00 p.m., a free movie, “The Miracle of the Cards,” will be shown at the Life Center. Free popcorn will be served. Everyone is welcome.
Get out your secret chili recipes and join us for a night of football, commercials, and chili! This will take place on Sunday, February 3, at the Life Center. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and game kick-off is around 6:20 p.m. We will be judging the chili again this year. Jars will be out for each chili, and everyone gets to vote! You vote by donating pennies to your favorite chili! Each penny donated equals one vote. The chili with the most votes at half time gets the high coveted trophy. So come and cheer for your team, or just watch the commercials. It has to be bigger on our screen than your TV!!
GIHN The dates in 2013 for when our church serves for Goshen Interfaith Hospitality Network are: January 13-20, April 14-21, July 21-28, and September 29-October 6. Goshen Interfaith Hospitality Network joins congregations and volunteers to provide shelter, meals, and support to homeless families. These volunteers have proven that by working together they can effectively help homeless families achieve independence and give them hope for a better tomorrow. We at First Church are privileged to be involved with this local ministry. Your gifts of: playing with a child, listening to a parent’s struggles, preparing and serving an evening meal, repairing a broken down vehicle, providing items for the center’s “Needs List,” helping find employment, or just praying for this ministry are treasures beyond measure. No matter the size, cost, or time commitment of your contribution, please rest assured that it makes a difference in the lives we are ministering to. Linda Russell and I feel truly blessed to be the co-coordinators of such a wonderful outreach ministry and so grateful for all of you and your willingness to serve. Our service to GIHN is a true fulfillment of Galatians 5:25. May you continue to be blessed when you share the fruit of the Spirit. -Gwen Stutzman
Spotlight: Youth of the Month – Ellie Groves Ellie Groves was chosen as youth of the month because of how far she has come since I met her several months ago. When Ellie first attended youth she came because her parents forced her to come because they knew it would be good for her. She sat by herself, didn’t seem happy, and wouldn’t engage with others. Since that time, I have seen an amazing transformation in her. She comes because she wants to, she smiles, she shares her talents in the areas of art, she is involved in the group, and seems to be having a great time. Ellie, as well as many others in the group, have recently begun taking an evangelism course. She has been applying what she is learning and has been talking about her faith with others. Her mother, Kris, even shared with me about a breakthrough that Ellie had at an open mic night. Ellie will be joining us in South Carolina this summer as we evangelize to a community in an effort to further God’s kingdom. Her parents, friends, myself, and others are noticing this growth and would like to say how proud of Ellie we are. If you see her please tell her how much you appreciate her and the efforts she is making in her faith journey. -Brad Miller
YOUTH NIGHT Just want to let you know about a great youth event that took place on Wednesday, Dec 5th at the Life Center. We had approximately 275 youth in attendance from the following churches: Goshen First United Methodist, Maple City Chapel, Life Point Church, Bristol United Methodist, Jefferson Brethren, First Brethren New Paris, Elkhart Faith United Methodist, North Webster United Methodist We danced, sang, prayed, worshipped, crowd surfed, laughed, and celebrated the Lord. It was a fun time and we will continue to make church what it is supposed to be, a gathering of people. Not a building. The local youth pastors will continue to work together to knock down walls and spread the grace and love of God to all youth. ease keep the local youth in your prayers because this will not be an easy endeavor and they will need all of us to be examples along the way. -Brad Miller, Youth Pastor
YOUTH PERFECT ATTENDANCE In November we set a record for the number of youth that had perfect attendance. Since August we have been on the rise with the number of youth that have perfect attendance. August – 10; September – 13; October – 21; November – 25. I think that the fact that these kids decide to drop what they are doing to come to church and be a part of this group EVERY WEEK should be recognized. Here are the names of the youth that had perfect attendance in November: Sydney Bailey, Brodie Bender, Teagan Bencsics, Anna Benton, Brock Blankenbaker, Tyler Brinson, Anthony Campagna, Noah Caouette, Nick Clark, John Crow, Drake Crowder, Kayleigh Crowder, Payton Crume, Mitchell Davidson, Julia Giddens, Cameron Groves, Ellie Groves, Tyler Groves, Katie Herschberger, Cole Jordan, Melina Liras, Wes Middaugh, Harry Musser, Cassidy Trammell, Garrette Wilde.
Our Dearest Church Family, We want to start by saying THANK YOU for being the hands and feet of Jesus and by helping us in our journey of transforming our lives. Thank you doesn’t seem sufficient for all you have done. Some have helped us with prayers, rides, finances, mentoring, food, furnishing our home, and by truly accepting us into this family through Christ. I, Danielle, would like to take you on my personal journey by explaining how you have helped along the way. The first time I stepped into this wonderful church, I was a broken woman with a broken family. I was lost and confused, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and blinded and bound by sin. I lost my husband and the ability to mother my own children. This is where Jesus found me. I began attending Wednesday nights and immediately realized an emptiness that could only be filled with the love of Christ. God instilled in me an overwhelming knowing that He was going to rebuild my broken life. This started with me abandoning my sin and humbling myself before God and my husband. Jimmy and I began regularly attending Sunday services at the Life Center and Wednesday night Family Dynamics classes with Dave and Connie Brinkruff as well as marriage and individual counseling with Pastor Brenda. As a couple, we repented of our sins and began building a relationship with Christ that we never knew before. Since then, we have become drug free, obtained jobs, worked on obtaining a license, moved into a three bedroom house from a three room apartment, and mended our relationship with our children. We now attend the Monday and Sunday small group Bible studies as well as volunteering for many things. We have been molded into new creations of Christ with the help of everyone in this church family. Now that you have a small glimpse of our journey, we pray that you are blessed for the blessings you have bestowed upon us. You have truly shown us the love of Christ and we are forever grateful. Merry Christmas to you and your families, and may your new year be blessed! Eternally grateful… Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, Jimmy & Danielle Leak
The performance dates for the Living Word 2013 will be March 20-22. Rehearsals for cast and chorus are beginning this month. Drama rehearsals will be held on Monday nights at the Life Center and Chorus rehearsals will be on Wednesday nights, beginning Wednesday, January 16 at 7:15 pm in the downtown campus sanctuary. If you are interested in participating in this year’s production or assisting behind the scenes in anyway and you haven’t already responded, it’s not too late. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First United Methodist Church 214 S. Fifth Street Goshen, IN 46528 Phone: 533-9518 www.goshenfirstumc.org www.goshenlifecenter.org
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“It was great to be remembered on my birthday with the beautiful red carnation, and a joy to visit with Lois. Thanks!” -Marion Ketcham “To everyone at Goshen First United Methodist Church, thank you, thank you, thank you! You have made it possible by your generosity to give gifts to 64 children in our community. We were also able to give 18 families a food box, gas card, Christmas story book and a grocery gift card. None of this could have happened without the caring and commitment of so many persons in our church. Praise GOD! We thank each of you for your part in making all of this possible. May all of you have a BLESSED CHRISTMAS and a fruitful new year!” -Betty Whitt “Thank you for your prayers and concern. I get a new hip on December 20 and I’ll be home for Christmas. God is good! Rich has been my “legs” this month.” -Margie & Rich Weaver “We want to thank all the Life Center members for their generosity and kindness to us during the past few months. We truly felt your love and generosity while we were out there, and we appreciated it immensely.” -Ken & Cathy Smith “Thanks so much for the beautiful carnation on my birthday. Also thanks to Erv and Betty Herschberger for delivering the flower. It is so nice to be remembered!” -Phyllis Hall
HAPPY JANUARY BIRTHDAYS! January 1 Ben Whirledge Ruth Miller Katie Herschberger Scott Nickerson Shawn Ferris January 2 Ruth Sorrell January 3 Wayne Mullett Rich Weaver Tony Brinson January 4 Earl Wiggins January 5 Austin Weirich January 6 Kendall Miller Lyric Zawacki January 7 Betty Herschberger Kelly Anglemyer
January 12 Cindy Anderson Bob Morris Cole Jordan Ryan Mehl Anjelica Wampler Andrew Soltwedel January 14 Rena Humerickhouse January 15 Carol Eldridge Jeromy Sheets
January 25 Keith Weirich
January 16 Hilda Johnson Magda “Cookie” Pinkerman
January 26 Ron Steuck Matthew Davidson
January 17 Wayne Randolph Jared Vannucci
January 28 Gene Nicolai Lauren Fetters Shirley Showalter
January 18 Jim Fry Katherine Miller Angela Jordan Clarissa (CC) Wiess
January 8 Maya Beltran
January 19 Casey Sizemore
January 9 Fran Jessup Sandy Streit Amy Smith
January 20 Gary Miller Dan Eckelbarger Sharylle Mundy
January 10 Ray Lichty Betty Kessler Betty Whitt
January 21 Eric Sorg
January 11 Heather Miller Gracie Fackelman
January 23 Brent Lehman Wendy Swallow Joseph Hale January 24 Kimberly Rheinheimer Randy Sizemore
January 29 Maija Stutsman Ron Breniser January 30 Linda Moise January 31 Spencer Elliott Evan Layne Abram Mehl Todd Meier Eloise Miller
THINK ABOUT IT “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” -G.B. Shaw, 1893