The Patriot Warrior Luncheon is at noon this Friday, Jan 10th in the Eckert Community Building. The community is asked to make deserts and sides to go with the meat. Pray for the continued healing and restoration of all our warriors and their families, and for our enemies.
The next volunteer opportunity is for the Mason Community Kitchen on Saturday, January 11th. The cooking team starts at 8 a.m., and the packing team should show up at 9:30. Last month we were completely finished by 10:15 a.m. You can use the kitchen door that opens onto the porch, located to the far right as you face the elementary school from College Street. Please bring a cap or hat and wear it while you are in the kitchen. A pickup would be useful in transporting the containers to the food bank.
The UMW will begin 2014 with their regular meeting on Tuesday, January 14, at 2:00, at Art UMC. Susan Ceynowa will serve refreshments. There will not be a regular program but we will spend the time planning the meetings for 2014. The starting time will be discussed. Some come at 2:30 and some come at 2:00. We will also invite each person to discuss resolutions for our new year - personal and spiritual.
Well, now what? Christmas has happened. Jesus has been born in a somewhat unexpected manner. Wise men, Astro Zarian priests, from the east, not God’s people with the scriptures, followed a star that showed were Jesus was born. Unexpectedly, a Savior for whole world, the Messiah was born for the world, not just for Israel. I suppose the understatement of all time would be that Christmas was the overwhelming, extravagant love and generosity of God that poured out for the entire creation. Those in “control’, in power, in office, particularly King Herod, immediately began trying to kill Jesus.
If this is how God’s love has been revealed, how shall we respond? The letter to the church at Ephesus, verses 3 through 14, describes some possible choices. This one sentence is “the plan” of how you and I may choose to fit into God’s Plan. It reads: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before God made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what God wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son Jesus.
God is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son Jesus and forgave our sins. God has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time, God will bring everything together under the authority of Christ, everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for God chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ, would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saved you. And when you believed in Christ, God identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance He promised and that He had purchased us to be his own people. God did this so we would praise and glorify him.”
O my, that is quite the plan, isn’t it? I would offer for you three possibilities to consider: First: God’s generosity is a good reminder that we are totally dependent on God. This is often in tension with our “independence” or “I’m a Texan”. We sometimes stray and believe we don’t need God. It is only by the grace of God that I can get out of bed. Second: Methodists believe in something called “response-able” grace. Spelled “R E S P O N S E” – able grace. We are allowed, invited, welcomed to respond to God’s generous love we call grace. With that response, fully grounded in the knowledge that the debt Jesus paid on Calvary can never be repaid., we cannot earn our way into heaven. Our salvation is a free, un-merited gift from God. It is an “Extravagantly generosity of love”, revealed at Christmas. Third: we have the additional gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to live responsibly (response ably) and courageously by glorifying God with our lives. God invites us to let our light shine in a world of darkness. This is the Epiphany. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17) That’s Epiphany. That’s the plan. You’re invited. If you are ready to know Jesus, give me a call: Pastor Cliff at 325-218-2737. He’s been waiting your whole life.