Thursday, October 3, 2019 2:52 PM

It's Your Birthday

Thursday, October 3, 2019 2:52 PM
Thursday, October 3, 2019 2:52 PM

You will want to mark your calendars. November is National Family Caregivers Month and on November 1st, First-Centenary’s Congregational Care Ministry, United Methodist Women, volunteers from Positive Christian Singles and others will host our annual 70 Plus luncheon. Formerly planned by the Adult Ministry, there will be lots of surprises during an inclusive birthday party for all attendees.

We have had a vast number of funerals and memorial services often referred to as a “Celebration of Life” and thought it appropriate to truly celebrate and honor those who are still living their best lives. Two of our oldest members, Gladys Riddings (Alabama) and Carl Arnold are 106 and 102 years of age, respectively. What a major blessing for these two and others who are able to share from an abundance of life-fulfilled memories.

Plan to be with us as an honoree, servant or guest on this very special day. Our theme, “It’s Your Birthday…” should remind each of us of the joy we feel upon thinking about birthdays past. If you don’t have special birthday party memories, this should help change all that. When a TV news reporter in Anchorage, Alaska, asked me years ago, “What do you think about birthdays?” I responded, “Birthdays are Special – Everybody should have one!”

– Linda McDaniel

Thursday, September 26, 2019 4:18 PM

Thursday, September 26, 2019 4:18 PM
Thursday, September 26, 2019 4:18 PM

One of my favorite books to read is Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I try to read it it every year because each time I read it I am challenged and pushed in my spiritual life. When I was reading through it a few weeks ago a specific section called “The Ministry of Helpfulness” spoke to me and challenged me. Bonhoeffer said, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interpreted by God. God will constantly be crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps - reading the Bible. When we do that we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised athwart our path to show us that, not our way, but God’s way must be done.” (p 99)

Bonhoeffer’s classic work on faith and community has many challenging sections and deep spiritual truths but this one seemed apropos for our modern society. My guess is there has always been a drive for more and push for success. But with modern advances in technology and communication, I know that personally, and I believe that I am not alone in this, it is easy for me to get pulled into the busyness and business of life so much so that I miss the opportunities that God has right before me to be busy for the Kingdom of God.

Let’s keep our eyes, hearts, and minds open this week for how God might interrupt our busyness with the work of the Kingdom.

In Christ, Will

Thursday, September 19, 2019 3:15 PM

Can't Buy Love

Thursday, September 19, 2019 3:15 PM
Thursday, September 19, 2019 3:15 PM

The other morning I went to get breakfast at Chick-Fil-A. Our daughter Kylie’s dog, Finn, was with me. Kylie is very strict about the food he is supposed to get. However, every once in a while I will sneak him out to Chick-Fil-A for four chicken nuggets. Finn absolutely loves them; me not so much.

I was listening to the radio and the song came on “Can’t Buy Me Love.” I looked over at Finn and I thought to myself, “Yeah right!” I was going to pull up to the drive-thru, order four nuggets and buy his love. The way to Finn’s heart is through his stomach.

 A seminary professor of mine said; “God has a secret stairway to everyone’s heart.” God offers love to us in so many different ways. God is continually reminding us that we are special and that we matter to God! 

We can choose to be kind, more patient and understanding. Choose to be less judgmental, less critical and mean spirited. We can choose to serve others and help those in need.

The song was still playing on the radio and while it may be true that we “can’t buy love,” we can sure show love to those around us.
This week reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NRSV. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

–– Mark

Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:19 PM

Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:19 PM
Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:19 PM

It’s about 3 months before the season of Advent. It is a time we usually fill with a variety of types of sermons, throwing in an All Saints Day Celebration and of course a Thanksgiving one. But I was thinking, what if we as a church took this time to really meditate on Romans 12. What if we really let it sink in and transform us into the disciples that Jesus intended us to be. This passage talks about a living sacrifice, moves to service in the body of Christ, and moves on to what love in action looks like. It’s a great chapter. “Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.” “Practice Hospitality.” “Live in harmony with each other.” “Overcome evil with good.” And maybe the best one, “Let love be sincere.”

Wow! How good are you at “faking” that you really care about someone? Michelle Warren says, “Loving sincerely is not for believers of small faith.” I believe that in our denomination we have become good at faking sincere love.

I will use a passage from Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus to illustrate my point. Nouwen suggests that Church leaders have become “persons with well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time.” He suggests like Jesus does {John 15} that leaders need to be “people whose identity is deeply rooted in God’s first love.” He says a whole lot of good stuff and then concludes: “Dealing with burning issues without being rooted in a deep personal relationship with God easily leads to divisiveness because, before we know it, our sense of self is caught up in our opinions about a given subject. But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.”

Nouwen tells us that Jesus asks, “Do you love me? Feed, tend my lambs.” If we sincerely love Jesus and sincerely love others, we can do nothing but offer healing, reconciliation, new life and hope wherever we go. And folks can either receive it or reject it, but that is another newsletter article.

Geaux Tigers, Barry

Thursday, September 5, 2019 4:01 PM

Taking Care…

Thursday, September 5, 2019 4:01 PM
Thursday, September 5, 2019 4:01 PM

“Taking care” of a loved one who is ill can tax more than your schedule and finances. The stress of a caring commitment can harm your health. Nearly one-third of American adults are primary providers for aging or unwell family members. Many are at risk for caregiver burnout or exhaustion. Anxiety and depression can result from overwhelming emotions and responsibilities.

Here are a few questions you might ask yourself …
Are you …
skipping your doctor’s
feeling tired or losing sleep?
feeling anxious or depressed?
noticing changes in appetite?
feeling numb or resentful?
abandoning hobbies?

It is a must for caregivers to eat healthily, exercise and find time for personal care. “To be an effective caregiver, you have to take care of yourself, too!” Even while facing total adversity, life can become richer and more meaningful. Upon recognizing changes in the lives of loved ones, stop and evaluate where you are and assess what you are capable of.

Do your best to find relief by scheduling personal time to recharge. Place daily prayer and meditation first on your list. Let go of perfection and do the very best you can!

–– Linda

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