There are many ways we can GROW: in our faith, as a church, in our maturity, as a community. On this page we’d like to highlight the many ways we grow as a family! As new events are planned, look here for additional information–we’d love for you to join us!
While all in person services and activities are cancelled, we invite you to join us for a video daily devotion on our Facebook page every Monday-Saturday at noon. A link to each daily video will be posted here later in the afternoon.
Greetings. I’m Mark Barden, senior pastor of Central United Methodist Church and I am very happy to welcome you to this daily devotional, Take a Breather. Let’s take a breather out of our day and let us focus upon the good things God is showing us during these difficult times.
Holy Week is coming up and it is one of my most favorite times of the year. I don’t know why. I think part of it is full of drama. It embraces emotions from joy as indicated during the celebration of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday all the way to the hard feelings of sadness and grief as we take the road to Calvary remembering the death of Jesus Christ.
But then, it all changes with Easter and the Resurrection bringing ultimate joy into our lives. I think that is why I do like Holy Week… with the things that help us engage with the realities of being human… with the ups and the downs. But ultimately through it all, God is with us. God still loves us. He showed us that by giving us his son, Jesus Christ.
This week I was reflecting on Psalm 27 which begins, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Powerful words for us and I wonder what it would have been like if the followers of Jesus and the disciples during Holy Week had really pondered these words and kept them close to their hearts throughout the week. Perhaps things would have gone a little differently. But one thing I know is that knowing the presence of God was with them and God was upholding them may have changed the way they reacted. Maybe they wouldn’t have been filled with fear and deserted Jesus at the cross as he was being crucified.
Sometimes I think the pattern of life we’re going through is sort of following the pattern of Holy Week. Life for us a month ago was rather normal. Things were happening as they usually do, a celebration of life. And then this pandemic hit. Kind of like the events of Holy Week, we are thrown into chaos just as the disciples were when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
It is so tempting to allow fear to take our energies and take our minds into the wrong direction. And I wonder what would have happened if the disciples pondered, “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
I go back to the end of the 27th Psalm and I find these words. “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” I’m sure those words would have made a difference. And those words can make a difference for us as we believe we will see the goodness of God working in our midst. I believe it is happening. I’m seeing the goodness of God working. And I am enthused about waiting for the Lord, being strong, being encouraged, not allowing fear take our minds and our souls away from what we are called to do as a follower of Jesus Christ and for the Church as the Body of Jesus Christ.
The reality is at the end of Holy Week… technically, in the Jewish world it was not the end of the week, but the beginning of the week. On the first day of the week, our Lord was resurrected. There was the glorious Resurrection and the waiting ended! The joy was present.
I think now, we as the church and as individuals, can experience revival and enter a new relationship with God. Think about one of the symbols of Easter, the butterfly. It starts out as an ugly little worm. But then when it comes out of the chrysalis, it is a beautiful creation, a beautiful butterfly with all the colors. How incredible that is. And how incredible it is that God can make our lives beautiful when it seems rather ugly.
So, friends, until then, wait for the Lord. Be strong, take courage and wait for the Lord. And as Pastor Fawn likes to say, “Be still and know that I am God.” We have the time to be still and know God. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.
I invite you to close this time with me as we say the prayer our Lord taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by 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 the glory forever. Amen.
May God bless you this day and, in the days, to come. Remember your strength is in the name of the Lord. God bless you.
Posted by Central United Methodist Church Shelby, NC on Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Happy noon time! I am so glad you have joined us to Take a Breather today. I am Fawn Mikel, one of the pastors at Central United Methodist Church in Shelby, NC. Mondays through Saturdays we gather at noon to “Take a Breather” from the chaos of the day.
In case you are not aware, today is also April Fool’s Day. As a daughter, My dad and I were notorious for pulling April Fool’s jokes on one another. There was the year he replaced the sugar with salt for my cereal. And I retaliated the next year with faking that I had cut off a finger. As we got older our jokes got more extensive… Like the year he called me to tell me the painters repainting my car had left the windows down and sprayed the entire inside dashboard and seats! I cried for an hour before he called me back with a resounding “April Fools!” As a mother I have continued the tradition with my children – attempting to cause great angst if only for a few moments! Today one of our youth texted the entire youth group that the governor had declared all students would repeat this school year in 2020-2021. You could hear the sobbing and gnashing of teeth as our middle and high school students responded! It was awesome!
April Fools is a great day to liven things up a bit and have a little light-hearted fun. But being foolish can often lead to not only stupid, but dangerous situations. When I was young I thought I was invincible (sometimes I still do)… But with maturity I have hopefully learned that others’ wisdom can help me in difficult times.
Like right now. We are being asked to “Stay in Place.” That means stay at home, people! REALLY – stay at home!!! People much smarter than most of us know the dangers of physical contact these days due to the Coronavirus. A fool will do whatever they want, but a smart person will be obedient to those educated, trained, smarter-than-me individuals that are trying to protect us.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 12:15 “Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.”
May we take the advice of doctors, leaders, family members and friends, keeping ourselves and others safe. In doing so we will be honoring God.
If you must be foolish today, I encourage you to be like King David. Returning from victory in war, David came dancing into Jerusalem. How unbefitting for a King according to his wife, Micah. But David continued saying, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool.”
So be a little foolish for God today. Dance before God, giving God praise and glory as you are obedient to the wise.
Let us pray… We are no longer our own, but yours. Put us to what you will, place us with whom you will. Put us to doing, put us to suffering. Let us be put to work for you or set aside for you, Praised for you or criticized for you. Let us be full, let us be empty. Let us have all things, let us have nothing. We freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service. And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are ours, and we are yours. So be it. And with the confidence of knowing we are your children and a portion of the body of Christ we pray together “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. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
We hope you will join us every day at noon, Monday-Saturday as we take a breather. And we would like for YOU to consider helping us. Maybe you would be willing to share a devotional with us! Create a 5 minute devotional and send it to pastor Mark at [email protected] You may write it out or do a video, alone or with your spouse, kids or pets. And if we are able to use your video you will receive (while supplies last) your very own… wait for it… Central United Methodist Church mug, complete with an awesome picture of the church.
Have no doubt, we are praying for you – we love you! So keep praying for each other.
Posted by Central United Methodist Church Shelby, NC on Tuesday, March 31, 2020
RANKIN HELPS VISION TEAM EXPLORE WHY
Dr. Nancy Rankin met for the second time with our vision team to help explore why we exist as a church. She expanded on our purpose highlighting the core found in Jesus’ Great Commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19).
She engaged the group by asking, “What would work to reach today’s families with schedules that are so overloaded? We have to rethink but continue to deliver the essentials to a changing world. Stop and re-orient.”
Nancy continued to stress the vision must direct relationships, program and management in what the church does. “Leave survival up to God. Just be faithful!”
Something to ponder: A Pathway for Discipleship. How is a discipleship pathway different from a church membership pathway?
In preparation for the next meeting, the team was asked to study demographics and projections for Shelby over the next 10 years in the MissionInsite Report.