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GROW

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.

Virtual Christmas Caroling!

Sunday, December 13th, 7 pm

Are you ready for a sleigh ride throughout the community, singing favorite Christmas songs and sharing Christmas cheer?  And how about ending the evening with a warm fire, surrounded by friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating homemade cookies?  Well, we are too!  BUT, needless to say our caroling adventures will look a little different this year…  Our music ministry is preparing a fun evening of singing and hope you will join us on Facebook Live on the 13th.  AND that’s not all – gift bags of hot chocolate, marshmallows and goodies will be available beginning Monday, December 7th.  You may receive your goodies: 1) by picking them up during office hours; 2) drive through the parking lot PAC entrance on Sunday, December 13th, 11am-12 pm; or 3) call the church office for delivery.

Upper Room Devotion

Upper Rooms for November/December are now available outside of the office. Feel free to stop by Mon-Thur 9-4 or Fri 9-1. At this time they are not available online.

Take a Breather   

All of our daily devotion videos can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pg/cumcshelby/videos/?ref=page_internal. You do not have to have a FB account to watch these videos.

December 4th:

Christmas time can be a funny thing for Christians. Even though many cultures celebrate the birth of Jesus decorating trees, hanging lights, and making cookies, there isn’t much about the Messianic prophecies, Old Testament covenant rituals, or the Christmas story itself that feels especially warm-and-fuzzy-festive.

As I sit here today in my soft sweater, with my pine scented candle glowing, I’m struck and humbled by the difference between my present life and the settings most characters in biblical narratives found themselves in.

In the book of Leviticus, we read about animal sacrifices offered up by Levite priests as offerings to make atonement for sin. We read about Sabbath rest and self-denial as necessary parts of the cleansing act of being forgiven for sin. We see people in the Old Testament guided by laws and regulations, desperately trying to earn all the forgiveness that strict obedience could earn.

Fast forward to the New Testament, and we see Jesus. Tired and weary from his own commitment to obedience too, while still remaining true to his calling. Hebrews 5:7-8 tells us:

“During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”

This portrait may not put us in the usual Christmas spirit, but it should put our life and the source of our hope in the right perspective.

I don’t know any priests but the picture I have in my head is that of an outstanding human being in an awesome robe- and most likely with an impressive beard! Jesus was a different kind of priest. Instead of being decked out in fancy tassels or collars to show his status and authority, Jesus was clothed in humility. His role was to reconcile our sins, becoming a bridge builder and peacemaker on our behalf.

During this time of the year, we celebrate the practice of generosity. It’s a beautiful thing to exchange gifts with our loved ones and give back to our community, but it’s so important that we remember the incredible gift of Jesus that motivates our own hope and generosity. 

Friends, I urge you to celebrate this season! Do all the things that make your heart feel its Christmassy-est. And when we may be tempted to forget the greatest gift in the midst of all of this, remember to meditate on why Jesus came and what his humble priesthood has accomplished for us. What a comfort and joy and source of hope it is to have the companionship of the Father, Son, and Spirit during our own life journeys this Christmas.

December 3rd:

Welcome everyone to Take a Breather. Today’s look is a little different. It looks like a cross between a  cooking show and a pant demonstration. There’s a story to all this. A couple of days ago, Barbara and I finally placed our plants indoor for the winter. These plants had a surprise for me.

This particular plant is called a Disciple plant or Apostle’s plant. It is so named because, it always has 12 leaves or palms that fan out… like a peacock’s tail. Obviously that symbolizes Jesus’ 12 disciples. It produces a beautiful flower that is like an iris or lily.

Believe it or not four years ago, this was just one small plant. But look how it has multiplied over these short years. As I inspected these pots further, I noticed they were connected. Take a look. This looks like one long leaf going from one pot to another. And look at this… it is baby apostle’s plant. Looking around you can see other baby plants popping up here and there.

I thought there is a message for Take a Breather with these plants. Not only do the symbolize the disciples… they do what disciples do. They go out to make new disciples… much like this plant when it sends out its leaves to form a new plant. Sometimes, you can find a baby plant just somewhere in the pot not connected to soil…. like these. This is a visual reminder of the mission of the Church.

The other thing is how quickly it does this. If we go out and plant the seeds of the Gospel… many of those seeds will fall on the fertile ground and more disciples will be made.

Thank God for little reminders in nature that point to our reason for being… to serve a loving, grace-filled God… and tell others about him.

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 mine, and We are yours. So be it. And the covenant which we have made on earth, Let it also be made in heaven.

Accept our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ who taught to pray:

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.

December 2nd

 

December 1st:

Welcome back, friends, to our Tuesday December 1st edition of “Take a Breather”. I’m Danny Buckner and it’s my privilege to serve as music director for Central Methodist Church in Shelby, NC.

Well, we’ve come ‘round full circle and we’re back to the season of Advent. Today we’re gonna be talking about hope and I don’t know about you, but I need some hope today. Let’s turn first to some scripture and this will be our central focus for this week…

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.  (Hebrews 11:1, TLB)

Good words, indeed, for today. Now I’d like to share a devotional titled Together in Our Hope. It’s written by Lindy Thompson.

Together in Our Hope

“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

(Isaiah 64:8, NRSV)

Welcome to Advent! I’m not sure when God’s clay has been more collectively fatigued, but here we are; and we are, despite our physical distance, together in our hope – our hope for our world, our hope for our faith, our hope for a meaningful and transformational Advent season.

We are all leading and contributing in uniquely challenging – some might say stunningly challenging – times. When problems seem insurmountable, give yourself grace, and then more grace, because whatever joyful noise (perfectly synchronized or not) we make to the Lord is pleasing in God’s ear and is a lifeline for the singers and hearers.

Speaking as a layperson, there have been so many heavy emotions in the last eight months, I have sometimes resisted music because it makes me feel, and I have had all the feelings I could deal with on a daily basis. But music is woven so deeply into the preparation for the birth of Jesus that it cannot, and should not, ever be separated, and this music moves and stirs us – and when have we ever been more ready for a message of hope?

So let voices rise and music soar as the songs and scripture of Advent take us all by the hand and lead us back in time, forward into God’s future, and fill us with the eternally renewing hope of Christ.

I’d like to close our time together today a little differently using the words from one my favorite Advent hymns, O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Hold on, friends, hope is coming!

We invite you join us again at noon tomorrow to “Take a Breather” and each day of the week (Monday – Saturday). We also invite you to join us for our “Virtual” worship service each Sunday live on our Facebook page (Central Methodist Church in Shelby NC). We love you and hope you have a great rest-of the day!

November 30th:

If you are familiar with the practices of Central UMC, or Methodism in general, then you are probably familiar with the concept of Advent. If not, the Advent season marks the start of the church year, beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ending Christmas Eve. 

Advent is a season set aside to prepare for the coming of Christ and holds various meanings: the promised coming of the Messiah to the Jews, the coming of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the promised return of the risen Christ in final victory, and the continual coming of Christ into the lives and hearts of humanity.

One way we wait and anticipate the birth of Jesus during Advent is through the use of an Advent wreath. Usually, there are 4 candles representing the four weeks of Advent. The four candles symbolize hope, peace, joy and love- all things Christ brought into the world in new ways by his birth. This week’s focus is hope and each Take a Breather this week will center on hope. With that, let’s light the hope candle together and begin.  

The scripture I would like to share with you today comes from Hebrews 11:1. Here’s what it says- “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” 

I read this verse and I can’t help but notice lots of words and phrases that ask bravery of us. Words like “confident,” “assurance,” “certainty,” “even though.” Sounds like a tall order to me, but it’s true. Having hope is the courageous choice; choosing despair is easy. 

The writer of Hebrews is telling us that when we practice real faith, and have real hope, that means we have to live life with a mindset of confidence. You might be thinking now, confidence in what? That question is answered in the second half of the verse. We are sure and steady in that “what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.”

This kind of confidence is what Jesus invites us into. Hope is looking past current circumstances, no matter how painful and bleak they might feel, and making the choice to believe that there is goodness and light just on the other side of the shadow’s edge.

What are the deepest hopes of your heart? What are the things you may have given up on this year because they felt too far away or too overshadowed by life circumstances this year? Today, bring those back out to the surface, and invite God into them.

November 25th:

Welcome back, friends, to our Wednesday November 25th edition of “Take a Breather”. I’m Danny Buckner and it’s my privilege to serve as music director for Central Methodist Church in Shelby, NC.

Here we are the day before Thanksgiving and I’d like to share a devotional today from a book titled, “Daily Guideposts 2020”. It’s written by Patricia Lorenz

Patricia writes…

For everything God made is good, and we may eat it gladly if we are thankful for it, and if we ask God to bless it, for it is made good by the Word of God and prayer.  1 Timothy 4:4-5

Over the years I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents’ home, my grandparents’ home, aunts’ and uncles’ homes, and my own homes in four states and now in Florida. I’ve celebrated the feast at my siblings’ homes, and in recent years at five of my husband Jack’s adult children’s homes, and at my cousin Judy’s. I’ve spent the holiday in restaurants with close friends when there was no family around. It’s always an experience with different foods, people, atmosphere, and customs. Some of the food is better than others. Jack’s daughter-in-law, with her Egyptian heritage, makes the best turkey stuffing I’ve ever eaten—even better than my own fabulous recipe!

Wherever I am on Thanksgiving Day, nearly every dinner begins with a prayer and an opportunity to share what we’re most thankful for. Since I rarely get to spend Thanksgiving with my own children and grandchildren who are scattered across the country, this year I sent individual letters detailing exactly what I’m thankful for. The letters begin:

Jeanne, I am thankful for your sense of humor, your amazing artistic talent and your devotion to your daughter.

Julia, I am thankful for your persistence in finishing your education and in following your dreams that include your three children.

Michael, I am thankful that you are such an amazing single-parent dad to your three young adults.

Andrew, I am thankful that you are enamored with our family’s heritage and ancestry and that you are such a good dad to your two boys.

Heavenly Father, guide my hand when I write notes of thanksgiving to friends and family members. Help me to be filled with gratitude every day of the year. Amen

A good thought for us all as we head into this Thanksgiving holiday perhaps not being able to see our friends and family as usual…write a note to share your gratitude instead!

Let’s close our time together with the Prayer of Saint Francis…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love

For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

We invite you join us again at noon tomorrow to “Take a Breather” and each day of the week (Monday – Saturday). We also invite you to join us for our “Virtual” worship service each Sunday live on our Facebook page (Central Methodist Church in Shelby NC). We love you and hope you have a great rest-of the day!

November 24th:

Thankfulness can be quite a personal thing. It’s felt in those silent moments in the car when you look at the world around you, and are grateful to God for the part He’s enabled you to play in it. Or, when you’re immersed in the chaos of a family meal, like some of us will be on Thursday, and smile with appreciation for the wild bunch that is ‘yours’. 

In 2 Corinthians, we see how personal thankfulness is tied to generosity, and with that, widespread gratefulness toward God. 

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:10-12‬ says “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.”

The reason God enriches our lives is so we can enrich the lives of others. Whether through the generosity of kindness, encouraging a friend or co-worker or meeting a need in your community, everything within your hand holds the potential to spark thankfulness toward God in someone else.

Oftentimes, we view thanksgiving as a way to be aware of what we’re blessed with, and to honor those who gave it to us or made our situation possible. But what if we took it one step further and looked at the food we’re grateful for, the car we’re so happy to have and the friends we love, and considered how they could spark praise in someone else?

Is there someone you know who needs a ride to work? A new acquaintance who could do with a night of fun with friends? When you consider all you’re thankful for today, why not consider how it could be used to make someone else thankful too.

November 23rd:

Welcome back, friends, to our Monday November 23rd edition of “Take a Breather”. I’m Danny Buckner and it’s my privilege to serve as music director for Central Methodist Church in Shelby, NC.

I’d like to share a devotional today titled, “God Is In Control”. It’s written by a guy named Timothy who is a freshman in high school and lives in Dunlap, IL.

Timothy writes…

God Is In Control

“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.”

(Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

We have experienced so many eventful things in our nation and in the world in 2020. Our everyday lives have been drastically impacted by this pandemic, and it seems that we live in an entirely different world now. Despite businesses, churches, and schools being closed, and activities and programs being canceled, cases continue to rise, which has made many people lose sight of the future.

Being in my last year of middle school in March, I had my year all planned out with activities, summer camps, friends to see over the summer, and preparation for going into high school. However, what started out as a small problem turned out to be much bigger than I ever thought it would be. Covid cases grew at such a pace and once it spread all around the country, I realized that my year would not go as I thought it would. Though knowing God will put an end to this, I, just like many people, still wonder how long this will last.

However, I gradually realized that God put a stop sign right in front of my busy life. This has given me more time in Bible study for growing a deeper relationship with God. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me that I don’t need to worry about how this pandemic is going to go or lose sight of the future because God is in control.

With all of the uncertainties that result from Covid, we should not be doubting what the future holds. God holds the future, and God’s plan is perfect for us. Though hope may seem to be hard to find in these dark times, God has given us his words and full assurance. When we fix our eyes on God, we know we can enter into God’s rest and see his perfect plan.

Prayer

Dear God, we thank you for everything that you have provided us in these dark times. Forgive us when we lose sight of you and your plans for our future. Help us to remember that you are in control of everything and will provide us hope.

Let’s close our time together with the Prayer of Saint Francis…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love

For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

November 21st:

 

November 20th:

If you practice gratitude every day, what do you think the result will be? 

The Bible promises that seeing the good in daily life leads to peace.

For example, Philippians 4:8-9 says, “If there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Medical studies confirm the link between gratitude and mental health. When test subjects wrote down three good things (Seligman et al., 2005), kept a gratitude journal (Kerr, O’Donovan, & Pepping, 2014), or wrote letters of gratitude to other people (Toepfer et al., 2012) all demonstrated improvements in levels of anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction.

The Bible and science both attest to the effectiveness of simple gratitude practices. If you want to deepen your level of peace and your relationship with God, gratitude is a great place to start. Make this Thanksgiving truly full of thanks and gratitude.

Practice: 

Reflect on the past week. Which practice of gratitude gave you the most peace? Was it noticing something good three times a day? Finding gratitude in something hard? Thanking another person? Replacing the urge to compare with gratitude for what you have right now?

Whichever discipline most helped you to experience gratitude, make that your practice today. 

Make a plan for the future: How can you build a practice of gratitude into your daily life?

November 19th:

Hi everyone, Welcome to Take a Breather, a time for reflection and inspiration. I’m Mark Barden, pastor at Central UMC in Shelby, NC.

Thanksgiving Day is only a week away. Obviously, it is going to be a different kind of Thanksgiving for us all due to COVID 19 precautions. Many families have traditional gatherings. Our family does. We get together at a Thanksgiving dinner that has taken place every Thanksgiving for more than a 100 years. We know this because one of my mom’s cousins said it started before she was born and she died two years ago at the ripe old age of 101.

When I was a boy, we used to gather at my great-aunt’s farm. It was so much fun. Lots of room to play, barns to explore and cousins to play with. But the family grew with successive generations and we had to change locations several times to accommodate the growing family. Now there anywhere from 50 to 75 who attend. We even had to start wearing name tags since we are about four and five generations removed from the group that started the annual reunion.

This year as the pandemic is worsening, Thanksgiving will be very different. And that is sort of sad. Yet, I’m reminded the way we celebrate Thanksgiving is not what the holiday is all about. It is about being thankful for the blessings God has bestowed upon us and honoring God for loving us so much.

Admittedly, sometimes that takes back seat to turkey, sweet potato casserole, real mashed potatoes and let’s not forget Aunt Essie’s fresh coconut cake. Aunt Essie hasn’t been around since 1964, but her recipe for coconut cake is still used by the family every year. See, I’m getting off on food again and need to refocus us on giving thanks to God… even when we can’t have Aunt Essie’s coconut cake.

I am reminded of a passage from Psalm 34:1-3

I will bless the Lord at all times;

his praise will always be in my mouth.

I praise the Lord—

let the suffering listen and rejoice.

Magnify the Lord with me!

Together let us lift his name up high!

Hmmm. Praise the Lord at all times and in all things. I found the same concept in I Thessalonians 5:16-19:

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t suppress the Spirit.

Even though life’s circumstances change… even in directions we would prefer not to embrace… God is always with us. And we are reminded to praise God… thank God at all times and in all things. Yes, this Thanksgiving is going to be different. I think if we are going to truly express our heart-felt appreciation to God, we’ve got to get beyond the way we celebrate that involves things we like such as the food, the fellowship, and activities… and find God in the day whatever it looks like. Perhaps it may mean having some alone time with God. That’s fine. That may be one of the best ways to honor God at Thanksgiving by communing with God through prayer.

I hope that Thanksgiving will be extra special to all of you as we take this unique opportunity to connect with God in new and meaningful ways on the day we set aside to give God thanks… which ought to be every day!

Let’s pray…

Lord, make us instruments of your peace;

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error, the truth;

Where there is doubt, the faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that we may not so much seek

To be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Hear our prayer in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray: 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 the Glory forever. Amen.

November 18th:

When you’re trying to fan your flame of gratitude, comparison douses it like a bucket of ice water. 

Comparison means looking at what someone else has and thinking about how much better or worse it is than what you have. It’s so dangerous that the 10th commandment warns against it. 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17). 

Comparison sabotages two relationships at the same time: your relationship with God, and your relationship with other people. You can’t fully love others when you’re jealous of them or trying to outperform them. And you can’t love God when you think maybe God has given you a bad deal.

When you feel the urge to compare your lot in life with someone else’s, replace that thought with a prayer of gratitude. A good example comes from Psalm 16. 

“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.” (Psalm 16:5–6). 

The writer of this psalm acknowledges God as the source of his provision. He declares that what God has given him is good. And that goodness in itself is enough. This is an antidote to comparison.

Practice: 

Think about the last time you compared yourself to someone else or compared what you have to what someone else has.

Thank God for what has been given to that person.

Thank God for what has been given to you in life – exactly the way it is right now. 

Today when you notice yourself making a comparison, make a list of the good things that God has blessed you with in whatever area you are struggling with comparison.

Before you go to bed tonight, do a comparison inventory. Ask yourself: Am I jealous of anyone else? Do I need to say “thank you, God” for what I have?

November 17th

I am curious if you are getting ready for Thanksgiving Day yet…  Oh I am…  House is decorated.  Turkey in the fridge thawing (I learned the hard way last year that it takes more than a week to thaw a turkey).  I have pulled my recipes, placed my grocery order to be picked up at Wal-Mart AND I have prepared the fall leaf placemats for the table.

Oh – and a couple of more things – I changed my grocery pick up to a small turkey, 2 sweet potatoes, and a few Brussel sprouts.  We uninvited all of the “others” – friends we normally spend Thanksgiving with – and a couple of new friends in order to stay within the COVID guidelines.  To say plans have changed a little this year and Thanksgiving will be more than a little different than in years passed is putting it lightly.

Now I realized it would be easy for all of us to whine about how it’s just not fair!  And, well, it isn’t!  But as I have been thinking about all of it I am kinda looking forward to a different Thanksgiving.  I mean change is good, right?  I think it can be if I can keep my eyes focused on what is really important.

When we look in the Bible the word thanks, thanksgiving, thankful, etc., is listed well over 200 times… from Genesis thru Revelation, over thousands of years.  And we celebrate giving thanks once a year.  Not that we don’t say Thank You or that we are blessed often… But do we celebrate with thanks from beginning to end of our day, our life?  In the good and bad?  Even when it changes our plans?

One thing we are not changing this year… our Thanksgiving tree.  I know it is kinda pitiful looking but we began this our first year in NC.  Each year our guests write on a paper leaf (and as many leaves as they want) what they are thankful for.  I know what I will write this year – I am thankful for 2020 – the challenges, demands, changes it has brought.  I am thankful that even in isolation I have beautiful family and friends who love me and whom I love dearly.  I am thankful for the opportunities to stretch and discover new ways of experiencing my job, relationships, and grocery shopping.  I am thankful for masks and hand sanitizer and Zoom.  I am thankful for first responders, medical personnel and researchers.  BUT most of all I am thankful for God who has not left me once, carried me more often than I will know and is working all things for the good.

I love 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:   “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Just keep reminding me, Lord….

November 16th:

Welcome back, friends, to our Monday November 16th edition of “Take a Breather”. I’m Danny Buckner and it’s my privilege to serve as music director for Central Methodist Church in Shelby, NC.

I’d like to share a devotional today titled, “Unexpected Blessings”. It’s written by a guy named Ben Krumpe who is a freshman at Illinois Central College. I found his perspective very encouraging today and perhaps you will too.

Ben writes…

Unexpected Blessings

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

(1 Peter 5:10, NIV)

This scripture brings me comfort in a time like this because God is reassuring us that through our struggles, no matter how big or small, God will replenish our focus and strength. I imagine almost everyone, no matter if you are a student or working professional, feels drained and possibly even insecure during these challenging times. My family and friends have been a strong source of love and encouragement throughout my life, and I am grateful for their love and guidance as I grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yet during the past six months, as one school year ended with a graduation and a new year began in college, I discovered God provided a new and unexpected blessing.

I have been especially thankful for the educators who are teaching my classes this semester. They have done a much better job than I have in adjusting to the times we are facing. I have looked to them for direction and guidance in my education, and they have been there to support and encourage me. However, there has been one thing missing in my first year in college – the opportunity to collaborate with others in some artistic capacity.

This all changed last month when my college’s jazz band invited me to join them for weekly rehearsals, and I could not have been more excited. For me, the ability to return to making music with others, even in a different format, has given me hope and restored my soul. I now have a way to be expressive again using the talents that God has given me.

In this pandemic filled with social distancing and isolation, I have discovered that God is blessing me with supportive teachers, new friends, new opportunities, and new ways to collaborate with others despite all we must do to be safe. Take a look at your situation. How is God blessing you in the midst of this suffering and discomfort?

Prayer

Dear Lord, no words can express how thankful we are for receiving your blessings. Thank you for protection and for bringing healing to those who have faced trouble. We know you are on our side every step of our journey, and we pray that you will restore us and keep us steadfast in doing your will. Amen.

Let’s close our time together with the Prayer of Saint Francis…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love

For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

We invite you join us again at noon tomorrow to “Take a Breather” and each day of the week (Monday – Saturday). We also invite you to join us for our “Virtual” worship service each Sunday live on our Facebook page (Central Methodist Church in Shelby NC). We love you and hope you have a great rest-of the day!

 

 

Vision Team News

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).

Key Components:

  1. Make Disciples (of all nations)
  2. Baptize (bring into the family of God)
  3. Teach (Jesus’ commandments)

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.

Vision Team Minutes 8-15-19

Vision Team Minutes 9-19-19

Vision Team Notes 10-10-19

Vision Team Church Sizes