Thursday, January 28, 2010

Schedule changes and other miscellany

Breaking news: The IMPACTING MINISTRY lay leadership event, scheduled for this Sunday, has been postponed until Sunday, February 21st, due to impending bad weather.

Other news: I will be out of the office this weekend for Divine Rhythm in Pigeon Forge and also for Holston Annual Conference Pastors' Convocation at Lake Junaluska next Tuesday through Friday. If you have any needs while I am gone, please contact me by cell phone at 865-332-1626. If you need to speak with a person who is nearby, please contact Betty Newman at 865-933-1345.

Have a safe and blessed week,
Pastor Betzy

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Health Kits for Haiti

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is accepting health kits to be transported to Haiti as part of UMCOR's disaster relief there. You can bring these health kits to church next Sunday and they will be delivered to the Knoxville District Office next Monday, February 1st, in time to be taken to the UMCOR Sager Brown depot in Louisiana, where they will be gathered and shipped to Haiti. Please consider donating money for the health kits (they are projected to cost about $12 each) next Sunday or bringing any or all of the items listed below. Also please note the other information below about these health kits.

Place these items inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag.
• 1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”, no kitchen towels)
• 1 washcloth
• 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
• 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
• 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)
• 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, no child-size brushes)
• 6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages

(NOTE: UMCOR Sager Brown is now purchasing toothpaste in bulk to be added to health kits before shipping to ensure that the product does not expire before it is sent. Please include $1 for each kit you send toward the purchase of toothpaste.)

Important Kit Assembly Information
All items included in kits must be NEW items.
All emergency kits are carefully planned to make them usable in the greatest number of situations. Since strict rules often govern product entry into international countries, it is important that kits contain only the requested items and nothing more.

Do NOT include any personal notes, money or additional materials in the kits. These things must be painstakingly removed and will delay the shipment.

We will also need a $1 donation per kit for shipping costs.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's the Word?

This Sunday, we'll be looking at Nehemiah 8:1-10 (selected verses will be read in worship, but it's this whole section) and Luke 4:14-21. Both of these passages illustrate important and intense experiences of scripture being read and interpreted within the worshiping community. As you think about worship this week, I wonder if you would think about the last time (or any time) you wept when you heard scripture read and/or interpreted to you. How does the Word of God change your life? When you read scripture or hear someone else read it, are you willing to let it change you? Do you believe the Word transforms people and makes us into the creations God intends for us to be? Do you believe the Word has something to say to you right now, in this moment? Do you believe the Word is alive? Is it alive in your life? If not, what would it take to make it so? How will you seek God in the Word this week and let God change you through the Word?

If you are seeking ways to get into the word more, I invite you to attend Bible study at Bethel Church at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays or at Huckleberry Springs Administrative Center and Chapel at 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays, and to join us at French Broad Church at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays for Sunday School or at Bethel Church at 10:00 a.m. for Sunday School.

Many blessings to you, as you let the word shape you this week!

P.S. A great book on this topic is Shaped By The Word by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr., published by Upper Room Books in 2000.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Changing Plans

With the cold weather and questionable roads last Sunday, some of you were unable to make it to church, and I'm glad you stayed home and stayed safe! We will do a little catching up this Sunday, talking some more about the baptism of the Lord. Due to the tragedy in Haiti, and because this Sunday is designated as Human Relations Day by The United Methodist Church, we'll consider how our baptism connects us with our neighbors this Sunday, rather than begin our sermon series on discipleship. That sermon series will take place after Easter, when we will have more that 3 Sundays to think about who disciples are and what they do.

So, this Sunday, we'll have our reaffirmation of baptism and we'll take time to pray for the people of Haiti, among other things. I hope to see you there!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coming This Sunday...

This Sunday, we observe the second part of Epiphany, the revelation of God in human form, when we celebrate Baptism of the Lord Sunday. Our lections all focus on water and wind, Spirit and fire: Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17, and Luke 3:15-22. During the worship service, we will contemplate the meaning of our baptism and our call to get caught up in the fire of the Holy Spirit. We will take time to consider the ways our sins are washed away in baptism, as we listen to Kyle Matthews' song "Been Through the Water," and we will reaffirm our baptism as a congregation, part of the body of Christ. I look forward to this celebration, even in the bleak midwinter (to steal phrase from Christina Rosetti), and I hope everyone can make it to church on Sunday, despite our recent accumulation of snow--a very unique thing in East Tennessee, indeed!

Blessings to all! Catch on fire with enthusiasm as your prepare for worship this Sunday and for discipleship every day!