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Saving our Children

We are living in such scary and contentious times, and that makes me sad. Maybe you feel it, too. Everywhere we look there is division, acrimony, even hatred. The worst I can remember in my lifetime. So, yes, I am carrying a deep sadness in my heart these days.

And that was even before seeing the news of another mass shooting after getting home from our very moving Ash Wednesday service, this time in a high school in Parkland, Florida. There have been a lot of these lately, but for some reason this tragedy reached deep into my heart and is still heavy as I write this.

Actually, it is beyond tragedy—a lone gunman, not so long ago a student himself at that same school, callously and methodically, took the lives of 17 people in a span of ten minutes. Fourteen were students going about their day, seven were only 14 years old and two others were seniors looking to the next chapter of their young lives. The other three were teachers who died trying to protect their stu- dents.

Brothers and sisters, this is so wrong. All of us as parents have the right to send our kids o to school trusting that all is okay and not to fear for their very lives! Don’t we all agree? Yes, I am sad, sorrowful even, but I am also angry. Here we are, supposedly a civilized society, and all we can do is quibble and posture and debate the same old argu- ments and excuses—and nothing gets done!

Where is our humanity? Why do we as a people let this go on? And, for us who profess to follow Christ, how does our faith guide us through this particular wilderness?

I am sad and angry because it is going to happen again
and again. That is the terrible reality we are living with right now. At some time (maybe soon) and some place, other innocents are going to be gunned down and, heaven forbid, it could happen right here in our own little corner of the world.

And so, here we are, polarized as ever, stuck in our agendas and passing the blame, and Lord have mercy, our children are dying. How can we live with that?

Speaking of blame, people are saying it’s a mental issue, a gun issue, a parenting issue, a sin issue…and more. From my perspective, it isn’t just one of these, it is ALL OF THESE. I say that because I don’t see any kind of a solution until we as a society take a hard look at these perplexing issues and honestly begin to address them.

Yes, there truly is a great need to x our broken mental health care system, but until then, why not have a measure of accountability through stricter background checks to own a gun? Yes, there is the Second Amendment right to own rearms and, by the way, few are questioning that, and yet
I have to wonder why anyone needs to own a rapid- re military style weapon, the sole purpose of which is to be a “killing machine” (and which has been the weapon of choice in most of the recent mass shootings)? Yes, our society has a lot of problems, including dysfunctional families and poverty and addiction, which in turn, lead to even more problems. And yes, oh yes, there really is such a thing as sin—we live with its e ects every day, both by our own actions and others. So, yes, it is all of these.

How do we move forward? Well, as a society and as a people, we are the ones who determine what is of utmost importance, and what we will tolerate—or not. We elect the politicians, we determine the values by which we live, and we choose the Lord whom we will follow. Think of these words from the prophet Micah and how they speak to our times: “…And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Fellow Christians, each of us has a part in this if for no other reason than the sake of our children.

In the love of Christ,

Mike

Lent – A Cleaning Season

Lent is a season that is hard to fathom for many modern-day Christians. It is, after all, a penitential season, and who enjoys penitence? Indeed, the very word penitence brings to mind images of re- morseful people in sackcloth and ashes lamenting their sins.

However, Lent is not all about penitence or misdeeds or guilt. Sarah Parsons writes in her book A Clearing Season, that sure, it is a time of introspection…but its ultimate purpose lies beyond penitence. “In es- sence,” she says, “Lent serves as our annual invita- tion to come closer to God.”

Actually, that has always been the true meaning of Lent for me. It is a reminder for me in the midst of all the priorities that I have set for myself to reflect and maybe refocus on the ultimate priority—my faith rela- tionship with Jesus Christ. Or, put another way, Lent provides a time to look at our lives and ourselves, not to wallow in guilt but so we can come to see the things that keep us from God.

Speaking to this, Parsons asks a question. “What keeps us from feeling the presence of the divine in our every day?” And how can we be totally honest when we try to answer such a question?

Thus, she writes, “Lent offers a gift of time and a promise of closeness. It gives us time to see our current state of affairs in complete honesty… and consider where and what we would like to be in our place with God.”

Lent also offers us the pathway to necessary change and new life, especially as we realize and remove whatever obstacles might exist between us and be- ing close to God. Hence, Parsons says, it can be “a clearing season” for us. Just as gardeners clear away the old roots and dead weeds so they can plant new seeds for a new harvest, so it is with us.

As we move into this “clearing season,” you will find numerous opportunities through our church for study and worship that will take us to Holy Week and East- er. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you can read about a new sermon series REHAB that carries us through Lent. Normally, we associate “rehab” with “restoring to a condition of good health.” And so it can be the same for our “spiritual lives.”

May we journey together as those who choose to be Christ-followers.

In the love of Christ,

Mike

The Power of Holy Habits

Most of us realize that we are creatures of habit. We settle into comfortable routines that are hard to change.

Retired pastor Bill Bouknight described it this
way: “A habit is just a grooved pattern of behavior. Some are good for us and some are bad, even hurtful.”

Bouknight adds that one big reason professional golfers practice so much is that they are trying
“to groove their swing.” And it has to do with something called “muscle memory.” That is, if you repeat an action often enough, then your muscles are supposed to remember and then do it auto- matically. That’s what it means “to get into a groove.” Hmmm…maybe that explains why

my golf game is lacking—I can’t find the groove!

But, you know, one doesn’t have to be a golfer to practice good habits. And that is the point Bouknight wants to make. Good habits are important in every aspect of our lives, including exercising mind, body and soul. Yes, especially when it comes to tending our soul. It is like the Apostle Paul advised a young man named Timothy,

“Train yourself to be godly.” (I Timothy 4:7)

At this time of beginning a New Year, there is a lot of talk about making resolutions. Often this involves changing our habits. But it can also mean taking on new habits, and even what might be called “holy habits.” Have any of us grown as much as we need to grow spiritually? Are we as close to being like Jesus as we can be? Do we know all we need to know?

Let me offer a simple suggestion that will yield lasting benefits for being a better person, and a better Christ follower: RESOLVE TO SPEND SOME TIME EACH DAY WITH GOD! And make it a priority. It can be for reading a daily devotion, praying, journaling, or just being still. And it can be for worship, reading your Bible, or even taking on a ministry or service.

One can do any or all of these “disciplines” through the week, but the key is to make them “holy habits.”

Surely, we are not so busy that we can’t give our Lord a few minutes (at the least) of our day. And when we do make this a discipline, folks, we will be amazed at what this can do for our lives…and our faith!

So, let’s get “in the groove” for 2018! In the love of Christ,

Mike

 

Finding Christmas in the Simple Things!

Stepping through the doors of the country church was like stepping back in time. Aside from the large cedar tree that was hung with homemade decorations and the old time wreaths that adorned the clear windows, the little clapboard church outside was just as it had always been — plain and simple. And that is exactly what I needed.

Shiloh Methodist Church was founded back in the 1830’s, and was the center of a rural community outside Troy, NC, for many generations. Lots of singing, shouting and praying took place in that one room sanctuary over the years until it closed in 1928.

For many years, it stayed closed as former members, and later, their descendants, came to

attend the graves in the cemetery or perform some minor repairs on the church. Fortunately,

that changed in 1986. Since then, the little brown church comes to life once a year for a simple celebration of Christmas. On the first Saturday of December, the Shiloh community opens the sanctuary for a Christmas tea and Holy Communion, scheduled for four services in the afternoon.

Kay and I were invited by some friends to attend the late 4 o’clock tea on a cool and cloudy after- noon. As we walked up to the church, we were offered cookies and hot Russian tea. Once inside, we took a seat on a plain, wooden, and not so comfortable pew that was well over a hundred years old. Before long, the sanctuary filled with people as a stringed trio provided music of the season. Soon we moved to the altar to be served communion by a local minister.

It was beautiful, and so meaningful in its simplicity. And a good way, too, I thought, to begin the season of Advent and Christmas. Beauty and simplicity; that is something I find myself craving each year at this time. How about you?

Honestly, I would much rather avoid the busyness and rush and crowds, if I can. Instead, I am looking to the times of worship, seeing the delight and excitement of children in preschool, being with family, and once again, celebrating the story of Jesus’ birth. It, too, is a simple story, but with such profound meaning for us.

Indeed, it is the heart of the Gospel — “For God so loved the world” that He gave His only Son

that we might be saved from our sin and given eternal life. Dear brothers and sisters, isn’t that

why we celebrate Christmas?

In the love of Christ,

Mike

October

October is one of my favorite months. It has been, ever since I was a kid. I just love the crisp, clear days, don’t you? And I love living in these mountains and watching the leaves begin to change; what breath- taking beauty!

However, as much as I love this time of year, I realize not everyone has such fond memories of fall. My great grandmother had a whole different perspective toward October; hers was a sense of foreboding in knowing that winter would soon follow. You see, she still remembered times when fall wasn’t about enjoying beautiful days, but rather working from sun-up to sun-down, working as hard as they could to gather in

the crops and chop the wood and make preparations for the livestock. This was how they made it through the harsh winters.

Granny would often tell me stories of what it was like living in those days. As newlyweds in the late 1890’s, my great grandparents became homesteaders along the Tennessee line in north Haywood County. Those were years of struggling to eke out a living in what is still a rugged and remote part of the state. To supple- ment their income, my granny taught in a one- room school—she still had a box of McGuffey Readers in the attic. A couple of times a year, they would load up the wagon and travel to a cousin’s general store in Clyde to trade for the staples they couldn’t make or grow themselves. It took them three days to travel those 20 miles.

Later, they were able to buy a farm near Lake Junaluska, where they raised a family and lived out the rest of their lives. Granny always talked about working hard and living frugally, but she was quick to say the most important thing that got them through the toughest of times was their faith. Along with a few other families, they also became charter members of Longs Chapel Methodist Church, which is my home church.

Stewardship wasn’t a word they ever used, yet it flowed from their deep faith into every part of their lives. In good times and bad, in abundance and scarcity, they always saw themselves as having been blessed by God. And they never stopped giving thanks! And giving back to God!

The Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians said something that reminded me of my great grandparents. He was lifting up the faith and generosity of the Macedonians as an example to those new Christians in Corinth, and he said: “They voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry of the saints”

(2 Corinthians 8:3- 4). Whoa…can we imagine such a thing as someone “begging” to give to their church?

My great grandparents were not the sort to beg for anything. But when it came to supporting their church as an expression of their faith and gratitude, their generosity often exceeded their means. To them, it was simply giving back to God a small portion of their blessings so God could use it to bless others. And isn’t that why we give, too?

Our stewardship emphasis got underway last Sunday. Wasn’t it a grand celebration of God’s Spirit moving in our church through the choirs and children? Yes, indeed, God is doing a new thing in our midst; “don’t you see it” (Isaiah 43:19)?

We are looking forward to another “grand celebration” on Sunday, October 8th. That day, our church will be filled with children and youth, and both children’s choirs will sing again for “Children’s Sabbath.” And it is also “Consecration Sunday,” when we offer back to God our time, talents and financial gifts for 2018. Please prayerfully consider the way you might be a partner in “God’s new thing” in building up our church.

In the love of Christ,

Mike

What is God Doing?

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? –Isaiah 43:19

Almighty God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah when he offers words of great hope to the people. He says: “Behold, I am doing a new thing! Can you not see it?”

You know something? God has always been doing a “new thing.” It happens all the time in and through God’s beautiful creation. And it happens to people whose lives are literally transformed and made new. It happens in our lives, too, especially as we seek to live and grow our faith in relationship to Jesus Christ and his Bodythe church.

I believe God is doing a new thing right here in our midst. From my perspective as pastor, I am seeing it happening all the time in and through our church. Don’t you? “Do you not see it?” Isaiah asked.

Yes, brothers and sisters, God is blessing our congregation in so many ways. The numbers of children and youth are growing; overall participation in missions through the giving of our time and money is up dramatically; many of our first- time “guests” speak of being welcomed warmly; and, yes, some of you have spoken to me over the past year of feeling blessed by your church. So truly, I believe God is doing a “new thing” among us.

So, what is our part in all that God is doing here? Well, I would say, above all, that each of us would strive to be growing in our faith. And that we would seek to live out our faith through the vows we made upon becoming members of this Body of Christ. Remember what was promised? “I will be loyal to this church and uphold her with my prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.”

Brothers and sisters, this simply means you and I are “stewards” of all God has entrusted to us, including
our church. There, I said it—stewardship! All that happens (and will happen) in our church has to do with
our giving and serving. More important, though, is that our stewardship flows out of our faith. You see, Jesus came to give himself for us, as part of God’s “new thing.” He also offered a way of life and invited people into a relationship with God that was vibrant, vital, dynamic, and fruitful.

Isn’t that what we want for our lives? And don’t we want to be part of God’s “new thing” that is happening right here among us—in and through our church—and in our hearts and lives? Don’t we?

This fall’s stewardship emphasis, “A NEW THING!” will cover three Sundays, beginning Sept. 24 and concluding with “Consecration Sunday” on October 8, which happens to be Children’s Sabbath.

So, what new thing is God doing in your life? Can you see it?
In Gratitude,

Mike

The Gift a Year Later

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” — 1Timothy 6:18-19

The Apostle Paul was always looking to advise and encourage the fledgling churches he had started, and we see a good example in his first letter to a young man named Timothy. He offers what might be called “guiding principles” for local churches regarding worship, doctrine, qualifica- tions for leaders, and, especially about living one’s faith in daily life.

Much of what he says is true for our church, as well. It is because every church draws life from the good works, generosity and faith of its mem- bers. All of you are a blessing to your church. Your prayers, presence, giving, service, witness, and, yes, the spirit in which you offer these gifts define the kind of church we are.

There is another formula at work. As a pastor,
I have found that the more one is involved in the life of their church, the more likely they are to grow deeper in their faith. Ultimately, isn’t that the goal for every Christian? For Jesus, faith is always about growing and bearing fruit. That has never changed. That is what we are striving for in all we do as a church.

Exactly one year ago, our church received an amazingly generous gift of one million dollars. The donors, who wished to remain anonymous, were familiar with our church’s mission work in the community and our ministries to youth and children.

They were also aware of some of the critical needs of our church, such as the mortgage from the “Generation 2 Generation Cam- paign.” Thus, they wanted to help us retire our debt as soon as possible so that we could shift our full attention back to missions and building up our church for the future.

Now that a year has passed, I wanted to share with you some of the exciting ways this gift has blessed our church. In keeping with the wishes of the donors, the gift was designated for these areas:

1) Paying down the mortgage;
2) Providing for transportation needs to enhance ministry and programs;

3) missions and development for the future.

Here is where we are to date…
Immediately upon receiving the funds, a check for $600,000 was delivered to United Community Bank. At the time, we owed $725,000 on a mortgage of almost $1.3 million. Since then, as members fulfilled their pledges (with some continuing to pay afterwards), our debt has been reduced to about $30,000 (going into August). And, we anticipate this will be paid by the end
of the year, thank you, God!

In the way of transportation, we had none a year ago. The old van was on its “last tires.” After studying our current and future needs, a 15-passenger van was purchased in January for $44,000. It is used almost every day during the week for our youth, the Weekday Children’s Program, missions, and other groups. Recently, an order was placed for a 15-passenger bus ($65,000). The plan is to bring our members at College Walk to worship, and to provide for outings for older adults, Sunday School classes, youth and children, and more. These two vehicles will meet our needs well into the future and are available to all in our church.

Let’s talk about missions. This has been a primary focus of our church for some time; indeed, we have it in our mission statement— “moving out to serve.” It is who we are.

Even through these years of paying down the debt, we have continued to be generous in supporting many causes, especially here in our community. We were even able to create a special “mission endowment fund,” as part of our FUMC Foundation, with the intent of making a greater impact for years to come.

Brothers and sisters, it is already happening. Perhaps you have noticed the banner as you come into the Welcome Center; if not, take a moment to look at it. You will see that our church (that’s all of us) gave over $177,000 to missional causes in 2016.

And that is up from $143,000 in 2015! What do you think about that? And now, the opportunity is here for us to do even more, thanks to the generosity and vision of a family who wanted to see our church make an even greater difference for God’s Kingdom.

Now, as thankful as we ought to be, I feel the need to share a concern. We have been given
a wonderful blessing. At the same time, we have seen support for the church’s general fund actually going down. Thus, we continue to run a deficit through this year. Perhaps there are some who assume that since we received such a generous gift, that their giving is not needed; I pray this is not the case. Though we give to build up our church, Christian stewardship is really about our response to a gracious God.

Besides, it is important to remember that because the donors designated how the gift
was to be used, we cannot use the funds for any way we please, including our general budget (which pays for utilities, maintenance, curriculum, ministries, salaries, and the missions that are covered in the annual budget). As an aside, certain items in the budget have increased simply because we are blessed with growth in our church, especially in our nursery and ministriesto children. But isn’t that what we want?

All of this is to say, as I have said many times, our church is in a very good place right now. And the gift we received last year has made it even more so, now and for the future, by enabling us to shift our focus back to our main purpose of being in mission. We are building a good foundation for the future, as Paul said to Timothy, so that we and others can take hold of the abundant life Christ offers.

Thanks be to God,

Mike

Almost a Miracle!

“Who would have ever thought it possible?” asks John Ferling, eminent historian of American history. What he was asking, of course, is who would have thought it possible that a ragtag army of citizen sol- diers could take on the greatest military power in the world—and win! Yet, on October 19, 1781, as the band played “The World Turned Upside Down,” British general Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia; and America’s long, hard-fought struggle for freedom was over.
It almost didn’t happen. Numerous times the poorly trained and equipped Continental Army was on the brink of defeat, constantly facing the greatest of odds. That they did prevail was “almost a miracle,” noted Washington afterwards. But it was a miracle due to those who believed passionately in the cause for free- dom and who ultimately sacrificed much—their homes, their wealth, some even their lives.
But even that wasn’t enough to ensure victory. Something else needed to happen for an upstart, loosely connected group of colonies to defeat a superpower. That miracle, according to Washington, came as the result of divine intervention. Others among the founding fathers felt the same. Thomas Jefferson said at the time, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty.”
Some two thousand years ago, God did another miracle of sorts. We celebrated recently the fact that
the Holy Spirit was the spark that gave life to the Church on the Day of Pentecost. In some respects, the newborn Church faced even greater odds for survival than those original thirteen colonies. They started small—just a few thousand believers. They faced opposition and even persecution at every turn. And they lived in a world of competing religions, most of which were hostile to Christianity.
Still, not only did the church survive, it spread throughout the world. Central to its message was the “Good News” of God’s love for all and, out of that, the life, death and resurrection of a savior, Jesus Christ. That is still our message today. It is what we proclaim as the church, and it is meant to be the “fruit” of our lives as Christ-followers.
Ironically, it seems, both our nation and the Church are in crisis today, and for some of the same reasons. One reason has to do with our collective memories. It is as if we have forgotten who we are; forgotten (or intentionally shifted away from) those values that were at the core of our identity and being; forgotten what it took in human lives and sacrifice to become a great nation and the “Body of Christ.”
Instead, what we have today is enmity and strife across our land, which I see as a serious challenge to who and what we are as a democracy. At the same time, there is the sense that the Church is declining, maybe even losing its way. Sadly, it is a crisis of our own making, mostly, I believe, because we as a peo- ple have ignored Paul’s warning about “being in the world but not of it.”

What is the answer? How do we find our way again? Once again, history offers a lesson.

In the throes of a bitter war, in which the outcome was still much in doubt, members of the Continental Congress came together in Philadelphia to forge a new republic out of the thirteen unique and often contentious colonies. The debates were long and sometimes angry, even to the point that some were ready to give up on the dream of a free nation. Realizing how perilous things were, Benjamin Franklin addressed the assembly and called the delegates to go to God in prayer; and so, the relationship between America and the Creator was affirmed from the very beginning. That line in the beautiful hymn says it all: “GOD HAS SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE.”

While many debate the role of religion in public life and policy today, no one can deny that America and religion, specifically Christianity, have been intertwined even before the days of the founding fathers. For good or bad, it is a big part of who we are. The founding fathers, for the most part, saw it as good. If you are not sure, take a moment to read the Declaration of Independence.

Actually, that would be a good thing, don’t you think? Especially as we celebrate the Fourth of July—the birth of our nation. It reminds us of so much we need to remember. Certainly as citizens of our country, but also as those who have taken Christ’s name as our own. And if we have taken his name, shouldn’t we also claim his life, and love, and example? I would like to hear your thoughts.

In the love of Christ,

Mike

First UMC Foundation: What a Blessing for our Church

I have been blessed in many and varied ways by every one of the six churches I have served over the past 32 years, including our church. In fact, you have heard me say on several occasions that our church is in a really good place.

Here are just a few reasons we have for celebration: We are growing in numbers with many new faces in our ranks, our missional impact is significant and far- reaching in our community, and (thanks be to God) due to an amazing and unexpected “gift” last summer our mortgage for the G2G building and renovations will be paid in full by the end of 2017.

We have another blessing for which to be thankful, and it is one we may not think about often enough or, perhaps, are not even aware of. It is the Brevard First United Methodist Church Foundation. As an endowment, our church foundation came out of a great vision for the future of our church back in 1986. The primary purpose was to provide the financial means to compliment the mission of the church
and “to promote long-term stewardship planning and funding for the ministries of the Church.”

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, the Foundation is totally separate from the normal operations of our church that are funded by the annual “General Fund” (which is raised through the tithing and regular giving of members and constituents). Rather, the intent of the Foundation is to provide for the missional and capital needs that would be considered “outside” the normal operating funds of the annual budget.

How has the Foundation fulfilled its mission and been a blessing for our church? Take missions and outreach, for example. Over the years the Foundation, through gifts and grants, has provided a total of $128,610 toward missions both in our church and out in the community! More recently, much of the Foundation’s focus has been on funding a number of pressing capital needs of the church, such as:

  •   $267,000 to G2G since 2012
  •   $60,575 for sanctuary ceiling repairs in 2014
  •   $8,379 to replace the Chapel roof in 2015
  •   $10,000 just recently to replace the 50 year old

    dishwasher in the kitchen

    So, how does the Foundation grow for the future?

    This happens through the financial support of the congregation by way of “cash gifts, appreciated securities, bonds, bequests, life insurance, real estate, personal property, life income agreements, etc.”

    Most of the gifts over the years have come when members included the Foundation in their estate plans. The two churches I served before coming to Brevard have endowment funds very similar to our Foundation. What is important to note is that the establishment of such a fund came out of a vision for the future of our churches. What an excellent way to create a lasting legacy for our children and youth,
    and all who come after us in providing the means for thriving missions and ministry for many years to come!

    In the love of Christ,

  • Mike

The Wonder of it All!

We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. And we should never take it for granted.

Recently, people all across the world observed Earth Day. For me, Earth Day is a reminder for us to count our blessings when it comes to God’s creation, and to take care of what we have. Yes, there is a theology of creation, and it goes back to the first book in the Bible. Genesis tells the story of God creating the world and everything in it, including humanity. In the beauty and bounty of the earth, we are provided enrichment, pleasure and joy, as well as sustenance.

God’s creation is also a source of nurturing our souls spiritually. So often, it is in nature that we experience God, maybe more than any other place. Whether it is looking up to these mountains or standing at the top looking out, there is always that sense of awe and wonder for me. I think I

got that from my grandfather. Growing up, I spent a lot of time on the farm with my grandparents, roaming the mountains and forests, fishing the streams and lakes, and just spending time outside.

Even to this day, I find myself wondering how anyone could so casually, thoughtlessly toss out their trash along the roadside or down a creek bank. I think it is the most selfish thing a person can do to litter. Is that how God wants us to “take care” of his creation?

Of course not! Indeed, hasn’t God made us “stewards” of his creation? That simply means
God has given us the responsibility to take care of what God has made—not by exploiting our natural resources, as we see so often; not to misuse and pollute; not to over harvest and destroy out of greed; but rather to manage and cultivate and see that these resources are here for years to come for the enjoyment and use of those who come after us. That is how God intended it to be!

And, you know what? God expects the same for our church. We are “stewards” of all that God is doing here in and through our church. That means all of us. Why? Because it is in our participation, our prayers and gifts and service, that we work together to build up and grow the life and ministry of Brevard First UMC. In other words, God has given us that same responsibility to be the “stewards” of this Body of Christ.

So, whether it is our natural resources or our church, you and I are called, tasked and even challenged to “do our part.” It is what our loving and giving God expects…even as God continues to bless and keep us.

In the love of Christ,

Mike

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