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Making A Plan

Making A Plan!

Jesus once talked about making a plan and counting the costs (Luke 14:28- 30). Well, we are doing that in the aftermath of a section of the sanctuary ceiling coming down last Wednesday. All of this was discussed last night in a called meeting of the Trustees and the Executive Team of our church and, yes, we are confronted with a huge challenge. At present, we do not know the cost or the duration of the project that will likely replace the whole ceiling; all of that is in process of being determined as we make our plans to move forward.

Providing key oversight to the project ahead are Chuck Gilmore, Bob Rebscher, Jim Alderman, Peter Johnson and Stephanie Holland. Scott Moser is also helping. Contractors for ceiling, electric, heating and air, sound, and whatever else we might need are being recruited. And, in the meantime, we as a church are making plans to carry on our worship, ministries and programs with as little impact as possible.

This past Sunday was great. With some shifting around of worship space and Sunday School, and a wonderfully positive spirit, we were able to give thanks to God and truly come into his presence with singing!

This Sunday, we will continue our plan for worship, as follows:

The 8:30 service in the chapel, 9:00 service in the Fellowship Hall, Elective Class in the Chapel, and 10:55 worship in the Fellowship Hall.

We are tweaking the seating and climate control in the Fellowship Hall, and are working to make the space more “worshipful.” We would like to add some greenery (Do you have some green plants we could borrow?). And looking ahead, we have secured the Porter Center at the college for Easter Sunday and Good Friday.

We will endeavor to keep you informed as details and plans come together.

Blessings,
Mike

Getting Ready

We were coming back from Charge Conference in Hendersonville on a recent Sunday evening when Lauren spotted it—a house and lawn decked out in all manner of lights and Christmas decorations! “Oh, no,” she exclaimed. “Too soon!”

Yes, the season seems to come a little earlier each year, regardless of whether we are ready for it or not. But then, isn’t that the message of Advent? Through the prophecies of the Old Testament and, of course, the words of Jesus himself, one message rings clear and true: “Get ready. Prepare your hearts. The King is coming!” And so is Christmas as we have come to know it today: the lights, the shopping, the gifts, the parties, the busy-ness, and more. Yes, it is what it is! But it isn’t what it has to be for us.

Sure, we get caught up in the frenzy, maybe even enjoy some of it (like the lady who told me she loved rushing out in the early hours of Black Friday to do her shopping!?!). But surely we understand that “getting ready” isn’t about decorating our homes and buying presents. It’s about getting ready to receive again the greatest gift we could ever have.

Phillips Brooks, one of the great preachers of the past, who also penned the favorite carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” wrote of the One whose coming we celebrate this wonderful season: “I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the kings that ever reigned, and all the parliaments that ever sat, put together, have not affected the life of (humanity) half as much as this one solitary life… JESUS CHRIST!”

In another week we begin the season of Advent, a time of getting ready. May this truly be a time of reflection and devotion as we make our hearts ready to celebrate God’s wonderful gift!

Blessings from a Gracious God!

“I will pour out for you such a blessing.” (Malachi 3:10)

The message on the T- shirt spoke volumes. Big bold letters spelled one word: GRACE. Then in smaller letters underneath: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!

How true! Just take a moment to consider the lengths to which our great God has gone to offer us the most precious gift of all in Jesus Christ. You and I have the assurance of salvation through God’s boundless and unmerited love. That’s called GRACE.

But God doesn’t stop there. In addition to blessing us with his supreme gift of Christ, God also blesses us in ways we can hardly begin to count. And if we were to begin to count our blessings, maybe we would come to realize just how much all that God gives permeates our whole lives. Everything that is good, it seems, flows from God’s blessing.

God even uses us and our gifts to “pour out” blessing on others and in our community. Indeed, as we are blessed by God’s riches, in gratitude we seek to bless others through our time and talents and financial gifts to our church. That is so important to us here at Brevard First United Methodist Church. Our first priority is to serve Christ, and out of that comes our second priority– to share the blessing of Christ’s love and grace with others.

This is how it works: as our own lives have been touched by such love, so we seek to touch the lives of those around us. And that, my friends, is what stewardship does. Jesus said it is a “heart thing.” Where our treasures are, that is where our heart is. So shouldn’t our greatest treasure be the relationship that we have in Christ?

As you prayerfully consider your “pledge offering” for 2015, please know that it is through your generosity that our church is experiencing a great time of “blessing.” Many wonderful things are happening in this place, and many lives are being touched. That’s what we want. That’s what our Lord wants. And we want to see it continue.

Peter Johnson, the chair of our Finance Committee, has crunched the numbers and come up with a “goal” for next year. That goal is for an increase of 3% ($17,000) in PLEDGED GIVING or $605,000. To reach that goal enables us to give small increases in ministries and salaries, while also meeting the maintenance needs of the church.

All of this is to say we hope to celebrate reaching that goal on Sunday, November 9, when we gather for “Consecration Sunday.” Of course, you can send in or bring your pledge card at any time before then. And remember, every gift is important.

Where Is Your Treasure?

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — (Matthew 6:21)

Jesus cared a lot about the hearts of God’s people. That is also why he talked a lot about money and giving. And why, too, this is a topic that is at the “heart” of his “Sermon on the Mount.” It was also Jesus’ way of laying out for his followers a glimpse of his priorities, of the things that are important for life and faith. And right at the top is what lies on our hearts; what are our priorities, where is our “treasure,” what are the things that matter the most to us? And where do we place God and faith on that list? For, after all, when it comes to giving—giving money and time and talents—Jesus wants us to know this isn’t about dollars and stuff, it’s about faith. Giving is spiritual. Giving is about the heart.

I have always said a church that is growing spiritually will grow in all the other areas of church life—in numbers, in caring, in mission, in love for Christ, and, yes, in stewardship. Right now, our church is growing in all these areas. And our job as those who make up this Body of Christ is to see such growth and blessing continue through our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service.

Thus, our theme for this fall’s stewardship emphasis, beginning on October 19th, comes from Jesus’ words:
“TREASURE.” For where our treasure is, there is our heart also. May Christ be our treasure and in our heart.

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