Monday, June 29, 2009

Yo Estoy Seguro

Yesterday at our Christmas in June I introduced for the Mission Team a Christmas Mission Project. We will be supporting a ministry in Puerto Rico called Yo Estoy Seguro, which translates to I Am Sure. This ministry serves children between the ages of 5-12 who have faced disaster in their lives. Some face natural disasters and need food, water and shelter. Others face social disasters like domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and lack of education. "I am sure" is the goal phrase as these children are offered self-confidence and hope in the midst of their situation.
Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, but there is still plenty of people in need in this country. Of the 3.8 million people, around 1.8 million live below the poverty level. Many of these are children and families.
My challenge to the congregation is that each family give an equal gift to Jesus as they give to their family. If you spend $500 on gifts for your family, then a gift of $500 to the Christmas mission would be a wonderful gift to Jesus.
I hope this challenge will encourage everyone to give a good gift to Jesus because we have more than most people in the world. Second, I hope it will encourage us to plan ahead and simplify our Christmas. We can decide to make Christmas less about the gifts we receive and more about changing the world.
I am sure that God has big plans for this Christmas. I am sure that the world will be different at December 25, 2009 because of the generosity of people around Williamsburg, Iowa.
Are you with me? Do you have questions?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!!

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of our first service in our new church building. We do need to celebrate all that God has done in just one year in this new church home. I believe God has touched many individuals, but He has also strengthened our St. Paul's UMC Family. I know God has more to come! (Picture of Brinkman family with me because as chair of the building committee Mark and his family were very dedicated to seeing the building become a reality.)
Feel free to leave comments about any favorite memories in the new church from this past year.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mission Trip '09

We got back Saturday from a wonderful mission trip to Crossville, Tennessee. We had 21 of us total and we spent three days doing work with different ministries. There were many memorable times both good and bad. I will not forget getting lost in St. Louis on the way down for 2 hours because of road closures. I will also remember Jamison locking me in the trailer and two of our vehicles being broken into and stuff stolen including 4 Bibles. Not ll of the trip was bad, there were good times as well. The devotions and talks with my small groups were wonderful. Seeing the youth reading their Bibles in free time was something I did not expect. Also supporting the ministries of different groups was a blessing.Specifically we helped House of Hope, which is a home that assists children involved in drug abuse. Not that they use drugs, but their parents use drugs and therefore mistreat or neglect their children. The stories we heard of how children were treated and seeing pictures of homes they were taken from would break any one's heart.We also served Bread of Life ministries which supports adults recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. It is also a homeless shelter for Crossville.Overall, I was excited about the ministries this community had to serve those in need. To be honest it can be difficult for someone to easily get assistance in Williamsburg. There are some resources, but they are not always easy to find. My hope is that as a community we can become aware of the needs of people in Williamsburg and Iowa County and bring together our efforts to serve those people. Crossville has done a good job of churches working together to create ministries to serve those in need. I hope we can do the same to care for those among us who need God's grace and love to show up in their lives.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My New Bible

In my video message yesterday I talked about the armor of God that we are called to use to continue to grow spiritually during the summer. One piece of that armor is the sword which is the Word of God, the Bible. The Bible is a center-piece of our spiritual lives and necessary for growth.
While at Annual Conference in Ames this weekend I bought a new Bible and got to use it this morning for my devotion time. It is the new Wesley Study Bible. It is a New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible with the commentary coming from a Wesleyan perspective. It also has sidebar sections which focus on key terms used by John and Charles Wesley to understand the workings of God. Also, one of the editors was one of my professors at seminary.
I am excited to use this new Bible. I am sure as I read it I will grow in my knowledge of God and in the ways John Wesley was moved by the Spirit in God's Word. I will also recommend this to other Wesleyans as we continue to stay true first to God's Word and second to our Wesleyan heritage.