From the Pastor's Study - October 20

Stewardship is how we utilize (put to use, employ) everything God has given us to serve God and God’s purposes for our lives—our time, gifts, talents, and     resources. United Methodists frame faithful stewardship as how we utilize our (prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness). When we are faithful, our lives point like a flashing neon sign   toward God; giving God a standing ovation for all the ways which serving God brings our lives the meaning and purpose we are created for, and for which we all long.

Pastor Michael Slaughter of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, outside of Dayton, Ohio, offers the following:

“Every Christian knows that we are called to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. But what about our wallet/pocketbook? We get asked to open it every Sunday when the offering basket comes by and are told that’s being a “good steward.” There is no clearer indicator of our ultimate values than our financial priorities and practices—how we spend, how we live, how we save, and how we give reveal the true altar of our hearts.

Ultimately, how we use our money is unavoidably a spiritual question . . . we each make a choice, consciously or unconsciously, to invest our God-provided resources in serving ourselves or serving God’s purposes. Ultimately, we each make a choice, consciously or unconsciously, to invest our God-provided resources in serving ourselves or serving God’s purposes. The first is selfish and short-sighted; the latter leads to new hope and renewed life.

From this point forward with my own Christian wallet, I choose life.”

On October 23 through November 13, our church family will focus on this in our morning worship services. Our hope is that you will make these Sundays a priority. Each family will be offered a small daily devotional booklet to use during these days, and we will explore these themes in music, preaching and teaching and prayer. I look forward to deepening my understanding and practice of stewardship. Will you join me?         

Still In ONE Peace,

Jon (the Methodist)

Hurricane Matthew - Aftermath

The difference between 23 feet . . . and over 25 feet in river height can be measured in hundreds of homes possibly being ruined and families devastated.  We know faith in God can move mountains. Faith and prayer can move waters.

On Tuesday, October 11, pastors were involved in a conference call among city and county clergy and leaders to discuss how the many churches of our community could partner and address the immediate needs of many citizens most impacted by the effects of Hurricane Matthew, and the flooding which is now following the storm. Some in our church family have been directly affected. A few have had to seek other housing until the flood waters subside. Yet, there are so many signs of intentional cooperation and genuine love being worked out among us and through us. The following is one way WE can ALL make an immediate impact in our community. 

Please read the list carefully, as all suggested items should be NEW AND PRE-PACKAGED. Items can be dropped off this week in the Hall of History by our Office entrance, Wednesday, Oct 12 - Friday, October 14 between 9 am and 5:30 pm. Donations may also be brought to our Sunday morning gatherings of worship and study and left in the entrance to the Taft Christian Life Center and the Hall of History. 

* Gallon Ziploc Bags

* Baby Items (diapers, wipes)

* Baby Food and formula

 * Water

* Washcloths and towels

* Soap (NEW AND PRE-PACKAGED)

* Toothpaste (NEW AND PRE-PACKAGED)

* Toothbrushes

* Flashlights

* First Aid Supplies

* Can Openers (not electric)

* Blankets

* Shampoo and Conditioner

* Combs and brushes

* Hair ties

* Lotion

* Deodorant

* Socks

This is a community effort, as local congregations are partnering to address some of the greatest immediate needs of Greenville and Pitt County citizens. This is not intended to interfere or replace what federal and government agencies such as FEMA and the Red Cross. We, the Body of Christ, are doing what Christ calls us to do, as found in Matthew 25:35-40 by feeding, clothing, and sheltering those who are experiencing challenging times. Obviously, the current situation is changing rapidly. We will continue to communicate with all of you regarding how we will respond in the days to come. If you have a particular need for help and/or know of someone in the church or community who may be in need of assistance, please call the church office at 752-3101 or email to: jstrother@nccumc.org.

I Have a Dream . . .

     The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

     These last few days have given our nation an opportunity to properly shudder (that is, to tremble in fear) . . . . to take stock . . . . to “number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom,” to lament . . . to pray . . . and to seek to see a pathway toward repentance.

     As I number my days, I have to lament those who have had that freedom taken away from them, particularly as their children witnessed their last moments- either from the back seat of a car, or listening to the sea of talking headsreplaying the tragedies over and over . . . .  

     I think of a recent incident I was involved in as I was returning home from my office to eat lunch. Only three blocks from my church parking space a Greenville Police Department vehicle flashed its blue light behind me and I carefully pulled off Evans Street to a parking lot and awaited the officer’s approach.

     Soon the officer left his vehicle and approached my passenger side door. I lowered the window and began a conversation that was never anything but calm, professional and pleasant in every way. All my exterior lights were in good working order and I had not exceeded the speed limit, but this observant officer had noticed that this inattentive preacher was driving a vehicle two months beyond inspection. The officer never raised his voice, nor acted perturbed. He literally said, “Do you think you could get this inspection issue taken care of in the next couple of days?” I smiled and said, “Officer, I’ll see to it that it is taken care of within the hour.” He wrote me a warning ticket and informed me that this would prevent a colleague from issuing a real ticket if I were stopped on my way to fix the problem. A bit red-faced, but grateful, I thanked him and then headed straight to a local inspection station.

   In this case I would have to say I was treated with the highest degree of professional courtesy and understanding. I was respected as a fellow human being. The officer was a non-anxious presence, polite,  respectful and exemplary in every aspect of his duty. The officer just happened to be an African American, and I, of course, am a white, Caucasian male. Both of us are human beings, and most important—we are both created in the image of God. I believe it takes a person of strong character and integrity to serve as a law enforcement officer. I imagine that this describes the vast majority of law enforcement officers. Judging the “content of another person’s character” requires relationship. It means assuming positive intent. It means learning to look first for God’s image in every person we meet.

     I am grateful for an officer who embraces and embodies this, and for all the others who do so as well, I grieve with those who have witnessed their loved ones being judged, pre-judged, or profiled—whose loved ones have been robbed of the gift of life. A dream once articulated is yet-to-be-realized. Lord, in your mercy.

 Jon the Methodist

Summer Plans?

The summer months are straight ahead and coming into focus, but summer months are much more than a time to “take a break”. This summer Jarvis Memorial UMC will continue stretching to, “Know Jesus as Lord, Grow in faith, and Go to serve others.” Take a look at what awaits us on the horizon . . .

WORSHIP
Our worship services this summer will be traveling with Jesus through the Gospel of Luke. A few extra special Sundays to take note of this summer are:

May 22 - CONFIRMATION CELEBRATION @ 10:55am service
June 5 - SENIOR Sunday - we honor our graduating seniors and celebrate their futures in Christ.
July 17 - Former Senior Pastor, The Reverend Jim Bailey, comes among us to preach the GOOD NEWS.
July 24 - CHRISTMAS IN JULY SUNDAY - all three worship services will be focusing on the gift of Christmas - music, and more…
Sept 11 - FILL THE HOUSE SUNDAY 2.0 - Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of 24/6 will join us in one combined service.

MISSION
June 20-24 ETL (Erasing The Lines) in Kinston. Youth and adults engaged in face-to-face life-changing mission.
July 24-30 Myrtle Beach Mission Adventure - Youth and Adult leaders engaged in mission near The Grand Strand.
FOURTH FRIDAY SHELTER MEAL @ Crossroads Shelter in Greenville - May 27, June 24, July 22, and August 26. Contact Jeff & Ann Boswell at jeffwboswell@gmail.com to participate.

CHILDREN
August 8-12 Vacation Bible School (Barnyard Roundup: Jesus Gathers Us Together) 5-8pm nightly ARE YOU REGISTERED?? Living Out Loud for all rising 6th graders August 8-12 from 9 a.m.—1p.m.

My prayer for us all is that we will not, “forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as some are in the habit of doing,” (Hebrews 10:25) but continue Knowing, Growing and Serving as the summer months progress. The items listed above are only a glimpse. Much more is coming. Make yourself available and God will make you able.

Still In ONE Peace,

Jon the Methodist

Welcome to our Church

Ash Wednesday is a day which marks a new beginning for the followers of Jesus around the world. This year, a number of us observed this day while traveling as pilgrims in Jerusalem. Just the day before, we gathered dead palm fronds while visiting the Dead Sea at En Gedi, and later that day we burned them to ash in a bedouin village on the Old Jericho Road. The next day we gathered at The Garden Tomb, and in our worship, experienced these ashes being placed on our foreheads in the symbol of a cross. It was a life-changing moment; a reminder of our mortality. “From dust you were formed . . . and to dust you shall return,” we said. Lent is a time to be reminded that we are, “formed.” We don’t form ourselves, but we are form-ed. As Marlene Knopf notes:

“The hidden corners of our hearts become encrusted with grime or filled with forgotten debris. During the weeks of Lent, God’s Spirit is given opportunity to clear away the clutter, sweep away the dust and wash us clean. We are invited to prepare ourselves— heart, soul, mind, and body—for the new life of Easter.”

Ash Wednesday is a day which marks a new beginning for the followers of Jesus around the world. This year, a number of us observed this day while traveling as pilgrims in Jerusalem. Just the day before, we gathered dead palm fronds while visiting the Dead Sea at En Gedi, and later that day we burned them to ash in a bedouin village on the Old Jericho Road. The next day we gathered at The Garden Tomb, and in our worship, experienced these ashes being placed on our foreheads in the symbol of a cross. It was a life-changing moment; a reminder of our mortality. “From dust you were formed . . . and to dust you shall return,” we said. Lent is a time to be reminded that we are, “formed.” We don’t form ourselves, but we are form-ed. As Marlene Knopf notes:

“The hidden corners of our hearts become encrusted with grime or filled with forgotten debris. During the weeks of Lent, God’s Spirit is given opportunity to clear away the clutter, sweep away the dust and wash us clean. We are invited to prepare ourselves— heart, soul, mind, and body—for the new life of Easter.” 

Still In ONE Peace, 

Jon the Methodist