February 3, 2012

Posted on 03/11/12 No Comments

First UMC | eRevelations
February 3, 2012
First United Methodist Church—Our Purpose: As believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Bible as the inspired word of God, we 1) glorify God through worship, 2) build strong relationships in the church family, 3) grow in the knowledge of the truth as revealed through Jesus Christ, 4) serve people as a reflection of the love of Jesus Christ, and 5) spread the Good News of the Gospel so that others may come to salvation through grace.
In This Issue:
– Thoughts From Your Pastor
– Worship News
– Fellowship News
– Discipleship News
– Ministry News
– Outreach Ministry News
– Church Meetings
– Other Important Items
Thoughts from Your Pastor
“The More Subtle, Dangerous Side of Temptation”
If you grew up watching cartoons, you probably remember your favorite cartoon character being talked to with a mini angel and harp version of himself talking into one ear and a mini devil and pitchfork version of himself talking into the other. The angel and devil mini-me’s were each doing the best they could to persuade the character to go one way or the other. It made for some good humor!
As you can imagine, there is an element of truth to that. In us and outside of us, there are messages, ideas, and “voices” seeking to influence us. Not every voice or message is directly from God or from the evil one. But spiritual discernment is the skill to understand which influences are from God and which are from Satan. The key to that skill of discernment is to know the ways of both. That’s right. As Christians, we are always striving to learn the ways and the truth of God in Jesus Christ. And, to be fully wise, we cannot be naïve about the means and ways of evil. To not know the nature of the Enemy leads to ensnarement.
In 1942, C.S. Lewis published a book called The Screwtape Letters. It was a fictional account of letters written by an older, experienced demon named Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, who was a newly commissioned “tempter.” Screwtape writes letters to Wormwood on the best practices of tempting, the ultimate goal, of course, corrupting a human soul to be bound for Hell. It’s a satirical, gallows humor kind of book, and C.S. Lewis reportedly had a hard time writing it because he had to think as a demon and adopt a mindset of evil in order to effectively write as a demon. But the result was a masterpiece!
Here is one of the most poignant quotes from The Screwtape Letters: “Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Wow…
That’s the nature of temptation to evil, however. It’s easy to assume that Satan tempts us with basic sins: cheat on your spouse, go tell a lie, embezzle this fund, murder this person. But evil doesn’t work this way. No one wakes up one day and is suddenly tempted to break a commandment and commit a sin.
However, thinking that we’re going to get in on something good, we can be tempted to evil. For example, a married woman finds herself unloved and lonely, married to a man who seems to be interested and taken up with everything else but her. So, with a growing hunger to be cherished, to find love and affection, she finds herself developing a closer relationship to a male co-worker of hers. Over time, they get closer. She makes herself emotionally vulnerable. He seems to give everything to her that her husband cannot or will not. Within time, she “wakes up” to find she’s having a full-blown affair with a man she’s not married to.
Do you see how evil works? Evil uses good things—love, affection, sex, justice, material blessings, money, etc.—and attempts to get us to use and acquire these good things in an unhealthy, unrighteous, ungodly way. That strips us of goodness, tears down our souls, and drives us from God. And it all happens gradually, so as not to alarm us to our need to repent.
Now, we are not pure victims to this kind of evil. We have the Spirit of God in us and the biblical promise that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). We can and we will overcome through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, we must submit ourselves to Christ. Otherwise, we can be tempted away from his grace.
Over the next three weeks in worship, I’m going to be focusing us on the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. You can read that in Matthew 4:1-11. You will see what we’ve been talking about here—that Satan tempted Jesus with good things, but not the best or even appropriate things. We’ll take a look at the nature of Satan’s temptations and what Jesus did to overcome the devil in the wilderness. It will be a fascinating journey of discovery about the nature of sin and evil, how it can tempt us today, and how, following Jesus, we overcome temptation, too.
I really hope to see you all in worship with us!

Yours in Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Chris

Worship News
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Our message this Sunday will be “The Temptation to Be Relevant” and the scripture is from Matthew 4:1-11
Music Ministry
Regular Practice Schedule
Chancel Choir – Wednesday Rehearsals 7:30 pm
Praise Team – Wednesday Rehearsals 6:15 pm
Worship Players – 2nd & 4th Saturday 9:00 am
The King’s Kids – Wednesday Rehearsals 6:30 pm….next practice will be February 8th
Fellowship News
First United Methodist Church
Bowling Outing
Saturday, February 11, 2011
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Greenway Bowling Alley
8426 Telegraph Road, Odenton
Admission: $5.00/ Person or $10.00/Family (Shoes included)
Please sign up in the Narthex!!
Discipleship News
Our church holds prayer meetings every Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary. We need supporters for this valuable mission so if at all possible, please join us.
Prayer concerns this week: Mardi Marton, Fran Morris (Roland Miller’s sister), Germaine Acampora, Michael & Julie Kohr, Denise Hill, Sherre Burton, Julia Scaggs (Artie Black’s sister), Jessica Ahlquist Rhodes
Kathryn Eye Circle Meeting, Monday, February 6th at 1:00 pm
Martha Circle Meeting, Monday, February 13th at 7:00 pm
Edith Miles Circle Meeting, Monday, February 13th at 7:00 pm
Executive Committee Meeting, Saturday, February 18th at 9:00 am
General Meeting & Program, Saturday, February 18th at 10:00 am

Meeting Schedule
Sunday, 2/5/12 – Regular Meeting – 6:30pm-8pm – Please let Blairlee know by Wednesday, 2/8/12 if you plan on attending the Youth Retreat to West River – 2/17/12-2/19/12

Sunday, 2/12/12 – Regular Meeting – 6:30pm-8pm

Friday, 2/17/12-Sunday, 2/19/12 – Youth Retreat – West River Church Camp; No Regular Meeting

2/26/12 – Regular Meeting – 6:30pm-8pm

The First UMC Youth Group had a weekend filled with fun, music, faith, laughter, food, friendship, and fellowship, during the ROCK Retreat held at the Convention Center in Ocean City, MD, January 20-22. Fourteen of our youth along with six adults joined over 7,000 (the largest attendance ever) to listen to Steve Fitzhugh, a former NFL football player (Denver Broncos) who is now a youth pastor and motivational speaker, talk about how our youth should be obedient to Christ who can help them become “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37) Also, he shared that “we are here because the God of the Universe has drawn us here by his spirit.” His altar call on Saturday was very moving and allowed several of our youth to encounter Christ for the first time or in a new and more personal way. Nicole C. Mullen, who is the winner of seven Dove Awards provided the music for the weekend along with the band Uprising. Five of our youth also had the opportunity to sing in the 230 voice Mass Choir that sang for the Worship Service on Sunday morning. They were very excited and privileged to have the honor to sing her song “Redeemer” along with her. They also had the opportunity to spend time in the ROCK Shop, which had exhibitors that included colleges, camps, various vendors, the National Bone Marrow Registry who was registering those 18 and older who were eligible. Look for the various Christian t-shirts that many of our youth purchased that weekend. Of course, no weekend at the beach would be complete without a visit to the Candy Kitchen for salt water taffy as well as a walk on the beach. The weekend allowed our youth to grow closer to one another as well as closer in their relationship with God.

Ministry News

February 19, 2012

Red Dress Sunday
We all need to be aware of heart disease ~ how to recognize its symptoms, how to treat it, and how to prevent it in the first place.

Red Dress Sunday is an innovative faith-based health education and outreach program designed to raise awareness of the devastating effects of heart disease.

Statistics show that each year more African-American and Latina women die from heart disease than breast cancer, stroke and lung cancer combined, making it the number one killer of African-American and Latina women in this country.

We invite our congregation to wear red as a powerful visual and reminder to take care of their hearts on Sunday, February 19th (snow date will be the following week, February 26th)

Our Hearts are not only important spiritually, but physically as well!
American Heart Association
First UMC’s Special Needs Ministry
Special Blessings Ministry

Thanks to all who supported our FUMCL Special Blessings Polar Bear Plunge Team who “survived” a not so cold dip into the Chesapeake Bay last Saturday. The water was a balmy 41 degrees, about 10 degrees warmer than last year and some of us even played with a beach ball in the water. Our team had a total of 15 members this year ~ Blairlee Owens, Chris Owens, Kathryn Hawes, Jacob Owens, Gabe Alexander, Katrina Alexander, Tabitha Geis, Russ Geis, Debra Childers, JoAnn Cook, Jackie Bailey, Jeremy Newkirk, Lori Hawkins, Jordan Wells, and Hannah Ness and raised over $2,300 for the Maryland Special Olympics. This years plunge, which was the 16th Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge raised over $2.5 million with a record setting 14,500 people taking part. The Maryland Special Olympics is the state’s largest year-round organization devoted to sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Once the date is set for 2013, look for announcements for formation of next year’s team. We hope to have even more people join our team and raise even more money for such a worthy cause.

Outreach Ministry News

You are cordially invited to
Side by Side’s Breakfast Celebration & Fundraiser
Free Breakfast by IHOP Laurel
Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 8:30 -10:30 AM
Silent Auction will be held during breakfast.
Guest Speaker: Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive
Bethany Community Church, 15720 Riding Stable Road, Laurel, MD.
RSVP Required by February 28, 2012 to
sidebyside@sidebysidelaurel.com or 202-710-5555
Free breakfast with a chance to donate to Side by Side
This event will highlight Side by Side’s third year’s successes, including Family Academy Programs, apartment homework club, community–wide tutoring programs, Spanish translation services in schools, computer loan program, and our new program, Great Start. Proceeds and donations will help sustain these important programs.

**More information next week about silent auction items.

Church Meetings
Trustees Meeting – Thursday, February 9th at 7:00 pm in the Parlor
Staff Parish Committee Meeting – Thursday, February 9th at 7:30 pm in Christian Fellowship Classroom
Finance Committee Meeting – Thursday, February 16th at 7:00 pm
Other Important Items
An update from
our Finance Committee
Mortgage News…………Praise God!!!
The church mortgage balance is now below the $1,000,000 mark. As of January 31, 2012, the balance is $994,000. We have also recently refinanced and lowered our interest rate from 7% to 4.9%. This lower interest rate will save the church in excess of $100,000 over the next 6 years. Thanks to everyone that gave specifically to the repayment of the mortgage and your continued support!

Weekly and YTD News
Our weekly budgeted amount for each Sunday in 2012 is $8,765. As you can see from our YTD numbers below through the end of January, 2012 we are already behind by $4,500 dollars.
Our YTD numbers thru January 31, 2012
$43,825.00 Budgeted Amount YTD
$39,314.16 Amount Received YTD
($ 4,510.84) Shortfall
Thanks to everyone for your faithful giving! We know that it is a tough economy and it requires all of us to “dig deep” to support God’s ministries.
Stained Glass Window Honoring Veterans
We will start collecting donations for the window on February 8, 2012 with installation in late fall of this year. We prefer individual donations not exceed $50.00 so more members may participate. Make a check out to First United Methodist Church and indicate Veteran’s Stained Glass Window in the memo line. We currently plan to ask each donor to choose one person to be honored on a plaque to be located on the wall near the window. We plan to offer three or four designs to the congregation so they may indicate their preference. We also solicit volunteers to be part of the committee. If you are interested, contact Russ Geis or Richard Reynnells, Co-Chairs.

About eRevelations
eRevelations, an informal e-mail communication of First United Methodist Church of Laurel, is published most Fridays. If you have announcements or other information you wish to include, contact the church office (301-725-3093 or office@fumcl.org).