E-Note for Tuesday, July 19

Good Morning, Friends! I awoke to a beautiful rain this morning!

“…may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” (Ruth 2:12, NRSV)

Or, if you prefer,

“Children of the heavenly Father

safely in His bosom gather;

nestling bird nor star in heaven 

such a refuge e’er was given.” (Children of the Heavenly Father, UM Hymnal #141, Caroline V. Sandell-Berg

For the past several weeks the office staff and I have been enchanted by the bird nest outside my door. Those helpless baby birds need care and feeding 24/7. The mother bird guards the nest and feeds them worms and bugs. The babies are a little bigger each time I see them!

It’s easy to underestimate God’s providence and protection. It’s easy to come to the conclusion that it is we who feed ourselves, we who protect ourselves, and we who call the shots in our lives.

But the truth remains that it is God who provides us the things which we need-food, clothing, and shelter.

When God provided manna for the Hebrews in Exodus 16, the people were confused as to what it was. Moses explained, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.'” (Exodus 16:15-16, NRSV)

 

See what God did there?

 

Each morning, the Israelites started the day on their knees, bowing to pick up the manna, reminded daily that it is the Lord God who provides!

 

Right now, those baby birds are completely dependent on their mother to feed them. But not for long.

They will fledge soon, to live and feed and procreate on their own.

 

And the nest? What happens to the nest?

 

Well, this is actually the second clutch of eggs which has hatched in that nest since I’ve moved into the office. I wonder if there will be a third…

The nest itself reminds me of our church: a place where Christians are born, raised on the Gospel of love, and sent to fly into the community and world.

The many families we are blessed to see in our church? They’re not the first. They won’t be the last either, hopefully.

 

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus nailed it when he stated that we cannot step into the same river twice. In the same way, we don’t step into the same FUMC twice. Things change. People come and go. Sound equipment dies. (More on that later.)

 

But the love, protection, and Providence of our God is a constant, ongoing promise.

How completely do we rely on Him to provide?

In Joy,

Tom


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Thanks to…

Adam. He’s the reason the lights are on, the AC is set, and the chairs are in place.

The Band. Y’all were excellent last Sunday.

Joe Davis for spreading the word about our Christmas Store during our Embrace Service.

Amy Whiteside, Anita Alef, and ALL who made the “Meet and Greet” such a rousing, delicious success!

Our Ladies on the Keys, Martha Frances Monroe and Tana Ranager.

Matt Tyer, who was exceptional, as usual.

Kelly Coltharp, for sharing with us the good news of the Christmas Store with our Traditional Service.

Our Acolytes.

ALL who sign in the pew pads and re-introduce yourselves to Corey and Me!


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Want to help? 

We are assembling a list of folks to serve on a rotation for reading the Scripture during both services. Interested? Let me know at tom@fumcnewalbany.com.

 

In addition, we’re bringing in David Dillard as a consultant and trainer for a rotation of sound and video helpers. Stay tuned.


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We’ll have an FUMC Staff Meeting today (Tuesday) at 1:00 in the United Methodist Women room.

 

Speaking of that room, Ladies’ Bible Study will gather at 10:00 Thursday for prayer, music, and the Word. Join us!


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We will wrap up our “Real Face of Grace” series next Sunday, July 24th as we look at Preventive Grace. That’s the Grace that tells us that NO ONE is too far gone for Jesus to save them!


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July 31st we will have a special day for the students, teachers, coaches, and administrators, with a Blessing of the Backpacks, Sunday School Promotion, Presentation of Bibles, and a special congregational prayer for a wonderful school year!


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“This Difficult Season” is a 40-day devotional book I wrote for “folks who are in a season they’d rather not be in”. The book has proven helpful for those in grief, those taking treatments, caregivers, shut-ins, hospital patients, etc. Our first shipment will be back from the printer soon and copies will be available (for free) in the Church Office.


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Remember the Back to School Kickoff on Wednesday, August 10!

Regular Wednesday Night Activities will resume on August 17!


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I’m attending my 40th Class Reunion on Friday. Holy Smokes.


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That’s about it for now, friends. Have a great day, and remember,

 

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.