What a week it has been as my son, Jeff, and I have been dealing with COVID. I have to say that for me it has been a gift from God. It gave me time to lay in bed spending time with God. It gave me to reflect on life and my connection with God. Since I could not go anywhere and wasn't spending time trying to figure out where I was going to go or what I was going to do, I had time to think about my life and where I am at in my walk with Jesus. In the process, I realized some bad habits that crept in to my life. I started to realize that I was getting sucked into the ways of the world around all of us instead of focusing on Gods way and the eternal Kingdom. In the process of spending more time with God reflecting, I began to renew and restore my focus on God. This week I was awakened once again and I hope and pray I continue to stay awakened to the Way, the Truth, the Life! And how perfect because the name of the sermon series we are starting this Sunday is "The Awakened Life"!
For the series we are starting Sunday, you can enjoy just as a sermon series BUT we are going to be offering ways to delve further for those who can and want to. Let's face it, many of us think we are awakened but really we have let our faith slumber and our faith walk has become stagnant. If that is the case it is going to take more than just a sermon, the most the sermon can do is awaken you to the need but will not really fully awaken you unless you spend time working on other areas that we will discuss during the sermon series. We have some tools and ways to help:
1. For those that are really committed to this the church has pre-purchased 30 softcover copies of the book "The Awakened Life" by J.D. Walt. You can also get the book in kindle format. If you just want another book to read dont take it. IF you really want to explore becoming fully awake to God and willing to put into practice the principles it will outline then please take one. If we run short of books and people really want to commit to it we can order more books.
2. Every Monday morning Pastor Sarah Dorrance is going to lead a ZOOM time of prayer and discernment at 7:30am! People from 4 Maryland UMC churches are going to join her as the churches walk through this time of Awakening. Those joining through ZOOM online can join and the meeting ID is 842 6380 5281 and the passcode is 123456. You can also call in using your phone to 301-715-8592 using the same user id and passcode. You can also just click this link: https://tinyurl.com/awakenedlifezoom.
3. Every Wednesday at 1pm, I will be leading a 55 minute small group discussion. Even if you were not in worship and even if you don't have the book, you will be able to be a part of this and it should still be useful and further your walk with Jesus. The meeting ID to use when you log into zoom is 902 607 3198 or you can use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9026073198. You can also call in using your phone to 301-715-8592 and then use meeting ID: 902 607 3198.
Now onto Sunday. At this point I plan on being there to preach on Sunday. The science around COVID says that I am safer to be at church this Sunday, then I was last Sunday! The fact that I didn't know I had COVID but was highly contagious is the reason we have been wearing the masks (and why Frederick County mandated it). It is also the reason why we haven't been having the Fellowship Time downstairs with food and beverage since we take off our masks to do that. I know it is frustrating but in the long run it keeps us safer and God needs us alive and healthy to go out into the world to be vessels of love and grace.
The bulletin for this Sunday is attached for you to look at. Remember that in the bulletin we have announcements, a prayer list, church attendance, the amount of offering that has come in that support our ministries, along with the outline of the service. We attach it weekly so that those of who can't be with us can keep up with the church. We appreciate everyone who continues to worship and be a part of our community even if they can not come to the church building. While we always prefer to see people in person as we try to build community, we also love those who join us from afar and we are blessed to have you as part of our worshipping community!! If you do come to worship in the church building Frederick County requires us to wear masks until COVID numbers come down. We have them available for anyone who needs one or forgot theirs!
We are live-streaming on our Facebook page or our YouTube channel. For those that are watching when we live-stream we do have a person that can see the comments posted if there are sound issues. While we don't want to fixate on every little sound issue we do want to know when something is way off and affects your ability to be able to enter into worship. I will warn those watch on Facebook they sometimes mute the video clips I use after the livestream. Unless you are watching worship when it is live I would recommend watching on the YouTube channel because the quality is MUCH better.
We are not passing offering plates so the wooden boxes are available to put your offering in. The 2022 offering envelopes are in church mailboxes for those that continue to use them for their offering. Of course you can also give online, use text to give (844-406-0358), or mail the offering to church. The new offering envelopes have some envelopes that have Capital Campaign printed on them and the purpose is to increase the amount of money we have to keep the building in good shape in the years to come. Most of the funds will be invested as part of the Jimmy Hill Enduring Legacy Fund so that we are prepared for the future!
We will be collecting prayers in the prayer box on the table in the parlor. Also, if you have announcement that you need to be shared please write them down and give them to me before the service. This will be an ongoing practice for prayers and announcements to help ensure that they are heard and understood by all (especially those worshipping with us virtually).
Brothers and Sisters in Christ I cant wait to be worshipping with you this Sunday. God is planting seeds for revival and another Great Awakening in our hearts and church. As those seeds take root let us see how we can help plant seeds of awakening in the world around us!
Awake, O Sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,