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Interested in Becoming a Christian

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Shalimar United Methodist Church exists to help people on their life
journey to become Christians and grow as Christ’s disciples. This week, I
reach out to those who want to know more about becoming a Christian.
This is the most important work we do in the Church. Please know we are
here to be of help to you on this journey.

What is a Christian? The name is obviously rooted in the name “CHRIST”
and was first used in the book of Acts (chapter 11:26) to describe the
disciples at Antioch. Today, the name is used to describe those who come to
know salvation through Jesus Christ. A Christian is one who knows
Jesus as Savior and follows Him as Lord. I will write about following Jesus
next week.

The United Methodist tradition teaches of God’s prevenient grace and how
it woos us into a relationship with Him. This is why, even as babies,
children, and youth, we believe God has already developed a relationship
with us. God’s “wooing” of us is a prelude to how He can “wow” us later into
an abundant life. In John 3:1-17, we read a salvation story about the second
birth of Nicodemus. We also read the most important verse in the Bible
about salvation, “For God so loved the world that he gave us his only
begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have
eternal life” (John 3:16).

We become Christians by the grace of God which is the gift Christ offered
to us when He died on the cross for our sins. Paul said, “For by grace you
are saved through faith. It is not of works lest anyone should
boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

If you should want to talk more or have questions about becoming a
Christian, please let any of our pastors know. There are also many
laypeople in the congregation willing to listen and talk with you about
salvation. Please let me know how we can help assist you in what is the
most important work of the church: to become a Christian and follow as a
disciple.

Please let me know how I can help!

Shalom, 
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

Moments of Inspiration

Life in the church is amazing and infinitely rewarding, even if sometimes
frustrating. The goodness of people and God’s work in our lives comes out
in surprising ways that inspire me. This happened recently as we
commemorated the first anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Michael.

I remember clearly how odd it seemed to be in the middle of a category 5
hurricane yet see only a hard rain. I soon learned that to the east of us,
massive devastation and carnage was being visited upon the people of
Mexico Beach and the surrounding area. I remember our prayers and our
generous response as a church and community. I remember seeing
sustained overcrowding at our own hospital in Ft. Walton Beach and the
faces of defeat as refugees spilled into town. The word “horrible” was on
everyone’s lips.

Through it all, the people of Lynn Haven UMC continued to worship. And
by worship, I mean praise God from whom all blessings flow. They gladly
accepted whatever supplies or money we sent them. And they
never, never stopped ministering to others in the community, even as they
were licking their own wounds. Rev. Craig Carter took every opportunity to
thank anyone who helped, and offered compassion and encouragement to
his people.

This brings me to that moment of inspiration. As we commemorate the
anniversary of Hurricane Michael, I had the privilege of leading the Shalimar
congregation in a prayer that had been written by Rev. Carter for the
occasion. It was a prayer of thanks and a plea for continued strength and
protection. He reminded us that the church is not a building. And then he
wrote these words, “We thank You for the ways in which You have used
this tragedy to accomplish Your divine will – bringing hope to the hopeless
and help to the helpless. This tragic event has brought believers together
from all walks of life and we have seen Your grace revealed through the
goodness and generosity of Your people, especially the people called
Methodists.”

I learned that surviving and recovering from the hurricane, as devastating as
it was, became an occasion for renewed faith and response to grace. When
they saw the generous response of others, they responded in turn, and
vowed as a congregation to tithe all their giving to help others in
similar disasters. So when Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, Lynn
Haven UMC gave $12,000 to support them.

Let that sink in. A church that has not rebuilt one brick after a year of
destruction (as they are still wrangling with insurance settlements) does not
wait until their own needs are met to start meeting the needs of others.
Once again, God makes all things work for good for those who love him
(Rom 8:28). I would not wish such harm on anyone, but if it makes us love
and trust God like that, well, let it be so.

See You at Shalimar, 
Pastor Brian

Posted by Brian Dale with

One Year Anniversary of Hurricane Michael & Thank You for Serving and Giving to the Lord!

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This week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael and the
destruction it caused. Last week, in continuing to remember our neighbors to the East, our church sent another team of people to Lynn Haven United Methodist to serve them a meal. Chef Heyward McKenzie was hired by Lynn Haven UMC to cook for this one year observance of Michael. They really like Heyward’s cooking and Chef is not afraid of taking on one challenge after another. He has made numerous trips to help Lynn Haven as have other teams from Shalimar! There are also those in our congregation who have given financially to help and we thank them for their generosity.

Lynn Haven had over 700 worshippers in their parking lot last Sunday! Here is a word from Rev. Craig Carter, Lead Pastor of Lynn Haven UMC to share:

“Thank y’all so much for making yesterday another memorable day in the life of Lynn Haven UMC. Philip and Faith, please pass along our gratitude to the congregation for your generous gift in helping defray the costs of the meal and associated costs. Heyward, thank you and your crew for another wonderful meal. Some commented that the food you serve just keeps getting better and better. That being said, we’ll probably give you another chance in the future to set a new standard.”

Craig went on to reflect “The storm has really made us realize we are not in this alone. We are thankful for all who have come alongside of us to assist us, and that is especially true of our friends in Shalimar. THANKS so much. Have a great week and God bless.”

I mentioned the Sunday before last how Craig believes Lynn Haven has become a more generous church after the devastation of the storm. In response to all the generosity extended to them, they are currently giving 10% of all they receive to missions. What an inspiration to hear of this church coming out of the storm more generous and more confident in the Lord. We can all learn from these lessons!

Thanks again to the many in our congregation who have helped serve our neighbors to the East over the last year! Our prayers continue to be with them on their road to recovery and we celebrate the revival that has come in spite of the storm!

We can still be of help so I would encourage us to give an offering beyond our normal tithe to help Lynn Haven UMC this month. In remembrance on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael, I know Karen and I are going to give an extra offering this Sunday. Our partnership makes a difference! Thank you for serving and giving to the Lord!

Shalom, 
Philip

Posted by Philip McVay with

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