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A Request for a Church Wide Deed of Shalom

Rev. Craig Carter called me Tuesday and was following up on my offer to help Lynn Haven United Methodist Church in this time following Hurricane Michael. They are worshipping in their parking lot and the people really love to stay and fellowship after the service. This koinonia (deeper fellowship) really rallies their spirits each time they are together as they cope in their community of such massive destruction. I appreciate Craig making a specific suggestion of how we could help. He went on to say that meals after worship mean so much to their people right now. Craig asked me if Shalimar UMC would consider sponsoring a meal following their worship on a Sunday. This would mean feeding about 500 people. I told him I thought we could make that happen! After all, we serve the God of the loaves and fishes.

After the call, I immediately called our church chef, Heyward Mckenzie. Heyward quickly and with confidence said, “we can make that happen.” We brainstormed for a few minutes and agreed to talk again on Wednesday. The next day I called Heyward again and he suggested we provide a Thanksgiving Feast the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving which is November 18th. I thought this was a great idea. I called Craig and he loved the idea.

The plan, which came about “quick and nimble” is to sponsor a meal for 500 worshipers as a deed of shalom from our church to their church on November 18. How can we help?

#1 We can volunteer to be on a team of about 15 people to travel on this day to Lynn Haven. This will include transporting the food and helping Heyward as needed. Also, it will offer a chance to offer hospitality while serving this congregation.
#2 We can give financially to help sponsor this meal. It would be great if people in our church gave enough to underwrite whatever costs are incurred with this meal. We are in the midst of our “WILL YOU GROW” campaign and this gives us an opportunity to grow in our giving and action.
#3 We can pray for Lynn Haven UMC and all churches dealing with catastrophic loss from Hurricane Michael and the challenges ahead in recovery.
#4 We can use our capacity to be “quick and nimble” in generosity and to bless others through what God can do through our church. The scripture teaches (Luke 12:48) “to whom much is given much is required.” Shalimar UMC has been given much and is blessed to be a blessing to others.

What a great opportunity to show our love in a church wide “deed of shalom” from one church to another. If you would like to help contact Pastor Brian at 651-0721. Thank you for your generosity in advance!


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Will You Grow Intro

This weekend we begin a series entitled Will You Grow? We are asking everyone to grow spiritually in the Lord as we move toward the New Year 2019. In preparation, each week leading up to Thanksgiving we will be teaching about one of these three words. WILL, YOU, and GROW. These three words each challenge us to take a fresh look at ourselves and grow in our walk with the Lord.

The first word is WILL. There are at least two ways to understand WILL in this question. First, we have a WILL. Our COMMITMENT (WILL) is a deciding factor. There is a difference between I CAN grow (theoretical) and I WILL grow. The analogy I would use is simple. I can lose weight but will I? The losing of weight requires me to eat differently for the future. So knowing I CAN lose weight and losing weight are two different matters. The choice is mine. I must make a COMMITMENT to lose weight. Likewise, I CAN grow in generosity but WILL I grow? WILL I make different choices in the future so that I can grow? My WILL must be committed to grow!

The second way to understand WILL is that God has a WILL for my life. My life is incomplete seeking my own will. When I am focused on myself, I am always lacking and there is never enough. When I am wrapped up in my own will I worry more and I see life through anxiety. My world view is likely one of scarcity, when I am dwelling on seeking my own will. In this perspective, I spend more time being anxious about what I do not have instead of my blessings. My life becomes complete as I seek God’s WILL and not my own. A better choice is seeking God’s Will for my life! It is amazing, when God comes first I focus more on the blessings I have and there always seems to be enough. My joy is more complete when I am focused on God’s WILL instead of my own. In seeking His Will I acknowledge, God knows best for my life and I find peace in His way.

Finally, when my WILL (commitment) meets God’s WILL, my life becomes the very best possible. The best joy and fulfillment of life come together when my WILL meets GOD’s WILL. This is the best life possible.

The Will You Grow series is seeking the best God life God is offering to us. We begin the journey this weekend! The question for all of us is, WILL YOU GROW? We begin today with a provocative question, Will I commit to commit? We CAN but WILL we? Let us all resolve to commit for 2019 to give to God through our church and grow in generosity! Imagine our church with everyone growing at the same time and God’s abundance overflowing through our congregation!


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Hurricane Michael

What a week this has been as reality continues to set in of the devastation of Hurricane Michael. Let us continue to remember in prayer our neighbors to the east. There are some members of our congregation that have also experienced losses from the storm. Let us hold in prayer all affected by Hurricane Michael.

Also, let us continue to show our love through our financial giving in this catastrophic time of need. Thank you for what you have already generously and quickly given. I am so honored to serve as your pastor in a church that is so generous in times of need!

This week I have heard of our congregation members offering love and support to our neighbors to the east of us in the recovery from Hurricane Michael. I am grateful to our members who have traveled to Panama City and served in such a time as this. We also have members who have opened their homes to evacuees seeking to find some sense of normalcy.

Our first church team is heading over to Panama City Thursday, Oct. 18 to deliver some essentials such as bottled water, gas, baby food, non-perishable food, and gift cards. I’m grateful to our lay volunteers who are traveling with me to be of help. Thank you, congregation, for your generous outpouring of supplies to those in need. We will continue to look for the best ways possible going forward in which our church of great resources and wonderful leaders can be of the best help in this devastating time for so many.

Our Annual Conference is also keeping us informed of ways to help. See below for the latest information as of this writing for our consideration as well. Please notice there is a word about training and the appeal for Stephen Ministers.

Hurricane Michael Disaster Response, October 17, 2018 (Annual Conference)

Many of you have expressed interest in how you can immediately help the survivors of Hurricane Michael. Prayer, monetary donations directly to the conference, and supplies are ways you can help now. The United Methodist Church has a history of being in storm-damaged areas for the duration and will be in partnership with the Gulf Coast for years to come.

Commercial grade tarps larger than 16 x 20, roofing nails and furring strips are in great demand. Our district collection sites are prepared to accept those items in addition to the previously announced supply list.
We are now making our first calls for in-conference trained ERT teams who can be self contained (bring your own food, water, gas and either have your own housing/lodging or enter and leave the same day). These teams are needed to clean up debris and tarp roofs. If you can serve in this way, contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356. There are also several upcoming trainings in the coming days. Click here for information. Assessments are needed in order to apply for our another UMCOR grant.

We also need people to serve food and distribute supplies in certain areas (no ERT training required but an ERT-trained leader or participant in the group is needed). If you can serve in this way, please contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356.

Rev. Britney Toner has published a list of items she is transporting to the Port St. Joe area. Community Life UMC in Gulf Breeze, FL, is collecting these items.

Stephen ministers will be needed to work shifts to listen and pray with those who have survived this tragedy. Contact Rev. Ashley Davis for more information and to register. 

We will frequently continue to update these needs and communicate that to the conference. Thank you to everyone who is bringing hope and the love of Christ to those who need it most.


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Tags: hurricane