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Four Teachings From Mark

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As most of you know, I am an Auburn fan. My dad graduated years ago when it was known as Alabama Polytechnical Institute. Karen and I have three daughters who also graduated from there, so it’s fair to say we have pretty strong ties to Alabama. Needless to say we were quite excited when they won all their tournament games and made it to the Final Four! Auburn’s basketball team has not played very well in years past, so it’s exciting to behold this year’s success. We hope they win two more games and take the National Championship!

As I was thinking about the Final Four, I wondered what would be the critical four teachings from the Gospel of Mark that we have studied during these 40 days of Lent.

“The time has come, the Kingdom is near, repent and believe the Good news!” (Mark 1:15) This verse compels me not to wait but to act now.

“Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?” (Mark 40b) Jesus rebuked the wind and waves and taught his disciples about faith. I have especially heard this teaching anew as we have weathered many storms over the past year with the hurricane, tornadoes, flooding events, and personal storms. The words of Jesus have helped me to answer questions about my own faith and fears.

“How many loaves do you have?” (Mark 6:38) The disciples thought it would be impossible to feed 5,000 people but Jesus simply asked “How many loaves do you have?” I hear this passage calling me to offer to the Lord all I have and to grow in my faith so that I may participate in His King- dom work. I’m reminded not to make excuses of what I lack but rather offer what I can to God fully each day.

“Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” (Mark 8:15) Yeast in bread is like a person’s character which influences and is hidden. This influence can be used to work for Kingdom purposes or to undo them. As I read this, I question how I’m using my own Kingdom influence. Be aware of the often subtle presence of evil beneath the surface that is seeking to undo the higher Kingdom purposes.

My hope is that the Gospel of Mark means as much to you as it does to me. What verses have caught your attention? I look forward to the conclusion of this study! And now we head toward Palm Sunday and Holy Week to include Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and the Resurrection!

Shalom, 
Philip

 

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Thank You

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Thank You, Volunteers

Shalimar United Methodist is a vibrant church as we have ministry and activities occurring daily at all times. SUMC also provides so much for our community and impacts thousands of people for Jesus each year.
Shalimar UMC could not have this tremendous impact without our volunteers. In this Focus, I would like to acknowledge and thank the many members and friends that give so much of themselves to the Lord. Thank you for volunteering your gifts and time as we truly could not be the church we are without you.

  • To the worship volunteers…Thank you!
  • To those who serve as chairpersons…Thank you!
  • To all those in leadership roles and ministry teams…Thank you!
  • To those in ministry roles of leadership…Thank you!
  • To those who serve the youth...Thank you!
  • To those who serve the children…Thank you!
  • To those who volunteer behind the scenes...Thank you!
  • To those who volunteer in the office…Thank you!
  • To those of you who say “yes” when called to help…Thank you!
  • To those who serve on mission teams…Thank you!
  • To those who teach…Thank you!
  • To all those who visit our shut-ins and home bound…Thank you!
  • To those who set up for special programs and keep long hours…Thank you!
  • To those who have particular roles that only you can do...Thank you!
  • To all others who volunteer short and long term…Thank you!
  • To all the Stephen Ministers…Thank you!

As a result of all our volunteers, disciples are being made and the church is extending the Kingdom. We are grateful and thankful for all who serve the Lord. If you are not currently volunteering, we invite you to jump in and know the joy of those serving the Lord through Shalimar UMC.

Shalom, 
Philip

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Enthusiasm Makes a Difference!

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This week begins the bracket of college teams in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This basketball Tournament is referred to as the road to the Final Four and creates so much excitement. There are so many different teams involved ensuring the abundance of good match-ups and games. Every game is a single elimination game. Win and advance. Lose and go home. There is great drama. Along the way, there will likely be buzzer beaters, desperation shots, underdogs, upsets, and unlikely heroes winning the game. Who will win? Who will lose? No one knows and this is why they play the games.

Who will be this year’s Cinderella team? It will likely be the team that plays with less talent and more enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is powerful! A team with less talent can beat a team with more talent if they are more enthusiastic. Especially if the team with more talent just goes through the motions. Enthusiasm is one of the greatest motivators in sporting events and life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said about enthusiasm…“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Mark Twain was once asked why he was so successful and he said, “I was born excited!” A church is also able to move forward with enthusiasm. Brian Bauknight says…“Enthusiasm is contagious.” The early followers of John Wesley were called “Enthusiasts” before they were called “Methodists.” Enthusiasm in worship, volunteering, and service in the church makes such a difference. Our enthusiasm at Shalimar makes a difference.

Did you know one of the meanings of the word enthusiasm is to be in God? The closer to God we are the greater our enthusiasm. As we move closer to God, let us grow in our enthusiasm for the work of God. Shalimar United Methodist Church has wonderful opportunities and challenges just ahead. I cannot think of anything more important than greeting every one of these challenges and opportunities with enthusiasm.

In the coming weeks, teams with the equal talent of their opponent will win and advance by capitalizing on this indispensable quality of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is powerful, a motivator, and contagious. Let us share our enthusiasm through Shalimar UMC for the greatest work on the face of the earth…the Church!

Shalom,
Philip

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