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Exciting Things Happening Around Shalimar

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Things are going great at Shalimar UMC! Ash Wednesday services were well attended and very impactful…especially with the multitude of youths and children present at the evening service. Study groups abound! Several classes are teaching the Gospel of Mark and the Lenten lunches are making it their focus as well. The Daniel Plan has started and a class on forgiveness is now in session. Praying and fasting are part of our church culture. Last Sunday, David Garvin and I taught twelve students in our confirmation class. During the 11:00 am service, we commissioned eight new Stephen Ministers! We are making disciples throughout Shalimar UMC!

Our Through the Eyes of Mark 40 Day Bible Study is off to a great start. We meet each weekday at 6:00 am and Saturdays at 9:00am. All are welcome to join us in person or on livestream. This coming week’s Study Guide focus will be on days 11-17. The Gospel of Mark is so impactful and I pray all in our congregation are being inspired by this Lenten study and sermon series.

Our called Church Conference to consider Master Plan Phase 1 has been pushed back to June 2. This will allow more time for everyone to process what is in the Master Plan proposal. The Master Plan is the two year result of preparation and input from our congregation. We look forward to this called special Church Conference in which each member will have the opportunity to cast their vote about these future plans and timeline.

On another note, we will hold a post General Conference wrap up and overview Sunday, March 17, at 1:30 pm in the Sanctuary. I will include information shared from last week’s Alabama-West Florida Conference overview sessions. This will be a follow-up meeting for Shalimar UMC from our Pre-General Conference Session back in February.

Shalimar is alive and well and I cannot recall a time when so many good things were occurring at one time. May the Lord continue to bless us and the ministry to our community! God is doing great things in our church and I look forward to seeing you this upcoming weekend for worship!

Shalom, 
Philip

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What Does Not Living As a Disciple Cost Us?

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We seek to make disciples through Shalimar United Methodist Church. Lent has begun and these forty days offer us a fresh opportunity to grow as disciples and make disciples of Jesus Christ. When we speak of growing as disciples, we may think only of what must be given up, but have we ever thought about what is lost by non-discipleship?

Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, speaks convincingly about this when he writes “non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, non-discipleship costs you exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring (John 10:10). The cross shaped yoke of Christ is after all an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul.”

Additionally, we can reference the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22 which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness. If we live the opposite of these fruits and bring out the worst in everyone, how much do we lose? In the Kingdom view, when we live the fruits of the spirit how much good springs forth in everyone? We gain such abundant lives living as disciples and others gain from our joy as well!

As Lenten Season progresses, let us make the most of this opportunity to grow as disciples and make disciples. Let us consider the profound thoughts of the late Dallas Willard and let us consider all we lose when we choose non-discipleship and all we gain when we live as disciples!

Shalom, 
Philip

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General Conference

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As you likely know, the General Conference met this week in St. Louis February 23-26, and I would like to share with you a brief summary of the outcome of this historic meeting. This special called session of General Conference was for the purpose of addressing issues of human sexuality and determining the official stance of our denomination. The outcome is the adoption of the “Traditional Plan.”


The Traditional Plan recognizes our historic view that all people regardless of sexual orientation are persons of worth and in need of the ministry of the church. It also prohibits same-gender unions in our churches and by our pastors and continues the traditional stance of not ordaining self-avowed practicing homosexuals.


Other plans including the “One Church Plan,” “Connectional Plan,” and “Simple Plan” were considered but did not pass the legislative committee. This action means the current Book of Discipline position on human sexuality issues continues through January of 2020. At that time, the new components of the “Traditional Plan,” which are deemed constitutional by the Judicial Council, will take effect.


Bishop David Graves will conduct follow-up meetings to give an overview of the General Conference on March 7 at Montgomery First UMC at 6PM, March 9 at Covenant UMC, at 10AM, and March 10 at Christ UMC Mobile at 4PM. We will also have a follow-up information session here at Shalimar UMC, which I will lead, on March 17 at 1:30 PM. If you would like to know more, you can visit: www.awfumc.org.


What does this outcome mean for Shalimar United Methodist Church? First, let us continue to be in prayer for all those across our United Methodist Church. This action of the General Conference is met with joy by many but brings pain to others across our denomination so let us resist the urge to gloat. Second, let us continue to love all people and live the general rules of the church which are to #1 do good, #2 do no harm and #3 stay in Love with God. We still have so much to learn from Jesus about what it means to love all people.

Finally, this action means a decision has been made, and we can now devote more time, energy, and focus to our primary reason for being in the church: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world! This is our greatest opportunity and our greatest mission at Shalimar United Methodist Church!

Shalom, 
Philip

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