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21 Days: Worship, Prayer & Fasting

Many of you have asked if we are going to begin the year with 21 days of worship. We are delighted to let you know that January 7th through 27th, we will indeed begin 2019 with worship, prayer and fasting. This year, please help us invite our church and community to begin each day with worship!

This year’s sermon series will be entitled “Stirrings.” We will learn what it means to awaken again. We will invite everyone to use the book Awakening by Stovall Weems for a daily devotional guide through prayer and fasting. We will also have a study available during the 21 days led by Dallas and Carmel Gray. Our series will be teaching about the stirrings of God when Elijah was awakened in the night, when Jacob wrestled with an angel through the night, and when a valley of dry bones came back to life. Twenty one days will seek to set the spiritual course for the New Year. We will be invited to focus only on walking with the Lord in this time. Our letting loose of what entangles us and letting God lead us could very well lead to a revival in 2019!

How is God stirring in you to work? How is God stirring in our community and in our world? Do events like General Conference lead us into revival instead of fear? In a year that will be met with one challenge after another, there is no other way to begin than with worship, prayer, and fasting.

What am I asking everyone to do?

  • Plan to be at worship during the 21 days at 6am (9am on Saturdays and Holidays).
  • Read the Awakening book each day and find your way of praying and fasting for the New Year.
  • Begin the year with 21 straight days of worship at Shalimar or via live stream if you are out town.

Help us put out the word! God is stirring! We want to be a part of what He is doing so what better way to begin the year than with the Lord for 21 days!

Shalom, 
Philip

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Come Home For Christmas

We begin a new Advent series this weekend, “Come Home For Christmas.” I’m excited. This series can lead our congregation to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF JESUS. We seek for everyone to come home to the greatest news of all this Christmas. We also want to invite all of our friends, neighbors, relatives, and acquaintances to be present with us during this series. It would be great to invite those who have been away from church to Come Home. We want everyone to Come Home!

What do we mean by Come Home? We need to come home from our distractions. I was out running on Brooks Bridge last month and I noticed four out of ten drivers were on their cell phones. This is scary to consider how many people drive distracted now. People today are so distracted! Attention spans are so short! Many of our hurried conversations have competing distractions going on around us. In this series, we hope to regain our focus on the BIRTH OF JESUS like a laser beam.

  • The weeks will all have simple Biblical teaching points leading us to Jesus’ Birth
  • December 1-2 Week One… Come Home to Light John 1:1-18
  • December 8-9 Week Two…Come Home to Love John 3:16-17
  • December 15-16 Week Three…Come Home to Joy Luke 1:39-45
  • December 22-23 Week Four…Come Home to Peace Luke 1:76,79
  • December 24 Christmas Eve…Come Home to Celebrate Jesus Birth Luke 2:1-7

Home is more than a house, it is our family. Home is more than a church building, it is the people. Ultimately we are all home when we are with Jesus!

We pray this series will lead us all home! Let’s focus like a laser beam on Jesus and prepare to worship the new born King!

Shalom,
Philip
Dr. Philip McVay

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Reasons to Give Thanks to God

This is the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year! I have a tradition of listing at least 100 specific blessings each year. In the coming days, I will be listing all the reasons to give thanks in 2018. My personal blessings and family blessings are too numerous to count this year. In addition to my family and personal blessings, I will also name blessings from our congregation. These blessings too have been off the chart this year! Here are a few sample blessings on my mind as I write for this article.

We began the year blessed with an incredible journey of 21 days of prayer, fasting, witness, and worship. Our church is still being impacted by this blessing and we are pleased to announce we will offer twenty-one days of worship, fasting, and prayer as we begin 2019!

We are blessed this weekend! Our church is SENDING 25 people to Lynn Haven United Methodist Church in Panama City to prepare and provide a Thanksgiving Dinner for their entire congregation. This lunch will follow morning worship at Lynn Haven and provide for hundreds of worshipers. Let us give thanks to Chef Heyward for leading this team in providing a deed of shalom from our church to another! Thank you to our congregation for your generosity making this possible!

Let us give thanks for hundreds and even thousands of “deeds of shalom” done through our congregation this year. We have made a spiritual impact with both small and large deeds to help and encourage others in our community. Our witness for Christ has shined brightly this year. Thanks be to God!

I’m so grateful for our other pastors, staff, and laity that do amazing things every week in Reaching, Teaching, and Sending in the name of Jesus. Our worship services have been inspiring all year! Our REACH has increased this year. The baptisms and reaffirmations of baptism through our church have increased this year.

Thank you for new staff members in 2018 to minister to our youth and children David Garvin, Jennifer Guidoni, and Dawn Rozosky. I’m also grateful for Steve Larson and the blessings he brings as our new Church Administrator. I’m grateful for the impact they are having in just a matter of months.

I’m grateful for new Lay Leadership that has stepped in and up in 2018! Our Alive at Shalimar event identified some great opportunities. We have six new teams pursuing six priorities moving into the New Year. I am grateful for all our excited Lay Leadership and the new things that are springing forth!

We have reason to give thanks for the addition of the Presbyterian Church next door purchase. Now the new property is called Cross Corner and we give thanks to God for this new addition to our campus. This addition could only come through the Hand of God!

I’m grateful for our congregation that says often God is at work now and anticipating a major move of God is coming through Shalimar United Methodist Church. Let it be so!

These are just some of the reasons to give thanks for our congregation. Many of you could fill this page with how Shalimar has blessed you this year. On this weekend, may we consecrate our 2019 Will You Grow Commitments with a spirit of thanksgiving in our hearts! May all in our congregation have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Shalom, 
Philip

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