Join us at the parsonage Thursday evening, 7:15 pm, as we begin a new study, using the book, What’s so Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancy. If you have the book, we’re reading Part One, sections 1, 2, and 3. If you don’t have the book, come anyway and we’ll get one for you!!
Dear beloved in Jesus Christ, Greetings!
James 4:8a “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you…”
May we view our Mission “To make disciples for the transformation of the world” through these lenses. Our success in this area will identify us as a powerful church. A powerful church is a church that God loves to bless and can use in incredible ways. It is not a perfect church. It is one that is constantly aligning itself to please God. It is a place where you grow spiritually, leading to your desire to be engaged in its functions. This leads to a strong sense of mission as one sees salvations, baptisms, transformed lives, relationships healed, and leaders being raised up.
In a powerful church if you miss a week you’re disappointed rather than relieved. You want to be involved because you know good things happen within and around your church. You also want to invest for the long-haul in the kingdom of God. A powerful church is one that you enjoy telling others about, Christians and non-Christians alike. You can relax at a powerful church. Mistakes are made yet the people in your church own up to their mistakes, learn and grow from them. Finally, in a powerful church you are delightfully challenged. You leave different than when you arrived. You bear with people, as people bear with you, and an unstated motto is “we’re all in this together.” More than education and motivation, you are empowered each week with the tools needed for life, abundant life! We know First United Methodist Church in Scotch Plains is much more than a building. It is made up of individual lives, and collectively we comprise what the Bible calls “the bride of Christ”. The more we grow to be like Christ, the more committed to his purposes we become, then the more involved in HIS mission we are, and, the more irresistible we are to Him so that He cannot remove His hand of blessing, because we are HIS church. This month we are celebrating “The Day of Ascension” and it is an important festival. The gospelwriter Luke (who also wrote the book of Acts) describes an event that occurred exactly forty days after Jesus was raised from the dead. After appearing to the disciples for forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven before their eyes. (See Luke 24:50 -53 and Acts 1:1-11 for the story.) On this day, we celebrate that even though Christ is no longer physically with us, his presence is still all around us, in the Word, bread and wine, and in so many other ways.
Following Luke’s timeline, we celebrate this day on the fortieth day of the Easter season, which always falls on a Thursday May 25. The second is “The Day of Pentecost.” Luke tells us that fifty days after the resurrection, an astonishing thing happened during the Jewish holiday, also called Pentecost. On that day, the twelve apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, coming as tongues of fire, and that gift enabled them to proclaim the Word of God in all languages. The Holy Spirit broke through all the boundaries and walls standing between us, and made the resurrection real to people of all nations (See Acts 2:1-21 for the story).
Many congregations (including First United Methodist Church) have a tradition of confirming their young people on the Day of Pentecost, praying that God will stir up in them the gift of the Holy Spirit, celebrating as the Spirit enlivens a new generation of the faithful. Join us for this holiday at our 10:00 am worship services on Sunday, June 4. We are happy that four people will confirm their faith on this day of Pentecost. And above all, let us continue to gather each Sunday to celebrate the mighty acts of our loving God.
Blessings, Rev. Dr. Vijaya Kumar
Thank you all who participated in our March Free Meals Program! We had the support of Nicole Russo and her 3 daughters serving the guests this month. What a delight to have such enthusiastic little waitresses in their little aprons and large plastic gloves! I am sure they added a special touch to our meal. Thank you for helping out.
A big thank you to Dane Lowrie (Mr. Coupon) for saving us $25.00 on the Fish Fillets we buy at B.J.”s, using 10 of his clipped coupons! Another first was Larry Vogel on “large pots and trays” thank you for your support this past month. It is a back braking job, just ask him!