February 22nd E-votional

Yesterday, Billy Graham died at the age of 99.  While a sad event, it was not necessarily a shock.  He had been in failing health for some time.  Billy Graham was a hugely influential evangelist.  He hosted the Billy Graham Crusades every year from 1947-2005.  He advised every United States President from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.  It is estimated that he reached 215 million people.  Graham was so influential that he has been referred to as “America’s Pastor.”

Billy Graham wasn’t perfect, nobody except Christ is.  We all have flaws.  There is no doubt that he was influential in sharing the Gospel.  If we are honest with ourselves, he was far more influential as a Christian then we will ever be.  Or was he?  I’m sure by now you are thinking that was a typo or that I have lost it.

Billy Graham turned to Christ after attending a series or revivals led by Moredecai Ham.  Couldn’t we say the Mordecai Ham was, therefore, just as influential as Billy Graham?  After all, if there was no Moredecai Ham, there would have been no Billy Graham.  What about the person that first shared their faith with Mordecai Ham?

It could be argued that Paul is the most influential person in Christianity, outside of Christ.  However, in Acts, his conversion is traced back to a vision of Christ and an encounter with Ananias.  If you want to go all the way back, all 2.2 billion of the world’s Christians can trace their “faith heritage” back to the disciples and Christ before them.

Don’t dismiss the influence of your Christian witness.  We may not reach millions of people like Billy Graham, but who knows who the people we reach might be able to reach?  Who know how far the influence of Christ in our lives may spread?  You may, indirectly, influence hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people!  If you don’t, if you only influence one person, remember that Jesus told the parable about the shepherd that left 99 sheep to seek the one lost sheep.  Don’t discount the power of your Christian witness or what Christ can do through you and don’t be afraid to share how following Christ has changed your life!

Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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February 14th News and Notes

 

Ash Wednesday

Lent begins on today.  Join us for our Ash Wednesday service at 7:00!

 

Time for Testimony

Once again, during Lent, we are inviting the congregation to share stories of their faith.  This year, we are asking people to share their favorite (or a favorite, if you have more than one) hymn and why it is meaningful to you.  Afterwards, we will sing the hymn!  We are looking for somebody for this Sunday, February 18th.  If you are willing, please email Ckdeacon@yahoo.com with the hymn you will talk about!

Lenten Dinners and Devotions

Our Lenten Dinner and Devotions will begin on Wednesday, February 21st and continue every Wednesday until Holy Week.  We will begin dinner at 6:00 and have an inter-generational devotional activity afterwards.  The them will be exploring Lent through African American Spirituals.  You can sign up here 

 

Year End Video

In case you missed our year end video, you can see it here.  Special thanks to Dina Bickel for putting it together.

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, February 14th

  • Ash Wednesday Service, 7:00 PM
  • Lent Begins

Thursday, February 15th

  • Men’s Night Out, 6:30 PM, Lagnways in Crofton

Sunday, February 18th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • First Sunday of Lent
  • Sunday School following worship

Wednesday, February 21st

  • Dinner and Intergenerational Devotion, 6:00
  • Choir, 7:30

Thursday, February 22nd

  • Men’s Breakfast, 7:45, Nautilus Diner in Crofton
  • Ladies Night Out, 6:30, Bowie Town Grill

Sunday, February 25th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Chat and Chew
  • Sunday School following worship

Wednesday, February 28th

  • Dinner and Intergenerational Devotion, 6:00
  • Choir, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • Lenten Studies begin, February 21st
  • April 1st, Easter
  • April 28th, Christmas in April
  • May 6th, Church in the Park
  • Mars Hill Mission Trip, July 8th-14th
  • Art and Music Camp, July 23rd-27th

February 8th News and Notes

Mission Giving

Due to the weather last week, we postponed our Mission Giving to this Sunday.  This month, our mission partner is the United Campus Ministry from the University of Maryland.  Remember, if you have a non-profit or ministry you would like to invite, please let Chris or one of the board members know!

Ash Wednesday

Lent begins on Wednesday, February 14th with our Ash Wednesday service at 7:00.  Plan on joining us!

CYF Committee

The Children, Youth, and Family Committee are meeting this Sunday, February 11th at 5:00 at Sue Kennedy’s house.

Time for Testimony

Once again, during Lent, we are inviting the congregation to share stories of their faith.  This year, we are asking people to share their favorite (or a favorite, if you have more than one) hymn and why it is meaningful to you.  Afterwards, we will sing the hymn!  Please let Chris know if you are interested or sign up here.

Lenten Dinners and Devotions

Our Lenten Dinner and Devotions will begin on Wednesday, February 21st and continue every Wednesday until Holy Week.  We will begin dinner at 6:00 and have an inter-generational devotional activity afterwards.  The them will be exploring Lent through African American Spirituals.  You can sign up here 

Soup-er Bowl Sunday

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Soup-er Bowl giving!  We had 68 cans given for the Eagles and 38 cans given for the Patriots.  With the match, we raised 174 cans for the Bowie Food Pantry!

Year End Video

In case you missed our year end video, you can see it here.  Special thanks to Dina Bickel for putting it together.

Two Week Outlook

Friday, February 9th

  • Ladies Luncheon, 11:30 AM, First Watch

Sunday, February 11th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • Mission Giving, During Worship
  • Chat & Chew, following worship
  • Sunday School following worship
  • CYF Committee meeting, 5:00 PM, Sue Kennedy’s House

Tuesday, February 13th

  • Choir Rehearsal, 7:30

Wednesday, February 14th

  • Ash Wednesday Service, 7:00 PM
  • Lent Begins

Thursday, February 15th

  • Men’s Night Out, 6:30 PM

Sunday, February 18th

  • Worship, 10:00
  • First Sunday of Lent
  • Sunday School following worship

Wednesday, February 21st

  • Dinner and Intergenerational Devotion, 6:00
  • Choir, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • Ash Wednesday, February 14th
  • Lenten Studies begin, February 21st
  • April 1st, Easter
  • April 28th, Christmas in April
  • May 6th, Church in the Park
  • Mars Hill Mission Trip, July 8th-14th
  • Art and Music Camp, July 23rd-27th

February 7th E-votional

If you, like much of the country, watched the Super Bowl last Sunday evening, you saw a great game!  The only people who can complain about that game were Patriot fans and fans of defensive battles.  The game had great story lines like the back-up quarterback vs the 5 time Super Bowl winning Tom Brady or Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount playing against the team they won the Super Bowl with last year.  It had the most yards ever for a Super Bowl.  It was an entertaining game!

Do you know what else was entertaining?  The commercials!  Sure, there were some misses like “Solo: A Star Wars story” (as much as it pains me to say that) and the Dodge truck commercial that used a Martin Luther King Jr. sermon out of context.  There were a lot of great commercials too.  Three, particularly stood out for me.  The “Tide” detergent commercials, the Australian tourism commercial, and the commercial for Netflix’s “Cloverfield: Paradox”.  I don’t think they were they best commercials (Eli Maning and Odell Beckham Jr’s Dirty Dancing was hilarious!) but they stood out the most.

These three commercials struck me as particularly innovative.  Tide had a commercial that kind of spoofed other “typical” Super Bowl commercials, only to reveal there were no stains, so it must be a Tide commercial.  It was okay.  But then, they put in little fifteen second commercials through out the game that looked like other commercials.  They developed a theme and ran with it and built on it!  It was genius.

The commercial highlighting Australian tourism started off as a movie trailer for a new sequel to “Crocodile Dundee”.  When, it seems, every movie is a remake or a reboot, why not Crocodile Dundee.  It then shifted when the actors realized it wasn’t a movie but instead showing off the beautiful scenery of Australia.  It was a pretty clever concept, but what really sold me was they have been laying the ground work for several weeks.  I first heard about the new Dundee movie two or three weeks ago.  It had an IMDB page, a cast, and a director.  It was all a ruse.  I was completely, delightfully fooled.  They were able to use the power of social media and the internet to build up anticipation for their fake movie.  The build up moved it from a creative idea to a truly innovative one!

The final commercial was for the Netflix movie, “Cloverfield: Paradox.”  The first commercial drew your interest as Netflix promised it was coming soon.  Then in the third or fourth quarter, they showed another preview and announced it was premiering right after the game!  This is almost the opposite of what the Australian tourism commercial did.  They just dropped it in our lap and showed the flexibility and maneuverability that Netflix enjoys.

What do these commercials tell us about the church?  How can we share the Gospel or advertise UPB in new ways?  How can we, as a congregation, develop a theme and build on it?  How can we draw on the power of social media and the internet to tell the story of UPB and of God’s grace and love?  How can we use the flexibility of being a small congregation to better communicate who we are?