February 28th E-votional

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine.  What does the church offer the world today?  What does the church offer people that other organizations do not.  Obviously, the simple answer is Jesus.  The response to the simple answer is “do you have to go to church to learn about Jesus?  Can’t you read about Jesus or learn about Jesus outside the church?”  The more nuanced answer is that the church offers a chance to experience the incarnate Christ through worship and participation of a community called to be the Body of Christ.  That is a mouthful!

Besides Christ, what does church offer that other organizations don’t.  During the conversation, my friend and I came up with a short list.  To be transparent, it was mostly my friend.  Okay, it was all my friend, because she is brilliant (when you read this, don’t let that go to your head!) and I didn’t have anything to add.  She said that the church offers:

  1.  A counter-cultural message of hope over fear
  2. An inter-generational community, which cannot easily be found elsewhere in our society
  3. A place to find one’s purpose in meaningful use of one’s gifts in service to a hurting world.
  4. Acceptance as one who is deeply loved simply for their identity as human.

I love this list.  I think it is important to realize that these are four things that the church offers the world, because these are four things that Christ offers the world.  Christ offers us a message, counter to society, of hope over fear.  Christ said, “let the little children come to me,” while also teaching and ministering to adults and all ages.  Christ called the disciples to follow him and use their gifts in the service to the world.  Finally, it is because God so loved the world that we were gifted with God’s only son, Jesus Christ.

It is also important to remember that this is part of an ongoing conversation.  It is an important conversation to have.  What does the church offer the world?  We need to be able to answer this to say why we are part of the church or why we should invite others to be part of the church.  More personal questions is how are these lived out in our congregation and what would we, personally, add to them?  Finally, it is a reminder that the church is the body of Christ and, as such, we are called to do the work of Christ.

 

1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”

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February 27th News and Notes

 

Ash Wednesday

Lent begins on Wednesday, March 6th with our Ash Wednesday service at 7:00.  Plan on joining us!

Lenten Dinners

We will have our Lenten dinners on Wednesday nights during Lent, beginning March 13th.  We will have dinner at 6:00 and follow it with an inter-generational, interactive activity.

Mission Giving

We are moving our mission giving from the first Sunday of the month, to the second Sunday of the month.  We will take it up next on March 10th and it will be going to the First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka, Alabama which was destroyed by a tornado on January 19th by a tornado.  For more information, click here.

Sabbatical Team

Chris is applying for a grant for a Sabbatical in 2020.  Part of the grant will go towards pastoral coverage and some events for the congregation during his absence.  If you would like to help in planning this, please let Chris know.

Warm Nights

UPB will be participating in the Warm Nights Program at Village Baptist Church on March 16, 2019. A sign up sheet available in the Narthex.  Our meal selection will be: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and desserts.

Easter Baskets

The Mission and Service committee will be collecting Easter items for 15 Baskets. Please place your purchases in the Narthex by April 8th. They’ll be delivered to the Bowie Food Pantry on Monday the 9th.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

 

Two Week Outlook

Wednesday, February 27th

  • SEEDS, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, February 28th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:30 am, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Ladies Night Out 6:30, Rip’ Country Inn

Sunday, March 3rd

  • Worship, 10:00, worship
  • Communion
  • Sabbatical team meeting following worship

Wednesday, March 6th

  • Ash Wednesday service, 7:00

Sunday, March 10th

  • Worship, 10:00

Tuesday, March 12th

  • Board Meeting, 7:00

Wednesday, March 13th

  • Lenten Dinner, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • March 6th, Ash Wednesday
  • April 21st, Easter
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp

February 14th E-votional

When looking for a subject for this week’s e-votional, obviously there is a holiday that should be discussed.  That’s right….Groundhog’s Day!  That’s right!  Groundhog’s day was almost 2 weeks ago.  The legend is that when the groundhog comes out, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter.  Puxatawney Phil did not let us down.  He didn’t see his shadow, which means an early spring!  As a side note, I’ve met Phil.  Try not to be jealous.

Of course, I can’t talk about the holiday, without thinking of the classic Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day.”  Bill Murray plays a weatherman who is forced to go and report on the weather predicting “rat” as he calls it.  He makes no secret of his displeasure at this and that the thinks this is below him.  Imagine his horror, when he wakes up the next day and it is groundhog’s day again!  He relives the same day over and over again.  Eventually, he figures out he can use this to improve himself.  He really gets to know the people in the town, he learns another language, he learns how to play the piano, and of course, because it is a movie, he gets the girl to fall in love with him.

What would it look like if we started each day with a fresh start?  What if we woke up and our mistakes from the day before we magically erased?  We might not get to live the same day over and over again.  However, we do get to start every day with a clean slate.  Every day when we wake up, God, through Christ, will forgive our sins.  This isn’t a get out of jail free card, we can’t sin without impunity, we must truly be remorseful and repentant.  When we are, through God’s grace and love, God forgives us.  The sins of yesterday are forgiven and we get to start anew!

Lamentations 3:22-23:  “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

February 8th E-votional

You know that I love movies, although that I don’t see as many as I used to.  I like most genres of movies: sci-fi, fantasy, drama, horror, comedy, superhero, thriller, mystery, even some romantic comedies.  One of the best movies I saw last year was “Crazy Rich Asians.”  It was about a woman who travels to Singapore for her boyfriend’s best friend’s wedding.  Once there she finds out his family is “crazy rich” and he is considered the most eligible bachelor in high societal circles.

In addition to being a good movie, it was ground breaking for being the most successful movie with an all Asian cast in at least 25 years.  However, it wasn’t without controversy.  Come complained that the cast wasn’t Asian enough.  Henry Golding, who plays the male lead, is part Malaysian and part English.  There were complaints and op-eds that it would be nice to see a “full Asian lead for once”

One author took exception with this.  She related to this, having both Chinese and Italian heritage.  She said part of the problem is that she refers to herself as half Chinese and half Italian.  This is not uncommon language for people with mixed ethnic heritage.  She suggested we reframe our language and our thinking.  The author said that instead of “half” she will start using “both”.  She isn’t half Chinese, half Italian, she is both Chinese and both Italian.  This recognizes both without diminishing either one.

I think we fall into this same trap when thinking about Jesus.  We know Jesus is human and God.  However, we often act as if he is half God and half human.  We attribute actions or sayings to his human side or his divine side.  When we take this approach, we either diminish his divinity or his humanity.  He is not 50-50, but 100% human and 100% divine.  This is important.  Because he is fully human he can relate to our temptations and weaknesses.  Because he is divine, he is able to show us the true nature of God.  Because of our sinfulness, humanity owe a debt to God.  Unfortunately, it is so vast that humanity cannot pay it.   Only God can pay it, but it is not God’s to pay.  Because he is fully human, he is able to assume ownership of it.  Because Christ is fully divine, he is able to pay the debt.  Christ is BOTH human and BOTH divine and because of that, he is able to be our savior.

John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

February 7th News and Notes

 

Chili/Dessert Cook-Off

Our Chili and Dessert cook-off was a success this year.  Cathie Lambert had the best chili and Hannah Deacon’s cake won the desert category!  We raise $453 for our Mars Hill mission trip!

Super Bowl Challenge

The New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Superbowl XIII.  Our congregation thought the Rams would be victorious.  43 cans were donated for the Rams and 27 for the Patriots.  With the match for the Patriots, that is 97 food items for the Bowie Interfaith Food Pantry!

Cross-Gen

Our next Cross-Gen event will Sunday, February 17th.  Bring a snack or appetizer to share and plan on joining us!

Year-end Video

If you missed the annual meeting, you missed our year-end video.  You can view it here!

Warm Nights

UPB will be participating in the Warm Nights Program at Village Baptist Church on March 16, 2019. A sign ise available in the Narthex.  Our meal selection will be: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and desserts.

Sermons Online

Did you know that our sermons are posted on our website, usually a week after worship?  You can find them here.

 

Two Week Outlook

Sunday, February 10th

  • Worship, 10:00, worship
  • Christian Spiritual Formation committee meeting, following worship

Wednesday, February 13th

  • SEEDS, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Thursday, February 14th

  • Men’s Breakfast, 8:30 am, Nautilus Diner, Crofton
  • Ladies Luncheon 11:30, First Watch

Sunday, February 17th

  • Worship, 10:00, worship
  • Cross-Gen, following worship

Wednesday, February 20th

  • SEEDS, 6:00
  • Choir rehearsal, 7:30

Looking Ahead

  • March 6th, Ash Wednesday
  • April 21st, Easter
  • April 27th, Christmas in April
  • July 7th-13th 2019, Mars Hill Mission trip
  • July 22nd-26th, Art & Music Camp