Thursday, April 30, 2015

Intentionally Developing Our Faith

Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us a vision of where He is headed, and I say, “Well, its going to take more than me to get there, God.” I have been trying to do that when it comes to small groups. Before I even moved to LaFontaine, I heard that intentional spiritual development was something that n
eeded to happen here. And since we changed worship to before Sunday school, I have seen the hunger of 40 years worth of adults for connection. They stand in the foyer and in the pews after worship. But how do we move them to a classroom?
               In the last couple of weeks, God revealed that I am not the only one seeing this. A note was left on my desk of 20 people who a parishioner saw the need for spiritual growth in. Another gentlemen offered to teach Sunday School class. One of those numbered offered a cookout kickoff. All of this happened a week after I wrote a goal to get 80% of our attendees into some kind of small group this summer, whether it be on Sunday morning or during the week. It wasn’t because I wrote that. I know this, because when I mention it, I get blank stares. It could only be the Spirit of God moving among us.
               Lots of well established groups take summers off, so I know that what we are trying may not work. We may have to start all over this fall. But when the Spirit moves, He calls us to move in His timing, regardless of what is “normal.”
               So on June 14th, Lori Brane will be hosting a cookout during the Sunday School hour for anyone and everyone who isn’t part of a Sunday School class or Bible Study…or even if you are but would like to support a new group. It will be an informal time to connect and talk about what would be the best time and place to start some groups focused on intentional faith development…to talk about any hurdles we may need to work around (or move). While we are especially encouraging adults 20-60, THERE IS NO AGE LIMIT for you to come.
               I know God has been working on hearts. And if he has been working on hearts of those outside of 20-60 year-olds, I have a feeling he may be working on the hearts of those in that age group as well, telling us we need to connect and support each other, and to be intentional about growing in our faith through participating in a small group. If you are one of those people, start praying. Start thinking of what keeps you from being in a small group. Start thinking about how you could fit a small group into your life. Start thinking about who you would want in your small group. Most of all, plan to join us on June 14th. We can’t help you without you showing up.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Going to Honduras

Yesterday, I woke up to one of those perfect spring thunderstorms. We have had HVAC guys installing ductwork in our attic the last couple weeks, and the open attic access in our bedroom magnified the pitter- patter of rain. In the afternoon, the storms passed, and the grass seemed to transform from a winter brown, to a radiant green. The promise of spring throughout time and culture has been a promise of new life. For me as a Christian, this is amplified in the celebration of Easter. Jesus’ death and resurrection was anything but natural. Yet, it marked a promise from God that at our most vile, God still loves us enough to return for us. We killed God the Son and he came back for us…with new life.

One of the ways that God has been loving the congregation I serve is by setting souls on fire for his work in Honduras. Our church has had a hard couple of years. But during that time and even now, the church in Honduras has been lifting us up. We have truly become partners in faith.

As some of you know, this summer 10 of us from La Fontaine UMC will be traveling to Honduras. Our ages hit every decade from 20-80. Nick and I are representing the 30s. We will be building a store for local artisans to sell their work in. We also will be teaching locals how to make jam with their wild berries. We also will be meeting those who have been praying for us. Here is a short video about how God has made a way for me to go.

So, as I said in the video, I am not sure how Nick and I are going to pay for this trip. We need to have roughly $3600 for the two of us to go. So, I am putting this out there…If you would like to help us go and be a part of this awesome mission, here are some ways to help:

1.      Come to Church this Sunday, April 12, 2015. Nick and I along with other members of the team will be sharing how God is calling us to serve in this way. We will be taking up our monthly offering for the Honduras Pastor and be kicking off fundraising for our Mission Trip. Here is a link to When and Where we worship: 

2.      Give through our church’s website. Here is our page about the trip: 
There are two ways to give through the site.
       1) You can print off the pdf form, and send it with a check to WGM, the mission organization we are going through.
      2) You can give electronically through Paypal. A note about paypal: if you give in this form and would like a receipt for taxes, please also send an email to our treasurer requesting the receipt. 

4.      Watch my blog after the trip to hear what happened and how God used this experience in my life.

 Thanks for all your prayers and support!