Tuesday, May 10, 2011


On May 5, Americans observe the National Day of Prayer.  Waiting on God is an important component of prayer.  It’s hard to understand why God delays when we cry out for help. Why does he allow us to suffer, when he could just say the word and make it all better?  Why must we wait?
Consider a child whose parents always give her whatever she asks, as soon as she asks for it. That child has little opportunity to learn patience or gratitude. Because she doesn’t know what it’s like to not have, she cannot appreciate the true value of something.
God may have some of these things in mind when our prayers go unanswered for a time. As the psalmist exhorts, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14, NRSV).

Regardless of the circumstances that have gotten us to the point of feeling ignored by God, it is never the case, God is always with us, that is the true meaning of Easter.  Jesus told the first disciple, and his meaning was intended for us the succeeding generation of believers, “I am with you always, to the end of the earth.” (Matthew 28:20) When I feel spiritual adrift I turn once more to the encouraging words of St. Paul in Philippians 4:4-9; read them and mark your Bible as I have done so you may refer back to them often.   Pay particular attention to verse 8-9. 

A prayer for our church…Lord Jesus, we pray that you will somehow give us ears to hear, hearts to love and wills devoted to serve; that in the days to come this congregation may be known not for our glory but for thine alone - a congregation of people who know you; that this place may be an oasis, a place where people come to find out about you, where lives are straightened out and made whole, where people find the peace that passes understanding. Give us, we pray, a heart to desire these things above all else. We pray through Jesus Christ. Amen.

The MSPS Spring Concert and Graduation Ceremony will be held Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m.

VBS will be held July 24 through July 28 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The theme this year is Son Surf Beach Bash.  Please be watching in early May for sign up sheets to help begin planning this great event.   If you are interested in helping, please contact Melinda O’Field, Cheryl Hennefeld, or Katie Bishop. 

High School Senior Recognition Day will be held on Sunday, May 22.  If you are a senior, please make sure your name is turned into the office by May 5. 

Confirmation Sunday will be held Sunday, May 22.   Please join us in congratulating the confirmands in their commitment to their faith.   This years confirmands are:   Emily Redden, Courtney O’Field, Jenny Petersen, Kamryn Ryan, Kiara Kappleman, Alex Purvis, Connor Bailey, Trevor Meyer, and Alex Wadle. 

Summer Sunday school will be starting Sunday, June 5.  If you would be interested in helping teach the children this summer, please contact Cheryl Hennefeld or Katie Bishop.  

The Salt and Light Company will be meeting on Sunday, May 15 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.  We will be having an extra hour this month as we will be helping Maria in her collection of food items and donations for Helping Hands.  The group will be going out into the community to collect donations.  Donations may also be dropped off at church on Sunday morning.  All youth in 6th through 12th grades are encouraged to attend. 

The Salt and Light schedule for summer is as follows:
-          May 15 from 3-6 p.m.
-          June 12 from 4-6 p.m.
-          July 10 from 4-6 p.m.
-          More activities will be added, check the Youth Blog at http://www.kifumc.org/ for more information. 

The First United Methodist chapel will be open for your special prayer needs on Thursday, May 5 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the National Day of Prayer.  We hope you will take advantage of the day and offer your prayers in the chapel or wherever you may be for the healing of our country, those suffering from natural disasters, for our brothers, sisters in need or other personal needs.  Helpful scriptures, Prayer cards and “How to Pray” brochures will be available for our prayer team members assistances.  We have invited the community to join with us for the day in the chapel.  There will be a community wide “Prayer Walk” from 6:00 to 7:00 pm starting at our chapel and hopefully at other churches throughout the community.  We are in need of prayer hosts at the chapel for one half intervals during the day please contact Merna or Heather to sign up.

If you are interested in making positive changes in the church and beyond into the community now instead of later, please join us at the Healthy Church group meeting on May 18th from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in EFH. 

Sunday, May 8 is Native American Sunday.   The Native American Ministries Sunday offering develops and strengthens Native American ministries within the annual conference, expands the number of target cities in the Native American Urban Initiative and educates Native American seminarians.  In Robeson County, NC, Native American youth struggle with disproportionately high dropout rates, school suspensions, and teen pregnancies.   However, because of the generosity shown by you and other United Methodists, lay and clergy mentors in Robeson County are working with six local high schools to reverse the statistics.   Gifts to the 2010 Native American Ministries Sunday offering provided $10,000 to Pembroke First United Methodist Church, which started a mentorship program called “Spiritual Connections in Sacred Pathways”.   Your gifts also support people like Rev. David Dunson, who received a seminary scholarship funded by the special offering.  As assistant to a deputy chief of the 70,000 member Muscogee Creek Nation, Dunson responds to many tribal concerns – troubled families, at-risk youth, illiteracy, unemployment, and substance abuse.   Thank you for the gifts on Native American Ministries Sunday.  Because of you, The United Methodist Church collaborates with existing Native American ministries and creates new outreach.  You also support seminary scholarships for United Methodist Native Americans. 

A Call To Service (ACTS) is partnering with Meals from the Heartland to bring a Surge Service Event to Knoxville on May 14.   Be a part of something big!  Surge events bring hundreds of volunteers together in one community for ½ day project.   The time commitment is small, but the impact is HUGE!  Use your hands to love your neighbor.  Most of the projects will be focused around painting, clean-up, landscaping, and other home repair items.  If you have never been to a service event before, don’t worry, you will be provided with everything needed to participate.   They will take care of the details and do the planning.  All you need to do is sign up and show up ready to help someone who needs a hand!   Registration is available at www.actsofiowa.org or at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce.   All volunteers are welcome regardless of age, skill level, or faith background.  General labor, hospitality, photographer, videographer, and prayer roles are available.   Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 



Is GOD calling you OUT?   If so, then Laity 2.0 might be for you!   Laity 2.0 is a beginning of conversation and ground level movement of people who feel as if God is calling them out from within the walls of the church and the old ways of doing things to a new day and new movement of the people of God who make an impact upon their communities and their world to reach new people in new places through new communities of faith for Jesus Christ!  This event will take place on May 21 at the Annex at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with guest speaker Rev. Shane Bishop.   Registration deadline is May 13.   Cost is $20 per person.  If you would like to register, send your name, mailing address, and email along with a check for $20 made payable to the Iowa Annual Conference to:   Methodist Church, Attn:  Barb Mann, 2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA  50321.

Everyone is invited on Saturday, June 4 from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Come see what Wesley Woods is all about!  Activities for family, kids, and adults.   No cost to attend.   There will be blob, slip-n-slide, swimming, horseback rides, archery, inflatable games, face painting, climbing wall, zip line canoeing, pontoon rides, fishing, wagon tours, and more as well as a free will donation supper, silent auction baskets with the proceeds going toward camperships, and the evening closing with a worship service lead by 2011 Summer staff. 

I want to say a grateful “thank you” for all the cards, telephone calls, and visits I have received while being in the hospital.   They have really been appreciated.   Also, thanks to Rev. Hill and Rev. Riggle for the hospital visits.   How nice to have a great church family.   May God bless each of you.  Lela Todd

Thank you!! MSPS greatly appreciates the support from the Church Family.   Thank you to all that have supported our program this year!!

Thank you to everyone that helped with Good Friday Day Camp!  It was a huge success and the kids had a great time!

The Trustees would like to express our appreciation to Bob and Ryan Hardman of Creative Landscaping for removing the bushes on the north side of the playground and also for their care of the lawn for the church and parsonage! 

The Trustees greatly appreciate MSPS sharing their work with the church with the decorations in the entry and past decorations of WFH.  We have had many positive comments about how inviting it looks, brighten up the entry!

Dear Friends in Mission, Thank you for your generous gifts to United Methodist Committee on Relief, 100% of your contribution will go to Church World Service, Blankets+, Advance #98210 through The Advance, the designated giving channel of the United Methodist Church.  Because you gave, UMCOR is able to “Be there” and “Be Hope” on your behalf.   UMCOR programs provide food for the hungry, help farmers grow plentiful and nutritious food, and support people left destitute by natural disasters and war.   Your gifts go a long way to bring healing and hope to people in need.  We give thanks for your generosity.    UMCOR

Dear friends at Knoxville UMC, Thank you for your faithfulness in Jesus Christ and through your giving 100% in apportionments.  Your faithfulness is really making a difference in this world!  Blessings, Paul M. Smith

Dear friends at Knoxville First, We thank you for your continued support through our apportioned giving at 100%.  We celebrate your faithfulness.  Superintendent, Bill Poland 

Condolences to Joyce Brooks and family on the death of her sister.

Congratulations to Sharon and Jim Young on the birth of their grandson.

If you are upgrading your computer system and have a computer tower with an operating system of XP or newer that you would like to get rid of, please donate it to the church office.

Do you have skill sets that would be helpful to others in your community and would like to share your skills after a disaster, please email disaster.response@iaumc.org with the following information:  Name, skill, where training was received and when, contact information, and availability.  A comprehensive volunteer list will enable the Conference to better target our emails to persons interested in a specific type of service in your district that you might not otherwise know about.  

MAY 2011

John Wesley on the Means of Grace
Henry H. Knight III
JOHN WESLEY WAS FIRMLY COMMITTED to the Protestant principle that salvation is by grace alone.   What he rejected was any depiction of grace where persons were simply passive recipients.   Instead, he saw grace enabling and inviting us into a transforming relationship with God.  We are to be active recipients, responding to God and remaining open to receive all that God offers us. 
       While God is free to meet us in extraordinary ways, Wesley believed God has promised to meet us in the means of grace.   He defined “means of grace” as “outward signs, words, or actions ordained of God, and appointed for this end – to be the ordinary channels whereby he might convey…preventing, justifying, or sanctifying grace” (“Means of Grace,” II.1).  The means of grace are things we do or say that the Holy Spirit uses to enable our growth in the Christian life. 
       In describing means of grace, Wesley frequently distinguished between “works of piety” and “works of mercy.”  Works of piety are those means of grace that have God as their object.   Among these are public and private prayer; the Lord’s Supper; reading, hearing, and meditating on scripture; and Christian conversation.  
       Prayer, said Wesley is “the breath of our spiritual life” (Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, 1 Thess. 5:16).  Just as breathing is necessary to our physical life, so is prayer to our life with God.  
Wesley urged persons to use every opportunity to partake of the Lord’s Supper.  When we come to communion, he said, Jesus Christ “will meet you at his own table”.   ("On Working Out Our Own Salvation," II.4), bringing the very life of God to our souls.
Regarding scripture, Wesley noted that when Paul urges the Colossians to "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" he does not mean it should "make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but to take up its stated residence ... so as to fill and govern the whole soul" (Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, Col. 3:16). Wesley applied this principle to scripture as a whole. As we read it and meditate upon it, God speaks to us through it, it dwells within us, and the word of Christ increasingly gov­erns our hearts and lives.
Whether conferences with preachers, large society meetings, or smaller class and band meetings, Christian conversation was a constant feature of early Methodism. Wesley was convinced that when we talk about what it would mean for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, God will work in our lives to enable us to be more faithful and loving.

Works of mercy have our neighbor as their object. Wesley urged Methodists to do good to all people, to their bodies as well as their souls. In his day, this included feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and those in prison, aiding the stranger, provid­ing education and training, opposing evils such as the slave trade, and healing through medicine and prayer. Wesley insisted that it was not enough to do things for the poor; Methodists should get to know them through developing relationships with them. As they did, God would work through those relationships, and the works of mercy would be a means of grace for both.

It is in these and other means of grace that we find the presence and power of God that transforms our lives, enabling us ever more fully to love God and our neigh­bor as God has loved us.

A Time to Learn about the Means of Grace
Bishop Coyner
many CHURCHES CELEBRATE Confirmation Sunday sometime during the month of May as a part of the fifty-day Easter celebration, so this month is a good time to teach about the means of grace. The Wesleyan perspective on disciples joins other Protestant churches in recognizing two sacraments: baptism and communion. The Protestant Reformation departed from Roman Catholicism by reducing the number of sacraments from seven to the two that the New Testament Jesus "instituted" or commanded. Jesus taught us to "baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," and Jesus taught us when we share the bread and cup and to "do this in remembrance of me."
The United Methodist Church celebrates baptism as the beginning of church membership, and so we baptize children with their parents or guardians profess vows of faith and promising to raise their children in the faith. When children are old enough to go through Confirmation, they become "professing members" who make their own faith promises to Christ and the Church. Persons can be baptized by any of the three uses of water—aspersion (sprinkling), effusion (pouring), or immersion (dunking)—because we understand that it is God's Spirit who baptizes us and not the amount of water. Likewise, in our church we celebrate Holy Communion with open table whereby all who come seeking Christ are welcome. Normally baptism precedes receiving communion, but our church does not require that a person be baptized to receive, and we certainly do not require persons to be members of our church or of any church to receive. We regard both baptism and communion as "mean grace" whereby God reaches out to us and we respond in faith. (For more teaching material about our sacraments, By Water and the Spirit and This Holy Mystery are available as helpful study guides for your church.)
As you confirm youth into the faith, your church will have a teachable moment when you may explain the meaning of our sacraments as "sacred moments" when we believe that God is present in our lives. Confirmation is also a time to teach about the importance of church membership. Although we live in a culture in which many per­sons are reluctant to join institutions, church membership is a statement of faith and intentionality to live a life of Christian discipleship. It is more than just an institu­tional act; it is a declaration of one's commitment to Christ and to the Body of Christ, the Church.
Some churches find that Confirmation Sunday is a time for
every member to recommit themselves to faithful membership and discipleship. As your church wel­comes youth through confirmation or anyone else into membership, emphasize and celebrate the congregational response from the liturgy: "With you we renew our vows to uphold the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service."

No comments:

Post a Comment