Devotionals
Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - December 2, 2016

Christmas brings lots of traditions....many of which involve decorations. We put up lights. We put up trees. We put up nativities. We put up wreaths. We put out special Christmas dishes. We put up all kinds of things to signal the season and celebrate the coming of Christ. But often we do those things for ourselves. We do them inside, but are we bothering to do anything outside? Ok, maybe a few strands of lights at the house, but what about the church? Would someone who doesn't attend have any idea of the festivities inside based on what has changed during Advent?

 

What is it that tells the world Jesus is coming? We could put lights on the outside of the church and pretend it's the lights and the ornaments and the decorations...but that actually only highlights what people already know (culturally, that is, Christmas is a time of shopping, baking, and decorating). But, as Christians, Christmas is meant to be more than what the culture knows. Christmas is about the indwelling of Emmanuel—God with us. We're called to celebrate Christmas over and again, not just to remember (though that's certainly part of it) that God came once, but to know and share that God is Emmanuel every day, not just on that one day.

 

 

As people called to follow and imitate Christ, God is with us. And, for many, we become the "only Christ they will know." We aren't just supposed to wait for him to do something. But we are called to be do-ers of the Word who live like Christ and share his gifts with others. in many ways, we are invited to give rise to the Kingdom of God here on earth.

 

 

So, the question becomes, how are we doing that? How are we a living example of what Christ has done, but also what he is doing, and will do in the future? Are our lives a proclamation of the Good News? Do people feel the love of Christ when they are with us? Do they feel known and accepted for who they are? Loved? Appreciated? Not just the people who know us and love us, but the strangers and the outsiders. How do they encounter us? What about our witness tells them that Jesus is coming and that's a good thing?

 

 

I've been encouraged by the outpouring of jackets, coats, and blankets for those living on the street in Spokane—that's a living witness to Jesus' generosity. The gifts you are getting for Christmas for Kids will tell children they are important, valued, and loved. The cards you will send and the cookies you will make tell people they are remembered and cherished. Each of those things are a living witness. God is with us in those places. And God has the potential to be even more present in our lives and in our witness. It doesn't have to involve spending money or giving tangible gifts. It also involves time, care, inclusion, and intentionality.

 

Christmas is just 3 weeks away. That time may go quickly, but it will provide plenty of moments in which we can show grace, love, and kindness that mimics Christ. Will people know Christ through you?

 

 

In Christ
Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - November 26, 2016

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Happy New Year!!

 

Ok, so it's not quite the new year just yet, it actually starts tomorrow. No, I haven't lost my mind. The Christian calendar actually starts with Advent, which begins tomorrow. Our new beginning starts with looking forward to what God will do in our lives. It means waiting for God to be in our midst and imagining what difference that would make in stirring hope, offering comfort, giving rise to justice, and celebrating God's good gifts.

 

For some of us, these next 4 weeks will go all too quickly. They'll be a flurry of events, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, and doing. Many of us will see many of our hopes for the season slip through the cracks...we may or may not get all the lights up, or the Christmas dishes out, or all the presents sent on time, or the food cooked just the way ______ (grandma, dad, auntie, sister, or mom) did. Others of us will push through the days, wishing they would only go by faster. For some, instead of great cheer, the holidays tend to bring the cold and darkness of the days into the corners of our hearts and we pray it would all move quickly.

 

Whatever the case may be for you in this season, please know we are here and wanting to share it with you (both the joys and the hardships). And I truly believe in the amazing presence of God because of the incarnation. May God bless us to see and experience God in the midst of the craziness, the busyness, the joyful times, the frustrating family times, and the hardest times. And may we live out the incarnation of God with us as we seek to be present and loving with others.

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

Pastor Debbies, E-Spire - Nov 9, 2016

Arriving at church early on October 30 for Sunday School, I caught one of our regular visitors outside on his knees. He was cleaning the outside windows of Epworth Hall, attempting to remove hard water deposits from the glass. We joked about how appropriate it was to be on one's knees at church, and that maybe I should also join him. After worship that day, I told him how his selfless act of voluntary service had moved me. In these next few weeks of our stewardship drive, we are being asked to consider how we can give our prayers, presence, and service, as well as gifts, to this beloved church.

Thanks to our regular visitor, the outside windows of Epworth are clean. So what else can we do? The following ideas cost little or no money.
---Come for worship, Sunday School, and youth activities.
---Listen to the joys and concerns during worship. Send a Grace Notes card, or an email to those who need our care. Pray for concerns during the week.
---Become part of our famous music program. More bell ringers or choir members would make director Andy's day!
---Add your voice and instrument to the 5th Sunday Praise Band, or weekly service.
---There are many ways to become involved with the children and youth in nursery care, Sunday School, activity time, and youth activities. At the least, study our pictorial directory and try to learn the names of the young people in our congregation.
---Food offerings for coffee hour and receptions DO NOT have to be home made. Most of us could provide fresh fruit, cheese, crackers, or nuts.
---Learn how to operate the kitchen dish washer and coffee makers. Volunteer your help with big dinners and receptions. Strong men are especially needed and appreciated!
---Add your muscles and a few hours of time to the Trustee Work Days. Coffee and donuts are free!
---Support Family Promise however you can.
---Join Grace Notes for creative card making and talk therapy.
---Come to the annual Charge Conference meeting with our district superintendent. This is NOT a LONG, or BORING, meeting!
---Practice being welcoming to new faces! Even the most shy among us can say, "Thank you for worshiping with us today."
---Pray for Pastor Debbie. Ask her if there is something you could do to ease her load.

None of these ideas are new or original, but each is a way to contribute to our life at FUMC with our prayers, presence, and service. Listen for God's call.

Respectfully, Karen Johnson

 

This Sunday we will be talking about identifying our spiritual gifts and serving in the church (in a variety of ways).

We'd love for you to do a spiritual gifts assessment to (re)identify your personal gifts. Here are a couple of websites that provide an easy test (50-70 questions that are pretty easy...I did mine in less than 5 minutes).

http://giftstest.com/test

http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/tests (this one even has a gifts test designed specifically for youth!)

(and if you're up for it, feel free to send a copy of your results to pastor Debbie!) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you would rather take a printed test, we will have a handful of booklets available on Sunday morning.

 

 

In Christ

Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - November 4, 2016

This was a written by a friend of mine from seminary, Rev. Andy Woodworth. He and his wife are doing a new church plant in Atlanta.

I found his thoughts both insightful and helpful.

See you Sunday for All Saints' Sunday, Communion, and Week 2 of our Stewardship Series: The Gift of Church

By: Rev. Andy Woodworth

I think that I have shared this story with some of you, but it bears repeating. When I was 6, my family had begun attending a United Methodist Church in Grant Park named St. Paul. In October of 1985, there was an electrical fire in St. Paul's education building that destroyed all three floors of that part of the church facility. I remember the smell of the burned building and the sights and sounds of the charred walls and floors. I also remember the way that the pastor, Lee Ramsey and his wife (and functional co-pastor) Mary Leslie were with our church in honest and authentic ways - crying over our loss as a community with us, and also helping the church to see itself differently.

Even as a six year old, I was included in what the church was becoming. We kids were taught a song called I am the Church - #558 in your United Methodist hymnal - a song that echoes for me in my deepest places even now as we undertake our adventure together:

The church is not a building,
the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place,
the church is a people.

I am the church!
You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus, all around the world!
Yes, we're the church together!

Our work together is to build a church - not a building, not a physical facility that has all the newest technology or the most comfortable meeting spaces. Our work is to build a church - an interconnected fabric of relationships between real people and our real God. We are building a church - built one relationship at a time, over coffee, around dinner tables, at playgrounds and ball fields; we are connecting people new and old alike into a community of faith and action; we are growing as Patty Griffin says "kindness in our hearts for all the strangers among us, until there are no strangers anymore." I am the church, you are the church - we are the church together - because the church is a people linked together with love by the grace of God.

If we have a building, it is because it facilitates our meeting and knowing one another; if we have a steeple it is because it reminds us to look up from our lives and notice God at work among us; if we are a resting place, it is because the world is busy and God knows we need rest regularly. But church is not these things - the church is the people living a grace-filled relationship with God, and trying with everything they've got to reach out with the same grace to other imperfect humans.

Ask for God's help to unite us together as we seek to follow Jesus and build a church. I am the church. You are the church. Yes - we are the church together!

 

In Christ,

Pastor Debbie

 

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Pastor Debbie E-Spire - October 21, 2016

When I was in seminary, a friend invited me to go with her to serve a hot meal to the homeless. We got up early one morning, shared a meal with folks downtown who had spent the night on the street and then we went to a different room to hand out hats, dry socks, and toiletry items.

If someone asked for a beanie, I randomly gave them one. One man said he didn't want the random one I had pulled, instead he wanted one of a different color. In my head, I sort of balked at his request thinking "beggars can't be choosers" but I gave him the hat anyway.

 

As we finished distributing items, my thoughts gnawed at me. It was just a hat and we had plenty, what did it matter to me if he chose blue over grey? Why had I been so harsh in my mind? After all the guests had left, the workers sat down for reflection and devotion and I confessed my hard-hearted thoughts. It hurt me that I had been so harsh (even if I didn't say it out-loud) to someone who had spent the night on the cold wet streets of Atlanta and simply wanted a different colored hat.

 

After our breakfast volunteering, my friend Jessie and I returned weekly for an evening meal and then "foot clinic" where we washed people's feet, cutting out corns, scrapping away calluses, massaging their feet, lotioning them and then giving them clean dry socks. It was beautiful and challenging all at the same time. And I learned a lot as I heard stories from those (mostly) men. I learned to see them as people and not problems. I tried to learned the nuances of their struggles and the challenges of living on the street.

 

Throughout my years of ministry, I have worked with and encountered hundreds of people who have spent the night or lived on the street. I have shared meals, opened the showers, given clothes, distributed Bibles, offered a bottle of water or a granola bar, taken people to the bus depot, or arranged for a night in a hotel. And I've heard many many stories of trials, job losses, family disputes, and battles with addiction.

 

The issues that lead to homelessness are often complex and the solutions take time. The churches I have served have faced various challenges in offering a place of sanctuary and grace. Which is why I am so grateful to partner with an agency like Family Promise. I worked with them for 2 years in Valencia and now again in Moscow. I am so appreciative of the ways they recognize the need in our community and equip lay volunteers to serve our neighbors in need. It is a gift to work with people who care and who have a functioning structure and true accountability in their program.

 

This Sunday we will begin our Fall week of hosting the families that are currently in the Family Promise Program. It is an opportunity for us to share a meal, to help with kids (for parents who don't really get a break or have a simple "play room" where they can leave their kids while they cook dinner, or read a book, or make a phone call....when you're a parent on the streets, or even in the FP program, you are always "on"), to be a safe person to talk with, or simply be a presence in a warm place for them to stay.

 

In Christ,
Pastor Debbie

 

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

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