Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Imagine...

I was listening to "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me and it got me thinking about imagining what we could do if we all gave or if we all took just enough.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and people across the United States will go without food because they can’t afford food. Other people will waste plates and plates of food because “their eyes are bigger than their stomach.” Imagine the number of people we could feed if we just too what we needed from the table. Or, imagine what we could do if we took the money from the left overs and gave that to someone who could truly benefit from the money.

I don’t mean the man begging for alcohol on the street – rather the family scraping to make the rent that doesn’t have extra money for bread and milk each week. Or the single father of 3 children who can’t provide clothes that fit. Or the woman in the battered women’s shelter who is trying to start her life over – free from abuse.

Just imagine what we could do if we all gave.

Just imagine.

This Thanksgiving, I hope and pray that you’ll see the need and give to a charity, shelter, church or the United Methodist Student Day offering. Giving the gift of education to persons who would otherwise be unable is giving the gift of hope and future. They will be forever thankful.

--Tracy Wood, Web Content Coordinator, United Methodist Communications

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Too Much Stuff?

For those of us living in the United States, we’re entering into what is often called “the holiday season.” Like there is a season for holidays, or holy days. As if each day wasn’t holy in its own way.

These days that encompass Thanksgiving and Christmas (and on to New Year’s Day) get lumped together because one launches the shopping season and the others mark it’s conclusion. If you have any money left by the time you reach the end of November, prepare to see it vanish by the time the calendar year comes to a close.

Maybe this was obvious to everyone else, but this year I am struck by the contrast of a day where we celebrate the multitude of blessings we have, giving thanks to God for gracious love and goodness, and before the turkey and pie have been digested and before we have concocted our first configuration of leftovers, we launch into a frenzied attempt to acquire, consume and collect more stuff. At anytime, the sanity of this could be questioned, but the timing here leaves me amazed.

Have you ever heard Eric Bibb’s song, “Too Much Stuff”? It’s a good listen as we get ready for this season of consumption.

Is there any way out of this insanity? Actually there is. On the day after Thanksgiving, stay home, make yourself a sandwich, sit by your computer, and visit the website for The Advance. Have your Christmas list by your side – most of those folks are people who already have too much stuff. Then make donations in their name to United Methodist missions.

· 100% of your gift goes to people in need.
· All of the Advance’s operating expense comes from World Service Fund apportionments.
· Your gift can be acknowledged with an email or you can print out a beautiful card.

You will have done something extremely appropriate for the season that falls between the remembrance of our blessings and the birth of the Savior!

-- Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Communications Ministry, United Methodist Communications

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a call, not a choice

As I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine, Nancy, she was expressing that her vocation of ministry was a call, it wasn't a choice like going into law or medicine or information technology.

And I have to agree with her.

To go into ministry, you have to be called into the field. It's not a vocation that someone goes into for the money or fame. There's a high level of personal satisfaction that has to drive this call, as well as the call from God.

But what if you don't have the call? Is all lost?

Heaven's no. By giving to your church, you're enabling those who have gotten the call to minister with those who are lost. You can help missionaries in Africa spread the news of Christ through an AIDS seminar. Or help in the resconstruction of hope from those who lost everything from Hurricane Katrina.

You can even give online to Special Sundays - including One Great Hour of Sharing, Peace with Justice Sunday and United Methodist Student Day. United Methodist Student Day is November 30, 2008. Your gift truly makes a difference in the lives of students!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More than a drop in a bucket!

What if a five-gallon bucket could provide the help someone needed? What if you could provide that five-gallon bucket? Would you?

The United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) level of flood buckets has fallen dangerously low following the 2008 hurricane season. These buckets are a part of the Sager Brown Depot through the General Board of Global Ministries. The buckets contain supplies such as bleach, sponges and trash bags – all vital to the cleaning up process from a hurricane.

These buckets are vital to those in need and who are trying to recover from the disaster. You can send completed buckets, bulk materials or a monetary donation to purchase supplies.

If you can’t provide a flood buckets, UMCOR also provides other buckets/kits that are in need.