Monday, October 29, 2012

Want to inspire your kids or grand kids?

  • During the season of Thanksgiving, find a time each day to “give thanks” for the blessings you've eceived. Have each person in your family (or at your lunch table at school or work) share something they are thankful for in the last 24 hours. You decide how often to do it – every day, every other day, every time you have a family meal with those who define “family” for you.
  • This year Thanksgiving is on November 22nd, and of course Christmas Day is December 25th. Why not use these 50 days of preparation as a time of Thanksgiving for the gift of Christ’s love? The money given to support the missions and ministries of our church world-wide, or our “apportionments,” total approximately $100 per member.
  • Put a special bowl in a prominent spot in your house. Ask the children in your life, “How can we save $2.00 a day this holiday season, to give thanks for all the blessings we’ve received?” Then save the money each day, and put it in an envelope marked “apportionments” when you’re ready to place it in the offering plate at your church.

The apportionments are actually mission giving that strengthens the whole church. For this small sum of money, we are able to do amazing ministry in our communities, our state, our nation, and our world. For more information on apportionments, go to

--Wisconsin UM Foundation, WI Ann Conf

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, October 22, 2012

Forgive My Heart

You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right
before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that
he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see
that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.
-- Acts 8: 21-23 (NIV)
Then Peter came and said to him, 'Lord, if another member of the 
church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?' 
Jesus said to him, 'Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.  

-- Matthew 18: 21-22 (NRSV)

When I was younger, I was in an armed robbery. The robbers put me on the floor; they used duct tape, bound me, left me on the floor and threatened to kill me. The trauma from this robbery stays with me to this very day. After many years, I was asked to participate in Kairos' Prison Ministry, which brings the love of Christ to incarcerated men and women. At first, I resisted going; I was not prepared. How could I go to prison? Would I see the robbers in prison? As I searched my heart, I found the anger, bitterness, and hatred for the robbers. I wanted revenge. I couldn't go into this ministry with my heart so cold. Could I get my heart right?

God started asking me questions. Did I want the robbers to die? No. Did I want the robbers to go to hell? No. How could I claim to be a Christian and have those thoughts?

As a Christian, I am a human and I have lots of thoughts I shouldn't. God is still working on me and I'm not perfect, but a work in progress. Could I give my issues to God and let him heal me? Yes, but it was a struggle to give my anger, bitterness, and hatred to God, so he could heal me. If God could heal me, could he also heal the robbers? Yes, he could.

Did I want the robbers to know the love of God? Absolutely! Did I want the robbers to know God's forgiveness? This question is something I tussled with.

God's grace was big enough to forgive sins, but that meant my sins. God has forgiven me, why would I want to selfishly keep his forgiveness to myself? I found I didn't want to keep his forgiveness to myself. With each question and answer, God was changing my heart, and I began to feel the joy of sharing Christ's love with others regardless of the circumstances and I had to let go of what had happened to me. I was a little nervous as we entered the prison, but I knew the love of Christ would out shine my nervousness

-- Robin Claris, MS Ann Conf

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, October 15, 2012

Theology of capitalism: Entrepreneurs and Money-Changers

The entrepreneurs who represent the best of capitalism are very different from the money-changers who represent its worst, writes the Rev. Morgan Guyton, associate pastor of Burke United Methodist Church, in the Huffington Post. He challenges Christians to embrace a more entrepreneurial spirit while criticizing the darker side of capitalism.

Read complete blog post.

NOTE: Thoughts are not necessarily those of but this is a thought provoking blog.

God Is Still In Control! 

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, October 8, 2012

Memorizing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

There are two books that will change your life. Neither of them is on the current Top Ten Best Seller List. You will not see their authors parading through television talk shows promoting their writing.  
There two books to which I refer are The Bible and the hymnbook. They should be mainstays in every library. There are many versions and variations and all are invaluable.

I have found that memorizing the words of hymns has served a purpose. It is one thing to sing the words from the printed page or projected on the screen as you worship with others, but you cannot always have the words before you when you are alone. If you have memorized the words you can sing them in the dead of night and as you drive down the highway.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been faced with temptation and from somewhere deep within my subconscious I have heard the words: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.” Although this song, Come Thou Fount, was written over 300 years ago it is powerful today.

At times when I have wondered if God had abandoned me or was not interested in my circumstances I have found myself singing, sometimes silently and sometimes aloud, “Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” or my spirit responds, “Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side” from the song written by Katharina A. von Schlegel.

When I am challenged to allow my mind and body to become something other than what God intended, the melody and the words of the contemporary song by Jesse Dixon spring forth: “Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I'll be a living sanctuary for you.”

When I feel alone and friendless I hear “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own.”  When it appears that the whole world is against me, that beloved hymn Amazing Grace pops into my mind and mouth: “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; 'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.”

My musical memory bank is one of my most treasured possessions. The list of songs of faith that have buoyed my spirit and anchored my life is extensive. I cannot recall them all and do not have time and space to recount them if I could. But I have committed them to memory and God brings them to my consciousness when they are needed.

I commend the practice of memorizing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” I promise they will be valuable resources to you. This Lenten season would be a good time to begin that discipline.

Pastor Jamie Jenkins, North GA Ann Conf.

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

Monday, October 1, 2012

The God we love and serve never changes

When I was in my early teens, I read the award-winning novel, The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck. The author was the daughter of missionaries to China. She lived in China from the time of her birth in 1892 until the 1934 uprising.  Her novel, about a poor Chinese family’s struggle to survive, opened up a world of Asian culture that was completely foreign to this South Alabama native.

After reading the book, I was convinced God was calling me to be a missionary to China. I realize now this was not God calling, but me wanting to experience something new and different. I really did want to serve God in some way, but being a missionary to China was more about me having an adventure than doing the will of God.

I now find it amusing to think I wanted to go to China as a missionary over fifty years ago.  During my 43 years of marriage to an itinerant United Methodist Minister, I have had a difficult time making a move across the state of Georgia or the city of Atlanta. Looking back, I wonder how I would have survived a move across the world to China.

The young girl who wanted to leave Mobile for change and adventure grew into an adult woman who loves to travel to foreign places … but who desires the stability of living in the same home and community. 

Change is agonizing for me. Being forced out of my comfort zone by moving to a new church and into a new community has always proved to make me anxious and incredibly sad. Leaving people who have become family is like being pulled from the ground with your roots exposed to the harsh elements.

This is where the goodness and grace of God comes in. I leave one place feeling like my roots are raw and bleeding. In the midst of a difficult transition, God helps me put those roots in the new soil, and with time and healing, find a new place to learn and grow. Every move that was so traumatic ended up being a blessing. God has been faithful.

Whether you are moving on up—moving on out—or just moving—I hope you will move with the knowledge that God is with you. God does care when you are scared, sad, or angry over the changes that are so much a part of our life and our world.

--excerpt from a story by Lena Jenkins, North GA Ann Conf

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer