Happy Friday! As we approach the first day of May, I read these words in the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles....
"Have faith in the Lord your God and you
will be upheld." (2 Chronicles 20:20)
Carolyn had become active in activities that were not only morally wrong but also dangerous. She wanted to make a change but feared that telling her secret might expose her family to ridicule and shame. To keep the secret was painful -- she needed a friend. In near desperation, she cried out to God, "I've got to talk to someone! Please send me someone I can trust?"
Almost before she finished praying, the doorbell rang. When she opened the door, there stood the mother of one of her closest friends. Carolyn invited her in and almost immediately, she felt comfortable enough to pour out her heart.
Carolyn discovered her newfound friend had gone through similar struggles as a young person. She was able to give Carolyn the insight and courage she needed to regain control of her life. As they prayed together, Carolyn felt a profound sense of peace fill her heart.
God knows all our secrets, our hidden fears, our desperate needs, and even our innermost thoughts. And friends the really Good News is... God loves you anyway! Ask for God's help. Ask God to send you someone who can help you find the answers you need --- answers that will help you, once again, to get your life back on God's track!
Your secret is safe with me. --- GOD
+++ This Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter! That's right... Easter is not just a day... It is a season and a lifestyle! So when we gather at 8:30am and 10:00am each week we celebrate the resurrection once again! Our lectionary text takes us to the 10th chapter of John's Gospel where we will hear about the Good Shepherd. In my message, "Listening and Following the Shepherd's Voice" I'll be telling you a little about the recent Service of Installation for our new Bishop that I was privileged to be a small part of. Of course, we will be "live-streaming" on our Facebook page at 10:00am and then "uploading" the completed worship service to our YouTube channel for your enjoyment. We hope those of you worshipping via the internet are singing loud when we sing the great hymns of our faith! However you are able.... join us for worship on Sunday!
+++ We've been made aware of yet another round of "Phishing" emails reportedly sent to you by me. Rest assured, I will never ask anyone to send me anything via social media. Unfortunately, there are folks with apparently too much time on their hands that seek to prey on others' generosity. Just delete these communications as soon as you receive them. Thanks!
+++ The great Garage Sale is coming up next weekend... May 4, 5, & 6! There will be lots of treasures to be found for sure. Drop off dates, for your treasures, are April 30, May 1 & 2. And thanks to all that have signed up to help so far. We can always use a few more hands... but we are well on our way to being able to offer a great sale for the community that will benefit the ministry of Immanuel. More information is available from Shelley.
+++ Our church Board of Trustees will meet next Wednesday, May 3rd at 4:00pm in the Fireside Room. Please try to attend this important meeting if you are a member of the Board... because many hands always make for light work! Thanks!
+++ Next Sunday, May 7th following the 10:00am worship service we will offer a time of discussion about the current situation within our United Methodist Church denomination. We can fill you in on the history that brought us to this point and can let you know what we know is ahead in the immediate future. And we can try to answer any questions you might have. We will start around 11:00am (unless the preacher is REALLY long winded!) and we hope to relieve some of the fear and anxiety that you might be feeling. We hope all of you with questions will plan on attending!
Make this day a great day and know that God is always ready, willing and able to help us get our lives back on God's track!
What is that old joke about the weather here in central NY? If you don't like the weather..... wait 5 minutes and it will surely change! This sure has been a week of changing weather! And in the midst of all this change, I read these words about the unchanging God we serve...
"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress; be merciful and hear
my prayer". (Psalm 4:1)
After two long days of lying on the ocean floor in their disabled submarine, the sub's crew members received orders from their commanding officer to sing the following hymn:
Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens - Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!
After the hymn had been sung, the commander explained to his men that the hymn was his prayer for them and that he hoped it would hold the same meaning for them as it did for him. He then explained that based on the best information he had, they did not have long to live. There was little or no hope of outside help, because anyone searching for them on the ocean's surface did not even know the vessel's position.
Sedatives were distributed to the men to quiet their nerves. One sailor, overcome at the commander's news, fainted. As he swooned, he fell against a piece of equipment, setting in motion the surfacing mechanism that had been jammed! The submarine rose to the surface safely and soon made port with all hands saved.
If you feel you have hit rock bottom in your life, talk to God about it. God is always listening, and God will surely answer you when you reach out to God for help.
Are you talking to me? --- GOD
+++ On Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Easter, we will worship at 8:30am and 10:00am in our beautiful Sanctuary. Our scripture reading takes us to Luke 24 where we will hear about Jesus' encounter with 2 men on the road to Emmaus. We are told that Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and in my message, "Recognizing the Risen Christ" I'll be thinking about how each of us can also have our minds open to this understanding. We will, of course, continue our "live-streaming" on the church's Facebook page at 10:00am and then "upload" the completed worship to our YouTube channel, as well! So... you have many ways to worship with us on Sunday! Don't forget to bring the kids along as well.... because they will have a great time with Alex in Kidz Club again this week!
+++ Sunday is also our Native American Sunday offering opportunity. This special, second mile giving, allows us to support our 3 native American congregations in our Annual Conference as they do ministry in their communities. Look for the special offering envelopes in the narthex on Sunday! Thanks!
+++ May/June editions of the Upper Room are also available in the narthex, as well. Make sure to pick up your copy soon!
+++ Next week we will celebrate worship at Camillus Ridge Terrace on Monday, 5/24 at 11:00am and then at Summerfield Brookdale on Thursday, 5/27 at 1:00pm. You are invited to join us as we bring worship to our friends in these facilities.
+++ Excitement is building for our spring Garage Sale, taking place on May 4, 5, & 6! Drop off dates for items are on April 30 and May 1 & 2. We appreciate keeping to these dates to allow us to set things up in a timely manner! See Shelley if you'd like to get involved to help or sign up outside the Fireside Room on Sunday morning. Thanks! We have more detailed information about the garage sale at this link.
+++ Did you know that we have 2 groups meeting each week for mission and study? Our Knit and Stitch group has resumed on Monday mornings at 10:00am in the Fireside Room and the Ladies Bible Study Group continues on Tuesday mornings at 10:30am also in the Fireside Room. Both of these groups would love to welcome new members! Just show up this week and be a part of the fun!
+++ As announced last Sunday, we will offer an informational session on the current situation in our United Methodist Church on Sunday, May 7th following our 10:00am worship service. We will meet in the Sanctuary that morning to talk about the past and present situations and try to answer any questions we can about your concerns. Please plan to join us if you would like more information or have questions to ask!
Make this day a great day and remember that God is always listening and ready for a conversation!
On this beautiful, sunny, Friday we find these words in Paul's second letter to the folks in Corinth.....
"My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made
perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Christian author and Holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom, often recounted a conversation she had with her father. Even as a child, Corrie sensed the dangers of Hitler's message of hatred and genocide. They were not Jews, but Corrie knew her family would not stand by silently as their Jewish neighbors and friends disappeared into the night.
Fearing the unspeakable, Corrie asked her father if God would protect them and if so, how. She recalls that her father responded with the following analogy. "If you were taking a trip, Corrie, you would not need your ticket until you arrived at the station ready to board the train. At the very moment you need God's grace, it will be poured out on you, enough to see you through any circumstance."
In the end, the horrors of Nazism did turn Corrie's life upside down and changed it forever. And yet, Corrie often stated that her father's words were true. Each time she faced an impossibly difficult situation, God's grace sustained her with hope and courage.
You may never face circumstances as severe as those Corrie ten Boom endured. But, you may be just as apprehensive about what the future holds. Reach out for God's grace. God promises that God's grace will be there for you when you need it --- every time you need it.
Got grace? --- GOD
+++ Sunday worship is at 8:30am and 10:00am on Sunday. We are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter. That's right.... Easter is a season, a way of life if you will.... not just an individual day! We hope you will gather here, with the rest of the Easter people, for worship on Sunday! I'll be speaking about how God has not forsaken us in my message, "Unlocking the Locked Doors". We will, of course, be "live-streaming" on the church's Facebook page at 10:00am and then "uploading" the completed worship service to our YouTube channel when completed. However you are able, be a part of our worshipping family this Sunday!
+++ On Sunday we will be pausing for a few moments to lift up our Mission Team in prayer... as they are getting ready to "shuffle off to Buffalo" very early on Monday morning. While in Buffalo the group will be working on repairing damage caused by last winter's snow storms at 1st UMC in Buffalo. Thanks for those serving on the team and those supporting the team in prayer as they do the work!
+++ The newsletter deadline for the May-June edition of our church newsletter is coming up on April 20th. Please make sure all newsletter articles are in the office by that day. Thanks!
+++ The great spring GARAGE SALE is coming up on May 4, 5 & 6! Items can be dropped off on April 30, May 1 or 2. See the brightly-colored flyer with important information in church this Sunday. And please sign-up, on the white board outside the Fireside Room to help.
+++ In response to questions generated by last weekend's newspaper article about the current situation in our United Methodist Church, the Administrative Council will offer a time of information sharing and questions and answers on Sunday, May 7th following the 10:00am worship service. We will gather in the Sanctuary, immediately after worship that morning, and try to bring everyone up to date on the current situation, as well as address any questions you might have. Mark the date on your calendars, please, for this important gathering.
Make this day a great day and always rely on God's grace!
As we prepare for a grand Resurrection Celebration on Sunday, here are some life-giving words, from the prophet Malachi....
"I the Lord do not change."
One of the most magnificent truths about God is that God meets us in every moment of prayer with the fullness of God's being. God reveals Himself to us as the great I AM, ever present and available. God brings the fullness of who God is to each moment of our lives. God brings not just a part of Himself but all of Himself - in majesty, power, wisdom, and love.
Our best and highest response to such marvelous access to the fullness of the holy, omnipotent, infinite King of the universe must surely be one of awe. It matters very little what we say. Just to be in God's presence and to simultaneously be aware of God's presence is to be put into a position of humility, need, and provision.
Rousseau once noted, "To write a good love letter, you will begin without knowing what you are going to say and end without knowing what you have said." The same is true, I think, of prayer. Being in God's presence and having a relationship with the Creator is all that really matters.
God wants to reveal Himself to you. Close your eyes and open your heart. Pour out your soul freely. Don't think about what you're going to say. Just relax and renew yourself in God's presence. Friends, God is waiting for you right now.
I was -- I am -- I always will be! --- GOD
+++ On Saturday a new support group, "Coping in Crisis" gathers for the first time in the Fireside Room from 11:00am -1:00pm. This group is directed by Shelly Peters, our own resident Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. See Shelly for more information about this group and the needs the group hopes to meet.
+++ We worship on Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, at both 8:30am and 10:00am. Both services feature special music, instrumentalists and the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. And this week we will meet Mary Magdalene in our worship services! We will get to hear from the first person to experience the Easter miracle! Our 10:00am worship will be "live-streamed" on the church's Facebook page and then the recorded service will be "uploaded" to our YouTube channel, as well. We hope to see you all for worship on Sunday!
+++ At 12:00noon on Sunday we will offer our monthly Service of Healing Prayer and Anointing in the Fireside Room. This intimate time allows for individual prayer and a time of anointing, as we seek God's hand of healing for ourselves and others. If you or someone you know has a need for healing, we hope to see you on Sunday at 12:00noon!
+++ On Tuesday, April 11th we have a bunch of teams meeting to complete their regular work:
--- Our Finance Team meets at 6:00pm in the Fireside Room
--- Our SPRC meets at 6:00pm in the church Nursery
--- Our Administrative Council meets at 7:00pm in the Fireside Room.
If you're a member of one (or more) of these teams please mark your calendars and help us complete the needed business of our church!
+++ Name tags have arrived! If you requested a name tag, please pick it up on the usher's table when you are here again.
Make this day a great day and plan to celebrate the Resurrection with us on Sunday!
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