March / April Calendar!!

March – April Calendar

Mustard Tree Meal at First Baptist Church

Thursday – March 12 – 6:00 p.m.  —  Help provide a meal and serve the homeless

Rise Against Hunger

Saturday    March 14    at Hixson UMC Gym  —  Set up – 8:00 a.m. & Packaging – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

We will help package 38,000 meals for countries in need.
Invite family, friends, neighbors……to join us!

Family Promise at Burks UMC

Monday    March 16    5:30 p.m.   —  Provide desserts and help serve homeless families

Sign up in the hallway if you can help.

Family Night Dinner

Wednesday    March 18    6:30 p.m.  —  Enjoy a meal and fellowship together

Men’s Breakfast & Fellowship

Saturday    March 28    8:00 a.m.  —  Hot homemade breakfast and fellowship

See Wayne if you or someone you know has a small need the men’s group can assist with.

Easter Cantata – He Is Worthy

Sunday – April 5 – 5:00 p.m.   —  Choral and Video presentation, Refreshments, and Fellowship

Holy Week Services

Maundy Thursday Service – April 9 – 6:30 p.m. – at Fairview UMC

Good Friday Service – April 10 – 6:30 p.m. – At Grace UMC

Easter Sunrise Service & Breakfast – April 12 – at Grace UMC

Easter Sunday Worship – April 12 – 11:00 a.m. at Fairview UMC

Pastor’s Corner – March

Gleanings… March 2020

Why?  Though it has been several years, I can still hear that question coming from my son.  It was his response to any and everything I said during his early years.  Nothing was too powerful or too lame to be challenged with this one-word question.  In some ways, I suppose it was good for me to have to struggle with justifications or expansions on what I had just said, but after a while, it would wear me down to where I could only respond with “Because.”  Interestingly, that question has a lot to teach us about the struggles that the church (any church) is going through.

Think about it for a moment.  When was the last time you thought about why you do certain things with your time?  Everyone has the same amount of time; it is just that we choose to use it in different ways.  This is particularly true when it comes to deciding how to serve God and work to further the Gospel in our daily lives.  Many of us have long practices of attending worship, reading the Bible, praying, sharing out of our gifts, volunteering, and living as we believe a disciple should live.  But if you had to explain or justify your words, thoughts, and actions, what would you say?

Suppose you invited someone (a non-Christian) to attend worship with you one Sunday.  What would you say that would convince that person to go with you?  Now, expand upon that event to include any activity that has a religious connection.  Who, what, when, where, and how are easily answered, but “why” does not so readily spring from our lips.  All of you have chosen to attend this church.  When you can answer why you worship here and not somewhere else, you have the beginnings of an answer to the questions of others.

In this way, the question “Why?” is a blessing to us.  Only by looking intently at why we do the things we do are we able to offer another person the help we have received, the healing we have known, and the hope that sustains us through every trial.  These are the gifts of God to creation.  Nowhere has it been written, and no one has ever said that we would be able to do everything and know everything so as to avoid hard times in our lives.  Instead, the message is that if we will look to the creator, the redeemer, and the sustainer, we will have all we need.  Why?  Because God loves you.  And that is something I believe the world

wants to hear.  See you Sunday.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Braxton ><>

Pastor’s Corner – February

Gleanings…                                                                                                                                                     February 2020

I am not sure where this is going, but the question I have before me today is simple and complex at the same time.  I am wondering how far am I willing to go to help someone else?  Would I buy them food or cook them meals?  Would I arrange for lodging at a motel, hotel, or extended stay facility or would I welcome them into my home?  How much would I donate if they were experiencing a lack of money for any reason: sickness, loss of job, or natural disaster to name a few.  Like many I expect my answer would be that it depends on who it is whether family, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, someone who looks like they could pay me back, or other.  Maybe this question is tougher than I thought.

We are surrounded every day by people who are experiencing a “hard stretch of road.”  Some are easy to see while others do a good job of hiding their issues, but the needs are there.  We have, as a caring society, established programs, facilities, agencies, and relief organizations to help others.  Our nation provides a minimum of security through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, FEMA, and, I am sure, others.  Each of these can help because the population of citizens in this country is willing to be taxed to support them.  At the same time, religious institutions and relief agencies support relief efforts to assist when the need arises.

Added to these visible efforts are a multitude of organizations who facilitate the work of mission teams around the world.  Youth groups, family groups, mission teams, and medical teams go into the world every year to provide what care and help they can.  The number of people who participate is staggering.  The amount of money that goes to support their efforts is overwhelming.  And year after year the work goes on because the need is constantly before us.

Now, back to the original question of how much I am willing to do to help.  Do you realize that your church is one of those organizations that facilitate the efforts of helping others in emergencies, crises, and disasters?  Because of our locations, we can provide needed resources to our communities.  Because we are part of a district in Holston Conference, we can support agencies that help with medical care, nutrition, after school care, summer camp, and others.  Because we are part of the Holston Conference, we can offer homes for children with no home or family, care facilities for the aged and infirm, and send missionaries to teach, help, and heal in many parts of our world.  Now multiply all of that by the number of Annual Conferences around the world.  What you do through your church truly has global consequences.

And so, I want to start by saying, “well done.”  You are making a difference through your support of your church.  At the same time, we could be doing more.  The opportunity to help others grows with the number of disasters and emergencies that occur every day, every year.  When we give to support our church, we participate in efforts to help others both at home and abroad.  By choosing to support these efforts, we model the mercy and compassion of God to others.  By modeling God’s mercy and compassion, we say “thank you” to God for God’s grace toward us.  We are blessed because we have blessed others.

This year as you consider your support of your church, think about the ways you are helping others.  As members of The United Methodist Church, we commit to support it through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.  May God lead you in discovering how you can grow your support that the Kingdom of God may come upon the earth.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Braxton ><>

Lent 2020!

Come join us for the many things happening during Lent this year!!

Ash Wednesday Service  –  February 26 – 6:00 p.m.  We will begin our Lenten journey of renewal with this special service.

“Renewed by Living Water” – Lent Daily Devotion Book  –  This year’s theme celebrates individual experiences of God’s love and power flowing in, through, and over us by sharing stories that demonstrate His power to bring renewal in each and every persons’ lives no matter the circumstances.  We invite you to pick up your copy at church this Sunday!

Soup & Salad Lunch – Sharing with Others – Sunday, March 1, 11:00 a.m. worship and 12:00 p,m, lunch  All are welcome!  We will begin Lent by sharing a meal together and then sharing this meal with home bound folks and others who are in need of help and encouragement.

The Birth of Jesus

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord

Luke 2:1-15

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

Join us for Advent!

Advent Services and Fellowship

Hanging of the Greens Service

Sunday     December 1     11:00 a.m.

Choral Christmas Program

Sunday     December 8     5:00 p.m.

Caroling, Hymns, Choir and Special Music

Refreshments following the service

Christmas Family Night Dinner

Wednesday     December 18     6:30 p.m.

Covered Dish Dinner, Caroling, and Santa Visits

Christmas Eve Service at Grace UMC

Tuesday     December 24     5:00 & 11:00 p.m.

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Advent Sermon Series – Journey into Advent

Sunday Worship Service at 11:00 a.m.

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Christmas Outreach

Union Gospel Mission

Collecting donations from Wish list located at each entrance.

John Calvin Christmas Party

Monday     December 9     5:30 p.m.

Music with Edwin Hixson, Food, Fun, and Fellowship

Family Promise at Burks UMC

Monday     December 16     6:00 p.m.

Provide desserts and fellowship with homeless families

Pastor’s Corner – November

Gleanings…

At a party the other night I watched an eight-month-old make his way around the room.  Pretty much anywhere he wanted to go was attainable so long as momma and daddy were not watching.  Pulling himself up on the coffee table or any of the chairs only added to the number of things he could get into, and that meant all of us had to be vigilant.  As I watched, I marveled at the drive he exhibited.  Nothing, until he tired himself out, was able to slow him down.  He just went and went.

One thing that most people have difficulty accepting is the lack of mobility that can come with old age and/or illness.  No matter who we are, where we live, or how old we are we like the ability to go when we want to and where we want to.  It seems there is nothing harder to impose on someone than restrictions on their ability to move about freely.  Do you think that our desire to move about is part of God’s plan for our lives?

Without doing any great research, I cannot think of a single animate creature that lacks the ability to move about.  That thought leads me to believe that we are born to move whether we swim, walk, fly, slither, or ooze along.  And, if we were made to move about, why do some stop?  Let’s chase that for a minute.

If we are able to move and we accept that this is how we were created, not moving seems to be a denial of who we are.  Now, I’m not talking about anything that finds one spot and never leaves it much as sponges and corals do.  No, I am referring to people who cease moving out into the world where they can experience new relationships.  When we form new relationships with the world around us, we are changed and we help to change others.  Without the action of change in our lives, we lose our reason for living.

Following this thread a little farther, if we are to grow as a result of moving about, we would likely benefit from having something to guide us.  Maps are useful for moving about geographically, but what guides us in our thoughts and beliefs?  Most of us might answer that it is very helpful to have one or more guides for any journey, whether of changing our physical location of moving about in our thinking.  Setting aside helps for physical movement, who do you rely on to guide your spiritual journey?

Stating that Jesus is our guide brings us full circle to the place where we connect the one who created us with the ability to move to the one who calls us to follow his directions.  I like the idea that it’s all part of the plan—we are created to move and find that our best guide is the one who created us.

So, where is Jesus calling you to go?  Accepting Jesus as Lord puts us on the path of discipleship.  Then, as we grow more and more into his likeness, we move into the role of apostle that we might bear Good News into the world.  This, I believe, affirms that we are to keep moving as we are able, never minding the road conditions.  Jesus needs us constantly moving so that we carry his mercy, compassion, and forgiveness (his love!) to our sisters and brothers everywhere.  And the best part is that Jesus is always on the road with us,

Blessings,

Pastor Braxton ><>