60Pastor's Corner https://blog.fcc-wr.orgFri, 20 Dec 2013 18:27:56 GMTFri, 20 Dec 2013 18:27:56 GMTenFirst Christian Church of Warner RobinsFCC-WRFCC-WRpastor@fcc-wr.orgnoPastor's Corner - December 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/12/01/pastors-corner---november-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT>I am writing this article the week before Thanksgiving.  We already have a growing collection of food stuffs for the food pantry with another Sunday to go.  We will be able to provide a very good boost to assist feeding the people in our community.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">Now we look to the Christmas season and the opportunity to help others.  Once again, we will work with Heifer International to provide gifts that will not only help feed a family, but provide a source of income for the future.  Heifer International provides livestock, such as camels, llamas, heifers, sheep, and goats.  They also offer ducks and geese, chickens and rabbits, trees and bees.  People in need of water pumps or who want to start a fish farm can be given what they need.  You can check out the Heifer International at </FONT><A href="https://www.heifer.org"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">www.heifer.org</FONT></A><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">If you want to make a gift of a future for a family, just put a check in the offering plate or in the mail made out with FCC and Heifer on the memo line.  Over the past couple of years we have provided heifers, llamas, chickens, rabbits, bees and trees.  Let’s see what we can provide this year.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">We will also continue to assist the food bank by collecting food.  Demands at the local food pantries are up.  More people are in need of food assistance, and we can provide help during the Christmas holiday.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">We as a society can be easily swept up in the press to buy and buy until we overspend and find ourselves paying bills for months after all the decorations are stored away until next year.  But the focus of gift giving stems from the Magi who gave gifts to the infant Jesus.  When we give a gift, we should strive to give something that has meaning, not only to the person, but also represents our love for that person.  Some of the best gifts are the gifts that have been created, or made by the giver.  The gift creates a memory that can survive long after the gift has been given.  Remember the gifts that your children gave you.  How many do you still have?  We still have pencil holders, and recipe card holders, and sculptures, and handprints in plaster.  We love and appreciate all the gifts that are given to us, but there are always the special ones that become treasures.  This is how we should approach gift giving.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/12/01/pastors-corner---november-2013.aspx#Commentsc62c5491-ccf8-489d-9521-94d4384f9154Sun, 01 Dec 2013 13:58:43 GMTPastor's Corner - November 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/11/01/pastors-corner---2013-november.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px"> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT>According to history, most first settlements in the New World survived the first winter with the help of the local inhabitants of this continent.  From Plymouth Rock to Jamestown, people shared food and taught the foreigners how to survive in this strange new land.  Unfortunately, we didn’t always repay that kindness with gratitude and support.</P> <P>One thing that is necessary for all of us to learn is that we are all interconnected.  We do not survive and succeed as individuals!  We need each other, and we need many people, whom we do not even realize have made a contribution to our growth and development.  We all have neighbors, teachers, church family, parents and extended family who contributed to our growth.</P> <P>God created each of us to be an important part of the complete creation.  We are interconnected.  No one is disposable.  We need, as Children of God, to reject the individualism that is prominent in modern society today for the Community mindset which is described in our faith tradition.</P> <P>Now that we are in the month of November, we will look for the family gatherings around the Thanksgiving table.  We will travel, prepare a great meal that has all the foods of our tradition.  We will tell stories, play and relax together.  But I ask you to do something more to truly celebrate Thanksgiving.  Remember the families that will not have a feast for Thanksgiving, the people who may wonder how they will even have a meal on Thanksgiving.</P> <P>In the past we have found a family to help.  This year let us see how much food we can gather to give to the food pantry.  Maybe we can help feed many people.  We all remember the story of the little boy with five fish and two loaves who offered them to Jesus who used them to feed a multitude.  Every Sunday we take a loaf and a cup and feed the congregation.  Starting the first Sunday of November, let’s build a mountain of food in front of the Communion Table to feed a multitude of people in our community.  We shouldn’t stop there.  </P> <P>One month after Thanksgiving is Christmas.  We need to do it again.  We can also expand our reach to the entire world by raising money for cows, sheep, bees, ducks and trees through Heifer International.  We can not only collect food for local needs that will provide short term help, but through Heifer International, we can once again provide long term support.</P> <P>Maybe this year we can be some of the unseen brothers and sisters who help someone else reach the next step in their life.  Let us be a real part of the One Family, God’s Family.</P> <P>Shalom,  <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/11/01/pastors-corner---2013-november.aspx#Comments2b50b903-e4f8-45eb-8d46-4a52bde935a4Fri, 01 Nov 2013 05:00:00 GMTPastor's Corner - October 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/10/01/pastors-corner---october-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P>You are being invited to get involved in a new Cancer Prevention Study.  The study seeks people between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer).  This study will demand little of your time but may assist in finding answers to the causes and sources of cancer.  The enrollment requires completion of an informed consent form, a brief written survey, provide waist circumference measurement and a small blood sample.  A certified, trained phlebotomist will collect the blood.  Then, after you get home you will be asked to complete a more detailed survey regarding lifestyle, behavior, and other factors related to your health.  This is a very long term study and thus you will receive periodic surveys at home to complete and update your history.  For information in Houston County, visit <A href="https://www.cps3houstonga.org">www.cps3houstonga.org</A>.  Elsewhere in the country (this is open to everyone) go to <A href="https://www.cancer.org/cps3">www.cancer.org/cps3</A> or call 888-604-5888.  Let us give a small amount of our blood and a small amount of our time to defeat cancer.</P> <P>The Children’s Christian Fellowship, Chi Rho, and Christian Youth Fellowship are involved in a fund raising project.  They are participating in the Belk Charity Day Sale.  For $5.00, you can purchase a coupon that gives you $5 off at their Charity Day Sale (it is said to rival the Black Friday discounts).  The children and youth get to keep the money.  Therefore, you have made a donation to the children’s and youth ministries of our church and receive a discount for this sale.  On Nov. 9, Belk’s will be open from 6-10 a.m.  You cannot get into the store without a coupon!  I heard the groans when you read the times for the sale.  You may purchase items at  sale prices prior to the actual sale starting on Oct.18-Nov. 8.  They will hold your items until Nov. 9 when you may come and pick them up during regular store hours.  Belk will even hold your purchases for 2 weeks after Nov. 9.  You may also buy several items and use a coupon for each.  Each purchase will be rung separately.  The children and youth receive your support and you get to take part in a fantastic sale at any Belk store in the country (and online for the hours of the sale).  See any youth, adult volunteer or contact the pastor or church to get coupons.</P> <P>The church has many permanent funds.  Each month there will be two tracked in the Sunday worship bulletin.  During October, we will focus on the Computer Fund and the Property Repair and Replacement Fund.  The Computer Fund provides for our computer needs, including a desk top computer, two laptops, and the printer/copier.  If you have looked at the costs of computers recently, you are aware of their costs.  The new copier/printer provides the church with a tool that produces about 1700 copies per month.  Therefore, the church cannot use the same type of printer/copier you would have at home.  We seldom think about this fund until something needs to be replaced, and as we have done this summer, exceeded the amount in the fund to buy a new printer/copier.</P> <P>The Property Repair and Replacement Fund is self-explanatory.  This is also a fund that is not thought about until it is needed.  Look around the church at all the items that might need to be repaired or replaced.  When you are able, or wish to make a special gift, remember these two funds.</P> <P>The Regional Assembly for GA will be Nov. 15-16, 2013 at First Christian Church, Lawrenceville, GA.  Dr. Rick Morse, Vice President of Mission Initiatives at Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation of Church Extension will be the speaker on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.  Dr. Stan Saunders, associate professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur will lead the Bible Study.  Friday night there will be a special dinner celebrating 50 years of Camp Christian.  There will be a FUNderful Day for children and a Lock-In (With a Purpose) for Chi Rho and CYF.  It is a great time to meet others from around the region, get to know church leaders, and have fun and worship, Registration forms are available at the church or on-line at <A href="https://www.gadisciples.org">www.gadisciples.org</A>.</P> <P>During October, we will celebrate the Children’s Sabbath.  This special period that begins with 40 days of prayer for children, challenges all of us to discover how many children are at risk, not only in our community, but around the world.  We always have a strong reaction when we read or hear on the news of children put at risk of suffering.  One of the reasons our congregation got involved in Family Promise was the concern for homeless children, and the need for some kind of stability in their lives.</P> <P>During this month, talk to the Board of Education and find out the number of children receiving food assistance, the number who may come from harsh conditions, the number of children who probably will not graduate from high school.  Contact the Department of Children’s and Family Service and ask how many cases of abuse they deal with each month in Houston County or in the county in which you live.  Ask about the number of children who are in foster care or need to be in foster care.  Go online and research the number of children in GA who go to bed hungry.  Then check for the number nationally and globally.  The answers you discover should make you very uncomfortable.  They should disturb you greatly.</P> <P>Now that you are totally depressed, what can be done about this problem?  First, Pray!  Ask God to guide you in being of help.  Ask God to look after the little ones.  Second, when God gives you a way to help, do so.  Volunteer for tutoring at schools, volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister.  Volunteer at food banks and any place that helps children and teens.  Third, pay attention to the impact of laws in our community, state and nation that will have major negative impacts on the most at risk children.  Speak out to your representatives about your concerns.</P> <P>Finally, don’t do this only for the month of October.  Make it something to which you regularly pay attention.  Become an advocate for protecting children globally.  Remember Jesus challenged Peter to show his love by feeding his sheep and his LAMBS.</P> <P>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/10/01/pastors-corner---october-2013.aspx#Comments190ee315-74a4-4fd6-9808-66caea47a101Tue, 01 Oct 2013 05:00:00 GMTPastor's Corner - September 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/09/02/pastors-corner---september-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT>In August I finished <U>A Child’s Walk in the Wilderness:  An 8-Year-Old Boy and His Father Take on the Appalachian Trail</U> by Paul Molyneaux.  It relates the adventures of the author and his son through the hike of the Appalachian Trail.  The beauty of this book is the wonder of an 8-year-old as he explores the world of the trail.  At one point Paul comments that he would have missed so much of what there is to see if he had not been with his son.</FONT></FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>As I read, I relived outdoor adventures of my own; canoeing and hiking along the Grand River, wandering the trails around Bethany College, hiking to several waterfalls in the Cumberland Falls State Park in KY, and exploring Chained Rock and Cumberland Gap.  This book and my memories tied me back to the power of God’s Creation of our world.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>As we get older and spend less time in the great outdoors, we begin to take for granted the world that God made.  We have been made stewards of all that God created; the water, the air, the earth, and all that lives within this creation.  It is not ours to use up and dispose of; it is ours to return to the One who made them.  This is not about whether or not Global Warning is real or fiction.  It is about our responsibility to care for Creation.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>On the trail, Paul and his son clean up after themselves and others who toss trash on the ground.  They had to clean some of the shelters along the trail because hikers left all their waste behind.  A father and his little son picked up after other “responsible adults.”  We witness the same lack of concern for our environment when we see people toss cigarette butts out their car windows or empty their car ash trays in parking lots.  Hardly a week passes when one of us must pick up food containers, bottles, or other trash tossed out on Green St.  If people can be this disrespectful of Creation with trash that can be put in trash cans at home or at a business, why are we amazed when we hear of major businesses and others pouring pollutants into our water and air.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>As Christians, we must do all that we can to not add to the problems of pollution.  Using less energy, and being as careful with the energy we do use can show respect for the earth and or devotion to the One who made it.  Recycling, reusing, or repurposing things we no longer need or want can be a great way to be better stewards.  Reducing the amount of chemicals that you use around your home and yard will prevent those same chemicals from getting into the air and water supply.  There are many recipes for inexpensive cleaning products that can be made at home.  Our laundry detergent is made from Fels-Naphtha soap, Borax, and washing soda.  It works as well as any detergent available and the clothes get just as clean.  Plus it is not bad for the water or earth.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>We all hope to pass a better world to our children and grandchildren.  As Christians, let’s plan on returning a world to God as close as we can make it to the way God made it.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/09/02/pastors-corner---september-2013.aspx#Comments43f5d4da-abb9-4f52-9acd-bc30fae02e3eMon, 02 Sep 2013 19:31:34 GMTPastor's Corner - June 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/06/01/pastors-corner---june-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P>Starting this month, Camp Christian will be running at full speed.  Our congregation will be well represented this summer and I would encourage everyone to consider sending notes and cards to the kids going to camp.  Because of the abuse of email being sent to campers, multiple page or even with one word per page emails, the campers will only be able to receive letters and packages.</P> <P>The mailing address for camp is 3735 Dennard Hardy Road, Gordon, GA  31031-9776.  Address any mail to the name of the camper in care of Camp Christian.  Plan on it taking a couple of days for the mail to arrive, so if camp begins on Monday, mail a letter on the previous Friday.  Also, any mail sent after Wednesday will probably not reach the campers.</P> <P>The first of our church family to attend camp this summer will be Juliet and Theresa Nolde at the Genesis Camp on June 7-9.  Send any mail by Thursday, June 6th.  From June 10-15, Ethan Thompson, Andrea McCleese, Gavin Edmondson, Savanna Gowin, and Taylor Hicks will be at CY camp.  The following week, June 17-22, Olivia Gowin will be at Chi Rho camp.  Due to the General Assembly, the next camp isn’t until July 16-20.  Watch the July newsletter for the names of the campers attending camp in July.</P> <P>The General Assembly of the Christian Church is being held in Orlando, FL, July 13-17.  This is one of the closest sites for the Assembly.  It is a wonderful opportunity to experience the rich variety of our church and to hear messages from church leaders from all over the country.  This year there will also be opportunities to attend Learning Tracks.  They are Media and Arts in worship, Missional Transformation, Stewardship, and Spirituality.</P> <P>Everything begins Saturday evening and concludes on Wednesday night with the a-cappella women’s group “Sweet Honey in the Rock”.  I had the opportunity to hear them when the Assembly was in Kansas City and they are fantastic.  A young Disciple musician, Andra Moral, will perform Monday night.  If you would like to hear either of these artists before the Assembly, I have CDs of both.</P> <P>You do not have to come for the entire time; you can come in for a day or two.  In the Convention Exhibit Hall, all the ministries of our church will be on display.  All of our colleges and universities will be there as well as a book display from Cokesbury.</P> <P>Our denomination is best experienced in the variety of languages, music styles and cultures that can come together and worship around the Communion Table.  We use the phrase “come and be embraced” to describe our congregation.  Come to Orlando and embrace the richness of our church.</P> <P>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/06/01/pastors-corner---june-2013.aspx#Comments7d90ca5c-5811-4748-98fb-c8deb433c3d0Sat, 01 Jun 2013 05:00:00 GMTPastor's Corner - May 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/05/03/pastors-corner---may-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P>On May 12, Mother’s Day, the Chi Rho/CYF will lead worship.  Please make an effort to come and support our young people as they share their talents in worship.</P> <P>If any of our church family will be graduating this year, please let me know by phone (478-718-8724) or email (<A href="mailto:pastor@fcc-wr.org">pastor@fcc-wr.org</A>) so they may be honored this month.  I would like to recognize any graduates on Pentecost Sunday, May 19.</P> <P>On Pentecost, the former disciples, now Apostles came out of hiding and fear and began to share the Good News that God cares for all people, not just the wealthy and successful power brokers.  These fishermen, tax collectors, hired helpers, radicals, men, and women went out into the world they had feared and at once wished to be violently changed and began traveling and teaching and preaching.</P> <P>We are now the ones to be “sent out” to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.   To quote the prophets about justice and righteousness for the powerless and to work for a time when swords are converted to plows and everyone will be free to rest in their own space confident that there is food for the family.  To love others as we have been loved by God.  To do all of these things knowing that people will think we are crazy, or peace-niks, or radicals.  To do all these things even we have to sacrifice our comfort, our security, our life.</P> <P>Jesus dared the Disciples to take up their cross and follow.  This is not a reflection of some ache or pain that we experience.  It is not some hardship or discomfort through which we must pass.  Rather it is the willingness to put our very lives on the line to change the world that sees people as commodities and tools; that measures a person’s value by how much they are worth or by what they can offer to me; that releases the individual of being my brother’s and my sister’s keeper.</P> <P>The Spirit of Pentecost upset the Apostle’s comfort zones; in fact, it blew their comfort zones apart.  Their comfort zone became service to others.  Look at Paul, how comfortable was his life?  He was shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, ridiculed, jailed, and finally executed.  All because he said that all power is God’s and that those who wield power in this world must answer to God and that everyone, regardless of where they are from are to be welcomed and not judged.</P> <P>We have passed through the season of Lent, where we examined our walk with God to see if we are on the right path.  We have rejoiced through the Grace-filled gift of Easter.  Now is the season to roll up our sleeves and set to work preaching the gospel in all we do, and only when necessary resort to the use of words.  When you feel that Divine prodding to get out of the recliner and do, get up and go.  When your vision is opened by the Spirit to see the excess, give it away.  When you hear the call for justice and righteousness, answer it.  We ARE disciples!  We are Disciples of Christ!</P> <P>Shalom, <EM>Darrell<BR></EM></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/05/03/pastors-corner---may-2013.aspx#Comments376492c2-2f1c-4985-8992-1dc381dcc526Sat, 04 May 2013 00:46:54 GMTPastor's Corner - April 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/04/01/pastors-corner---april-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT>I want to express my gratitude for all the words of comfort and support and all of the prayers that have gone out for my family since my father passed away on March 6, 2013.  It has been a time of thanksgiving, laughter, tears, memories and gratitude.</FONT></FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>As a pastor, I have been around death on a regular basis.  I have lost grandmothers, and my mother, lost friends and members of the churches I have served.  Since coming to Warner Robins, I have witnessed the presentation of Military Honors at least once a year.  But we never really discuss death; rather we talk about the one that has died.  We talk about the needs of the surviving family, and/or we talk about going to be with God.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>I write this column days before Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  For the most part, we focus upon Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter and skip the reality that is Good Friday.  Yet we all face that kind of event in our families and for ourselves.  Rather than avoiding the topic or stepping quietly around it, maybe we should face it head on.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Jesus died on Good Friday.  His mother and a few of the women who followed him and according to John, the disciple that Jesus loved the best, witnessed Jesus’ death.  The women then gathered with Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and prepared Jesus for a hasty burial.  This small group took it upon themselves to stay through to the end.  They witnessed the transformation from life to death.  This was not unusual in the ancient world; as a matter of fact, it is only recently that people stopped witnessing the arrival of death and the transition from life.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Today we step away; we even disguise it with cosmetics so that our loved one “looks so natural”.  We do not want to grow old and die.  We don’t want to see death in reality.  Yet without death, there can be no eternal life.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>This does not mean we should all rush to die, but rather accept the reality that death occurs and that there are times when it is indeed a blessing.  We should do our best to live a full and generous life and then not fear what comes next since our faith teaches us that God is waiting for us on the other side just as God waits for us every day.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>My father had been in the nursing home for 6 years.  Most of that time he did not recognize family or friends.  During the last year he spent most of his time asleep.  I am grateful that his dementia did not cause him to be angry or abusive.  I am grateful that he has found peace and is with mom again.  During the military honors that were rendered by the VFW, I met a man that had known dad for a long time.  He was the one who presented the flag after the salute and taps.  My father lives in the memories of those who knew him and the stories they shared as well as in the memories I possess.  He is with me in my heart and will never leave.  Yes, death causes us pain, but it also sweetens those memories that remain.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Do not be afraid; remember that God is with us.  Jesus quoted the 22 Psalm from the cross.  We remember the words, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.”  But we rarely go to the Psalm and read the whole thing.  Here is how it ends.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>“From thee comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.  The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord!  May your hearts live forever!</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.  For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Yea, to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down; before him shall all who go down to the dust, and he who cannot keep himself alive.  Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.”</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Our God is the God of the living and those who die remain alive in our God.  Thanks be to God.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/04/01/pastors-corner---april-2013.aspx#Commentsfbe91b03-09cf-4072-ba58-abb8c47658c1Mon, 01 Apr 2013 05:00:00 GMTPastor's Corner - March 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/03/01/pastors-corner---march-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P>There is a lot going on in March of this year.  On the last Tuesday evening in February, at 7:00 p.m., we began a study of World Religions utilizing The Great Courses DVD “Cultural Literacy for Religion:  Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know.”</P> <P>This course will introduce those attending to the major religions of the world.  Everyone is welcome to attend, even if you missed a lecture or two.  Though people have differing opinions about the Supreme Court’s ruling on school prayer, consider this statement from that ruling as the reason for doing this study, “It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.”</P> <P>The Camp Christian Gala and Auction will take place on Saturday, March 16th.  This event will mark the 50th anniversary of Camp Christian.  Starting at 11:00 with appetizers and a silent auction, attendees will have an opportunity to see the Camp in a different light.  This is a formal event, so dress up and come to camp.</P> <P>At 12:30, guests will enter Lavery Hall for a meal prepared by Chef Jim Torbert and a live auction.  Guests will be seated at tables covered in table cloths and be served by the members of the Youth Activities Counsel.  Tickets are $30 each and can be obtained by calling 478-743-8649 or by going to <A href="https://www.gadisciples.org">www.gadisciples.org</A>.  Space is limited so make your reservations quickly.  If you want, you may also make reservations for staying overnight either Friday or Saturday.  Space is limited so respond quickly.  Gifts can also be made to the event by contacting the same phone or website.</P> <P>This year we will celebrate Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter almost as early as they can be celebrated.  Palm Sunday is March 24.  Be in worship as we remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and his last week of ministry.  On Thursday, March 28, at 7:00 we will have a Maundy Thursday Service to commemorate the Last Supper.  Disciples mark this event because of the centrality of Communion to our church’s life.  We will share not only in Communion but foods that are similar to what might have been eaten in the Upper Room.  Please let Darrell know if you will be in attendance so that all may have a space at the table.</P> <P>On Sunday, March 31, we will start Easter with an Easter egg hunt for the children.  If you would like to help or bring something to share, please let Darrell Vandervort or Mary Jane Rogers know by March 19.  We need these things at the church by 9:30 a.m. on Easter.  There will be goodies for everyone to share and a great opportunity to fellowship prior to entering the Sanctuary for the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.</P> <P>Come and be embraced at any or all of these events.  Learn, remember, worship, and celebrate as we journey together through March.</P> <P>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/03/01/pastors-corner---march-2013.aspx#Comments6805aa71-5975-44cb-a3b1-67a6dd936377Fri, 01 Mar 2013 05:00:00 GMTPastor's Corner - February 2013https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/02/01/pastors-corner---february-2013.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px"> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT>I bought my copy of Turbo Tax for 2012 this week.  It’s time to get prepared for Tax Day.  Gather up all the income paperwork, W-2, 1099’s, etc.  Collect all the interest statements; what a laugh.  Compile the deduction receipts, medical, mortgage, higher education, etc.  Sharpen pencils, pull out the calculator and check its batteries.  There’s so much to do to prepare for a single day in April.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">There is another day for which we are to prepare.  This year it is at the end of March—Easter Sunday.  On February 13, 2013 we start the preparation for Easter with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  During Lent we are to spend our time in self-examination.  Seriously examine how well we have been living up to the claimed title of Christian.  Do we pray enough?  DO we really love our neighbor?  Do we feed, clothe, visit, and extend fellowship to the people on the edges of our society as Jesus did?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">On Ash Wednesday, many people give up something they enjoy (do not confuse Lenten sacrifice as another shot at meeting your New Year’s resolutions) and devoting the resources or time spent in that enjoyable activity in more closely following the Way of Christ.  People donate to those in need, give time to help at food pantries or shelters, increase the time they spend in prayer and the study of the Bible.  Any or all of these can become tools in our preparation.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Easter is often portrayed as the end reward of our faith, but Jesus didn’t teach his disciples to do things so that they could get into Heaven; rather, Jesus taught them to act as though the Kingdom of God was NOW in the world.  Behave as if this were the Heavenly Realm on earth.  Our faith is not to be in a future reward but to prepare us for living in the present Kingdom of God that is all around us.  He taught that we were to be ambassadors for the rule of God now.  Love God with all that you are and love others as we love our selves!</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">In an effort to trick Jesus, he was asked if the people in Israel should pay taxes to Caesar.  He told them to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.  Thinking of all the time and work put in to preparing your taxes to meet the April 15 deadline, how does that time and energy compare with all that you do in meeting the requirement to return to God what has always belonged to God?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2013/02/01/pastors-corner---february-2013.aspx#Comments1dc95281-1894-4d5c-ad0e-f752fddaea3aFri, 01 Feb 2013 05:00:00 GMTPastor's Corner - December 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/11/30/pastors-corner---december-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>I write this on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Thus far, anyone with a television or a newspaper has been buried under the ads for Black Friday, which starts on Thursday, and even earlier in some places than last year.  Eat your Thanksgiving meal and give thanks, take a nap and spend the night buying stuff.  Granted we have a tradition of gift giving at Christmas, but is it possible we have gone overboard on the drive to buy?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>In the Nov. 14, 2012 issue of The Christian Century, I read an article taken from the journal Weavings (Nov.-Jan.).  “Marilyn McEntyre suggests some very practical ways that American Christians can work against a self-centered consumerism and toward concerns for the neighbor and community.  Begin every day for a month asking the question, ‘What can I share today?’  ‘What do I have that might be given away?’  See if a room at church can be found to use as a ‘sharing station’ where tools, utensils, clothing or books could be stored for others’ use.  Talk on the phone with someone who may be lonely for 15 minutes two or three times a week.  Host dinner-and-documentary nights to discuss public problems with a view to finding and working for solutions.  Commit to a steady-state household.  If something new comes in, then something else goes out.  ‘Who is my neighbor?’ is a question we cannot afford to consign to cliché, McEntyre says.”</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>All of us have encountered people who may be borderline hoarders, and a few who may have crossed the border.  Could the attitude of our society that demands us to be huge consumers lend itself to this problem?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>At Christmas we celebrate the God given gift of the infant Jesus.  We emulate this by giving gifts to others.  But does the current demand that we insanely consume goods in the name of Christmas reflect the meaning of this season?  God gave us a gift of welcome and inclusion in His family.  Jesus became a gift of learning—learning to love each other, to set aside worry, to find satisfaction in doing for others rather than others doing for us.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>In a time when people are struggling with a weak economy and un- and under- employment, could we as Christians behave more like the one whose birth we are celebrating?  Give gifts to family and friends, but share with your neighbor as you are able.  Make your gifts reflect your faith rather than the latest ad on TV or the advertising push for “what everyone needs”.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>May your Christmas be a blessing to you and your family, and may it lead you to be a blessing to others.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/11/30/pastors-corner---december-2012.aspx#Comments1c28672e-e804-48df-86bc-6ff2f7b99eeaSat, 01 Dec 2012 01:19:30 GMTPastor's Corner - November 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/10/30/pastors-corner---november-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px"></FONT><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">In the October 3, 2012 “Christian Century” there is an article by Martha Bayne.  Martha was a journalist making ends meet as best she could.  In 2008, she needed to bring in a steady paycheck and thus became a bartender in a Chicago bar called the Hideout.  She tells how things got harder for the patrons and people could no longer afford to drop in for a beer after work, so she decided to offer food on Wednesday afternoons.</FONT></FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Starting in January of 2009, every Wednesday afternoon, the Hideout began providing Soup and Bread to everyone who wanted it.  Donations were accepted and directed to various hunger organizations.  Some of Martha’s friends in the food business provided 2-3 gallons of soup and would come and serve it until it was gone.  Day old bread, provided by a local bakery, rounded out the meal.  Starting with only 30 people on the first Wednesday in January, they provided soup to anyone from January through April.  People dropped in a dollar, $5, maybe $20, and by the end of April they had raised $30,000 to fight hunger.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Soup and Corn Bread will be the menu for our November Fellowship Dinner.  We will collect food supplies to share with a family or two at Thanksgiving.  Last year we covered a pair of tables in the Fellowship Hall.  Times remain hard for a lot of people.  We cannot end hunger as individuals, but together we can end some hunger, especially during a season when we are to give thanks to God for all the blessings each of us has received.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Over and over in the Bible we hear God and Jesus tell us to be aware and feed the hungry, to take care of the people pushed to the margins of survival.  Most of us during this month will sit down with family and friends and share in more food than we can eat in one sitting (often more food that we should try to eat in one sitting).  Let us truly come together in the Fellowship Hall and give thanks not for our  bounty, but for the bounty we can share with those who are on the fringes, those who are hungry, those we are called to feed.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Peter denied Jesus three times the evening of Jesus’ trial.  Later, after the Resurrection, Jesus challenged Peter three times by asking if Peter loved Him.  Each time he said yes, Jesus told him to either feed my sheep, or to feed my lambs.  This month, listen and hear Jesus ask you, “Do you love me?”  Will you answer yes and accept the response Peter received?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px" face=Arial>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/10/30/pastors-corner---november-2012.aspx#Commentsf2a96764-b8e1-442f-9692-de9124998fecTue, 30 Oct 2012 17:02:05 GMTPastor's Corner - October 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/09/29/pastors-corner---october-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">October 19-21 at Camp Christian Conference Center, there will be a Quilter’s Retreat.  This gathering will complete the quilt that raised money for Camp Christian.  Attendees DO NOT need to be quilters.  Individuals and couples can attend even if they do not sew.  It will be a time to relax, worship, study, and quilt for anybody interested.  If you have never been to Camp before, here is a chance to see and experience some of what the children and youth of the church rave about.  Worship and Bible study will be led by Jarda Alexander and Anita Renahan-White.  These women are newly ordained leaders of our church.  Come and share theirs gifts.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">“Being the Church Now” is the theme for the Regional Assembly at First Christian Church in Decatur on November 9-10.  Dr. Chaisse L. Gillett, president of Lexington Theological Seminary will be the speaker at our worship services.  There will be programs for everyone.  Young children will have day care available, older children will get to go to either the Atlanta Zoo or to the Fernbank Museum, depending on the weather and middle school and high school youth will have their own event including the opportunity for training as a camp counselor.  Workshops are available for adults including, “A Faithful Conversation on War, Peace, and Unity,” “Developing Congregational Policies to Prevent Abuse,” “Clergy Sexual Misconduct,” “Cheap Web Tools to do Amazing Things for Your Church,” “Women’s Ministry Now,” “The Role of Regional Elders,” “Worship Outside the Box,” “Helping Your Congregation Create a Vision for Your Church,” “Performing Hand Bell Choir Rehearsal,” “Resurrecting Alexander Campbell: The Man, Message and Legacy,” “Retirement: It’s Never Too Early to Plan,” and “Congregation as Employer.”  We are allowed to send three voting delegates, but any number of people may attend.  Come and take part in the life of the regional church.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">The Salvation Army is attempting to meet a need in Warner Robins.  At a certain age, children in foster care are released from the program whether they have completed high school or not.  Many of these teens have no place to go after school lets out and thus are left to their own devices or whatever might be available.  Café 3:16 is being created at 158 Manor Ct. in Warner Robins as a safe place for these teens and adults to gather.  This is a volunteer program and is in need of people who would be able to help by teaching classes of interest, such as Dance, Music, Arts, Crafts, Emergency Preparedness and Practical Life Skills for Young Adults.  Many of these youth have nowhere to go and very little of their own; therefore, Café 3:16 wants to provide toiletries: hand towels, wash cloths, wide tooth combs, nail clippers, tooth brushes and toothpaste, band-aids, razors, emery boards, shampoo/body wash combos, baby wipes, tissues, body lotion, deodorant, dental floss, feminine products, shaving cream, lip balm, Q-tips, twin size inflatable mattresses, twin sized linens, blankets, and pillows.  If you can be of service or have anything to donate, please contact them at 478-922-7585 or take items to the drop points at the Salvation Army at 96 Thomas Blvd., Warner Robins or Gena Jayne –The Chic Boutique at 145 S. Commercial Circle, Warner Robins.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Since this is the October newsletter, we must admit to the reality that the year is quickly coming to a close.  No matter how much we might want to deny or make the year last, it is now October.  Therefore, as a church, we must start making plans for the year 2013 (in spite of any residual concern regarding the Mayan calendar).</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">What can you do to help this congregation in 2013?  There are very obvious answers, such as show up on Sunday mornings, give gifts to the ministry of the church, oh, and one more thing…volunteer your time.  This last point is the one to discuss now.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Our church has a variety of ways people can help by giving of their time and even their talents and interests.  We have a variety of committees.  But, before you react in the normal manner---“yuk” or “boring”, try thinking of them as opportunities for mission and change.  What could be done if people with an interest, talent, or creative sense of thinking were to pitch in and help in these ministries?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">To provide for the chance to take part in the work of the church, beginning on September 30 and running through October, each Committee/Ministry will have a page where interested people can sign up to take part in the work of that ministry in 2013.  There is an old adage that states that 20% of the people do 90% of the work.  As our congregation over achieves in giving to Disciples Mission, let us also over achieve in volunteering.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">The focus groups in this church are Worship, Service & Fellowship, Church Growth, Membership, Outreach, Education, Stewardship, Property and Music.  Most of these are pretty clear names and usually cause specific mental images in each of us.  But, let’s not limit ourselves, or the opportunity to serve in God’s name.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">What else do we do in worship?  What new opportunities for worship could be created?  How can we make special services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Christmas Eve even better?  Let your creativity and imagination loose.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Church Growth currently focuses on our website.  What else could we do to make our church more visible in the community?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Outreach is responsible for our mission work.  With the recent additions of Family Promise and Café 3:16 in our community, there is a need for volunteer support and other gifts, and our on-going participation in Heifer International, how could we better provide ministry to this community and beyond?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">No one likes to talk about money; we only like to have it to spend.  Yet we are the stewards of all that God created.  Beyond making sure that we are able to pay bills, what else can we do to improve our stewardship as a church and as individuals?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">The Church Property has been transformed in the last couple of years, but what more can we do and how can we improve what we currently use?  How do we envision improvements elsewhere in our property?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Service and Fellowship bring us together for meals and fun.  In the past we also provided for special needs, but as times have changed how can we continue to serve?  What new ways can we come together as God’s family?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Membership has kept track of addresses and developed ways to share prayer concerns and information.  They also send birthday, anniversary, get well and missing you cards to church members.  There is always a need for more people to send cards.  How else can we keep track of our family as it grows and changes?  How can we advance this ministry with modern technology?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">In Education, we think of Sunday School, CCF, Chi Rho, and CYF.  But we also have Children’s Church and a nursery that may need attendants.  How else can we call people together to grow in faith and spirituality?  The old pattern of Sunday School has lost it’s luster.  How do we make it happen today?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">It is difficult to provide for Music without a musician.  However, for the past two years we have done it.  What can we do to offer the beauty and sacredness of music to this church and community?  How can we create opportunities even outside of Sunday morning?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Let these questions float in your thoughts and prayers and offer your time and skills as gifts of service.  This IS NOT a lifetime commitment.  We will do it all again in 2013 and give everyone a chance to remain or try a new area.  Give of yourself.  Give the best of yourself.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/09/29/pastors-corner---october-2012.aspx#Comments5cec0724-e8d5-4ce8-9e0b-4e142d50b11aSat, 29 Sep 2012 21:12:33 GMTPastor's Corner - September 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/08/29/pastors-corner---september-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Last month I focused on what I learned from the book <U>In Defense of Civility</U>, by James Calvin Davis.  Here is the author’s concluding definition of civility from page 159.  “I like to define civility as the <EM>exercise of patience, integrity, humility, and mutual respect in civil conversation, even (or especially) with those with whom we disagree</EM>.”  (Italics are the authors).  As the madness of modern politics heats up the nation, understanding of this definition might be a benefit for everyone, if they will listen and put it into practice.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Patience is a very difficult word.  Many of us struggle to find patience and even when we find it, it never seems to be of sufficient quantity for the situation.  Patience demonstrated within conversations on difficult topics is essential, but often missing.  We get so caught up in making our point and getting ready our reply that we fail to listen to the words of the other person.  Listening is very important.  The old adage that God created us with two ears and one mouth was intended and we were to utilize them in the same proportion still holds true, especially when emotions start to rise.  It doesn’t mean we avoid hard issues; it means that we are as patient with the other person as we would hope that person will be with us.  Remember, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Integrity in this definition requires truthfulness in all discussions and debates.  Not the truthfulness that currently passes within political advertising, but rather the truthfulness that was expected by our grandmothers.  Grandmothers always expect more truth from grandchildren, at least mine did.  With the amazing speed with which stories can spread due to the internet and 24 hour news stations, we have to be careful to be sure that information is accurate.  As we have seen in the past, both the internet and the news media can be wrong.  We need to seek the truth and demand the full truth from all our sources, especially our leaders.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Humility is not about surrendering to others so that the conversation can end.  Rather it is about the self-realization that we truly do not have all of the answers to every problem in the known universe.  Current political rhetoric condemns people that change their mind about issues.  We seem to want our leaders to never learn anything new for fear that they might discover a better answer or a better way of solving problems.  As a pastor, I do not know everything!  There are times I may act like that isn’t the case, but I will readily admit that all of us are equally capable of discerning what God wants of us as well as all of us being able to discern better ideas and solutions than I can find.  That is why we live in community.  Each of us brings our unique gifts to the work of living harmoniously in God’s creation.  We must always be open to new information, new insight, new revelation.  None of us are too old to learn something new.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">I remember being taught that I needed to earn respect.  While this is indeed true, it is not complete.  We have to start with an understanding that everyone deserves respect because they are the creation of God.  We have to respect that each person is entitled to a base of respect that can either rise or fall based upon what they do and how they do it.  When we get into sensitive discussions with another person, we have to offer them the same respect that we would like to receive.  We can often sense when someone offers little respect to others.  It is visible in the way they talk with us and look at us.  If we behave in the same manner, it does not serve us well as Christians.  Remember all the times the Gospels tell us of situations that make us little different from the Gentiles and the Pharisees?  We need to be respectful of other people and especially make it visible when that person is someone with whom we disagree.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Try to remember this definition as the political races heat up.  Remember it whenever you hit a tense situation and face difficult people.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/08/29/pastors-corner---september-2012.aspx#Comments8198e4f2-2c03-4c9f-894a-4519eb9e8518Thu, 30 Aug 2012 00:55:41 GMTPastor's Corner - August 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/07/29/pastors-corner---august-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> <P>I just finished a wonderful book called <U>In Defense of Civility</U> by James Calvin Davis.  It is a remarkable book that challenges us to learn to speak respectfully and to listen respectfully to each other as we face difficult and challenging issues.  In no manner does the author attempt to tell people to not disagree or to expect to completely change a person’s mind, but approach these discussions with the realization that the person speaking to you should receive the same respect you would like to receive.  Reminds me of a piece of wisdom I have seen somewhere else, “Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.”</P> <P>James Calvin Davis challenges us to search for the common ground between our differences and to start working from there.  There are wonderful examples in this book that show that the media’s representation of debate is focused upon the polar ends of any debate.  Rarely do we see that these polar extremes do not represent the majority of thought.  We also must overcome the created fear of learning something new that may change how we see the debate.  This is the fear of waffling.  Rarely have I met anyone that has never changed their opinion on something at least once in their lives.  I wouldn’t eat spinach for years and would never touch greens.  Thankfully, I learned they aren’t so bad after all.</P> <P>We do not need to debate over climate change and whether or not humanity has an impact on what is happening to our climate.  We have only to remember that the earth is God’s creation and we are the stewards responsible for that creation.  In 1969, I watched the news cover the burning Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland.  In order to save money companies and individuals dumped all sorts of chemicals and waste in the river.  One day a spark was struck and the river caught fire.  The fireboats could not follow standard practice of pumping river water to put out the fire.  Fortunately, they were able to put out the fire and people responded to the image of burning water and insisted on change.  At the same time it was not possible to swim in Lake Erie without consulting the latest test of the E-coli levels.  By the mid 1980’s, I could take my children swimming in Lake Erie, and the river walk along the Cuyahoga was the place people went in the evening.  Now it is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the ballpark for the Cleveland Indians.</P> <P>What changed?  People and corporate boards decided that protecting the air, water, and land was worth making some sacrifices.  Unfortunately, we have gone back in the other direction.  E-coli counts are again necessary before swimming in Lake Erie.</P> <P>We can recycle, reuse, or repurpose all sorts of things rather than just tossing them into a pile and building a new hill or filling a hole that will someday become a new subdivision.  We can treat God’s creation with the respect we are to show God.  I am amazed at the number of people I have seen smoking in the their cars who toss their ashes and cigarette butts out of the window rather than placing them in an ashtray in the car; or who use their ashtray and then dump it out on the ground.  Drive down any road and see if you can cover one mile without seeing some trash along the street.  Do you remember Iron Eyes Cody looking out at the polluted world and shedding a single tear?  Would he shed more today?</P> <P>Forget the debate about carbon footprints and green house gases. Use less, recycle or repurpose more.  Seek better ways to lessen the amount of waste and the amount of water you use.  These are gifts from God.  Treat them as if God had personally placed them before you.  Give thanks for the sun and the rain; give thanks for the bees and maybe occasionally the gnats and mosquitoes.  A few extra minutes a day to place recyclables in a bin and to drop them off at a recycling center is not a huge price to pay for God’s creation.  Maybe we can get enough demand to insist that the city pick up recyclables from our curbs along with the contents of the trashcan.</P> <P>On the sixth day God looked at all that had been made and said “It is very good.”  Wouldn’t it be nice for God to be able to say that again after millions and millions of days?</P> <P>Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></P></FONT></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/07/29/pastors-corner---august-2012.aspx#Comments91a2ba80-0520-47f9-838a-6b87241dc2dfMon, 30 Jul 2012 01:44:25 GMTPastor's Corner - July 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/07/02/pastors-corner---july-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Alexander Campbell was very appreciative of the freedoms he found in the United States.  His father-in-law was given the property in what is now Bethany, WV for his service during the Revolution.  When he established Bethany College, he set Commencement on July 4.  Thankfully this practice had changed by the time I attended, because not only did the old term end, but the new term began the next day.  At the beginning of the service for graduation, Campbell would read the Declaration of Independence.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">For Campbell, the concept of freedom went along with the desire to provide an education.  Campbell, along with the Founders, believed that Americans could only maintain their freedoms by being an educated electorate.  Campbell also believed that being educated in the Bible and our faith was the best way to become servants, Disciples of Christ.  As Disciples of Christ, we are to study and come to our own conclusions, but at the same time, our faith was to remain in communion with others, even when we disagree.  Our denomination was to be a reflection of separate states united in the cause of freedom.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Over the interceding decades, we as Americans and Disciples, have cherished our freedoms, but have often neglected the responsibilities of being educated and working together for the common good.  We strive only for what we can get for ourselves and for our families.  We might expand that circle to include friends and some colleagues, but rarely beyond that.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Over 236 years ago, people set aside a lot of their differences in order to gain their freedom from England.  A group went so far as to put their names on a document and publish it.  If England had won, these people would be among the first to be executed and their families would have been imprisoned.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">We also hear the words of Jesus to all Disciples, “No greater love has anyone than that they lay down their life for another”.  There was never a stipulation that we be related or acquainted.  We need only know that it must be done, as Jesus did for everyone.  The funny thing though is that it isn’t always a demand for our lives.  But may be a demand of time, or energy, or talent, or resources so that a life can be saved.  We ARE our brothers and sisters keepers.  We demonstrate our commitment to the freedom of Grace by caring for others, just as we demonstrate our commitment to our freedoms by being responsible citizens of this nation.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">We are to be a people of one nation, united.  We are to be Disciples of one God.  Let us celebrate this Fourth of July by rededicating ourselves to seeking the best for all the people in this nation and rededicate ourselves to the God that taught us the strength of love.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/07/02/pastors-corner---july-2012.aspx#Comments60eadd4c-4cbd-48a4-bf30-1f63e3c3fda1Tue, 03 Jul 2012 01:10:15 GMTPastor's Corner - May 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/05/02/pastors-corner---may-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">On May 20, 2012, we will recognize and honor the graduates of our church.  Jessica Hebenstreit, Kyle McReynolds, and Forrest Schultz will graduate from high school.  Matt Thompson will graduate from college.  If you know of any others, please give their names to Darrell Vandervort.  As these young people prepare for the next steps in their lives, let us join together and pray for them and ask God’s guidance and protection into the future.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Last summer I invited people to offer suggestions (topics, Scripture passages, or themes) for the sermons of summer.  Once again I am asking for any requests you may have.  Please email them to </FONT><A href="mailto:pastor@fcc-wr.org"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">pastor@fcc-wr.org</FONT></A><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> or write them down and give them to me on any Sunday.  I would like to have any suggestions in hand by the end of the month so that I can prepare them for sermons in July and August.  You had some very good ideas last summer.  Can you do it again?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">On the last Sunday of May, we will celebrate the holy day of Pentecost.  This is the day that the disciples were powerfully visited by the Holy Spirit.  It is also considered the birthday of the church.  Before this day, the followers of Jesus were mourning and considering going back to their old lives as fishermen, merchants, and other jobs.  Suddenly, they dropped any consideration of going back to their old lives and committed themselves to traveling the known world telling everyone about their time with Jesus.  Most often they cared for the people they met before they ever told a story about healing some first.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">They found the motivation to not be shy and fearful, but confronted all those who wished to silence them and shared hope with all those who were on the outside of the society.  Philip met with a eunuch.  Paul and Peter met with Gentiles.  Thomas traveled all the way to India.  These people had traveled less than 100 miles from their homes until this point in their lives.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Pentecost might be a time to consider how much our faith has changed our lives and where we might have been.  We have encountered the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We have been guided, prodded and occasionally smacked upside the head with the Divine 2X4.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">The same word that we translate from Hebrew as "spirit" is also the word as "breath".  God breathed the breath of life into each of us, breathed his spirit into us.  We have the same potential as the Apostles, the potential to share faith and bring wholeness to the people we meet.  We have the potential to take the same risks that they took and thus bring the light of hope to people living in the darkness of despair and hopelessness.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Happy Birthday to the church and Happy Birthday to the power that turned ordinary people into Apostles.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/05/02/pastors-corner---may-2012.aspx#Comments35ae5693-f528-4a55-bf1e-2a1e62081824Thu, 03 May 2012 00:23:54 GMTPastor's Corner - April 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/03/27/pastors-corner---april-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Since it is Easter, the church season of Easter, not just the day, I thought I would share some small “eggs” with everyone.  By the beginning of the month our “Seeds of Hope” gardens will be in place and planted in the back yard of the church.  These gardens are 10’ x 6’ and will be planted with beans, greens, black eyed peas, and herbs.  This project is the Eagle project of Jesse Moffett with the help of his scout troop and our congregation.  The vegetables harvested will be donated to the food pantry so that fresh produce will be available to those in need.  It is hoped that these seeds scattered and sown will  produce 10 and 20 fold and maybe even 100 fold, or at least provide for those in our community most in need.  If you have time during the summer and want to check the garden and pull a weed or two, please feel free to do so.  We can all do a little bit to reap, and come harvest time, may we have workers enough.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Disciple’s Men are having their national rally this summer at Bethany College, a really great place that is worth the trip.  The name of the event is “Xtreme Faith, Bold Action” and runs from July 13-15, 2012.  The speaker for Saturday evening is Derek Maul and Sunday morning Dr. Frank Thomas, the senior pastor of Mississippi Blvd. in Memphis, TN will deliver the sermon.  During the event, you will have opportunities to tour Historic Bethany and the sites associated with Alexander and Thomas Campbell.  There will also be workshops available.  Registration and full information is available at </FONT><A href="https://www.gadiscipples.org"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">www.gadiscipples.org</FONT></A><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">.  The deadline for anyone wishing to go is early May.  Check out this opportunity.  Wives are also invited to attend.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Registration for summer camp at Camp Christian will be due on Sunday, April 29, 2012.  Forms are available at </FONT><A href="https://www.gadisciples.org"><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">www.gadisciples.org</FONT></A><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px"> and will be available at the church.  Camp is available for children and youth from kindergarten to college ages.  Last year we sent 25 to camp as campers, counselors and one director.  We already have one director and several who have applied to be counselors.  Join the fun.  When we have all the applications in and know who will be at which camp, look for the list of names and send a card or a letter to them at camp.  The information on those at camp will be shared the week before they go so you can be sure that mail will arrive while they are at camp.  Fun things will happen.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/03/27/pastors-corner---april-2012.aspx#Commentscf1bf6ad-2e10-47a2-97cd-ed8b000901b3Wed, 28 Mar 2012 01:01:17 GMTPastor's Corner - March 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/02/27/pastors-corner---march-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">During March we journey through the season of Lent, a time of self-examination and preparation for the wonder of Easter.  Usually we talk about giving up something for the period.  We try to focus upon walking closer to God and improving our understanding of what it means to live as a Christian.  Unfortunately, our focus tends to be directed only upon our inner self.  What would happen if we began to look upon how we live our lives in relationship with others?  Who might we meet?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Maybe we would meet the man who thought the only way he could have control over others was by taking advantage of them.  He needed to climb down out of the tree to find true control.  How about the woman so desperate to be loved that she jumped from empty relationship to empty relationship.  She needed to offer water to a stranger from another religion to find real love.  Or maybe we will find the foreign woman in a foreign land daring to confront national prejudice to ask for justice for her children and because she set aside her fear she found true justice.  What about the man rejected by his community and was so disturbed that he lived in a cemetery and found wholeness in the approach of a complete stranger, who spoke to him and touched him.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">There may also be the political leader who knows all about wielding power, yet finds he has no power when his daughter dies.  The woman who has reached nearly the end of hope fighting a lifelong disease risks one more chance in a leap of faith.  Maybe we run into grieving travelers who lost all their hope and then discover that hope never dies.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">All of these people can be found in the ministry of Jesus recorded in the gospels.  But then we might also run into them in the reflection we encounter in our mirror.  They could appear as our family or friends.  We might work next to them or even be the stranger standing in line with us at the grocery.  Show them the wonder of the Gospel by offering the same love that Jesus offered the same people during his life.  This will become a Lenten journey that we will want to make every day of every year, whether it is Lent or not.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/02/27/pastors-corner---march-2012.aspx#Commentsde6956a4-2da0-4e88-9c02-cd3b7d8a14c6Tue, 28 Feb 2012 01:39:29 GMTPastor's Corner - February 2012https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/02/01/pastors-corner---february-2012.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Wow!  In 2011 we got a lot done.  We finished the Fellowship Hall, sent our largest groups in many years to Camp Christian and to Youth-a-palooza, supported our Christmas family and provided a lot of canned goods for the Salvation Army and the Christian Social Ministries food bank.  So what can we do this year?</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Here is one thing that began last year that we can put into action this year.  During 2011, several people talked about planting a garden to provide fresh vegetables to the food banks that we help.  We talked about how big, location, and other details.  The board accepted the idea, and we had hoped to put it together this year.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">In November I was told about a young man seeking to build a community garden for his Eagle project for the Boy Scouts.  We got together and he is drawing up plans for four raised beds for the front yard of the church.  The beds would be about 6’ X 12’.  Our “Seeds of Hope” gardens would be out front to make it easier to tend as there is a water supply out front.  It also makes it more visible for security as well as promotion of the idea of gardening for others.  We would plant vegetables that would be tolerant of our dry climate and do well in full sun.  Different groups in the church from children to adults could take turns caring for the crops and harvesting them as they ripen.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">This would be an outreach ministry of our church.  Helping a Boy Scout achieve his Eagle, feeding the hungry in our community and challenging others to do the same.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Another challenge before us began during the early summer and resulted in a program at the November Fellowship Dinner.  The organization, Family Promise, came to Warner Robins to guide a desire to minister to the homeless in our county.  The way Family Promise would be set up here in Warner Robins is to get churches to agree to host and/or support the care and sheltering of four homeless families with children in this county.  Carolyn Schomer reported in November that according to the Houston County Board of Education, there are 315 homeless families with school-aged children in our county.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Family Promise would provide week long housing in a church for overnight, a center where the families could come during the day to bathe, go to school and receive the guidance and support needed to get back into safe and affordable housing.  Host churches would supply overnight accommodations in the church for four families.  Support churches would be partnered with a host church to provide transportation, preparation of breakfast, participating in evening and overnight fellowship and participating in special activities.  This commitment would be for seven consecutive days not more than four times per year.  We would make a one year commitment.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">If we were to do this, we would need one person to act as coordinator.  Others could volunteer as drivers, cooks or spend a night at the host site, volunteer at the Day Center, serve on Network Committees, such as Recruitment, Transportation, Day Center, Finance, Publicity.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">This is an opportunity for us to truly practice Hospitality as described in Matthew 25:31-46.  Prayerfully consider this and if you would like to be involved, please let me know.  We need to make a decision about this soon so that we can start serving those most in need.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom, <EM>Darrell</EM><BR></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2012/02/01/pastors-corner---february-2012.aspx#Comments274dd686-61e5-4d91-a199-fed00b5a833aThu, 02 Feb 2012 03:00:37 GMTPastor's Corner - December 2011https://blog.fcc-wr.org/2011/11/30/pastors-corner---december-2011.aspx?ref=rssPastor Darrell<FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 12px" face=Arial> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">How much do you spend on Christmas each year?  Are you afraid to total it up?  Does it take most of the next year to pay for it all?  Is this a Christian Christmas or a commercial driven Christmas?  Now don’t take this wrong, I think that giving special gifts to loved ones is a wonderful expression of our love, just as we received that special gift from God on Christmas Day.  But what if we did something different.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Remember those special homemade gifts that you gave your parents when you were in school, or the gifts that your children gave you?  Most parents still have those plaster of Paris hand prints, construction paper cards, clay sculptures, and the like.  When we see these, our hearts go back to the faces of those tender children watching us for our reactions to the gift they worked so hard to make.  We remember the glow of their smile when we gushed with gratitude.  We didn’t gush because we held the creation of the next great artist, sculptor, or poet, but rather because we knew the love that was invested in those simple items.  That love is why we still have these gifts.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Whether you create your own gift or purchase something, take the time to find a gift that expresses the love you hold for that person, Make sure that when it is opened, that the recipient knows that they are loved and that this is an expression of your love.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">It may take some re-education for some of us.  We have spent so much of our lives immersed in the commercials that gifts are measured by their financial value rather than by the loving intent of the givers.  The worth of the gift is not in how much was spent, but rather by how much love was invested.  The grandparents and the aunts and uncles who gave us gifts of clothing (I know that as children it really wasn’t what we wanted or hoped for) may have truly and loving selected these items for our real needs, not our commercially inspired wants.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Maybe give a gift of taking over a chore around the house that someone else has, for a day, for a week, for a month.  Make a recording of a song or a book that the person loves, not by some famous reader or singer, but by you!  Compile a slide show of photos on DVD of family and memories spanning a life.  Do something to pamper the person you love.  It does not have to be expensive.  It only has to be genuine and loving.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">May your Christmas be a blessing and the New Year be rich in the presence of God.</FONT></P> <P><FONT style="FONT-SIZE: 16px">Shalom,  <EM>Darrell</EM></FONT></P></FONT>Ponderinghttps://blog.fcc-wr.org/2011/11/30/pastors-corner---december-2011.aspx#Comments1b471a56-6e08-49f6-8e21-99974c3d7860Thu, 01 Dec 2011 04:59:00 GMT