Father Forgive Them

What is the most powerful part of the Easter story for you?

For me it is Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

I think about the times I was self righteously right about something. The times I felt someone else has wronged me and owed me an apology. The times I have been on my moral high horse.

In my short sighted, self righteousness Christ’s words gently condemn me.

Even as he is suffering beyond what I could even comprehend, he manages to offer to us all the words of grace and forgiveness we don’t deserve but he gives to us anyway.

I, like Peter must have, fall on my knees feeling the judgment of my own be-havior and the generosity of God’s love and forgiveness.

Let’s all journey to the cross this week and find the love and forgiveness we all need and the new life only Christ can bring to us.

Pastor, Pam

Aldersgate Experience

The

April 20, 2014

Aldersgate United Methodist Church Rock Hill, SC http://www.aumcrockhill.com

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors,

The ChurchThe People of the United Methodist Church

Thanks

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Take Up Ur Cross : Mark 8:34-38 *

Most protestant churches have crosses in their sanctuary but not crucifixes. They havethe resurrected Christ of Sunday. Most catholic churches have crucifixes. They have the Good Friday crucified Christ cross.

In our passage, Mark 8:34-38, Jesus calls his disciples and the crowd to come closer. He’s about to make an impor-tant announcement. He’s going to lay out the facts as clearly as he can.

In order to be one of his followers, Jesus says that there are three steps. 1. Deny yourself 2. Take up your cross 3. Follow me

In the Roman Empire, there was only one use for the cross. The cross was capital punishment leveled against ene-mies of the state. The cross humiliated and shamed the convicted. The punishment was public, in a place where many could see him die a slow, agonizing death. The criminal was naked. It was an extremely effective deterrent against insurgents, both political and military.

We must deny ourselves as we follow in the steps of Jesus: healing the sick, taking in the ostracized, challenging hypocritical religious hierarchy, performing miracles, feeding the hungry, not caring if a person was Jew or Gentile, Protestant or Catholic, Muslim or Hindu, healthy or sick, black or white, young or old, man or woman if they were in need of his touch and ours.

We all may not be crucified for what we do in our ministry but we will come upon crosses in our lives that may crush us. An alcoholic spouse or loved one. A church with more month than money. A community that doesn’t want a family shelter in their neighborhood. We cannot let these crosses allow us to trade our souls for a world of quiet des-peration.

But the crucified Christ …

There is a reality to this Christ that allows for pain, hurt and doubt. Horrible and unjust things can and do hap-pen. Death seemingly occurs everywhere and can strike anyone instantly. Taking up our crosses will not be easy, indeed it may be deadly as it was to Jesus. It may test our faith and our bodies as we meet resistance to the cross.

Blessedly we take up two crosses, the crucified one and the empty one. The empty one usually turns into the cruci-fied one. But by the power of the love and grace of our God, the crucified cross becomes the empty cross once again. It is bloodied, the wood splintered by nails, but it is empty. The question is who will take it up now and fol-low Jesus?

Stay with us to find out.

Please remember to be generous during this season of Lent

*Spiritual Giving e-newsletter (03/25/2014)

Aldersgate Experience

The

April 6, 2014

Aldersgate United Methodist Church Rock Hill, SC http://www.aumcrockhill.com

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Door

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Disappointments

Disappointments are those moments in life when we think we are going in one direction and then, suddenly, what we were planning falls apart and life turns us around and upside down. Sometimes it is a small disappointment. Other times might be big life changing disappointments that hit us, knocking us to our knees. Disappointments can com-pletely change our mood and approach to all life. For some of us, it leaves us bitter for many years.

In National Lam-poon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswall is expecting his annual Christmas bonus. It was to enable his family to have a special Christmas. What he received instead was a far cry from the bonus. Suddenly he is in a panic and Christmas slides toward a complete disaster.

Maybe disappointment is completely unexpected as it was to a young husband and father who came home after work to find his house empty and his wife gone, taking his child to live with his best friend. A terrible thing to face and certainly an event that can pull you down the rabbit hole of misery and unhappiness.

Biblical characters show us that even though life has placed them in a place they did not want to be, God did not for-sake them.

 Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was long past retirement age and more than ready to settle down with her elderly hus-band surrounded by her family and friends. Next thing you know they have packed their possessions to travel to a place that is not even identified to them by God.

 Isaac, the son of Abraham, led to a mountain to pray with his beloved father finds suddenly his head and neck laid across the altar.

 Joseph, in the well, was betrayed by his brothers and sold to slave traders.

 Daniel and his two friends were placed in the frightening lion’s den.

What can we do when we cannot do anything? We can cling to our God. God who is forever ready to love, listen, and support. Don’t let the disappointments of life balloon into huge disappointments, spiraling us into bitterness and dis-couragement.

The Psalmist said, “Lord, even when I have trouble all around me,

you will keep me alive.

When my enemies are angry,

You will reach down and save me by your power. 138:7

We keep moving on with confidence in this new direction. God will continue to bring blessings into our life. Who knows, this change of circumstances through faith ,and through perseverance, might end up being a great blessing.

Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:9 :

“We must not become tired of doing good.

We will receive our harvest of eternal life

At the right time if we do not give up.”

Travel on this Lent and know, no matter what disappointments and setbacks hamper your life, God will be with you.

Pastor

Pam

Aldersgate Experience

The

March 30, 2014

Aldersgate United Methodist Church Rock Hill, SC http://www.aumcrockhill.com

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors,

The ChurchThe People of the United Methodist Church

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Sin and Guilt

 There was a ritual my grandmother had when she would get us ready for church.My grandmother would make me take a bath paying particular attention to my face, neck and hands. She would then dress me in a newly cleaned and ironed dress she had made for me. I would put on my shines shoes and white little girl socks with the lace on the edge and she would tell me to stay clean un-til we left for church. I tried to stay still and not get myself dirty but invariably I would go outside and forget my promises and manage to get myself a little dirty.

Sitting in church I would discreetly try to rub the dust off my shoes and hide to smudge on my dress. That in a nut shell is a picture of sin and guilt. We try to pretend we are clean, knowing all the while the smudges on our soul.

We have begun Lent, a time of self reflection. Few of us set out to sin. We want to keep our souls clean but somehow we find ourselves drawn into some-thing messy and destructive for our spiritual life. We sit in church all off us carefully trying to hide the smudges on our souls from our friends. Praying no one notices our dirtiness. We are at the very place and should be with the perfect company to really get ourselves truly clean.

Max Lucado writes about sin and guilt in his book God’s Promises For You.

“Have you been there? Have you felt the ground of conviction give way beneath your feet? The ledge crumbles, your eyes widen, and down you go. Poof! Now what do you do? …When you fall, we can dismiss it. Deny it. We can distort it. Or we can deal with it…. We keep no secrets from God. Confession is not telling God what we did. He already knows. Confession is simply agreeing with God that our acts were wrong….

How can God heal what we deny?….How can God grant us pardon when we won’t admit our guilt? Isn’t that what we avoid? Guilt. Isn’t that what we detest? But is guilt so bad? What does guilt imply if not that we know right from wrong, that we inspire to be better than we are….that’s what guilt is: a healthy regret for telling God one thing and doing another,” Happy Lent traveling.

Pastor

Pam

 

Aldersgate Experience

 

 

The

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2014

 

 

 

Aldersgate United Methodist Church Rock Hill, SC http://www.aumcrockhill.com

 

 

 

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors,

 

The ChurchThe People of the United Methodist Church

 

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The Big Day

The Big Day

It is very early Monday morning. It is before 5am. I have done my devotional and I am writing in my journal and thinking about what an important day it is in my life. Our district superintendent called me over the weekend and said he wondered if I could come in his office at 10:30 am. He has the folder on my new appointment. A pastoral friend asked, “Did you ask him anything about where you are going?” “No”, “I replied. I will know Monday”.

Appointment time is a journey of trust. Trusting God, and trusting my colleagues on the cabinet. I know even though I journey in the dark that The Holy Spirit holds my hand and knows where I am going. I also know the fear and anxiety we feel on this blind journey is diminished by prayer: my si-lent prayers and the prayers of my closest friends. Besides there are those around me traveling a more harrowing path in the dark: Friends facing grave illnesses, family crisis. One thing unites us all, the Holy Spirit, our faithful compan-ion. Jesus tells his disciples that he is sending them one greater than he is who will be our Comforter. Wherever I land it will be blessed because I am not alone. because Christ goes before me making the way smooth and the Holy Spirit is my traveling companion. Happy Lent and no,I can’t tell you where I am going!

Pastor

Pam

 

 

The

 

 

 

March 16 , 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Four Worship Myths

 

Four Worship Myths

1. Worship is about me.

2. Worship happens one day a week.

3. Worship is just part of my life.

4. Worship is a religious activity.

If you approach worship with the attitude,

“God, what do you have for me?”

you’re always going to walk away empty.

Ask instead:

“How can I give you praise?”

“How can I give you glory?”

“How can I give you the worth you deserve?”

Only then will you walk away from your time of worship deeply satisfied.

If you arrive early for worship:

1. Pray that everyone who attends the service will have an open heart.

2. Pray for God to open your heart.

3. Pray for the pastor and those leading worship.

4. Prepare your offering.

If you arrive late for Sunday worship:

1. Take a moment to focus your mind on God.

2. Enter quietly and take a seat discreetly.

3. Pray for the service as you enter.

4. No matter what is happening when you walk in,

take a moment to focus yourself on the environment

and ask God to allow you to truly worship.

5. Engage the rest of the worship service fully.

From “Resolve: A New Way to See Worship”

By Nelson Searcy & Jason Hatley

 

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Stories

One thing I love doing is listening to the stories  my parishioners tell me about their ‘lives. Mildred Tomlin had a long, resilient life. I am so grateful to her family for telling me some of her story. One piece of information was the fact that Mildred wanted to be a teacher.

 Financially, her family was not able to send her to college so instead she was a teacher’s assistant. She adored her work with the children only quitting when she physically was not able to do it any more. Church was also huge in her life. She was definitely one of the “for all the saints” and I am glad I had the opportunity to know her.

When I was a child, frequently staying with my grandparents where television and radio reception was spotty at best, we had time to listen to family stories. My grandmother was a wonderful story teller and would keep us enthralled with stories of the antics of her 12 brothers and sisters on the farm. All though we thought there may be some fiction in some of the stories, we loved them nevertheless.

 The Bible is full of stories. God’s stories with his children, rich in drama, humor and love. Learning stories helps our faith story become challenged by the commitment and love of others. Our stories matter and if they are woven into God’s  story they  can make a huge difference in other lives.

Pastor,

Pam

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Stories

 

One thing I love doing is listening to the stories  my parishioners tell me about their ‘lives. Mildred Tomlin had a long, resilient life. I am so grateful to her family for telling me some of her story. One piece of information was the fact that Mildred wanted to be a teacher.

 

Financially, her family was not able to send her to college so instead she was a teacher’s assistant. She adored her work with the children only quitting when she physically was not able to do it any more. Church was also huge in her life. She was definitely one of the “for all the saints” and I am glad I had the opportunity to know her.

 

When I was a child, frequently staying with my grandparents where television and radio reception was spotty at best, we had time to listen to family stories. My grandmother was a wonderful story teller and would keep us enthralled with stories of the antics of her 12 brothers and sisters on the farm. All though we thought there may be some fiction in some of the stories, we loved them nevertheless.

 

The Bible is full of stories. God’s stories with his children, rich in drama, humor and love. Learning stories helps our faith story become challenged by the commitment and love of others. Our stories matter and if they are woven into God’s  story they  can make a huge difference in other lives.

 

Pastor,

Pam

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Stories

 

One thing I love doing is listening to the stories  my parishioners tell me about their ‘lives. Mildred Tomlin had a long, resilient life. I am so grateful to her family for telling me some of her story. One piece of information was the fact that Mildred wanted to be a teacher.

 

Financially, her family was not able to send her to college so instead she was a teacher’s assistant. She adored her work with the children only quitting when she physically was not able to do it any more. Church was also huge in her life. She was definitely one of the “for all the saints” and I am glad I had the opportunity to know her.

 

When I was a child, frequently staying with my grandparents where television and radio reception was spotty at best, we had time to listen to family stories. My grandmother was a wonderful story teller and would keep us enthralled with stories of the antics of her 12 brothers and sisters on the farm. All though we thought there may be some fiction in some of the stories, we loved them nevertheless.

 

The Bible is full of stories. God’s stories with his children, rich in drama, humor and love. Learning stories helps our faith story become challenged by the commitment and love of others. Our stories matter and if they are woven into God’s  story they  can make a huge difference in other lives.

 

Pastor,

Pam

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Stories

 

One thing I love doing is listening to the stories  my parishioners tell me about their ‘lives. Mildred Tomlin had a long, resilient life. I am so grateful to her family for telling me some of her story. One piece of information was the fact that Mildred wanted to be a teacher.

 

Financially, her family was not able to send her to college so instead she was a teacher’s assistant. She adored her work with the children only quitting when she physically was not able to do it any more. Church was also huge in her life. She was definitely one of the “for all the saints” and I am glad I had the opportunity to know her.

 

When I was a child, frequently staying with my grandparents where television and radio reception was spotty at best, we had time to listen to family stories. My grandmother was a wonderful story teller and would keep us enthralled with stories of the antics of her 12 brothers and sisters on the farm. All though we thought there may be some fiction in some of the stories, we loved them nevertheless.

 

The Bible is full of stories. God’s stories with his children, rich in drama, humor and love. Learning stories helps our faith story become challenged by the commitment and love of others. Our stories matter and if they are woven into God’s  story they  can make a huge difference in other lives.

 

Pastor,

Pam

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dare To Dream

 Dare To Dream

This month I am reading a challenging book by Mike Slaughter called “Dare To Dream”.

He challenges each of us to examine our life and ask some important questions. He asks us to examine our life goals. Many of us only reflect as far as our “to do” list for the week. He wants us to engage with a deeper reflection. He says we think too small. He encourages us to ask, “Am I living the “just get by” plan, or is there a greater God dream that if lived to the fullest, could permeate and inform every move I make.”

To do God-dreaming instead of simply day dreaming we must put feet to our faith. He wants us to begin as the book of James urges us to embrace, No-regret living. James 4:14 says, “you don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are in a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes.” James confronts aimless living by saying, “it is a sin when someone knows the right thing to do and doesn’t do it.”

The purpose of his book, Mike Slaughter says, is three-fold. First, is to wake up the God sized dream in us. It is the dream Christ gave us when he first came into our life. Secondly, we need a personal mission statement for our life. This is different from life goals which can change from season to season. Our life’s mission never changes. Commit fully to your God-directed life mission. Remember life is finite, we must seize today as the moment to begin.

I want to conclude with the prayer Reverend Slaughter offers in the opening of his book. It is a prayer for each of us but also for our church as well.

“Father, you have created us for so much more. Reveal to us how to live life in the abundance

of your empowering Spirit. May we say with Jesus when our days on this earth are done, ‘I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.’ Amen

 

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Something to Shout About

We hear so much gloom and doom in life. Negativity even creeps into our life in the church, but God is great. God sustains our needs, not our wants, and we are blessed beyond measure. No, I am not a cheer leader but I want to give you some statistical facts about our church.

 Last year we had an increase of 4% from the year before of families giving to the church. Our pledging members gave 4 % more pledging $124,991.Other members who give to the church increased their giving 81%!!! 2012 saw those members give $129,212. The giving of that group rose to $234,481. Incredible! Plus the church paid off it’s loan.

 We have had decreases. The rolls were audited this year after years of neglect and our membership had a drastic decrease . Our  average weekly worship service attendance has declined. But God is good and will use this church if we continue to be faithful and loving.

 Isn’t this is great news for our church and a wonderful Valentine’s gift?

 Pastor Pam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

more pledging $124,991.Other members who give to the church increased their giving 81%!!! 2012 saw those members give $129,212. The giving of that group rose to $234,481. Incredible! Plus the church paid off it’s loan.We have had decreases. The rolls were audited this year after years of neglect and our membership had a drastic decrease . Our  average weekly worship service attendance has declined. But God is good and will use this church if we continue to be faithful and loving.

Isn’t this is great news for our church and a wonderful Valentine’s gift?

 

Pastor Pam

 

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Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is upon us and I thought you might enjoy some Christian humor with a football flavor! Remember to bring canned soup over the next few Sundays and bring change on Super Bowl Sunday for our offering of change for missions….
Consider giving to missions what you would spend on snacks for the game. Just like the loaves and fishes fed the five thousand, our change joined with other generous Christians can help fight hunger.
CHRISTIAN FOOTBALL
QUARTERBACK SNEAK: Church members quietly leaving after the second hymn.
DRAW PLAY: What many children do with the bulletin during worship.
HALF-TIME: The period between Sunday School and worship when many choose to leave.
BENCHWARMER: Those who do not sing, pray, work or apparently only sit.
BACKFIELD-IN –MOTION: Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.
STAYING IN THE POCKET: What happens to a lot of money that should have been given to the Lord’s work.
TWO MINUTE WARNING: The point in which you realize the sermon is almost over and be-gin to gather up your children and belongings.
INSTANT REPLAY: The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week
SUDDEN DEATH: What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes “overtime”.
TRAP: You are called on in the service to speak when you are sound asleep.
END RUN: Getting out of church quickly, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.
FLEX DEFENSE: The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.
HALFBACK OPTION: The decision of 50% not to return for an evening program.
BLITZ: The rush for restaurants following the closing prayer.
Pastor Pam

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