Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It marks the beginning of a period of reflection and penance. In the Bible, sprinkling oneself with ashes was traditionally a sign of one’s sorrow for having committed sins. In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday also marked the beginning of preparation for the understanding of the death and resurrection of Christ. The particular symbolism of ashes for this day comes from a practice in the Roman Catholic churches in which the ashes from the palms used in the preceding year’s Palm Sunday celebration are blessed. With these ashes, the priest on the first day of Lent marks a cross on the forehead of each worshiper. This practice has become a part of Ash Wednesday services in many United Methodist Churches. So start your Lenten journey off right by joining us Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for our Ash Wednesday Service.
Lenten Growth Groups
Starts the Week of Feb. 18th
Study: A Disciple’s Path Deepening Your Relationship with Christ and the Church by James A. Harnish
Book Cost: Daily Workbook $9.00 Campion Reader $7.00
Books can be purchased through the office.
George Warren and Ashley Franks
Sunday School Class
Sunday Nights 5:00 p.m.
Led by Cody Robinson
Wednesday Nights 6:00 p.m.
Led by Pastor Matt Franks
If you want to lead your own group or you plan on attending one please speak to Pastor Matt
Hi, my name is Jayme Hayes. I graduated from Fort Gibson High School in 2016. I am 21 years old. I attend Northeastern State University where I am currently double majoring in Special Education and Elementary education. My home church was Muskogee First United Methodist. I love all things that have to do with pugs, coffee, and Harry Potter. I am very excited for this new opportunity and cannot wait to make new memories with this awesome group!
30 Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. 31 Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 32 Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 33 A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ 36 What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”37 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” ~Luke 10:30-37 Common English Bible
On June 17th 2015 a young man entered the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina, sat down and attended the prayer service. After about an hour of meeting with these people 21 year old Dylan Roof pulled out a .45 caliber Pistol and shot 9 church members multiple times. The next day Roof was apprehended and arrested in Shelby North Carolina. Relatives of those who were killed told suspect Dylan Roof during an initial court appearance that they forgave him. These people forgave someone who took the lives of their mothers, fathers, siblings and children. This may seem like an impossible task, but it is possible with God! The natural response would be to seek revenge. But the members of that church illustrate how to show the love of Jesus in the most difficult of times. Those people do not just attend church, they show us how to BE THE CHURCH!
Being the church is not just following Jesus in “doctrine” or “belief”…It is following Him out into the streets, among the people, mingling with them and loving them where they are.
We can preach Jesus with our words but we will reach people with our actions! Yes, we are to tell people that Jesus loves them. But we will have a greater impact when we SHOW them the love of Christ!
Obviously this “Samaritan” who showed compassion to this man was the one who acted as a neighbor. It is not hard to love our family, our faith family and our friends. But nowhere do you find that Jesus commands us to only love those who deserve it. He says that we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves”. In His closing words to this “teacher of the Law” He says “Go and do likewise”. That is our assignment today. It is not enough for us to say we love others. We must show that love each and every day.
Love is not an option… it is a command. My prayer for you as we go into this Lenten season is to take this command to heart and put our Love Into Action.
Lent is coming! Ash Wednesday is Feb. 14th The season of Lent is used by Christians as a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is also utilized as a time of self-examination and reflection.
Our Marriage Course will run on Sunday’s starting with our preview night on January 7th 2018 at 4:00 p.m. All couples are welcome, whether they’ve been together for one year or sixty-one years, whether they are married or living together, and whether they consider themselves to have a strong relationship or are struggling. Although the course is based on Christian principles, its practical tools are applicable to all couples whether they are church goers or not. Sign up for The Marriage Course Register Here
Spring Break Mission Trip
Trip Dates: March 17th-23rd
For Ages: 7th grade and 99th grade
This is an intergenerational mission trip to the Hurricane Harvey area.
Why do some people see opportunities others miss? In the book Did You Spot the Gorilla?psychologist Richard Wiseman describes an experiment that provides a clue:
Volunteers watched a 30-second video of two teams playing basketball. They were asked to count the number of times one of the teams passed the ball. What they weren’t told was that halfway through the video, a man dressed in a gorilla suit would run onto the court, stand in front of the camera, and beat his chest. Amazingly, only a few of the volunteers spotted the man in the gorilla suit. Most were so intent on counting passes that they completely missed the gorilla.
Wiseman concluded that most people go through life so focused on the task at hand they completely miss “gorilla” opportunities.
He gives the example of a team of 3M researchers who were trying to develop a high-strength adhesive. One of their attempts produced a product that was actually the opposite—a very low-strength adhesive. Most of the team thought the result was a failure, but one saw it as an opportunity. That failure became the glue on 3M Post-It Notes.
If we aren’t careful, we can be so fixated on the mundane, that we miss God-given opportunities of significance.
Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me; suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming, says the Lord of heavenly forces. 2 Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can withstand his appearance? He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. They will belong to the Lord, presenting a righteous offering. 4 The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in ancient days and in former years. 5 I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against the sorcerers, the adulterers, those swearing falsely, against those who cheat the day laborers out of their wages as well as oppress the widow and the orphan, and against those who brush aside the foreigner and do not revere me, says the Lord of heavenly forces. 6 I am the Lord, and I do not change; and you, children of Jacob, have not perished. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors, you have deviated from my laws and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of heavenly forces. But you say, “How should we return?”
We often get caught up in being busy for weeks only to miss Christmas completely. Even with our best intentions, some are just glad when it is over. This need not happen nor be the case. The Advent season is indeed a perfect time of personal spiritual preparation to joyfully receive the promise of God in His Son, Jesus.
Malachi, a prophet of Israel, wrote 3:7b “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?”
Jesus did not come to complicate our lives, but to bring to us that the assurance of a new or renewed relationship with God was possible. When we understand Advent is about getting a fresh start in our faith, Christmas can be a new beginning. The story of Christmas itself teaches us how the new or renewed journey to life in Christ can begin for us.
Hopeful shepherds set out in faith on a search until they found the promised one. Magi, from a distant world searched against odds until they too found the one who was to come. Traveling through this life in a world offering little hope, may we keep searching until we too have found the faith, hope, and peace in God’s promised Son.
Read: Scripture Reading: Luke 17:11-19 Common English Bible
11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Let me tell you what I learned from Kenneth Mason. When we served the church in Goodwell out in the Oklahoma Panhandle, we grew to love some amazing people. One of those families was the Mason family—Kenneth and Margaret and their three sons, Jeff, Todd and Lee. Margaret was an accountant, working for one of the companies in the area. Kenneth was a farmer, growing mostly wheat and milo, and grazing cattle on the wheat over the winter. Kenneth had lost one of his thumbs in an accident working on a combine many years before, and he used to startle the children by “pulling his thumb off” and showing the nub! They were hard working folks, good folks. But I don’t know how they paid the grocery bill for those growing boys!
I asked Kenneth to share his witness on why he gave to the church, and this is what he said. “We make an estimate of giving each year because we know our church does great things in our community and around the world, and we want them to be able to plan on what they can spend. You know that we farm. Now farming for wheat is always a gamble. I never feel the urge to go to Las Vegas to gamble for fun. We do that every day, and all you farmers understand. Some years the harvest is strong, but the prices will be low; some years the harvest is low, but the prices are up. Some years we lose money on the wheat but make it on milo and cattle; some years it’s just the opposite. Since we never know from year to year, we just make our estimate of giving based on our average income—Margaret’s salary plus the farm income. When we have a good year, we pay off loans and buy new equipment. When we have a bad year, we take out a loan to live on and keep farming. With that loan we pay the mortgage on our house, and our living expenses. Just because the harvest was weak, we’re not going to stop eating or driving to the boys’ basketball away games or buying clothes for them. And with that loan we also pay our tithe. That’s right. We borrow money to pay our tithe. Margaret and I figure that God has blessed us immensely with each other, the boys, the farm and so much more. If I’m committed to pay obligations to the bank who doesn’t love me, (And don’t get me wrong, they’re good people; they just don’t love me.) then (At this point he pointed that nub of a thumb to his chest.) shouldn’t I be more committed to God who does love me?
I don’t remember what I said that Sunday, but I will never forget what Kenneth Mason said, “If I’m committed to pay my obligations to the bank who doesn’t love me, shouldn’t I be more committed to God who does love me?”