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Tahlequah First United Methodist Church

10:00 a.m. Celebration Worship | 6:30 p.m. Open Door Worship

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Who Are You Intended To Be & The Wesley at NSU Update by Pastor Shana Dry

Who Are You Intended To Be?

30 From there Jesus and his followers went through Galilee, but he didn’t want anyone to know it. 31 This was because he was teaching his disciples, “The Human One will be delivered into human hands. They will kill him. Three days after he is killed he will rise up.” 32 But they didn’t understand this kind of talk, and they were afraid to ask him.33 They entered Capernaum. When they had come into a house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about during the journey?” 34 They didn’t respond, since on the way they had been debating with each other about who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” 36 Jesus reached for a little child, placed him among the Twelve, and embraced him. Then he said, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me.” ~ Mark 9:30-37

What does a person have to do to become an insignificant leader? Why don’t we ever hear people say, “You are destined to be really insignificant!” Perhaps it is because many of us are socially wired to want to become great leaders. But what if greatness looks totally different to God than our aspirations and practice of greatness?

These are the questions that I have been wrestling with for quite some time. However, they are not my questions alone. They are the questions the disciples are grappling with in our story. They are the questions of the conscientious church leaders and young people who are trying to make sense of their one precious life in service to God. While we all have a deep longing to discover the answers to these questions, the more important question is: Will we muster the courage to live into the answers? This is the question that was placed before me a couple of years ago during the summer in a way that I could not escape from it.

It happened during my travel to Ferguson Mo. for my immersion class I was taking for Seminary. Our class was privileged to sit in the house of Rev. Seiku, a very wise Fifty–Four-year-old man. In a simple circle, there we sat with this laid back barefoot man with a gentle voice turning our ideas of church and ministry upside down.

He warned us at the beginning that he would respond to our questions—that are very much alive in him—in ways that we were not accustomed.  We were not prepared for what he said. “To be called,” he said, “is a calling to be a new creature in Christ; to be a new being.” So the vocation question for him is, “Will you become who you are intended to be?”

You see Rev. Seiku’s focus is on the BEING of leadership—the who of leadership—and not the doing. “Doing is easier,” he said. there are some questions to be asked regarding this becoming: Are you holding on to control—can you relinquish control? Do you feel safe enough to let go—are you fearless? Are you welcoming strangers and little children? Are you working on those relationships? Then he told us, “contemplative prayer, practicing letting Jesus into our lives, is the way to prepare for a life in these questions.”

Our society suffers from a debilitating addiction to a “greatness” understanding of leadership. Families feed this addiction to their children. An addiction to being the best or greatest in ministry, whether it is about leadership or building institutions, is a virus in the church. The earliest strand of this deadly addiction can be traced back to the church’s origin. It is the very question the disciples are arguing about in this scripture.

Fortunately, Jesus has a response: he provides some answers about how we might break free from our addiction to unhealthy forms of greatness by re-imagining church leadership. This re-imagining is a necessary revolution, a rebellion, an uprising against our traditional understandings of greatness. It is a revolution that invites us to embrace different forms of leadership and practices that we find modeled in the life of Jesus.

I would love you to call on me or stop by and visit with me about what qualities of leadership you hold, and who you are intended to be.

Peace & Love Always,

Pastor Shana

shana.dry@tahlequahumc.org

 

The Wesley at NSU Update

I am so very happy to share with you the blessings God has given our ministry this past month! We kicked off the beginning of this Fall semester with a leadership retreat over at Camp Egan! We planned our semester programming and are happy to be offering a freshman bible study and a women’s small group, in addition to our Wesley Wednesday Worship, free lunch, and Table Talk!

Welcome Week was a huge success! We were blessed to have over 150 students come and join us for a dinner that Wednesday night, and then we volunteered to serve the meal for Feed My Sheep! Our newer students were excited to be a part of a program that gives back to people!

We joined other campus ministries that Thursday after FMS to help lead a praise and worship service for all of NSU. We were happy to be a part of that rich, unique experience!

On the first week of school, students and I passed out those amazing cookies and some fresh lemonade- and we are so glad you gave us so much- we had just enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping out our ministries at the Wesley- we’re blessed to have your support!

We thank you for your continued support with our lunch donation and 12:15 programs. If you are interested in joining the 12:15 program, or on how to become partners in ministry, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Cody for details!

Thank you for allowing us to share with you the blessings from our ministry, God loves you, and so do I!

Pastor Appreciation Sunday 10/28

Pastor Appreciation Sunday 10/28

The Staff Parrish Relations Committee invites you to help us honor our Pastors on this special day. Donations can be taken to the church office any time before October 22nd.

If writing a check, be sure and indicate that your donation is for Pastor Appreciation Sunday.

Thanks for helping us show our love, support and appreciation for our two hard working Pastors.

3rd Quarter Stewardship Letter for 2018

3rd Quarter Stewardship Letter for 2018

Church Family,

Monday a memo that it is 99 days until Christmas alerted me. 99 days and it is still 90+ degrees. A lot can happen in those 99 days. Here are some highlights that I want to share with you from 2018.

  • In March: We responded to Hurricane Harvey by taking a multigenerational mission trip that sent 15 people to serve in the Houston area.
  • Camp Wesley was held in response to the teacher walk out. It was met with great response from the community and people were so thankful that we were willing to be a Church with Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors. We have continued to be a blessing to those families and some are attending our Wednesday Night Children’s program. One family even joined our Church family in July.
  • We sent 18 Children, Youth and Adults to various Church Camps at Camp Egan this past summer.
  • The Youth Summer Mission Trip to St. Louis was a time for being educated on poverty and helping around the St. Louis area.
  • Vacation Bible School this year was a great time of learning, fellowship and fun events with over 50 children, youth and adults participating.
  • Back to School Blessings took on a different shape this year. We responded to Zoe Institute taking a break and made sure that 200 kids were able to receive a backpack, basic school supplies, haircut and a free meal. Our Church and Community partners had a great time; many people commented how thankful they were that we stepped up and how they loved the open and loving atmosphere we created.
  • As of September 16, we have had 21 people join our Church and our average weekly worship to date is 158.

All of this is a microcosm of what happens at Tahlequah First United Methodist Church. Week in and week out our Church offers something that helps people connect to God. In some cases, we are just sowing seeds with excellent hospitality and congregational care. In other cases, we are there to be a shoulder to cry on or a gentle hug during a difficult time. We offer times of learning about our faith. In addition, there are those times we are just here to fellowship and have fun together as we did a few weeks ago at Camp Egan.

We are coming into the last quarter of the year and I want to paint a picture of our Church finances. As of September 16, our Church budget is $36,880.06 behind for the year. As of September 13, our mortgage is $561,198.82. First, will you join me in prayer that we are able to be faithful stewards of the money we are given so we can be the Church God has called us to be. Second, will you look over your giving statement to make sure you are current. If there are corrections, please contact the office.  Then ask yourself, would you be willing to give a little more. Your giving is helping us live into this mission of being a Church of Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors. Thank you for all that you do.

 

God Loves You and So Do We,

Rev. Matt Franks                    Rev. Shana Dry

Lead Pastor                            Associate Pastor

 

Pastor Shana’s September Reflection

Called to Love

Ephesians 1:10-14 CEB. “10 This is what God planned for the climax of all times to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth. 11 We have also received an inheritance in Christ. We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design. 12 We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ. 13 You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.”

A group of professionals asked some children from age four to eight, “What does love mean?” Here are some of the answers the children gave.

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Kari, age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy, age 6

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.” Noelle, age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”  Mary Ann, age 4

I wonder sometimes what does people’s love look like? I see it in some of their faces, I see it in some of their actions. The question that comes to my mind is are we living in love?

 

The above scripture comes from Paul; he is writing this letter from a prison cell. Some scholars believe that it is written not just to the Jewish community but also to the Gentiles of the area who have become united in Christ. Paul seems overwhelmed by the magnitude of the gift God has lavished on us. And we, of course, want to know what we need to do to deserve or pay for this gift. And the answer of course is nothing.

 

I do believe there is something we can do for this miraculous gift, and that is live in love. Have you ever given a gift and known that your gift will be appreciated and enjoyed for days, months, years? That knowledge is your reward.

 

Have you ever danced with a baby, or sung to a baby, or played silly games with a baby and been rewarded with a bright, beaming smile? That experience is the closest I can get to understanding why God showers us with love and grace. God doesn’t want flattery or promises. God wants a bubbly grin and a kicking of legs in delight as we enjoy simply being together in LOVE.

 

As you go about your day, ask yourself this question? What does my love look like? Do people see my love when they see me?

 

Remember, God loves you and so do I!

Peace & Love Always,

Pastor Shana

shana.dry@tahlequahumc.org

Pastor Matt’s September Reflection

Finding Peace Through Letting Go

The first time I read Adam Hamilton’s book Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go it opened me up to practice of forgiveness. Practicing forgiveness has helped me let go of some things that could keep me from being the person whom God created me to be. I found peace in some broken relationships when forgiveness was practiced and my relationship with God was strengthened. In order to practice forgiveness, we need to be honest and open about who we are and the mistakes we have made and the mistakes that may have been made against us.

Psalm 32:5 says, “So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord,” is what I said. Then you removed the guilt of my sin.

Forgiveness takes practice. It is not a concept that we master overnight. I am still working on it.  Hamilton’s goal for the book is that we might find help and encouragement as we seek reconciliation and healing through the act of asking for, and extending, forgiveness. That is my goal as well as we study this as a whole Church.

Christian Rapper Toby Mac has a song called Forgiveness, and there is one line that sticks with me.

‘Cause we all make mistakes sometimes
And we’ve all stepped across that line
But nothing’s sweeter than the day we find
Forgiveness, forgiveness

We all need forgiveness and I invite you to come and learn how we can practice forgiveness better. Join us on Sunday September 9th as we begin our study on Forgiveness. If you are looking for a small group to study, it with our Sunday School classes will start on September 9th and if you are looking for another night I will be leading a small group Starting September 5th at 6 p.m. in room 301. We still have copies of the book in the office for $11.00

Peace be with you,

Pastor Matt

Lead Pastor

matt.franks@tahlequahumc.org

August Reflection from Pastor Shana

August Reflection from Pastor Shana

Can you believe school is about to start? Wow! Time seems to be moving so fast that I can’t seem to catch up. With school starting back and people getting back into a routine, I want to personally invite you to join us in Sunday School, in one of our upcoming Bible Studies, or if you have been out of town or out of routine a bit, come on back to worship with us on Sunday morning. We have several dates coming that offer us the opportunity to be in learning, mission and fellowship:

On July 29th we had a Sunday School teacher training following the worship service. It was a great conversation on how we can make our Sunday School work better for building community to help people grow in their faith.

August 5th is our Tulsa Driller game night. There are still tickets available and still time to get signed up for this fun evening of entertainment and fellowship. Tickets are only $11, give me a call so I can reserve you a ticket.

August 12th is our time to be in service with the community. First, we will be in worship with the United Methodist Women Sunday morning, following lunch we will be working to set up the Activity Building for that evening’s mission project. We will open our doors and serve hot dogs, chips, and love to 200 children who need school supplies. We will also be offering haircuts that day as well. This will be a great day of service and love in our community of faith.

August 26th will be a fun filled day with worship, food, fellowship and play. We will gather together at Camp Egan at 5pm to share in a potluck with the grill, hot dogs and hamburgers provided. The swimming pool will be available along with horse shoes and volleyball. Plan now to attend this great time to fellowship together.

September 9th we will kick off our church wide study that is entitled “Forgiveness” written by Adam Hamilton. If you want to purchase a book, you can in the office for $11.00. As you can see we have several things scheduled and many more to come. If you would like to lead a small group, volunteer at the church, or help with any of these events please don’t hesitate to call me or stop by and let’s work together for “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors”. God loves you and so do I!

Peace & Love Always,

Pastor Shana

shana.dry@tahlequahumc.org

August Reflection from Pastor Matt

August Reflection from Pastor Matt

Take a deep breath, let in Good Air, let out all of your anxiety, let in Good Air, let out all of your anxiety. This was one of the exercises we did with the kids during their main gathering sessions at Freedom School. One of my favorite hymns is Leave It There, the refrain has this line: “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” How often do you take what is burdening you to the Lord and leave it there? This simple breath prayer of taking in Good air, and letting your anxiety out is freeing and life giving. I would encourage you to try it. Now here are somethings I would like for you to know.

DIRT Church Name Change: To better align with our Churches mission of being a Church with Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors to make disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world. We are aligning our evening worship (DIRT Church) to better fit our mission. We are changing the name to Open Door Worship. The music will be more modern then what we do on Sunday mornings, but we will be staying with what the church is preaching on Sunday mornings so if you miss church in the morning you can come and join us Sunday night. Communion will also be served at this service every week. September 9 th is our start date at 6:30 p.m. in the Activity Building. Please help us grow this worship service which is open to all.

Wednesday Night Bible Sunday: Starting September 5th at 6:00 p.m. I will be leading a Pastor’s Study Group. Our first study will be Forgiveness By Adam Hamilton. Book cost is $11.00 and can be picked up in the Church office. There will be a signup sheet in the Narthex on Sunday Mornings.

Men’s Group Wednesday Mornings at 6:30 a.m. at Jimmy’s Egg will resume on September 5th. Come and join us for some eggs, fellowship and study in the word.

Uniting Methodist Conference: Below I have a little bit of info on a conference I attended in the middle of July to help keep the United Methodist Church United.

Back To School Blessings: Thank you for your response in helping in this event. The Church and the Community have responded in great fashion and I can’t wait to see all of those kids get their back packs.

The Special General Conference for 2019 in St. Louis Mo. The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. You can read a lot more about the Commission on the Way forward here: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/commission-on-away-forward

Our Bishop Jimmy Nunn released this statement on July 23rd..

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for declaratory decisions on the constitutionality of the work submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. As part of the process, The Book of Discipline ¶ 2608.1 requires that requests for declaratory decision, including relevant documents such as legislative petitions, be posted on the Judicial Council website thirty (30) days prior to the filing date of briefs. The Judicial Council has published its October 2018 docket and it includes the COB of Bishops’ request for declaratory decision. Here is the link to the COB case, which includes the full report of the Commission. http://cdnfiles.umc.org/Website_Properties/who-we-are/judicial-council/judicial-council-dockets/docket-10-2018-1.pdf This material has not yet been released by the Commission on General Conference and is not available in languages other than English. Please remember that only action of the General Conference can make changes to The Book of Discipline. As we serve together, we are still guided by the provisions of the 2016 Discipline. May God’s grace lead us in all we do. –Jimmy Nunn

In July I attended a meeting of a group called Uniting Methodist. This was a gathering of Methodist whom vary on the theological spectrum and came together to talk about which plan is the best to keep us United. You can find all the great videos at https://llumc.org/umlive After much prayer and discernment I feel it is best if the United Methodist Church adopt the One Church Plan.

A Committee member on the Commission on the Way Forward David Nuckols released the chart below that helps understand the One Church Plan and what changes would be made if the other plans we adopted. Nuckols keynote in the videos is a good one to watch to understand what is at stake. All the videos are great to watch. I found the Uniting Methodist conference an uplifting and life-giving time.

Can we covet to… 1st we pray for Unity in the Church. 2nd Please read the Commission’s report which can be found on the link above, it is a big document if you want a hard copy come to the Church office and we will have one to Check out. 3rd UMC.org will be keep us all up to date on what is occurring in regard to this special called General Conference. You will find all sorts of blog posts and other news information out there but umc.org will be were the official statements can be found. 4th If you have questions please feel free to contact me. I will have a time at a later date where we can do this as a community of faith. I am waiting on more info, praying, and discerning how best to do this. A side note. It will be our 2016 General Conference delegates who will be voting and representing the Oklahoma Annual Conference. Please hold these people in your prayers.


UPDATED INFO ( Aug. 21st 2018)

Dear Oklahoma United Methodist Family,

As many of you know, we will soon be facing an important time in the life of our United Methodist Church. On February 22-24, 2019, a special called General Conference will be held in St. Louis, Mo. with the purpose of discerning the direction our church will go regarding the Human Sexuality questions we have debated over many years. We encourage every United Methodist in Oklahoma to be in prayer concerning this conference. We also have available a weekly devotion (written by Oklahoma leaders) that can supplement your prayer time. Use the following links to subscribe to that resource. Here’s the link to sign up for the weekly devotions: https://okumc-reg.brtapp.com/28WeeksActsDevotions​ and the link to the archived devotions: http://okumc-email.brtapp.com/archivearea/329​.
We would also like to invite you to attend a presentation about the plans that are scheduled to be presented at the called General Conference. This discussion and presentation will have members of the Oklahoma delegation present as well as Bishop Nunn. This important gathering will be held on Friday, Oct. 5 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at St Luke’s UMC Christian Life Center (CLC) in Oklahoma City. There will be no charge to attend, however if you plan on attending we need you to register so that we have adequate seating and handouts for all. Please use the following link to register your attendance for this meeting:
https://okumc-reg.brtapp.com/OklahomaDiscussionon2019Genera….

If you are not able to be present, we plan to live stream this important discussion in the life of our denomination. A link to the live stream will be provided on the conference website and sent by email to you as we get closer to the date.

We want to thank you for your prayers, concerns and continued commitment to our beloved church. As challenging as this discussion may be to some, it also offers us hope for a future that will best reflect our ongoing commitment to making disciples for the transformation of the world. We look forward to seeing many of you on the 5th.

Rev. Linda Harker, Chair Oklahoma Delegation

Rev. Joseph Harris, Assistant to Bishop Nunn

Dr. Don Kim, Oklahoma Delegation


Thank you Church for being you, we are making great strides in being a church with Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open doors as we make disciples of Jesus Christ. Come and join us as we grow together.

Peace be with you,

Pastor Matt Franks

matt.franks@tahlequaumc.org

Week Eight Gospel of Mark Readings

Week Eight Gospel of Mark Readings

Take some time in your day to Read the daily reading slowly and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read. Reflect on what you heard, read or experienced when reading the word of God in with a journal or some other ways that you can express what you experienced as you read the scriptures. Respond in prayer, going to God with everything that is on your heart and just pray and take what you read and reflected upon and apply it to your life. Please share this with friends and family and invite them to Church on Sunday. You can even put together your own study group with the weekly readings.

Week Eight

July 16-22nd The End…

Monday Mark 15:1-15

Tuesday Mark 15:16-40

Wednesday Mark 15:42-16:8

Thursday Mark 16:9-20

Friday

175th Celebration

175th Celebration

We want you to be part of a big celebration to recognize 175 years of Methodism in the Tahlequah area. The festivities will culminate in a potluck dinner Sunday, December 2, at 6 p.m. in the Activities Building. We’ll be designing t-shirts for the occasion and collecting your photos and stories. We want your own history of our church captured in photos of church activities.

Please bring your photos to the office in an envelope labeled with your name and each photo clearly identified on the back with your name and date of the event, if possible. We will carefully scan these photos and return them to you. You can also email your photos to Pastor Matt (matt.franks@tahlequahumc,org).

What attracted you to our church and what made you stay? We’re looking for your stories of love for our church. You may have a brief story of a church member who encouraged you on your Methodist journey or want to share how the church has made a difference in your life. To record your favorite memories, go on the church website (tahlequahumc.org) and click on the link, “175th Celebration.” We will compile a booklet of these historical treasures.

Want to join in the planning for this event? The next meeting is Thursday, August 9, at 11 a.m. in the parlor. Your input is welcome!

 

tfumc history

Back To School Blessings at TFUMC Aug. 12th 5:30

We are going to make sure Kids in the Tahlequah Public Elementary School System get basic School Supplies.

We will host a Back to School Night on Aug. 12th at 5:30 p.m.

We are shooting for Back To School Supplies for 200 kids in the K-5th grades enrolled in the Tahlequah Elementary Public Schools. We are going to provide Hotdogs, Chips and Drinks and have a good old time handing out school supplies.

Families needing supplies will need to register with the Church office by coming in or by calling at (918)456-6141 last day to register is August. 6th. They must be attending Tahlequah Public Schools and not receiving JOM Supplies.

What can maximize our effort is money. You can give online at http://bit.ly/2Njibi7 We will also need people to volunteer on the night of and getting things in order on the 12th.  If you wish to be apart of this opportunity contact the Church office at 918-456-6141 or email Pastor Matt at matt.franks@tahlequahumc.org

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