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Devotion from Angie Royal

RISE

 Isaiah 60:2 NLT “The glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.”

Isaiah 52:2 NLT “Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor.”

Jeremiah 31: 20 MSG “Oh! Ephraim is my dear, dear son, my child in whom I take pleasure. Every time I mention his name, my heart bursts with longing for him. Softly and tenderly I wait for him.”

Psalm 21:13 NLT “Rise up, O Lord, in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.”

Romans 8:15-17 MSG “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’ God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.”

 

During this season, the word *RISE* was placed on my heart. When that happens, I come across articles, podcasts, poems, quotes, songs about that specific word. Here is the definition of rise = move from a lower position to a higher one; come or go up; an instance of becoming higher.

One of the things I admire most about Jesus is He meets people right where they are. But He loves us too much to let us stay there. Sometimes we believe we need to get cleaned up to make ourselves more presentable before we could even think of thinking the name of Jesus. That just is NOT true. There is nothing you have done or said or thought or acted on or walked away from that could make Jesus love you any less than He does right here and now. Our Father God knows the hurt and sorrow you have buried deep inside. It breaks His heart too.

You are worthy of unconditional love and acceptance. Jesus wants to fill all of your empty spaces and broken pieces with something beautiful and everlasting. He longs for time with you and a personal, close relationship with YOU. Because Christ has risen, now we can rise. Even, and especially, with our broken pieces.

Declare today you will rise above the heaviness and darkness and brokenness. Let our loving Father have access to your heart. Let Him love you. Let your walls down. Ask Him to show you how He sees you. Just like a hot air balloon lifting up off the ground, imagine yourself rising above the darkness.

 

Dear Holy Father, thank you for meeting me right here. I give You the pieces of my brokenness that I have been holding on to. Thank you for loving me and caring for me like no human on earth can. Thank you for Your unconditional, eternal love. Lord, show me how to rise above it all in every area of my life to glorify and honor You. In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

 

Devotion from Karen Scott

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

 

Psalms 118 is powerful.  It is praise to God and the strength he provides us.  It warns us not to trust in man, authorities or armies but to rely on God.  It celebrates God’s mercies and deliverance.  It joyously proclaims the entry of God’s people through the gates of the righteous and into the temple or courts of God and it is also considered by scholars to be Messianic.

Within context of Psalm 118, verse 24 is simply proclaiming a day for Thanksgiving.

However, for many of us, this verse is more profound.  It is used as a daily reminder that every day is a gift, one that the Lord has given uniquely to us.  It is a joyous and yet also prayerful proclamation of beauty, joy of living in the moment, encouragement in our walk with the Lord and an expression of thanks.

 

Lord, we thank you that along with the trials and tribulations of life you also provide us with the gifts of beauty, love, joy, hope and peace.  We thank you for this day and every day that you give us and that we would use them wisely in honor of you.

Devotion from Erin ODonnell

Turn! Turn! Turn!

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Our house sits under a landing pattern into Sanford’s airport. If I spend ten minutes outside, I’m pretty much guaranteed to hear a plane.  But today it’s strikingly quiet. I’ve been on my porch for 30 minutes. Not a plane in sight. The background roar of Allegiant overhead has been gone for a week, maybe longer.

What season is this, Lord?

The following seven verses of Ecclesiastes 3 go on to list 28 specific activities. To dance, to weep, to scatter, to love…you might recognize the list from the 1965 song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds.   I don’t see social distancing on the list, Lord, but clearly that is the season we are in. We – as in the entire planet! Thinking about it globally takes my breath away but it also brings me comfort.

I feel comfort because the shared experience bonds us. I feel comfort because this season of staying home leaves extra space and quiet for God to pour in.  Today He reminds me to be still and to remember that seasons change. This season will change.

 

You have our attention, Lord. You have cleared the man-made clutter of background noise and opened our ears to your whisper.     Thank you for the gift of this day and this unique season.  . Help us to actively listen as you speak to us through prayer, through nature and through the words of others. And use us, Lord, to spread your love and peace to those we interact with.  Amen.

Devotion from Carol Killingsworth

Faith Without Works Is Dead

James 2: 14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”

 

I have always loved these verses because to me, faith without action is not what Jesus taught us.  I once attended a church that acted as if faith was enough – no actions were required or needed: their prayers were enough.  Every time I attended, I felt as if something was missing.  I know we are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ, but I know He wants us to share our faith by ministering to others, as He did.

I am so excited to be a part of FUMC Sanford because I see the faith of others in their actions by visitations to shut ins, hospital visitations, Grace and Grits, the Quilt Ministry, the Picnic Project, the Bear ministry, the combination of services with The Children’s Home (not just sending them money) and ways I’m sure I’m not aware of. This Church is Faith in Action.

 

Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for a church that shows their faith through their work.  Make us aware of needs that we have not met.  Help each of us to do our part to live a life of service as Jesus did.  Bless the work being done in Your name.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen

 

 

Devotion from Diana Oxford

[Trigger Warning: brief mention of sexual abuse]

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.” – Psalm 27:12

 

Early on in my relationship with God, I nailed down a deep belief that He is good. Based on a study of the scriptures, I affirmed goodness as one of many the core aspects of His nature. I have clung to that belief through the years though it has been sorely tested many times. It was tested when my beloved mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 40 and as I watched her suffer and declined over 26 years with debilitating side effects of the tumor and numerous surgeries. It was sorely tested as a history of sexual abuse and trauma at the hands of a family member during my childhood came to light and I stepped away from my ministry to embrace healing and lost my family in the process.

Psalm 27 became an anchor in the storm for me during these times and specifically verse 12. David wrote Psalm 27 during the years following his anointing as future king and while he was hiding from Saul. David knew pain, suffering, persecution and his fair share of very difficult circumstances and he too clung to deep belief in the goodness of God and the hope that he would see that goodness manifested during his lifetime. That belief and hope is what sustained him.

We are all living currently living through a very challenging time with the coronavirus. Perhaps, you are also facing other difficulties in the midst of this pandemic. As we face global and personal trials, it is easy to doubt and/or forget the goodness of God. I want to invite you to return to a deep centered belief that we have a Father who is very, very good. A Father who is actively at work in the world bringing forth good. A Father who is committed to redeeming and working all things together for our good (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8: 28). Our Father, also, invites us to participate with Him in the manifestation of good in our world.  Richard Rhor, a Franciscan theologian, has beautiful said that “Our job as conscious human beings is to bring the beauty and goodness of God…of everything…to full consciousness, to full delight, to full awareness.”

The goodness of God shows up everywhere through the kindness of others, through us and our love, kindness and grace offered to others, through the beauty of nature, etc.. Do you eagerly anticipate His goodness in your life and in the world around you? Are you intentionally on the lookout for his goodness? Are you consciously committed to bringing forth His beauty and goodness in the world?

 

Father, in the midst of the dark, ugly, painful things of this world, open our eyes to your goodness and beauty. Father, use us to bring forth and shower your goodness to a world in need all around us. Father, sustain us with hope in your goodness now and to come.

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion from Carole Pegram

 

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit…” -Eph. 6:18 (CEV)

 

After spending a long 4th of July weekend with us, my brother and his family had returned to South Florida and our Mother was back in Merritt Island. The call came late one night that same week for my brother: our amazing mother had quite suddenly and unexpectedly died. Since no family had been with her at the time, all the arrangements were made over the phone with the funeral home to prepare Mom for burial. When I shared with my friend, Joan, my anxiety and dread of going to the funeral home the next day, she asked: “What time is your appointment?” I replied 11:00 o’clock and she said: “I will be praying for you at 11:00 o’clock tomorrow.” At the appointed hour, upon entering the room to see Mom, my stomach settled and I felt a sense of calm and well-being. I knew Joan’s prayer had been heard.

 

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of powerful prayer and for friends who will pray for you during the dark times when you find it difficult to find the words. Amen

Community Devotion: coming your way!

Through this time of physical disconnection, we are starting a project to try and spiritually connect one another through the wisdom of the community. Beginning tomorrow, we’ll feature a daily devotion from someone in our church community each day through the season of Easter. We’re so excited to share the faith journey, experiences and favorite scriptures of folks who call this church their church home.

Beginning tomorrow, check the blog daily, Monday through Saturday, for a brief but meaningful words from someone on this journey with you. First up: Carole Pegram, our church’s lay leader and resident arranger/party planner/ workerbee/ organizer.

Know that however far away you may feel, you are important to this church and in this world. We’re glad to be on this journey together, supporting one another and sharing the love God has given to each of us.

COVID #19 Update (4)

Living in our new reality

What a whirlwind week it has been! Who knew we could cram a whole year’s worth of news, a full hurricane season’s worth of disaster prep & a whole month’s worth of TV into one week?!? We certainly didn’t until now!

We are writing to give everyone some updates about the rhythms of our life together in this new reality. As we thought about the gifts of the early church, we have continually reflected on the gift that it is to know that the Cloud of Witnesses before us have endured great hardship and that they have given us some gifts to order our life together, however we find ourselves ‘together’. As we have reviewed the CDC’s guidelines and been guided by the wisdom of our Bishop and leaders, we aren’t sure when we will be able to worship together in person again. Because those guidelines have changed swiftly, we want to quickly establish rhythms for us in this in-between time while we wait to see what is wisest for our community life.

Worship
We will continue to offer worship Live on Facebook until we are able to be together again. We will post the service to our website ASAP after it is over so those without Facebook can still watch. We encourage you to get the bulletin (will be posted and emailed) and follow along live.

For now, we will only do Sunday morning worship style but in the future, we may include some Sunday evening-style elements. Stay tuned.

Easter
We have made the decision to postpone our celebration of Easter until we can be together again. Since Lent feels exactly like the season appropriate to our lives, we’ll shift our Easter celebration to being our celebration of returning back to communal gathering as well.

Adapting Established Ministries
If you are in a small group or class, check with your leaders about whether you’ll continue to meet virtually or whether it is cancelled temporarily.

  • For our Meal Ministries, we have transitioned all meals to grocery distribution in a streamlined effort with Picnic Project, Grace and Grits and the church. We are distributing groceries purchased through Second Harvest Food Bank (at 19 cents a pound) on Fridays from 10am-12pm and Sundays from 1pm-3pm. We’re following all guidelines for safety (no folks in the building, distancing, sanitation, limited volunteers, etc). We shop or get a delivery on Thursdays and then sort for distribution Fridays and Sundays.
    • If you would like to help with this effort and you and your household are low-risk, we could use (a max of) 5 volunteers on Thursdays to sort.
    • Our plan is to distribute until the money runs out (Grace and Grits and mission funds) or the crisis is over. If you’d like to give to this food distribution effort, you can give through PayPal online (http://fumcsanford.org/giving/ and then email us if its designated for a ministry) or by sending a check with Grace and Grits in the memo line.
    • We also need assistance transporting food. We can only get one delivery from Second Harvest every two weeks and we already know the need outweighs our transporting capacity. If you have a truck or a transporting idea, please let us know. We will shop at Second Harvest on Thursday mornings (the week of no delivery) and as of right now, do not know how we will transport the food.
  • For our Family Ministries, Angie and Tom have been working on some incredible resources for you, including an online portal for resources (more info Sunday) and some special projects you can do at home.
    • We will also move our 5th Sunday Ellen’s Bears Tea Party to Google Hangouts. SO, grab yourself some tea while you’re in the grocery frenzy and gather your bears at home for a digital tea party. EVERYONE IS WELCOME to share in some tea together!

New Ministry Opportunities 
We know that the Holy Spirit is unbound by time or space or even pandemic. And so, we have a couple new opportunities for ministry together:

  • We will now host virtual pastoral care hours a couple times a week. Meghan will hold Mondays 2- 4pm available and David will hold Wednesdays from 10a-12pm available. Obviously if you need to talk or connect, just let us know but we wanted to make those times available in case you want to video or phone chat. Email or call us (our church numbers still connect to our phones at home) so we can figure out how to meet.
  • We will have a weekly 30-minute prayer call together on Wednesday mornings at 9am. We’ll have one person lead us through a prayers of the people format and anyone is welcome to join us! Just be sure to mute your microphone or phone when you aren’t talking to minimize background noise. You can video or call in using a regular phone!
    • Weekly Prayer Call (see a link to the call on Facebook)
  • On Sunday evenings beginning next week (3/29 @ 5:30pm), we’ll host a video/phone discussion of Discovering Our Spiritual Identity by Trevor Hudson. It is a book/workbook about spiritual practices and our way of connecting with God. We have loved it and Hudson is a Methodist pastor, therapist, and a teacher with experience working in South Africa in difficult circumstances. More to come on this but for now, get the book (delivered safely to your home) if you’d like to join us!
  • Our Lay Leader is working on compiling call lists for us so we can stay connected to one another and check on folks who may be vulnerable.

So, here’s our community’s weekly schedule–> 

  • Mondays: pastor’s hours (2-4) and discussion group at 6:30
  • Wednesdays: prayer call (9am) and pastor’s hours (10-12)
  • Thursdays: food buying, transporting & sorting
  • Fridays: food distribution (10-12)
  • Sundays: Worship (10am), food distribution (1-3p), evening discussion group

We hope everyone still has their ‘water reminder’ (see the worship service from last week if this sounds nuts!) somewhere visible as we walk through these crazy times together! We love you and we consider it the greatest joy to be your pastors. Please let us know how we can help to care well for you in this difficult time.

Peace,

Pastors Meghan and David

p.s. If you know seniors who are food insecure but who may be nervous to come to food distribution for health reasons, please let us know and we can try to arrange for delivery.

20 ways for families to avoid crazy town!

Our incredibly creative Director of Family Ministries put together this list of 20 things to do while we’re all keeping our distance and finding new ways to spend our time. Check out her suggestions and feel free to comment with your own!
  1. Create a family playlist. Have each family member pick out their favorite songs to add. Then have a super fun dance party. Turn it up!
  2. Drop off books. Find the top 3 Little Free Libraries closest to your home. Fill them up with books. Check back often to refill it.  https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/
  3. Play games together. Board games. Croquet. Hang man. Ping pong. Red rover. I spy. Basketball. Simon says. Talk about your favorite game as a kid.
  4. Start a gratitude list. Have a conversation about what we DO have.  Put the list on the fridge as a reminder. Have your family add items as you think of them. Read it often. List as many things you can think of to be grateful for such as 1) electricity 2) clean running water in our house 3) air conditioning, etc. One woman named Ann Voskamp counted over 1,000 things she was thankful for. https://onethousandgifts.com/
  5. Count your water faucets. How many total water faucets do you have at your house? Did you know that some people do not have even ONE faucet in their home? Some have to walk long distances just to get water. The United Methodist Committee on Relief also known as UMCOR is working towards a solution. https://www.umcmission.org/share-our-work/news-stories/2020/february/abundance/sustainable-development/umcor-partners-to-produce-a-groundbreaking-study-on-u-s-water-access
  6. Look up at the stars. How many stars do you see? Pull out the telescope or download a star gazer app to find the constellations.
  7. Read a book. Find a classic book or poem that is 100 years or older. Take turns reading it out loud together.
  8. Doodle it out. Use a pen or colored pencil or crayon to doodle your feelings or a recent memory on paper. Take time to name specific emotions and doodle about them. If time permits add extra details and colors.
  9. Ding-dong-doorbell-ditch. Now I have your attention! Haha. Find some flowers or greenery in your yard. Cut them & put them in a vase or small jar. Write a note of encouragement. Take the flower vase & note to your neighbor. Leave it at their front door. Ring the door bell and run away! Or stay and chat with your neighbor (from a safe distance!) to catch up. Either way it will be great!
  10. Paint or draw a family mural. For a large mural, use a canvas from the craft store or use the backside of thick wrapping paper. Use blue painters tape to tape paper to the wall. Also tape a 1” border around all 4 sides of the paper to make a frame. Draw or paint away!
  11. Camp in your living room or backyard. Set up a tent or blanket fort. Get a flashlight and tell stories. Use glow sticks. Make indoor s’mores. Here’s a recipe:
  12. Play balloon volleyball. Draw funny faces on the balloons with sharpie. Don’t let the balloon touch the ground.
  13. Fly a kite and blow bubbles together.
  14. Take a car ride to look for beautiful Florida wild flowers. Here’s a link for the “blooming” map:
  15. Eat a meal together outside on a blanket or picnic table. Look for birds and butterflies. Take time to look up at the clouds to name as many shapes as you can in the clouds.
  16. Plant a seed from a fruit you’ve recently eaten. Use a clear plastic cup to watch it grow. Talk about how seeds grow from rain water and sunlight. Check it daily.
  17. Take a walk. Start in your own yard. How many animals live in your yard? Walk around your block. Pray for your neighbors as you pass their homes.
  18. Play and refresh in water. Sprinklers. The water hose. Water balloons. The beach. The springs. Enough said.
  19. Have an UNbirthday party family meal celebration. Why, it’s my UNbirthday too! Use festive party plates, napkins, party hats, blowers. To make your own party hat, use construction or card stock paper and ribbon. Add fun details to the paper with markers and stickers. Roll the paper into a cone and tape in place. Tape ribbon to the sides of the paper or use a hole punch. Tie on the hat. Ta-da.
  20. Get outdoors. Just breathe. Take time to visit a beautiful Florida park.
Have any ideas of your own to add?

We need you!

Have you ever thought, “I’d love to serve but I’ll wait until God gives me a sign?” Great news: Here it is!

Y’all already know we believe that (1) everyone has something to give, (2) everyone has something to learn, and (3) the world literally needs you to be who you are. So, maybe God is whispering JUMP IN! Check out some of these ways we need help around the church or in serving the community. Maybe one of them is just right for you:

 

  • Helping out in worship
    • Reading or praying in the Sunday morning service (10am)
    • Reading or sharing our blessing at the Sunday evening service (5:30pm)
    • Setting up for food and tables for the Sunday evening service (4 hr/month)
    • Singing in the choir
    • Serving as an usher or greeter
    • Helping to plan special services (arts, music, visuals, creative experiences)
  • Helping out around the church
    • Assisting in the office (1hr/ wk)
    • Cleaning up/organizing around the church (1-3 hrs/wk)
    • Opening the doors or locking up (1hr/wk)
    • Answering the phones when staff is out (as needed)
    • Assist with making quilts or afghans for grieving, ill or hurting community members (2hr/wk)
    • Volunteering in the nursery (2 hr/month, background screen required)
    • Hosting outside groups on site, welcoming, locking up, assisting as needed (varies)
    • Serving on a ministry team (like connecting with special events in downtown Sanford or planning parties)
    • Planting flowers or edible landscaping around campus (as needed)
  • Helping to serve the community
    •  Weekly Aldi grocery pickup and sorting in partnership with the Picnic Project (Wednesday, Friday 2 hr/wk)
    • Helping to host Grace & Grits on our campus (answering ?s, showing folks around, cleaning, 3hr/wk, 4-7pm)
    • Helping with admin related to Grace and Grits (as needed)
    • Drivers to provide rides for homebound or elderly folks (as needed, background check required)
    • Drivers to pick up bread donations from local grocery stores (1-2 hr/wk)
    • Creating and leading new ministries that invest in our community like tutoring, job skill training
    • Bring coffee or breakfast to one of our local day labor sites weekly (varies)
    • Leading a support or recovery group through established models on campus (4 hr/month)
    • Starting a small group for particular interests, age groups, hobbies, studies (4 hr/month)
    • Serving in the kitchen or the toiletries closet at Picnic Project or Grace & Grits (1 hr/wk)
    • Start at Fresh Expression (meeting new people in new places in new ways! https://www.freshexpressionsfl.org/)
Or maybe there’s something else you just know in your guts that you’re being called to do?

 

Message us on Facebook, call the office (407.322.4371), email us at info@fumcsanford.org or send a carrier pigeon if you’re ready to jump in!