David when contemplating his existence and walk with the Lord asks in Psalm 8, “Who is man that you are mindful of him?”
This is a deep and personal inquiry and a question any person of faith might ask. “Who am I that you are mindful of me?” is indeed one of the fundamental questions asked in any healthy relationship. I say healthy because there are some who never take the time to reflect on who they are and how they might appear to others much less God. But reflection and contemplation about who and what we are is the pinnacle of our humanity and the gateway to our spirituality.
Spiritual formation truly begins with recognizing three important elements of existence.
First: We are spiritual beings first, human beings second. God tells Jeremiah that he knew him before he was born and shall know him when he dies, Jesus also reminds His disciples that I have proceeded from that father and from there I shall return. There are many scriptures to include the transfiguration to remind us of our greater selves.
Second: Our existence goes hand in hand with our spiritual development. Jesus and His entire teaching was to get us past our fears of learning and to unclutter the path to divine engagement. Jesus reminded His followers and us of our ability to rise above the trite and ugly parts of this world and be people of peace, healing, joy and grace. As He did this, He also worked to stop closed minded and closed spirited people from monopolizing and monetizing God. The Pharisees and others held Him in contempt for freeing the human soul from the greedy clutches of lesser men. We need to recognize we are free and more importantly free to learn and grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Third: The Holy Spirit is right here to guide us. Jesus sent and sends the advocate to assist us in our daily walk. Some might see this as a dependence but it is far from it. The Holy Soirit is an awakening of the heart as well as the mind. It is not emotionalism, reason, sentimentality or positive projection though these may touch on it. The Holy Spirit centers in our very being of knowing right fromm wrong, mercy from contempt, love from hate and grace for judgement. It is centered on knowing we are created for purpose and evolving into something greater. It is our personal relationship with God.
I share this with you this month because I have had a few conversations finding some folks unsure of this spiritual journey. As we spend these summer months exploring the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit, this is a good place to start. There is more to this world than meets they eye and the Lord wants to show it to you.
As you read, pray and contemplate on who you are before both God and others, please recognize this: You are more than you know, capable of mre than you dream, loved greater than you can begin to understand and, as the Psalmist writes in Psalm 8 “made a little lower than the angels”. We are of God’s divine designing a world seeking a meaning that we already have.
WORDS OF WISDOM
When I take things into my own hands and worry; that weighs my spirit down and sometimes robs me of rest. God is our Father. I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?
-- Oswald Chambers
Begin each day with the Lord, reading God’s word, thanking Him for His love, seeking His guidance. It’s not magic –it’s maintenance, as we ask the Lord each day to fill our hearts with His presence on the road of life.
Often when we are faced with an impossible situation, we choose worry rather than trust you and remember that nothing is too hard for you.
Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed (John 20:29.) Lord, help me to trust you when life doesn’t make sense. Please take my doubt and replace it with fresh faith in you. The risen Christ opens the door for you to have fullness of life.
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help other people (listed in I Corinthians 12:8-10). God does not give his spiritual gifts for his own selfish use but to serve others and in so doing, we serve him.
Once again we had a very successful rummage sale the end of April. A special thanks to the following people who helped.
Setting up the tables were: Jim & Linda Pierson, Grant & Cindy Besio, John & Virginia Santy, Mitch Smith,
Marissa Valentine, Emma Besio, Bill Cross. Setting up the tent outside were: Jim & Barbara Halla, Elwin & Charlotte Hall Joel Wit, Jim Pierson.
Setting up and working the sale were: Barbara Halla, Charlotte Hall, Gina Norton, Jean McDonough, Dolores Commo, Jessie Aubin, Marsha Begor, Jean Kern, Merle Smith, Avana Forsyth, Josie DeFurnia, Leland Flint, Maxine Chardeen, Eileen McCalvin, Nancy Roberts, Joan Sleinkofer, Ruth Damp, Virginia Santy, Barbara Darrah, Cindy Besio, Linda Pierson, Cathy Fuller, Diane Kelting, Cathy LeBlanc, Marlene Martin, Anita Meserole, William Douglas, Debbie Harrison, Darrell Davies, Mitch Smith, Joel Wit, Alan Roberts, Al Fuller, Roz Deitz, Janean McElyea, Jim Pierson.
Again we wish to thank everyone for helping to raise some money for the church. We made a total of $3,526.00.
Not bad for 3 days work.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
The June meeting will have the usual business. There will be a meeting on July 12. At this time, the ladies will have their annual dinner. Stay tuned for more information in the July newsletter.
SARANAC LAKE ECUMENICAL FOOD PANTRY
June is pasta and sauces month. Please add your donation to the red shopping cart at the back of the sanctuary.
ECUMENICAL COUNCIL DOINGS
The Ecumenical Council continues with its two largest projects, Samaritan House and Grace Pantry. At Samaritan House, a life skills program, sponsored by an organizational grant, is in the beginning stages of implementation. Each new resident receives a need assessment and the mandatory program is tailored to individual needs. Examples of program offerings include literacy training, personal financial management, housekeeping skills, etc. Samaritan House continues to have between three and eight residents at any given time. The plan for the future of Samaritan House is to own the current building and set up its own long-term organization. In April 2018, Grace Pantry served 105 different households containing 215 people. The items most needed at this time are shampoo and adult hygiene products (feminine hygiene and depends-type products). The Ecumenical Council continues to coordinate services with the Salvation Army. From January to end of April, Salvation Army has distributed $2700 for fuel, electric and rent. Please pray for the continued success and implementation of these programs our local churches support.
In addition, we received a thank you letter from the council acknowledging our donation for $1200 to the council.
REMEMBER WITH A CARD
Rose Nadon: Neighborhood House, PO Box 46, Keene Valley, NY 12943
Genevieve Clarkson: Champlain Valley Senior Community, 10 Gilliland Lane, Willsboro, NY 12996
Bruce Barnard: P.O. Box 246, Rainbow Lake, NY 12976.
Margaret Turnbull: 3873 Burnup Road Black River, NY 13612
DID YOU KNOW...
Your church can be found on Facebook. Just go to First United Methodist Saranac Lake. (complete with capital letters and spaces.) When the page comes up, click on “like.”
Pledge and identified giving along with plate offering and Festival Offerings is $4,566 better than last year. Special Appeals for fuel at $1,1195 is $1,003 better than last year.
We received $7,900 to cover the cost of the purchasing pew cushions for the sanctuary, balcony and choir loft. So far we have spent $8,450.
We received $1,845 as a use donation for the Community Supper.
Rummage sale income was $3,526 compared to last year of $3,785 which was recorded in May in 2017. Salaries are $3,132 less than last year.
Our fuel expense in January is $2,453 greater than last year reflecting cold weather and increased cost per gallon. Music and the cost for the hand bells is $665 over last year.
Ecumenical Council received $1,200 this year compared to zero last year.
Repairs and Maintenance is $2,121 is over last year including $497 spent on the exterior of the building, $872 on the heating system, $538 on the lift, $435 on electrical and $213 on the men’s bathroom. We continue to be current on our Ministry Shares payments.
Our current income is $714 over current expenses at this time. The Rummage sale income put us ahead of expenses at this time.
According to my calculations we have $48,228 in unallocated funds at the end of the month.
SPECIAL OFFERING COMING
Each year, our United Methodist Women coordinate these offerings. Checks should be made payable to the UMW. Special envelopes may be found in the back, where the Sunday bulletins are found. Please place your donations into one of marked envelopes. If you want credit on your annual giving statement, please include your envelope number. Thank you.
Fathers Day is the Sunday that we seek contributions to the Church World Service Tools. This fund equips families worldwide with the tools needed to build brighter futures: rebuilding homes in Haiti destroyed by the earthquake, household latrines in Vietnam and clean water systems in Kenya and Tanzania. These are just a few of the projects these donations help fund.
For example, $5 for a hand saw, $11 for 15 concrete blocks, $47 for a support column for a house in Haiti, $50 for construction training for two people in Moldova.
FROM THE PASTOR’S PEN – AN AMBITIOUS SUMMER
It’s here. I have the black fly bite mark to prove that we have entered Spring. As I write this, it is still cool and cloudy and that is spring in the Adirondacks.
First, I wish to welcome back our snow birds to the North Country. We have missed you and are glad to see your safe return.
In a few weeks on the 17th we will be joyously receiving the Marlow family into our congregation, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. On that day, we hope to also get a congregational photo so I hope you will join us and bring your smiles.
The following week has us beginning our summer program with three worship service opportunities. Our regular service will be led by Michael Martin with contemporary music. If interested you will find me preaching at Chapel Island in Upper Saranac Lake. The boat leaves from the end of Old Dock Road beginning at 10:15 and all are welcome. On Sunday evening, we will kick off our Bloomingdale Summer Services at 7:00 pm at our lovely church in Bloomingdale. These will be praise and prayer services with songs and a message. If you can’t make one, we hope to see you at one of the others.
Throughout the summer months we will be holding the two services to greet new people and to help others to have worship in these very busy and active months. I am overjoyed at the reopening of the Bloomingdale church and the opportunity to bring a visible Methodist presence back into that community.
One further challenge is with our Lutheran brothers and sisters. On the 24th of June, an already busy day, the Lutheran congregation will be moving their worship service to 8:15 on Sundays. This will be a weekly communion service and bring both congregations into closer proximity for introduction and fellowship. I am excited by this change as well in that we show that as a congregation we can adjust, explore and change as needed. A dynamic church is a fruitful church.
I wish you all a joyous summer as we worship together, pray together, work together, laugh together and play together.
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