This Sunday will be our regular Madison Community Meal, and I want to encourage all who are able to come help out with this important ministry. However there is another opportunity that I want to make you aware of in case it offers a better fit with God’s call in your life.
There is a new organization in town called NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope) which is a coalition of non-profits and faith communities working to enhance community life, promote justice, and generally influence our legislators to look beyond tourism and economic development to address the needs of our neighborhoods. NOAH is a successor to another effort you may be familiar with from several years back called Tying Nashville Together (TNT), which worked successfully to address several issues in our city.
NOAH is sponsoring an event this Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 3 p.m. titled “A Tale of Two Nashvilles” which will be a forum with all of the mayoral candidates. The event will be held at the 15th Ave. Baptist Church located at 1203 9th Ave. N. here in Nashville. The NOAH organizers are wanting to have several thousand folks in attendance and it would be great to have some City Road representation to speak to the issues we face in Madison.
There are some of you, I’m sure, that are wondering why I’m promoting an event that is blatantly political. I know there are probably folks in our church who believe that politics and religion don’t mix, and we should not interest ourselves in these things. However, the gospel of Jesus Christ and his command to love our neighbors is a deeply political proclamation. We live in communities with great needs — needs that reach far beyond our abilities to address — and our call to love means that we want to be a part of creating neighborhoods which are safe, healthy, and offer all an opportunity for advancement. Additionally (and somewhat selfishly I admit) our church’s well being is tied to the well being our our surrounding community, and the well being of that community is directly affected by the person who sits in the mayors office. Thus it is important that we listen carefully to the candidates, and more important that we share our perspectives with those candidates as well.
I confess that I am still evaluating if a more formal relationship with NOAH is a good fit for our congregation (although I know many of the organizers and consider them friends). However the event this Sunday is an excellent opportunity for getting information about the persons who are vying to be mayor of Nashville, and connect with other persons of faith who deeply care about their community. While my hope is that most of us will be helping with the community meal, I want to commend Sunday’s forum to others who may have an interest in our city’s future.
The UMYF and TNT programs of the City Road Chapel UMC are pleased to sponsor our annual Fish Fry to benefit future mission projects. The Fish Fry will be held in the CRCUMC Fellowship Center immediately following the 10 a.m. Celebrate service on Sunday, March 22, 2015. The menu includes fried fish, tater tots, white beans, cole slaw, hush puppies and dessert. The meal is by donation, but we are suggesting that a minimum donation of $8 per meal would be appropriate. For more information call the church office at (615) 868-1673.
Project Transformation Tennessee invites Christ-centered young adults seeking a year-long experience of hands-on ministry with underserved children in Middle Tennessee to apply for our One-Year Internship program.
- lead after-school and summer enrichment programming for children,
- build sustaining relationships with schools, community centers, and social service agencies,
- grow in leadership through coaching, spiritual direction, and leadership courses, and
- live in community with other fellows who share a passion for ministry and service.
Full-time fellows serve August-August and receive a $12,000 living stipend, healthcare coverage options, mileage allowance, and housing.
- Implement afterschool programming for children,
- and grow in leadership through coaching, spiritual direction, and leadership courses.
Part-time interns serve August-May and receive a $4,000 living stipend.
Applicants must have completed one year of college or be at least 19 years old.
Project Transformation’s mission is to engage young adults in leadership development and ministry exploration, support underserved children and families, and connect churches to communities in need.
The Temple Mount sits at an elevation of about 2400 feet above sea level. Google Maps show several mountains surrounding it that are a few hundred feet higher. That gives a physical picture of the spiritual truth of God’s surrounding protection, His faithful vigilance, His continual working for our best. The psalm writer could look at those mountains around him and be reminded of God’s faithfulness.
God’s faithfulness motivates us to trust Him. When you think about it, we don’t want to trust in something that won’t come through for us. We have seen people fail us, machines fail us, cultural norms fail us. But God will faithfully keep all His promises to us. He is one thing—the One Thing—we can trust in and be confident will not fail us.
As we trust Him, we become solidly centered in Him—rooted and built up in Him as Paul said in Colossians. God gives a stability and a constancy that nothing else can come close to matching. And we are secure.
Prayer: Father, You are unchanging and faithful. Help us trust in You more completely and become more anchored in the bedrock of You. Amen
Submitted by: Tim Farris
Bishop Bill McAlilly has just released a pastoral letter on the immigration issue and our United Methodist response to immigrants in our community. When you get a chance, check it out at http://bishopbillmcalilly.com/2014/12/15/a-bishops-letter-on-immigration/
John 1:6-8, 19-28
“There was a man sent from God” . . . interesting that John was a cousin of Jesus, about the same age, but his style of life was markedly different—camel hair clothing, leather belt around his waist, diet of locusts and wild honey. He appeared in the wilderness as a witness to the coming Messiah, as the prophet Isaiah predicted: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;’” (Isaiah 40:3). He was very clear: He came not as the light but as a witness to the light.
John must have had a good amount of what we in this day would term “charisma”. He attracted enough people, preaching the theme of repentance and baptizing in the river Jordan, that some priests and Levites came to ask him who he was. They thought John was either the Messiah, Elijah or the Prophet. John denied being any of these and spoke of one who came after him, one to whom, by comparison, he was not worthy to be a slave.
We know that we are not worthy in any sense to be compared with the perfection of Christ, but we are also charged to be witnesses to the light, just as John was. We should strive to reflect Christ to others, even in the midst of our imperfections, to transmit the beam coming from him so that it shines off of our love of God and love of our neighbor. Such were the teachings of this little babe whose birth we celebrate at this time of year.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to be ever mindful of the teachings of the little babe born in a manger, and help us to reflect those teachings to a weary world. In His holy name, Amen.
Submitted by: Bobbie Garrett
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
There’s nothing so good as when, upon realizing an enormous task before you, someone is there to offer a helping hand.
When I read the featured scripture, my first thought was, “Wow, God, this all seems a LOT of work.” As human beings living in a troubled world, how can we be joyful always? Who has the time in their everyday lives to pray continually? And are we capable of giving thanks in all circumstances, even the most trying and painful ones? This, the scripture says, is God’s will for us. And it seems easier said than done.
But here’s the good news – God is faithful. If his will for us is to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful, then he’s going to help us get closer to that place, so that we can be blameless in the coming of Christ and pleasing in his sight. His helping hand for us is the Holy Spirit, speaking to us, working in us, and lighting a fire within us. To do God’s will, we’ve got to keep the fire going, feeding it with good so that the light shines through us and we can become the helping hands for others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Please use your Spirit within us to make us joyful, prayerful, and thankful as we do your will on Earth and prepare for the coming of your Son. We give you glory in all things and in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Submitted by: Heather Faulhefer
Life is Hard, and some people seem to have more than their fair share of Hard! Recently WSMV-TV tweeted a story headline that read “Cancer patients find miracle in rubble of burned-out home in Memphis.” As it turns out a woman who is battling cancer’s home burned while her daughters were battling cancer, as well! As the family sifted through the home’s debris, what did they find? … The Family Bible unscathed on a shelf! Amazing!
In Habakkuk, we read that in a vision God shared with the prophet that the wickedness in the world was going to be defeated, but that times were going to be hard … real hard. God’s people were not going to be exempt from the hard and devastating – some might even say hopeless – times. But the prophet clings to the promise of God’s faithfulness in the past! The prophet also recognizes that God is both his “strength” and “salvation.” Through Almighty God, God’s people can cling to the real Hope and Knowledge that God will provide for them all that they need in both spiritual and concrete ways for a full life both for the here and now and for eternity! This promise does not just stand for God’s faithful people of the Exile but for God’s faithful people today!
Life at times is surely Hard. Many times it seems like more than we can handle, but we can cling to the promise that God is our “strength” and our “salvation.” Even in the occasional debris of life, God is our true Hope!
Almighty God, help me to know your strength in real ways. We confess that sometimes life seems so Hard that we can hardly continue to bear it! Gently remind us of your salvation that we can experience both in the hard times of the here and now as well as for eternity! In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
Submitted by: Rev. Lori Holliman
In Psalm 126, the Israelites are laughing and shouting and rejoicing because God has changed their circumstances. We can all think of times in our personal life and in the life of our church when we have come through a rough time and our circumstances change for the better.
What joy we feel when we hear the doctor say “You are now cancer free.” Or when we are able to turn around a rough financial situation. Or when we find healing in a relationship. We too have said, “The Lord has done great things for us.”
Advent reminds us that God has a plan and a vision to change our circumstances and our world. As we move through Advent we are waiting and watching – waiting for God’s redemptive love to manifest, and watching for the light of God’s love to come.
However, it is not easy to be patient and wait. We want God to change things now. In our world of violence, fear, and frustration, we sometimes miss the signs of God’s love and light. But if we can set aside our impatience and frustration, we can experience hope in waiting and watching. Advent promises that our waiting will not be in vain, for God has promised redemption, and what God has promised, God will do.
Advent points us to the future, God’s future, and then our own future begins to come into view. God has so much in store for us than we can even imagine.
Prayer: Holy Lord, we ask now that you help us to see signs of your coming, even as we despair with the circumstances in our present world. Help us to remember that we always stick to your promises. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Submitted by: Emily Stinson