MEMORIAL UMC’s MISSION…
We are CALLED by Christ to GROW in faith, BUILD relationships, and SERVE all people.
SUNDAY JANUARY 10, 2021
Baptism of the Lord
10 R.L. Pope Class by Allen Brown on Facebookand WGOS AM 1070
11 Live Worship In Person and Online on Facebook and WGOS AM 1070
(Please read below about protocols and how to enter the building.)
2-3:30 Youth: Winter Olympics
MONDAY JANUARY 11
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
TUESDAY JANUARY 12
9-10 Men’s Prayer Group (Contact: Tim Lyons, firstname.lastname@example.org)
9-11 Sewing Ministry
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
THURSDAY JANUARY 14
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
FRIDAY JANUARY 15
10 10@10 Devotion on Facebook
SUNDAY JANUARY 17
Second Sunday after the Epiphany
10 R.L. Pope Class Online: Harold Vannoy
11 Live Worship In-Person & Online
2-3:30 Youth: Fun Games
Jan. 21 Red Cross Blood Drive
If you or a loved one would like to be added to the prayer list, please contact Lorna McCullough at 336-259-5814. If you put a name on the list, please keep in touch to let us know how that person is doing, as names are removed after three weeks.
During the coming week, please pray for…
Zeb Hanner, Sr.
Andy and Joyce Royals
Dorann Edwards and family
The family of Florence Highsmith
Britt Martin Williams
Our country and healing for all
Finley Price family
Andrea Cain and family
Peace and justice in our nation, state, and city
Our first responders, medical community, and essential workers
All those affected by COVID-19
All military personnel
Our United Methodist missionaries
The United Methodist Church
WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY
What to Expect at Indoor Worship
- Access to the Sanctuary is through the Randolph Street doors only. The designated entrance for those needing the elevator will be the door under the walkway.
- You’ll be greeted upon entering the church and asked a few questions.
- Face masks will be required for everyone.
- Some pews will be blocked to maintain social distancing; an usher will help direct you.
- Out of respect for others, please refrain from shaking hands or hugging.
- Offering plates will be available at the entrance and exit of the sanctuary.
- When services end, attendees will be dismissed by section to avoid hallway congestion.
- No nursery staff will be present, but the nursery space will be available.
- Sunday school will not be offered at this time.
UMW ZOOM GATHERINGS
All women of Memorial are invited to join the United Methodist Women (UMW) monthly Gatherings via Zoom. Gatherings usually are held on the second Saturday of the month, and the time is usually 12:00-12:30 p.m. The Zoom meeting links will be sent out a week prior by email. If you are interested, please contact Cheryl Herman for more information.
Zoom Gathering Schedule:
April 17 (Third Saturday due to Easter and school breaks)
R.L. POPE CLASS ONLINE LESSONS
SUNDAYS AT 10:00 A.M. on FACEBOOK and WGOS
The R. L. Pope Class is excited to offer weekly online lessons. Tune in to Facebook Live or WGOS on your radio or computer.
January 10 Allen Brown
January 17 Harold Vannoy
January 24 Richard Herman
January 31 Stan Styers
CLERGY AND STAFF ARE AVAILABLE
You may contact members of the staff directly or by calling the church office at 336-472-7718 and following the instructions on the recording. Here is a list of staff phone extensions and email addresses, for reference:
Danny Leonard, Senior Minister – Ext. 16; email@example.com
Rodney Denton, Minister of Youth and Young Adults – Ext. 18; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynda Hepler, Minister of Children and Families – Ext. 11; email@example.com
Norris Norwood, Director of Music Ministries – Ext. 12; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Frye, Secretary – Ext. 14; email@example.com
Peggy May, Financial Secretary/Treasurer – Ext. 13; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jarry Oldaker, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds – Ext. 17; email@example.com
We close this week’s eNews with a 10@10 devotion shared by Rodney Denton on October 23, 2020.
Digging Deep and Branching Out!
So, I don’t know if you have noticed, but fall is getting here really fast!!! The mornings are much more brisk. In fact, I was taking Charlie out one morning last week and I could see my breath. The amount of sunlight we get is growing shorter and shorter, and in about two weeks we will be moving our clocks back an hour. And of course, the leaves are changing color—which is so beautiful, as long as you aren’t the one responsible for managing them when they start to fall from the trees! Also, some of the flowers and plants that my wife planted last spring have run their course of blooming, and we will have to wait until next spring to once again enjoy their beauty.
As I have said before on my 10 @ 10, I simply do not have the green thumb that my wife has. If you have ever been in my office, you may have noticed that I do not have any plants in my office. There is a reason for that. It has been proven that I cannot be trusted to keep anything alive in my office. From a failed goldfish experiment a number of years ago to a cactus that I tried to maintain, they have all met the same unfortunate end—which brings me to my topic for the day, involving a relationship I had at one time with a peace lily! When I arrived at my previous church in Simpsonville, SC, I was given a beautiful peace lily as a welcome gift. I proudly put the plant in my office and took care of it. You see, just like all other plants, peace lilies need 3 things to grow and be healthy. They need sunlight, so that photosynthesis can take place and the leaves can grow and be healthy. They need water, so that the roots are strong and provide the necessary ingredients to promote growth as well. And finally, they need an occasional a re-potting to give room for all that growth so that they do not become root-bound, which apparently is bad. All of which I failed to do on a regular basis. For starters, I kept the plant in a corner of my office where it got very little sunlight. Typically, it got watered when I just happened to notice the leaves beginning to droop and turn brown. And in the four years that I worked there, I never re-potted it. Occasionally, the secretary and the director of Christian education would come by my office out of pity to remove the dead leaves and even offer to try to nurse it back to health.
When I finally threw it out, as I was cleaning out my office preparing to move here, it was probably half the size that it was when I had received it (due to the many dead leaves I had pulled out trying to make it appear less dead), the pot was so full of roots that there was very little room for any soil, and I had never seen it bloom—not even once. It had green leaves—it was distinguishable as a peace lily, but the reality was that the best way to describe its existence would be “surviving,” and it was far from “thriving.” A thriving peace lily would have large leaves, multiple blooms emerging from February to September, and might grow to over four feet tall. My peace lily was far from living its best life. When I finally threw it out when I was leaving Simpsonville, it would have been considered a mercy killing by most.
That peace lily is a perfect metaphor for what my spiritual life looks like when I neglect it. It may have all of the appearances of life, but never actually live up to its full potential. There are times when I start feeling dry and wilted, like I need to connect with God, so I’ll pray a little prayer or I’ll read a little bit of my Bible, or pay a little closer attention at church. I’ll give myself just enough nourishment to begin to sustain life again, but often not hang in there long enough to see a full bloom or what the Bible describes for Christians as “producing fruit.” At times like this, my relationship with God could be considered, barely surviving, but God wants more for us! God offers all of us more than mere survival. If my peace lily, being in desperate need of life-giving sunlight and water, and woefully needing to be re-potted, is the image that you have in your head of what the typical Christian life should look like, I want to give you a different image. An image of a healthy, growing, thriving Christian life.
Compare my peace lily to a tree that I heard about, found in Geneva, Alabama. This is not just any tree, but a 300+ year-old mammoth Live Oak Tree, known simply by the people in that area as “The Tree” or, sometimes, the “The Constitution Tree,” because it was alive at the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1776. The Tree can be found in a spot called “The Junction,” where two large rivers come together (the Choctawhatchee & Pea Rivers). What is unique about this tree, other than the fact that it is even older than the United States, is that where it is positioned at this Junction, due to periodic flooding in the area, it has been provided with all the fresh, nutrient-rich soil, water, and sunshine that it needs to be as healthy as it can possibly be. Although it may not be as big as some of those Redwoods in California, it still takes 10 people holding hands to encircle the entire trunk of The Tree. It has survived floods and storms–hurricanes that have wiped out most of the rest of the vegetation in the area–because of its strong roots. The branches in The Tree are so healthy that many of them are larger than most of the actual trees in this part of the state. It is also believed to be the largest tree in the state of Alabama.
Now, the most interesting part of The Tree is that the branches stretch out to a circumference of over 150 feet (that’s 50 yards, half of a football field!). Now, check this out: I read that in order for a tree this large to be as sturdy as it is and to maintain the weight and expanse of its massive limbs above the ground, it needs a root system under the ground just as wide and deep and healthy as the network of limbs and branches it has above the ground. It is truly a great example of a thriving tree. A much different picture than the undernourished and neglected peace lily that was in my care for around four years.
There is even a plaque near The Tree that reads: “The Alabama Forestry Commission recognizes this tree as a ‘Living Witness.’ This tree lived here at the time of the signing of the United States Constitution and continues to grow with our nation in strength and character.”
You can rest assured that if this tree was officially chosen by the State Forestry Commission to somehow reflect the health of our nation, that it comes with the added responsibility to keep it healthy and thriving year after year.
So, take a moment, just like we did with the peace lily, and think about how a tree like this could be a representation of a person’s spiritual life. A spiritual life characterized by this tree would be strong enough to stand up to life’s storms; immovable so that no matter what forces work against it, it will remain rooted; and it would be able to provide shelter and support for anyone who comes along needing it.
I realize that this is a pretty tall order for any person’s faith, and the reality is that most of our spiritual lives fall somewhere in between my half-dead peace lily quality of a spiritual life and the “just-shy-of-Jesus,” giant, Constitution oak spiritual life. We all have room to grow. We aren’t perfect, but we also don’t want to waste our time and God-given abilities. We may want to learn how to move from surviving in our relationship with God to thriving in our relationship with God. What does thriving look like? How can we learn to thrive as a strong and vital person of faith?
Interestingly, I like to think that The Tree may give us a clue about how we can move from simply surviving to absolutely thriving. The secret is right in front of us; we just need to apply its truth to our own lives. You see, the oak has branches that reach out and it has roots that dig deep. Together, the branches and the roots work to help the tree to live and thrive in the most beautiful way possible, reaching its full potential. The same processes may be at work in our spiritual lives as well. We have parts of our lives (not unlike those strong, protective branches) that can reach out to others and serve and love them, keep them safe, and direct them to their own life with God. Likewise, we can develop strong roots that dig deep and help us to connect with God and know Him better and build our faith into a solid foundation. As we develop solid, deep roots and strong, expansive branches, we are living a beautiful life of faith, and God helps us to spiritually thrive. Jesus described it like this in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Another translation describes this “abundant life” like this:
“I came so [you] can have real and eternal life, more and better life than [you] ever dreamed of.”
That sounds really good, and isn’t that sort of what are all looking for? More life, …better life, …a thriving life, …an abundant life? Let me just say right here, so that I am not misleading in anyway, this abundant life is not a promise of external riches and what the world would typically point to as abundance. God’s abundant life fills our lives with love and joy and peace. It is an opportunity to live life and be satisfied with what we have instead of constantly wanting more. The tree is beautiful not because it has been adorned with a lot of external trappings. It is beautiful because it is healthy and strong and living the life that God has created it to live.
I love that the secret to experiencing an abundant spiritual life is literally all around us. It is woven into the very processes of nature. If we only took time to notice that, just as every tree and plant needs water, sunshine, and room to grow, we too can develop deep roots by nourishing our souls and growing our faith with meaningful worship, an active prayer life, and studying God’s word. These strong, deep roots ground us during life’s storms and keep us from being uprooted and washed away against our will. In the same way, we can grow strong branches to reach out and provide love and care and protection for others and provide for ourselves the presence to be a witness of God’s great love in our lives. Just as The Tree can provide shade and a home for God’s creatures, we too can connect with our community and build relationships and serve other people. So, this week, let’s stop settling for merely surviving and find ways that we can tap into a full, abundant, thriving life with God. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN!
Have a great day, take care of one another, and stay healthy people!!!
YOU CAN WATCH AND READ ALL 10 @ 10 DEVOTIONS HERE.