“Who can say but that you have not been brought into this place for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

I believe we all have a calling from God. God has given us all gifts. God has also given us free will. Rick Warren states “God calls everybody to use the gifts and the passion that they have, but not everyone picks up the phone”.

In the book of Esther this orphaned, young Jewish girl found herself placed in a situation that she didn’t want or ask for. She was the only person in all of Persia that had any chance at all to save the Jewish population from annihilation. Even though it was absolutely obvious what she needed to do, God still gave her the free will to choose to carry out this practically impossible mission.  Rather than just go running to the King and begging for mercy, Esther first asked her support system to fast for 3 days, which she did as well. During this time she was able to gain the clarity of how she could fulfill this undertaking.

We need to clear out the clutter in our lives to be able to hear God’s call. First, if you don’t have one already, being part of a small group who prays for and with you is extremely helpful when trying to discern what God is telling you. Just as importantly is to spend time alone with God. Try to get away from all the “noise” in our lives and spend some time in silence. Then, pick up that phone and listen to what God has planned for our lives. Then, trust. This plan may not be anything you ever thought would be a part of your life, but following God’s plan is always an adventure of Biblical proportion and you’ll be glad you did.

Paula Gaboury

Getting Right with God

 
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with Your free Spirit.”  Amen.

~Psalm 51:10-12

I grew up in a Lutheran church where the pastor and the congregation sang the liturgy.  The beauty of the music glorified God and expressed the deep emotions I felt when thinking about how much I loved God.  The words above were our Offertory.  I committed the words and the beautiful chant to memory, and I often pray this.  I sang it as a lullaby to my children and grandchildren.  What a lovely way to transmit faith!

This week began our Lenten Soup Suppers and Bible Study.  This is my favorite religious season of the year.  Yes, it even trumps Advent and Christmas for me.  The pathos, the power of the stories, the fact that Christ paid the price for our sins trumps every other drama!  My heart leaps when I anticipate the worship services and the fellowship of our faith community that we get to experience during Lent.

I hope you will come on Wednesday evenings to break bread together with us.  Come at 6:00 p.m. (or a few minutes earlier) and invite others.  We have a beautiful message and a loving community that has room for everyone!

This week we heard about the terrible persecution of fellow Christians in Libya, Coptic Christians who had traveled to Libya in search of jobs.  Are they so different from us?  I think not, except that they have paid a price for their Christian beliefs that, so far, we do not risk experiencing.   I am humbled by their prayers as they gave their lives.  Would I be so brave?  We worship in relative comfort, but we must remember and pray for Christians everywhere in order to preserve our freedom to worship.  Let us pray for clean hearts and right spirits for all human beings…. And give thanks for the brave, who do not flinch in the face of death.

~Ann Scarborough

Watching the news or reading the newspaper can be very disturbing lately.  Violence… overseas and here… people being killed for their religious beliefs.  I know this is nothing new, but it seems to be an increasing disturbing trend lately.

Just in the last week, ISIS executed 21 Christian hostages from Egypt, a gunman who open fired in Denmark where a cartoonist was speaking and then later at a synagogue, and three Muslim students who were shot to death in North Carolina. 

Today I saw a heartwarming news piece on peace.  Reverend Cody Nielsen and students connected with the University of Minnesota Wesley Foundation invited more than 20 congregations of all faiths in the metro area to “Love Bomb” the Al-Madinah Muslim Student Cultural center on the U of M campus.  On Sunday they gathered to write notes of solidarity, hope and love on construction paper hearts which were then taped to walls on campus.  They are hoping to do more the next day with additional students and staff.  In the interview, one Muslim student talked about how touched she was at the messages of love, that meeting people of all faiths was a dream come true, and that she had previously feared that Muslims would not be welcome in the campus community. 

It was inspiring seeing how the college-aged youth came together, working with other congregations of different faiths to extend a message of hope and love.   The Wesley Foundation is a United Methodist related campus ministry at the University of Minnesota that is dedicated to welcoming all persons.  Their website lists a core value of the Wesley Foundation as “We seek to build a community that is welcoming to all and expresses a world that lives out peace and justice to its fullest extent.  We are an inclusive community that welcomes all persons.  This is a great example of how they executed on that vision, and brought a message of love and solidarity to their community.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV)
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Mark 12:31 (NRSV)
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Lisa Duffy

We are told that “God works in mysterious ways, God’s wonders to perform.” This Sunday in church we heard a sermon about a woman from Jericho named Rahab who was a prostitute and God was able to work through her to bring about a miraculous event.

The old song, “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” wouldn’t have been written without Rahab making it possible. Amazing, God can use all of us to dispense Gracious Love!

If God can work in and through people like Rahab, God can even work through us. Are we open to God’s guidance and love coming to others through us? It’s risky business to open ourselves to God’s love. Give it a try.  

Ron Nicholas

 

“I love the Bible…When I open its pages, I hear God speaking to me.  Its story, particularly the story of Jesus, is the one story I hope will define my life.  The Bible captures my deepest hopes and highest aspirations.”

From:

Making Sense of the Bible or Rediscovering the Power of Scripture for Today

Who writes things like this?  From whose mind comes the succinctness to say in just a few words exactly what I feel, but could never write?

The answer is Adam Hamilton of course, and the thoughts are just the first few from a wonderful book he has written and which as many of us as can squeeze into the church library on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings during Lent will share.

Imagine six weeks of study, not only with Pastor Hamilton, but with others from our church who feel a longing to share the Good News of the Gospel with YOU.

If you have thought about Lent as a time to expand yourself spiritually or begin a time of reflection and introspection in your life, there will be no better time than starting Sunday the 22nd or Wednesday the 25th along side your friends from Glendale.

Call the Church Office or send an email to reserve a copy of Adam’s book.

If that looks like a sales pitch…well, just remember the old joke about if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Hope to see you in the library a lot this Lent.

Mike Shultz

Reflections on our 30Th Anniversary

Since celebrating our 30th Chartering anniversary in January, I have been remembering back to the past, present and dreaming of the future.

Back in September of 1981 our land was purchased by the New Church Development group. There were people working behind the scenes long before our first Pastor Wayne Walther was even asked to take on the task of a new church start. How well I remember Floyd Bosshardt the consultant for this major project and the kind, warm person he was.  

What a joy to be given the opportunity to give back to helping others with the 30th Anniversary commitment cards. Glendale has been the recipient of many gifts over the years.   

A seed was planted in Savage all those years ago that has grown into Glendale UMC. Just like a child we have had our growing pains but we have also had some wonderful joys as well.

While it is good to remember and know where and how we came to be it also time to look to our future and our presence in this community.  What is God calling us to do next?  This coming weekend the Healthy Church Initiative Team and all of you are invited to attend Saturday, Feb 7th. 9 A.M to Noon.

Come join us to see what God holds in store for the future of Glendale. Let’s plant some new seeds in a new season.

“For every thing there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”   Ecclesiastes 3:1

Shelley Shultz