News and views of the First United Methodist Church in Cross Plains, Texas

Saturday, December 29, 2007

January Events & Help Wanted

Dear Friends,

We have some opportunities coming this month and I wanted to let you know. Feel free to email me with a note on which class(es) you are planning to attend. (Also, please read further down for some urgent help needed.)

Sign up sheets will be at back of church on Sunday

or email me: revfriend@hotmail.com


January 9th (Wednesday mornings from 10:30 am – noon)

The Way of Prayer is a 10-week study resource designed to help you expand your understanding of the nature and practices of prayer. Many Christians grow up with a limited vision of what prayer is and how to pray. The Way of Prayer offers many forms to explore and practice, both individually and as a group. People with different temperaments, spiritual types, and learning styles will each find expressions of prayer that draw them closer to God. In this 10-week study, you will explore the nature of prayer and a number of prayer forms.

Participant’s book cost $10.00. Bring your bible and something to write in.

Topics include:

How Do You Pray?

Images of God

Praying by Heart

Praying with Music

Praying by Gaze

Praying with Our Bodies

Scriptural Prayer

Contemplative Prayer

Praying with and for Others

Prayer and Social Transformation


January 13th (Sunday evenings from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm)

God’s love is contagious, and your love for God should be contagious too. Becoming a Contagious Christian is a proven course designed to help you tell the truth of Jesus Christ and God’s impact on your life in an authentic way which will reach today's secular world. It avoids stereotyped approaches that feel intimidating and unnatural to many Christians. Instead, it shows ordinary believers how they can share the gospel in a natural and powerful way while being the person God made them to be. Each session's exercises, discussions, self-assessments, and video vignettes give step-by-step guidance to help participants become effective communicators for Christ to those around them.

In this six week course you will learn the following:

· How to demonstrate a contagious Christian character

· Build spiritually strategic relationships

· Direct conversations toward matters of faith

· Communicate your faith in a style that's personal and natural

· Explain biblical truths to a modern world using everyday language

· Respond to the most common objections to Christianity

Nursery & Children’s Sunday School help is needed.

The care and biblical education of our youth & children is very important. Our Staff Parrish Relations Committee has carefully and prayerfully completed a policy to protect our children, youth and vulnerable adults. Part of this policy states we will have two adults present in all nursery & children/youth activities, or the activity will be canceled. Starting Sunday, January 6th this policy goes into effect; so we need your help.

Our children & youth Sunday school start at 9:45am with a nursery in effect at that time. During morning worship we also have nursery. Without volunteers to be in the classroom(s) with the teachers and nursery attendant we can not have these activities. Please sign up and plan to participate. You will be blessed as you come to know and love our babies, children, & youth.

Men & women can do this. If everyone takes a turn we’ll all have fun.Once again sign up sheets will be at the back of the church on Sunday. Thank you.

(Oh, and in case you wanted to tune into the Friends blessed event on Christmas - check out www.jason.tv/revfriend - the kitten cam is live from 10-noon most days. Wouldn't a cute kitten make a good present for Valentines Day?)


Friday, December 07, 2007

A Whirlwind Month

Where did fall go? And how is it that Christmas is near? I'm not so sure I'm ready for Winter.
With the 70 degree weather it doesn't feel like winter. The weather guessers say we are to have colder weather on Sunday and possible ice on Monday, but it certainly feels like Indian Summer to me!
The building has brick on the outside and sheet rock on the inside. Almost all sheet rock is done in Fellowship Hall, the kitchen cabinets are ready for stain, heating and AC units are being installed both inside and out. On Thursday four different sets of construction teams were busy inside.

This month we've done so many things, I'm not sure where to start. The Lord's Acre was a tremendous success and everyone had a great time (although some claim to STILL be tired of turkey). Then we had our Charge Conference. (Which was delayed two days due to snow - brrr.) Was I ever proud of the church. Not only have we paid out 100% of Apportionments, every committee chair had their reports in (early) and they were well done. What a relief that was for the pastor. After Charge Conference we rolled into Advent and have had a wonderful first Sunday of Advent, with amazing music and much joy shared in the congregation.

On December 2nd we took a group of over 20 persons to the Aldersgate center in Brownwood and enjoyed their live nativity and craft store.

The Glory Be's had a very fun time at Connie K's house celebrating Christmas with a cookie exchange, which also supplied special Christmas cookies for the food pantry and our homebound persons and those in the Rising Star nursing home.

Tonight several of us went to the Kiwanis stew fund raiser and watched Mr. Claus arrive (on the firetruck no less) and the children delight in visiting with him.

All this, and only the 2nd week in December I can't wait for the rest of the month. The Lord could be adding to our membership soon and I'm very excited about the kingdom work we will do.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I like to share good news. Last night Lou and I were watching CSPAN Q&A where Brian Lamb was interviewing John Micklewaite, managing editor of The Economist published in England. He was being asked about an article he published following a 5 week tour of the world looking at the world's religions. Several statements that he made were good news in my view.

He said that the Christian religion is staging a comeback in Europe both due to evangelical protestants and a renewal of the Catholic church. We had felt that from our last visit with our French exchange daughter and her family who are Catholic. Their church seemed more like a Baptist or Methodist church in a simple building rather that the huge medieval church structures in the middle of Auxxere. Micklewaite also told about the growth of Christianity in Africa and other parts of the world. For example he attended the largest Christian church in the world in North Korea, a church with over 200,000 members.

What really grabbed my attention was his statement that he predicted the largest Christian nation in the world in the future will be China! He said there are more Christians in China than communists and that the church there is growing like mad. I found that interesting and can see how the practice of the early Christians to live sharing everything with each other can fit into a communist thinking. And could revolutionize China by practicing loving your neighbors and your enemies and forgiving those who trespass against you and by practicing justice in their government that is now corrupt due to atheistic thinking of the chicoms.

I don't have a link to his editorial and couldn't find one on the web, but was impressed by his findings.