Thursday, December 24, 2009

See You At Christmas Eve Service Tonight

Hope to see you at Christmas Eve Services tonight-
5 pm with the choir
7 pm
11 pm
Open Communion for all.
Regardless of the weather, we will hopefully see you. Be careful out there and have a very Merry Christmas!!!

And anyone in the Midwest that is wishing for a white Christmas, well, congrats! We will have at least one inch of snow ;0)

God bless you and your family.
Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Spiritual Version

The Night Before ChristmasA more spiritual version of the famous Christmas story
By: Sister St. Thomas, B.N.D. de N
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town,St. Joseph was searching, walking up roads and down;Our Lady was waiting, so meek and so mild,While Joseph was seeking a place for the Child.
The children were nestled, each snug in their beds,The grown-ups wouldn't bother, there's no room they said;When even the innkeeper sent them away,Joseph was wondering, where they would stay.
He thought of the caves in the side of the hills,Lets go there said Mary, it's silent and still;The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,Made pathways of light for their tired feet to go.
And there in a cave, in a cradle of hay,Our Savior was born on that first Christmas Day!The Father was watching in heaven above,He sent for His angels, His couriers of love.
More rapid than eagles God's bright angels came;Rejoicing and eager as each heard his name;Come Power, Come Cherubs, Come Virtues, Come Raphael,Come Thrones and Dominions, come Michael and Gabriel.
Now fly to the Earth, where My poor people live,Announce the glad tiding My Son comes to give;The Shepherds were watching their flocks on this night,And saw in the heavens and unearthly light.
The Angels assured them, they'd nothing to fear,It's Christmas they said, the Savior is here!They hastened to find Him, and stood at the door,Till Mary invited them in to adore.
He was swaddled in bands from His head to His feet,Never did the Shepherds see a baby so sweet!He spoke not a word, but the shepherds all knew,He was telling them secrets and blessing them too.
Then softly they left Him, The Babe in the hay,And rejoiced with great joy on that first Christmas Day;Mary heard them exclaim as they walked up the hill,Glory to God in the Highest, Peace to men of good will!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Eve Services 2009

This year we are offering three Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Services-
5 pm, 7 pm, 11 pm.
The Choir will sing at the 5 pm service.
Our services last a little under 1 hour.
If you live in the Lee's Summit area, or are visiting, please join us at one of these three powerful and very moving services. www.grace4all.org
If you are unable to attend, please wherever you are, find a Christmas Eve service.
Even if you don't go to church or don't know anyone who goes, please make the effort. Christmas Eve is a wonderful experience whatever church you will be in.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Shelves Are Almost Empty

Walking through the local stores this weekend I noticed something. Many of the shelves are empty. The hot toys are mostly gone. Few toys remain from the last few weeks. I guess most people are finished shopping. If they have not, they are doomed to disappointment, unless they are looking for books. The book stores are stocked. They are full. Plenty of the best sellers, the latest and greatest, and plenty of the classics. As for the stores, the shelves are nearly bare. There are still toys to be had, but many less than last week.

As she walked through her house she noticed the shelves were nearly empty. This year has been a tough one. Her husband had lost his job. The kids were struggling in school. Life had not turned out like she planned. Thank God for the local food pantry and toy drives. If it were not for them, they would really be in trouble. Thankfully there was just enough food there for the several hundred families that showed up last week.

He walked alone, as he had for many days. No job. Family was at the shelter. No room for him. He wandered around for the last few days trying to listen to God. He prayed. Prayed some more. No, he would not stand on a corner and ask for food or money. He could work. He was still useful. Tonight would be a cold night. Thank God for the Red Cross. They had delivered meals this evening to people on the streets.

Thank God for what you have and what you do not have...

Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again

Published posthumously, You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe chronicles the story of George Webber, a man who slowly learns that change is the nature of the world. As such, the phrase shared with him by a local civic leader "don't you know you can't go home again" becomes his philosophy by the end of the book. George was a writer who peeled back the layers of his town for the world to see. After his book is published there are death threats and he realized that going home is not a good idea. In the middle of this the stock market crashes (the book is set in the late 1920's and 1930's) and the world as America knows it has changed. Forever changed by events George begins to repeat the phrase spoken to him "doesn't he know, he can't go home again."
Some believe these words echo the words of Jesus "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
The phrase for me really comes down to two big lessons.
#1 Change is inevitable. It occurs. It happens. Going back to the way things were is not possible in the midst of a huge crisis.
#2 We sometimes idealize the past when we should be enjoying the present.
The nature of the world is change. Are you swimming against the times? Are you floating along?
There are some things worth fighting for and yet, many of us are so busy and tired from fighting the wrong battles that when the ones worth fighting for arise, we are too tired.
Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Memories

Where will you be spending Christmas eve and Christmas day? Church? With family? Alone?
Here at Grace we have a 5 pm, 7 pm, and a late 11 pm service. Each one is a candle light communion service. Open communion for all.
When I grew up we would go to church (unless I could get out of it by convincing my parents that I didn't need to go) on Christmas eve, usually the early service and then we would read the Christmas story from Luke. Many families enjoy this same tradition. This year Grace is starting a new Christmas tradition that will continue hopefully for many years to come. On Christmas day between 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm we will received to go boxes full of food for the homeless. The Red Cross will distribute it for a Christmas dinner to anyone out there in the KC area in need. Right now we hope to have 100 meals delivered to Grace and then sent out into the world on Christmas evening.
If you are in town, please consider picking up a to go box and bring it full of your leftovers from your Christmas dinner. Please make a difference in the life of someone who might be homeless, lonely, hungry, hurting, sad and cold. Choose to be a difference. Choose to be a blessing.
Contact our church office if you would like to help grace4allmail@aol.com . Thanks. Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cantata and Children's Christmas Programs

A BIG thank you to everyone who helped with the

Choir Cantata
Sonshine Preschool Christmas Program
The Children's Christmas Program

Thank you to Sharon Owen, our music director.
Thank you to Nancy Peace, our preschool director.
Thank you to Laura Kramer, Olivia Lynn and Rachel Lynn for directing the Children's Christmas play.
Thank you to Linda Morrow for the Confirmation Christmas Play.
Thank you Cory and Nicholas for your songs.
Thank you to Loren, the band, and our praise singers, well, for everything!
And Thanks to all else who helped.
Thanks to everyone who attended yesterdays events. You were a part of something special. Carry the message of faith, hope, love, joy and peace with you this week.
And it's not over yet. That is correct. Worship on Sunday "You Can't Go Home Again" and Christmas Eve Worship 5 pm, 7 pm, 11 pm.
Go in peace and go with God.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Purpose- Christmas Day- Make A Difference

Do you have purpose? What is it? Two weeks until Christmas. Yes, two weeks. In 14 days it will be December 25th. A day for celebrating the birth of Christ. A day to be with family. A day to exchange gifts. A day to sit down at the dinner table together. A day to rejoice.
On this Christmas, if you are in Lee's Summit, celebrating with your family, please consider the following.

The Red Cross will be feeding the homeless that live under the bridges in Kansas City on Christmas Day. You can help by taking the number of clam shells (to go boxes) that you are willing to fill with a Christmas meal and bring them to Grace UMC (www.grace4all.org) between 2:30 and 3:30pm on Christmas Day. The food must be warm (not frozen) and our Mission Chair Carmen Kynard will deliver them to the Red Cross. Any questions please contact the church office asap.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Top Ten Christmas Hymns

Top Ten Christmas Hymns (again, my humble opinion)
10. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear or We Three Kings
9. Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
8. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
7. The First Noel
6. Away In A Manger
5. What Child Is This
4. O Come All Ye Faithful
3. Angels We Have Heard On High
2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
1. Silent Night and Joy to the World- I could not choose just one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top Ten Christmas Movies/Shows of All Time

Top Ten Christmas Movies/Shows of All Time
(my humble opinion)
Great movies that I don't always catch during the holiday season,
but if I do, it makes life much better. These are classics or soon to be classics.

10. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
9. Frosty the Snowman (1969)
8. The Santa Claus (1994)
7. Miracle on 34th St (1947)
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
5. Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
4. Scrooged (1988)
3. A Christmas Carol (1984) George C. Scott plays Scrooge
2. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
1. A Christmas Story (1983)

Honorable mentions-
The Nativity, Home Alone, Elf, Christmas Vacation,
Trapped in Paradise, Serendipity

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stop and Listen

Yesterday was a very windy day here Forty mph winds. Tough to hear. It was cold too. It was so windy I could not hear anything but the wind. No cars driving by, no birds, nothing but a loud wind. Today was different. This morning before daybreak it was clear, cold and quiet. The full moon was out and lit up the morning sky like the sun. The trouble was I could not experience the peace of the moment without stopping. As I walk through the grass and leaves I sometimes tend to make noise. I have to physically stop to hear the quiet. I stand motionless and can hear for miles. When I am walking or running, I can usually only hear myself making noise. Today, stop and listen. Experience the quiet.
Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Give Your Best To God

Do you give your best or worst to God? When I think about how I organize my life, I have several things to consider. Time. Schedule. Importance of events. Purpose. Priorities. Church. Family. Friends. Finding Joy. Finding Peace. Growing. Etc.
Sometimes I honestly do not give my best to God because I have not organized my life in a way that allows for my best. Sometimes it's the last. The least. It can't be my best when I just throw things together. Usually, as many of you know, I have spent considerable amounts of time thinking and praying about things. Which then lends to me giving my best. My heart, mind and soul are focused when I pull my priorities together, based on God's purpose for my life, joyfully spending time with family, friends and completely and in a deeply healthy way scheduling the calendar to maximize every moment to grow in faith, hope and love. So, what does it really take to give my best to God? I'm not sure and I guess it would depend on who you are and how you relate to God. But I will say that when you read that question at the beginning and if there is any doubt about giving your best, it might be time to think and pray.
Go in peace and go with God.