September, 2017

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

–Galatians 6:9

This summer our family took on a project that we had never done before, something we literally had NO experience with, we planted a garden.  In full disclosure prior to this garden keeping a single plant alive was an achievement in our household.  I was once given an aloe plant that I was assured took NO maintenance as long as it got water once and awhile.  Yet a short time later all I had left was the pot.  So this endeavor into gardening was a new experience.

Now I will be perfectly honest Brittany was the brains behind the operation, she researched the best plants to put together when things would need to be planted, how to best fertilize the soil to yield the best results, she did all the leg work.  It was fun planting it and weeding it and watering it and watching it grow with the kids this summer.  Then the most amazing thing started to happen, we actually had vegetables growing!

We have been up to our ears in tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cucumbers, all of it coming from those little seeds that were planted months ago.  Of course, there was work that had to be done between the planting and the harvest, but seeing the results truly makes it worth it.

Our experience this summer tied in well with the verse from Galatians 6:9.  There were some hot summer days when weeding or watering that garden didn’t sound like a whole lot of fun.  At that point, we had no idea if the garden would even yield anything for us to harvest.  That is how it often is in planting the seeds of faith in others.  It can be hard work, work that we don’t necessarily see immediate results from.  But the work is necessary, it is ongoing, we are called to continue to carry the Good News to people of all nations, including those right here in our own community.

My prayer for us is that we do not lose heart in doing good, yes it is hard work, we can grow weary and tired, and we have no idea if we will ever see the results of that work.  But Scripture does tell us that we will reap if we do not grow weary.  As we enter the fall season and have activities going on around the church I hope you will join me in doing the necessary work to nurture, water and feed those seeds of faith that will be planted.

God Bless,

Pastor Devin

To view the rest of the September newsletter, click here: September 2017

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August 2017

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

–1 Samuel 12:24

The last week of July I found myself in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for a family reunion/get together.  30 people ages 7 months to 81 years all together in one house.  If you happened to catch my sermon on July 23rd you know that vacationing with 3 children isn’t quite the relaxing vacation most of us dream of.  However at some point during the drive home the mountains were in my rearview mirror and all three children were simultaneously napping, there was a period of quiet I found myself looking back at the previous week.  Sure it was crazy, it was loud, it was chaotic, but it was also wonderful.  To be able to spend that time with family laughing and enjoying one another’s company was a great gift.  In looking at the Scripture from 1 Samuel it made me realize that one of the great things that God has done for me is provide an absolutely amazing family to love and support me and my family.
Often it is easy to start to take those things for granted and just accept them as normal and the way it is.  But the Scripture from 1 Samuel provides a reminder for us as to how we should respond to God’s blessings in our lives.  We are to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all our hearts.

Don’t get hung up on the word fear in that Scripture, the original Hebrew word can be translated as fear, respect or reverence, it has a very positive quality, not how we generally view fear today.  Samuel is imploring the reader to have a proper respect for the Lord our God and to serve faithfully.  That is my hope for us as a Church as we begin a new month on the calendar.  We have a lot of events and things that will be happening in the coming weeks and I pray that if you feel led to participate DO IT!  There are so many different ways to help and things to be done that I promise we will have somewhere for you to help that will make use of your skills and talents.  When I look at all the great things that God has done for and through Emmanuel UMC I can’t help but rejoice and give thanks to our heavenly Father.
I hope you will join me this month in giving thanks, in giving praise, in worshiping and in serving the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
God Bless,
Pastor Devin

August 2017

 

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Community Meal

One of life’s greatest pleasures is sharing good food with good company!

We are honored to have the opportunity to host a free community meal for Blissfield area residents. Anyone and everyone is invited to join us on Wednesday, August 2. The doors will open at 5:00 pm and the meal will be served from 5:30-6:30.

Any questions can be directed to the church office at 517-486-3020.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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July, 2017

“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

–Matthew 7:8

Have you ever asked for something that you really wanted? Did you get it? I’m guessing for most of us the answer to the first

question is yes while the second answer is probably yes and no. We have all wanted things because we are human beings and it is in our DNA. It has become clear to me as I have watched my children grow that this is not something we learn, it is something that is deep down inside us, ingrained in us. Seeing as it is an innate

characteristic I don’t think it is necessarily a bad one. After all there are some things that we NEED to have. We need food and water to sustain us so wanting after those things cannot inherently be bad. I have to admit there are things on a daily basis that I want for myself, my family, the church, the world.

One of the things that has been in my thoughts and prayers for some time was how can we, as a church, reach out more to the community around us. I wanted a way for us to open our doors and let people know that they are welcome here. I had been considering this one day recently when I received a phone call from a woman in the community, Heather. She was reaching out to me because she was hoping to find a place in Blissfield to host a community meal. She has done similar meals at other locations and wanted to do something similar here in Blissfield.

We have talked and met on several occasions since then and I am very excited to share that on August 2nd at 5:30 we will host our first meal here at Emmanuel.

Heather has food donations lined up from a number of

surrounding Grocery stores and we will be able to offer this at no cost to any and all from the community who are in need of a meal. Our hope is to get the word out to the

community and let people know that they can come, no strings attached, and get something to eat. We will have more details in the coming weeks but if you are interested in helping with the setup/serving/cleanup I would be happy to get some volunteers lined up to help.

Reading the Scripture above from Matthew made me realize that God will provide when we ask for what we need. It may not always come instantly and it may not come in the shape or form we expected, but God does provide. So I am curious have you asked God for what you NEED, not what you want, today? I encourage each of you to spend some time in thoughtful prayer with the Lord in the coming days and ask, search and knock on that door, I bet you’ll be surprised at what is on the other side.

Blessings,

Pastor Devin

 

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VBS REGISTRATION IS OPEN

We are super excited to announce that VBS is coming back to Emmanuel!

Kids ages 0-5th grade are invited to join us August 7-11 from 5:30-8:00 pm.

If you have any questions, please call the church at 517-486-3020 or email us at EmmanuelUMC@live.com.

Click here or on the picture below to register your child(ren) today!

 

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June, 2017

For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

–1 Corinthians 12:13

As I sit in my office typing this (desperately trying to get it done before the deadline so I don’t mess up Elizabeth’s plans to get the newsletter out) I cannot help but notice the sunshine that is pouring in through the windows of my office.  Quite frankly seeing that sunshine makes me want to be outside doing just about anything besides sitting and typing away at my keyboard.

But as I sat losing myself in another momentary daydream I found myself looking at the words from 1st Corinthians seen above.  Those words stood out to me as day after day I see news reports and headlines that speak of anything but oneness.  We live in a time of disagreement and discord.  A time where too often people see anyone who disagrees with them as wrong, or worse as the enemy.  Often as the church (locally, nationally, worldwide), we like to think that is true of those people and situations outside our doors, but not within them.  Sadly that is not the case.  We often find the same squabbles, same disagreements within the church as well.

I don’t begin to suggest that there is an easy way to bridge those gaps, after all we hold our convictions tightly for a reason, but I do hope that as the church we can also remember those words from 1st Corinthians.  “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…all made to drink of one Spirit.” Jesus did not come to set up a network of denominations and churches and all the things that we have created since his ascension.

Jesus came to offer love and hope and the promise of eternal life to all people.  Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, man or woman or child.  He did not pick and choose those whom he deemed worthy, we picked us all as one people, the human race.  That’s who Jesus loved, that’s who we are called to love.

That sunlight is still pouring in through my window and to me, at this time and in this place, it is a reminder that God put that sun in the sky to shine on all of his creation, all of his children, all those that he loves.  Let us bask in the warmth of that light together as one people, as together we work to share that love and warmth with the world.

God Bless,

Pastor Devin

Click here to see the rest of the June 2017

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May, 2017

11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

-Romans 12:11-12 (NRSV)

Another page of the calendar has been peeled back as we move on to the month of May. While the month of May holds a special fondness for me (if you wonder why check the ‘Birthdays’ section of this newsletter, particularly around the 16th) I also recognize that the month sort of sits in a weird in-between period. We have had our Easter celebration and what a celebration it was, Spring has made an appearance but Summer is not yet here, the School year is winding down but not yet finished, it is a time that we can find ourselves asking “Now What?”

Within the Church we may find ourselves sitting back and relaxing a little. Looking at the calendar there are not many “big” events in the months ahead. Perhaps we are off the hook until the Advent season rolls around and we start the Christmas preparation all over again. But then God has a way of reminding us that the work is not done…it is never done.

The verse above from Romans was in a devotion I read just the other morning. To me it was a reminder that we should live out our faith at all times. There is still work to be done, souls to be saved. While the man-made calendar we follow does not specify any special occasions God has other plans. God wants us to joyfully serve each and every day, to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”

That is my hope for us here at Emmanuel. To take the joy and hope that we remembered on Easter morning and to apply it to our lives every day, to serve wherever and whenever we are needed.

We serve the Risen Lord, let us all rise to the occasion and live in a way that brings honor and glory to Jesus this day and always.

Blessings,

Pastor Devin

For the rest of the May newsletter, click here: May 2017

 

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