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What Do You Know?

They knew she was dead. They knew it!

There was this guy that lived a long time ago. He did things. He did amazing things. And he spoke truth. But the truth was so amazing, people had a hard time believing it. They didn’t accept it, or didn’t want to accept it.

But he would do these amazing things anyway. He would do them for free. So word began to spread and people began to call him for help, hoping he would do something amazing for them.


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Are You Connected?

Adult Connection Groups: We have a number of new Connection Groups and new studies. Visit wlfmc.org for even more Connection Group information.

God has more. We’re settling for less. If God called us to experience life abundantly, why are things such a mess? Starting September 14, the Fellowship Group is starting a new study and you’re invited. They will be going through Matt Chandler’s book Recovering Redemption.

Do you want to know why the Old Testament Israelites were always having a party? Join our new Connection Group: Old Testament Feast Days on Thursday nights, starting on October 9, 7 p.m. in the Parlor. To know where the Church comes from, we need to know more about these holy days set up by God. This is a 6-week study, so don’t miss out on this party!

Feel insufficient?  Could it be your weaknesses are the keys that unlock God’s strength?  Come explore this question through the Life of Gideon, a study by Priscilla Shirer.  Books are $14.50 and the study will start October 14th, at 7:00 p.m.

 



I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

Genesis 1:20 (NIV)  And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures.”

Genesis 1:24 (NIV)  And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.”

 

I was in California last week on vacation.  One day we were in Monterey and as we walked along the boat marina, we were looking down into the water at the edge of the bay.  Suddenly, someone in our group exclaimed, “LOOK!”  And as our eyes followed the direction of a pointing finger, there we spotted a crab half-hidden in a crevice between two stones in the water, alternately reaching up with its two pinchers and snagging passing food morsels to pull down to its mouth.  As we continued walking, I also saw tiny insects or bugs scurrying across our path. I thought of the wonders and variety of God’s creation and a verse from the hymn, I Sing the Mighty Power of God came to mind:


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Process Trumps Content

For the next 8 Thursdays, we will be posting a series originally posted by Mark Oestreicher, longtime youth ministry guru and partner with The Youth Cartel.

This is a very important issue for parents to consider, especially with the current trend toward a college-prep emphasis in school culture. School curriculum often teaches toward test scores. Even Christian schools, who are rarely involved in state testing, often focus on cramming content with an eye to college acceptance.

Many churches take a similar approach: load young teens with info during this formative age, in hopes that it will “stick” and become a guiding force in their lives.

Unfortunately, this is quite misguided.


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Inspired to Serve

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The idea behind the Winter Relief Center came to Dana and Sally Perkins during a Gereral Conference 2011 session. (Photo courtesy of Mark Crosby)

Dana and Sally Perkins of New Beginnings FMC in Butler, Pennsylvania, couldn’t stop thinking about winter weather as they left a general conference session on a warm day in July 2011. They didn’t know the details, but they knew God gave them an idea to do something about homelessness in their community.

They wondered: “How are we to do this as a little church with no extra funds?” But their faith in a mighty God was magnified. Within a couple of weeks, the determined couple had about 30 volunteers and $400.

With a lot of heart but not much money, church members reached out to area agencies. They kept coming back empty-handed until they met Amanda Feltenberger, director of service integration and quality management for Butler County Human Services. Feltenberger made calls and connected them with the Grace Youth and Family Foundation.

On Dec. 1, 2011, the Winter Relief Center opened for the first time. With limited funding, it could only open when the temperature was below a certain level. That winter, the center served 15 individuals over 18 nights with a total of 37 stays. For the 2012–13 season, the temperature threshold was raised, allowing for more open nights and more people off the streets. During that season, the center served 57 individuals over 80 nights with a total of 131 stays.

The center was still not open enough to satisfy the need. For the 2013–14 season, the committee decided to open fulltime from Nov. 16, 2013, to March 31, 2014. The Winter Relief Center served 84 individuals over 133 nights with a total of 629 stays.

This ministry continues to grow because of partnerships with other churches and businesses. God used general conference to reveal a plan to serve a community, and His followers continue to obey His call.

Mark Crosby is the assistant pastor of New Beginnings FMC in the Pittsburgh Conference.

This article originally appeared in the September edition of Light & Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. You can view the entire magazine here.



Global Connections

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Free Methodist bishops and their spouses traveled from around the  world to attend General Conference 2011. (Photo courtesy of Michael         J. Metts)

At General Conference 2011, I saw a strikingly beautiful woman walking down the sidewalk. I greeted her and learned she was from Kenya, where her passion was reaching out to widows and orphans.

“Oh,” I exclaimed, “our church’s Christmas offering was for Kenyan widows.”

“That was you?” she responded, surprising me that we had been the only church to do this.

I was further amazed to discover she was Neddy Dingili, the Kenyan bishop’s wife. What a joy it was to hear firsthand about the offering our church had sent and how much it meant to this servant of God.

Not long after, our church received a sizable donation that included a portion for a world mission work of my choice. Within days, Dingili, my new Facebook friend, messaged me about a critical need. A widow needed surgery. Could we reach out to her?

In God’s perfect timing, the money had already been given.

Our local Women’s Ministries International group now sponsors this same widow. I knew that this sponsorship would be easily doable if each lady would contribute $3 or $4 at every monthly meeting. Instead, offerings are such that Dingili has been able to help other widows as well.

One lady was able to pay school fees for her daughter. Girls in Kenya often do not have this chance, and Christian widows, who refuse to become the property of their dead husbands’ brothers, often struggle just to eat and put a roof over their heads.

Would I have connected with Dingili on Facebook had I not met her at general conference? Possibly. But I believe that encounter was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit to give direction and purpose from a personal relationship begun that afternoon on the sidewalk at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Lois Huff attends the New South Conference’s Murphy (North Carolina) FMC where her husband, Tim Huff, is the pastor.

This article originally appeared in the September edition of Light & Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. You can view the entire magazine here.

 



Churches on Mission for GC15

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Photo of Vine FMC mission trip members by Donna Gallaher

You don’t have to be a megachurch to send a significant number of people on a mission trip.

The Keystone Annual Conference recently honored two local churches for signing up many of their worshippers for General Conference 2015 mission trips that will run from July 8–16, 2015.

“We’re to be glocal, doing ministry globally as well as locally,” said Mitch Pierce, superintendent of the Genesis and Keystone conferences.

Vine

Pastor Joe Muir of the Vine FMC in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, was concerned his congregation wasn’t giving enough for missions. He decided the Vine should join other Keystone churches supporting ministry in Hungary. He challenged his church last fall to increase its missions giving to 5 percent of its budget.

“We pledged $1,500 to start this thing out. Our people responded with $1,800,” Muir said.

Then the congregation learned about the GC15 mission trips.


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Welcome to the World of Paradox

For the next 8 Thursdays, we will be posting a series originally posted by Mark Oestreicher, longtime youth ministry guru and partner with The Youth Cartel.

If you have a preteen or a young teen living in your home, you gain a whole new appreciation for the concept of paradox. These wonderful kids completely embody every meaning of the word. In so many areas, they seem to be both one thing, as well as the polar opposite! (This can be quite maddening, and paradoxically, quite exciting!) It’s all about transition, baby.

Here’s a list of a few you might notice:


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General Conferences to Remember

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llm-sep14_history1Since the early years of Free Methodism, general conferences have played a key role in shaping the doctrine, structure and direction of the church. General conferences have been held every four years since 1862 except for three five-year and two six-year interludes. Here are a few important moments at past general conferences:

1862 

The denomination’s first general conference convenes Oct. 8–15 in St. Charles, Illinois, and then adjourns to meet again Nov. 4–6 in Buffalo, New York.

llm-sep14_history21882

Legislation creates the General Missionary Board to separate “foreign missions” from “home missions.”

1890

Delegates support simplicity in dress on principle of freeing resources to help the poor, but they warn against an “unscriptural spirit of judging … for things that are not clearly contrary to the Word of God.”

1955

llm-sep14_history3The general conference lifts the ban on choirs in public worship. It also allows the use of musical instruments by a majority vote of the local church. (General Conference 1943 approved instrumental music on a two-thirds vote of the local church.)

1974

Women are granted ordination as elders, more than eight decades after B.T. Roberts first pushed for their full ministerial status.

1995

The entry level for church membership changes to focus primarily on repentance, faith and baptism.

2011

Delegates approve a resolution inviting “every Free Methodist and every Free Methodist Church” to “pray and fast for the purposes of seeking God and pursuing God’s will,” “challenge each other to increased time for personal and corporate involvement in the Word of God,” “ask God and each other what it is God wants us to start doing and what it is God wants us to stop doing” and seriously consider the question: “What will we do as a result of what God is saying to us?”

Sources: “A Future With a History” by David L. McKenna (Light & Life Communications, 1997); “The ‘Free’-ing of Methodism” (fmcusa.org/uniquelyfm/history); “Five Resolutions from GC11” (fmchr.ch/gc11resolutions); “From Age to Age a Living Witness” by Leslie R. Marston (Light & Life Press, 1960).

This article originally appeared in the September edition of Light & Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. You can view the entire magazine here.

 



A Calling of Skilled Delegates

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First and foremost, General Conference 2015 is a gift from God and praise to God. It is all about focusing on God, not on our personal desires for the church. Where does God want His people to go? What vision can we cast for the future mission of our church? How can we best put our people to work for His purpose? How do we manage the denomination and its resources to the best of our ability?

While our bishops have the responsibility of guiding us into prayer, worship, vision casting and inspired service, there is also a great need to ensure that the business and structure of the church are aligned with what God is calling us to do. Here is where our delegates to GC15 have a responsibility to read, study, discuss and act on behalf of the church.

Christians who have the gift of administration are well-suited to represent the church at this gathering of leaders every four years. In between, the Free Methodist Church – USA Board of Administration is tasked with carrying out the responsibilities assigned to it by the general conference.

Choosing wise and gifted delegates is a call that God has given to every church in the FMCUSA. These people will have the responsibility of prayerfully choosing our bishops as well as the Board of Administration that will serve the church through to our next general conference in 2019. They will also have to come to agreement on key issues facing the church over the next four years.

Delegates need to have a broad understanding of the church throughout the United States and the world. They also need to have the wisdom to see who are the best seasoned leaders — as well as the best future leaders — for where God is calling us as a people to go and serve.

Hal Conklin is the chairman of the FMCUSA Board of Administration.

This article originally appeared in the September edition of Light & Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. You can view the entire magazine here.