E-Note From the Pastor / Aug. 29, 2014

Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,

In Romans 12, the apostle Paul offers a plan for living as a follower of Jesus. Paul’s recommendations, while simply stated, present a huge challenge.

Paul’s list of ethical behavior stresses a code of living in a spirit of love: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” When we learn to abide by this Pauline code, surely our world will be a better place.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we gather weekly for worship and fellowship. After worship, we scatter to serve in Jesus’ name. Yet, as we go out into the world to work, play and rest, we may become distracted from the lifestyle we are called to live in the spirit of Jesus Christ. With God’s help, we can hold fast to our new life in Christ and stay connected to the Christian lifestyle. Perhaps that is what John Wesley meant when he said that the work of the church was to “spread scriptural holiness across the land.”

In the 10:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, we’ll continue in our series of sermons called A Wesleyan Revival. During the message, I’ll tell you the stories of the beginning of Methodism among three college students and their mentor, an Oxford professor named John Wesley. We’ll look at Wesley’s own longing for holiness. In addition to the above-mentioned scripture from Romans 12, we’ll also consider 1 Peter 1:13-16 where Peter calls his readers to be holy. This was an important passage to Wesley.

I don’t know what you think of when you think of holiness. You might think of prudish people, or dour religious folks who are so “heavenly minded they are of no earthly good.” But that’s not what holiness means. The author of Hebrews notes that without holiness no one should see God. It was this yearning and desire to be holy that gave rise to the Methodist movement. This Sunday we’ll try to understand what holiness is, and what it means in our own lives. I found as I was preparing this message that I personally needed it.

By the way, one of the amazing things about the beginnings of Methodism – this movement that God would use to shape our own country in profound ways – was that it was started by three college students in their early 20s and a 27-year-old professor! This Sunday’s message will be relevant for those in their teens, 20s and 30s – and all of us who are “young at heart”!

Here are two trivia questions for this week (I’ll answer them in my sermon on Sunday): 1. What favorite activity of today’s college students did Wesley also partake of as a college student? 2. How were Methodists viewed by Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Congregationalists in the time of Wesley? Why?

I encourage you to be in worship this Sunday – you’ll learn a little history, you’ll learn a lot about two characteristics that define Methodism to this day, and you’ll hear a clear call of scripture that, if heeded, will lead to the revival of your own faith. See you on at 10:30 a.m. Sunday!

Also during worship on Sunday, we will sing some of our favorite hymns as we have our 5th Sunday Hymn Sing. I was overwhelmed by the number and variety of the hymns that you suggested for this Sunday. We are going to try to get in as many of your suggestions as possible. In most instances, we will be singing the first stanza only, so get your voices and your page-turning fingers ready! If you suggested a hymn that we do not sing on Sunday, then either we have sung it in the last couple of weeks or we are planning on singing it the following Sunday. Thanks for your great suggestions!

In the church office, we now have a blue notebook that is our “Have It/Need It” Notebook. The idea is that if you have something, an item or a helping hand, that you think someone else could use, write it in the “Have It” section. For example, you may have a piece of furniture or another item that someone could have if they would just come pick it up. Or, you may be a young person willing to provide child-sitting services to raise a little extra cash. In the “Need It” section, perhaps you need some help around the house or the yard. These are just examples – I’m sure that you can think of dozens of other appropriate things you might write in the notebook. If you think of something when you’re away from the church, just email the church office at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and we’ll write it in for you. We’ll also post things that are written in the notebook on our website, and I’ll include them in my eNotes. This is just another way that we can “let our love be genuine” and care for and support one another.

  • We’ve had our first entry in the “Have It/Need It” Notebook – ’Lizabeth Collins has a set of wooden bunk beds she is willing to let someone have for free. Contact ‘Lizabeth if you’re interested.

We collect canned fruit and other non-perishable items to support the food pantry at OCIM throughout the year. Please remember to bring your OCIM offerings each week as a way of reaching out to brothers and sisters around us.

Our year-long effort to support Operation Christmas Child continues as we work to meet our goal of 100 shoeboxes. Each month, we are collecting items that can be included in the shoeboxes.

  • During August, we are collecting school supplies, such as crayons, markers, pencils, pens, small notebooks and other items that will fit into a shoebox, for our OCC donations.
  • During September, we are collecting children’s socks for both boys and girls.

We have a blue collection box near the basket where we collect our OCIM food offerings each Sunday. Just drop your Operation Christmas Child donations in the blue box after you’ve put your canned fruit or nonperishable items in the OCIM basket! Your gifts will show the love of Christ and the power of the gospel to a child or a family whose life you will indelibly touch, even though you may never meet them.

Please mark your calendars for our Charge Conference which is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23 at Orange UMC in Chapel Hill. More information on Charge Conference will be forthcoming. To prepare for Charge Conference, the following meetings need to be scheduled in the coming weeks:

  • The Staff/Parish Relations Committee
  • The Finance Committee
  • The Lay Leadership Committee
  • The Administrative Council

As each of these meetings is scheduled, we’ll let you know dates and times.

You can follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in a number of ways:

On a recent trip to Blowing Rock, Rollie, Ryan and I came back to the car after visiting the Community Library and found a grasshopper perched on the trunk. We just left him there and rode through town. When we parked, to our amazement, he was still there. Later in the day, we took a drive down to Lenoir. The grasshopper, whom we named “Hoppy” was still there, but we figured he’d jump off once we got going. Again, he stayed on the car all the way to Lenoir and all the way back to Blowing Rock! Back in Blowing Rock, we carefully took “Hoppy” off the car and put him in a garden spot. Later that evening, as I took our dog Ripken out for a walk, I heard the distinctive singing of a grasshopper coming from the garden spot area. I knew it must be “Hoppy” – and he sounded so happy! The incident reminded me that many people come into our sphere of influence each day, and some of them lack a sense of direction or are wandering from the life they’re meant to lead. We can help them find direction by finding a life of joy in Jesus, and in so doing, “spread scriptural holiness across the land.”

Wishing you God’s blessings and looking forward to seeing you on Sunday,



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