Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
In Matthew 21, Jesus – responding to an encounter with the religious leaders of the day – offered a parable of two sons in the vineyard. Their father asked both of them to go work in the vineyard. The first son said he didn’t want to work in the vineyard, but ended up going anyway. The second son replied, “Sure!” to his father’s request but then did not go. Jesus asked which son did the father’s will, and the religious leaders begrudgingly answered that the first son did. Jesus then cut no corners with those who were seemingly the most religious people of the time, saying, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kingdom ahead of you.”
I believe Jesus rides the religious leaders so hard in order to shake them to the core of their spiritual being. Their very sense of religiosity may keep them from experiencing the kingdom of God as a present reality. In the parable, the son who gives the appearance of obedience is not the one who is actually obedient. For Jesus, doing God’s will and being part of the kingdom of God require both faithful words and actions, religious activity and obedience.
If we pay attention, we can experience the kingdom of God through small glimpses of everyday life. The kingdom of God can come to us through a harvest from our garden, the sound of birds in the trees, or the nuzzles of a pet. The kingdom of God can come to us through lunch with a friend or saying “I’m sorry” in either reconciliation or empathy.
Most of all, the kingdom of God comes to us through obeying Jesus who never said, “Go forth and be more religious than others,” but rather, “Go forth and love one another as I have loved you.”
In the 10:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, we’ll conclude our series of sermons on A Wesleyan Revival. In my sermon “‘Best of All, God Is with Us,’” we'll use those words spoken by John Wesley in his final breath as we look at the difference between being a Christian and being what Wesley called an “almost Christian.” I encourage you to be in worship this Sunday as we continue in our quest for revival of our own faith. See you on at 10:30 a.m. Sunday!
Prior to Sunday’s worship service, we will have our Fourth Sunday Fellowship Hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Join us for coffee, a light breakfast and great fellowship! This time also presents a great opportunity to invite people to come to church with you. Do you know someone you’ve been thinking about inviting to church? This is the Sunday to do it! We’ll have a relaxing time of fellowship in the Fellowship Hall then move to the sanctuary for worship at 10:30 a.m. I look forward to seeing each of you and guests for this wonderful Sunday of worship, prayer and praise!
Tuesday Bible Study continues at 7 p.m. this Tuesday as we study the New Testament book of Hebrews. Anyone interested is encouraged to join us!
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. To prepare for Charge Conference, the following meetings will be scheduled in the coming weeks:
- The Staff/Parish Relations Committee will meet after worship on Sunday
- The Finance Committee will meet at the church at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1
- The Lay Leadership Committee will meet after worship on Sunday, Oct. 19
- The Administrative Council will meet at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2
Because of some scheduling issues, we will not be able to have our planned pulpit exchange with Eno/Fairfield Presbyterian as originally scheduled. We will look at an alternate date, possibly early next year when schedules for both congregations work out. Thanks to the CGUMC family for being so supportive of this idea, and we’ll look forward to arranging another date for the pulpit exchange.
For the fifth consecutive year, we are taking a mission team to the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center in Charlotte. This year, we have been allocated 10 spots from 2-6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12 and 20 spots from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, when I hope many of our Community Youth Group members will be able to join us. More information will be forthcoming and volunteer registration forms will be available soon, but go ahead and mark your calendars and let me know if you’re interested in going.
Speaking of Operation Christmas Child, our year-long effort to support this ministry 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 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!
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. 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.
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. In the “Need It” section, perhaps you need some help around the house or the yard. If you think of something when you’re away from the church, just email the church office at
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.
- John and Joan Black are looking for two used bicycles for their grandsons, ages 13 and 11. If you can help, please contact John and Joan or the church office. Thanks!
You can follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in a number of ways:
I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday! Blessings!