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E-Note from Pastor Karl / Feb. 5, 2016


Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday, the last Sunday of Epiphany. The season of Lent begins on Wednesday with our Ash Wednesday service (see below.) Lent begins to prepare us for the hard work of Holy Week, and Transfiguration Sunday helps us turn the corner from a baby in a manger to a prophet who is not welcome in his own hometown.

Like getting up to the mountaintop, Lent will be a lot of work. We will have to take a hard look at ourselves and discern with the help of others what sin still remains. We will, by God’s grace, need to repent and seek a new life in Jesus Christ.

If we are to experience transformation during the season of Lent, it will most likely come in degrees rather than in mountaintop experiences. We will slowly be changed by the means of grace we practice each day.

Lent will challenge us not to keep our holiness to ourselves, but to seek justice for those around us. Sin is not only personal; it is corporate, too. The God who speaks in a mountaintop cloud will not allow us to ignore the least, the last and the lost.

Like Peter at the Transfiguration, we will find it tempting to want to dwell continually with the celebration of Jesus as an infant in a manger, to stay with that tender moment. After all, that is a much more pleasant scene than the one we will eventually see in Holy Week. For our spiritual health, however, we must not remain in Epiphany. Jesus was born not only so that we could coo at an infant but also so that our sinfulness could be made visible by his life, forgiven by his death, and redeemed by his resurrection.

May God help us turn the corner from the mountaintop of Transfiguration to the valley of the cross.

On Sunday, we are concluding our sermon series on the Gospel of Luke, “The Gospel for Nobody.” This first century portrait of Jesus focuses particularly on his ministry with those who were considered “nobodies.” Each week in this sermon series, we’ll look at accounts of Jesus’ ministry found in Luke. We’ll turn our attention to specific stories that illustrate Jesus’ concern for those who were marginalized by society, and as we do, we’ll hear his word for our lives today. Join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. Sunday – and bring a friend with you!

Prior to the worship service, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, we will have our Sunday School Class and continue our study of the Gospel of Luke. Please plan to join us!

One of the most poignant services of the year, our Ash Wednesday Service, will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 10) at the church. Ash Wednesday starts the season of Lent. At this service, we will have a time of penitent prayer, scripture reading, hymn singing and a short message. The service will conclude with the imposition of ashes to remind us to “repent, and believe the gospel.” Please join us for this most meaningful service.

Please continue to bring your canned goods and other nonperishable items each week and drop them in our collection baskets in the narthex. Your gifts are taken to the food pantry at OCIM in Hillsborough, where they will be distributed to families throughout northern Orange County. Thank you for touching the lives of others through this wonderful mission!

Our annual Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive is on! Four years ago, we set a goal of 50 shoeboxes and collected 51. Three years ago, we set a goal of 75 shoe boxes and collected 100. Two years ago, we set a goal of 100 shoeboxes and collected 143. Last year, we topped our goal of 144 by collecting 151 shoeboxes!!!

For 2016, we’re setting our goal for 150 shoeboxes, but I am confident we can top even that total! To help keep this ministry before us throughout the year, we are again collecting items for shoe boxes each month. These items will be stored at the church until early November, when we will have another shoe box packing pizza party.

  • From now through the end of February, we are asking that you donate toothbrushes and bars of soap. The toothbrushes need to be unopened in their original packaging, with one or two in the package so that they can fit easily into shoe boxes.

Our large blue Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child box is in the narthex for collecting the items each month. What an exciting way to bless children throughout the world! Your gifts will show the love of Christ and the power of the gospel to a child whose life you will indelibly touch, even though you may never meet that child.

We post announcements of our upcoming sermon series and activities, along with the GPS and other items, on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Cedar-Grove-UMC/161622617284308. Please go to this page and “Like” us so that you can keep up with the latest announcements. Then, when you do see a new posting to the Facebook page, share it on your timeline. This is an easy, non-confrontational way of inviting and sharing the opportunities for worship and fellowship at CGUMC with all your Facebook friends!

In addition to Facebook, you can also follow the many happenings and ministries of CGUMC online in the following ways:

Blessings!
Karl

 

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