WAY 8 Ann McBride

Way #8 Jump In

 

JUMP IN. Life is full of unexpected problems and needs, large and small. Pay attention to moments when God calls you to action, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary the situation may be. See “disruptions” as invitations to share Christ’s love. Write a note. Visit the sick or the grieving. Share a meal.

 
a O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
 
b What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2: 14 – 17)
 
c Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. (1 John 3: 18)
 
Ideas for Action: Practice one of the actions listed in this week’s description: Write a note, visit someone who lives alone, and/or share a meal.

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WAY 7 Kourtney de la Cruz

Way #7 Celebrate Our Unity, Savor Our Diversity

 

CELEBRATE OUR UNITY, SAVOR OUR DIVERSITY. Thank God that, like parts of the human body, we’re not all the same. Be open to learn from others, regardless of their age, background, experience, or tenure with our church. We make better decisions and grow as people when we consider multiple perspectives. Listen with curiosity to others and consider how to use their ideas.

 
a Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. (Ephesians 4: 3-4)
 
b How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in harmony! (Psalm 133: 4)
 
c Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. (Romans 12: 3-5)
 
Ideas for Action: Seek out someone from a different background, culture or race and meet three or four times to get to know their lives and stories. Pray with them for racial and social healing.

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WAY 6 Chris Palmer

Way #6 FORGIVE… AGAIN

 

Just as God forgives us, heal relationships by extending forgiveness graciously and generously. Forgive everyone everything. Start by praying for those you resent or hate. Ask for every blessing you would want for the one you’re struggling to forgive.

 
a “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6: 13, 14)
 
b Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4: 31)
 
c Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3: 13)
 
Ideas for Action: Work on “dropping” the anger you have. Don’t let it come between you and someone else. Stop bringing up the hurt in public or with friends. Stop nursing the memory of how you’ve been wronged.

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WAY 5 Stuart Spencer

Way #5 Assume Positive Intent

 

ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT. Decide to trust that other members are being fair, honest, and concerned for the well-being of our church. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions. Surrender the urge to criticize and judge—it doesn’t help. Graciously give people the benefit of the doubt.

 
a Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
 
b ”Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.” (Matthew 7:1)
 
c Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7)
 
Ideas for Action: Take a “criticism inventory.” Just how critical are you, really? Ask someone you love and trust to tell you how you’re doing in this area. Try a 24-hour fast from all forms of criticism. No complaining or criticism for an entire day.

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WAY 4 Pam Engle

Way #4 Always Encourage and Celebrate

 
ALWAYS ENCOURAGE AND CELEBRATE. Show gratitude and appreciation by regularly acknowledging the good works you see everywhere.  Look for signs of spiritual growth and maturity among our members and staff. When you see it, point it out and rejoice.  Pass on good reports that you hear about others.
 
a We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.  As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
b When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. (Acts 11: 22, 23)
 
Ideas for Action: Write a text or a note to someone close to you who just did something wonderful or important. With many details, tell them why you’re grateful or delighted by them.

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WAY 3 Leslie Spencer

Way #3 Listen Generously

 
LISTEN GENEROUSLY. Be quick to listen and do so with your undivided attention.a Minimize the distractions and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Suspend your judgment and be curious to know more rather than jumping to conclusions.b,c Above all, listen to understand.
 

a Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1: 19, 20)

b Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. (Proverbs 18: 13)

c Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. (Proverbs 12:
15)

 
Ideas for Action: Put aside phones and laptops. Turn off the TV or computer and face someone you love. Focus on what the other is saying; not on what you want to say. Be careful that you’re not interrupting because you’re not listening to them.

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WAY 2 Kelly LePenske

Way #2:  Speak the Truth with Love

 

SPEAK THE TRUTH WITH LOVE. Speak honestly and directly in a way that clearly reflects love and support for one another. Be courageous enough to say what needs to be said, even when it’s difficult. Address issues directly with those who are involved or affected; speak to, not about, others.

 
a  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Ephesians 4: 29)
 
b  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. (Ephesians 4: 31)
 
c  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Ephesians 4: 15)

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WAY 1 Rev. Stuart Spencer

WAY #1: BE THIRD

 

BE THIRD. God is first, others are second, and you’re third. Don’t just think about your own interests, but be interested in others. Don’t think less of yourself, just think of yourself less and others more.

 
  • Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:4)
  • ”And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14–15)

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“Rejoice Always” Linda Jagiela

WAY #25 REJOICE ALWAYS
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY. The big 55. I now am a senior citizen. Woo hoo! Discounts galore and the ability to move into a 55 and older community. I look forward to celebrating!
 
As I write to you, I think back to February when I visited Kubiri, Uganda, and saw the work of a ministry called Reach One Touch One. The focus of this ministry is caring for senior citizens which I am now officially part of that club. In Uganda, many grandparents are raising their grandchildren during this advanced period of their lives in homes that are primitive with no running water or electricity. Other diseases such as AIDS have taken their children leaving them to be both parent and grandparent. Some have as many as 20 grandchildren in their care. The country does not have government assistance such as social security so these older adults must continue to work to support their families doing whatever they can. The health care available to most is not very good. Poverty is rampant. Schools all require tuition so many children in these situations cannot go to school as their family needs those funds to eat.
 
I met Mary when I visited. She was all smiles as she introduced me to her two grandchildren. She kept touching my hair and telling me how pretty it was. I felt like an honored guest at a party. She was completely gray with deep wrinkles. I learned she was only three years older than me. She was making mats to sell in the market. It took her an entire week to make one and she netted $2 after costs of materials which was all she had to support her family. I bought and brought home Mary’s mat as a memory from my trip. Mary told me how blessed by God she was to have her home and a means to make money and support her family. She made a gift of popcorn kernels to me that she had grown behind her house. I was so touched. She also prayed for me before I left and gave me an incredible hug. Her smile never left. Even with so little, Mary’s life was a celebration.
 
As I sit in my home and complain about not being able to hit my favorite restaurant to celebrate this milestone birthday, I also sit and count my blessings. The things I have had to give up don’t even come close to what this pandemic has done in countries like Uganda. I am still able to work and talk to friends. I have technology which allows me to reach the world just not all parts of Uganda. Since visiting homes and families in Uganda, I pray daily or these families who are followers of Jesus and who struggle. I pray for Reach One Touch One to make a difference in the lives of the senior citizens like me. For my birthday, I am determined to spend this year with an attitude of gratitude for all of the blessings that God has given me and, like Mary, make my life a celebration.
 
Linda Jagiela

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“Tell Your Story” Joyce Peacock

WAY #24  TELL YOUR STORY
I WAS THIRTY-ONE, flat on my back, weak and in such pain, I was unable to lift a finger. What had happened? I had grown up in the church from cradle roll up with virtually perfect attendance, yet even now as a member of FPC living life ‘as best I could,’ I had run myself into the ground and was empty. Crises lay bare our real need. Crying out to God to take over, a peace and desire to “know Him” began to well up within. But how?
 
Thus began a series of connections: I joined a Community Bible Study, led by Arlita Winston. A few months later, a discipling small group became available, and I put myself into that. As I began to learn the “how to’s” of reading Scripture, praying, and learning other spiritual principles and disciplines, I was constantly struck with how much more “life” God desired for me to have! But I also came to realize that if I wasn’t in a small group going forward in my pursuit of God, I would slip back and lose the vibrancy of connecting personally with Him. The discipling taught me how to follow Him; the small groups connected me with other followers encouraging reliance on the Holy Spirit and accountability to keep growing.
 
During this COVID sequestering and the current unrest in our nation, our lives are being shaken. Our way of life is being altered. What have we learned we can live without? What have we learned that has renewed us, which we want to keep? How can we better connect with God and His purposes … that abundant life He promises in the midst of uncertainty all around? How can we grow in being true followers of Christ? How can we deepen our understanding of prayer? I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to connect with other seekers and followers in pursuit of Jesus together! Look for our discipleship and prayer initiatives and connect in a small group — abundant life awaits!
 
“Go, therefore and make disciples … teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you…and I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 “And let us consider how we can spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching!” – Hebrew 10:24-25
 
Elder Joyce Peacock

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