Dear Messiah family,
Hope. There is nothing else like it. Hope is not simply wishful thinking. Hope is the confidence that in spite of everything that may be happening a light shines in the darkness. Our GPS readings this week remind us that there was always hope even when life seemed hopeless. The light that shined would eventually be embodied in the entry of Jesus into this world. And through his life, death, and resurrection, we can see that there is always hope. Finding hope is not easy when the circumstances of life (lack of employment, financial challenges, death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, health concerns) have overwhelmed us. Yesterday, you provided space for the West Suburban Grief Coalition with about 70 people who showed up in search of healing and hope. In my presentation, I told them that healing and hope begin when we allow the light to touch us at the point of our deepest need. And that’s also what we proclaim in this Advent season.
Next Friday evening, December 13, we will open our doors for a Service of Healing & Hope at 7 pm. This can be an especially difficult time of year to be struggling – sad and/or depressed. We want to offer a space to acknowledge that struggle. If that’s where you find yourself in this season, I hope you will come. And if you know someone who is in the struggle, I hope you will invite them to come with you. I give thanks that we are a church in the business of hope.
This Sunday, we will focus on SERENITY, and specifically the “serenity to accept.” Some of you will recognize these words as part of the serenity prayer from 12-step groups. As I looked at the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, it seemed to me that could have been her prayer as well. I will help us seek the serenity that we all need – and not just at this time of the year. We will also give you something that will extend the message of worship into the rest of the Advent season. But even more than the words I will offer, what I look forward to the most in this season is the music. I know you will be blessed by what our worship teams have put together for this Sunday.
Overall, the pledges received for 2020 are about where we were last year at this point. We have heard from 198 households and still hope to hear from at least another 35 to match last year’s total. Thank you so much for all who submitted a Commitment Card. It you haven’t yet, please print a card and then mail it to the church office (Messiah Church, attn: Lee Ching, 17805 County Road 6, Plymouth, MN 55447), place it in Sunday’s offering or email it to Lee Ching at email@example.com. Let’s see what God can do through us in 2020.
Our annual Christmas gift to the community is our Living Nativity on Sunday, December 15. The outdoor nativity and indoor activities begin at 5 pm, and a Christmas pageant, complete with individual candles begins at 6 pm. We are still searching for another 20 persons to serve – look for the signup table on Sunday. And if you are not signed up to service, I hope you will be part of the invitation team – to invite everyone you know. It has been a truly remarkable evening.
This is also the time of the year when many of us look at end of year giving opportunities. No doubt you have been on the receiving end of letters, emails, and even phone calls to support all sorts of charities. This is also the time of year to look at any investments and what the tax ramifications may be. Charitable giving can be one way to reduce taxes as a result of capital gains or to manage the taxes that some face with mandatory distributions. In addition to Messiah’s ongoing operating budget, our Living Ministry Endowment exists as a way of extending ministry beyond your lifetime. You may wish to consult your tax or financial advisor before the end of the year and also contact our church office for assistance.
Yesterday, your Congregational Care Team hosted a Christmas gathering at RidgePointe Senior Living. I met for the first time, people who have been attending our Sunday worship at RidgePointe. I received expressions of gratitude from many who are now able to worship regularly because of your investment in this ministry. I give thanks for all the servants on our Congregational Care Team and Worship Teams who are extending the love of Christ into the world.
I am looking forward to the coming of Christmas. I hope you will find your way to Messiah Church.
In Christ’s love,
Please Pray with Me
Gracious God, we pray for the Holy Spirit to break through and renew Messiah United Methodist Church, unleashing a fearless, Spirit-led congregation! Empower our pastors, leaders, and everyone who walks through our doors with the contagious, miraculous, saving message of Jesus. Boldly use each of us, without limits, to reach new people and heal a broken world. Create in us a joyful heart for all that You are doing in and through us to change lives and transform the world. We pray in the precious and powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
Join Us on Sunday
Traditions Worship: 8:45 am | Journey Worship: 10:30 am
Worship Online: Live stream of our Traditions service at 8:45 am and Journey contemporary worship service at 10:30 am every Sunday morning. Prior Sunday broadcasts are available on demand all week at your convenience.