Next Wednesday, February 18 @ 6:15 is our service
of healing and imposition of ashes to kick off the Season of Lent.
Last Friday Pastor Matthew Phipps took me to see the Pacers play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Matthew is a major fan of the Cleveland Browns and Cavs. We have now been to three Pacer games against Cleveland together and so far the result has been the same, a Cleveland lead followed by a Pacer comeback and victory. We both thought it would be different this time, since Cleveland now has Lebron James and the Pacers are struggling without Paul George. But amazingly the Pacers put together probably their best game of the year, had a terrific fourth quarter and pulled out the win again. I told Matthew next time I’m buying the tickets.
Nancy and I went to Chicago Sunday evening to get her visa for her upcoming trip to China. Her visa was only good for a year so she had to get another for this trip. We spent Monday seeing the city with a trolley tour and discovered the Chicago River is the only river in the US that flows backwards, a human creation designed in 1899 to clean the polluted Chicago water supply by flooding it with water from Lake Michigan. In 1999 it was named the Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium. The second tallest building in Chicago is now the 98-story Trump Tower, built by Donald Trump. Just this year twenty foot tall T-R-U-M-P letters were added to the building much to the disdain of Chicago residents who take great pride in their architecture.
Yesterday I spent another day volunteering in Janae’s classroom at Cowan Elementary. I was impressed once again by Janae’s creativity in the classroom. She has really gained the respect and love of her students. Her supervising teacher told Janae that she has never given so much responsibility so quickly to a student teacher before. She will begin applying for jobs in the next couple of weeks.
I am on vacation this week so I don’t have a whole lot to report on at church but, do keep the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and Interview team in your prayers as we are in the midst of interviews for the Family Worship Music Director. This Sunday we have a lot going on. We will be commissioning our Reynosa Mission Team, which departs next week for Mexico. Two trailers of donations will be going down with the team. And in between services Ray Schearer will conduct a 30-minute historical tour of the church. Meet at the Welcome Center at 10:35 if interested.
Next Saturday, February 21, we will take a team up to St. Joseph UMC in Fort Wayne for a Missional Movement event sponsored by our Conference Church Development Team. We will leave Old Bethel UMC at 8:00 am and return by 5:00 pm. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend. We will carpool together.
I am taking the southern tour again this weekend, heading first to Evansville to see Kelsey, Matt and Coen, then to Nashville to spend Valentine’s Day with Saisha and Kaleb; then back up through New Albany to see my son Devin and Nancy’s Arisa, Nathan, Ava and Dain. Pastor Matthew will be bringing this Sunday’s message, Where Is Your Witness?, based on the second half of Acts. In preparation, read the 26th chapter of Acts. And I hope we will see you next Wednesday, February 18, as we kick off the spiritual season of Lent with a service of healing and ashes at 6:15 pm.
I would like to offer you the opportunity of joining me in the spiritual practice of fasting during the six weeks of Lent. Our Bishop Michael Coyner has issued the challenge to all pastors in our Conference and I think it is one that would complement well the spiritual journey so many are taking with the Disciple Fast Track effort. The invitation is to begin a fast after Thursday dinner and resume eating late afternoon on Friday. So it is just a two-meal fast but one long enough to feel the pains of hunger as a reminder to find our strength in God. We would begin our journey next Thursday evening, February 19. Email me if you have any questions. And, of course, seek the advice of your doctor if it might impact your health.
Blessings this Sunday,