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Pastor’s Note – May 2016

Pastor John Adel UMC

Bill Plotkin, writes in his book Soulcraft about Harvey Swift Deer, a Native American teacher who says that every human being has both a survival dance and a sacred dance.

The survival dance, which occupies the first half of our lives, is what we do to make a living. When we leave our parents’ home, we need to become self-reliant and support ourselves physically and economically.

The sacred dance is what we are called to do to live well: the work and/or play that nourishes our soul. We expend so much of our time and energy in the survival dance that we never get to the sacred dance.

The sacred dance is not about ego, money, status, power, advancement or being right. It’s about wholeness, passion, fullness of life and kingdom living.

Maybe the same is true of churches, too. There are a number of United Methodist Churches that are hanging on by a thread.

They may have memberships that are diminishing by age or numbers or struggling with finances and so much energy is spent on survival that the reason they are the church is lost. They’ve forgot how to do the sacred dance.

book-soulcraft

Plotkin writes in Soulcraft,

Your sacred dance sparks your greatest fulfillment and extends your truest service to others.

You know you’ve found it when there’s little else you’d rather be doing… To find your sacred dance, after all, you will need to take significant risks.

You might need to move against the grain of your family and friends… Swift Deer says that once you discover your sacred dance and learn effective ways of embodying it, the world will support you in doing just that.”

The sacred dance is our future.

The sacred dance is what the world wants and needs to see in us as well.

See you in church. Bring your dancing shoes.

Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – March 2016

Pastor John Adel UMC

I have been fascinated by the amount of ink the Bible gives to wildernesses and deserts. Hagar, Moses and Elijah go to the wilderness and find God.

Moses was walking in the wilderness when he came upon a bush that was burning but not consumed.

The children of Israel had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the Promised Land.

John the Baptist went into the wilderness to preach, and the crowds followed him there. When Jesus was tempted, he had gone into the wilderness for 40 days. Jesus and the disciples fed the 5,000 in the wilderness. The wilderness is prominent in the Bible.

The wilderness is silence and quiet. It is the elimination of the sounds of television, the radio, the iPod, the cell phone and the flash of the internet. The voices of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends are silenced. It stops the racing tape of your own mind that absorbs your thoughts.

The wilderness is quiet. It is utter stillness. It is for a moment, for a minute, for a month, being still …and listening. God speaks in the wilderness of silence. The city is so noisy; so busy; so crowded. The wilderness is silence and God speaks to us through the silence.

In the wilderness, God invites you to be cleansed of the pollution of resentment, anger, fear, and vengeance. Be washed of whatever is hurting your life and the lives of those around you.

Hear the voice that says, “Your sins are forgiven; go and sin no more.”

Hear the voice that says, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Hear the voice that says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all that is in you, all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength…and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Come on out to the wilderness. Just for a few minutes or for an hour. For a day or a week or a month.

The wilderness is a place of growth and healing. In the quietness of the wilderness you may hear the voice of God.

Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – November 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

We all have our favorite things to do or our most characteristic idiosyncrasies.

Sometimes we are so well know for them, that anyone who knows us would recognize us just as well by our action, trait or mannerism as by our physical features.

For my father it was the way he always tapped his fingers.

He always had a rhythm going on in his head. For mom it was her wry smile when she didn’t want to answer a question. Deb says that she can find me in a store just by listening for me to clear my throat.

The science of forensics can identify a person by just a strand of hair or a tooth on the level of our DNA; the most basic building block of life.

But our actions and our turn of phrase tell others who we are. The words we choose and the posture of our bodies tell others a lot about us. Even when we are trying to hide it, who we are is revealed.

A women who cared for people confined to their homes when they couldn’t afford care facilities, commented to her pastor that she hadn’t been to church in so long, she wondered how God would recognize her if she ever got to heaven. 

The pastor put her hand upon the women’s hands and said, “Just show Him your hands.” Her hands had become for some other person the hands of God — and God would know her by those hands.

How do you think God will know you?

Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – October 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

Do you know how unlikely it was for David to become King of Israel?

First of all, he was the youngest of Jesse’s sons.

When God sent Samuel to call out and anoint one of the sons of Jesse as the new king, Samuel looked at all the older, stronger, better looking brothers.

Father Jesse didn’t even show Samuel his son David.

But it seemed God had chosen David, not by looks or stature. God looked on the heart. We sometimes, yeah, most of the time, look at appearance, or each others profile or pedigree when we try to identify our leaders or even our followers.

God looks on what is going on in our hearts. Are they going in faith and hope? Are they being transformed by the renewing spirit of Christ?

Are they larger in the capacity for compassion and grace toward others?

Do we remember that even leaders, like David, don’t always get it right Leaders and followers still need forgiveness and grace.

If any of that describes you, you just might have leadership qualities.

See you in Church

Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – September 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

Cowboy Church—September 13

Driving in Oklahoma while on our mission trip to the Cherokee Nation, every day we would pass by what looked like an arena or covered pens.

Outside, near the road was a sign that said, Cowboy Church.

Then, while on vacation in Colorado, near Loveland, we saw another sign that read Cowboy Church meets here tonight.

In fact, they were having a special band that evening to do a special musical night. Cowboy churches have a unique beginning and style. They are distinctively Western in character.

A typical cowboy church may meet in a rural setting, in a barn, metal building, arena, sale barn, or old western building; have its own rodeo arena, and a country gospel band. Baptisms are generally done in a stock tank. The sermons are usually short and simple.

Some cowboy churches have covered arenas where rodeo events such as bull riding, team roping, ranch sorting, team penning and equestrian events, like a trail ride, are held on weeknights. 

The earliest of these churches had an absence of the traditions that are believed to have no biblical basis, such as the “altar call” and passing of the collection plate.

Tithes and offerings are simply placed in a boot, hat, or wooden bird house at the rear of the meeting room.

But to be a cowboy church you must have 5 characteristics: 

1. Nondenominational 
2. No offerings collected or solicited 
3. No membership 
4. No dress code 
5. Held in nontraditional settings. 

The earliest model also utilizes a specialized leadership structure that empowers volunteers and teams to execute most of the functions of the church. Wow, that sounds like Church the way it ought to be. 

This year we will again. Imitate Cowboy Church on Sept. 13th.

We invite you to wear your hat, dust off you big buckles and boots and worship differently.

Instead of BBQ, we will have a brunch of egg casserole, biscuits and gravy, fruit cups and drinks and will be served after each of our worship services. Y’all come.

Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – June 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

Have you heard about the Question Box?

It is a little boxy device that is supposed to provide simple yes or no answers to tough questions.

You dangle a special pendant over the box, ask your question and then wait for the pendant to drift to the yes side of the box or to the no side of the box.

It is marketed as a “unique, selfdiscovery tool.”

The Question Box is also supposed to help you develop your intuition, inner peace and creative powers in addition to providing answers to your life’s most important questions.

This amazing Question Box can perform these feats because it utilizes the “amazing, powerful properties of crystals and polished gemstones to bestow prosperity, spirituality, health, success, love, luck, balance, purity and inner peace upon you.”

I am guessing that it would also save you time. Just think; you won’t have to wrestle in bed with any of those tough decisions that you sleep on.

You won’t have to spend time secondguessing yourself. You won’t even have to spend money consulting the experts or reading about anything anymore. Just ask the box.

Yeah, right! It is just one more wrong place where we are invited to find the answers.

We, who are earnestly striving to live Godly lives, do so with all kinds of uncertainty. When we are honest, we admit that we fall terribly short of high expectations that we set and that God has.

Take heart! We are not left alone. We may not have been given a Question Box that makes doing the right thing easy, but we have been given encouragement to take direction from God’s people and the writings that have guided them through terrible times as well as through the daytoday routines.

The Bible is not a Question Box with magical crystals. It is a more like a daily email from a parent to a college student, reminding us of who we are and what’s important.

Be grateful that God has chosen to address us in simple stories and other ways to coax us into truthful living that elevates us to happiness and show us where true answers can be found. 

Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – May 2015

Pastor-John-sm

Some pastor, somewhere long ago, told of two different models of the church. One model of the church is that of a commissary, or store. In this store church, we distribute “graces” from the stocked shelves to people who need them and come to church with the “proper currency.”

The only responsibility people have to the church is to come up with the proper coin so that they can get the grace they really need. The goods, services and benefits are available from the church for a price and they drop in for what they need.

The other model of the church is a “walking caravan,” a group of people banded together in the common cause of seeking a common destination. In Exodus terminology, it is as if they are following a “cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.”

This model of the church is on a journey together and realizes its dependence on each other and the variety of talents, gifts and insights. A caravan doesn’t set up permanent shop and wait for people to come and purchase. A caravan takes its goods and graces to where people are.

At its best, a caravan identifies where the human need is and brings what is most needed and valued. In other words, it follows wherever God and human need is.

Which type or model of church would you most like to be a part of and what does that say about you?

– Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – April 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

You all will probably be getting this newsletter during the week of Easter.

Spring break is over; for some it is a chance to renew and refresh.

We have welcomed the sunshine after a crazy winter.

We wonder about the stock market and if gas prices and the promise of tax refund checks will offset each other, so some of us are just waiting to see what’s going to happen next before we start any new, risky ventures.

A new presidential campaign is just beginning and I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to it. One thing we know for sure is, there is a change coming. Soon, nothing will be the same.

That’s the way it was on and after the first Easter. On that resurrection morning there was both despair and hope.

The old and familiar was gone yet there was this sense that some-thing even better was on its way.

If I had been there, I would have wanted to know what the change was going to mean and what it was going to look like and I would want to have a hand in shaping what it was going to be.

I am, basically, Thomas. Thomas can’t believe what has happened, unless he sees and handles. The relationship between seeing and believing is so strong.

Chris Rice has written a song with the lyric, “Sometimes finding You (God), is like trying to, smell the color nine.”

Nine is not a color, and even if it was, you can’t smell a color. Christ is made real to the world through the lives of Easter people.

For many, seeing how Christians live is the only test of the genuineness of the claims of Easter.

May this genuine Easter life get deep down inside of you and shine out gloriously.

– Pastor John

Pastor’s Note – March 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

During Lent, many of us are reminded once again to examine our lifestyle and ask, “What can we do for others?”

Lent is a good time to commit to giving money to a project.

One way to involve the whole family is to collect coins during the season of Lent, then donate what has been collected.

Our mission team is going to Oklahoma to work in an Indian Reservation in June.

So, if you have coins in a sock or cup on you dresser, why not bring them and put them in the wooden church in the Narthex.

You may decide to do this as a family or as part of your small group. This will help us buy supplies and material needed as were present Christ and our congregation to folks in Oklahoma.

In the age of technology, the traditional Lenten emphasis on cultivating a rich, spiritual life and serving others even as we deny ourselves can seem like a relic of a bygone time.

But it might just make a world of difference to someone else and to you.

– Pastor John

Pastor’s Notes – February 2015

Pastor John Adel UMC

The Lenten season may not be the longest season in the church year but it is one of the most important seasons of the year.

It is a time for spiritual preparation through repentance and growth in faith for Easter.

It is the time of the church year when the passion and death of the Savior come into focus.

It begins with repentance and reflection on Ash Wednesday, and ends in the depth of sorrow and tragedy on Good Friday.

The name of the season means “the lengthening of the days” as spring appears. Ash Wednesday – February 18.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.

Our Ash Wednesday Worship service will be on that Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. It will include the Imposition of Ashes on forehead or hand.

The Wednesday Night Meal will be abbreviated, and some groups may meet for a short while and be invited in to the service.

Lenten Study: FEARLESS

Groups are forming for a Lenten study by Max Lucado, entitled Fearless. You probably know someone or are someone who lives in the shadow of fears.

Can you imagine how different life would be if we all could trust more and fear less?

All during Lent, we will be using Lucado’s book as a guide for our study – not of fear, but as a help in the midst of our fears; so that we may fear less.

We will have groups that will meet at the church and invite you to think about joining or hosting a home study.

Each week there will be a video with a study guide for the small group. The themes for the weekly study will also be the themes of the morning worship.

– Pastor John