The Columns – February 2016

StephenMinistry

2016_February_columns7Hello, my name is Mary Oppenheimer and I am going to tell you my Stephen Ministry story. In 2003, I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. I was cared for by Dr. Mills and his Fellows from Feist-Weiller (our own 1st Methodist member Dr. Hargon was one of his Fellows on the staff). I had surgery and started Chemotherapy in June of 2003. I became a very, very ill patient and Dr. Mills stated that I could not handle the full dosage of my Chemo. He reduced the dosage by a third and I was still very ill. I was confined to bed for 1.5 years and I have never known fatigue as I did then during that time. I would get my chemo treatment on a Tuesday and by Friday, I was dehydrated and needed an infusion of potassium and liquids. Dr. Mills assured me that the chemo was eradicating my cancer. He was right-I have been in remission for eleven years and I thank God every day for sparing my life. I also thank Stan, Lauri and Eric for their dedicated support during my illness. I thank the First Methodist’s Prayer Ministry, the pastors, the staff, the choir and the congregation.

Then in 2008, Lauri and Eric became the proud parents of twins, Mary Hadley and Graham Pearson. They were premature and spent 2 months in NICU along with their parents and grandparents. It was not the normal routine of having babies as they were preemies, but God performed another healing miracle as they are both healthy. The pastors of First Methodist made daily visits and through Louise Eason we were placed on the Prayer Ministry list. Our family thanks all of the pastors, the staff, the choir, the congregation and the Prayer Ministry. I thank God every evening for these blessings that He has bestowed upon our family.

Then in 2009, Linda Ferguson and Carl Rhoads approached me and asked me if I would be interested in becoming a Stephen Minister. It took me a quick minute to reply “Yes”. Stephen Ministry has become a path for me to serve God and to take care of receivers who need care giving. I am a Stephen Leader. Stephen Minister and provide the monthly article for The Columns. I have grown in my spiritual life and if any man or woman feels a void or a calling from God in their life, please become a member of our Stephen Ministry. You will be very blessed in your journey as a Stephen Minister and we welcome your interest in our ministry.

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The Columns – February 2016

ServeGlobal1
ServeGlobal_Patterson

My daughter Ellen wanted to go on a medical mission trip to Quito, Ecuador with our Church. My main purpose in going was because Ellen needed a parent to go with her.

“What am I going to do?” This was the thought that kept running through my mind. As a psychiatrist, the MD behind my name wasn’t really going to help me in a country where there is limited follow-up care required for mental health needs. If I treat someone for anxiety or depression, the standard of care is to do so for at least a year. And we were there for one week! I wasn’t too worried about it because I asked God to lead, and I just followed. This always works!

I wasn’t sure what problems I would find, but I knew that the World Health Organization states that depression is one of the major causes of disability in the world, and has found that there is a huge gap in many underdeveloped countries between what mental disorders are present and what resources are available. This is definitely true for Ecuador.

What I found was that people there had the same problems that we have here. The impact of the changes in our society over the past 75 years have impacted their society, as well. There is anxiety, depression, abuse, and broken families, just like we have here. There is a deep need for Jesus there, just like there is here.

I was blessed to have a young lady named Marlena as a translator. She is also a psychotherapist in Quito as well as being a Christian that works with Compassion International and SIFAT. This was awesome because speaking to people, educating them, providing therapies other than medication, this was something that we could do.

Just ask anyone who went on that trip…there were so many “God thing” moments that I lost count. But I recall one of them distinctly. It was Kay, asking a question in one of our end-of-the-day get-togethers. She asked if we prayed with our patients. And that’s where God comes in, because after that, Marlena and I prayed with quite a few patients. What was amazing was that Marlena had the Prayer of Salvation memorized in Spanish.

Marlena and I spoke to many people over the week that we were there. We prayed with five people who accepted Christ as their savior. Watching this…watching the change that took place in the eyes of these people, and helping them to carry out that change in their lives…that’s what I was sent to do.

I’d never gone to Ecuador before, I’d never prayed for someone’s salvation before, and I’d never asked someone if they had accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior before. I have now, and I will never be the same.

ASHLEY GOAD • Director of Global Missions • agoad@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.org/globalfacebook.com/fumcglobal • @GlobalFUMCInstagram – GlobalFUMCvimeo.com/firstshreveport

UPCOMING GLOBAL MISSIONS & EVENTS
Russian Mission Trip • February 13 – 23, 2016
Costa Rica Family Mission Trip • March 26 – April 2, 2016
Local & Global Missions Extravaganza • April 22, 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • May 27 – June 3, 2016 (REGISTER NOW!)
Russian Mission Trip • June 2016
Costa Rica Youth Mission Trip • July 9-16, 2016
Romania Partnership Development Trip • September 2016
Haiti Mission Trip • October 2016
Missions Launch Lunch • November 13, 2016
Ecuador Medical Mission Trip • November 19 – 26, 2016
Uganda Mission Trip • December 27, 2016 – January 6, 2017

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
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The Columns – February 2016

Kids
KidsPICS

In the real world of work, school, extracurricular activities, birthday parties, ballgames, travel, etc., etc., parents have a hard time finding one on one time with their kids. So, how are we managing to build a great relationships with our children? We try to find meaningful activities in which to participate and have quality conversations with them (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). We try to be good role models (Matthew 5:16). We try to encourage them (Hebrews 10:24-25).

What better way to do these things than attending church and church related activities together? It’s an opportunity to hear truth and life lessons. It’s an opportunity to worship together. It’s an opportunity to take away what you hear and discuss it at length and put it into your real life.

In kids’ ministry, we have an important job. We are here to support you and help you to pass on to your children the treasure of an ongoing relationship with the King of the Universe. Relationships are the primary reason families, kids and volunteers keep coming back week after week. When the same kids are in the same group each week, those relationships within the group can grow stronger and stronger. When kids are in the same group each week with the same leader, the relationship with that leader grows. Leaders offer a key partnership with parents as they are another voice of Biblical truth in every child’s life. Over time, we have seen that kids and leaders in consistent groups will want to come back week after week because the relationships they are forming are an important part of their lives!

We want to do whatever we can for you and your children to help you build relationships at home, church, and forever with our Savior. We love having you here with us and hope that you will join us for Sunday School, church and all of the other events that we have for your children and families.

STACI ZEAGLER • Elementary (K-4) • szeagler@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstshreveport.org/kidsfacebook.com – 1st Kids

BILLIE TATE • Nursery & Preschool • btate@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstshreveport.org/kidsfacebook.com – 1st Kids

CAROLINE WILKINSON • StepUp (5&6) • cwilkinson@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstshreveport.org/kidsfacebook.com – 1st Kids

UPCOMING CHILDREN’S EVENTS
Pig Roast “Eggs”travaganza • March 13, 2016 • 11:00AM • Rice Family Farm
Palm Sunday Processional • March 20, 2016 • 8:30AM & 11:00AM • Children Process with palms during worship.
Flowering of the Cross • March 27, 2016 • 10:00AM • Children are invited to bring fresh flowers.

Stay Up To Date
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The Columns – February 2016

RecentEvents

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BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR JESUS – PRINCE OF PEACE
What a great way to begin the Advent season – families celebrating the birth of the “Prince of Peace!” The morning began with Christmas songs presented by Derek and Heather Gunter. Following the songs, families rotated according to the color of their wands. The stations included a nativity craft, Christmas games, and the highlight was a visit with Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was portrayed by our own Ms. Anne Wilson. The event ended in the traditional birthday celebration with cupcakes, fruit, cheese, and juice. Lights were dimmed, candles lit, “Silent Night” was sung in unison, and everyone left remembering that we are to let the light of Jesus shine through us each and everyday. Many thanks to the fabulous youth, nursery staff, and adult volunteers who made this an event to remember.

RecentEvents_KDO
KIDS DAY OUT
Nursery, Preschool and Elementary age kids had a fun-filled Christmas-inspired day out at the church on the Saturday before Christmas while Moms and Dads had some time to themselves. We hope that the kids enjoyed it and that their parents enjoyed their day off, too!

RecentEvents_GNO
YOUNG AT HEART GEMS
Even Santa was “busting a move” at the Young at Heart GEMs Christmas Party! Dinner, games, crafts, dance, and cake helped make this a fun evening for everyone on December 18, 2015. Bain Hall was decorated with penquins galore! A couple of new groups of friends were welcomed by lots of staff and volunteers. I might miss someone if I named all the volunteers, but each of them helped make the event a special Christmas party for everyone. Many thanks to Victor Crusan for being an awesome MC and to Shannon Nyswaner for keeping the music playing as our DJ.

RecentEvents_Maintenance
MAINTENANCE STAFF CHRISTMAS PARTY
Congratulations to Phyllis Davis celebrating 10 years and Joseph Collins celebrating 20 years of service with us.

Stay Up To Date
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The Columns – February 2016

Discipleship

Whether you dread Valentine’s Day or love it, this list is for you! February is a great time to remember what true love is: God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:9-11). As we share our love and God’s love by serving others, our own lives are blessed. The love within us grows, bears fruit and transforms us more closely into the image of Christ. So, my friends, let us love by giving and serving so others may live abundantly.

10. Pray for our missionary team in Russia.
9. Write a note of encouragement to a foreign missionary.
8. Anonymously buy a meal for someone dining alone.
7. Give a box of chocolates to a stranger.
6. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.
5. Give valentines to residents of a Nursing Home.
4. Invite over or visit the loneliest person you know.
3. Forgive someone who was mean to you and send them flowers.
2. Commit to mentor a child at the Travis Street Lighthouse.
1. Adopt a grandparent to spend time with, listen to, and care about.

FEBRUARY GROW OPPORTUNITIES
Memorize
Mark 10:45 – “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Read
Mark – Commit to join your church family in reading through the Gospel of Mark this month. This can be done in solitude, with your family, with a reading partner or with a small group. Set aside time on a regular basis to read and reflect on God’s Word this month.

Study
A Place at the Table by Chris Seay on RightNow Media
In a culture built on consumption it is easy to forget the poor that Jesus cared so much about. Chris Seay invites readers on a journey of self-examination, discipline, and renewed focus on Jesus that will change their lives forever. The six-session series, shot in such locations as the Holy Land, Haiti, and Ecuador, will help small groups go on a passionate journey of radical faith, personal action, solidarity with the poor, and extravagant grace. If you do not have a RightNow Media account please email Stephanie Clark for an invitation (sclark@fumcshreveport.org).

Act
• Take the Discipleship Survey at members.firstdiscipleship.org. Take 10 minutes to reflect on your understanding of faith and pray about steps you will take to grow this month in wisdom. (Your answers are confidential and for your reflection only.)
• Serve as a tutor and mentor for a youth or child at the Travis Street Lighthouse. Contact Michelle Osborn at mosborn@fumcshreveport.org.

Lead
• Pray for the Russian mission trip (Feb. 13-23)

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The Columns – February 2016

CoverStory
THE MOST IMPORTANT BUILDING BLOCK OF HUMAN SOCIETY
Do you remember the game where you interlace your fingers together and say, “here is the church, here is the steeple, open the church and there are the people” and you wiggle your fingers around to show them moving, as if your fingers represent their aliveness? As a child I loved playing that game. It reminded me that I always belonged to the church because my little fingers were among the people.

Recently after the 8:30am worship service, I saw a man and his family standing outside the church operating a remote controlled device. Out of curiosity, I walked over to them, introduced myself and asked what they were looking at in the sky. He was there using a drone to fly over the church taking video footage of our campus from a bird’s eye view. This footage will be used for publicity and marketing purposes and I promise you all looked fabulous that day! It was bitterly cold that morning so I invited them to follow me over to Coffee Corner for warm cocoa, coffee and some snacks, did I mention they had children with them? I shared this story with our 5th and 6th grade Sunday school that morning and of course they were thrilled our church was using high grade technology however, one student said, “You took them to Coffee Corner, it sounds like this is your home and you invited them in.” I said, “Yes, that’s exactly what I did because it is…and it’s your home too.”

The physical family is the most important building block to human society; it should be nurtured, protected and loved. When God created humans, he designed us to live in families; family relationships therefore are important to God and that includes the church, the universal body of believers. These scriptures validate the belonging to God’s family.

– Romans 9:4 –
They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises.(NLT)
– Ephesians 1:5 –
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)
– Ephesians 2:19 –
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (NLT)

So what does it mean to be the family of God? I believe God created families where we learn to love up close, celebrate life around the meal table, pray through difficulties discovering that we are all children of God. I believe God sent Jesus so we could see the heights and depths of love, know that we have a second chance and discover that in loving service the world can become a better place. I believe God delights in our laughter, rejoices in our kindness and celebrates our faithfulness to Him and one another. Family isn’t an important thing…it’s EVERYTHING!

Together… we make a family here at First United Methodist.

Are you a member of God’s family? Would you like to know more about being a member of this faith family? Contact Rev. Caroline Wilkinson, Associate Pastor, Membership Development, she will guide you through the membership process.

Rev. Caroline Wilkinson • Associate Pastor • cwilkinson@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstshreveport.orgfacebook.com/fumcshreveport

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• RSVP for a Starting Point Luncheon April 3, June 5, or September 18
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The Columns – February 2016

PatsPerspectiveWHAT PASSIONATE JOURNEY DO YOU DESIRE?

The power of a truly inspired life is impossible to calculate. Practically every person can name one person who influenced and impacted his or her life in a powerful way. Someone who was passionate about achieving a particular goal or cause has made every major accomplishment in history. Each of these persons possessed a burning desire.

What is your burning desire? What do you really want out of life? Just wanting things and dreaming about them is not enough. There is a world of difference between wishing and having a burning desire. You can have what you want in life provided that you desire it strongly enough and are willing to seek it with all your heart.

When you get a burning desire to do something or to be something, you begin to discover one of life’s greatest adventures. One of the things that you will discover is that you will enjoy the journey as much as reaching the summit of your goals. When you have a burning desire, you will be inspired to go the extra mile.

A burning desire, a magnificent obsession will enable you to persevere and not give up. When you burn your bridges behind you and have absolutely no way to retreat, God will go before you, as he did the children of Israel, and make a way when there seems to be absolutely no way. Nothing is impossible if you develop a burning desire in order to realize your dream. Throw yourself totally into whatever you do. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from doing what God has called you to do or be. That God-given burning desire will get you where you want to go in life.

A burning desire will compensate for little or limited talent. Ask yourself, “How badly do I really want it?” A burning desire is the ingredient that makes the difference between an average performer and a true winner or champion in life. A burning desire is often called heart of passion. One person with a burning desire is greater than a hundred who only have a casual interest in something. Research has shown that aptitude and ability are not necessarily the prime ingredients of outstanding achievement. The one quality that all successful persons have in common is passion. It is their drive, determination and the desire that distinguished them from the crowd.

When you get to the end of your life and look back over it you truly will affirm the climb meant every bit as much as reaching the summit. Life can either be very dull and boring or it can be a passionate journey that is full of inspiration and truly makes an impact on our world. It is my simple prayer that God will raise up inspired men and women who can transform our world by transforming our community.

See you Sunday in church!

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The Columns – January

LocalMissionsHeader

Community Ministry Partner funding is provided for projects and missions that complement the mission and vision of First UMC. Your Local Missions Team identifies organizations and projects that reflect our goals of caring for people in a transformational way, especially those affected by poverty and those confronting crisis in their lives. We partner with organizations in our local area that need volunteers as well as financial assistance.
After much discussion, vetting, and review, First UMC is overjoyed to fund SIXTEEN partnerships in 2016 with grants totaling $112,900 – a 12.9% increase from last year’s program. These grants are in addition to agencies and services funded through our operating budget. Our church is abundantly blessed with physical, relational, and financial resources, and what a joy it is to share those gifts with local groups simply trying to serve God’s people by improving their lives!

RECIPIENTS INCLUDE:
Samaritan Counseling Center
Providing subsidized counseling for low-income individuals and those who fall in the gap. Our partnership goes toward their client care fund.

Food Bank of NWLA
Center of food distribution for deserving individuals and programs. Our partnership will purchase 200,000 pounds of fresh food which will serve 75,000 people.

CRI Allendale Friendship House
Serving the children and families of the Allendale community. Our partnership helps with afterschool programming for these at-risk students.

Martin Luther King Health Center
Offers free physician care, medication, and health education. Our partnership funds much of their testing and supplies for wellness care.

NWLA Interfaith Pharmacy
Provides ongoing, free medication to underinsured residents, with a focus on chronic disease. Our partnership will help them purchase much-needed software to run their program.

Gingerbread House
Provides investigation and support for children going through physical and sexual abuse cases. Our partnership helps fund interviews, investigations, and counseling.

The Hub
Outreach to homeless and poverty level individuals, serving around 500 a month. Our partnership helps funds their Springboard Housing program, which provides transitional housing to the homeless.

Hope Connections
Guides and fosters a comprehensive, coordinated homeless services system. Our partnership allows them to provide much needed ID’s and birth certificates as well as funding bus passes for those trying to get back to their families.

Renesting Project
Gathers household donations to help fully furnish and outfit homes of those moving out of homelessness. Our partnership helps them with warehouse and moving expenses.

Christian Service
Provides two meals a day, 364 days a year. Our partnership helps purchase food for around 75,000 meals per year.

Holy Angels
Cares for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our partnership will help fund their Angel University, which trains their direct care workers.

VOA Travis Street Lighthouse
Provides high-risk students after-school care and tools to improve their lives. Our partnership will purchase iPads and accessories for students to use in tutoring services.

Common Ground
Works to build relationships and serve the people of the Cedar Grove Community. Our partnership will provide funding for their wildly successful basketball program and their afterschool programs.

Highland Center Ministries
Provides community services for the working poor of the Highland Community. Our partnership will provide new uniforms for school children and diapers and other needs for babies.

Providence House
Offers a temporary home for the homeless through their residential development center. Our partnership will help fund their Child Development Center, which provides daycare so resident parents can work while also providing growth for the children they serve.

Fuller Grocery
Provides the residents of Allendale and Lakeside with a source of fresh, healthy food, as well as job training and opportunities for those working at the store. Our partnership will help them purchase fresh fruit.

MICHELLE OSBORN • Director of Local Missions • mosborn@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.orgfacebook.com/fumclocal

Serving Opportunities & Upcoming Events
Goodwill Clothing Drive – Volunteer to man the drop-off location on the first Sunday of each month, only 9:30-10AM, or to bag and deliver clothes to Goodwill. Earned vouchers will be used to purchase coats each year. And please drop your clothes donations with us on those first Sundays! Look for the signs near the Motor Garage.

VOA Travis Street Lighthouse – Assist Staci Zeagler each Wednesday, 4:30-5:30, with her Wacky Wednesday program, or volunteer to tutor or mentor any time that works for you!

Common Ground – Participate in the Cedar Grove community dinner, served every Thursday evening through cooking, greeting, or working the clothes closet and pantry.

Fuller Center for Housing – We need volunteers to help finish the three homes sponsored by First UMC in this year’s Legacy Build.

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
• View/Print this month’s connect, grow, serve & lead opportunity descriptions.
• Check out our online events calendar.

The Columns – January

GlobalMissionsHeader2

In 2010, First United Methodist Church committed to a covenant relationship with Darivager Orphanage. Currently there are 61 children under Pastor Mongerard and Neemy’s care, and the monthly support FUMC provides goes toward the purchase of food, maintaining the sleeping quarters, and educational expenses. FUMC sends additional $1000.00 per month to Dr. Osselin Junior, who oversees the medical care for not only the children at Darivager, but five other orphanages in Les Cayes. (Yes, the $1000.00 is Dr. Junior’s entire salary.)

In the spirit of transformational mission, our Global Mission ministry leaders met with Pastor Mongerard to review his five-year vision for raising the living standards for the children at Darivager Orphanage:

1. Rebuild the church located beside Darivager
a. This includes the building for the secondary school, which is six classes of children
b. Solar-power the church and school

2. Build a 3-classroom building to house K-3 students
DONE!

3. Build new latrines and showers (May 2016)

4. Project for the yard
a. Mango trees & flowers planted
b. Paved area for parking, with basketball goals at either end
c. Dedicated soccer field

5. Buy additional land for agriculture
a. The land now includes approximately 2 acres of corn, eggplant and other various vegetables.
b. One older man farms the land, & he is teaching the children to cultivate the crops.
c. A dedicated pin area for goats & pigs

6. Build a guest house for teams
a. Include shower and toilets
b. Pastor said he wanted our team, and others, to call this their second home.

7. Computer lab for the children
a. This could be a room in the new school…
b. Include 10-12 laptop computers.
c. Could be powered by solar panels; need to complete energy assessment

8. Purchase a truck
DONE!

9. Drill a new well and rewire existing solar power system to the
orphanage
(Jan/Feb 2016)

As you can see, we have been able to mark several things off our list, and we continue to prayerfully consider how God will use our resources to make Darivager self-sustaining. We thank God every day for Pastor Mongerard’s leadership and vision, and Neemy’s passion for community health. Together, they are transforming Haiti for our children.

ASHLEY GOAD • agoad@fumcshreveport.orgwww.firstserves.orgfacebook.com/fumcglobal@GlobalFUMCvimeo.com/firstshreveportGlobalFUMC on Instagram

Register Now for Costa Rica!

  • Who: Ages 10+; All Students under 18 must be accompanied by a parent
  • When: SPRING BREAK – March 26 – April 2, 2016
  • Where: San Isidro, Costa Rica
  • What: Construction
  • How much: $1200.00 ($200.00 due upon registration; $500.00 due by February 1; $500.00 due March 1.

2016 Global Missions & Events

  • RUSSIAN MISSION TRIP – February 13-23
  • COSTA RICA FAMILY MISSION TRIP – March 26 – April 2
  • LOCAL & GLOBAL MISSIONS EXTRAVAGANZA – Friday, April 22
  • HAITI MISSION TRIP – May 27 – June 3
  • RUSSIAN MISSION TRIP – June
  • COSTA RICA YOUTH MISSION TRIP – July 9-16
  • ROMANIA PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TRIP – September
  • HAITI MISSION TRIP – October
  • MISSIONS LAUNCH LUNCH – Sunday, November 13
  • ECUADOR MEDICAL MISSION TRIP – November 19-26
  • UGANDA MISSION TRIP – December 27-January 6

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

• View/Print this month’s events calendar.
• View/Print this month’s connect, grow, serve & lead opportunity descriptions.
• Check out our online events calendar.

The Columns – January

MensMinistryHeader

So, how did you do on last year’s resolutions? Were you really committed for the first three days then gave up when your favorite dessert
was passed? Did you go to the gym a few times only to realize that you don’t like working out in a mass of sweaty bodies? Here are
some deeper more transformative resolutions you may take up in this new year. Drum roll, please…

TEN: Learn to Dance
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal 5:26)
The early church fathers spoke of the inner life of the triune God as the divine dance of pouring themselves into one another. We are also called into that divine dance. This requires that we allow God to take the lead in our lives and be sensitive to the way He wants to move us to build up our families, encourage our colleagues, and strengthen our community.

NINE: Get a Grip on Your Life
“Add to your knowledge self-control” (2 Peter 1:6)
‘Time management’ is really selfmanagement. This year cultivate your power of choice to shape your future. Manage your time according to life-giving priorities. Make time for morning devotions. Make time for weekly date nights. Make time for family meals and games. Cultivating important relationships is a matter of ‘self-control’ so that the fullness of life doesn’t just dribble away.

EIGHT: Be Easy on People
“Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Phil 4:5)
One of my Philosophy professors at Wheaton once counseled me, ‘Remember that people are fragile.’ People have enough difficulties in life without us piling more on through insensitive or unforgiving words and attitudes. Just as we hope people will extend grace and understanding to us, so we should extend the same to others.

SEVEN: Be Faithful in the Small Things
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (I Cor 4:2)
I remember my dad telling me when I was heading off to Scouts, ‘Jon, you are laying a good foundation.’ Everything we do opens or closes opportunities in the future. Every step of our careers and family life is about faithfulness. There is nothing in our lives too little to not do well. As we are faithful with little things, we will be trusted with greater things.

SIX: Prize Goodness
“Hate what is evil – cling to what is good” (Rom 12:9)
Our culture does just the opposite. It makes evil desirable and fascinating, while it makes good seem naïve and stupid. This year, get off the fence. When something is wrong, speak up. The way you verbally interpret what is going on in the world will help your children and grandchildren internalize a Christian understanding. If we are quiet, the world will be the dominate voice they listen to day in and day out.

FIVE: Be Kind
“Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (I Thess 5:15)
Kindness is underrated these days, but how it smooths the way for peaceful relationships! Remember what your mama told you every time you left the house, ‘Be sweet!’ Show proper concern. Offer your help. Be generous with your time. Be Kind.

FOUR: Don’t Blow your Stack
“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Prov 16:32)
Being patient is like counting to 10 before you speak. It gives you time to make sure your filter is in place so you don’t say anything that you might regret, or that may make matters worse. Patience enables you to stand your ground while giving a fair hearing to the other person. Patience disarms an aggressor and keeps a situation from escalating.

THREE: Pursue Peace
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge.” (Rom 12:17-19)
Peace doesn’t just happen. It can be hard work. But it is always cheaper to work on a broken relationship sooner rather than later.

TWO: Be Joyful
“Shout with joy to God, all the earth!” (Psalm 66:1)
Count your blessings instead of disappointments and joy will come. Express gratitude over grumbling in a 3:1 ratio. 3:1 is the magic ratio that transforms the atmosphere from getting by to going forward with joy. When you choose joy, you will draw others into that joyful spirit.

ONE: Love
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (I John 4:11)
This love is not the passionate erotic love that our culture is obsessed with. It is the agape love of God that our culture so desperately needs. Agape love means to be committed to another person’s good, wholeness, without expecting anything in return. Who can you help without any anticipation of return? Is there a neighborhood boy who needs a father figure? A student who needs tutoring? Poor who need feeding through your service at the Salvation Army or Rescue Mission?

There are so many resolutions we could make this year. Why not try a couple of these. The key is to be intentional. Think about what your resolution will actually look like, then do it! Who knows how God will use these to transform your life, your family, and your work!

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday Business Lunch • Every Wednesday • Hunter 101 • Cost $7
  • Marriage Matters Seminar • February 20 • Led by Ross Githens MS,L. Please contact Tammy Hogg for more information
  • Pig Roast Eggstravaganza • March 13 • Rice Family Farm

Men’s Bible/Book Studies
Drop-ins are always welcome!

  • Tuesdays • Noon • Courtyard Kitchen • Cost $7 • Led by Geoff Westmoreland Contemporary topics of work, manhood, and community looked at through a Biblical lens.
  • Wednesdays • 6:45AM • Courtyard Kitchen • This Men’s Study is starting the study of Surprised by Scripture by N. T. Wright. Call Jonathan Beck at 424-7771 to let him know your interest.
  • Thursdays • Noon • Courtyard Kitchen • Bible Study is presently focusing on The Pastoral Letters: I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus by N. T. Wright. Call Jonathan Beck at 424-7771 to get a book.
  • Fridays • Noon • Progressive Bank on Fern Ave. • Led by Chris Rea – Bible Study is presently focusing on Acts. Call church office for more information at 424-7771.

Dr. Jonathan Beck • Executive Pastor • jbeck@fumcshreveport.orgfirstshreveport.org/mens-ministry@jonathanbeck • 318.424.7771

Stay Up To Date
on opportunities to connect, grow, serve & lead.

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