Monday, February 16, 2015

Creatures of Habit

I understand that people are creatures of habit.  The Sunday when we got a heavy snowfall and it was so cold outside we went ahead and had morning worship.  There were 31 brave souls who ventured out and came to church.  I noticed that each individual sat in their traditional spot even though there was plenty of room closer to the front. 

On any given Sunday during coffee fellowship people sit at the same table with the same friends for the most part.  I am sure they would welcome anyone who would sit with them but they are not likely to move to a table and sit with someone else.

When you think you have heard it all you learn something new.  Today I heard that in the men's restroom they favor the stall to the left.  For the past two weeks all the men use the same toilet.  You might wonder how I know this.  The custodian shared that he has not had to put the blue cleaning solution in the other toilet because it has not been used or flushed away.  Now this is not a big deal except the one the men is using is the one that leaks.  We have not been able to get that toilet fixed, so if you stop to think about it, try using the stall on the right.  Who knows, maybe you will like it.

And don't be afraid to mix things up in the sanctuary or dining hall for it is a great way to get to know other people in the church.  Have a great day.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Jan and I 
want to wish 
you and yours 
a very 
Merry Christmas 
and a 
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Day of Visioning

A Day of Visioning

Once the Healthy Church Initiative report was approved at the Charge Conference on November 24 our mission statement was adopted, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”   We have been in a season of prayer throughout  Advent in preparation for a day of visioning that will take place on Sunday, January 11, 2015.  The purpose of this day is to begin to define, clarify and express how Newton First UMC will uniquely live out the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Our coach, Reverend Karen Nelson will be sharing in the worship service and leading us in the Day of Visioning Workshop that will follow.  Mark your calendar now and plan to spend the day listening, sharing and focusing on how we will live out our mission at First UMC.  Everyone in the church is invited to attend. 

The day will begin with worship at 8:45 AM, Reverend Dr. Karen Nelson will be preaching and assisting me in worship.  Sunday School will be at its normal time from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and we will also lead worship at Park Centre from 10:15 AM to 11:00 AM.  At 11:15 AM we will meet in the dining hall for a potluck brunch.  Everyone is invited to bring a dish to share and their own table service; beverage will be provided.  At 12:15 PM in the afternoon we will begin the visioning process and adjourn by 2:00 PM.  Once again, everyone is invited to join in this special day.

In consultation with our coach, I will select a team of 3 to 5 people who participated in this Day of Visioning to draft a vision statement for Newton First UMC. This will be completed by and presented to the Administrative Council by their March 2015 meeting for adoption and celebration of the team’s work.

The next step will be to form a team, in consultation with our coach, to develop a plan to educate and inspire the congregation around the vision.  This will be fully implemented by fall 2015.  We have a lot of work ahead of us as we move forward in the Healthy Church Initiative prescriptions and living out the mission of Newton First United Methodist Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Join with me in praying for God’s will to be done as we move forward into a new year and a new mission and vision for the church.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent Prayer Calendar

Where there is no vision the people perish! Proverbs 29:18 KJV

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayers for…



Our Bishop and pastors of the Iowa United Methodist conference.
 The pastor and people of First UMC, Newton, for the gift of vision.
 People who are lonely during this time of the year.
Schools & teachers facing difficult issues as they teach our children and youth.
Grateful hearts for all that the Lord has given us and God’s provisions every day.
Your direction as we work to show your love, peace, and justice for all people.



Those who work in emergencies services in our community.
That our youth will see Christ in the lives of those around them.
That our church will learn what it takes to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
The poor – emotionally and physically and for all who are ministering to them.
A firm trust in your goodness, and that all will work for peace throughout the land.
Those who teach and lead that they will have a heart for you and your word.



Grateful hearts as we grow in our love for one another.
Salvation Army Bell Ringers and generous gifts in support of their mission.

Single parents and all the challenges they face.
Those having a blue Christmas due to the death of loved ones.
Men & Women serving in the military and cannot be with family.
The Day of Visioning taking place January 11 in our Church.



A spirit of thanksgiving for all God has done for us in 2014.
For Christmas Eve Services throughout our Churches.

Families & individuals who are alone this Christmas.
A Merry Christmas and that we will not forget – Jesus is the reason for the season.
Safe travel for all returning home or leaving
on Christmas Vacation.
A blessed New Year and HCI in 2015!