First United Methodist
Church of Gilford

We are a church of Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors

January 2014

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! My prayer for you is that you will experience all of God’s richest blessings in this coming year.

One of the things that many of us like to do at the turning of the year is to make resolutions. We resolve to make a new start in the New Year, whether it be a habit we have tried to quit in the past and failed, or some new endeavor or habit we want to start doing.

Even if you are not one of those who likes to make resolutions, may I offer a suggestion that I be- lieve can make a significant difference in your life? I want to invite you to resolve to make 2014 the year of getting to know the Bible better. One of the things I have noticed is that lots of peo-ple, even those who have been going to church their whole lives, are not very well acquainted with the Bible. In fact, what might be called biblical illiteracy is the norm rather than the excep- tion. And even if you have been a serious student of the Bible for many years, there is still much to learn. So, whether you are biblically illiterate or a long-time student of the Bible, why not make a decision this year to do something to get to know your Bible better.

As a way of helping you to fulfill your commitment, FUMC will be offering a number of opportuni- ties throughout the coming year. For example, starting Tuesday, June 7, I will be leading a weekly Bible study at 1:00 PM in the Fireside Room at the church every Tuesday. I hope you will make plans to attend. To start out with at least, all you need to do is show and bring a Bible if you’ve got one. Even if you’ve never read or studied the Bible before, you are welcome—no pre- vious experience necessary!

Looking ahead, in February we will be offering a six-week study called “What is the Bible?” As the name of the study implies, this will be an introductory exploration of the Bible. Again, this study assumes no prior knowledge of the Bible. We will offer the study as part of our weekly Tuesday afternoon Bible study, but will also be offering it on Tuesday evenings at 7:00, starting on February 4. Keep your eyes open for more information coming soon!

And that’s just the first two months of the year. I hope you will find a way at some point this year to deepen your knowledge of our foundational documents—and in so doing, deepen your faith.

Grace and peace, Pastor Tom

P.S. I want to let our church family know that beginning in the New Year, I will be switching my day off from Friday to Monday. I appreciate your cooperation in helping me have a weekly time of Sabbath rest. 

December 2013

Dear Friends,

It's been a great year for royal watchers, what with the excitement leading up to and following the birth of Prince George, the son of Duchess Kate and Prince William, and heir to the British throne. We were treated to all sorts of speculation and endless pictures of Kate's growing "baby bump," and then, following the birth, all sorts of pictures of the new little prince, along with descriptions both catty and kind about how well Kate was springing back from her first pregnancy. No doubt this ongoing obsession with this child will continue, especially given that little Prince George is destined to become the King of England. For all the world, the message is clear; this is one important baby.

It is, of course, a coincidence that the news of Kate's pregnancy was announced on the second day of Advent this past December. But isn't it interesting how much interest in this pregnancy was elicited at the same time when we Christians were being invited to ponder the significance of another royal pregnancy and birth—the pregnancy of Mary, resulting in the birth of Jesus.

The strange thing is that even if Mary was pregnant with Jesus in the 21st century, no one would be paying any attention to her. The paparazzi would not be following her every move. Such were the unremarkable and humble circumstances of Jesus' birth. But we know in retrospect the fact that Mary's child was, indeed, the King of Kings. The importance of his birth makes the birth of the future king of England pale by comparison.  Kings and queens have their place, of course, and there isn't anything wrong with royal watcher's being excited about the birth of Prince George. But if his situation bears careful watching, what does that say for the one who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

I want to invite you to come together with others in your church family each Sunday over this Christmas season, as we do some royal watching of our own—pondering, anticipating, and celebrating the birth of the baby who, though born in obscurity, grew up to be the most important person to ever life, and the King of all.

In Christmas joy,

Pastor Tom

P.S. Why not give yourself and your loved ones the gift of worship this season by joining us for worship each Sunday at 10:30, and at one of our Christmas Eve services at 7:00 (candles and carols), or 11:00 (communion service). Thank you!