Sunday, April 29, 2012

Evangelism 2012: Not Your Grandmother's Evangelism

A special workshop, "Evangelism 2012: Not Your Grandmother’s Evangelism", will be held at Faith United Church of Christ on Saturday, May 19, 2012 from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

We have misconceptions about evangelism because we are still defining it the way our grandparents did. Evangelism 2012 is up-to-date, real, makes sense for us in today’s society, and is not at all scary. Together we will examine what evangelism is and isn’t and ways to do evangelism more effectively with less stress and work.

Register before May 15th via e-mail at faithucc@q.com, by phone 319-338-5238, or by mail at 1609 DeForest Avenue, Iowa City, Iowa 52240.  The cost is $7. That includes morning and afternoon snacks and a light lunch.

Make your plans to attend and then invite someone to come along!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Week at Faith United Church of Christ

Holy Week is here and the Worship Committee invites you to participate in planned events for Holy Week.

On Maundy Thursday (April 5) we will observe a simple Seder meal at the church, beginning at 7 PM. Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring a friend with you.

The church will be open on Good Friday (April 6) for silent meditation. There will be a list of scripture readings to refer to if you desire.

On Saturday, April 7, the Worship Committee will decorate for Easter Sunday. The congregation is invited to bring spring flowers of all colors. Please have flowers to the church no later than 10 AM on Saturday.

To culminate the Lenten season and Holy Week, please join us for an Easter brunch at 8 AM, Sunday, April 8. Finger foods (muffins, breads, fruit) are suggested. We will then join together in worship at 9:30 AM to celebrate Easter Sunday.

Faith United Church of Christ is located at 1609 DeForest Avenue in Iowa City. All are invited and welcome to join us in worship and in fellowship.

April Message from Faith UCC!

Dear Friends:

A frog once hopped into a deep rut on a country road, and though his friends tried desperately to help him out, they were unsuccessful and finally left him in deep despair. The next day one of these friends was hopping along when he met the frog who, the day before, had been hopelessly stuck in the rut on the road.

“I’m surprised to see you,” said the friendly frog, “I thought you were unable to get out of that rut.”

“I couldn’t get out,” said the other frog, “but a truck came along and I had to!”

The above fable is illustrative of the fact that necessity often overcomes the impossible. All of us fall into ruts of adversity, and we sometimes become prisoners of those ruts because we do not have the determination and faith to jump out, yet when we have a compelling reason to do so, we usually are able to move quite well.

In Nicaragua some years ago, I met a young man twenty-five years of age who had only the equivalent of a fourth-grade education, yet he could speak both Spanish and English fluently. The most remarkable thing about this situation, however, was that the boy’s family was extremely poor and the boy’s library consisted only of an old English-Spanish dictionary, a tattered mail-order catalog and two New Testaments in English and Spanish languages.

But with these few instruments and a positive faith, that young man had made his jump toward a more positive future.

A few years ago, a man of middle-age came to me and poured out his tragic story of immorality, divorce, and alcoholism. When he had finished I could think of few words to encourage him, so I simply asked, “Well, where do you go from here?”

He sat silently for a moment, tears in his eyes, and then looked at me with a grim determination. “I have fallen so low I suppose there is only one place for me to go—up!”

A few months later that man had regained his place within his profession, his family, and with God.

Determination, with faith, can overcome all obstacles and change the ruts of life’s highway into stepping stones that can lead us to the ultimate achievement.

The message of the Cross of Jesus Christ is not just that the impossibilities of death’s darkness have been overcome, but rather that the promises of life have been made available to all. As the disciples of long ago, we each stand at the foot of the Cross, looking up. And now the living God asks each of us the question:

“Where do you go from here?”

Peace and Good Cheer,
Pastor Bob