Monthly Archives: January 2016

Pastor’s Ponderings

Lent is upon us!  Didn’t we JUST put the Christmas ornaments away?  Seems like time and seasons are coming faster and faster.  During Advent, we spent weeks getting ourselves ready to receive the gift of a baby who would change our lives and our world.  Now we must get ourselves ready to receive the gift He offers us. We must take time to examine ourselves in the mirror and see our brokenness. During the Lenten season we will be going to the Bible for stories of brokenness and we’ll see how the people in these stories dealt with their sin.  The good news is that WE already have the Good News!  We get to examine our brokenness while knowing that God loves us and Christ died for us ANYWAY!  

I hope that we can use this knowledge to really closely and honestly examine ourselves.  My goal is that we are able during these Lenten weeks to really find the path that God has cleared for us and that by Easter Celebration; we can all have our feet placed firmly and joyfully on those paths!

We will actually begin our Lent services the week before Lent begins.  On February 7th we will celebrate a special communion service where we hope to have our hearts opened to receive the messages that will be coming.  On that Sunday we will have available some materials that will help you to worship and prepare.  We will have some Lenten devotionals for those of you who like to have something special during these weeks.  Some of you like to do some sort of fasting during Lent and so there will be instructions for the Daniel Fast for you to take.  

Some of you like to do a Lenten sacrifice and will choose something to give up during Lent.  Or, instead of giving something up, why not take something up.  You could do a random secret act of kindness every week or every day in Lent.  Or you could do something that I do.  I call it  “In Kyle’s Honor”.  When my son died, we had two memorials for him and over and over I heard people tell me how he had touched their lives in a positive way.  Everyone wanted Kyle’s mom to know that he had been loved and respected and a positive part of their lives…the problem is that Kyle had not known that.  What a difference it might have made in his life if he had.  So, “In Kyle’s Honor” I write little notes to the people in my life who have made a difference somehow.  Not just the BIG differences, but also the small unexpected ones.  The lady at the store who smiled at you when you were feeling down, the neighbor who shovels you out on occasion, the child at church who gave you a hug.  Write a note every day in Lent to someone who has made a positive impact on your life.  Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love”!  These small notes can be the small things with great love we can do. Since I have been doing this, I have had some heart bursting experiences from the notes I’ve sent AND the ones I’ve received.  You cannot imagine the joy these notes can bring.  Plus writing them helps you to heal your own brokenness because as you focus on the joys and gifts of your life, you realize how blessed you are.  

Whatever you choose to do to prepare, my prayer for you is that the journey is a good and life changing one.  But don’t keep this to yourselves!  Invite your friends and family!  Let’s make this Lenten season a turning point in our spiritual journey…..together!  Shalom!

Announcements and Stuff

Ash Wednesday Service

Ash Wednesday is on February 10, 2016 and there are 3 opportunities for you to worship and observe Ash Wednesday!  At 2:00pm Claybanks UMC will hold a short service.  There will also be one at Shelby UMC at 6:30.  Both of these services will use Joel 2:12-14 as we explore our “Broken Hearts”.  As ashes are imposed we will begin through prayer and music to prepare ourselves for the gift of LIFE that is coming.

There is also another opportunity to worship.  We have been invited by Muskegon Methodist Ministries to worship with them at 7pm at Central UMC (1011 2nd St., Muskegon, MI 49440).  Their preacher for this service will be Rev. Benton Heisler, Director of Connectional Ministries for the West Michigan Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.  The service will include a combined choir, imposition of ashes and an opportunity for laying on of hands and healing prayer. They will receive an offering to be shared between Mission for Area People, Family Promise of the Lakeshore, and Pathfinders. Childcare will be available for children 5 years old and younger.

I hope you will choose one of these services to begin your Lenten journey!  And bring your friends and family.  We have room for everyone!

Now THAT’s Funny!

“Apparently putting Alka Seltzers in my mouth while getting baptized and pretending I’m possessed by the devil is not funny.

Lenten Bible Study

We are going to be studying the book of John for Lent this year.  John, was the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’.  We will use a study by Adam Hamilton called, appropriately enough, “John”.  

The Gospel of John is the most deeply spiritual of the four gospels. It includes some of the loftiest and most loved verses in all the Bible: “And the Word became flesh…,” “For God so loved the world…,” “You who are without sin cast the first stone…,” “I am the resurrection and the life…,” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” The writing is filled with rich images and profound truths, but John notes that his aim in writing the gospel is that his readers will not only believe in Jesus Christ, but that they “may have life in his name.” This Lent, join with us as Adam Hamilton leads us on an experience of spiritual growth and life-changing renewal while reading the entire Gospel of John.  

The study will be held at 6:30 on Monday nights at Claybanks UMC, beginning on Monday, February 15th.  I have also planned one to be held at Shelby UMC at 2pm on Wednesdays, beginning February 17th if there is interest.  (I will let you know if this one is a go based on our sign-up sheets)  Please be sure to sign up so we order enough books.  

Nursery Schedule

Feb. 7 – Doris Graham
Feb. 14 – Karen Anderson
Feb. 21 – Edith Bogart
Feb. 28 – Carol Adams

CUMC Website

Don’t forget to check out our website at Luanne is updating it weekly.


I received a really neat gift for Christmas of a plaque with the ABC’s of Faith.  I thought you would like to have this too! – Pastor Terri

THE ABC’s of Faith

Always Give Thanks …….1 Thess. 5:16-19
Build Others Up …….1 Thes. 5:11-15
Cast our Cares On Him ……. Psalm 55:22
Delight In God’s Word…….. Jer. 15:16
Expect Great Things……….Eph. 3:20
Forgive As You Have Been Forgiven………Col. 3:12-14
Give Cheerfully and Generously……….2 Cor. 9:6-12
Humble Yourself………. 1 Peter 5:5-6
Increase Your Faith……… 2 Peter 1:5-10
Joy In the Journey…………..Phil. 4:11-13
Know His Love……………Eph. 3:16-19
Listen to Wise Council………….Prov. 11:14, 24:6
Make Peace With Others……….Matt. 5:22-24
Never Give Up………..Gal. 6:9-10
Overflow With Kindness………Eph. 4:31-32
Pray Without Ceasing…………Eph. 6:18.
Quiet Yourself………..Psalm 46:10
Renew Your Mind………….Romans 12:2
Seek To Do His Will………..Matt. 7:17-27
Tell the Truth In Love………….Eph 4:15-16
Use the Gifts God Has Given You……………Romans 12:4-8
Value Godliness…………..1 Tim. 4:7-9
Work Unto the Lord…………..Col. 3:22-24
eXperience His Presence…….1 Peter 1:8-9
Yield To Others……….Phil 2:3-8
Zealously Share the Reason For Your Hope……….1 Peter 3:14-16

Lenten Conversations 2016

Wednesdays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
This interdenominational observance of Lent is open to all.
Come and share a light meal and a brief message at different host churches each week of Lent.  

Wednesday, February 17
Lebanon Lutheran Church, 1101 S Mears Ave., Whitehall
Pastor Amy Boling of Ferry Memorial Church Speaker

Wednesday, February 24
St. Peters by the Lake, 8451 N. Old Channel Trail, Montague
Pastor Mary Sweet of Whitehall United Methodist Church Speaker

Wednesday, March 2
Whitehall United Methodist Church, 117 S. Division St. Whitehall
Father David Meyers of St. Peter’s by the Lake Speaker

Wednesday, March 9
St. James Catholic Church, 5149 Dowling, Montague
Pastor Mary Brown of Montague UMC Speaker

Wednesday, March 16
Montague United Methodist Church, 8555 Cook St., Montague
Pastor Doug Ogden of Lebanon Lutheran Church speaker

A free will offering will be taken at each luncheon and donated to the White Lake Area Food Pantry located at the Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall.


Upcoming Scripture and Sermon Topics

Lent and Easter!

The season of Lent is a time for us to face together the brokenness of our lives and our world, and then turn that brokenness over to Christ so that we can be restored by Him through the cross.  Using helps from seminary professor Joel Biermann, we will take a good hard look at different broken elements in some of the stories in the Bible.  Our focus will be on how these broken elements relate to our lives and so that we can understand ourselves better and live joyfully and faithfully as new creations in Christ!

Feb. 7 – “Lost in The Father’s House – Transfiguration Sunday

Feb. 10 – “Broken Hearts” – Joel 2:12-14
Ash Wednesday – 2 pm at Claybanks UMC & 6:30 pm at Shelby UMC

Feb. 14 – “Broken Vessel” – Mark 14:1-9 – 1st Sunday of Lent

Feb. 21 – “Broken Trust” – Matthew 26:14-25 – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Feb. 28 – “Broken Bread” – John 6:48-58 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

March 6 – “Broken Promises” – Matthew 26:69-75 – 4th Sunday of Lent

March 13 – “Broken Justice” – 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 – 5th Sunday of Lent

March 20 – “Broken Majesty” – Zechariah 9:9-10 – Palm Sunday

March 24 – “Broken Sanctuary” – Luke 22:39-48
Maundy Thursday  – 7 pm Service at Shelby UMC

March 25 – “Broken Curtain” – Luke 2:39-48
Good Friday – 2 pm at Claybanks UMC & 7 pm at Shelby UMC

March 27 – SUNRISE – “Broken Seal” – Matthew 27:62-66

Do it Anyway!

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Teresa



Pastor’s Ponderings

She stood there, off to the side all by herself.  I didn’t know who she was.  She looked like she was waiting to talk to me or was waiting for me to notice her.  I kept trying to get to her but others kept stepping in front of me with their ‘urgent’ questions or needing to give and get a hug.  Someone had an update on a loved one, someone else wanted to talk about making an announcement, someone else wanted to know if they could stop in and talk about something important.  All very important things………..but she was still standing there, waiting, by herself.  

Then I looked at the clock.  Holy smokes – 5 minutes before the service starts and I still need to get my robe on!  Off I ran, right past her.  I gave her a smile and promised myself that I would stay after the service just long enough to welcome her and get her name.  I saw her sitting upstairs ….all by herself.  Why didn’t anyone else seem to see her?  I must take a few minutes after the service and find out who she is and welcome her. But the service went long.  The service went very very long.  I was 10 minutes over.  It takes almost 20 minutes to get from Shelby’s pulpit to my car to Claybanks UMC.  I have to be at Claybanks in time to help the new acolyte get robed and to give her some last minute instructions.  I need to FLY!  And so I missed her.  Don’t know who she was.  She didn’t come back the next week.  What is her story?  Did I miss an important opportunity?  Will she give me another chance and come back?

This is my weekly struggle.  I try so hard to get to see the new people who come to church on Sunday.  At Claybanks UMC, I get the opportunity to greet folks at the door after the service.  I also have the opportunity to talk with them during coffee time.  Shelby UMC has moved their coffee time to before service so that I can talk to people, but visitors seldom come early so I don’t usually get a chance to see and talk to them.  Even so, I often get sidetracked and can’t get to everyone I’d like to.  Last Sunday I never even made it downstairs!  I was there, but never was able to get downstairs to grab a cup of coffee and talk.  

I don’t know what the solution is.  I wish I could clone myself sometimes.  But that woman who I missed, haunts me.  I don’t know who she was.  I hope someone else does.  I hope someone talked to her.  I hope someone invited her to come back.  I hope someone told her to give me a call if she needs to talk.  

This whole situation just reminds me again that I need to remind you that I may be the pastor, but YOU all are the ministers!  YOU are the ones who will have the best opportunities to invite people, YOU are the ones who will have the best opportunities to meet and greet newcomers, YOU are the ones who should cut through the masses that are swamping me and break through to introduce me to the newcomer.  And if you have an issue you need to talk about, call me or email me during the week, I’ll find time to meet with you if needed.  If you have an announcement, talk to the liturgist about it.  If it can wait so that I can talk to newcomers, let’s let it wait.  Help me to be more welcoming by allowing me to have the time to talk to newcomers.  If there aren’t any………..MOB away!  Lol   Let’s make 2016 a great New Year!   


Announcements and Stuff

CUMW Reminder:

As has been our custom, there will be no meeting in January or February.  Our next meeting will be in March and will be hosted by Mitzi Parsons.  Hope to see our regulars as well as a few new faces there.  Happy New Year to everyone!

CUMC Website

Don’t forget to check out our website at Luanne is updating it weekly.


Thank you so much for your generosity this Christmas!  I promise to use the money you gave me on something that brings me joy!  The other gifts and especially all the little notes warmed my heart!  Thank you thank you thank you!  

Pastor Terri

Please help me to thank some important people – your Worship Design Team!  Our services are enhanced with their gifts and dedication.  We could not have put together the great Advent series we had without their help.  Konnie, Mitzi, Edie, Kris, Megan and Pam work hard to add the special touches that make our services special.  They also were the ones who did most of the behind the scene work for our Blue Christmas and both of our Christmas Eve services.  There was a LOT of work, that they happily did and most of them are near exhaustion getting it all done.  Be sure to give them a “thank-you”.  

Also, a special thanks to Pam and Karissa and all of the kids for the GREAT job with the children’s Christmas plays this year.  Karissa put a lot of time in with the kids to get them their parts and we all enjoyed it so much.  The kids did a GREAT job!  Pam, your costumes are stellar and getting the kids in them and downstairs quietly was a real miracle!  Thanks too, to the Mitteer family for the gift of the stable!  

We are very blessed by all that these folks do for us!  Be sure and take a moment to let them know that their efforts are appreciated.  Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

I want to thank everyone for the prayers, cards, flowers, food, visits, hugs, and kindness shown to me and my family after losing John.  It is so appreciated and helped at a very difficult time.  Thank you also to Pastor Terri and all the women who worked so hard in the kitchen to put on the luncheon after the funeral. I so appreciated it all.  

Carol Royalty

We would like to thank everyone for the prayers and cards while Richard was ill.  We really appreciated them and they helped so much.  Thanks again.   

Richard and Lucy Nienhouse

The Missions Committee would like to thank everyone who donated to the mitten/glove/scarf/hat tree.  One of the most basic necessities of living in a northern state is that of keeping warm during the winter months.  Children are at high risk of developing health issues or even worse if this basic necessity is not met.   By your generous donations you showed CUMC’s concern and put smiles on many children’s (and parents’) faces.  The Children’s Division of the Rescue Mission accepted our donations and thank you all very much.

Nursery Schedule

Jan. 3 – Edie Bogart
Jan. 10 – Carol Adams
Jan. 17 – Liz Grossman
Jan. 24 – Kathy Ohman
Jan. 31 – Joyce Twiss

Upcoming Sermons and Scripture Topics

January 3 – “Coming to our Senses” – Epiphany Sunday

January 10 – “A Startling Realization” – Baptism of the Lord Sunday

January 17 – “Brutal Honesty – Talking to Yourself”

January 24 – “Action – Time to Get Up”

January 31 – “Passivity/Procrastination/Defeatism”

February 7 – “Lost in the Father’s House”

February 14 – Happy Valentine’s Day – The First Sunday of Lent