Category Archives: Pastor’s Ponderings

Pastor’s Ponderings

I find it hard to believe that I am now talking to you about Lent which begins in the middle of February and takes us into April when we will celebrate Easter. It seems like just yesterday we completed the Advent season and the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Advent and Lent are times that we, as a church and individuals, commit to enriching our relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and look for  the guidance of the Holy Spirit who following Lent will take us beyond to Pentecost Sunday in May.

The Claybanks United Methodist Church will recognize the beginning of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service on February 22, at 7:00 p.m., with imposition of ashes. The following Sunday, February 26, the Adult Sunday school class will begin a six-week study for Lent using a study series developed by Adam Hamilton entitled “Luke, Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts and Outlaws.” The series focuses on Jesus’s ministry ,to ordinary and imperfect people who struggle to hear the “Good News” in their lives. Our study will include a DVD video session each Sunday with discussion of the video and readings from our study aid. During Lent, we will have our traditional devotional, “The Upper Room”, available and a special devotional developed for Lent, “Redeemed”, by the Society of St. Andrew.                          .

As we continue through Lent and we enter Holy Week which begins on Palm Sunday, April 2, when we will gather and celebrate, with palms, Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On Holy Thursday, we will be able to attend a number of different worship services at area churches. On Good Friday, April 7, we will gather in our sanctuary at 2:00 p.m. to witness at the cross of Jesus. On Sunday, April 9, we will begin our Easter Sunday celebration at 9:30 a.m. with a visit to the empty tomb followed by a continental breakfast in Fellowship Hall provided by the Worship Design Team. Following our meal, we will gather together as we enter our sanctuary to celebrate Easter and the joy of resurrection.

Following Easter, Reba and I will be gone for three weeks. We will be visiting our family in Colorado and her brother in Missouri with a little sightseeing in-between. Our worship service on April 16 will be led by Jim Tanis and on April 23 by Edie Bogart. On Sunday, April 30, Adult and Teen Challenge will be with us to witness and lead us in worship with their choir.

During these special times on our church calendar, our Worship Design Team will be changing the look of our sanctuary to enhance our worship experience and we will also be using our projection system to assist us and bring to you a very meaningful worship experience.

It is our prayer that during Lent we will have an opportunity to experience a closer walk with our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, as he continues to be the focus of our spiritual enrichment in prayer, thanksgiving, song, and praise at our Claybanks United Methodist Church.

Pastor Gary

January 8th Worship Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, January 8, 2023
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Baptism of the Lord
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”……….UMH 173

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship

Leader: Let the heavens declare the glory of the Lord!
All: Let us give unto the Lord all glory and praise!
Leader: Let our lives declare the glory due to our merciful God!
All: For the voice of God fills our ears with beauty and strength.
Leader: Let us lift our voices in praise for God’s kindness and mercy!
All: Blessed be the name of the Lord!

*Gloria Patri…………………….…….….UMH   70

*Opening Prayer

*Hymn

”When Jesus Came to Jordan”………………UMH  252

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

The Offering of our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology…………………….…………UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Spirit Song”………………………..UMH 347

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading
Isiah 42:1-9…………….Page 584

Epistle Reading
Acts 10:34-48……..……….Page 895

*Gospel Reading
Matthew 3:13-17……………Page 784

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”Witnessing as Disciples”

Prayer

*Hymn

”Wonderful Words of Life”………………UMH 600

*Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard

Liturgist  – Bev Grumm

Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

Pastor’s Ponderings

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great” (Proverbs 18:16).

As a pastor it has been my deliberate choice not to ask for money from the pulpit during a worship service. I believe that at other times and through other means we can address the financial needs and goals of our church and communicate the fiscal responsibility we have as the family of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

I know that one of the underlying reasons I am reluctant to ask for financial contributions from the pulpit stems from when I was a young person and for a period of time, the financial needs of the parish that I attended with my family was addressed from the pulpit on a number of occasions and I remember my father expressing his concerns about the repeated requests for financial support when many other concerns could have been addressed during the message time of the worship service.

Over the years, the Claybanks United Methodist Church has had its times of prosperity and its times of financial stress. The church family of the Claybanks United Methodist Church has continually responded and supported the needs of the church and our church family. Yet, as we begin a new year, make resolutions, and promises, I would be remiss if I did not encourage you and your continued support of the financial needs of our church. Periodically, we as members of the United Methodist Church, are asked to renew our covenant to faithfully participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. As a pastor who is the sheep dog of the

flock, I have the responsibility as a United Methodist pastor to make sure that the flock is well prepared to graze in green pastures. I am using this Pondering to meet one of the requirements that I have been given as a pastor assigned to a Methodist Congregation in that I am to encourage the congregation to be faithful supporters in your giving to our church and to other needs within our community. Scripture communicates to us: “Now he who supplies seed to the Sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in Thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)

As the Financial Committee and Administrative Council assemble in the middle of January, the Claybanks United Methodist Church will set its annual budget for 2023. The Finance Committee and Administrative Council are very diligent in directing finances to meet the ongoing needs of our church and recognizing the resources that we have as a church family. We pray that we can count upon your support as we look at the many different ministries of our church and the needs of our community. It will be the responsibility of your church leadership to communicate those needs on an ongoing basis and request your support through prayers, presents, gifts and service as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of the Claybanks United Methodist Church.

May blessings be bountiful for all in 2023. Pastor Gary

December 25 Christmas Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, December 25, 2022
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
*Indicates to stand as you are able
Christmas Day

Welcome and Announcements

*Carol
There’s a Song in the Air”…………………..UMH 249

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship

Leader: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
All: Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Let the seas roar and the mountains quake.
Leader: Everything came into being through the Word. What came into being was life, and the life was the light for all people.
All: Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things.
Leader: The Word became flesh and blood and lived among us to bring all people to the light.
All: Let heaven and earth break forth into joyous song, singing praises to our God.
Leader: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
All: Christ, our light, shines forth in glory. Christ, our life, brings grace and truth.
Leader: Let us worship. Alleluia!

*Gloria Patri………..…………….…….….UMH   70

*Opening Prayer

Advent Wreath

*Carol
”What Child Is This”……………………UMH 219

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Shalom Sunday Offering

The Offering of our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology……………………….…………UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Carol
”O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”/with ReadingUMH 211

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading
Isiah 52:7-10…………….Page 596

Epistle Reading
Hebrews 1:1-12…………….Page 970

*Gospel Reading
John 1:1-14……….…..…Page 862

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”From Dark to Light”

Prayer

*Carols………………………….…Suggestions from Congregation

*Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard

Liturgist  – Reba Peterson

Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

December 18th Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, December 18, 2022
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
*Indicates to stand as you are able

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
Blessed Be the God of Israel”……………UMH 209

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship

Leader: Prepare the path of God.
All: We prepare by waiting with patience.
Leader: Prepare the path of God.
All: We prepare by living with faith and love.
Leader: Prepare the path of God.
All: We prepare by pursuing justice and peace.
Leader: Prepare the way of God.
All: We prepare, we wait, we pray.
Leader: May God bless us with both patience and passion.
All: We wait and pray to create the path of God.

*Gloria Patri………………………….…….….UMH   70

*Affirmation of Faith………………………UMH 883

Lighting of the Fourth Advent Candle

*Hymn
”Love Came Down at Christmas”……………..UMH 242

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

The Offering of our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology………………….…………UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Away in a Manger”……………………UMH 217

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading
Isiah 7:10-16…………….Page 554

*Gospel Reading
Luke 2:1-7………….……Page 832

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”Away in a Manger”

Prayer

*Hymn
”There’s a Spirit in the Air”……………UMH 192

*Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard

Liturgist  – Konnie Grant

Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News

Pastor’s Ponderings

In the region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Then an Angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; For I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and laying in a Manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angels a multitude of heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and earth, peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherd said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So, they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in a manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told to them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them (Luke 2: 8-20).

This month, we are getting ready to celebrate a birthday. And not just any birthday! We are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, born so many years ago in a simple manger in Bethlehem. It is almost time for Christmas!

Christmas is a terribly busy season, and our calendars and activities reflect the Christmas Season. The month of December may be packed with family gatherings, parties, shopping for presents, decorating the church, our homes and baking for family, friends, and others. Christmas music is playing almost everywhere; when we visit a store, on many radio stations, and even in our homes. Christmas movies fill the television airwaves. We have put up our Christmas trees with their lights, placed a nativity scene in the prominent parts of our homes. Well, this is the busiest of times and all that we do helps brighten the holiday that is to come.

We know that Christmas is not just about giving and receiving gifts, listening to Christmas carols, or eating Christmas cookies or even going to the many different holiday gatherings that surround us. It is about preparing for the coming of Jesus into the world and into our hearts. It’s about celebrating the good news of God’s unending love for us!

We have entered the season of Advent, the season of the liturgical year where we prepare for and wait for Jesus’ coming with anticipation and joy. Scripture tells us and we remember all the events that preceded and prepared the way for the first “Coming of Jesus,” and we anticipate with hope and expectation His coming again in glory. May we all take time this Christmas season to contemplate the incredible gift God has given us in Jesus, the little baby in a manger who saved the world and who will return in glory someday. May each of us experience the joy and hope of this season and be filled with Jesus’ peace and love. And may we share the peace and love with the world as we proclaim the good news of the true meaning of Christmas.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. I am so grateful for how the Claybanks United Methodist Church family has given so much this past year. Whether you are part of our mission activities and serving meals at the White Lake Gathering, volunteered your time at different agencies that help serve those who have special needs in our community, been a part of our different councils and committees here at Claybanks United Methodist Church, provided snacks after worship, help lead our worship service as liturgists or volunteered during our worship services to bring meaning to worship or participated in anyone of the countless other tasks that keep our church and community together as a light in the Claybanks community. I am grateful. Thank you so much for all you do!

Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.

Pastor Gary

November 27th Service

Claybanks United Methodist Church
Sunday, November 27, 202
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
First Sunday of Advent
*Indicates to stand as you are able

HOPE

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song
When Morning Gilds the Skies”………….UMH 185

Prelude

*Processional

In this place, among these people
God is worshipped, God is praised.
We have seen the signs and wonders;
The lost are found here, the dead are raised.
We are living the Gospel story;
lives are changed, and mountains moved.
Won’t you come and work among us?
You are welcomed, you are loved.

*Call to Worship
Leader: Come, let us go together to God’s Mountain,
All: A mountain of God’s glory and peace.
Leader: Let us prepare for Christ arrival,
All: The birth of the Prince of Peace.
Leader: Come, let us worship the Spirit of love.
All: Clothed in Christ’s love, we are ready to worship and pray.

*Gloria Patri……………………….…….….UMH   70

*Opening Prayer

Lighting of the First Advent Candle

*Hymn
Ye Servants of God”………………….…..UMH 181

Prayers of the People –
Joys and Concerns

Shalom Sunday Offering

The Offering of our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology………………….…………UMH 95

*Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn
”Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”…………..UMH 240

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 2:1-5……………..Page 550

Epistle Reading
Romans 13:11-14…………..Page 923

*Gospel Reading
Luke 2:8-20………..……Page 833

Message by Pastor Gary Peterson
”Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Prayer

*Hymn
”Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”………UMH 173

*Benediction

Postlude – Please be seated

Pianist – Suzanne Bellrichard

Liturgist  – Mechelle Peterson

Ministers – All People As We Live The Good News