Category Archives: Pastor’s Ponderings

July 7th Service

Indicates to stand as you are able
Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song “Jesus, Name Above All Names” TFWS #2071

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: ​Sing praises to God, O faithful ones.
All: ​​Give thanks and proclaim God’s holy name.
Leader: ​Weeping or joyful, mourning or dancing,
All: ​​Come as you are, for all are welcome here.
Leader: ​Open your hearts to heal, to life restored.
All: ​​Let us worship God.

*Gloria Patri UMH #70

Opening Prayer

*Hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” UMH #382

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time–
After prayers, sing the Children out – “Jesus Loves Me.” Children 5 and under are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery at this time.

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

*Doxology UMH #95

Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn “My Country Tis of Thee” UMH# 697

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament Reading: ​​2 Kings 5:1-14 page 293
*Gospel Reading: ​​ ​Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 page 844

Message: Stomp Off Your Feet Pastor Gary

Words of Assurance

The Great Thanksgiving

Prayer

*Hymn “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” UMH#664

Benediction

Calendar and Announcements

Sunday, July 7, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship: Communion

Sunday July 14, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship:

Tuesday July 16, 2019
Worship Design Team 5:30 p.m.
Trustees 6:30 P.m.
Ad Council 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 18, 2019
United Methodist Women 1:00 p.m.

Sunday July 21, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship:

Email: glpeterson32@frontier.com
Office Telephone: 231-923-0573
Office email: ClaybanksUMC@gmail.com
Website: pwww.claybanksunitedmethodist.com

Pianist​​​​ – Suzanne Bouchard
Liturgist – Edith
Nursery – Carol Adams
Ministers​ – All People As We Live the Good New

Pastor’s Ponderings

A while back I came across an article written by Martin Goldsmith (A Psychotherapist) he listed ten things to improve your life. I believe these ten things are important but I will add my comments and also add three more Wesleyan points to the secular approach created by Martin Goldsmith.

1. Give up lying. The truth always comes out, and any ill-gotten gain will disappear. People you have tried to hurt are living better lives, and the act you lie about probably did not make a darn bit of difference in their lives. As Wesleyans we believe that we are not to gossip and by lying about someone we are gossiping.

2. Love is the one of the most valuable things worth holding onto. Many things can get in our way like greed, temptation, aging and illness. But love will make you whole, and nothing else will in the same way. As Christians we are to love one another, we find this over and over again in Scripture.

3. Release negative memories and thoughts. Tell yourself out loud that you do not want to think about this anymore. Sometimes just hear your thoughts spoken aloud can make a huge difference. I learned in a Psychology class years ago have always embraced the concept that it has been okay and very therapeutic to speak to yourself out loud and have a private conversation with oneself.

4. Give yourself a break. Being overly hard on yourself when you have made a mistake just makes matters worse, because the mistake then takes over your thoughts for a while. Life is a learning process. We are to forgive others and when we say that it also means scripturally that we are to forgive ourselves just as God has forgiven us.

5. Know that if you your basic necessities are covered, money can never be the most important thing. If making more money is your main drive, you will hurt yourself and others in the long game. And you will miss out on a lot of life. Jesus in Scripture talked about our desire for money more than any other topic and one of his best quotes was, “Does God not take care of the birds of the air, then he will take care of you too”.

6. Recognize that if you enjoy conflict there’s something unhealed inside of you. No matter how you expression your dislike for something by being passive aggressive or bullying it’s toxic for you as well. As Wesleyans we believe we are to do no harm.

7. Find one thing in the day to look forward to. Any amount of pleasure will do; you cannot live a life with zero happiness. Taking all things for granted will give you no excitement in life. As Christians we are to live with joy and hope and today does count as part of eternity.

8. Take at least one day off a week. By doing so do not bring home your work or the office with you. Pace yourself and just be. Allow yourself some time to be with yourself and when you are comfortable with that add God to the equation may that day be Sunday!

9. Listen to some music every day. Technology in our modern-day world allows much access to music, poetry or meditation. Find a favorite song and a favorite hymn and ask “Alexa” to play it for you. This will lower your stress and you will be taking care of yourself. God in Genesis commanded us to take care of the world he created and this includes oneself.

10. Make time for yourself to relax for a number of minutes each day. Start with ten minutes and then add minutes as you become more and more comfortable with meditation or reading Scripture or studying a devotion. Pause after the study and reflect on how the thoughts of the day can be a part of your life not just for that day but in the many days to come. A little time of quiet and relaxing can make a huge difference in our lives.

As Wesleyans and your pastor I encourage you to look at these ten items with contemplation using our “Three Simple Rules” that John Wesley has taught us.

11. Do no harm.

12. Do good.

13. Stay in love with God.

If we take these three simple rules of John Wesley and apply them each day in our lives as they relate to the ten previous ideas given to us by Mr. Goldsmith on how to improve our lives we as Christians can make a large difference not only in our own lives but the lives of our family, our friends, our church, our associates and the world.

Blessings

Pastor Gary.

June 30th Service

Indicates to stand as you are able
Third Sunday After Pentecost

Welcome and Announcements

*Praise Song “How Majestic is Your Name” TFWS#2023

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:​ God calls us to be people of the Spirit.
All: ​We are people of the whirlwind-riding fiery horses and chariot of fire.
Leader: ​God calls us to be heirs with Christ.
All: ​We are heirs of freedom-heirs of a love that will not let us go.
Leader: ​God calls us to be children of the Most High.
All: ​We are children of promise-people of God’s glorious hope.
Leader: ​Come! Let us worship.

*Gloria Patri UMH #70

Opening Prayer

*Hymn “Spirit Song” UMH#347

Prayers of the People – Joys and Concerns

Children’s Time–
After prayers, sing the Children out – “Jesus Loves Me.” Children 5 and under are welcome to remain in worship or go to the nursery at this time. Shalom Sunday

The Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves

Special Music: Janice Anderson & Richard Lindell

*Doxology UMH #95

Prayer of Dedication

*Hymn “Blessed Assurance” UMH# 369

Sharing of the Word

Old Testament:​​​2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 page 290
*Gospel Reading:​​​Luke 9:51-62 page 843

​​​​Message: “Your Last Day on Earth” Pastor Gary

Prayer

*Hymn “When We All Get To Heaven” UMH#701

Benediction

Calendar and Announcements

Sunday, June 30, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship: Shalom

Sunday, July 7, 2019
10:30 a.m. Worship: Communion Sunday

Sunday, July 14, 2019
10:30 a.m. – Worship

Email: glpeterson32@frontier.com
Office Telephone: 231-923-0573
Office email: ClaybanksUMC@gmail.com
Website: http://www.claybanksunitedmethodist.com

Pianist​​​​: ​​Shar Boerema
Liturgist: Mechelle Schneider
Nursery: Edith Bogart
Ministers​: All People As We Live the Good New

Pastor’s Ponderings

We Are Blessed!

About a year after coming to Claybanks United Methodist Church, I met another United Methodist pastor who shared a phrase with me that I now have adopted when introducing myself to someone new. I am, “Gary Peterson blessed to serve in retirement at Claybanks United Methodist Church”. You see I have the best of two worlds. The first world is being able to continue to serve God as a pastor within the United Methodist denomination through the Claybanks United Methodist Church congregational family, and what a blessed time it is for me for I will shortly be completing 15 years as a clergy person in service to God’s people. The second part of my introduction is that I get to now live in retirement for which I worked a number of years to get to this joyful and complete point in my life.

Now when I tell somebody I am serving in retirement as a clergy person appointed to the Claybanks United Methodist Church I get a lot of skeptical looks and questions, such as is it possible to be retired and still serve a church? Does time management really allow you to do those retirement things and still meet your obligations to your church family? How does that work for you!!! Or you must have an understanding congregation that allows you to serve and be retired, too! I love to respond and expand upon this last statement by stating that I have a church while small, is still very active and recognizes the demands that they placed upon me as a pastor and the balance that is needed so that retirement can be enjoy.

To live in Michigan is to appreciate our summer time. We go through a lot in the winter looking forward to spring and then the enjoyment and warmth of summer. For Reba and I, the summer holds much enjoyment and activity for us. We work hard to develop a calendar that allows us to both serve the Claybanks United Methodist Church and enjoy our summer time together and to include family and friends in many activities.

Early summer began for us in the beginning of May by taking a trip to the western side of the Upper Peninsula where we had not previously visited. We now have an appreciation of Lake Superior and that very beautiful part of Michigan. I can tell people with all honesty that I had been to all the parts of my home state of Michigan from north to south and east to west in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. I so very much appreciate and enjoy what our beautiful state has to offer us in its diversities and beauty. The first week of June always includes our Methodist Church Annual Conference and for the past few years it has been held in Traverse City where Reba, our children and I had once lived and still today love its northern charm and amenities. Following our visit to Traverse City my extended family begins to arrive in Pentwater, and we become engaged in many activities with family which includes many afternoons sitting on the beach, splashing in Lake Michigan (when it warms up) and taking in the beautiful sunsets over the lake. July arrives and like many of you we are in awe of fireworks and celebrations as we celebrate our country’s independence in our very proud communities.

For Reba and me, our grandchildren and their parents arrive on the last day of July this year, and they will be spending two weeks with us. We will pick blueberries, have campfires, be at the beach and swim in the waters of our inland lakes and Lake Michigan. We will introduced them to some new activities with the intent of bringing them to a new appreciation of our state of Michigan and all it can be to each of us. Shortly after their departure in the middle of August, I will be attending a Pastor School in East Lansing that is intended to help us as clergy better serve our local congregations.

September comes all too soon winding down our summer activities and as the cooler winds blow through our state slowly my family returns to their own homes and communities. Reba and I will have more time visiting friends and new places in our beautiful state while still enjoying the sunset over Lake Michigan.

So, you have an idea of what my summer will be like this year. I hope as we gather together on Sundays or other times you will share with me what this summer holds for you and your families! I appreciate what God has given us and our ability to take in all that God has provided for us as we share it with family and friends in the beauty of summers in Michigan. Enjoy your summer!

“I am blessed to be able to serve in retirement at the Claybanks United Methodist Church.”

Pastor Gary

Pastor’s Pondering

For our February newsletter, I started a series on Bibles. The February Pondering dealt with which is the best Bible for you. In March my Pondering looked at the history of our Bible. For this our third Pondering on our Bibles, I would like to look at how to use your Bible. When I was in seminary, one of the first classes as students that we were able to take dealt with how to study the Bible so that we might share what it contains with others. For me as a pastor this means first of all what does my Bible say to me. Secondly, how can I share what Scripture says with others in a Bible study class through discussion. Thirdly, as a pastor I must be able to prepare a message from Scripture for Sunday Worship or at other times when learning can occur.

If we want to know God’s Word then we must be able to read our Bibles in a way that we develop a yearning for a deep and abiding relationship with God. What we read in Scripture must develop into a Christian life which allows us to grow in our knowledge of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. God’s Word is to allow us to interact with God on a personal level, absorbing the message and letting God engage us in His truth as He places it on our hearts, in our minds and in our lives. This means that we must be inductive in our study, searching for truth for ourselves, discerning what is meant in Scripture and applying the Scriptures to our lives.

We first must be observant. To be observant we must ask what the passage says. Which means we must read the Bible with more than our eyes, we must read it with our mind. This takes quite a bit of time practice and effort on our part.

Secondly, we must begin interpretation of what we have read. This means asking the question: what does the passage say to me? There are two parts to interpretation of Scripture. First is the most basic and simple of observations. Secondly, when we put the passage with other passages we discover that there is more than just what is on the surface, but the overall meaning or direction in which the Scripture is taking us.

Thirdly, we must be able to apply what we have read and put it into action in our lives which means we must decide how to respond in obedience to what we have read. The basis for this application is found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where it says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient and equipped for every good work.” When we know what God says, what he means, and how to put his truth into practice, we will be equipped as Christians for every circumstance of life.

To be successful as we journey with God through Scripture in reading our Bibles I would suggest trying the steps:

Choose a Book of the Bible (Choose a short book and then move to longer books).
Begin with prayer.
Read first the entire Book of Scripture.
Zoom in by first reading a chapter and then verse by verse.
Use tools such as Commentaries, Bible Study Guides and other Bible resources.
Be a doer of the Word; put it in to action.
Set your own pace.
When opportunities arise discuss what you have read and discerned with others so that you might get new and fresh perspectives on God’s Word.

God gave us his Word in Scripture so that we might journey closer with him and develop a more intimate relationship with Him in our living through Scripture as his blessed children.

Pastor’s Ponderings

Because of recent happenings in the United Methodist Church, I would like to bring you up-to-date concerning the Traditionalist Plan passed by the Special General Conference held in St. Louis at the end of February just a few short weeks ago. I had planned to bring you the third pondering on our Holy Bible this month yet feel it necessary to postpone it until possibly our next newsletter.

Following the merger of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the United Brethren Evangelical Church in 1968 at the General Conference in 1972, our Book of Discipline was changed with the addition of language that did not allow for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual persons to be placed in leadership roles of the church as pastors or bishops. The Book of Discipline also had a number of other additions to it including the affirmation that only heterosexual persons could be married in the church by clergy. Every four years since this language was included in the Book of Discipline legislation and efforts have been brought to the General Conferences to delete or modify this language to be more inclusive of the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual community in acceptance and leadership within the United Methodist Church.

At the General Conference in 2016 the Council Bishops proposed and was accepted that a commission on a way forward would convene a special General Conference to be held in 2019, which would address the issue of inclusivity of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual persons. It has always been the position within the United Methodist Church that all of God’s children are equally loved by God and we as followers of Jesus Christ are to reflect that same love to everyone.

At this special session four proposals were made. The simple Plan, The Connectional Conference Plan, The One Church Plan and The Traditionalist Plan or if no acceptance could be made we would continue as a denomination with no change to the Book of Worship. The first day of the special session was the day of prayer, worship, meditation and inviting the Holy Spirit to become evident as a plan would be chosen to go forward. This Special General Session along with all other previous General Sessions, include representatives from our world of United Methodist. This includes not only those from the United States but all parts of the world where United Methodist live and have established churches under the leadership of conferences and bishops.

After some proposed amendments to each one of the four proposals were accepted voting began. The Traditionalist Plan was the only plan that passed the Special Session with an approval of 56% of the voting delegates. These voting delegates were made up of 864 representatives from laity and clergy throughout the world where Methodist Churches have been established. The Traditionalist Plan affirms the Book of Discipline as it written and keeps the current language in regards to the acceptance of gay, lesbian, transgender and queer persons since 1972. It does amend the legal ramifications for churches and clergy who knowingly and willingly violate the Book of Worship. It also provides for the exit of churches that are unwilling to accept the Book of Worship as it is currently written.

Over the past few years it has been accepted that not all within the United Methodist Church and the outside world be completely accepting of any of the plans proposed. No matter which plan would have come forward we know that some of God’s children would be hurt. Although we prayed over this difficulty within our denomination not all prayers were answered because of the differences we had and the different prayers offered to God.

What will happen in the immediate or long term is yet to be completely decided. For like the government of the United States when changes occur to the operating documents, a legal challenge can and has been put forward through our legal entity of the United Methodist Church. Should the Traditionalist Planned be approved by the judicial system of the United Methodist Church the Traditionalist Plan would be put into effect as of January 1, 2020.

Recently I held an information session for the Claybanks United Methodist Church on the Way Forward at which many of our members did attend. It is my plan to keep you informed as to where we are in this process of implementation as we go forward in 2019. I see many possibilities and recognize at our Annual Conference in Traverse City during the first few days of June being a time of further discussion and clarification as being one of the steps to our way forward. Please continue to hold the United Methodist Church and our leadership in your prayers.

Pastor Gary

Pastor’s Ponderings

Part Two: A Brief Bible History

Please recognize that in the short space of our newsletter we cannot do an extensive history of the Bible. In my course of study to become a United Methodist pastor, one of the classes that I took dealt with our Christian Bible. The Bible is reported to be the biggest best-seller of all time, and its history is fascinating to study. As God’s Spirit breathed on the authors of the Bible, they recorded the messages with whatever resources were available at the time. Oral history, engravings in clay, inscriptions on tablets of stone, ink and papyrus, parchment, leather and metals.

From creation to B.C. 2000 the earliest Scriptures were handed down from generation to generation orally. From B.C. 2000 to 1500 the oldest Books of the Bible were starting to be written. The earliest manuscripts comprising the original Hebrew Bible were completed in about B.C. 400. From about A.D. 45 to A.D. 100 the original 27 books of the New Testament were written and assembly started. From that time the Bible continued to evolve and in A.D. 397 the Third Synod of Carthage approved both the Old and New Testament in an accepted form breathed by the Holy Spirit.

The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew, with some of the books written in Aramaic. In A.D. 400 the original languages of the Old Testament and New Testament were translated into Latin. While Latin remain the traditional translation of Scripture in about A.D. 500 other language translations were starting to appear while the (universal) Catholic Church still declares Latin as the only language for Scripture. In A.D. 1382 the first English Bible was written in defiance of the organized church. Those who did the translation believed that people should be able to read the Bible in their own language. Up until this time all the reproductions of the Bible were done by scribes in Latin and in hand written form.

In A.D. 1455 after the invention of the printing press in Germany more and more translations became available. It was in A.D. 1536 that Martin Luther completed his work by translation the Bible into German. This translation is known as the Protestant Bible today. From that time on a number of different Bibles translation had been written working from the original text of Aramaic and Greek to what we know commonly today as the King James Version which was completed in A.D. 1611. This translation was called the, “Authorized Version”. And since that time a number of other translations have become available for our reading and understanding. Until the Gutenberg press first printed the Latin Bible in A.D. 1456, all Bibles were hand copied onto papyrus, parchment and paper.

When the Bible is translated into different languages it is usually translated from the original Hebrew and Greek writings. Over time, the accuracy of many of the manuscripts from our Old Testament and New Testament have been substantiated by archeological findings and recent findings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Geniza Fragments and the Ben Asher Manuscripts have continued to help us authenticate Scripture text. We as Christians believe God chose certain individuals to author sacred Scripture. Because God has chosen these individuals and they were affirmed by the Holy Spirit; we are to acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach the truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, does inspire us.