Worship on Father’s Day

This coming Sunday we are honoring and celebrating all fathers on Father’s Day in worship!

We are getting everything ready for worship on Sunday, but, truthfully, I was amazed at what I found in preparing for Father’s Day worship this week. First, there is just a plain shortage of good resources for Father’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of resources; they just aren’t things I want to use. The problem is that not many good, quality resources for Father’s Day exist. Most of what I found was incredibly weak on the actual subject of fathers or, worse, they portrayed fathers in a weak or benign manner. I could not even find a decent call to worship for Father’s Day, so we will be using a video for the call to worship this week. Too many of the resources try at all costs to be politically correct, so many of them include both fathers and mothers. Come on! Sometimes I fear we try to be too politically correct, so as not to offend anybody, that we miss the boat totally!  Even my own denomination did not have good, quality resources for Father’s Day that I think are worth using.

One year in a church I was serving, it was Father’s Day, and after the sermon a man approached me and said this: “Why do you praise and lift up mothers on Mother’s Day but now on Father’s Day you present us Father’s with a strict challenge?” I think this is part of our culture today. How many good examples of father’s and husbands do you see in the sitcoms and movies? Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, and even the Cosby Show portray the husband/father in a weak and aloof way. They cannot fix or repair anything and they often appear to be buffoons more than dads. Where do we really see fathers and husbands portrayed in positive and uplifting ways? I fell into this trap, and the man who approached me after worship called me on it. He was right! Thank you Mark, for setting me straight. I do believe that every sermon should provide some kind of challenge, but I was being one way with mothers and a completely different way with fathers.

This Sunday is Father’s Day and we are going to honor and celebrate fathers in worship at Stroudsburg United Methodist Church. Bring your dad to church and if he is no longer with you, bring his memory with you. Father’s Day is a very special day and we will be doing our best to celebrate Father’s Day. Will you join us?

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Our Vision here at Stroudsburg United Methodist Church

Back on January 19, 2014, I talked about vision in my sermon. I said, “We don’t dream big enough!” I think this is true, but I also think it is natural. Children have big imaginations, but as we grow up, we typically grow away from dreaming and imagining. Proverbs 29:18a states clearly, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This is a heavy and serious warning! It is also a call back to dreaming and imagining!

In that sermon, I presented a vision for SUMC. This vision is to double each and everything we do: double the worship attendance at 8:30am and 11:00am, double the size of our Sunday School classes, double the number of people participating in Small Groups, double the size of the choir, double our involvement in Soup Kitchen, double our involvement in Family Promise, double our prayer life, double our spiritual devotion, etc.

I’ve continued to pray and think about this vision since that day. I believe strongly that God is pushing and challenging us to grow wider and deeper. Deeper is the spiritual growth we all need to cultivate and wider is the increase in numbers that God wants us to reach in our community with the love and message of Jesus. We need to look out beyond the stained glass windows in our church and develop a real heart for our community and the people who are our neighbors.

I believe this vision is from God and I am calling it “Double Vision” because we need to be much more serious about doubling up everything we do! Here are some of the things I see through this vision into our future:

  • 300 people worshipping in our sanctuary each week
  • a community church that loves our neighbors
  • more missions, including hands-on mission like adult work trips and Habitat for Humanity
  • a more welcoming and inviting church that makes a fantastic first impression
  • a movement, which is Christ-centered, vibrant, and relevant
  • committed believers who are growing wider (numerically) and deeper (spiritually)

Can you see any of this? This might all seem overwhelming at first. How exactly can we double up on everything? Well, it begins one step at a time. Can you invite one person to attend church with you? That would increase our attendance by one — and that would be one (you) plus another one, so that is a double! Can you get involved in a ministry if you are not doing any yet? What about inviting a neighbor or a friend to get involved, too?

I am pleased to see some significant results from what we started back in January. For example, if you remember, I asked for a show of hands of how many people were actually involved with Family Promise. There were some, but not nearly enough of our congregation who are involved in this vital ministry. Well, just yesterday, I was looking at the signup lists for Family Promise and there was only one blank spot left for the week! We’re making some progress, but I know we can do better with our involvement in Family Promise and in every other ministry, too!

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of hitting foul balls and some singles for God. It’s time for us to hit more and more doubles!

So, from now own, SUMC has Double Vision! We are going to double up everything we do! Are you with me? Are you ready to live into God’s dream for this church? Let’s get started right now!

 

The Power of Prayer

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We just launched a new online software called “The Table Project.” The idea is to bring us together more often than just Sunday mornings. There are several features or apps in this program, but the one I want to talk about today is the Prayer App.

SUMC has a strong belief and practice in prayer. We have several Prayer Chains and almost all of our groups pray for one another in our church and extended families. We also spend time in corporate prayer on Sunday morning. We know the power and importance of prayer!

The church’s new Table Project helps us stay connected with one another in our prayer life virtually. Here’s how it works:

  1. Someone posts a prayer
  2. The prayer request is then sent out to others in the Table
  3. A persons who receive the request, clicks on a “Pray Now” button and then prayers a prayer
  4. The prayer request tracks how many prayers were offered up for this specific request
  5. The wonderful thing is this can be done from your computer, tablet, or smart phone
  6. The recipient of the prayer request knows that prayers were offered up on their behalf

This is all possible thanks to the new Table Project, but you have to sign up to be part of this meaningful aspect in our church’s prayer life. Think of it as another Prayer Chain but with a visible response for each prayer prayed for each request!

To sign up for the new SUMC Table Project, click here.

The Table Project offers many more features, but today I just wanted to highlight the Prayer App. Those who already are signed up are excited about how this Prayer App is working and how we get a real sense of our connectedness!

Sign up today (it’s free) and be part of our Stroudsburg UMC Table Project!

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Are You Participating in a Small Group?

Small Groups come in a variety of flavors–some are designed to help us grow deeper in our faith and others are more recreational and relational. The goal for Small Groups at Stroudsburg UMC is to have a great variety of Small Groups to interest as many members and friends of the church as possible.

You can learn more about our Small Groups here.

Small Groups bring together people for a common purpose to grow together. If you haven’t tried participating in a Small Group yet, I encourage you to give it a try. Look over the list of Small Groups, pray about it, and contact the leader to give it a try!

Live Streaming Worship on Sundays at 8:30am!

We have great news to share with you!

Stroudsburg UMC is now streaming worship online at 8:30am. What does this mean to you? Well, first of all, you can now worship with us when you cannot be here physically due to illness or being away on vacation. Secondly, grandparents can see their children singing in the Cherub Choir from many states away when they cannot be here!

You can view the live streaming or any previously recorded worship here.

You can view the scripture reading and sermon on our sermon page here.

Bookmark these locations on your computer. You can view the files on your computer, iPod, or cell phone!

We hope you will share this with your family, friends, and neighbors and get the word out!

New Feature: SUM eNews

This week we implemented a new idea that will help us communicate the activities and ministries in our church.

“SUM eNews” is an electronic weekly news email and web page that will keep you informed of upcoming activities and news in the church. Each week, if you so desire, you can receive the eNews in your email. We will also post the eNews online on the church website. The beauty of this is that you can easily forward the SUM eNews to your friends and anyone who might be interested in our church. So, if you have a neighbor you’d like to invite to Terrific Tuesday this month, you can forward them the SUM eNews, which has information about Terrific Tuesday, as well as other pertinent news for the week.

The format of SUM eNews is consistent with our mission and vision. The newsworthy information will be categorized under the three headings: Gather! Grow! Make a Difference!

Gather! will include church news about upcoming “gathering” events. This could include Terrific Tuesday, Sunday Worship, and more.

Grow! will include opportunities for you to grow in your faith like Sunday School, Small Groups, Bible Studies, and more.

Make a Difference! will include news about upcoming activities that you can get involved with that will make a difference in the church, community, or world.

I hope you enjoy this new weekly feature at SUMC. If you have items to include in our eNews, please forward the information to Jackie in the church office.

 

SUMC Facebook Page

Check out our new church Facebook page here.

I hope you enjoy it!

Many of us use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. Now we can stay in touch with our church friends and invite our current friends to check out SUMC on our Facebook page.

Wow! Evangelism sure has changed! But what could be easier than telling your friends to check out your church’s Facebook page? Give it a try. Invite them to check out the church web page, too! Who knows, maybe they will even come to church on Sunday!!!