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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts for Men

Got Family? Got Dreams? Got Problems?

There are two keys that will help you grow spiritually. These are very simple concepts.

1. You must invest in yourself. Simple right! Listen fellas, you have to be willing to invest your time, effort and money on your soul. To think a life and especially a spiritual life can be built without these elements is foolish.

Invest your money in things that strengthen your spiritual life. Buy a Bible. Give to the poor, your church, or your favorite Christian ministry. Your heart will follow your money for sure. Putting God first will not only help your soul. It will help you get yourself to a better financial point in your life.

Invest your time. Being isolated, especially from God, is a tough way to go. Attending worship, or meeting for study and service is certainly a worthwhile spiritual investment. We are all isolated in a sense. It is vital to stay connected. To stay inspired and motivated to grow you gotta stay in the loop with God

Invest your effort. This is the hardest of the three. Effort takes energy. But God’s spiritual energy can lighten your burdens. Prayer is an effort sometimes. Kindness, forgiveness, patience, and friendship all require effort. But such effort builds Christian character and produces Christian maturity. The investment brings great reward.

Are you tending to your soul?

2. You must put yourself in a growth environment. Surround yourself with a team of fellow seekers and you’ll never walk alone. Their understanding support and gentle encouragement will help you succeed. Teamwork wins.

Become a leader. Step up in your family or on your team and create an environment conducive to your spiritual growth. Come early to worship. Claim a ministry in the church or community. Organize a home prayer or Bible study. Travel together online or in person to inspirational places. Make sure every team member has access to these events and participates.

Focus on the fundamentals. Everything has certain steps or fundamentals that are essential for growth or to make something better. The fundamentals of spiritual growth are ancient, proven and powerful. Review and practice the basics with your team always.

Do you have a growth environment to connect to? Are you connecting on a regular basis?

I have yet to meet anyone who has built a successful spiritual life by ignoring these two basics. 1. Tend to your soul. 2. Travel together.

Friday, July 1, 2011

June News & Notes

Garden Grove VBS
Held during the week of June 20-24, 5 youth and 9 leaders learned that God is our HERO. While studying about 4 youthful everyday heroes in the Bible whose names are never even mentioned we learned that we are God’s heroes when we 1. do the unexpected, 2. step out in faith, 3. save the day, and 4. stand for truth . For our mission project we raised $118 to purchase children's board games for The Child Life Program at Blank Children's Hospital.

I-Cubs Baseball and Randy’s Tail-gate Brats

79 members and friends of United Trinity Parish enjoyed I-Cubs baseball and Randy’s tail-gate brats at Principal Park on Sunday June 5th, following song services in both churches. The I-Cubs started off with a big lead, but lost it. Thankfully they came back to win the game in the 9th inning after blowing an 8-0 lead. The weather was perfect, and what fun to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon with so many friends. Already looking forward to next year.

Annual Conference
Kris Thomas and Pastor Dale represented the parish as delegates to the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church June 4-7 at HyVee hall. There was a lot of worship and study time, which was really quite exceptional. The conference speakers were amazing, encouraging, inspiring. Among them were our own Bishop Trimble, Mike Slaughter, Bishop Peggy Johnson, Dale Batcheler, Norma Morrison, Cynthia Wilson, and our District Superintendent Bill Poland. Check out their impressive bios here. Or check out the online audio archive to listen to any of these amazing speakers. Kris and Pastor Dale recommend you at least listen to one of Mike Slaughter’s talks.

What? A Harvest Festival in June?
How can that be? It’s easy. Even we did it. Here’s how. Last September at the LeRoy Presbyterian Harvest Festival 40 or so folks purchased tickets for a family-style dinner at the McClung House. Well, traditionally this dinner happens right after Christmas, but for one reason or another it kept being rescheduled. Finally on June 11 we enjoyed a fabulous roast beef dinner, with, you know, that incredible brown tapioca pudding that comes as a salad and satisfies like a dessert, not that we didn’t have dessert, too. I’ll do Harvest Festival Dinner any time of year if it’s at the McClung House, you betcha.

Kids to Camp
Our 2010-2011 TUF Team (after-school) program ended in April, except for those 6 TUF-Teamers who registered for summer church camp. This year all of them attended the Christian Church Conference Center in Newton during the last week in June. Scholarships from the church and from the camp itself make it possible for anyone to attend. It is the commitment of both the parish and the camp that cost will not keep any child who wants to from attending church camp. Parish scholarship money comes from our Cans for Camp program, where members bring their recyclable cans and plastic bottles to the church for us to reclaim the deposit on.

The Use of Money
Following the reasoning in John Wesley's Sermon #50 Pastor Dale preached 3 sermons on the use of money. Wesley's 3-fold rule on the use of money is: Gain all you can, Save all you can, and then Give all you can.
But since Wesley's time the English language has changed a bit and those 3 words Gain, Save, and Give don't mean today quite what they meant to Wesley.

Gain Gain all you can means to work hard. It is the opposite of sloth or laziness, and does not refer, as entrepreneurs today might think, to building wealth.

Save To Wesley, Saving is the opposite of accumulating money or goods. It is restraint in spending. It is living simply with only the necessities of life and health.

Give Give is not about giving a percentage to God or the church, but understanding that it all belongs to God. It is about taking care of God's possessions entrusted to you in a generous manner, providing for the wellbeing of all creation in this order 1st yourself, 2nd your family, and with your "overplus" 3rd the household of faith, and 4th the rest of the world.