All posts by Pat Gustafson

7 Spiritual Practices for the New Year

Cultivating our faith life is an important part of wellness. Here are a few ways to gain new perspective of yourself, others and God throughout the year.  <!–split–>

  • Try praying at different times during the day. You may notice that you pray differently at different times of the day.
  • Laughter and rejoicing need to be a part of our faith life. Think of something funny that has happened, and thank God for giving us humor in our lives.
  • Loving yourself is the first step in “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Spend a few minutes writing about what it means to love yourself. Remember that God loves you.
  • Meditation or listening is a part of our faith life that we often neglect. Consider taking 5 minutes to sit quietly and breathe. Try to quiet your inner voice and just listen.
  • Go for a prayerful walk and remember that all of creation belongs to God, though it can be easy to forget that. The air you breathe and the ground you walk on belong to God.
  • Pray a movement prayer. Stretch out your arms. Touch your toes. Stretch your neck. Feel the brilliance in God’s creation and the way that your body is put together.
  • Thankfulness comes in a variety of forms. Each day make a list of everything that you encounter for which you are thankful. At the end of the day, incorporate the list into a prayer.

Visit Church Health Reader for more healthy flyers: chreader.org

Happy New Year from Your Parish Nurse,    Kara

New Beginning

For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a book’s best friend. I recently read this thought about two journeys for the soul. One goes from place to place seeking something or someone to             satisfy. It is often disappointed and soon picks up and journeys again. The other is a journey to Jesus Christ. There one finds a peace that is lasting and a presence that satisfies and fulfills. So New Year is supremely a time for decision. By the mercies of God we have been brought and blessed with the opportunity to begin again. The New Year, however is not altogether unexplored territory. As we move through it, we shall find some well-trodden paths, and we shall see the footprints of the saints who have walked the way of God before us, the way that God himself marked out when he clothed himself in our flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth.  <!–split–>

There will always be a familiar sign in front of us. “This is the way; walk ye in it.” This year let us follow that sign and we shall move toward that city whose maker and builder is God. Should we choose to ignore that sign and wander into the path of our own devising, and soon the territory of  tomorrow will take on the dreary, futile appearance of all our wasted yesterdays.

 —Pastor Stan

Celebrate The Holidays At Bethel Wesley

Bethel Wesley’s Cookie Walk & Bake Sale   —  Saturday, December 8th, 8:00 – 11:00 am in the Activity Center.  Cookies are .25 cents each / $3.00 per dozen. Stay and have a cup of coffee!

 The Evans Family will host a Christmas Open House in the Activity Center on Sunday, December 16th  from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

The Callahan Family Christmas Recital is Sunday, 23 December at 3:00 pm in the Sanctuary.  Don’t miss this special time of music from such a talented family.

UMW Is Selling Pecans. These are high-quality pecans from this year’s crop. Purchase your pecans from Mary Ann Harvey …. $9.00 for a 16-oz. bag.

Purchase Your Poinsettias – $8.00 each. Order forms will be in the Sunday bulletins. The poinsettias will decorate the Sanctuary for our Christmas Eve Service, then you can take your plant home. afterwards.

Angel Child Names will be on the mantle in the Narthex on December 2nd and 9th.  Presents need to be wrapped and brought to church by December 9.  Thanks!

FROM THE DESK OF PASTOR STAN: “The Undivided Heart” (part 3) by Carolyn Moore

The people did what people mostly do.  They allowed the voice of fear to drown out the voice of potential and it cost them dearly.  That day, God turned them back from the border of promise.  He sent them out into the wilderness again where he promptly vowed that not one of their generation would see the land flowing with milk and honey.  Fear would not be woven into the DNA of his chosen people, not if God had anything to do with it.  <!–split–>

So the people got in the wilderness what they were most afraid of getting in the Promised Land.  They were destroyed by their own choice.  For 38 years they wandered like dead men walking before another generation found itself toe-to-toe with God’s purposes.

I wonder if most of that first generation even knew how close they were to greatness?  I wonder if, way down the road, some of them sat around campfires and wondered aloud, “What do you suppose would have become of us if we had listened to Joshua and Caleb?  How do you suppose it would have turned out?”  Did they even stop to think about it as they poked their fires or packed up their tents yet again or held their cups beneath water flowing from rocks?

Did they think that deeply? Did they assume, like most people, that what they had twenty or thirty years out from that decision was all there was?  Did they ever stop to imagine more than mediocrity punctuated by death?  Or did they simply go about their lives, making grocery lists, making beds, making a living, making do?

I wonder, but I can’t judge.  After all, I am an Israelite myself.  I peek over into spiritual promises and my little internal band of spies reports back, “That’ll never work for you,” and far too often I listen to those voices of fear or laziness or institutional caution and I miss out.

Who knows how long I’ve wandered, unaware of the promises I’ve turned down, while God in his mercy determines to kill of all in me that reeks of fear?

Who knows how long our denomination as a whole will wander, while God in his mercy determines to kill off all in us that reeks of fear?  What if, even now, we are wandering in a desert of our own making, unable to image more than mediocrity punctuated by death?  Friends, fear is a killer.  It kills spirits and can even thwart great moves of God.  I hope we are not hanging on to an institution simply because we are afraid of stepping into God’s vision for us.

Are you resolved to devote yourself wholly?  Not half-heartedly.  Not with your spare change and spare time.  Not only as far as your comforts will take you.   Not fearfully, but wholly to God and God’s work?  In your study and worship and fellowship and serving and in the truth you share, be passionately committed to the pursuit of wholeness so you can be in passionate pursuit of the presence of Christ.  Without that kind of vulnerable, wholehearted faith it is impossible to please God.

NOVEMBER DATES TO REMEMBER

Wednesday’s With Pastor Stan – Join the Pastor every Wednesday at 10:30 am or 6:00 pm. Focus of this small-group study is “Living A God-Pleasing Life!”

Mexican Consulate    The Mexican Consulate will be here Tuesday-Saturday, 13-17 November in the Activity Center.

2018 Charge Conference to be held at Bethel Wesley UMC on Sunday, 18 November at 6:00 pm.

Ecumenical Service set for Sunday, 25 November hosted by Pastor Stan and Reverend Grimes of Churches United at 5:00 pm on Sunday, 25 November. A nice group of local pastors will be here and your support of this service is greatly appreciated.

SIGN-UP FOR CHURCH AND SOCIETY EVENTS

We will be accepting cash for our Thanksgiving Baskets on Sundays November 4th and November 11th.  The money will be used to purchase food for filling baskets to be distributed for Thanksgiving.

A sign-up sheet to make sandwiches for Kings Harvest will be in the hallway on the following Sundays:  November 11th – 18th – 25th.