A Strategic Future is ahead for Rome First. By location, tradition and disposition we are ready to serve creatively in a rapidly changing culture. Never in her illustrious history is Rome First more needed than at the present hour. And I am convinced you will rise to the occasion. The “DNA” of Rome First contains strong “markers” for Missional and Social engagement. If you look back in the history of Rome First, you see an amazing record of forward looking Faith that is demonstrated in so many varied ministries and missions that are still vital in the community today. These forward looking Ventures of Faith that, at their inception, required a measure of “corporate” Faith. A “corporate” Faith that allowed the Body of Believers called Rome First, to look and see what others could not see, to listen and hear what others could not hear, to understand the future by remembering the past.
The Eclipse event is over. The next time a solar event of this magnitude will occur in a path across North America will be April 8, 2024 even though it will not be the same path as the one this year. The last solar eclipse that crossed the contiguous United States was in 1979. With all the advancements in science, technology, space exploration, and computer modeling we still marvel at the wonders of creation that were set in motion at the moment this universe came into being. The “universal constant” in the ever changing and constantly evolving nature of living systems is they all have life spans. According to Planetary Science website – “A star like the Sun which is classified Gv2, yellow dwarf, has a life span of about 10 to 12 billion years. The Sun is now @ 4.6 billion years old, which makes the Sun middle aged. Alpha Centuari B is an Orange Dwarf about the same size as our sun, but is a Kv5 Star, has a life span of 15 to 30 billion years.”
The Race continues…
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Nicknames -Son of Tater –
or A Single Word can change a whole LIFE…
His family was poor. A fire in their small farmhouse destroyed almost everything they owned, and they owned very little. They were able to toss a few belongings out of the door before the flames engulfed the wooden frame structure and quickly reduced it to ashes and memories. They were able to rebuild and start over. He was 9 at the time, the year was 1927 and times were hard. He and his brother, who was 12 at the time of the fire, did what they could to help the family start over. He was nimble of feet and strong for his age. He could plow the mule and hoist a 90 pound sack of feed over his shoulder with ease.
Ephesians 3:16-20 – “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,”
Marching forward in Faith - ALL IN to go ALL OUT!
WHEN JESUS FED THE 4,000, the disciples were concerned because they could not see how to meet the needs at hand. “Jesus said to them, ‘How much do you have?’ Jesus showed them it was enough. After all were fed, there was an abundance left over.” (Matthew 15:34-38) God has given us all we need and more if we each share what we have…it’s in our hands.
the action of revising: the plan needs drastic revision.
• a revised edition or form of something.
“re:Vision” – about Vision – It started while having a meeting at a local coffee house where several staff and lay leadership assembled to ponder the metrics of membership and plot a course forward for ministry and mission. We began with a simple question. “who is not here?” and that question led to a second question, “Why?”
2017 is before us and it holds countless untold opportunities to be the CHURCH! What will God do in 2017? Where will God lead us as faithful followers in the coming 365 days of 2017?
The results of the worship surveys are in and from my review of the comments/input from 94 folks were most informative!
The results from the follow-up survey, sent out to the initial worship survey respondents, yielded interesting results from 31 responders. The follow-up survey had two questions and opportunity for feedback and comments. (Follow-Up Survey) The survey respondents offered valuable feedback and information that has helped to shape and inform the decisions about worship experiences in 2017.
First Light Worship will now be called "Early 30" and be held at 8:30 am. The service will feature some of the familiar liturgy of the Service of Word and Table and Holy Communion each week. The music will be a mixture of hymns and songs from the Faith We Sing.
The Contemporary Worship Experience – “Worship on the Wilder Side” will be held in the Wilder Center at 9:00 AM. The order of worship will reflect a contemplative, modern worship opportunity with the sermon/spoken word and response to the word being placed near the close of the worship experience.
The 11:00 AM Traditional Worship will remain unchanged. However, the order of worship utilized during the advent preview will remain in place. The Sermon and Response to the Word near the close of the worship Order.
Looking forward to seeing you all in worship at Rome First! Whether it is at, Early 30, Worship on the Wilder Side or Traditional Worship - Whether it is in the Historic Sanctuary or the Wilder Center –there is a place for ALL at Rome First.
I pray as this New Year begins you will make worship a priority. There are three options for you to attend each week and the same opportunities for you to invite your friends, neighbors, associates and acquaintances to attend as well!
“A Retelling of the Christmas Story from Luke 2 paraphrased by Robert Brown”
On that very night, suddenly a bright new Star appeared. Of all the stars in the whole sky, this one star shone brighter and clearer than all the stars in the sky above. It blazed in the night sky and made all the other stars look dim and pale.
Tim Tebow is making headlines yet again. He signed autographs after playing in a minor league baseball game when he saw a fan having what appeared to be a seizure. Tebow talked and prayed with him until paramedics arrived, then promised to check on him later. "God bless you, buddy," he said. As Tebow headed for the team bus, fans saluted him. "That was class," one said.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT) - “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Bucket Lists and Dreams – Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) – “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” The mission of Rome First is to Love God, Love People and Serve the World and we envision living out and living into that mission Serving Rome by Loving and Welcoming all as partners in transformation…
Pokémon GO, the new smartphone game from Nintendo and Niantic, has recently generated crazy headlines as it continues to add new members and make mind-boggling amounts of money with each passing day. The game uses your phone's GPS and camera to turn your world into a real-life scavenger hunt for the Pokémon millions grew up seeing only on their Gameboys. In the week since its release, it has already increased Nintendo's value by over $9 billion dollars-a more than twenty-five percent jump- and iPhone users alone spend roughly $1.6 million a day on in-app purchases. When one considers that the game has only been officially released in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, it is understandable why many forecast that those profits will only grow across the coming months.
Annual Conference is over and I have been reappointed as Senior Pastor of Rome First for a fourth year! LaDonna Sawyer joins us as the Director of Hospitality and Connections. As we move into a fourth year of ministry together we can look back and agree that much has happened in the world in the last three years, much has happened here in Rome and at Rome First. The Southeastern Jurisdiction will meet July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina and elect 5 Bishops. The General Conference of the United Methodist Church was held in May and you read some of the reports and observations in the June issue of the Herald. The business of the General Conference is to "act on issues and matters pertaining to the general church", and as such the General Conference is the only entity authorized or recognized as the "official voice" of United Methodists around the world. Some people watching the actions and outcomes of the General Conference focused their attention on the discussion, debate and discourse at General Conference centered on Human Sexuality and a faithful response to issues related to the LGBTQ community, including ordination and same sex marriage ceremonies. While these topics and issues are important, they were not and are not the focal point for the future. Our focus, emphasis and mandate is to Make Disciples for Jesus Christ.
The 2016 General Conference is over and the people called United Methodists from all over the world have returned home to carry on the Mission of the United Methodist Church – Making faithful Disciples for Jesus Christ. If you would like to know more about the resolutions, debates, and Christian Conferencing that took place for ten days in Portland Oregon, you may read the section entitled General Conference Report in this edition of the Herald or follow the link ngumc.org/GC2016 . Mission and Vision are necessary for any group of people and it is especially true as the “group” grows. The Mission defines what we do (and what we don’t do as well). The Vision defines how we accomplish the mission. Many of the actions voted on will have virtually no direct impact on the ministry and mission of Rome First. There will be media “spin” and hype from all sides declaring victory for their “cause”! For me there is only one cause – Making Disciples for Jesus Christ. To fulfill our shared mission, we must keep the main thing the main thing – The main thing is making Disciples for Jesus Christ.
In the Baptismal Covenant that we use to celebrate Confirmation I ask the Candidates the following questions concerning their renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith -
On behalf of the whole Church, I ask you:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?
We celebrated the reception of the Confirmation class of 2016 a few weeks ago and baptized three new members into the Body of Christ. As we shared together in worship and the confirmation class and those being baptized were asked the historic questions that allow them to publicly profess their Faith in Jesus Christ, I was reminded of STAR WARS and the recent Vision Pathway Team Report. Here's how -
The world has lost interest in many interesting things...
According to a recent Pew Foundation survey, people today have lost interest in Religion, but claim Spirituality is the most important aspect of their life! What can this mean? Have people lost interest in Jesus or in the "shenanigans" of Christianity, which often bears no resemblance to Christ's example?
Jesus did not come to cajole or manipulate people. He did not come to debate or lead by forceful personality. He never tried to gather a crowd (although crowds gathered whenever Jesus taught, healed or spoke). And Jesus never tried to build an organization. He never marketed himself or developed his "brand". Instead, he exemplified this quality that we all need - Gentleness.
My how fast things change - changing times and an unchanging message!
My thumbs are clumsy at typing on my phone's tiny keyboard, and the phone constantly substitutes the wrong word for what I mean. I quickly realized that if I wanted to "stay in touch" with our daughters, I would have to adapt my primary form of communication from face to face and in person conversations and even phone calls to texts, tweets and Facebook posts. I am a reluctant "texter". But, I'm clearly in the minority: A recent survey indicates that eighty percent of Americans prefer texting to voice calls.
In a study conducted by psychologists from Binghamton University, participants were found to be significantly more likely to view period-punctuated texts less genuine than unpunctuated texts. So apparently, when texting, the more you punctuate, the less real you are?