Tuesday Tickle

Weekly writings from the desk of Pastor Mark

Wednesday
Dec172014

Tickle - December 17, 2014

What an amazing weekend of ministry! The Cantata was just heavenly at 8:30 am and 11 am! The church-wide breakfast brunch concept in the middle hour coordinated by Ro Robins and the Robinettes (and others) was just heavenly! Thank you for bringing so much food! The Children’s Christmas program later that evening was just heavenly – forty “Pre-K through 6th graders” can rock the world when they sing out like that! All the extra special things that so many of you did to make this weekend truly “something special” was just heavenly. And the way groups of people jumped in and helped out was breath-taking.  Thank you Circle of Love for circling all 185 of us at the Children’s program Sunday evening with a dessert fellowship that was – you guessed it – just heavenly!   And in the midst of this weekend, many of us extended our loving care and ministry to two beloved families of our church (the Steeds and the Heads) who suffered great loss. And we added our participation more formally at the Vogel State Park Christmas program for our community. I am very, very, very proud of every one of you! Now rest, Christmas is coming…

Welcome New Member

Judy Hair: PO Box 488, Young Harris, GA  30582

Tuesday Night CEC Fundraiser at Zaxby’s

 Rumor has it there will be some really nice servants working an extra special shift at Zaxby’s on TONIGHT from 5-8 pm. Make certain you eat dinner their that night and harass encourage them! A percentage of the sales that night will be given to our CEC preschool. The CEC team will be there!

Wednesday Night

Last Fundamental’s for children and youth in the fall cycle is this week – no adult Bible study

Thursday Worship Service: 4 pm

The truth is everyone of us has some aspect of our lives that is not really the way we want it to be. Sometimes, the Christmas season magnifies those feelings as we watch “the rest of the world” walk seemingly hip deep in the joy of the season. And outwardly, we too may be full of joy, but there is still something tugging at our heart strings that keeps us from being fully engaged by the spirit of Christmas. Maybe you are struggling with a physical illness. Maybe this is the first Christmas without a loved one. Maybe you experienced a loss in your family years ago at Christmas. Maybe you’re just wanting to sit in an “OASIS with God” to get away from the pace of the season. There are 1000 reasons for a part of all of us not being ready to sing the Christmas Carols of the season.  We will simply be sharing some words of comfort and hope, we will pray, and we will be in Communion with God and each other through this service. And you do not need to “do anything” in this service other than come be in God’s presence. There will be no Christmas Carols and no offering – we are just making ourselves present for God and for you. Please come if that would be helpful for you – I AM will be here. Come breathe deep the grace of GOD.

Friday

Last Day of our CEC (preschool) and Union County Schools - Christmas Break begins on Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next Week

Christmas Eve Services: 5:30 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm – find a friend to bring – or 10! The special offering this year is once again for The Hope House. Remember to bring your empty and clean gallon milk jugs this week to the bin at the MAC desk – our “luminary team” will put them to good use on Christmas Eve lighting the way to the Sanctuary.

MAC Closed for the Holidays

The MAC will be closed Dec 24, 25, 26, 29,30,31, Jan 1Jan 2

Christmas Card Table is Up

If you would like to give a Christmas card to another person in the church, simply place it on the table in the the Narthex under the appropriate alphabetical heading. Check the table often to pick up any cards left for you!

OASIS CD’s for Sale (Great Christmas Present!)

The musical Cd recorded by our OASIS students this fall is available to purchase in the Church Office – $10 each. See Evelyn!Parish Nurse Ministry Events:Here are two activities of the Parish Nurses that we want everyone to know about. First, our Parish Nurses are taking blood pressures near the MAC desk on the first Sunday’s of the month from 9:30 am to 10 am.  It’s free, just come sit and be checked. Also, they are coordinating our December Blood Drive. The blood drive will occur December 28th in the Fellowship Hall from 9:30 am to 2 pm. On that Sunday, plan to give the gift of life in this season of giving.

Call for a New 9:45 am Sunday School Class

We have now had several families throw their name into this hat. Please consider this if you are looking for a Sunday School class at 9:45 am. Due to recent growth, there is a need rising for a new Sunday School class of parents of children were the parents wish to worship in the 11 am Traditional worship service or 8:30Traditional worship. If that is your desire and you are interested in forming a new Life Group of parents, simply respond to this email indicating a desire to know more as this group takes shape. I will be collecting responses for several weeks to see if we have enough interest to start that class in early 2015.

Concerns/Praises: PRAY WITHOUT CEASING

This is not a complete list – just immediate prayer needs for the immediate faith family in the week ahead

  • Steed Family/Head & Allen Family – recent loses in their family
  • Kathy Heyer’s brother (Rick) – under home hospice care now here in David and Kathy’s home in Blairsville
  • Grady Garner’s grandmother under hospice care
  • H.R. Warden – moved from hospital to Union County Nursing Home (pink 109)
  • Richard Hoibraten’s brother James in California – late stage cancer
  • Jim DeRevere– home recovering from another detached retina surgery
  • Sue Chumley – at home recovering after back procedure today in Gainesville
  • Bill Kolb – Gall bladder surgery anticipated after Christmas
  • Henry von Staden – further testingMyrtle von Staden nephew in Baltimore (life threatening illness)
  • Donna Morningstar – cautiously reinitiating food.
  • Valerie Metcalf – undergoing chemo treatments
  • Jane Driskell/Shirley Cobb/Bob Head/Eva Breedlove– chronic back/pain issuesThose fighting active cancer from our faith family:
  • Valerie MetcalfJoyce Kible, Donna Morningstar and several others (in various stages of testing and treatment)

A Note from Your Finance Team

 Giving in the weeks of December has been as follows: December 7, $22,587, December 14, $32,230. Thank you so very much for your heaven sent generosity! 

God’s Boundless Joy,      

Senior Pastor              

Wednesday
Dec102014

Merry Christmas - December 10, 2014

The plans have all been made. Your staff team has everything on the launching pad. But now it is your turn to also allow God to work through you this Christmas. The truth is that Christmas is THE ONE season that people who otherwise would not set foot inside a Church are willing to come. They come for many reasons. God moves through the human heart in this season. Be bold in the weeks ahead. Take the time to lovingly invite others to our Christmas events. Notice the stranger in your life who you “Miraculously” bump into in the next few days. Think of those in the routine of your life who you have not invited to Church in a while – even if they have said “no” to many other invites. Sit quietly and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you to people who might really appreciate that gentle loving invitation to come. I think the biggest thing that keeps people away on Christmas is often not having someone to sit with them. “You” are the solution to that barrier.
 
The opportunities that folks “not of the Church” often are open to attend if someone invites them are:

 This Sunday is our Christmas Cantata 
that will be presented in its full form with all resources at 8:30 am and 11 am with the Christmas Brunch in the MAC at 9:45.

 
Christmas Eve Candle Light Services

  on Wednesday Evening,December 24. Our one hour services are at 5:30 pm7 pm and 11 pm. Loving nursery is provided at the 5:30 service and 7 pm service. Just follow the candle light luminaries off of Hwy 515 to the Sanctuary!

Advent Prayer Service

We are also offering a small prayer service this year. The ~30 minute service will happen in the Sanctuary on December 18, at 4 pm. The truth is everyone of us has some aspect of our lives that is not really the way we want it to be. Sometimes, the Christmas season magnifies those feelings as we watch “the rest of the world” walk seemingly hip deep in the joy of the season. And outwardly, we too may be full of joy, but there is still something tugging at our heart strings that keeps us from being fully engaged by the spirit of Christmas. Maybe you are struggling with a physical illness. Maybe this is the first Christmas without a loved one. Maybe you experienced a loss in your family years ago at Christmas. Maybe you’re just wanting to sit in an “OASIS with God” for 30 minutes to get away from the pace of the season. There are 1000 reasons for a part of all of us not being ready to sing the Christmas Carols of the season.  We will simply be sharing some words of comfort and hope, we will pray, and we will be in Communion with God and each other through a simplified (but powerful) Holy Communion. And you do not need to “do anything” in this service but come be in God’s presence. There will be no Christmas Carols and no offering – we are just making ourselves present for God and for you. Please come if that would be helpful for you – I AM will be here – for you. The doors will be open at 3:30 pm and gentle music will be playing before the service. Come breathe deep the grace of GOD.
 

Some Tickle Additions / Changes

The Parish Nurses are present on the first Sunday of each month to take blood pressures – not this week as indicated yesterday.
 

Prayer Updates

Bill Kolb is at Union General Hospital preparing to have his gall bladder removed. He may be sent home for a couple of weeks before they do the surgery. Keep Bill and Diane in your prayers. They are some of our newer members.
 
Keep Harold and Carissa Wimpey and their little ones in your prayers. They are one of our beloved CEC families. Harold has been diagnosed with cancer.
 
In His service with His compassionate, inviting, Love,

 

Wednesday
Dec102014

December 9 - Tickle

Can you believe this coming week is the THIRD week of Advent already! I am including my sermon notes from this last Sunday to help you slow down, truly appreciate Christmas,  and “HOPEFULLY” see what I call the “Big Picture.” This coming Sunday is Cantata Sunday – full choir, instruments, kitchen sink – it’s all in there! Find a friend (or twelve) to bring to the Cantata that will be performed at both 8:30 am and 11 am in the Sanctuarythis Sunday. We will have a church-wide breakfast brunch in the MAC at9:45 am instead of the 9:45 am Worship Service. Food is being prepared, but feel free to bring something simple and easy to this brunch to share (but not necessary to bring anything – just come!) Wear your nametags to Churchthis Sunday so you can mingle with the folks from the other services and maybe learn a few new names. The Children’s Christmas play is at 6 pm in the MAC on Sunday evening. Please come out and see what our children have done to help you and I encounter Jesus this Christmas and then affirm them all at the “dessert fellowship” in the MAC immediately following the performance. They will put a smile on your face and warm your heart. The Youth Christmas party begins at 7:30 pm on Sunday night in the Youth room (lower level of the MAC.) Let us center ourselves in Jesus as we come together to hear His story sung with joy.


Welcome New Members

Alex and Pat Box: 46 Hunters Place, Blairsville, GA 30512


Christmas Program at Vogel State Park THIS Saturday

 I hope you come to the community Christmas program at Vogel State Park from 5-7 pm this coming Saturday for food, music, program, hayrides, Santa, fellowship, Tree Lighting, and much more. It’s free and you DO NOT need a state park pass tag for this one event. Bring the whole family! It looks like a clear warm day in the Mountains on Saturday – come be amazed at God’s amazing Creation in all it’s beauty. Many of us will be serving there in many ways that day. 


Christmas Card Table is Up

 If you would like to give a Christmas card to another person in the church, simply place it on the table in the the Narthex under the appropriate alphabetical heading. Check the table often to pick up any cards left for you!


OASIS CD’s for Sale (Great Christmas Present!)

The musical Cd recorded by our OASIS students this fall is available to purchase in the Church Office – $10 each. See Evelyn! 


Welcome Kate Snow

Kate Snow enhanced our 9:45 am praise band this last Sunday by being our newest electric keyboardist. THANK YOU SO MUCH KATE! She is a freshman at Young Harris College. If you get a chance to hear her or see her, please join with me in letting her know how much we appreciate her!


Luminary Drive

We are collecting clear, empty, 1 gallon water jugs. These will become illuminators along our driveway for our Christmas Eve services. There is a collection box in the MAC entrance. Please bring them so that the candle light may lead us to worship that night.


THANK YOU UMW CIRCLE OF LOVE

Fifteen ladies from this UMW (United Methodist Women) circle volunteered for a day’s service at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse in Atlanta this last week. Way to go ladies!


THANK YOU FUMC YOUTH for the Christmas Parade Float

We will share a picture or two of the float and parade this Sunday – thank you everyone involved to make our first float a reality in the Blairsville Christmas parade.


Angel Tree Ministry

The tree is still full of life. The decorations are all little angels. You are invited to come take one of those little Angels off the tree and go purchasethe one item listed on the Angel you pick. Do not wrap the item. Simply purchase it and then place it under the Angel Tree with your Angel decoration attached to it. The ladies overseeing this ministry this year will take all those toys to the Upson County Sheriff’s Department December 15.The Sheriff’s Department will be distributing those toys to underprivileged children ages 1-10 yrs old who live in Union County.


Two Special Offering Opportunities for December

 The Missions Committee has once again designated that 100% of the offering received at all three FUMC Christmas Eve services will go towards the HOPE House – our local Blairsville ecumenical ministry that resources people of this community in financial need. Also, your Staff / Parish Committee (SPR) is once again inviting the Congregation to make a Christmas Love Offering for the Staff team as a way of saying thank you for all they do – especially in this very busy time of year. The Staff Team love offering is the designated special offering for the month of December.


Parish Nurse Ministry Events

Here are two activities of the Parish Nurses that we want everyone to know about. First, our Parish Nurses are taking blood pressures near the MAC deskon Sunday’s from 9:30 am to 10 am.  It’s free, just come sit and be checked. Also, they are coordinating our December Blood Drive. The blood drive will occur December 28th in the Fellowship Hall from 9:30 am to 2 pm. On thatSunday, plan to give the gift of life in this season of giving.


Call for a New 9:45 am Sunday School Class

We have now had several families throw their name into this hat. Please consider this if you are looking for a Sunday School class at 9:45 am. Due to recent growth, there is a need rising for a new Sunday School class of parents of children were the parents wish to worship in the 11 amTraditional worship service. If that is your desire and you are interested in forming a new Life Group of parents, simply respond to this email indicating a desire to know more as this group takes shape. I will be collecting responses for several weeks to see if we have enough interest to start that class in early 2015.


CEC Fundraiser at Zaxby’s

Rumor has it there will be some really nice servants working an extra special shift at Zaxby’s on December 16 from 5-8 pm. Make certain you eat dinner their that night and harass encourage them! A percentage of the sales that night will be given to our CEC preschool. The CEC team will be there!


Denominational News

The General Board of Global Missions held it’s second annual giving Tuesday event on December 2nd. A total of 2.5 million dollars was given. THE GBGM matched the first million gifts producing a $3.5 million dollar contribution day to United Methodist missions and missionaries around the globe. We did submit your $1,500 that you gave in the November special offering to our partner Czech Church (Slany UMC.) We have no way of knowing if that gift was one that was matched – but let’s have HOPE!


North Georgia Conference News

Per the published stories, the North Georgia Conference has entered into agreement to sell our 227 acre property at Simpsonwood in NE Atlanta to Gwinnett County and the City of Peachtree Corners for $16 million dollars for passive park use. That will bring to closure the almost $1 million dollars/year loss the churches of the North Georgia Conference subsidize each year. Gwinnett County and Peachtree Corners will end up with a great park space. We at First Methodist would have contributed $1500 to support Simpsonwood operations in 2015 through our apportioned giving. Simpsonwood operations will be shut down this month..


Concerns/Praises: PRAY WITHOUT CEASING

This is not a complete list – just immediate prayer needs for the immediate faith family in the week ahead

  • Kathy Heyer’s brother (Rick) – under home hospice care now here in David and Kathy’s home in Blairsville
  • Doris Bishop (Debbie Steed’s Mother) – under home hospice care at David and Debbie’s home
  • Grady Garner’s grandmother under hospice careH.R. Warden – moved from hospital to Union County Nursing Home (pink 109)
  • Richard Hoibraten’s brother James in California – late stage cancerCarol Head – in and out of two hospitals with general health issues – home now.
  • Rod Johnson – home recovering from knee procedureHazel Douglas – awaiting test results
  • Henry von Staden – heart cath was clear but did have heart event during procedure requiring further testing
  • Myrtle von Staden nephew in Baltimore (life threatening illness)
  • Donna Morningstar – cautiously reinitiating food.
  • Valerie Metcalf – undergoing chemo treatments
  • Jane Driskell/Shirley Cobb/Bob Head/Charlie Wooten/Eva Breedlove– chronic back/pain issues
  • Those fighting active cancer from our faith family:
  • Valerie MetcalfJoyce Kible, Donna Morningstar and several others (in various stages of testing and treatment)

A Note from Your Finance Team

Giving in the weeks of December has been as follows: December 7, $22,587. Thank you so very much for your generosity! 

God’s Boundless Joy,

See the BIG Picture!

Mark 13: 32-37

Occasion:

Second Sunday of Advent. Because of last week’s baptism, I switched the lectionary week

one and week 2 around this year. We are in our Sermon series, “Hope for the Holidays.” It

is also December 7th

– National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – and we have many in our

congregation who lived through that day – there is a palpable patriotic service undertone

to today. I sense the need to set a reflective tone today. The fast-paced Christmas

season of events is ramping up – I always hate that reality. We get too busy. I am one of

the worst at letting that happen to me. I felt led by the Spirit of God to get everyone to

pause and see the BIG Picture before they blink and this season is all over - once again.

Scripture: Mark 13:32-37 NRSV (Jesus is speaking to His Disciples)

The Necessity for Watchfulness

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but

only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is

like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with

his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for

you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or

at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And

what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Sermon:

Introduction

I think I’ve told you before that I’m “that person” most people despise in November.

It’s because, when I am not living in a parsonage, I’m “that person” in your neighborhood

who just can’t wait for Christmas. And I live at “that house” you drive by saying, “Look at

that fool, he’s putting up his Christmas lights and the Thanksgiving leftovers haven’t even

cooled yet!” The Gospel truth is that I turn into a small child at Christmas –Shannon can

tell you stories. I always have and I pray that I always will. It just can’t come soon enough

for me which is why it’s never too early to put up the Christmas decorations!

If it wasn’t for the levelheaded intervention by Shannon, I would find a way to sneak those

decorations up earlier and earlier every year and drag my feet taking them down later and

later every year until my ultimate childhood dream finally comes to pass – WORLDWIDE,

YEAR ROUND, GLORIOUS, UNENDING CHRISTMAS!

I know - you think I’m crazy. But if you keep watching – you’ll see, it’s actually going to

happen one of these days...it says so right here in God’s book.

Sermon Prayer

Would you please pray with me: (God of what was, what is, and what will be theme)

Rev. Mark Burgess Page 1 of 5 12-7-2014

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See the BIG Picture!

Mark 13: 32-37

Sermon Body

My understanding of Christmas has changed a lot over the years. Perhaps yours has too

when you take time to slow down and reflect upon it.

My first understanding when I was a small child was quite simple – “TOYS” – “gift wrapped

toys” just miraculously appeared in the midst of my life – it was great! The only part that

wasn’t great was having to wait for what seemed like an eternity until Mom sounded the

starting signal for the gifts to be unwrapped. Do you remember how hard it was to wait? I

was one of those kids that would get physically sick from the excitement of waiting.

My brother & I often opened our gifts while foaming at the mouth – not even knowing why

we received the gift - not even pausing to look at the tag to see who gave the gift –

all that mattered was “there was a gift to be opened!” Do you remember?

One does not dilly dally with really silly time consuming questions like “why” and “from who”

when the gift has been placed directly in your lap – ESPECIALLY - once you hear those

words that come straight out of heaven itself, “Go ahead, you can open it now!”

Do you remember the joy?

As I grew older, I became more observant about Christmas. I began to see things that

I hadn’t noticed as a young child. It wasn’t about who got the most gifts anymore, it was

about what the “Spirit of Christmas” did in the “gift giving season.” And I noticed how

people’s whole attitude, whole perspective, literally their whole outlook on life often

changed at Christmas – all divinely transformed in a powerful, pervasive, positive way.

I began to sense the inherent hope that this time of year brings to so many. It’s an

incredible restoration of Spirit - but unfortunately, we all know that it only lasts a fleeting

month at best before the world’s voices, noises and credit card invoices drone it out. Do

you remember asking yourself, “Why can’t it stay Christmas forever?”

(L. Pause)

Later in life, I reached this place where I am today where I became reflective about

Christmas. I began to connect my holiday experiences of “receiving gifts that I did nothing

to deserve” with the movement of God in my life. I began to GET IT.

Instead of seeing Christmas as a moment of fleeting good will, I began to see Christmas as

the affirmation of two eternal truths; “God is with us” and “God is for us.”

People, that means we have hope! That’s where our hope comes from.

I now see Christmas as a future glimpse of what will come to pass – not what “should

come”, not what “might come”, but what “will come” to pass – all with crystal clarity as

my gaze is turned towards Heaven – realizing that when Heaven breaks in – it will be

Rev. Mark Burgess Page 2 of 5 12-7-2014

Page 3 of 5

See the BIG Picture!

Mark 13: 32-37

permanent this next time.

Which may be why I find myself watching the stars a lot this time of year.

Not the dancing stars on TV, I’m talking about the original ones, the twinkling ones – the

lights above in that dark night sky. One of the benefits of these cold winter nights is the

sky is crystal clear. Everything seems to be in focus. You can see everything with great

clarity. You can see the big picture. And if you look reflectively, I believe you can see a

great future of Hope eternal.

Have you looked up recently? There are lights up there that are gold, silver, blue, and

red. In my minds eye, they form a giant Christmas tree up in the heavens. I think of that

starlit sky as God’s own Christmas tree – under which God placed a great gift to God’s own

creation one night – a gift that none of us deserves – a gift that brought us a glimpse of

the way things will be one day – but not lasting for just a fleeting month – but FOR EVER!

Every chance I get, I stare at that heavenly display of stars.

I stare at night into God’s twinkling Christmas tree (up there),

I stare and I ponder and I reflect about what was, what is, and what is to come.

I think Jesus had one of those reflective moments too.

It’s recorded right here in the 13th

chapter of Mark.

The Disciples walking in Jerusalem with Jesus looked up at the awesome sight created by

the Temple Mount – truly one of the man-made wonders of the ancient world - mammoth

stones –some 20 feet long or larger, covered with huge plates of gold, an engineering

marvel of human accomplishment. The Disciples were gazing in awe – at least until - Jesus

realized this man-made structure was the object of their gaze.

Can you just see the look on their faces when He burst their bubble saying (Mark

Burgess paraphrase), “That Temple that you’re so enamored with will be destroyed in this

generation – not one of those stones will remain on top of the other.” I think it was His

way of saying nothing built by human hands will last. And the historical truth is Jerusalem

was totally destroyed in roughly 40 years - in 70 AD.

I believe Jesus then moved directly from that Jerusalem future event driven by humanity

to the ultimate future event driven by Divinity. I believe He was reflecting on where this

tumultuous creation is ultimately headed. His gaze turned towards the heavenly big picture

as He kept talking out loud.

Rev. Mark Burgess Page 3 of 5 12-7-2014

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See the BIG Picture!

Mark 13: 32-37

Jesus tells them about the ultimate end of the age when the Son of Man comes IN THE

SKY with great power and glory. And if you’re like me, you first tremble at claiming that

image as your future. Is that future a good thing or is it a bad thing? At first, we’re

uncertain. (S. Pause)

Like the bewildered Disciples standing in front of the massive temple mount, we have a

hard time hearing that the world that we know will one day fully pass away.

Now if that concerns you, reflect for a moment about what exactly you’re holding onto.

Personally, I’m good with all this frustration, all this hurtfulness, all this unfairness,

all this disappointment, all this injustice, all this grief, all this betrayal, all this pain, all

this brokenness coming to an end when the Kingdom of God breaks through ALL of God’s

creation – there is no doubt in my mind THAT WILL BE A GOOD DAY!

Because on that day we have God’s promise that there will be no more death, no more pain,

and no more tears. To me, that is the source of our DIVINE Hope.

Honestly, I think what bugs us most is the waiting. When Jesus? When? The first Coming

of Christ is neatly marked on our calendar. We know when to avoid the malls, we know when

the gifts must be mailed by, we know when the inlaws and outlaws will be over for dinner

and we even know the very hour we’ll experience the arrival of Christ (either 5:30 pm,

7 pm or 11 pm on Wednesday, December 24th). It’s so human to think we have God on a

schedule like that – isn’t it? (L. Pause)

Tell us Jesus - tell us when to mark Your second Coming on our calendar? When Jesus?

When? The truth is we are still those small children waiting for those Heavenly Words

saying to us “Go ahead, you can open it now”.

Instead of telling us “when”, our Christ answers our plea with this (Mark Burgess

paraphrased): “My servants, the master has placed you at task in His house until His

return – do your work - stay focused on the big picture so that when the master returns,

you’ve not have fallen asleep on the job. That’s all you need to be concerned with.”

This season above all seasons reminds us how much God desires our focus, our attention,

and our steadfastness. God came in the flesh to save us from our fall, lift us from our

current struggle, and lead us into a glorious future. If that’s too preachy for you let me

say it this way: Christ’s past transforms our present into God’s future. That’s clearly

God’s good intention for us. And we are called to faithfully stand our post, do our job, and

anticipate with child-like excitement God moving through us.

Rev. Mark Burgess Page 4 of 5 12-7-2014

Page 5 of 5

See the BIG Picture!

Mark 13: 32-37

In our present retelling of that past story, Mary is at this moment 8 months with child. Do

you think Mary felt prepared to give birth to God in the flesh? (L. Pause)

Maybe she did. You have to understand that an unwed, pregnant, young woman in ancient

Palestine has control over “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING” – except one thing – her absolute

obedience to God’s will for her life – it actually makes sense that God would enter the

creation that way when you pause and reflect on it – doesn’t it? Perhaps we are being

called to take a similar stand of obedient will.

Divine things happen when an obedient human will responds to God’s movement whether it

makes sense to us or not, whether it fits our calendar or not, whether its easy for us or

not. That’s when God shows up! That’s how the story goes.

It’s through our acts of faith that God is glorified causing the stars in the heavens

themselves to shout out with uncontainable joy. So stay awake! Keep your eyes on the

heavenly Christmas tree – a great gift will appear there once again.

(L. Pause)

We have just a few weeks left to prepare before celebrating the past birth of Christ.

Don’t let the distractions of this rude, noisy, demanding, world lead you astray. Look up

often. Stay focused on the big picture. Stand your post. Be who He has created you to be

so you are ready when He returns and “ALL HEAVEN” breaks loose. Remember, we are the

ones who are not supposed to look surprised when He comes again!

Christmas is so much more than just remembering Jesus’ coming into the world in the past–

it’s also looking forward to hearing Him say, “It’s ok, I’m here now, and I’m here to stay

this time.” That’s the big picture.

And if that becomes your understanding in this “Advent season of reflection,” then – like

me - you too will want everyday to be Christmas. And, you’ll not just celebrate the birth of

an infant in a manger in a few weeks – you’ll celebrate the ongoing movement of God in your

life every day you have breath!

One day, Heaven and Earth will become one.

Now, I could be wrong, but I’ll bet when that day comes,

all the Christmas decorations will stay up – FOR EVER!

That’s my hope – and I hope - it’s your hope too.

Amen.

Rev. Mark Burgess Page 5 of 5 12-7-2014

 

Tuesday
Dec022014

December 2 - Tickle

We gently and gracefully turned the corner on Sunday from the Season of Thanksgiving to the season of Hope that is ADVENT. The Sanctuary and the MAC Advent decorations have really helped me enter into the Christmas season. The hanging of the greens service and potluck were well attended and warmed my heart.

As we look to the week ahead, our children will be singing at the Nursing home during Wed Fundamentals (Melinda coordinating) and our youth are working on the FUMC Christmas parade float in the Annex (Camden coordinating). There is no Wednesday night dinner – and despite me telling Evelyn I would do Bible study this week (which is why she put it in the December Newsletter that way) – I have once again volunteered to narrate the Cantata and want to make myself available to the choir for practices. Therefore, no Adult Wednesday Night Bible Study in December. We will pick things back up in January.

Also, we sent in our $1,500 special offering from November to our partner Czech Church (Slany UMC) this morning through the GBGM Giving Day advance. The General Board of Global Missions matches the first $1,000,000 given through the advance on Giving Tuesday – today – December 2. I don’t know if we got in early enough to be multiplied from $1,500 to $3,000 – but we sure tried!

Remember the YHC Christmas concert tonight at 7 pm.

As we turn towards the week ahead, please remember to attends the Blairsville Community Christmas Parade on this Saturday, at 4 pm to “Woo! Hoo!” as your float with our your youth comes by.

Welcome New Members

Gloria Rhoades: 493 Wesley Mountain Drive, Apt G27, Blairsville, GA 30512

Baptism of infant Logan Wayne (John & Krystle Wayne)

Act of Community Ministry at Vogel State Park on THURSDAY

If you would like to join with volunteers per from several community churches at Vogel State Park (Hwy 129 S) for the December 13 Christmas program in the park per the mission moment this last Sunday, contact Tom or Pat Maryscuk jb01@windstream.net

Something New for Christmas this year 

December 14 Sunday Worship Plan – Cantata Sunday

Our Music Ministry will be performing the Christmas Cantata within the worship services at both 8:30 am and 11 am in the Sanctuary.

For this one day, we are cancelling our 9:45 am service to allow everyone a chance to attend one of those two Cantata services. And since we are looking for creative ways to bring our entire faith family (that worships at three different services) together, Ro and the Robinettes are leading us into a church-wide breakfast brunch at 9:45 am in the MAC on that day (Dec 14.) If you can help by bringing a breakfast casserole or brunch “finger food”, please do so (the Robinettes have the drinks and main foods for that brunch already planned.) Nothing else will happen in the MAC that Sunday morning besides this brunch. We are inviting every Sunday School to have a conversation about what they would like to do on December 14. It sure would be wonderful, if for this one day, we all chose to spend time with each other in the MAC rather than have Sunday School – but as always - that choice is up to each Sunday School.

MY prayer is that you dig out those name tags, wear than on December 14, and either worship via the early Cantata service and then brunch or brunch and then worship via the 11 amCantata service. Given the Children’s Christmas play is later that evening and the Youth Christmas party is also later that evening, we are canceling Children’s Sunday School and Youth Ministry that day. Nursery will still be available throughout Sunday morning as normal.

 

Angel Tree Ministry

The tree is up! It is a very special tree in the Mac entrance area by the MAC desk. The decorations are all little angels. You are invited to come take one of those little Angels off the tree and go purchase the one item listed on the Angel you pick. Do not wrap the item. Simply purchase it and then place it under the Angel Tree with your Angel decoration attached to it. The ladies overseeing this ministry this year will take all those toys to the Upson County Sheriff’s Department December 15. The Sheriff’s Department will be distributing those toys to underprivileged children ages 1-10 yrs old who live in Union County.

Special Offering Opportunities for December

 The Missions Committee has once again designated that 100% of the offering received at all three FUMC Christmas Eve services will go towards the HOPE House – our local Blairsville ecumenical ministry that resources people of this community in financial need. Also, SPR will be making an appeal to the Congregation for a Love Offering for the Staff team as a way of saying thank you for all they do – especially in this very busy time of year. The Staff Team love offering is the designated special offering for the month of December.Parish

Nurse Ministry Events

 Here are two activities of the Parish Nurses that we want everyone to know about. First, our Parish Nurses will be taking blood pressures near the MAC desk the first Sunday of every month, including this Sunday, Dec. 7th 9:30 - 10:00. It’s free, just come sit and be checked. There are countless stories of God moving through a simple thing such as this to save peoples lives. If you have not had your blood pressure checked in a while, please stop by the loving friendly faces of the parish nurses.

Also, they are coordinating our December Blood Drive. The blood drive will occur December 28th in the Fellowship Hall from 9:30 am to 2 pm. On that Sunday, plan to give the gift of life in this season of giving.

Early Relay for Life Fundraiser

Alysia Hargus is hosting a Premier Designs Jewelry show in the Fellowship Hall on December 7 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm. The free jewelry earned from the event will be donated to the Relay for Life silent auction and 50% of the profits from the show will be donated to Relay for Life. Evelyn had send out a FACEBOOK notice about this and we know people are having a hard time making the link work. It is the correct link – simply copy and paste the link into your web browser and you will get there.

Call for a New 9:45 am Sunday School Class

We have had several families throw their name into this hat. Please consider this if you are looking for a Sunday School class at 9:45 am. Due to recent growth, there is a need rising for a new Sunday School class of parents of children were the parents wish to worship in the 11 am Traditional worship service. If that is your desire and you are interested in forming a new Life Group of parents, simply respond to this email. I will be collecting responses for several weeks to see if we have enough interest to start that class in early 2015.

Concerns/Praises

PRAY WITHOUT CEASINGThis is not a complete list – just immediate prayer needs for the immediate faith family in the week ahead

 

  • Kathy Heyer’s brother (Rick) – come under hospice care in Florida
  • Doris Bishop (Debbie Steed’s Mother) – under home hospice care at David and Debbie’s home
  • Grady Garner’s grandmother came under hospice care
  • Ellie Dobson’s niece in Dallas GA lept into the outstretched arms of JesusCongrats to
  • Doug & Teri McGinnis in the birth of their new grand daughter Leighton, Lucille Terrell – everyone is doing well
  • H.R. Warden – moved from hospital to Union County Nursing Home
  • Richard Hoibraten’s brother James in California – late stage cancer
  • Hazel Douglas – awaiting test results
  • Henry von Staden – heart cath was clear but did have heart event during procedure requiring further testing
  • Donna Morningstar – surgery taken off the table for now – cautiously reinitiating food.
  • Valerie Metcalf – undergoing chemo treatments
  • Jane Driskell – at NE GA Medical today for further xrays to determine source of hip pain
  • Jane Driskell/Shirley Cobb/Bob Head/Charlie Wooten/Eva Breedlove– chronic back/pain issues
  • Those fighting active cancer from our faith family:  Valerie MetcalfJoyce Kible, Donna Morningstar and several others (in various stages of testing and treatment)

 

A Note from Your Finance Team

Giving in the weeks of November has been as follows: November 2, $50,334, November 9, $130,983, November 16, $16,766, November 23, $11,439, November 30, $11,418 for a $220,940 November! Wow. You are an incredibly generous people!

 God’s Boundless Joy,

Senior Pastor

Tuesday
Nov252014

October 25 Tickle

I pray everyone has a heart warming Thanksgiving. EVERYONE who is part of this faith family called First Methodist has a significant family. Celebrate that reality with joy wherever you are this Thanksgiving regardless how many people are around you on that day. God is with you. And so are all of us. We are with each other. We will not only survive this cold winter – but we will thrive in it (just watch!) - because God is with us! Let that message of hope begin to rise up from deep down in your soul as we move from being thankful (Thanksgiving) to being blessed (Christmas.) Make certain you received our December Newsletter that went out last week – it has all our detailed Christmas plans in it! If you are getting this Tickle, you should have also gotten that Monthly Newsletter. Email us back if that is not the case so we can get it to you. May you giggle till you wiggle and gobble till you wobble! Happy Thanksgiving my family!

Welcome New Members:

  • Ted, Brandy, and Abbey Adams: 60 Marie Ln, Blairsville, GA 30512
  • Jerry and Jane Driskell: 57 Stoney Ridge Rod, Blairsville, GA 30512

Ye Olde Burgess Family Christmas Letter:

One of the traditions Shannon and I have done for many, many years is our annual Christmas letter to our family. This letter goes to the Burgess & Dickey families across the nation and to all the friends we have been blessed with over the years. First Methodist, you are our family too; therefore, the letter is enclosed as the attached WORD document. It is our very personal Christmas card to each of you. Click here.

No more Wed Night Dinners until After Christmas:

Thank you Ro and the Robinettes and EVERYONE who has made all those meals during this fall cycle “just appear.” Enjoy this week at home on Wednesday night – even our wonderful Music Ministry gets to be home this week! Thank you all for what you have done and are doing. The Bells were magnificent on Sunday! And we look forward to our Cantata at 8:30 am and 11 am on December 14.  Rest and renew this week. Then let’s enter the home stretch towards our celebration of His birth once again!

Hanging of the Greens Service: SOMETHING DIFFERENT THIS YEAR

Rather than on a Wednesday night, we are doing our annual “Hanging of the Greens” service on this coming Sunday evening,November 30. Come as you are and be with us for an informal pot luck meal in the MAC at 5 pm followed by the “Hanging of the Greens” service at 6 pm in the main Sanctuary. If you have never been to one of these, come this year and see how we celebrate the “Hanging of the Greens.” Chili and Potato Soup are provided. If you would like to bring a side or dessert, please feel free! This service is a very nice, and very gentle, way to turn the corner from Thanksgiving joy into Christmas joy. Please come be with us!

Angel Tree Ministry:

The tree is up! It is a very special tree in the Mac entrance area by the MAC desk. The decorations are all little angels. You are invited to come take one of those little Angels off the tree and go purchase the one item listed on the Angel you pick. Do not wrap the item. Simply purchase it and then place it under the Angel Tree with your Angel decoration attached to it. The ladies overseeing this ministry this year will take all those toys to the Upson County Sheriff’s Department December 15. The Sheriff’s Department will be distributing those toys to underprivileged children ages 1-10 yrs old who live in Union County.Early Relay for Life Fundraiser:Alysia Hargus is hosting a Premier Designs Jewelry show in the Fellowship Hall on December 7 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm. The free jewelry earned from the event will be donated to the Relay for Life silent auction and 50% of the profits from the show will be donated to Relay for Life. Evelyn had send out a FACEBOOK notice about this and we know people are having a hard time making the link work. It is the correct link – simply copy and paste the link into your web browser and you will get there.Call for a New 9:45 Sunday School Class:Due to recent growth, there is a need rising for a new Sunday School class of parents of children were the parents wish to worship in the 11 am Traditional worship service. If that is your desire and you are interested in forming a new Life Group of parents, simply respond to this email. I will be collecting responses for a few weeks to see if we have enough interest to start that class.

FUMC Winter Weather Policy

Monday—Friday: if UC Schools are out OR are cancelled mid-day, we are closed or shut down. Sundays: If roads are iffy with snow in some parts, only the 11:00 service will take place. You are encouraged to exercise good judgment on driving conditions in your area. If it’s a good snow in the entire county, ALL services will be closed. We do our best to post on facebook and our website if this is the case.

KEY UPCOMING DATES:

 

  • Thanksgiving (Turkey Day) – Thursday, November 27 (MAC closed Nov 26-28)
  • First Sunday of Advent – Sunday, November 30.

 

Concerns/Praises: PRAY WITHOUT CEASING

 This is not a complete list – just immediate prayer needs for the immediate faith family in the week ahead

 

  • Kathy Heyer’s brother (Rick) – come under hospice care in Florida
  • Doris Bishop (Debbie Steed’s Mother) – under home hospice care at David and Debbie’s home
  • Grady Garner’s grandmother came under hospice care
  • Richard Hoibraten’s brother James in California – late stage cancer
  • Helen Colwell (aka..Mitzi Gasaway’s Mother) – Gall bladder surgery got moved up to today – later this afternoon at UGH.
  • Hazel Douglas – awaiting test results
  • Carol and Norm Thompson – Carol bronchitis and Norm new knee rehab
  • Henry von Staden – heart cath was clearbut did have heart event during procedure requiring further testing
  • Donna Morningstar – surgery taken off the table for now – cautiously reinitiating food.
  • Valerie Metcalf – undergoing chemo treatments
  • Jane Driskell/Shirley Cobb/Bob Head/Charlie Wooten/Eva Breedlove– chronic back/pain issues
  • Those fighting active cancer from our faith family: Valerie MetcalfJoyce Kible, Donna Morningstar and several others (in various stages of testing and treatment)

 

A Note from Your Finance Team:

 Giving in the weeks of November has been as follows: November 2, $50,334, November 9, $130,983, November 16, $16,766, November 23, $11,439. Have a great Thanksgiving! God’s Boundless Joy,         

                                              

firstumcpastor@windstream.net   

Senior Pastor