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Seek and Ye Shall Find: Be Careful What You’re Looking For

Negativity 1There’s a wonderful article in a recent issue of Ministry Matters by Joseph Yoo discussing a midrash about two Israelite men, Reuven and Shimon who were present when God, through Moses, parted the Red Sea.

As the Israelites were walking across the Red Sea, Reuven and Shimon noticed that, though it was now safe to walk on the bottom of the sea, it was not completely dry and very muddy. Mud was getting stuck between the sandals and toes of Reuven and he couldn’t handle it.

“Ugh,” he muttered. “What in the world is this muck?”
Shimon agreed. “There’s mud everywhere!”
“Ugh. This is just like the slime pits of Egypt!”
“What’s the difference? Mud here. Mud in Egypt. It’s all the same, no?”

Negativity 2The two grumbled and mumbled all the way across. And because they never once took the chance to look up, they never understood why on the distant shore everyone was singing songs of praise.

For Reuven and Shimon, the parting of the Red Sea never happened. They were far more concerned with complaining.

And the truth is, we will find what we are looking for.

Negativity 3I’m always taken aback by my propensity to be negative. I’m quicker to point out what was wrong with a church or their worship service; quicker to criticize what the pastor said or didn’t say; eager to share what I didn’t like.

And I always find what I’m looking for. I’m ashamed to admit how much I relate to Reuven and Shimon and wonder how many miracles I’ve missed out on because I chose to look for things I wanted to complain about.

There’s a false notion that assumes that those who can find problems are geniuses. The truth is, it doesn’t take much intelligence to point out problems. Anyone can tell you what’s not working. The true genius comes in finding solutions for the problems pointed out. But folks like me find it easier to sit back and be armchair quarterbacks pointing out all the things that displease us and hoping that someone else will address those areas.

I recently came across Paul’s words to the Philippians, which resonated louder than before. “From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)

You will find what you are looking for.

If you seek to find negativity, you will surely find it.
If you seek to find mistakes, you will definitely find them.
If you focus on blemishes, you’ll only find blemishes.

Negativity 4But what if we took Paul’s words to heart and focused our “thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise”?

What would we see?
What would we find?
How different would we see and perceive the world?
How many more miracles would we be witnesses to?
We’d be more aware of the beauty than the brokenness in this world and in people.

Let’s avoid living our lives like Reuven and Shimon, unaware of the miracles because we choose to focus on negativity, complaints, and shortcomings. Instead, let us choose to put into practice the words of Paul.

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Please Pray for God’s Protection for Christians in Iraq

Pray for Christians in Iraq

Hunger in America: 1 in 7 Rely on Food Banks

 

Our Church ladies serving a free, hot lunch to the community on "Soup Tuesdays"

Our Church ladies serving a free, hot lunch to the community on “Soup Tuesdays”

USA Today had an interesting and disturbing article yesterday entitled, “Hunger in America: 1 in 7 Rely on Food Banks.”   You can find the complete article at: Hunger in America

Here are several observations made in the article:

  • Nationwide, 25% of military families – 620,000 households – need help putting food on the table, according to a study by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks.
  • One in seven Americans – 46 million people – rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families.
  • “Children are going to school, not looking forward to learning but looking forward to eating”
  • “Many of our families, if they don’t come, will have to choose between paying rent or their kids eating that night”
  • “The people who come to us for help are coming more regularly.  We aren’t a one-time emergency stop anymore. We are a staple for them…”

 

SoupAmerica is a wonderfully blessed country.  We have enough food and opportunity to go around.  But some miss out and go hungry.  20% of children in Pennsylvania do not know where their next meal will come from.  Food security is a problem for many in our community.

For many years, Central Church has provided a food ministry outreach to our local community.  Despite the small size of our congregation, we provided over 10,000 free meals to our community in 2013.

People come to Central Church who haven’t eaten for days.  Some have been out of work for years and don’t expect to find work anytime soon.  They have no money.  They’ve run out of benefits.  They feel that life will only get worse.

They are hungry and need someone to care, and the numbers of the hungry coming to us continue to increase as we move through 2014.

Every meal that we serve is hot, nutritious, and wholesome.  A warm welcome and a promise from God go a long way to life a heavy heart.  When someone knows how much God cares, they don’t feel lonely and powerless anymore.

Please join us to care for those in hard times.  If you can volunteer, or if you can help provide supplies for meals, please contact us.  If you would like to contribute financially, please click on the above “Give” tab.

Your gifts meet desperate needs for food, and you pave the way for hurting people to be blessed.

UMCOR - Give Liberally

 

Central Church Receives Its First Check from UMC Market!

UMC MarketThis morning’s offering will include a check from UMC Market for $103! 

This check is the first payment received from UMC Market for the purchases made by our members and friends who identify Central Church as the recipient.

Many thanks to everyone who has been using UMC Market to generate free cash for Central Church.  Keep Shopping!

It’s Back to School Time!

 UMC Market 3Shop Online? Make a difference when you do!

There is no better way to take care of that long Back to School shopping list than to use UMCmarket and have your favorite stores give a percentage to your church.

With the upcoming Back To School shopping season, the average family will likely spend $672. For participants in UMCmarket, your favorite stores could easily expect to give 2-5% in donations back to your church. Why not take advantage of this giving opportunity? Nearly 4,000 United Methodist churches are ALREADY receiving donations from UMCmarket today.

The Details!

UMCmarket is presented by the General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church. It takes just a couple of minutes to sign up. With our amazing Easy Give Button, you don’t even have to remember to use UMCmarket when you do your shopping. The Easy Give Button will make sure that every donation is collected automatically. Once your ministry’s donations reach $100, a check will be mailed out. You Shop. We Give! 

Share UMCmarket with your friends!

UMC Market has just mailed Central Church our first check for $103 under this program, and we look forward to receiving many more!  We hope you will sign up, try us out, and share with all of your friends.  It’s easy and free, so why not rally your friends to do the same and see how fast your donations will make a difference?

 

Spiritual Resources

Spiritual Resources

Check out our new Spiritual Resources page for links to more than a dozen sources of information and encouragement.

Click on the Resources tab on our home Welcome page to begin your journey of discovery.

The Russians are Coming! St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble at Central Church on October 22

St Petersburg Mens Ensemble 2Central Church will host a special concert of the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble on Wednesday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m.

The concert is free and open to the public—please help us get the word out. 

The St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble, which includes the talents of Kirill Sokolov, Sergey Shapinsky, Vadim Smanster, and Andrei Volikov, has been performing in churches and concert halls throughout the United States since 2002.  Their concerts reflect their culture and heritage, with a balance of sacred songs by Russian composers and Russian folk songs.

St Petersburg Mens EnsembleThe members of the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble bring extensive training and experience to the presentation of their concert selections.  They have sung with many choirs including the State Academic Capella and the Choir of Smolny Cathedral.

This year’s concert selection will feature choral works by Berezovsky, Hassler, Lotti, Mozart and Rachmaninoff amongst others. CDs and Russian gifts will be available for sale.   A free-will offering will be received to support their U.S. Tour.