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Parsonage Restoration – Exterior Painting!

Parsonage - Old Colors - 7-26-2015As part of the Parsonage restoration following our recent fire, the exterior of the Parsonage is to be repainted.

Here is the existing blue and white color scheme:

The Trustees met after this morning’s worship service and selected the following exterior colors for the Parsonage:

• Body:     Rare Gray       SW 6199

Parsonage - New Colors 2 - 7-26-2015
• Trim:     Casa Blanca    SW 7571

• Accent:  Pewter Green SW 6208

(You can see this color combination in the “Suburban Traditional – exterior inland colors” folder at Sherwin-Williams.)Parsonage - New Colors 1 - 7-26-2015

Our thanks to our God for his continual provisioning for us, to our Trustees for coordinating the restoration process, to Mazzant Painting and Restoration for all of their continuing hard work, and to Liberty Mutual for their prompt and cooperative spirit working with all of us to get our Parsonage back into shape.

The scaffolding is already up at the Parsonage, so the exterior painting should begin in the next few days!

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UMC Market Relaunches with New User-Friendly Website

UMC Market 5

Your Giving Matters

An upgraded version of the UMCmarket program has been launched with new features and an enhanced user experience. The General Council on Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church is pleased to present UMCmarket, a tremendously rewarding opportunity to earn money for Central Church. UMCmarket makes it possible for our church to receive donations from retailers every time you make an online purchase. The best thing is that you don’t need to change anything from how you shop today, and every small donation makes a difference. This allows our church family to do together what we cannot do alone.

How it Works.

Every store at UMCmarket is happy to pay a percentage of the purchased amount as a donation. There is no additional cost or charge for either you or our church. The stores send UMCmarket the contributions within a variable time frame of 30-90 days. Once our church reaches $100 in total donations, a check will be mailed.

Signing Up is Free!

You can easily sign up for free. When you go to http://www.UMCMarket.org, you will click on the “Get Started” button. You will have the option to sign up with your Facebook account or enter your email and create a password. You will then be prompted to download the Easy Give Button and find our church. With these three simple steps, you are ready to shop and donate!

Easy Give Button.

Using the Easy Give Button App is the easiest way for you to shop and donate. Once it’s downloaded, you will see the UMC Cross and Flame icon in your browser toolbar. This Easy Give Button will allow you to shop directly at store websites and let you know that you are connected.

Research shows that members who download the Easy Give Button generate more than double the amount of donations to their church. You don’t have to remember to visit UMCmarket.org before you start shopping!

Share UMCmarket with your friends!

We hope you will sign up, designate Central Church to receive the donations you create, try UMCmarket out, and share with our church family and friends. It’s easy and free, so why not rally your fellow members and friends to do the same? See how fast your donations will make a difference! For help or any questions, UMCmarket’s customer service team is ready to help. Just email them at info@umcmarket.org.

We live in a global village, and the world is our parish.  When we give generously, our gifts do wonderful, life-changing things in the name of Jesus Christ.

UMC Market 6

The Glory Way Quartet!

Please Invite All of Your Friends!

GloryWay Quartet

The Glory Way Quartet

is coming to Central Church!

Where:      Central United Methodist Church
                     6th Avenue & 13th Street
                     Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Time:         6:00 pm
Date:         Sunday, July 19, 2015

 

The Glory Way Quartet sings good old gospel music that touches the hearts and souls of everyone who hears them.  It’s laughter, fellowship, and a moving of God’s Holy Spirit in our midst while we usher in the glory of the Lord.

A freewill offering will be collected for the group.

 

New Kitchen Exhaust Fans!

New Exhaust Fan installed over the Kitchen sinks.

New Exhaust Fan installed over the Kitchen sinks.

Our dedicated Trustees have been very busy lately.

The latest evidence of their activity are the two new exhaust fans that have been installed in the Church Kitchen in place of our old two exhaust fans – one over the sinks and one over the stove.

And, by the way, no more plugging in the fans to electrical outlets when we want to use them. Oh no, no no.

We now have very nice tilt tablet switches mounted on the walls near each fan so we will no longer risk electrocution when trying to plug in the old fans with wet hands.

(After all, even though we have future homes in heaven, there’s no need to rush things!)

New Exhaust Fan installed over the Kitchen stove.

New Exhaust Fan installed over the Kitchen stove.

The new exhaust fans are one of the improvement projects that has been made possible by the recent Ken Finney Bequest.

A big THANK YOU to our Trustees for their continuing efforts to update and beautify our Church!

But What Does the Bible Say?

The following article appeared last week as a post on The Gospel Coalition that provides Bible-based insight from Kevin DeYoung on the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.

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Bible 3Now that the Supreme Court has issued its sweeping ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, we can expect an avalanche of commentary, analysis, and punditry. I’m not a law professor, a politician, a talk show host, or a public intellectual (whatever that is). I’m a pastor. I study and teach the Bible for a living. Which means, among all the things I may not be an expert on, I may be able to say something meaningful from the Scriptures. So as we pour over legal opinions and internet commentary, let us not forget what the Bible says.

The Bible says the Lord alone is God and we should have no other gods before him (Ex. 20:2-3). Not the state, not the Supreme Court, not our families, not our friends, not our favorite authors, not our cultural cache. No gods but God.

The Bible says we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39). And who is your neighbor deserving of such love? Wrong question, just worry about being the neighbor you’d want for yourself (Luke 10:25-37).

The Bible says love is not the same as unconditional affirmation (James 5:19-20). Love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

The Bible says that disciples of Jesus will be hated as Jesus was hated (John 15:18-25; 2 Tim. 3:12). If the world loves us, it is not a sign of our brilliance, but that we belong to the world.

The Bible says that when reviled we should not revile in return (1 Peter 2:21-25). We should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).

The Bible says Jesus came into the world to save sinners, especially the worst of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That means people like me, like you, and like the Apostle Paul who at one time opposed everyone and everything he later came to love and defend.

The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18-25; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9) and that homosexual practice is sin (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; Jude 7), but a sin from which we can be washed clean (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Any Christian who really believes the Bible must believe all of the Bible. You can’t applaud what Jesus says about loving your neighbor from Leviticus 19, if Leviticus 18 and 20 are throwaway chapters. You can’t unpack the good news of Romans 8, if Romans 1 is overstuffed with cultural baggage. You can’t marvel at the goodness of God’s creation, if there is no good design in how he created things. Either the Bible is God’s Word or we are sufficiently godlike to determine which words stay and which words go.

The cultural breezes are blowing against us. The worldly winds are stiff in our faces. But the hard parts of the Bible are no less true for being less popular. The Bible says what it says, so let us be honest enough to say whether we think what the Bible says is right or wrong. Diarmaid MacCulloch, a decorated church historian and gay man who left the church over the issue of homosexuality, has stated the issue with refreshing candor:

This is an issue of biblical authority. Despite much well-intentioned theological fancy footwork to the contrary, it is difficult to see the Bible as expressing anything else but disapproval of homosexual activity, let alone having any conception of homosexual identity. The only alternatives are either to cleave to patterns of life and assumptions set out in the Bible, or say that in this, as in much else, the Bible is simply wrong. (The Reformation: A History, 705).

Yes, those are the only alternatives. I know books are right now being written by the dozens trying to make the case that the Bible is really keen on gay marriage, but it can’t be done. Not with exegetical and historical integrity.

Not with gospel integrity either.

A holy God sends his holy Son to die as an atoning sacrifice for unholy people so that by the power of the Holy Spirit they can live holy lives and enjoy God forever in the holy place that is the new heaven and new earth. Is this the story celebrated and sermonized in open and affirming churches? What about twenty years from now? And what if we flesh out the gospel story and include the tough bits about the exclusivity of Christ and the reality of hell?  What if the story centers on Calvary, not as a generic example that love (defined in whatever we choose) wins, but as beautifully scandalous picture of a love so costly that God sent his Son into the world to be the wrath-bearing propitiation for our sins? What if the story summons us to faith and repentance? What if the story calls us to lay down everything–our ease, our desires, our family, our preferences, our sexuality, our stuff, our very selves–for the sake of the Storyteller? What if part of the story is believing that every jot and tittle in the Storybook is completely true?

I’d rather not talk about homosexuality again. But the world hasn’t stopped talking about it. And the Bible hasn’t stopped saying what it has always said. So let’s not be shrill and let’s not be silent. If you already know what the Bible says about homosexuality, don’t forget what the Bible says about all of life and godliness. We can be right about marriage and still wrong about everything else that matters. And if you like most everything else the Bible says, why would you on this matter of homosexuality decide the Bible suddenly can’t be trusted? If you won’t count the cost here, what else will you be willing to sell? The support for homosexual behavior almost always goes hand in hand with the diluting of robust, 100-proof orthodoxy, either as the cause or the effect. The spirits which cause one to go wobbly on biblical sexuality are the same spirits which befog the head and heart when it comes to the doctrine of creation, the historical accuracy of the Old Testament, the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, the resurrection, the second coming, the reality of hell, the plight of those who do not know Christ, the necessity of the new birth, the full inspiration and authority of the Bible, and the centrality of a bloody cross.

If Jesus is right and the Scriptures were spoken by God himself (Matt. 19:4-5) and utterly unbreakable (John 10:35), then the place to start when it comes to something as fundamental as marriage is also the place to end, and that’s by asking the question “But what does the Bible say?” As Christians living in the midst of controversy, we must keep three things open: our heads, our hearts, and our Bibles. Don’t settle for slogans and put-downs. Don’t look to bumper stickers and Facebook avatars for ethical direction. And don’t give up on the idea that God has a clear word and a good word on this issue. God has already spoken, and he specializes in gracious reminders, so long as we stay humble, honest, and hungry for the truth. After all, man does not live by bread alone (or sex alone), but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).

ISIS Executes 160 Children and Women for refusing to fast during Ramadan, sorcery

During the weekend that the United States celebrates its Independence Day, with the Freedom of Religion and other basic freedoms that Americans enjoy, the news of religious persecution elsewhere starkly highlights the sad fact that simply being a Christian is reason enough to be killed in many corners of our world.

The following article, released this week by Christianity Today and appearing below, includes a description of how two children were crucified by ISIS this week for “improper fasting” during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

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ISIS gunmen prepare to execute five young men by the roadside for various alleged offenses including refusal to fast during Ramadan.

ISIS gunmen prepare to execute five young men by the roadside for various alleged offenses including refusal to fast during Ramadan.

Islamic State militants recently executed 160 children and women for a variety of alleged offences including refusal to fast during Ramadan and sorcery, the UK-based organisation Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed.

The latest killings brought the number of ISIS victims in the Middle East to over 3,000 since the jihadists declared a state or caliphate of their own in June last year, the Syrian Observatory said.

 “Many of the charges against those executed are recorded as blasphemy and spying, but others include sorcery, sodomy, practising as a Shia Muslim,” the human rights group said.

The children and women met unholy deaths in the hands of ISIS as they were accused of practising “magic” and for refusing to fast, Fox News reported.

This week, two children were crucified in the Mayadin, Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria after ISIS leaders accused them of “improper fasting” during the Islamic month of Ramadan, which runs from June 17 to July 17.

The bodies of the children, whose ages were left out, were put on public display on crossbars, each with a sign stating their offence.

The jihadist group has been trying to justify its inhumane executions by its twisted and medieval interpretation of the Koran as it claims that its followers are the true practitioners of Islam, according to experts.

“Underlying all these executions is the apocalypse ideology of the final battle between the believers and the unbelievers,” said Jasmine Opperman, the director of Southern Africa Operations at the Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium.

“ISIS is using executions to show its followers—and would-be followers—that the group is the only true representative of believers, not only in word, but action, which is why executions are featured so prominently.”

Other children, said the Syrian Observatory, died fighting for their lives.

“The violent Islamist group appears to demonstrate a particular interest in children, releasing videos of children fighting in cages and undertaking military training,” the human rights group said.

The report also detailed moves undertaken by the group to entice children to join, which include setting up offices called “cubs of the caliphate” that recruit children to fight for ISIS.

Children from different backgrounds, including Kurdish, Yazidi, Christian and even Muslim, have been victims of ISIS, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child said in a report submitted in February. They have been tortured, crucified, buried alive, used as suicide bombers and sold as sex slaves. Even those mentally-challenged have not been spared from the ISIS’ terror campaign.

“ISIS is hoping to spur current supporters around the world who are dormant—of which there are millions—into joining their caliphate by advertising acts like these,” said Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for the non-profit group Clarion Project.

“They know that they can greatly increase their numbers by appealing to current radicals rather than the broader masses,” he said.

Women have not been shown mercy by the ISIS either, with ISIS beheading two married couples in public this week for “sorcery.”

“The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“The practising of anything that is not approved by the Islamic State under their very strict interpretation of Islam is ‘haram’ or forbidden,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director for the Florida-based Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium.

“If the Islamic State thinks that sorcery is real, then black magic would be a threat to them and seen as a danger.”

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As Americans celebrate our freedoms this week, please pause for a moment to pray for the people around the world who can only dream of living in a country where the freedom to worship God is a fundamental, protected right, and where your Christian faith does not automatically condemn you to a barbaric and painful death.

 

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day

Freedom is a Choice

Independence DayKey Bible Verse: Choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.   – Joshua 24:15

Bonus Reading:  Joshua 24:1-28

In America, every year July 4th brings with it festivities, fun, food, family and friends, and fireworks—all as a celebration of national freedom.  But even with all the celebrating and fun, many Americans are still caught in the web of bondage on a mental, emotional, relational, financial, vocational or spiritual level.  Most often, we ourselves create the chains that bind us by making poor or sinful choices.

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that life is a series of choices, each choice has a consequence, and we must live with the consequences of our choices.

In order to have true freedom in your life, then, you must make wise choices.

Will you choose:

Good over evil (Psalm 34:14; Romans 12:21)?

Obedience over rebellion (Proverbs 10:8; Hebrews 13:17)?

Truth over deceit (Colossians 3:9; Proverbs 12:22)?

Kindness over dishonor (Ephesians 4:32; Proverbs 14:2)?

Every day you make hundreds of choices and these form the basis for your lifestyle.

Seek God’s wisdom in all of your decisions, not the wisdom of the world, the flesh or the devil (James 3:17).

Take the sometimes difficult step of saying, “I’ll do it God’s way!” even though it may mean avoiding the easy road.  In the long run, the freedom that comes with making godly choices is definitely something to celebrate!

– Ann Shorb

Prayer for the Day:  Lord, we lift to You our praise and adoration for the blessings You give us each day as we choose to walk Your way.