xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Mid-Week Message: January 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fishing with Pringles


January 26, 2010

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Reading the gospel lesson for this Sunday evokes strong, fond memories of my grandfather, Genaro Rojas. He lived with us for periods of several months during numerous visits from the Philippines, and every stay was memorable. He spoke no English, except for broken versions of the bare essentials (“Be nice day,” he would tell me as I went off to school. Translation: “Be nice to everyone you meet today.”) That made his communicating with this Florida-born, English-raised kid quite challenging. But we loved being together, especially in those moments that transcended the need for common language. Like watching The Three Stooges (which is funny to young boys and old men alike, in any language.) Or enjoying a good meal. Or riding bikes.

Or, fishing.

My family would go on frequent outings to the Bay Pines Boulevard bridge, just a mile from our house and overlooking a tranquil bay connecting the Pinellas County bayous with the Gulf of Mexico. On many Saturday mornings, we would set up our folding chairs, haul up our bait and tackle, and sit for hours at a time. I was only eight years old then, and the fishing pole was taller than I was. But I was prepared with all the expensive gear: hooks, bobbers, lures, weights, bait. All the bells and whistles. And then I’d look over at my grandpa.

He had no fancy fishing pole. Just an old, empty Pringles can, wrapped with a stray length of line, with a rusty hook and a tiny bit of bait on the end. Whereas the rest of us cast our lines and sat on comfy chairs, he simply lowered his hook into the water, and squatted on the bridge deck, line held gingerly between his fingertips, staring into the water.

After several hours, I had zero bites. Nothing. Not even a nibble. But my grandfather? His seasoned fingers could feel the vibrations of curious fish. And he knew the precise moment to jerk his line and snap the hook into the fish’s mouth. Every few minutes, he’d pull up new prey, filling a bucket in no time.

I was stunned. I had been bested by a man many times my age, armed only with a castaway potato chip can and some leftover line. To smooth my pride, I reminded myself that he grew up on an island, surrounded by water, where fishing was not just a hobby; it was a matter of survival. Nonetheless, there was something simply awesome about watching a master at work.

Something tells me that my reaction was similar to that of Simon Peter, who had spent years out on the water as a professional fisherman. Then, along came some carpenter-turned-public-speaker, who dared to give him some advice about how to catch more fish. Luke says that when Peter followed Jesus’ instructions, casting the net on the other side, they caught so much fish that the nets began to burst and the boat began to sink.

I think there’s a lesson here about swallowing and allowing. About swallowing one’s pride, and allowing the Guide. About letting go of past patterns of behavior that have been ineffective (at the very least) or harmful and destructive (at worst). And then changing course, following the Master, and living a completely different kind of life, no matter how weird it seems.

Undoubtedly, Jesus’ fishing lessons sound as crazy as fishing with a Pringles can. But that was simply a precursor to the unbelievable things he would later say in Luke’s gospel. After teaching his disciples how to fish more deeply, he told them how to live more deeply:

· Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you

· If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.

· Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

· Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.

· Do to others as you would have them do to you.

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard enough to live like Jesus, let alone catch fish like my grandfather. Which is why I find Peter’s reaction to Jesus so spot on, and so human: “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken.

I invite you to join me this Sunday as we explore this passage a little more, well, deeply. And we’ll discover ways to live out our commitment to Jesus that disrupts old patterns of behavior and harvests new expressions of joy, love, and courage. It’s all part of our current sermon series “Believe It or Not: Surpising Moments with the Savior,” and the sermon is titled, “What a Fish Tale!”

Come join us! The water is deep and the fishing is great!

Grace and Peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
http://www.cherokeespumc.org





Luke 5:1-11
1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God,
2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’
5 Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’
6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.
7 So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’
9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken;
10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’
11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Believe It or Not: What a Fish Tale!
January 31, 2009
Luke 5:1-11

Believe It or Not: The Man Who Surprised Jesus
February 7, 2009
Luke 7:1-10

So Do You Believe Him or Not?
February 14, 2009
Luke 9:28-43
(Transfiguration Sunday)



NEW HAITI RELIEF TAX DEDUCTION
The federal government recently authorized that all donations you give to Haiti relief between January 11 and March 1 can be included as tax deductions for your 2009 return. That includes any money you donated to UMCOR during our special offerings the last two Sundays. If you would like to receive a statement verifying your contributions to UMCOR, please contact our Financial Secretary, Sarah Cook (sarahcook@hughes.net). Please note that this deduction only applies to financial contributions, not goods and services.


BUILDING COMMITTEE AND TRUSTEES UPDATES
These have been exciting days for the St. Paul’s campus, and we thought you’d want to know about the progress being made throughout the church property. Efforts continue to bring to completion a preliminary design plan that carries out the suggestions and desires of our members as expressed in our congregational survey.

Parking Lot: The two residential properties have been demolished and cleared by Lundell Construction, and the Trustees have contracted with Grundman-Hicks to pave the new parking lot. The city has approved plans for ten new perpendicular parking spots to be built along the western edge of the property, accessible directly off 6th St. The remainder of the property will be left “green” to allow for future expansion of the site.

The cost of the construction will be $25,000, which the Trustees and Finance Committee have approved and will be paid for by a loan through Cherokee State Bank. Grundman-Hicks was able to install the sidewalk and prepare the parking spots for concrete before the onset of winter, and they will complete the project as soon as weather allows.

Campus Renovation: The Building Committee has met extensively with members of Rick Dean's architect firm, the same company that was involved with the sanctuary renovation. They have completed the initial design phase of their work, which includes preliminary drawings for the kitchen, fellowship hall, lounge, library, offices, classrooms, lower level basement, new sanctuary-level bathrooms, and a new fa├žade for the education wing. The architects have been paid out of the Next Generation Fund.

The Trustees have just approved a contract with Engineering Design Associates (EDA) of Sioux Center to study and present detailed mechanical plans for the renovation, including electricity, heating and cooling, plumbing, audio-visual support, and energy efficiency. They will be paid $3,500, also out of the Next Generation Fund.

Feedback Groups: The Building Committee is eager to show you all of the preliminary drawings and get your feedback. On Sunday, February 21, after the worship service, you are welcome to attend a feedback session downstairs in the lounge to see all the plans. At that time, the Committee can answer any questions you might have, including timelines for the renovation and the next capital campaign. In the meantime, should you have questions or comments, please see a member of the Building Committee:

Gene Anderson and Keith Willis (Co-chairs), John Cook, Roni Timmerman, Dave Appleby, Jeanie Anderson, Donna Lucas, Bruce Dagel, Joyce Pyle, Bob Shroeder, Mike Taylor and Magrey deVega


THE PANCAKE RACE IS COMING!
Attention, women of Cherokee! Dust off that apron and practice your pancake flipping! The wildly successful Great Cherokee Pancake Day Race returns this Shrove Tuesday, February 16, and it promises to be even bigger and better than last year! It is time to start assembling your teams and preparing your costumes, and we are ready to receive your registrations. To download a registration form, and for more information about the race, visit our new website at www.pancakerace.com.


MAGREY IN FLORIDA
Magrey is in Florida serving on the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry in Leesburg, FL. He will return Saturday afternoon, in time to preach this Sunday. He has regular access to e-mail throughout his time there. Should you have a pastoral emergency, such as a hospitalization or death in the family, please contact the church office. Area United Methodist ministers are serving “on-call” to respond to any immediate needs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Lost Art of Gathering


January 19, 2010

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

It has long been my goal to attend a live broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. For years I have enjoyed the homespun tales of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, and the adventures of Guy Noir, private eye. Saturday evenings at 5pm have become “appointment radio” for the deVega household.

That’s why I was particularly interested in an interview with Keillor in a recent issue of Time magazine. A reader asked Keillor how the radio industry has changed in the 35 years since he started his show. Here was his response:

Back in the day, you had to sit in front of a large wooden radio with columns like the Acropolis. You sat in the presence of radio, and you listened to it. Now you can pick it up and carry it. You can listen to anything you want, and the Internet brings radio anywhere around the world. [1]

Like many of you, I can remember our family’s large stereo that played records and broadcast radio programs. In the evenings we would gather in the living room around our one and only television to watch the news, and the next morning we would share the newspaper around the breakfast table. Gathering to experience the significant stories of the day was an important family ritual.

But times have changed, and so has our culture’s tendency to gather together. Large set-top radios have been replaced by iPods, car satellite radios, and live-stream internet sites that enable people to master their own private media experiences. Televisions adorn nearly every room in the house, complete with DVR’s, allowing family members to scatter into their own personal viewing preferences. And why bother sitting in a crowded theater when you can watch a movie on-demand, in your own isolated solitude?

The sum effect is that we no longer gather to hear important stories. We have become an increasingly privatized, narcissistic population. We can choose to listen to any song, watch any show, or access any bit of information whenever we want to, with any number of portable devices at our disposal.

My friend Christine Rosen, a researcher and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., has coined the term egocasting to describe the belief that our personal activities are more important than the people around us. We immerse ourselves only in those experiences consistent with our own preferences, from our taste in music to our ideological perspectives. Anything outside those preferences is disregarded, even at the cost of interacting with other people. Rosen first proposed the term in an article in The New Atlantis:

With the advent of TiVo and iPod, however, we have moved beyond narrowcasting into “egocasting”—a world where we exercise an unparalleled degree of control over what we watch and what we hear. We can consciously avoid ideas, sounds, and images that we don’t agree with or don’t enjoy. As sociologists Walker and Bellamy have noted, “media audiences are seen as frequently selecting material that confirms their beliefs, values, and attitudes, while rejecting media content that conflicts with these cognitions.” [2]

Now, if Keillor and Rosen are right, then there is both a serious challenge and a great opportunity for the church. Corporate worship, after all, is essentially a gathering of people to hear the stories of the faith. In this day and age, it is radically counter-cultural, and therefore largely avoided. Forget about Sunday morning golf, or trips to the lake, or afternoon football: the greatest barrier to worship attendance today is egocasting. It is the growing tendency for people to live self-absorbed, egocentric lives.

But consider the incredible opportunity this affords the church. As people come to realize the inadequacy of highly privatized living in offering real connections to genuine community, the church is squarely in place to offer them just that. People can readily discover that Sunday worship just might be the only true break they have from a week full of megabits, decibels, and pixels. In an increasingly “plugged in” world, worship calls us to unplug, connect with others, and return to how we were originally created, tribal and relational.

Yes, someday, I’d like to hear Garrison Keillor live; that will happen soon enough. In the meantime, I have something better. A chance to gather with others in the presence of the Great Storyteller, and live into the stories that can transform the world.

Let’s hear them together.

Grace and Peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
http://www.cherokeespumc.org


[1] http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1946961-1,00.html#ixzz0cvSO8CSJ <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1946961-1,00.html#ixzz0cvSO8CSJ>
[2] http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-age-of-egocasting




WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY
Join us as we continue our sermon series on the unbelievable stories of Jesus. This Sunday, we’ll look at his amazing inaugural sermon in the synagogue, and the rejection he faced as a result. It’s titled, “You Won’t Believe What He Said!” and is based on Luke 4:14-21.

YOUTH MOVIE NIGHT
Attention youth, grades 7-12! Join us this Sunday at the church to watch the terrific, inspirational movie “Radio” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. Please note that we are rescheduling the start time for the movie for 2pm, and we should be finished by 4pm. Movie snacks will be provided, followed by a group discussion. And as always, bring a friend!

THE PANCAKE RACE IS COMING!
Attention, women of Cherokee! Dust off that apron and practice your pancake flipping! The wildly successful Great Cherokee Pancake Day Race returns this Shrove Tuesday, February 16, and it promises to be even bigger and better than last year! It is time to start assembling your teams and preparing your costumes, and we are ready to receive your registrations. To download a registration form, and for more information about the race, visit our new website at www.pancakerace.com.

SPECIAL OFFERING FOR HAITI
We continue to receive your contributions to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which is actively working to provide comfort and support to the people of Haiti. Please make your checks payable to St. Paul’s and designate them for “Haiti Relief.” Given the numerous reports in the media warning people to be careful of “scam” relief agencies, you may want to check out the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charitable agency watchdog, and its stellar evaluation of UMCOR. http://www.charitywatch.org/hottopics/Haiti.html.

In addition, please keep the people of UMCOR in your prayers. Two of their top leaders, Executive Director Rev. Sam Dixon and Head of Mission Volunteers Rev. Clint Rabb, perished in the earthquake.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cold....but Happy?


January 12, 2010

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Allow me to state the obvious. It’s cold.

I never thought I’d reach a point in my life as I did over the weekend, rejoicing when the temperature warmed up to zero. And yesterday’s sunny skies and temperature in the 20’s felt downright balmy. But along with many of you, last week was as frigid a stretch of days as I have ever felt in my life.


THE WORLD DATABASE OF HAPPINESS

As I shivered in the cold, I remembered a study I found recently with a rather curious premise. In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, a man named Ruut Veenhoven has been studying the connection between geography and happiness. Does one’s place of residence have a direct correlation to one’s level of happiness? Using empirical data and statistical analysis, along with mountains of surveys from people around the world, he has developed the World Database of Happiness, which ranks countries according to how happy its citizens are. [1]

Here’s the surprising discovery. Ranking consistently among the world’s happiest nations (and even number one in a few surveys) is – are you ready for this? - the country of Iceland. Iceland! I would have thought that happy people lived in the tropical heat of the Bahamas, or the warm sunshine of Tahiti, or the balmy beaches of Borneo. But Iceland? Its very name alone sends a cold shiver up my spine.


ICELAND? REALLY?

I found out about the Database when I read a book by Eric Weiner, provocatively titled The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World. Among his journeys was a visit to Iceland, to see what made its citizens so happy. Here’s what he found:

When I first saw the data, I had the same reaction you're probably having now. Iceland? As in land of ice? As in cold and dark and teetering on the edge of the map as if it might fall off at any moment? Yes, that Iceland. As for the winter part, I figured anyone could be happy during the Icelandic summers, when the sun shines at midnight and the weather turns "pleasantly not cold," as one Icelander put it. But the winter, yes, the cold, dark winter, that was the real test of Icelandic happiness.
But the number crunchers at the World Database of Happiness say that, once again, we've got it wrong. Climate matters, but not the way we think. All things considered, colder is happier. Theories abound as to why cold or temperate climes produce happier people than warm, tropical ones. My favorite theory is one I call the Get-Along-or-Die Theory. In warm places, this theory states, life is too easy; your next meal simply falls from a coconut tree. Cooperation with others is optional. In colder places, though, cooperation is mandatory. Everyone must work together to ensure a good harvest or a hearty haul of cod. Or everyone dies. Together.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but interdependence is the mother of affection. We humans need one another, so we cooperate — for purely selfish reasons at first. At some point, though, the needing fades and all that remains is the cooperation. We help other people because we can, or because it makes us feel good, not because we're counting on some future payback. There is a word for this: love. [1]


THE WARMTH OF COMMUNITY

I have to say: I never would have believed Weiner before I moved to Iowa’s frozen tundra. Especially not after enduring the last few weeks of what you have said is the worst winter we’ve had in 30 years. But now I think there’s a lot of truth to his conclusions. The day before the Christmas blizzard, I was running errands around town, and I could sense the buzz in the air as people throughout Cherokee were preparing themselves – and one another – for what we all knew we would be facing together. Then, as the blizzard was upon us, different people were there at just about every turn to give me assistance when I needed it. John Chalstrom gave me regular updates on road conditions for our upcoming drive to Minneapolis. A stranger pulled over to help us push our car out of the ditch when we spun off the road on our way to the airport. Paul Taylor checked on our house while we were on vacation to make sure that our pipes had not burst during the deep freeze. And Keith Fee came by yesterday to help me repair my snow blower which suffered an untimely death over the weekend. Sure, I’ve been cold. But do you know what? I’ve been happy. Because I have good people like you with me.

As I’ve thought more about it, I don’t think it’s the weather that dictates happiness at all. It’s a sense of community. It’s that “interdependence” that is the “mother of affection.” It’s expressed when we celebrate each other’s joys, share each other’s burdens, and remember that, in the end, we are all in this together.


SO, WHAT ABOUT THE CHURCH?

Here’s the clincher. If happiness is ultimately determined by a sense of community and belonging, then why shouldn’t the church lead the way? In tough economic times, with broken relationships, dashed hopes, and a world filled with violence, there should be no greater place to find contentment and real joy than in Christian community.

Weiner discovered that when Icelanders greet each other, the phrase they use roughly translates as “come happy.” And when they depart, they say, “go happy.” Goodwill and well-wishes are built into their language. It ought to be the same for the church. We, after all, are the ones who bid each other “The Lord be with you (and also with you.)” We are the ones who see ourselves as a body - - a dynamic, interconnected, mutually supportive organism. We are the ones who have both koinonia (fellowship and care for each other) and diakonia (service and witness to others) as essential characteristics of our nature and mission. And we are the ones who are commanded by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:26-27:

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Yes, Weiner was right. There is a word for this. Love.

Many churches have a long way to go before they become communities of love for those starving for real joy, yet I think St. Paul’s is doing well. There is a tangible sense of warmth and hospitality among us, especially when we worship together. Yesterday, I received an update from our Helping Hands program, reporting all the people they have helped throughout the past year. A huge number of volunteers spent countless hours serving people in need in our fellowship and throughout our town. Time after time, you are fulfilling our mission, putting God’s love into action.

I am so grateful to be part of a congregation that is warm-hearted, compassionate, and concerned for the needs of others. We are all in this together, regardless of the weather. Keep it up. (And, by all means, bundle up!)

With warm affection,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
http://www.cherokeespumc.org


[1] http://www1.eur.nl/fsw/happiness/

[2] http://www.amazon.com/Geography-Bliss-Grumps-Search-Happiest/dp/0446580260




BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
We continue our new sermon series hearing the amazing story of Jesus’ turning water into wine, from John 2:1-11. If you did not pick up a scripture bookmark to follow along with the daily readings, they are available at the church office or in the narthex on Sunday.



Believe It or Not: He Turned Water Into Wine!
January 17, 2009
John 2:1-11

Believe It or Not: You Won’t Believe What He Said!
January 24, 2009
Luke 4:14-30

Believe It or Not: What a Fish Tale!
January 31, 2009
Luke 5:1-11

Believe It or Not: The Man Who Surprised Jesus
February 7, 2009
Luke 7:1-10

So Do You Believe Him or Not?
February 14, 2009
Luke 9:28-43
(Transfiguration Sunday)



DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY WITH SHINY TOYS?
Then the video team has a place for you! We are looking for folks to round out our roster of people to serve in the video booth on Sunday mornings. If you’ve never thought of yourself as working in this area, then consider the following appealing reasons:

10. Thanks to your efforts, people in worship will be experience God using state-of-the-art multimedia equipment, including cameras, projectors, and computers.
9. Since you would record the services, you will be archiving the most special moments of worship for generations to come.
8. You are ministering to a very special group of people. Your video recording will be viewed by residents of Careage Hills every week, thanks to Linda Struck, who delivers them.
7. Acoustically and visually, it literally is the best seat in the house. You can see and hear everything!
6. You don’t have to serve every week. You would be part of a rotating team and would only have to serve once every 4-6 weeks.

And, of course, there are these reasons:
5. If you choose to doodle in your bulletin during the sermon, there is no one behind you to see you.
4. Your seats are closest to the bathroom. ‘Nuff said.
3. Shiny buttons!
2. It’s like watching television, playing on the computer, and going to church, all at the same time!
1. No experience necessary!

If you are interested, contact Bob Simonsen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Believe It or Not?


January 7, 2010

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Believe it or not?

That’s the phrase made famous by Robert LeRoy Ripley, the famous cartoonist who spun tales of the odd and unusual. Having given up his dreams of playing semi-professional baseball or becoming a sports columnist, he honed his skills as an artist and a story teller. Eventually, he published a nine-panel cartoon called “Champs and Chumps,” about peculiar sports around the world, including a backwards-running race and an “ice jump.” This quirky piece garnered him immediate attention, and over time his cartoons gained widespread popularity and became syndicated in 1929. He traveled extensively around the world to find new material for his pieces, and spent almost every working hour in the New York City Public Library to verify his stories.

Ripley’s tales ultimately weaved their way onto radio and television, spawning a media presence that continued long after his death in 1949. Today, there are over 50 Ripley Museums around the world (called “Odditoriums”) containing 20,000 artifacts and 20,000 photographs that he collected over the years. And if you visit one, you may hear about such stories as:

· The amazing octopus found in Japan – that has 96 tentacles!

· The high school in Beverly Hills, California that earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – by being built on an oil field!

· A man named John Bolton of Louisiana, Missouri, who spent 8 months building his own pick-up truck – entirely from spare parts!

· Christy Harp, of Jackson Township, Ohio, who grew a 1,725-pound pumpkin!

· Lin Rong, a recently married woman in China whose bridal gown had a train that was 1.2 miles long!

Believe it or not?

I’ll have to admit, I’m a sucker for the strange and unusual, and I made watching Jack Palance’s TV show Ripley’s Believe It or Not! appointment television every Saturday when I was a child. But I’ve since learned that none of the stories that Robert Ripley ever told could compare to those recorded by the anthologists of the four gospels.

Over the next six weeks, we’ll be hearing some astonishing tales taken from Luke, our Lectionary guide during the season of Epiphany. Buckle up and prepare to be amazed, as we hear:

· The incredible story of how Jesus turned water into wine!

· The startling things Jesus said about himself that got him rejected in his own hometown!

· The mind-blowing catch of fish that nearly broke the disciples’ nets!

· The shocking words from a man who managed to amaze Jesus!

· And the extraordinary moment on the mountain top that confounded Jesus’ closest friends!

You won’t want to miss a single exciting Sunday, as we hear these old, old stories in a new, exciting way. And watch out: you just might have your life dramatically changed as a result.

Believe it….or not?

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey R. deVega
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
531 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
Ph: 712-225-3955
http://www.cherokeespumc.org


Believe It or Not!
Surprising Moments with the Savior

Believe It or Not: Are You Ready to Be Amazed?
January 10, 2009
Luke 3:15-22
(Baptism of the Lord Sunday)

Believe It or Not: He Turned Water Into Wine!
January 17, 2009
John 2:1-11

Believe It or Not: You Won’t Believe What He Said!
January 24, 2009
Luke 4:14-30

Believe It or Not: What a Fish Tale!
January 31, 2009
Luke 5:1-11

Believe It or Not: The Man Who Surprised Jesus
February 7, 2009
Luke 7:1-10

So Do You Believe Him or Not?
February 14, 2009
Luke 9:28-43
(Transfiguration Sunday)




ST. PAUL’S IN THE BLACK
Thank you, St. Paul’s, for all of the generous last-minute gifts at the end of 2009 that erased our operational deficit and puts us “in the black” to start the year. Thanks to your generosity, you fully funded a wonderful year of putting God’s love into action throughout our community.

As we look ahead to 2010, we are excited to report that our recent stewardship campaign produced more than 80 increases in pledges, and we are in solid shape heading into next year’s budget. The Finance Committee is also watching every expenditure to make sure that our spending is efficient and in line with our mission objectives. As we continue to make progress on the goals set forth in our long-term strategic plan, we can believe together that our future is very bright. Thank you, and rejoice!

UMW RECOGNITION SUNDAY
Join us this Sunday as the United Methodist Women share the wonderful ministries of the UMW and recognize some special folks in our congregation.

PARENTS VS. YOUTH NIGHT
Attention, families of 7-12 graders! Come to St. Paul’s this Sunday night at 5pm for an awesome time of friendly, family competition! You’ll also hear about an exciting roster of spring activities. It will be a blast!