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Newsletter August 1, 2014 New Beginnings at New Hope VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2
Offer Them Christ

In 1784, John Wesley had reason to be worried about his Methodists in the New World. The Revolution was over and the Church of England had been sent home. Methodism was a subset of the Anglican church and Wesley feared that all he had built would be lost. Also concerned were Thomas Coke, Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey, whom he had ordained to sail to America. They asked their mentor, "what shall we tell them?" He gave them only this instruction: "Offer Them Christ".

So how do we offer Christ in today's world? For starters, we can assume that someone who visits our church is looking for something: fellowship, a new start in life, learning about Christianity, even a helping hand. We really don't know and it really doesn't matter. What matters is what they find. 

Christ no longer walks the earth, but He did leave behind a band of people who profess to be his followers. That's us. Visitors will observe our service, our rituals, our facilities, but mostly they will look at us as a church family. How do these Christians treat each other, work together and show their love for the Lord? Hey look! Everybody here knows everybody and they show genuine concern for each other. This may be a group I can see myself being part of. 

When we offer Christ to someone, we are offering ourselves. Like it or not, we represent Christ. We are created in his likeness, embued with his Spirit and worship him as Lord. To be sure, we are not Christ, nor did He expect us to be. Remember He blessed those "who hunger and thirst after righteouness". He could just as easily have blessed the righteous, but He wanted to honor those who "hungered and thirsted", not those who thought they were already there.

offer_them_christWesley was 81 years when he saw his young evangelists off from Bristol. He wanted them to think about his last words on the long trip over. His words were good advice then and continue to ring true more than 200 years later.

(Kenneth Wyatt's Offer Them Christ).

From the Pastor

Let's take a walk down memory lane: the fellowship hall is cleaned and painted, the pastor's office redecorated, new flooring inside, landscaping outside. As a congretation, we are consistently and eagerly working together on projects, sharing in planning and execution. We have a new Mission Project with Habitat for Humanity, Thanksgiving and Christmas projects, special worship services, active new members, numerous fellowship experiences (including Melissa Camp’s “Surprise Easter Morning Breakfast” and Glen & Maralene's Ice Cream Social). We started a Bible Study which we now seek to expand. And finally, the parsonage is the new home for Sean and Amber Heyward! There are many other things that could be mentioned that show our working spirit. Celeste helping decorate the Christmas tree, Steve drilling the holes for the wreaths and member participation in Worship Services!! We will celebrate all these wonderful memories with the Fellowship Dinner on Sunday, August 10th.

Amos 6:1 (NIV) reads, Woe to you who are complacent in Zion.  When we become complacent with our ministry, when we stop being innovative, we won’t simply stop growing, we will stop impacting our community for Christ.  When “this is all we need,” then we will never reach for more.  If Thomas Edison had been satisfied, there wouldn't be electric lights. If Alexander Graham Bell had quit, we wouldn't have telephones. If David had been satisfied he would not have dreamed of a temple. And Paul wouldn't have dreamed of reaching the Gentiles with the message of the love of Jesus. We need to dream, to catch the vision of tomorrow, not just the memories of yesterday.  Thomas Jefferson said, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."  We are on the threshold of making a difference in our community and making disciples for Christ.  D.L. Moody said "If God be your partner, then plan big."

So, where do we go from here?  We have met the “New Life for New Beginnings for New Hope.”  We now need to focus on “New Life IN New Beginnings IN New Hope.”  We have the Fellowship Hall in great shape, the sanctuary is beautiful, we work well together and we share as church family our good times and our sad times.  So let’s broaden our horizons to include others in the Christian love we share with each other at New Hope.  Wesley's answer was, "Offer them Christ." The only Christ to come in someone's life may be through an individual relationship with one of us. Jesus is the Light - as Christians we reflect that light. Our actions are what others see as representing Christianity.

I promised to share another evangelizing suggestion from the School of Pastoral Ministry. Vance Boone had this suggestion - "All members will be asked to bring a visitor/guest to church on a certain Sunday." Great suggestion, Vance. However, the school went a step further: "that once this directive is made to the congregation, that he, the pastor, would stand outside the church and any member who did not have a visitor with him/her was told to go find one and bring them back." This may be a little over the top, but it is something to think about, especially as we are engrossed in a membership audit. We want to give all "former" members an opportunity to take a fresh look at New Hope. All members of a United Methodist Church once affirmed "We promise to serve Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, in union with the church."

Blessings,
Pastor Sandra

It's On the House

A significant milestone in our New Beginnings was reached last month when the parsonage was sold. We thank those who helped make this happen and we give thanks to God for continuing to bless this congregation. To show our appreciation, the Fellowship Dinner on August 10 is being offered free for members and their guests. Should you wish to contribute something to help defray expenses, an opportunity will be provided.
Church Calendar

•  August 3: Communion
•  August 10:   Fellowship Dinner following church service; Special Music - David Henderson; Aldersgate Offering
•  August Birthdays: Terry Boone (8th), Betty Murdaugh (10th), Sara Jo Steinbraker (19th), Sidney Bowman (23rd)
•  August Anniversaries: Sidney and Betty Bowman (August 10)