The Road Less Traveled
With the arrival of spring, soccer season has begun with the assignment of teams and the first practice. All of this prompted an interesting conversation with one of my boys who was excited to be on a team that - to all appearances thus far - is fairly average in skill and will probably lose a few and hopefully win a few games this season. In seasons past he has played on team of differing levels of talent - from teams that could barely score at all and lost most games by a large margin to teams that couldn't help but run up the score and blow out the opposing team. My son has always liked to win so his reaction to being on a team likely to lose some games surprised me. "I'm glad to be on a team that will probably play a lot of close games," he said. Of course, being on a consistently losing team is not a lot of fun, but his reasoning about not wanting to be on a really talented team is that the games are too easy and how you play doesn't really matter anymore. If the two teams are balanced, however, every play matters and there is still excitement, perhaps even the greatest excitement, in the closing minutes as the teams struggle to come out with the win. Being on an average team, my son thinks, gives him the best shot at excitement and playing that matters. He would rather have a challenging but potentially rewarding game over an easy but, in the end, empty victory.
How often, I wonder, do we in the church prefer an easy game to win over one with a real chance to lose? In church terms, how often do we choose an easier path to living our faith - giving a few dollars to a homeless ministry, for instance - over the harder trail of discipleship - being in relationship with a homeless person and trying to walk with them through their troubles, for instance? They are both good and important actions to help others, but one is easy and just as easily forgotten while the other is challenging and cannot help but change our lives. On a personal faith level, are we satisfied with a life of praying a little, worshiping a little, and serving a little or do we risk trying to do something new for the Lord knowing that we may fail?
In my time, I have known churches that preferred the easier path of living the faith, and so often it was obvious that folks felt like something was missing from their faith. They wanted more but didn't know how to get it. I am thankful for you at Port Church who have decided to give the harder trail of discipleship a go - with Wednesday at the Port, VBS, the bus ministry, and being the village that raises the children of our community who are at risk. None of this is easy work, and we could certainly fail trying. Still, isn't the reward all the better because of that?
May God keep us vigilant in our faith so that we will always choose the challenging and rewarding work to which we are called!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
On the night in which he shared a final meal with his disciples, Jesus promised them that they would do greater things than he had done. That promise may seem a bit hard to believe, especially considering all that Jesus himself had done - the teaching, the healing, the miracles. As heirs to this promise ourselves, we may wonder how we could ever do anything that could even remotely compare to what Jesus has done.
Fortunately, we also have the promise that God will prepare us and give us what we need to do these amazing things that are planned for us. Join us this Sunday in worship as we explore the "On-the-Job Training" God gives us so that we can do even greater things in Jesus' name!
Praying for General Conference
General Conference, our denomination-wide meeting that is held once every four years, will convene in Portland from May 10th to 20th. The conference will make plans for our denomination's ministries, set our budget for the coming four years, and consider petitions from churches and individuals on the rules we follow. The Virginia Annual Conference elected delegates at last year's conference, and they have been preparing for the General Conference since. Bishop Cho is asking for our churches to be in prayer for the General Conference and our delegates and has called for a day of prayer this Sunday. We will pray for them in our worship service, and I encourage you to include our General Conference in your personal prayers as well. For more information, see the General Conference website.
Living in Community
Over the last two weeks we have had powerful worship services and awesome opportunities for fellowship, and it took many hands to make it happen. So we have many folks to be thankful for!
Thanks to Sue and Pat for providing and setting up refreshments for our Sunrise Service!
Thanks to Jason for leading our music at the Sunrise Service!
Thanks to Curt and Keith for helping to get the park cleaned up in time for Easter!
Thanks to Pam and Marvin for all the work you did decorating our sanctuary throughout Holy Week!
Thanks to Linda and Liz for their special offering of music!
Thanks to Liz and the Little Fishermen for their special message in song!
Thanks to Lee, Lauren, Steve, and his class for organizing our Easter Egg Hunt!
Thanks to Dinah, Meg, Steve, Mark, Liz, and Kendra for their work with the youth in preparation for Youth Sunday!
Thanks to Isaac for powerful witness to God's work and word!
Thanks to Tristan, Jordan, Baylor, Rayanna, Hannah, and Brenna for leading our praise music!
Thanks to all the youth who helped to lead our worship in so many ways!
Thanks to all of our parents of youth for sharing your children with us and supporting them over the last few weeks of practice!
Thanks to all the many hands that made Wednesday at the Port possible this past year!
A special thanks to our cooks - Sue, Dianna, Debbie, and Joyce - and our teachers - Dinah, Meg, Kendra, Steve, Mark, Lee, Holly, Barb, and Liz - and our weekly bus drivers and riders - Randy, Kelly, Mark, and Susie!
Thanks to everyone to helps to make our worship and ministries possible day by day!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, April 6
9:30 am - 2:00 pm - Office Hours
Thursday, April 7
Deadline to submit items for council meeting agenda to Dianna
9:30 am - 12:00 noon - Office Hours
6:30 pm - Trustees Meeting
Sunday, April 10
9:30 am - Worship Service with Communion
11:00 am - Sunday School
VBS Training - May 22
Vacation Bible School - June 27-July 1
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!
8525 Water Street
PO Box 116
Port Republic, VA 24471