But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:23-24
Over the course of the last week, I have heard from several of you about how the bitterness of this election campaign has affected your lives, in particular how you have lost friends because of political disagreements and arguments. I have also heard of folks dreading the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday because they will have to sit with family members they wholeheartedly disagree with and possibly have even had arguments with over social media. The love and unity among Christian brothers and sisters and even in families has been a casualty of this campaign season, and it will take a long time for those deep wounds to heal. As we tend to these wounds, seeing lost friends and sitting uncomfortably at a table that is supposed to be about Thanksgiving, let us remember that there is no law against love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is nothing that prevents us from letting the Spirit guide our actions rather than our passions. As I have shared with you before, my sister has chided our children when they argue over who did what to whom: "I don't care who is right; I just care who is being kind." May we be kind to all of God's children this week!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet:
The Guardian of Prayer
(Colossians 3:12-17, 4:2)
Paul wrote to the Colossians about how they were called to live. He encouraged them to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience so that they could be tolerant, forgive one another, show love, be thankful, teach and share their lives, sing out praises, and do all things for God. They needed to clothe themselves with these virtues from Jesus Christ because these things are not things that all come naturally. Perhaps one or a few may be more or less a natural part of who we are, but none of us is completely virtuous and able to act as we know should at all times. That brings us to a further instruction Paul gives them - to keep praying, and guard their prayers with thanksgiving. It is perhaps an odd notion to think of guarding prayers. What is it that we need to protect our prayers from? What should we keep watch for on the horizon to keep from invading our prayers? Since our prayers are our conversation with God, they are at the heart of our relationship with God. What threatens our relationship with God are the same things that threaten all our close relationships with a spouse, with parents, with children, or with best friends - becoming self-centered and caring more for ourselves than others, taking others for granted, and growing impatient or even judgmental. When these things invade our prayers and turn them into a list of requests that serve us in the way we want at the time we want, we shed those virtues we were supposed to put on and no longer live the lives we are called to. We return to our natural selves and forget that we are not better than God, that we need God, that we love God. Paul tells us that the way to prevent this is to pray and to guard our prayers with thanksgiving. This means we need to be intentional about giving thanks to God for all the bounty of blessings we have in our lives, but that doesn't mean it has to be an endless, monotonous task. Giving thanks and recognizing the blessings we have can be a celebration, like writing a love letter to the one we have fallen for, like the pride we feel at seeing a child thrive, like the joy of seeing a friend we have not seen for far too long. May your thanksgiving in prayer help you stay in love with God and put on the virtues of Jesus Christ!
This Week's Prayer for Growing a Thankful Heart
This week's prayer for helping us grow in thankfulness is an old prayer recorded in a collection of traditional Celtic prayer and is a dedication giving thanks for the day.
Thanks to You, O God,
Who brought me from yesterday to the beginning of today,
Everlasting joy to earn for my soul with good intent.
And for every gift of peace you bestow on me,
My thoughts, my words, my deeds, my desires I dedicate to You.
I humbly ask You, I beg of You,
To keep me from offense, and to shield me tonight,
For the sake of Your wounds with Your offering of grace.
Have you ever faced a difficult situation that replaced the joy and trust in your heart with worry and fear? Have you ever wondered how or what to pray for in trying times? Join us this Sunday as we discover "The Guardian of Prayer"!
Advent Bible Study
It does not take a credit card, cold hard cash or a lay-a- way. You don’t have to wonder… “What I am going to buy for Christmas?” This is a gift to you from the Lord Jesus Christ. No refunds and no returns. Let’s really get to know and come closer to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit this holiday season. Join Dianna at her house for a four-week Advent Bible Study beginning the week of November 28. The study will be held two different days for your convenience: Mondays 7 to 8 pm and Wednesdays 9:30-10:30 am. See Dianna for more details and let her know if you plan to attend.
Living in Community
Please continue to pray for Tristan and all of his family during this difficult journey.
Thank you to everyone who so generously gave to help them in this time of need.
Thank you to the youth and their leaders for a great night at the MORE Worship Service!
You did a fantastic job with your skit and leading praise music!
If you would like to purchase poinsettias for our sanctuary in honor or memory of a loved one,
please see Pam during the month of November.
The Drive-thru Nativity is fast approaching! Please see Davida to sign up for a part
before all the good ones are taken (and they are all good ones!).
This Week at Port Church
Tuesday, November 15
9:00 - 11:45 - Office Hours
Wednesday, November 16
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Come out for our final Wednesday at the Port for the fall!
Pizza, salad, and brownies are on the menu.
7:30 - Choir Practice
Thursday, November 17
9:00 - 11:45 - Office Hours
Thursday, November 19
9:00 - Barn Clean-up
Contact Davida for more details.
Sunday, November 20
9:30 am - Worship: "Thanksliving: Thanksgiving Everyday"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Drive-thru Nativity - December 9 & 10
Christmas Musical Program - December 18
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