Weekly Devotional June 28th 2018

Tuesday, it appeared the focus of Sunday was going to be “Healed and Set Free.” But things happen when a person reads and re-reads Bible passages. Mark 5:21-43 is a healing story interrupted by a healing story. It begins with a girl nearing death, is interrupted by a bleeding woman whose story is so compelling that the dying girl is practically forgotten until she is brought up again. Both stories are about being “healed and set free.” But, I saw something new that seemed very timely for our world today. In a world where so many people and things are in need of healing, this reading from Mark, tells about energy flowing from Jesus. But, wonderful wonder of wonders, there is “Enough Jesus to Go Around. It’s kind of like the five loaves and two fish that fed thousands on the hillside. Jesus always offers more than we can imagine.

Is there a place in your life where it seems your resources and best efforts are too little? Jesus does want the best for us and invites us trust he is also at work in our lives. We are not left alone to get by on our own efforts. Is the someone you are praying for that you wish you could do more for? Jesus invites us to do what we can, maybe even more than we think we can, AND to trust Jesus is also at work in that person’s life. Are you in need of healing? Take a look at the Scripture and be reminded Jesus eventually does bring new life to both the woman and the girl in the story (and those who care for them). It’s an invitation to trust Jesus is still seeking to take us by the hand and set us free to live anew even when it take more time than we’d like. The healing may not always be in the way we expect but it always seems to be what we most need.

There Is Enough Jesus to Go Around.

Blessings,

Weekly Devotional July 5th 2018

“What does the Lord require of us? God has already shown us what is good. Love kindness, show mercy and walk humbly with our God.”  (Micah 6:8) I am particularly fond of the words of the prophet Micah. His words remind us that being faithful is about our actions and our attitudes. He reminds us that a faithful life is within our reach. There’s hope in knowing kindness, mercy and humility can make a difference in a broken world. Still, as human-beings, our hearts often break and we find ourselves wishing we could do more.

Last week there were two children who drown in the Fargo-Moorhead area and our hearts go out to their families. It may not seem like kindness, mercy and humility are enough. However, those of you who were in church on Sunday already know, in a way you were with Grace’s Mom and family on that tragic day. Because you support Grace Church with your prayers, presence, gifts and service, you have a pastor who volunteers as a Moorhead Police Chaplain. Your faithfulness to Grace Church allowed me to answer the call and be with Grace’s Mom at Buffalo River State Park. I could not bring little Grace back to life. But, I could whisper a prayer and be a visual reminder to her family that God had not abandoned them during this time, and that Jesus held little Grace in his arms. I was also able to be with officers later in the evening. It was a humbling privilege for me to be a sign that God still cares in the midst of tragedy. But, the only reason I could be there is because of you kindly, mercifully and humbly giving yourselves to the mission of Grace Church–to this idea that God is calling to be the church beyond our building’s walls right in our neighborhood.

On Sunday mornings when there is Sunday School for the kids, most of us aren’t in the education wing. Yet, we are part of supporting those who are teaching God’s love to the next generation. When you send a card, pick up the phone, or visit someone to directly care for them, I hope you feel the support and encouragement of your Grace family. Loving kindness, showing mercy, and walking humbly is not something we do alone. Jesus can work mightily through these simple actions and attitudes because we practice them together and support one another in them.

The next time you see someone do or say something that exemplifies kindness, mercy and humility, take a moment to show your appreciation. It is good when we encourage each other on the journey of faithfulness.

Sunday we’ll talk more about what it means to be Sent by Jesus and Sustained by Jesus.

Blessings,

Church Leadership

Our Church Leadership

Our Church thrives because of the energy and style of the people who are a part of our leadership. Here are a few of the people that make our church community special:


                Roger Grafenstein - Pastor

            Pastor Roger and his wife Chele are entering the empty nest

            phase with two grown children--a 25 year old daughter and an

            20 year old son.  They share a passion for seeing the beauty in life:

            growing flowers, appreciating nature, and seeing God's image in

            others.

On Pastor Roger's office wall is a plaque:  "The Pastor's Study - You are welcome here.  Within these walls each word is safe, each burden gladly borne, and each blessing gladly shared."  Such is the work of ministry and worship leadership--creating safe, sacred times and spaces that are sanctuaries where we are reunited with the God who made us.  In these worshipful settings we are renewed to love and serve God's people and and creation.  Telling the stories of God's loving, healing presence in our everyday lives is Pastor Roger's passion.  Learning to live and love like Jesus and encouraging others to do the same is his daily goal.  By following Jesus we are transformed on the inside and become part of transforming the world into a place where God's kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.


     Del Larson - Certified Lay Minister

Del is assigned by the District Superintendent to assist where needed at Grace UMC.  Del isn't a paid staff person, but he did work through a series of prayer and study modules designed for personal spiritual growth and leadership development.  Del was a key person in completion of Grace's Picture Directory, in creating a new way of organizing Grace's Rollag Fundraiser, and this year was the Vacation Bible School storyteller.  Del also arranged for Grace to be the HERO drop off site in Moorhead.  If you have unused medical equipment you may drop it off at Grace UMC and HERO will then distribute the items to those in need.  Del is focusing his ministry on visitation with the elderly and coordinating volunteers to serve meals at Churches United every 5th Wednesday.  Outside church Del has been highly involved in Moorhead's Special Olympics.  Del and his wife LuAnn are lifetime Moorhead residents, proud of their church and community.

Staff

  Office Administrator - Sondra Vick

Sondra has her finger on the pulse of Grace's congregational life--as keeper of the calendar and organizer of seeminginly endless information.  If you have a question regarding any administrative portion of Grace's Church life, Sondra will have or will find the answer to your question.  Sondra also compiles Grace's newsletters, readies Sunday bulletins and PowerPoints, and is at the center of most of Grace's correspondence with members and the community.  Most important, however, is that Sondra will always greet you with a smile and a gracious willingness to help you get the information you need or spread the word for a Grace project you're a part of.  You'll find Sondra in the office M 9 AM - 2 PM and T- F 9 AM - 1:00 PM.

Choir Director - Kyle Schwartz

                                              Choir Accompanist & Bell Choir Director - Sharon Fangsrud

 

Music is an integral part of my spiritual life – I would be lost without it. My church life began back in my home town in South Dakota in a Baptist congregation, where, as a young girl in junior high, I began playing for Sunday School and youth group, "moving up the ranks" to play for the Sunday morning church service and accompanying the choir as well as soloists and small groups. I inherited the love of music from my loving Grandfather (who I was blessed to be able to accompany often) and Mom (who was the first pianist when the Baptist church was organized in Milbank), and I will be forever grateful to them for the encouragement they gave to keep going. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many musically talented musicians. It has been their love and ministry that has inspired me to share my talent and carry on their ministry – through singing, playing piano, or directing the bells. I pray that my ministry will do the same for others.

Prayer Focus

Prayer for those who struggle to believe the best each day because their lives are
going through a season of struggle. Pray for strength a day at a time and a step
at a time.

First Mile Mission

First Mile Mission Giving begins in all UM Churches with
Apportionments: ‘A Portion Meant’ for mission. Grace’s 1st Mile
Mission Giving Goal is $20,460 or $122.00 each member based on
a membership of 168. Generous givers are already Paving The way
to meeting that goal, with $2,538.02 given to date.

2018 Offutt Scholarship

Applications for the 2018 Offutt Scholarship are now available. These scholarships are available to members of Grace UMC and their families for post-secondary education for the coming academic year. Applications are due in the office by June 1, 2018. The applications are available in the Church office and at the Church Website. If you have any questions about the Scholarships or about the Grace UMC Endowment and its activities, please contact Paul Anderson.

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up

Third Sunday in Lent

CALL TO WORSHIP:

Psalm 19:1-3, 7a
The heavens tell the glory of God.
The majesty of the cosmos signals God’s handiwork.

Day by day, God speaks in a myriad of ways.
Night by night we are reminded there is an order beyond our imagining.

Look around. Rivers and streams, mountains and valleys, prairies and forests,
They do not use words, but they speak of God’s greatness.

Listen deeply. Waves crashing, birds singing, leaves rustling, all testify to God.
The laws of the Lord are perfect—reviving the soul.”

We gather to learn of God’s ways.
We gather to be filled with life and love, joy and compassion. Amen.

GOSPEL LESSON:

John 2:13-22 (CEB)

The gospel of John places Jesus’ cleansing of the temple almost at the very beginning, instead of at the end, of Jesus’ ministry like in the other gospels. John’s gospel is also the gospel that says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son.” John wants to make it very clear that God is a giving God—in contrast to a world that is all too interested in taking. This passage invites Jesus’ followers to cleanse themselves and follow him into a life of blessing others.

Message:

Be Cleansed—Share God’s Blessing