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What do you do when you lose your way? Do you run? Double down? Blame? Settle? Wait?
All are invited to this unique journey inward, a moment of reorientation and reflection featuring original art by David B. Witwer. Join us at the Reeves Center anytime between 5 and 8pm on October 1st, 2nd, 8th, or 9th.
This event is free for all ages, registration is not needed, and masks are encouraged in indoor spaces. Appropriate for children, but designed to be more conceptual than interactive. Please bring friends from beyond our church family; this will be a sacred space intended for all.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Open House on September 12th. Construction on Phase 1 of the counseling center is nearing completion, and we hope to have the center serving our community in the near future. If you were unable to make the open house, please contact Kalli Turner at KalliT@fumcwp.org for a tour.
A goal for our Reset sermon series is to read through the entire book of Galatians as a church family. We invite you to participate in the scripture devotional below.
Doing Good to All
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Not Circumcision but the New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to[b] the Israel of God.
17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
You can find out a lot through someone’s handwriting. I learned that first-hand as a kid. I was a naïve kid, and I loved Christmas. I still do, but I am less naïve. I have always noticed the distinction of my father’s handwriting. Since I was old enough to notice words and how letters are written, I knew that my Dad had a distinctive style of handwriting. My Dad is a brilliant architect, creative and economical. He was taught to write like an architect at the University of Florida and again at Boston Architectural College. My dad writes in all caps; always has, always will. One Christmas season, in 5th grade (I am embarrassed to admit) I was sneaking a look at the presents under the tree. I noticed that my dad had addressed a few of the presents for us from him and my mom. Fast forward to Christmas morning and the big gift that was brought all the way from the North Pole, on a Sleigh by a jolly guy in a red suit was addressed to RACHEL, SAMANTHA & AMY FROM SANTA. I knew immediately that Santa couldn’t coincidentally have the same handwriting as my brilliant Dad, but that Santa was in fact my Father and was therefore not real, simply a figment of my childish imagination. No, I did not need therapy, but I did learn to be more perceptive from that day forward.
The Galatians learn too that you can find out a lot through someone’s handwriting. At the end of Galatians, chapter 6, Paul makes his final attempt to let the new believers in the churches of Galatia know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is by his own hand that he writes these words.
Our final week of this church-wide study invites us to look once again at Galatians 6:1-18. Now since I preached last week on Galatians 6:1-10, I won’t repeat myself. Instead, let us focus together on the last eight verses. This is Paul’s last attempt to convince those listening to the false doctrine and counterfeit teachings to turn away and turn back to the truth of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul’s final admonitions and benediction begin with verse 11 which says:
“11 See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!”
This is Paul’s final attempt to help them see reason. In those days he had scribes or disciples himself that would help write down what he was dictating. He didn’t have a computer, or typewriter, or even a pen and paper; no, it was most likely written on clay tablets or animal skins. And so, Paul felt it imperative enough to write in his own handwriting these final verses. He did this so the readers would know that it is in fact him writing these final and most important words and not a false teacher. These last few verses were about how the Gospel of Jesus the Christ invites all people and all things to become new creations and how that is what really matters in the end. The arguing over circumcision and purity laws is but a waste of time if we are not becoming new creations. If that is not the Gospel that we are living into; then what is the earthly point?
I invite you to read slowly the final chapter of Galatians. I invite you to imagine Jesus writing these words to you; words that are meant to set you free. Words that are given to bring new life and transformation for all. Just as I learned as an 11-year old that my Dad’s handwriting proved what is make-believe, it can also prove what a real, freeing, and transformative. And so, in your own handwriting, sometime this week I invite you to write out who you were before you started following Jesus, who you are now and how you have seen the Holy Spirit at work in your own transformation. And then I invite you to share it. Send it to me, or another church member or pastor or friend because we want to hear your story, your testimony, your transformation. Because God is in the business of doing a new thing in each of us through the process of sanctification and I look forward to hearing, in your own words what new life looks like for you. Go in Peace
Dear Church Family,
Our leadership is committed to transparency and the safety of our community. With this in mind, we would like to inform you about a bomb threat that we received late last night (Sept. 24, 2021) from an unknown caller on our church’s voicemail system.
The Police Department was notified. Following normal procedure, they spent most of this morning searching our Winter Park campus. It has been cleared by the police for the safe resumption of activities.
Worship will resume as usual tomorrow morning. We will offer our services on campus and online for those who feel more comfortable worshipping from home. To learn more about our worship services, please visit fumcwp.org/live.
Our leadership will continue to communicate if there are any further developments to this matter.
We live in a broken world. And yet we worship a God who is greater! And who is at work to bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It is in faith in God that we will gather to worship tomorrow. In the meantime, please join us in prayer for our world today.
Creator God, we acknowledge that the brokenness in the world was not your plan for us. We mourn the systemic sins and individual problems that have led to the hurt all around. We pray that through the power of Christ working in us that we might be agents of your restorative power to make all things right once again. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.
Peace of Christ to you,