God’s Spirit is moving at Central and every day I get a glimpse. As I reflect on my first six months as your senior pastor, I marvel at the amazing and wonderful things God is doing at Central United Methodist Church. I wanted to share some sightings of God at work.
My heart was touched to attend community meals several Tuesdays and Thursdays. I met many people who come to our church for a hot meal and a warm welcome. I watched the donation bins fill up with coats when the weather became cold. Jody Farrell said they have given over 200 coats from the Genesis clothing center to people who needed a coat this winter. I was inspired by the Good Sam Christmas ministry supplying local families with amazing gifts, food and love during the Christmas season. I heard testimonies of God’s power to free individuals from addiction and oppressive circumstances at Celebrate Recovery on Thursday nights.
I met our missionaries in Columbia during their visit to northwest Arkansas. I heard amazing stories of our ministry in Uganda from Chris Thornton and plan to join them on their mission trip this year. I participated with 160 other Central members who went into the community to serve others Beyond Our Walls.
I worshipped with the people of Genesis and with the students at the U of A Wesley. I saw the room upstairs at Wesley full of supplies for their work days and mission trip over Christmas break. Thirty of our Wesley students will give up their holiday and instead of relaxing or enjoying a fun break, they will serve others in Louisiana.
Wednesday night MidWeek activities involve approximately 350 people including 210 children, 30 youth, and 110 adults. I walked around our bustling campus Wednesday evenings witnessing all the excitement. I joined the children during their meal time and watched over 200 young people worship God with great activity and excitement. I heard stories from our adult bible studies of the many insights found reading God’s word. I joined our student ministry leaders, hearing inspiring devotions, experiencing creative breakout sessions and sharing in fun together.
I had the great privilege of holding the door and welcoming our senior adults to the CAC on December 7. What a joy to serve over 200 attendees lunch alongside our church staff. A new ministry for senior adults launched as we commemorated the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor day. This new ministry will be led by Jack Wilson and Tony Holifield, pastors emeriti.
I was inspired by the deep spiritual discernment of our clergy staff. We met at Mt. Sequoyah in October and prayerfully sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit to plan sermon themes for the entire year of 2017. The staff leadership team enjoyed a time of team building, spiritual renewal, planning and brainstorming about big ideas that will accomplish God’s vision. God is leading our church into a time of spiritual awakening and renewal.
Every Sunday morning, I worship God in two wonderful venues (classic and contemporary) and witness the movement of Holy Spirit in the hearts of our people. I have the great privilege of being your pastor, standing in the pulpit and telling the story of Jesus Christ. I have broken the bread, lifted the cup and placed water on the heads of children in the mystery of the sacraments. God’s Spirit is moving at Central and every once in a while I get a beautiful glimpse.
Washed – 2017 Baptism sermon series
I look forward to a sermon series on Baptism called Washed beginning January 8. Baptism marks a new beginning. There is no better place to begin a new year than a recommitment of ourselves to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives. In baptism, God claims us, marks us, cleanses us, restores us, renews us and calls us to serve. Baptism is the most powerful sign act in the Christian faith. If you have questions about baptism (what is the significance, what do we believe, what difference does it make) our January sermon series, Washed, will provide answers. If you have never been baptized, January will provide a meaningful opportunity for you to do so. If you have been baptized at some time in your life, you will have the opportunity to “say YES” to Jesus Christ again in a congregation wide baptismal renewal service on January 22.
As we say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017, keep your eyes open! There will be many “God sightings” as we journey through a new year together.
Central’s Senior Pastor