I am glad to say that I am on the mend from my recent flu sickness. I hate that I missed worship with you all this past Sunday (one of my favorite Sundays of the year!). I know that you were in capable hands, and I plan to be back with you this weekend as we continue in this season after the Epiphany. In just a few short weeks, we will receive ashes and begin the holy season on Lent... more to come later.

Over the last few weeks, our newsletter has “unwrapped” Christmas gifts we should appreciate around our campus and community. Though the Christmas season has moved now into Epiphany, I’ll offer a few reasons we must continue being thankful.

Life is stressful. All of it is stressful. As Christians, we are taught not to worry. We are told that God will take care of everything, that God will never give us more than we can handle. I believe in and serve a mighty God, who can handle anything. He is the author of creation and cares for each of His creations. Stress is not from God. Stress is a side effect from sin, from the fall of humanity.

10 And the LORD came and stood, calling as at times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” - 1 Samuel 3:10 My prayer for this new year is that I hear when God is calling. I pray that through the mountain top experiences and through the times in the valley that I never let distractions get in the way of hearing from the Father.

Happy New Year again! We began our Christian New Year on December 3rd, but we also celebrate the New Year as another calendar year begins. This year holds many exciting worship opportunities here at FUMC. I want to take the opportunity to invite you to the Sunday evening service. This service is patterned after a service called Evening Prayer. During this time of worship, there is an opportunity for meditation, prayer, singing, and hearing the Word proclaimed.

More Gifts Under the Christmas Tree...Taking a glimpse at a few more of God’s gifts here is a good way to not only end 2017, but to begin 2018. Whether it’s filling a vacant position or genuinely caring for our gifted staff, the Staff-Parish Team has done wonders at securing and equipping the best church staff around. Our new Communications-Tech Team has used almost exclusively in-house talent (mostly volunteer) to give us a state-of-the-art website plus capacity for eBlast, social media, and live-streaming of worship. 

Greetings on this soon to be fourth Sunday of Advent! I hope that you are well on your way to making preparations for this coming Christmas season. We, at the church, are busy preparing for the next few weeks and all the services that will take place. Over the next three weeks, we will celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent, Christmas Eve, and Wesley Covenant Renewal. This season offers a unique opportunity and I hope that you take every opportunity to join us for worship: this will be a wonderful time of worship. 

Gifts of Great Value … Some gifts have great value that you won’t notice unless you pay close attention. Around First UMC, watchful eyes have noticed the fruit of almost three years of lay - driven - ness. Seeing our Discipleship Team revamp Wednesday night Salt & Light has been exciting. After two years of our Missions Team taking ownership of monthly communion offerings, we’ve seen month after month of consistent highs in giving. We’ll talk more later about our gifts of great value, but rest assured many of us have noticed what God is doing through folks like you. 

The impossible situations in our lives are what motivates us or causes doubts about the future. In our Bible, we find both situations in the Christmas Story. In Luke chapter 1, we see the doubt in Zechariah and the hope and motivation in Mary.

The birth of Jesus was not by accident. Each and every detail was drafted and precisely put into action by the Father. The birth of our Savior was nothing short of miraculous. From the appearance of the angelic messengers, to the deception of King Herod, this gift of salvation had Heaven written all over it. The preparation of the birth of Jesus was not without complications; Mary and Joseph were not married, there was no room for them in the inn, and Herod’s murderous decree. The birth of our Lord may not have been perfect by human standards, but it was perfect for human redemption. This Advent season, let us prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, by preparing our hearts to receive Him as Lord and Savior. 

Welcome to the third week of Advent, the season where we anticipate and prepare for the coming of the Christ child. This season begs us to not rush into the Messiah’s birth, but to take time to prepare our homes, more especially our hearts, for the birth of Christ. If we’re patient enough, if we anticipate enough, if we prepare enough, we’re more likely to respond well to the Christmas reality. If we rush into it and get caught up in shopping and buying, cooking and cleaning, wrapping and decorating, we will probably get to the other side of Christmas and say, “Whew!! I’m glad it’s over.” But if we instead spend Advent preparing our hearts and minds, patiently awaiting and anticipating the Messiah, we hopefully will get to the other side of Christmas and say, “I’m glad it’s begun.” 

We come to the third Sunday of Advent this Sunday: Joy. Sometimes it is hard to find Joy, especially during difficult times. Remember, however, that we are in a season of expectation, longing, hopefulness. We wait for the coming of Christ at Christmas. This Sunday we light the candle of Joy, a reminder that Christ brings us everlasting joy. In many traditions, the third Sunday of Advent is devoted to Mary, the mother of God. We, through our tradition, focus on Joy. Often times, the Magnificat is sung or said on this Sunday; here is a portion of the magnificat: 

Yes, but in our daily lives and in our worship, we should not let Christmas intrude on Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the season in which we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ by remembering the coming of the Messiah to the Jews and the coming of Jesus into the world at Bethlehem. And, we anticipate the second coming of Jesus in final victory and the continual coming of Jesus into the hearts and lives of believers. 

Quick but Crucial Glimpses of Grace and Truth … We know you ’ re busy with shopping, cooking, cleaning … and getting everything ready for the season. Yet part of our mission as the Church is reminding each other of the richer and deeper meanings of the holy - days. We have many opportunities to remind us all of why Advent and Christmas matter. 

The Birth of our Lord is an amazing event that changed human history and eternity forever. It set into motion a series of events that allowed God to redeem His children.

The season of Advent has begun. We began Advent with the Hanging of the Greens, and I hope that you found this service meaningful. It is fascinating to me to know the origin of so many traditions that we have today … to know where they come from and why they are important...

Happy New Year! Well, it is the church ’ s “ New Year. ” This Sunday we celebrate the 1 st Sunday of Advent, the Hanging of the Greens. It is hard for me to believe that it is already the season of Advent, and that Christmas is right around the corner. This will be my second Christmas with you; I am grateful for the times that we have shared, the memories made, and the friendships that have come from this place.

Church family, 

 

I cannot begin to thank you enough for making our annual spaghetti supper a huge success! From the amazing individuals who worked all day preparing, to each of you who volunteered to serve, to the students and their families who sold tickets, and to you who bought tickets, thank you! We are continuing this busy time of the year with the Progressive Dinner and our Winter trip to Gatlinburg. In the coming weeks, you will be receiving more information about these events. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions. 

 

May God Bless You, 

Brian, Mary, Brylee Funderburk 

Last weekend, Christ the King Sunday highlighted the fact that God truly reigns over all creation. But are we really serious about it? If so, what does it look like? 

It’s hard to believe that this coming Sunday, November 26th, is Christ the King Sunday. What is Christ the King Sunday you might ask? This is the last Sunday of the church year. You know that the church year varies from the calendar year. We begin and end at different times than the calendar year. 

Thanksgiving week, can you believe it is already here?! Mary, Brylee, and I want to wish you and your families a blessed Thanksgiving. God has been faithful in His promises this year. We are so proud to call FUMC Dyersburg home and each of you family. 

Brief Glimpses of Grace and Truth...As the holidays are here, and life gets very busy, let’s remember a few things happening soon. We’ll give a couple other updates as we get into December, but these are in the next couple weeks. 

I invite you to travel a few days back with me—to something I wrote last Thursday. Here’s how it went: Last night we heard a fantastic talk by Dr. Scott Self. Scott shared how Nehemiah’s commitment to "do something now" resulted in Jerusalem’s walls being rebuilt in 52 days. Then Scott challenged us all about how we, instead of waiting so late that we can only say, “Next year, I’ll do things different...”, decide to start doing things different now. 

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the word, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  Psalm 90:1-2

If our church closed its doors tomorrow would our community miss us? I was asked this question a few weeks ago. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to say, of course our community would miss us.

Where have all the years gone? Five hundred years ago last Tuesday, Martin Luther protested that we as the Church must do better. That protest meant that Luther would quickly be deemed an enemy by quite a few government and religious leaders, some of whom had the power to convict him of treason, heresy and other charges which could constitute the death sentence. Luther was standing for what he knew then, and now 500 years later what the world still knows, was right and truthful. The protest of that day turned into millions of others calling for protest, for reformation and counter reformation. What began on one day and one door of one church, evolved into years, then decades and then five centuries of protests. Those protests became the soil out of which thousands, then hundreds of thousands of subsequent protests signified by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of church doors out of which protesters walked, often erecting a new door and new church to take a stand for what was right.

Who Are We?

“I am afflicted and needy (humble and dependent on Yahweh); the Lord thinks of me. You are my helper and my deliverer; my God, do not delay.” - Psalm 40:17

Shared with you by the FUMC Worship Team

November 1 is All Saints Day, but this date is not nearly as well known as the day before, “All Hallows’ (Saints’) Eve, ” better known as Halloween. This Sunday, we will celebrate All Saints Day during our morning worship service.

This Sunday, November 5, we have the opportunity to enter the Mission Field by donating our Communion Offering to Reelfoot Rural Ministries. For years our church has partnered with Reelfoot Rural Ministries to help meet specific needs of thousands of people here in West Tennessee. As Reelfoot approaches its 55th anniversary, this seems a good time to look back at the numerous ways this mission-minded organization reaches out to improve the lives of our neighbors.

Here are some pictures taken on Sunday, October 15 during the 175th Anniversary of FUMC Dyersburg.

Many hours of planning and preparation have been devoted to our fall retreat this year. Your adult leaders and myself are excited to spend this coming weekend investing in the lives of our students. There will be a time of service, worship, team building, and fellowship. The team and I are asking that you pray for our time together this weekend and encourage you to come by and love on these students with us!

I hope that you were here for our 175th Anniversary celebration. What a wonderful celebration, service, and luncheon! I have been amazed at the number of “historical documents” that we have found as we were preparing for this celebration. I especially enjoyed the many pictures on bulletin boards around the church, as I’m sure you have also. It was truly a time to celebrate! Now that our celebration is over, though, where do we go from here? What do we turn our eyes to? What will we do next?

Thank you for your continued support. With the recent disasters and the influx of refugees, it has been an additional burden on all units. We served 2409 meals last month. Thank you and continue to pray for all those in need.

Your Salvation Army

This is our big week! We have been waiting a long time for this coming Sunday... 175 years to be exact. As I have thought about what this past year has been like, I can only imagine the rich history that has taken place in this sacred space. I can only imagine the songs that have been sung, the prayers that have been prayed, the sermons that have been preached. There, no doubt, have been happy occasions such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings, as well as sad occasions. There is one common theme throughout each of these happenings: we are family. This group of people that have been worshipping for 175 years, this group of people called “Methodists” are a family. We are united by our love for Christ, our love for each other, and our love for community. Together we are stronger.

We are celebrating this week an incredible anniversary in the life of our church. For 175 years this church that we call home has been a fixture in our community. For 175 years the members of FUMC Dyersburg have served, ministered, and witnessed to the community that God placed around it. My family and I have counted it a blessing to have served beside you these last few months.

Dear Friends and First UMC Family: Over these past few months, our schedules have been busy and our plates have been full of activities leading up to a big celebration this coming Sunday. So we’d like to give a reminder, a Thank You and a word of encouragement. First, please remember that this coming Sunday is when we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the ministries of First United Methodist in Dyersburg and Dyer County. We hope you’ll join us for worship at 10:00 a.m. as we welcome Bishop McAlilly, as both our Episcopal leader and preacher for the day. Immediately after worship, we’ll enjoy an old-fashioned Methodist potluck lunch.

When was the last time you were inspired by a worship service? I choose not to say “enjoy/enjoyed” because, really, worship isn’t about us. We aren’t the audience, but rather the participators. So, when was the last time that you were present for morning worship and felt inspired? I have left worship feeling inspired for the past few weeks. It seems that everything went as planned. There were common themes. The music was uplifting. Have you felt the same way?

Glimpses of Grace and Truth... Every time we turn on the television, listen to broadcast news, or read anything from newsprint to social media, we hear about the Las Vegas shooting. From reporter to journalist, from local police to federal agencies, no one standing in front of a microphone is able to give the motive for what the suspect did late Sunday night. All it took was one person. Granted, he had more weapons and ammunition than half the small town police departments in America. But still it was one person, doing what many have called, “mass evil.” For sure, there is much power in one person, power for evil but also power for good.

A potluck meal is being planned for the 175th Celebration immediately following the morning worship service. The church will provide the meat and drinks. Members are asked to bring vegetables, salads, and desserts.

A sign-up sheet will be in Sunday School classes this Sunday for you to sign up. Also help in the kitchen will be needed. If you have any questions or would like to help out, please call Aleece Jackson at 445-9266.

We remember the past and look forward to the future... Our church has a very rich history of ministries throughout its 175 years. We have so much to celebrate; we have accomplished much! However, we have to look forward to where it is that we are going. Sometimes, as we look forward, we realize there are changes that might need to be made. Change is never easy, but often change is good.

James 4:5 says, "Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that He has made to dwell in us?’’’

Dear Friends,

Do you wonder, as I do, how it is possible that October is just around the corner? This Sunday marks the beginning of October and World Communion Sunday. Those of you who are longtime members of the United Methodist Church will remember this Sunday being celebrated every year since your childhood. However, you may not be sure of the emphasis or focus of this Sunday.

The fear of disappointing God: Have you ever thought that God was disappointed in you? I know I have. There have been times when I have continued to make the same mistakes over and over again. I pray to seek forgiveness but I can't help to think, God I know you must be getting frustrated at me for this, how disappointed you must be in me. We must realize that although we are made in His image, we are not God

Brian and Mary Funderburk joined the church September 10. Brian is the new Youth Director here at the church. Let ’ s welcome Brian, Mary and Brylee!

You know that this is a big year for our congregation. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Methodist faith in Dyersburg, TN. We should be immensely proud of our heritage and all that we have accomplished in these years. We also should be looking forward the future, planning and strategizing where it is that we are going. There are many pieces coming together for the actual day appointed to celebrate our anniversary, which is Sunday, October 15 th. I hope that you will plan to be in worship that day. You will not want to miss it!

Glimpses of Grace & Truth ... We’ve been discussing the need to be more careful while watching and listening. Pastor K. Duncan tells about a time when a major newspaper had shown a man taking the oath of office as the first US Senator from Hawaii. When the paper received a critical and disrespectful letter the following day, editors published the letter and photo side by side. The letter - writer complained that, while senators have always taken the oath with their right hand raised, "The senator from Hawaii doesn't know his right hand from his left." In the photo, you see Senator Inouye taking the oath with his left hand raised. If the complainer had paid attention, he may have noticed why.

I want to share with you the portion of prayer that I read while introducing a hymn this past Sunday. The following prayer was penned by Howard Thurman, a noted 19th century African American author, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. Here is the entire prayer:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus is the theme for this year’s “See You At The Pole”, held on Wednesday September 27th. This annual event allows the students in our community to gather together to pray for one another, their schools, and their community, a very important event that I have the privilege of attending each year. I ask you to support our students and schools this year and if you have a student encourage them to attend.

The 175 th Anniversary celebration is fast approaching. As we have talked and planned for this historic celebration we have discussed the importance of holding the past, present and future in together with one another. We celebrate the past as we look to those who have gone before us that we might glean wisdom and understanding from our mothers and fathers of faith. We live fully in the present as we seek to grow in our faith and in our desire to follow Christ. We look forward to the future because we know that it is God that holds our future.

As we approach the celebration of the 175 th anniversary of our congregation, we have the opportunity to honor God and those church members who came before us and worked, gave financially and “prayed hard” so that we can enjoy the results of their renovations and building projects that make up our church campus.