"Through the power of Christ, we are learning to live in simplicity, thankfulness, contentment and
generosity in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana."

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advent Devotional - December 13


Shade Tree Memories, where I see Jesus in others.


Shade tree memories is where you go to remember those “Christ like” people in your life.  Some of my shade tree

memories are of my grandparents when I was a child.  I close my eyes and I hear my grandmother’s unique laughter and

remember the smooth, creamy, cream of wheat cereal she used to make special for my breakfast when I was little.  My

grandfather was a great fisherman and spit tobacco juice from the Copenhagen in his jaw on each worm before casting it into the water.  He always came home with lots of fish.  My last shade tree memory of my  grandfather before he passed away, was of him sitting at his kitchen table reading his Bible.  He looked up at me and smiled as I took his picture.


Shade tree planters rarely get to sit under their tree.  Planting shade tree memories is never easy and I have to stop and ask myself, do I sow memories for others in joy?  Is my joy characterized by gladness or delight, a fruit of the spirit?   Am I thinking of my grandchildren and my great grandchildren as I live out my Christian life?

One thing for sure, I want my family and friends to look back over my life and smile and say they have shade tree memories of me.  Are you planting shade tree memories?


Terry Bivens 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Advent Devotional - December 12

“These should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents.” 

I Timothy 5:4

December 12th is my birthday and also my mother’s birthday, so the day always makes me think about family.  Growing  up I wasn’t always happy to be in my family.  There was alcoholism, mental illness, welfare for a time and a mother who was chronically depressed and ill.  And yet, I always knew I was loved, that God was watching over me, and that He had given me a loving Christian grandmother ad a great-aunt who filled in the gaps in my family life.  God found a family for Les and me in some unlikely places: in a barrio in the Philippines, in the mangrove swamps of Vietnam, among our son’s gay friends, with dear friends of many races, and classes around the world and now in our wonderful blended family here at Stevensville United Methodist Church.  I now see that each experience has helped form my character and values, and shown me how to live a Christian life.  I give humble thanks.

Jesus was born into an unlikely family also, with an unmarried teenage mother and  an older, probably uneducated carpenter father.  Yet they loved, instructed and nurtured the Son of God until he came into his ministry, created his second family of disciples and believers, and proclaimed that people everywhere are a part of God’s family.  What an amazing inclusive promise!  All we must do is love Him, seek His forgiveness, and obey His commandments.

May we love and cherish our families this Christmas and   support and extend our church family to all God’s people.

Hazel Smith

Monday, December 11, 2017

This week @ Stevi UMC

Monday: 

7:00 pm, Living Clean

Tuesday:   

3:30 pm, Clothes Closet Christmas Party
6:00pm, Shepherding
7:000 pm, Choir

Wednesday:
8:00 am, WIC
4:30 pm, Stewardship/finance
5:30 pm, Wesley House Board

Thursday:
6:00 pm, Cub Scouts
7:00 pm, Ad Board

Friday:
10:00 am, Drop-in Bible Study, #3
7:00 pm, Wine, Women, & Wisdom @ Janet L.
 
Saturday:   
8:00 am, UMM Breakfast
9:00 am, UMW Saturday Circle
1:00 pm, Children's Christmas Pageant practice

Sunday: Third Sunday of Advent
9:15 am, Children's church school
10:15 am, Praise singing                                                   
10:30 am, Worship 
11:30 am, Fellowship time
11:30 am, Chime practice

Advent Devotional: December 11

In this time of waiting, I see God in those bursts of generosity and hope that mark this, the Christmas season.

I see God in the faces and hearts of people who donate to strangers – bringing food for pantries, collecting coats and bedding for the homeless, filling bins with toys for tots, adding cash to Salvation Army buckets.


God is in the faces and hearts of people who open their arms and their doors to the loved ones who sometimes disappoint or hurt them, to acquaintances and co-workers who could become friends, to old friends who because of time and distance have transformed into virtual strangers, and to children who need encouragement and love and safety and security.


God is also there in the hearts of people who are wounded, or bewildered, or lacking the courage to make that change they know they should … God is there in the urge nudging them on. They just may not know it yet.

Carol Brekke Goffe

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Making Merry - 2017!

Thanks to Sherry Paddie and a corps of volunteers, the first "Making Merry" event with the children was a boisterous success!

Following a "comfort food for children potluck," stations were set up around the fellowship hall where the children created Christmas tree ornaments. 

The ornaments will be added to plates of cookies along with a card and distributed to shut-ins and others who might enjoy a bit holiday cheer!

Thanks to: Mary Costello,joey Diers, Amber & Dave Maclay-Schulte, Josh Malo,  Luke Malo, Sara Malo, Marcia Prather, Kendra Ruff, Dusty Schrock, and Carol Word,

Second Sunday of Advent @ Stevi UMC


The Second Sunday of Advent came to Stevi UMC this morning, cold, but with no new snow!

Our worship of God this morning included a lovely rendering of "Ring the Bells on Christmas Day." Pastor Charles' sermon, "In the time of waiting," was taken from Mark 1:1-8.


Thanks this morning to: Theresa Tripp (nursery), Pastor Charles & Sherry Paddie (faith formation), Julie Ludington (piano), Paul Ludington (Praise music), Tom Bishop (video), The Ruff family (Advent wreath), Ava & Katie Rose (acolytes), Cammie Edgar  (power point), Marilyn Murphy (chimes), Sara Malo (communion), Lisa Menery (liturgist), Marcia Prather & Mary Costello (greeter/usher), Ruth Cleveland & Don Nelson (Offering counters), Children's ministry (fellowship).

Advent Devotional - December 10 - Second Sunday of Advent


It has been a year since I retired from the workforce, after 49 years of employment.  For most of those years my life was
defined by the traditional role of wage earner for our
family. This role I accepted as a matter of course, along with that of husband and father. Because of these commitments, I had to limit my involvement in many other activities, that is, I said “no” a lot. In this past year, I’ve been able to say “yes “ to involvements that I previously had to decline. So I’ve gotten involved in the Clothes Closet, in Pantry Partners, in the Stevensville Playhouse and the Western Montana Walk to Emmaus. It feels so good to be able to have the time to say “YES” for a change. 

I’ve encountered many so many people who also now have the time to say “yes.” People who have made God’s purpose their own purpose in acts of kindness, mercy and justice. This is where I encounter the Incarnation, the Presence of

God in our world, in people who serve God by serving the people of God in faithfulness, in humility and in love.

“The grass withers, the flower fades’
but the word of our God stands forever”

Isaiah 40:8

  
Dean Diers