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


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 16

July 31                                                                            
Psalm 66:17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high.

The soul is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised a little every day. Say a morning prayer just to say something.               Catherine Hicks

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting ready to float!

There was a bevy of joyful spirits in the Gragg's garage this morning as we began putting the SUMC entry together for Saturday's Creamery Picnic parade.

Thanks to Belinda Alkula, John Fisher, Bill & Carol Gragg, Debbie Guthrie, and Nancy Harrell (Belinda's friend) for helping.

We're looking for friendly folk to ride along with "Brother Van" on the float.  We'll be loading up at 9:30 am on Saturday!

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 15

Week three (July 30 - August 5): Children and youth ministries

July 30

2 Chronicles 7: 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.   
“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath, as a living Christian that does not pray.”  Matthew Henry

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 14

July 29

1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that prayers, supplications,  intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

“Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church or closet nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in your presence. So may my every word and action have a moral content. Amen.”   Susanna Wesley

Monday, July 28, 2014

Creamery Picnic Float

Our float may or may not be this big!
The Stevi UMC is entering a float in this year's Creamery Picnic parade on Saturday (Aug. 2, at 11 am), and we need your help.

Join us at the Gragg's ranch on Wednesday, July 30, at 8:00 am, to help decorate the float.  All ages are welcome, and everyone is invited to participate.  Whether you come to decorate or to encourage, please come!!!

Also, we need people to ride on the float!  If you'd like to participate, please contact the church office. 

Sermon text for August 3rd

13th century stained glass, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, UK
Matthew 14:13-21 
Common English Bible (CEB)

Feeding the five thousand

13 When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. 14 When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick.  

15 That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

16 But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”

17 They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.”

18 He said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds.  

20 Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. 21 About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 13

July 28

I Corinthians 1:4: I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.

"Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God."  – Billy Graham

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blog post #700!

Jenna and Dave Lockman offer this morning's special music
Pastor Charles preaches from Matthew 13

Today's account of the worship service is the 700th blog entry!  We enjoyed some lively study groups, energetic worship, and a delicious time of fellowship!  

We're "liked"

Our Facebook page has reached 150 "likes" and is looking for more!  Granted, many of these "likes" are friends of Pastor Charles, but they still count!  Join us today and feel the love through our social media ministry!

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 12

July 27

Romans 15:30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.
"Ten minutes spent in the presence of Christ every day, aye, two minutes, will make the whole day different."     - Henry Drummond

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday at Ms. Doris' Home

Each Friday morning, nearly a dozen or so SUMC members make their way to Doris K.'s for the weekly Bible study.  It is such a terrific group, and we learn and laugh as we make our way through the scriptures!  Everyone is welcome!

Great News!!!

Photo courtesy of McKendree United Methodist Church (Nashville, TN)
Great news! The #UMC has more than doubled its percentage of "highly vital" congregations in the U.S. 

Read what makes churches vibrant and why some are growing.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 10

July 25

Isaiah 65:24  And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.
"Prayer is the root, the foundation, the mother of a thousand blessings." - St. John Chrysostom 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 9

July 24

Proverbs 15:29  The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
"Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work."    Oswald Chambers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Help needed at Flathead Lake UM Camp


Our high school camp age-level camp at Flathead Lake Camp has a "problem"...

We have almost 90 campers registered but not enough adult female staff (must be 23 years or older)! We need YOU!!

Sun July 27st - Friday August 1st 
(Staff Training is Sat July 26 at 2pm)

There is no cost for volunteers (free room and board on the lake for a week)! Would you be willing to give some of your time to lead a small group of these amazing campers.

Call or email Gary Offerdahl or Sarah DeGooyer via email, flumc@cableone.net or by phone, 208-816-0389 or 406-781-3341.

Forty Days of Prayer: Day 8

Week two (July 23-29): The finances of the church

July 23

Psalm 145:18  The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. 
"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”  - Samuel Chadwick

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

40 Days of Prayer: Day 7

Week one (July 16-22): the membership of this congregation  (active, inactive, constituent, and potential members)

July 22:
Psalm 4:1 "Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."

"Time spent alone with God is not wasted.  It changes us; it changes our surroundings; and every Christian who would live the life that counts, and who would have power for service must take time to pray.”  M.E. Andross

Monday, July 21, 2014

Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again!

The gang's all here!
Kathy puts the finishing touches on the dumplings before baking
Sue places another batch of dumplings in the oven
Paul and Earl tend to the "core" duties!
Lexi, Kathy, and Phyllis at work!
Voila:  They are done ... and, oh, SO YUMMY!
The "apple dumpling gang" was back in action today at the Stevi High School kitchen, making an estimated 986 dumplings for sale at this year's Creamery Picnic.  It was so much fun being around such an energetic group!!!
Visit our Flickr account to see more pictures from today.
Thanks to the following for helping out today:

Allison A., Belinda A., Pastor Charles, Kathy B., Phyllis D., Dean D., Amy F., Trudy F., Carol G., Cleo G., Lisa H., Kathy H., Fran J., Claire K., Linda K., Janice K., Paul L., Lynn M., Earl M., Mary N., Cassidy P., Erik P., Pam P., Sue P., Tristan P., Marcia P., Olivia S., Hazel S., Linda S., Lexi S., Charlene S., Carol V.

40 Days of Prayer: Day 6

Week one (July 16-22): the membership of this congregation (active, inactive, constituent, and potential members).

July 21:

Isaiah 55:6 
"Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near."

"Go where your best prayers take you." - Fredrick Buechner

Sunday, July 20, 2014


JOYS:  Thanks be to God for …
Our country.
Those who serve our country.
Our church’s focus on “40 Days of Prayer.”
Our church family – both active and inactive.
Our local missionary Samantha B.’s mission work in Brazil.
Visitors in church:  Marcia P.’s friend Allison, Cousin Arlene, Judy W.’s friend James.
Family pews in worship.
Aunt was married last Friday.
Dr. Linda K.’s open house/party at her veterinarian clinic yesterday.
Reunion visits with family and friends.
Joy of camping.
Boy Scouts and their leaders.
Birthday blessings for all whose birthdays are this time of year:  Mickey B., Earl M.
Anniversary blessings for Mickey and Becky B. (15).
All enjoying better health.
All serving in various capacities for the betterment of the church.
“The Apple Dumping Gang’ getting together at the school cafeteria tomorrow for their annual bake-off – readying for the big sale at Creamery Picnic.  (Proceeds going to mission work.)
Wonderful Sunday school classes – every Sunday, starting at 9:00 a.m.
Worshipping in different places in the sanctuary – offers different “angles of vision.”
The smoke cleared; clear skies today.
Safe travels.
Good health.
Traveling mercies.
All those who journey.
The company of loving folks.

CONCERNS:  Oh, Lord, we humbly pray for … 
The crisis in the Ukraine.
Families and friends of those who died in the plane being shot down.
People living in Gaza and Israel.
Humane treatment/effective problem resolution – concerning the minor immigrant children flooding the U.S. borders. – Last week, 18,000 health kits were distributed.
People in Washington who are in fire’s/harm’s way.
Mickey B.
All our military Veterans and their families, especially those who are dealing with “the loss of body, mind and/or spirit.”
Samantha B.’s mission work in Brazil.
Healing mercies for Anne H., Hattie H., Les S., Judy I., Shelby, Sue in west Texas, Lynne M.’s brother John, Carol’s cousin, George C., stepson in California, Sharon W.’s friend T. and Bonnie G.’s niece Rose Marie.
Caretakers of those who are ill.
Those away from home.
Family and friends who are mourning the death of Josh Stevens, James Garner and Bruce Perry’s nephew.
All those who mourn.
All who are in pain.
All who suffer from depression and are anxious.
All in search of hope.
Area children – that they have safe, encouraging places “to be” this summer.
Travelling mercies and for those not with us today.
Those who are dealing with life’s transitions.
Family members who are near and far from one another.
It is the 45th anniversary of the moon landing – may we be re-inspired to reach new heights.  May the people of the world find new ways to reach unity/purpose.
All who need God’s peace.
Unspoken prayers.

A clear morning in the Valley!

Flowers from Carol G. and Arlyss H.
Marcia P. shares poems during worship
Trudy F. and Sue P. are all smiles - Apple Dumpling making is tomorrow!
Nilda B. supervises the fellowship line
We love our fellowship time!
With the wind blowing the smoke away from the Valley this morning it was time to come together for worship!

In place of our musical offering this morning Dr. Marcia P. read a selection of poems to give us something to think about.  It is wonderful to have such a variety of offerings each summer!

Today's sermon and the poems read by Marcia are available on our YouTube channel.

+to Nilda and Tom B. for leading the fellowship hosting this morning.  And to Dr. Linda for sharing the delicious cake from her practice's open house.
+to Carol G. and Arlys H. for sharing flowers from their gardens on the communion table.
+to Paul & Julie L. for leading the praise singing and to Hazel S. for playing the organ.
+to Rich & Bonnie G. for being our greeters.
+to Rollie F. for being our acolyte.

40 Days of Prayer: Day 5

July 20:
Romans 8:26
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."

“Depend upon it, if you are bent on prayer, the devil will not leave you alone. He will molest you, tantalize you, block you, and will surely find some hindrances, big or little or both. And we sometimes fail because we are ignorant of his devices…I do not think he minds our praying about things if we leave it at that. What he minds, and opposes steadily, is the prayer that prays on until it is prayed through, assured of the answer.”    

Mary Warburton Booth  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

40 Days of Prayer: Day 4

July 19:

I Corinthians 14:15 
"What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also."
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more prayer there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces of against evil …” E.M. Bounds 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Servants at work!

Thanks to Linda F. and Judy F. for providing the labor today for the mowing of the church lawn.  Great job, ladies!

40 Days of Prayer: Day 3

Week one (July 16-22): the membership of this congregation (active, inactive, constituent, and potential members)

July 18:

Philippians 4:6-7 
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”   - John Bunyan 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A letter from the Texas area UMC bishops

July 17, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Today a humanitarian crisis is unfolding on our southern border with the arrival of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children. 
Many of you have communicated with us about your heartfelt desire to provide compassionate care for the unaccompanied children who are suffering in our midst. As bishops we have been conferencing with each other about how the people of The United Methodist Church might respond in a manner that is most faithful to the gospel. 
We have also been in conversation with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), community leaders, and government officials. 
Our colleague, Bishop Jim Dorff, and other leaders in the Rio Texas Conference have just returned from three days on the border assessing the situation and representing the gospel and the church and encouraging people in a Christ-like response.
Let us be guided by the Biblical witness of faith: 
Jesus said, “Let the little children to come to me for to such belong the kingdom of heaven.” (Luke 18:15-16)
Jesus instructed us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe those in need, visit the sick and those imprisoned. Then he said, “When you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
We are to extend hospitality to strangers. (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:12)
We do not understand all that these children have experienced in their home countries or in their arduous journey to our borders. We do know that their plight breaks the heart of God. Children are some of the most vulnerable members of the global community. Many come seeking to survive. They all need our compassion and care. At a time of concern about a struggling economy and national security, it is easy to give in to fear and to let that fear, rather than God’s heart, shape our hearts and our response. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” (II Tim. 1:7). 
As followers of Christ, we have the power and wisdom of God to care for these unaccompanied children.

As the Bishops of the United Methodist Conferences  of Texas, we call on the people of The United Methodist Church to: 
+Pray regularly for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being
and healing of these children and families, wisdom for our government officials, and peace for the countries from which these children have come; 
+Work with faith and community leadership to provide housing, life necessities,pastoral/spiritual care, and as stable an environment as possible for these children and families while their long-term status is being resolved;
+Be attentive to seeing Christ in the faces of these children; 
+Be alert for specific opportunities to offer ministries of compassion and care, which we will share as needs emerge.
In the words of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement,
“Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the ways you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to
all the people you can as long as ever you can.”
In the name and spirit of Christ, we join with you in Christian love for these children. God bless you. 

Earl Bledsoe, Bishop of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Conferences
Jim Dorff, Bishop of the Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences
Janice Huie, Bishop of the Texas Conference 
Mike Lowry, Bishop of the Central Texas Conference 
Mike McKee, Bishop of the North Texas Conference

MSU Campus Ministry Project


Montana State University - Bozeman                                            United Methodist Campus Ministry


There are tasks to match every ability. From dry-wall to painting to cleaning. This project will be the start of a 3 phase plan that will end with an improved kitchen & sanctuary & handicapped bathroom & showers.

Accommodations & meals are available at Wesley Hall. A $25 per person/per night donation is requested to cover food & other expenses. Any tools you can bring is also appreciated and if your church is interested in fundraising to help purchase construction items we will gladly accept the donations!

Visit this link to learn more about this ministry.

40 Days of Prayer: Day 2

Week one (July 16-22): the membership of this congregation
                  (active, inactive, constituent, and potential members)

July 17:

1 Chronicles 16:11 
"Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always."
"Prayer - secret, fervent, believing prayer - lies at the root of all personal godliness."  - William Carey 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another wonderful Wired Word study!

This morning ten turned out to study the Wired Word lesson about "How Should We Respond to Thousands of Unaccompanied Minors Arriving at Our Border?"  

Turn to this link to read the lesson.

40 Days of Prayer: Day 1

Week one (July 16-22): the membership of this congregation 
                  (active, inactive, constituent, and potential members)

July 16

Matthew 7:7  
Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

"Our prayer must not be self-centered. It must arise not only because we feel our own need as a burden we must lay upon God, but also because we are so bound up in love for our fellow men that we feel their need as acutely as our own. To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them."     John Calvin

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

John Wesley on Prayer

John Wesley's 'prayer closet'
The "Forty Days of Prayer" begins tomorrow and to set our hearts to this task, here is a quote from John Wesley:

"God's command to "pray without ceasing" is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.

Whether we think of; or speak to, God, whether we act or suffer for him, all is prayer, when we have no other object than his love, and the desire of pleasing him.

All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer, when it is done in simplicity, according to the order of God, without either adding to or diminishing from it by his own choice.

Prayer continues in the desire of the heart, though the understanding be employed on outward things. In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is a continual prayer.

As the furious hate which the devil bears us is termed the roaring of a lion, so our vehement love may be termed crying after God.

God only requires of his adult children, that their hearts be truly purified, and that they offer him continually the wishes and vows that naturally spring from perfect love. For these desires, being the genuine fruits of love, are the most perfect prayers that can spring from it."

From A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, 1725

Monday, July 14, 2014

Invitation to the Forty Days of Prayer

Prayer is an essential aspect of the Christian life.  For forty days, starting on July 16th, you are invited to read a quote  and a scripture verse about prayer and then to enter into an intentional time of prayer with others in the congregation.

The scripture and the quote are provided to center your thoughts during your prayer time.  Each week we'll observe a common theme for our community prayers.
Please look return to the blog or on Facebook, each day for the day's quote and scripture passage.

The theme for each week is as follows:
Week one (July 16-22):
The membership of this congregation (the active, inactive, constituent, and potential members of our congregation)

Week two (July 23-29):
The finances of the church

Week three (July 30-Aug. 5):
The youth and children's ministries

Week four (August 6-12):
The Outreach/mission projects

Week five (August 13-19):
The UMM and UMW

Week six (August 20-24):
Faith Formation @ SUMC (church school, church camp/VBS, small groups, book group, etc.)

July 20th scripture text

"The Gleaners" by Jean-Fran├žois Millet
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

13:24 He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;

13:25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.

13:26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.

13:27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?'

13:28 He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'

13:29 But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.

13:30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

13:36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field."

13:37 He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man;

13:38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one,

13:39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.

13:40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

13:41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers,

13:42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

UMCOR Health Kits

18,000 UMCOR Health Kits were delivered last week for use at the refugee/immigration centers in Laredo (6,000), McAllen and Brownsville (12,000).

UMCOR continues to request your generous response to this humanitarian emergency. If you would like to contribute, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/UMCOR901670


JOYS:  Thanks be to God for …
Those who serve our country.
Our local missionary Samantha B. who safely arrived in Brazil for mission work.
Visitors in church:  Bill G.’s sister Gerry, Dave and Janice K.’s grandson Everett, Dave and Connie R.’s son Isaac, Heather T.’s mother Linda, Mary C.’s daughter and grandchildren.
Family pews in worship.
Cheryl Z. is back with us.
Wonderful United Methodist Women’s (UMW’s) annual picnic yesterday at Bonita Z.’s home.
Reunion visits with family and friends.
Sonja H.’s 2nd place award at the Sapphire Quilt Guild’s quilt show at the Stevensville High School this weekend.
Joy of camping.
Great intra-generational camp at Flathead Lake last week.
United Methodist Men’s (UMM’s) – Their ½ of church rummage sale proceeds – have been sent to support the ministry of Flathead Lake UMC camp:  @ $1,150.
Boy Scouts and their leaders.
Birthday blessings for all whose birthdays are this time of year:  Sharon W.
All enjoying better health.
All serving in various capacities for the betterment of the church.
Wonderful Sunday school classes – every Sunday, starting at 9:00 a.m.
Safe travels.
Good health.
Traveling mercies.
All those who journey.
The company of loving folks.
CONCERNS:  Oh, Lord, we humbly pray for … 
All our military Veterans and their families, especially those who are dealing with “the loss of body, mind and/or spirit.”
Samantha B.’s mission work in Brazil.
Healing mercies for Anne H., Hattie H., Les S., Judy W., Judy I., Shelby, Sue in west Texas, Carol’s cousin, George C., daughter Elaine, Aunt Marie, sister Barb, sister Jerry and “sister.”
Humane treatment/effective problem resolution – concerning the minor immigrant children flooding the U.S. borders.
Those away from home.
All those who mourn this day.
All who are in pain this day.
All who suffer from depression and anxiety.
All in search of hope.
Area children – that they have safe, encouraging places “to be” this summer.
Travelling mercies and for those not with us today.
Those who are dealing with life’s transitions.
Family members who are near and far from one another.
All who need the peace of God.
Unspoken prayers.