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


Sunday, January 31, 2016

A big day in our congregation's story

Hannah brings in the Light
The sermon begins
Look at all the children!
Cale, Paul, Amber, and Julie lead the youth ministry discussion
Fred offers his thoughts

What a morning we had here at Stevi UMC!  Our classes were engaging and all who attended were enriched by the activity. 

During the worship service, the choir shared a beautiful arrangement of Prayer for Peace ("O God of Love, O King of Peace" by Henry Williams Baker). Pastor Charles' sermon, based on Deuteronomy 23:21-23, set the stage for the Wesleyan Covenant Service.

Following the worship service, we held a meeting in the sanctuary to make a decision on the future of the children/youth ministry in our church. Cale Fiser, Paul & Julie Ludington, and Amber Macclay-Schulte presented to the congregation their findings and recommendation regarding the hiring of 1/2-time youth worker. 

After receiving numerous comments from those present, a vote was taken with the result being that the SPPRC will now begin to formalize the job description and the search for the new staff member.


Are you sure?

St. Benedict of Norcia (Nursia)
"You propose to give up everything to God; be sure, then, to include yourself among the things to be given up."

- St. Benedict

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Salvation for all

John Wesley - Wesley Theological Seminary - Wash., DC
"What! Mercy for all? For Zacchaeus, a public robber? 
For Mary Magelene, a common harlot? 
Methinks I hear one say, 'Then I, even I, may hope for mercy!'" 

- John Wesley's sermon, "Salvation by faith"

Friday, January 29, 2016

Covenant Prayer

Lovely Lane UMC - Baltimore, Maryland
On Sunday (January 31) we will join the generations before us in the Wesley Covenant Service. Please consider these words and if you are able, come to worship on Sunday to affirm them for yourself.


Commit yourselves to Christ as His servants.
Give yourselves to Him, that you may belong to Him.
Christ has many services to be done.
Some are more easy and honorable,
     others are more difficult and disgraceful.
Some are suitable to our inclinations and interests,
     others are contrary to both.
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves.
But then there are other works where we cannot please Christ
     except by denying ourselves.
It is necessary, therefore,
     that we consider what it means to be a servant of Christ.

Let us, therefore, go to Christ, and pray:

Let me be Your servant, under Your command.
I will no longer be my own.
I will give up myself to Your will in all things.
Be satisfied that Christ shall give you your place and work.
Lord, make me what You will.
I put myself fully into Your hands:
     put me to doing, put me to suffering, 
let me be employed for You, or laid aside for You,
     let me be full, let me be empty,
     let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and with a willing heart
     give it all to Your pleasure and disposal.

Christ will be the Savior of none but His servants.
He is the source of all salvation to those who obey.
Christ will have no servants except by consent;
Christ will not accept anything except full consent
     to all that He requires.
Christ will be all in all, or He will be nothing.
Confirm this by a holy covenant.

To make this covenant a reality in your life, 
listen to these admonitions:

First, set apart some time, more than once,
     to be spent alone before the Lord;
in seeking earnestly God's special assistance
     and gracious acceptance of you;
in carefully thinking through all the conditions of the covenant;
in searching your hearts
     whether you have already freely given your life to Christ.
Consider what your sins are.
Consider the laws of Christ, how holy, strict, and spiritual they are,
     and whether you, after having carefully considered them,
     are willing to choose them all.
Be sure you are clear in these matters, see that you do not lie to God.

Second, be serious and in a spirit of holy awe and reverence.

Third, claim God's covenant,
rely upon God's promise of giving grace and strength,
     so you can keep your promise.
Trust not your own strength and power.

Fourth, resolve to be faithful.
You have given to the Lord your hearts,
     you have opened your mouths to the Lord,
     and you have dedicated yourself to God.
With God's power, never go back.

And last, be then prepared to renew your covenant with the Lord.
Fall down on your knees, lift your hands toward heaven,
     open your hearts to the Lord, as we pray:


O righteous God, for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
  see me as I fall down before You.
Forgive my unfaithfulness in not having done Your will,
  for You have promised mercy to me
     if I turn to You with my whole heart.

God requires that You shall put away all your idols.
I here from the bottom of my heart renounce them all,
  covenanting with You that no known sin shall be allowed in my life.
Against Your will, I have turned my love toward the world.
In Your power I will watch all temptations that will lead me away from You.
For my own righteousness is riddled with sin,
  unable to stand before You.

Through Christ, God has offered to be your God again
     if you would let Him.
Before all heaven and earth,
  I here acknowledge You as my Lord and God.
I take you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for my portion,
  and vow to give up myself, body and soul, as Your servant,
  to serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.

God has given the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way 
and means of coming to God.
Jesus, I do here on bended knees accept Christ
  as the only new and living Way,
  and sincerely join myself in a covenant with Him.
O blessed Jesus, I come to You,
  hungry, sinful, miserable, blind, and naked,
  unworthy even to wash the feet of Your servants.
I do here, with all my power, accept You as my Lord and Head.
I renounce my own worthiness,
  and vow that You are the Lord, my righteousness.
I renounce my own wisdom, and take You for my only guide.
I renounce my own will, and take Your will as my law.

Christ has told You that you must suffer with Him.
I do here covenant with You, O Christ,
  to take my lot with You as it may fall.
Through Your grace I promise
  that neither life nor death shall part me from You.
God has given holy laws as the rule of your life.
I do here willingly put my neck under Your yoke, 
to carry Your burden.
All Your laws are holy, just, and good.
I therefore take them as the rule for my words, 
thoughts, and actions, promising that I will strive
    to order my whole life according to Your direction,
  and not allow myself to neglect anything I know to be my duty.

The almighty God searches and knows your heart.
O God, You know that I make this covenant with You today
  without guile or reservation.
If any falsehood should be in it, guide me 
and help me to set it aright.
And now, glory be to You, O God the Father,
  whom I from this day forward shall look upon as my 
God and Father.
Glory be to You, O God the Son,
  who have loved me and washed me from my sins in 
Your own blood, and now is my Savior and Redeemer.
Glory be to You, O God the Holy Spirit,
  who by Your almighty power have turned my heart 
from sin to God.
O mighty God, the Lord Omnipotent, Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit,
 You have now become my Covenant Friend.
And I, through Your infinite grace, 
have become Your covenant servant.

So be it.
And let the covenant I have made on earth be ratified in heaven. Amen.

You are advised to make this covenant not only in your heart, but in word; not only in word, but in writing. Therefore, with all reverence, lay the service before the Lord as your act and deed. And when you have done this, sign it. Then keep it as a reminder of the holy agreement between God and you that you may remember it during doubts and temptations.

Don't forget

Following our worship on Sunday (Jan. 31) we are asking everyone to stay in the sanctuary to discuss and vote on the future of the children/youth ministry at Stevi UMC.

Following the discussion, only full members of the congregation may vote on the recommendations made.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WOW tonight was WOW!

Lots of Bibles!
Learning and sharing around the table
Making sure everyone has a different translation/version
Pastor Charles leading the discussion
Eighteen were on hand for tonight's WOW gathering and was it wonderful!!  Bill Gragg and Dean Diers provided tonight's supper, delicious homemade soups and bread.

Tonight's discussion was led by Pastor Charles who brought out eighteen different versions/translations of the Bible from his office. The group looked at Mark 2:1-5 and used the differing scripture versions as a starting point to share how we (and others) see the common faith we claim.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We remember the estimated 6 million Jews, 1 million Roma, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, 9,000 gay men/women and others whose lives were taken by genocide.

May God challenge us to use the lessons of their experiences to inform our lives and work for justice today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016