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

(IF YOU CLICK ON A PICTURE, IT WILL GET BIGGER... AND EASIER TO VIEW.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lent begins tomorrow

The season of Lent begins tomorrow and with it comes the opportunity to deepen our relationship with God.
Please join us on Ash Wednesday at 6:00 pm for a soup supper prior to the worship service at 7:00 pm.

A Mardi Gras Prayer for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for it is from your goodness that we have this day to celebrate on the threshold of the Season of Lent.
Tomorrow we will fast and abstain from meat.
Today we feast. We thank you for the abundance of gifts you shower upon us.
We thank you especially for one another. As we give you thanks, we are mindful of those who have so much less than we do.
As we share these wonderful gifts together, we commit ourselves to greater generosity toward those who need our support.

Prepare us for tomorrow. Tasting the fullness of what we have today, let us experience some hunger tomorrow.
May our fasting make us more alert and may it heighten our consciousness so that we might be ready to hear your Word and respond to your call.

As our feasting fills us with gratitude so may our fasting and abstinence hollow out in us a place for deeper desires and an attentiveness to hear the cry of the poor. May our self-denial turn our hearts to you and give us a new freedom for generous service to others.

We ask you these graces with our hearts full of delight and stirring with readiness for the journey ahead.
We ask them with confidence in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

(from Creighton University)

Orientation to Wonder, Love and Praise Study

United Methodists are in need of a renewed vision today. What should that vision look like? The Committee on Faith and Order invites you to join the conversation. Your response will help inform the Wonder, Love and Praise Study for the 2020 General Conference. 

Follow the link for a full introduction.

Remember your Lenten Spiritual Practice

There are several approaches to the Lenten spiritual practices. Here are some of these for your consideration:

Lenten Daily Worship Service: An Opportunity to Worship Daily Across the Mountain Sky Area starting Ash Wednesday (link).

2017 Lenten Photo-a-Day practice (link). 

Roll Down, Justice! A Lenten Biblical reflection from The General Commission on Religion & Race (GCORR) (link).

Hymns for Lent: Each day during Lent (March 1 - April 15), a different hymn will be posted on this blog and on the Stevi UMC FB page from The Methodist Pocket Hymn-Book (1818).

The Sanctuary for Lent: Copies of this Lenten devotional have been distributed to the congregation. A few remaining copies are available in the office. 

Don’t go near Indianapolis in July



If you want to stay in your comfort zone, don’t plan to be in Indianapolis July 7 or 8.

If you are in that city, don’t go near St. Luke’s UMC.

In that Indianapolis church, UM men will be challenged to leave their comfort zones to combat domestic violence, engage in accountability groups, and learn that “discipleship” is a “contact sport.”

Featured speakers for the July meeting include: Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson Sr., president of the General Commission on UM Men; South Carolina Area Bishop Jonathan Holston; Shan Foster, national director of MEND, a YWCA program combatting domestic violence; and Dr. Kevin Watson, assistant professor of Methodist and Wesleyan Studies at Candler School of Theology and author of The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience.

You are warned to avoid attending this event as you will have to make difficult choices.

On Saturday, you will have to choose among a host of practical workshops and several mission projects. To make that decision-making process even more difficult, you could also elect to participate in a fun event that will force you to make friends with strangers.

Also, don’t plan to bring your wife to Indianapolis. You’ll be forced to choose between one of 30 carefully selected motels and dine in some of the fine restaurants. You will have to choose among side trips to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Museum of Art, the Central Canal, the Indiana War Memorial, the Eiteljor Museum, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the State Capitol, and the Civil War Museum and Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

As you can see, travel to Indianapolis this July could reduce your time watching television reruns and you could miss the day you would normally mow your lawn.

You have been warned.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Roll Down, Justice! A Lenten Biblical Reflection



Click here for the General Commission on Religion & Race's (GCCORR) Lenten Biblical Reflection, Roll Down, Justice!

Lent, a period of 40 days of reflection between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, offers Christians an opportunity to renew their commitment to being more Christ-like.

GCORR’s Lenten Biblical Reflection, Roll Down, Justice!, written by Faye Wilson and featuring the music and reflections of Mark A. Miller, poses the following questions to believers:

  • What are you prepared to give in order to have a closer walk with God?
  • What can you give in order to embrace anew the work of justice?
Mark Miller has written a collection of songs, lyrics and music, which remind us of the work we have to do. We all learn in different ways and this study calls us to sing to ourselves and to each other the call that we each have to do to “seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Carry the commitment to care – to bring about justice in God’s world – as a song in your heart. Roll Down, Justice!

GCORR’s Lenten Biblical Reflection, Roll Down, Justice!, is based on six songs* that are included in the book/CD set Roll Down, Justice! – Sacred Songs and Social Justice. The songs in this Lenten series are offered as six videos, and each video includes a guide for study:

The Circumcision of the Heart - 1733

University Church of St. Mary - Oxford

Note: The Lenten Sermon series will come from some of John Wesley's sermons. Each week you'll find the sermon from which Pastor Charles will base his sermon upon.

John Wesley preached this sermon at St. Mary's Church, Oxford, before the University, on January 1, 1733.



Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter. Romans 2:29 

1. It is the melancholy remark of an excellent man, that he who now preaches the most essential duties of Christianity, runs the hazard of being esteemed, by a great part of his hearers, "a setter forth of new doctrines." Most men have so lived away the substance of that religion, the profession whereof they still retain, that no sooner are any of those truths proposed which difference the Spirit of Christ from the spirit of the world, than they cry out, "Thou bringest strange things to our ears; we would know what these things mean:" -- Though he is only preaching to them "Jesus and the resurrection," with the necessary consequence of it, -- If Christ be risen, ye ought then to die unto the world, and to live wholly unto God. 

Read more at this link.

2017 Lenten Photo a Day Practice


Lent, the season of the Christian Year that is typically observed as a time of simple living, prayer and fasting leading up to Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday [March 1, 2017]. But what is Lent REALLY about? 

Many spend the time in self-examination and reflection as modeled by Jesus in Matthew 4: 1-11 where he prayed and fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry. 

What happened during those 40 days of fasting and praying in the wilderness? Our friends at the Upper Room say that maybe Jesus needed some time with God to sort through the major changes happening in his life. Maybe he needed a break from family, friends and his regular routine in order to see God [and himself] more clearly. Maybe he sought more time with God as he searched for direction and answers to the question that we, too have from time to time: “Who am I called to be?”

Read more at this link.

This week @ Stevi UMC

Monday:                                                       
7:00 pm, Living Clean

Tuesday:                                                          

7:00 pm, Choir 

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday                                             

8:00 am, WIC                                                                                                 
10:00 am, Methodism study:Hymns & Hymnals                                            
6:00 pm, Soup Supper                                                                                     
7:00 pm, Ash Wednesday Service

Friday - Sunday: YAC UMW event @ Fairmont Hotsprings


Friday:                                                     

No Drop-in Bible Study this week

Sunday:                                                                           

9:00 am, Church school                                                 
9:00 am, Methodism study: Book of Discipline/Resolutions             
10:15 am, Praise singing                                                 
10:30 am, Worship                                                         
11:30 am, Fellowship                                             
11:45 am, Chimes

Scripture lessons for the First Week in Lent


During Lent, Pastor Charles will be preaching messages based on sermons of John Wesley.

March 1 (Ash Wednesday): Romans 2:29 - "Circumcision of the Heart" (Preached at St. Mary's College, Oxford, before the University, on January 1, 1733)


March 5: Acts 26:28 - “The Almost Christian” (Preached at St. Mary's College, Oxford, before the University, on July 25, 1741)

Lenten Sermon Series

During the Season of Lent, Pastor Charles will be preaching a sermon series based on selections of John Wesley's sermons. Starting on Ash Wednesday (March 1) through Palm Sunday (April 9), we'll consider what wisdom for the 21st century can be mined from the mind of this 18th century theologian.

  March 1 (Ash Wednesday): 
"The Circumcision of the Heart" - 1733
Romans 2:29

March 5: "The Almost Christian" - 1741
Acts 26:28  

March 12: “A caution against bigotry”  - 1750
Mark 9:38-39

March 19: "The Scripture Way of Salvation" - 1765
 Ephesians 2:8

March 26: “On working out our own salvation” - 1785
Philippians 2:12-13

April  2: “The duty of constant communion” - 1787
Luke 22:19

April 9: "On the Wedding Garment" - 1790
Matthew 22:12

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A brisk Sunday in Stevensville


It was a brisk morning in the Bitterroot Valley as the day began on Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday. The warmth of the community soon took care of that as the faithful gathered together to learn, worship, and share this time together.

The choir offered to God "The Lord Will Be My Shepherd" and today's sermon came from 2 Peter 1:16-21.

Thanks this morning to: Liz Goddard, Lisa Nicholls, & Belinda Alkula (children's church school), Dave Lockman (praise music), Julie Ludington (piano), Tom Bishop (video), Mitch Edgar (acolyte wrangler), Ava & Ollie (acolytes), Cammie Edgar  (overhead slides), Lisa Menery (liturgist), Carol Gragg (children's message), Brenda Bolton (choir), Vickie Vernon & Arlene Halfhide (greeter/ushers), and Vickie Vernon & Annabelle, Dusty Schrock & Ava, & Betty Shorten (Fellowship).

Transfiguraton of the Lord

Transfiguration of Our Lord Christ. Church of the Virgin. Saint Catherine Monastery. Mount Sinai. circa 548-65
Collect for Transfiguration Sunday

Transfiguring God,
before the passion of Your beloved Son
You revealed His glory on the holy mountain:
grant that we who by faith behold the light of His face
may be strengthened to bear the cross,
and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory;
through the same Jesus Christ
who is alive and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.


 (http://liturgy.co.nz/reflections/lent-2)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lenten Devotional: Hymns for the Journey

Visit the blog each day during the season of Lent for a daily devotion utilizing hymns from the The Methodist Pocket Hymn-Book (1818).

The people of the Methodist family of churches have always been known for singing but how much do we really consider the words being sung? Each day during Lent (March 1 - April 15) a hymn will be posted along with scripture references to aid in your devotional practices.