Augusta District

 

Augusta District Advent Newsletter, 12-4-17

1.  From Rev. Thurman Norville, Methodist Family Services:

Through November 16th, 2017, Methodist Family Services has assisted 225 families and 454 children. $31,334.02 has been distributed to those in need. Methodist Family Services is operated out of St. James United Methodist Church and staffed by all volunteers. The majority of funds distributed are graciously supplied by individuals. Several local churches lovingly support Methodist Family Services with funding. United Way of Augusta also provides a grant to aid in serving those in need. Thanks to all who support this ministry with their prayers, their time, their talents and also their resources.

2.  From Sam Halverson:

Attention Youth Staff: Please Take This Survey...

We've designed a confidential survey, the results of which will help us get a better idea of the scale of salaries, the average attendance, and the needs of youth ministries in the district and conference.

It's not uncommon for congregations to ask the pay range for a youth minister in a similar setting as theirs. Currently we have very little information to help. After receiving the results of this survey we can share the information. Note that this is for all congregations. Even if you do not have a paid youth leader in your church we would like the person who "heads up" the youth ministry to answer the survey. Here's the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7STNWGT

 If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Sam Halverson

770-359-7195 (cell)

3.  Upcoming Training

I have attached the most recent calendar.  We pulled off the “crucial conversations” piece because the conference was not yet ready for that.  However, be aware of several training sessions in the New Year:

Jan 19        Clergy Ethics training at Thomson First UMC

Jan 28        Administrative Training – 3-5pm – Lewis Mem. UMC:

                   PPR – Rev. Terry Fleming

Trustees – Rev. Dr. Mike Cash

Scouting - Chris Karabinos, Scouting Coordinator

Foster Care (UMCH) – Rev. Lindsey Solomon

                     Systems (Why your church won’t experience sustained growth without them) – Rev. John Kenney

Feb. 15-16   Fostering Personal Change – a CEU event in Atlanta, see attached

February or April – we are in contact with the Fresh Expression folks to host a vision day for our district.  This is a great opportunity to put some “oooomph” into your outreach/evangelism.  More on this soon!

Mar 3 & 10   9am – 4pm Basic Lay Servant Training, Cokesbury UMC

Apr 14 & 21  9am – 4pm  Adv. Lay Servant, “Preaching,” Harlem UMC

4.  From the DS – Joy

If you heard my charge conference devotion, you know that “Joy” was my theme.  I have been puzzled by the fact that our church - planted with much shouting and praise – has become in many places so dull and dreary and dead.  When we send mission teams to third world countries, we see impoverished folks dancing as they take their meager offerings up the aisle, singing from the heart, worshiping with tears and laughter.  They sing, “All God’s Children Got Shoes,” even though they sing barefoot.  Yet we return home and run the same old template Sunday after Sunday, keeping it to an hour or less (because we have to beat the Baptists to the restaurants); we replace the hymns week by week, singing at a dirge-like pace, or we stand silently while the praise band sings for us (or to us?), and then we go home unmoved.  What’s up with that?  The first-world Church needs to find it’s joy, and then live out of it!  Hallelujah!

If we have any hope of turning our decline into revival, it will be because of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in our souls.  Then, and only then, will we regain the joy of our salvation so that our witness to the world will be effective.  We must be winsome if we are to win some!  There is no formulaic way to compel the Holy Spirit to fill us; but the key seems to be – on our side - faith (both believing in the truth of God in Christ, and personal trust that this Jesus is operating in our spirits now). 

I turn to our book and ask: does the Bible teach us a narrative of joy?

All of creation was born in…and leads into…the joy of our Creator.

From Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire -

“When God spoke to Job “out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1, RSV), he told him that when he, God, “laid the foundation of the earth”—that is, created everything that exists—“the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (vv. 4, 7).  Which is to say, if we throw our minds back into the past as far as we can imagine, what we find is joy: the stars of God and the sons of God singing and shouting joyfully.

Then go the other direction—as far in the future as we can imagine, into heaven—and we find a similarly joyful pleasure. In Revelation, all creation is gathered around God’s throne, and songs of joy are lifted up by great multitudes in exuberant chorus.  In the midst of the assembled joy, 24 elders, representing the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles of the church—venerable and dignified figures who represent symbolically the centuries of discipleship and faith in a grand finale—take off their crowns and throw them into the air, pitching them before God’s throne (Rev. 4:1–11). The picture is one of hilarity, almost of frivolity. Think of West Pointers throwing their white hats into the air in the jubilation of graduation or of football players filling the air with their helmets in the triumph of victory. The story of our faith, our very existence, begins and ends with joy.”

When the angels first appeared to Mary and then to the shepherds, they reacted in fear; but the angels corrected that emotion, saying that their message was “good news of great joy! (Luke 2:10).”  This news was later carried by the apostles, calling it “the gospel of the glory of the Happy God (I Tim. 1:11),” which fills us with “joy unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8 KJV).”

Every entrance into the kingdom of God in a joyful thing.  Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a person who found a hidden treasure in a field.  That person went in joy and liquidated all their possessions, and then bought that field (Matt. 13:44).

Even the command to repent is good news, and every soul that repents sends the angels rejoicing before the Lord (Luke 15).  So many of Jesus parables are party stories – weddings, banquets, feasts - and in Luke 15 every story has the element of partying and rejoicing.  So the Father speaks to the elder brother: “We HAD to celebrate and rejoice” (do you see the inevitability of our joy?  We cannot stop laughing, and dancing, and singing, and of course eating!) – “…because this brother of yours was dead, and he is alive again  - he was lost, and is found (Luke 15:32)!”

The truth that we are forgiven, with no condemnation, should make us joyful! Jesus told his disciples they should rejoice that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).  “David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:  'Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin (Romans 4:6-8 NLT).'”

Jesus points us to the joy He wants us to have!  “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). “Your joy no one can take from you! (John 16:22)”  “I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (John 17:13)”  The full measure of Christ’s joy?  Wow!  Joy was so central in the mind and soul of Christ, that even facing the cross itself, His mind was focused on the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2).

Even if we face trials (James 1:2), or hatred (Luke 6:22-23), or are living through the judgment of God upon our nation (Habukkuk 3:17-18), we still rejoice in Him.  Even if we are rebuilding the walls of our ruined city, surrounded by dangerous foes, “the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10)!”  So Paul sang songs at midnight in the dungeon at Philippi (Acts 16:25), and when he was in chains in Rome he told the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say it – Rejoice! (Phil. 4:4)”

 The Christian life leads us to eternal joy.  Jesus ends a parable with, “Enter into the joy of your master (Matt 25:23).” That parable was intended as a preview of the day when God’s faithful servants enter into His eternal bliss.  Joy is our ultimate destination!  “With exceeding joy He will present us faultless before the presence of His Glory (Jude 24).” 

The book talks a lot about joy – are we living in it?  If not, why not?  Pray, worship, sing, laugh, even dance, placing your trust in the joyful Jesus!

Yours for the Kingdom,

 

Terry Fleming

Augusta District Superintendent

PO Box 204600
Augusta, GA  30907

Office:  706-651-8621

Fax:  706-651-8622

Cell:  678-447-6034

 

"Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger."  Prov. 29:8


 
 

 

District Superintendent


Terry Fleming
(706) 651-8621
terry.fleming@ngumc.net
View Bio

Administrative Assistant

Tina Lancaster
(706) 651-8621
agst@ngumc.net

Contact Information

Office Address:
3332 West Cliffe Court
Augusta, GA 30907

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 204600
Augusta, GA 30917

(706) 651-8621 Phone
(706) 651-8622 Fax

agst@ngumc.net
http://www.ngumc.org/agst