From the Pastor’s Desk: December 2, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 John’s take on Jesus coming into the world was that He was light driving out darkness. John has barely begun his gospel narrative before introducing this cosmic conflict as the reason God the Father sent the Son. With a confident foreshadowing of the story’s end, John assures us who will ultimately come out on top. “That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” Right here, John sums up the season of Advent. Even amidst the great deal … Read More

From the Pastor’s Desk: November 22, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

The word Advent means “the coming.” Starting four Sundays before Christmas Eve is what we call the Advent season. This time is for celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first “coming” AND the hopeful anticipation of his second “coming” as Christ the King. We believe that God was born as Jesus and God will come again as Christ. We live as “in-between” people. Advent season is a time for us to be reminded of God’s presence throughout our lives. It is a time to be reminded that our lives are more than that “thing” that happens between the dashes on a tombstone. Our births, lives, and deaths are miraculous! Advent is coming! Let’s be reminded of the hope, peace, joy, and love that comes from God who was, is, and will be with us – Emmanuel. Rev. Carol D. SparksHate Hurts. Grace Heals. Love Wins!

From the Pastor’s Desk: November 17, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

Throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded to give thanks to the Lord: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1 NIV) “Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” (1 Chronicles 16:8 NIV) “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV) “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 NIV) God is so good and worthy to be praised but the scriptures’ call to gratitude has as much to do with our hearts as it does with God’s. We set aside one day each year in November as a day to give thanks. We often gather … Read More

From the Pastor’s Desk: November 10, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

Gratitude Gratitude is the heart’s response to life’s infinite blessings. God has placed us in a world full of richness and possibility. Sometimes we may miss these moments. We overlook them on our way to something we consider more meaningful. Even though we may be absent from God’s beautiful universe, God’s beautiful universe is never absent from us. The minute we look around us with natural curiosity, the moment we attune ourselves to the beauty of the heavens, the earth, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, we can experience that God is continually pouring out creativity and possibility. Have you ever had a person in your life that practiced gratitude? In a previous congregation, I met a man who had overcome advanced cancer by giving thanks for everything. When the car engine started, he would declare, “Thank you, God!” As the sun rose, “Thank you, … Read More

From the Pastor’s Desk: November 3, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

“God is near, and therefore hope is near.” (Charles Spurgeon) Uncertainty may be one of the worst feelings, especially if the uncertainty involves something we care about deeply. How do we process the chaos and confusion of a pandemic, political uncertainty, or church confusion? We can look to the wisdom exemplified by Paul as he pastored the people of Athens at the Aereopagus. Aereopagus was a place filled with uncertainty. People would gather and talk for hours trying to understand and solve the issues of humanity (religion, politics, family, etc.). In this context of high uncertainty and probably a fair share of anxiety, Paul says these assuring and comforting words: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in temples made with human hands. 25 Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he … Read More

From the Pastor’s Desk: October 20, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

During my devotion this week, I read an excerpt from Mother Teresa’s book, “In the Heart of the World.” I was deeply touched by her sentiment and wisdom. I wanted to share it with you. At a seminary in Bangalore, a nun once said to me, “Mother Teresa, you are spoiling the poor people by giving them things free. They are losing their human dignity.” When everyone was quiet, I said calmly, “No one spoils as much as God himself. See the wonderful gifts he has given us freely. All of you have no glasses, yet you all can see. If God were to take money for your sight, what would happen? Continually we are breathing and living on oxygen that we do not pay for. What would happen if God were to say, ‘If you work four hours, you will get sunshine for two hours.’ How many of us … Read More

From the Pastor’s Desk: October 13, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

Let us be sincere in our dealings with each other and have the courage to accept each other as we are. Do not be surprised by another’s weakness or preoccupied with another’s failures. Rather, see the good in each other. Each one of us is created in the image of God. Jesus said it beautifully: “I am the vine; you are the branches.” The life-giving sap that flows from the vine through each of the branches is the same. John 15:5 Rev. Carol D. SparksHate Hurts. Grace Heals. Love Wins!

From the Pastor’s Desk: October 6, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 There is much suffering in the world. Material suffering is obvious. It is suffering from hunger, suffering from homelessness, and suffering from disease. But I think that the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, and feeling invisible. I have come to realize that being unwanted is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience. As we emerge from our homes and social distancing, there are some who feel forgotten and are overwhelmed with emerging from isolation. The fear of not being wanted or valued holds them captive to loneliness. These are the ones for … Read More

From the Pastor’s Desk: September 29, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

The Gospels remind us that Jesus, before he taught the people, felt compassion for the multitudes of followers. Sometimes he felt it even to the point of forgetting to eat. How did he put his compassion into practice? He knew the exhaustion of hunger so he multiplied the loaves of bread and the fish to satisfy the crowds’ hunger. He gave them food to eat until they couldn’t eat anymore. Only then did he teach them. If we want to teach others about Christ, we need to bring them the compassion of Jesus. Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; and John 6:1-15. Rev. Carol D. SparksHate Hurts. Grace Heals. Love Wins!

From the Pastor’s Desk: September 22, 2022

FUMC AlvordChurch News & Events, Pastor's Blog

From the Pastor's Desk

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who dishonors very little will also dishonor much.” Luke 16:10a Be kind in your actions. Do not think that you are the only one who can do efficient work, work worth showing. This makes you harsh in your judgment of others who may not have the same talents. Do your best and trust that others will do their best. And be faithful in the small things because it is in them that your strength lies. Rev. Carol D. SparksHate Hurts. Grace Heals. Love Wins!