Gratefulness Corner – Nov. 13, 2016

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.
 
This fall our Stewardship program is based on the book The Gratitude Path by Kent Millard.  “When we live a life of gratefulness for all the blessings God has given us, we experience great fullness in our lives”.

This month Stewardship challenged everyone to celebrate November, simply by writing down something that you are thankful for every day.  How’s it going?  Been a little busy?  Forgetful?  Starting a new practice can be challenging…perhaps putting a note in a conspicuous place will help remind you.

I started a gratitude journal too.  Sometimes I wrote down items that many of us are grateful for, such as Yellowstone National Park, the beauty of crashing ocean waves, living in Montana, fresh air, the St. Paul’s staff, or a friend.  Sometimes the items were more identifiable with my own personal feelings of a wonderful family including a patient, humorous husband, and three delightful adult sons.  Sometimes the items were little things such as sticky notes or ice cream.  Other times I wrote down items that many of us have, but many are without.  Such as housing, food, clothing and a good environment.  What does this mean to me? 

God has blessed me greatly and for that I am grateful.  I need to remind myself by counting these blessings.  I am thankful and wish to share my resources, time, prayers and thoughts with others, especially those in need.  I want to share myself with St. Paul’s as opportunities arise.  Maybe it’s pulling weeds.  Do you realize how much reflecting can be done while doing a simple act of weeding?  Maybe it’s writing an article.  Writing makes me think…hopefully.  Through God providing me with abundant blessings, I can joyfully give to others.

I encourage you to continue or start writing in your gratitude journal.  Reflect upon your blessings, and feel the warmth of gratitude welling up in your soul. 

Please remember to attend the Gratitude Celebration Dinner this Wednesday, November 16, at 5:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall.  Come enjoy a fried chicken and salad meal.  Following the meal will be WhatsNext, a presentation by Pastors Marianne and Tyler in which they share some thoughts on where we’ve been and where God might be calling us to go.  Everyone is invited.

We would appreciate an RSVP.  You can still signup by calling the Church office, or marking today’s insert.  Even if you forget to respond, please come.

Celebrate the Gratitude Month with your friends at the Gratitude Celebration Dinner!

At St. Paul’s we truly are…

Grateful.  Thankful.  Blessed. 

Peace and blessings,

Ralene Glenn

Stewardship Chair



Gratefulness Corner – Nov. 6, 2016

On Wednesday night, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years!  One of my friends posted a video of Chicago after the victory and all you could hear was cheering and applause.  People in Chicago were celebrating an amazing victory after 2 lifetimes of ups and downs before a 7th game of equally powerful ups and downs. 

Every Sunday as a part of our worship we applaud the offering.  This is a practice that I miss deeply when I am at other churches that don’t applaud the offering.  Not having this practice as a part of worship makes the offering feel like obligation, instead of opportunity.  We started this spiritual practice of applause during a season of stewardship several years ago and it continues during this year’s stewardship season, titled “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed.” 

Stewardship season at St. Paul’s becomes an annual time for members and friends of St. Paul’s to seek in their hearts how to use their resources to do God’s work in the world.  We encourage you to take time during this season to find spiritual practices that help you to recognize where God has given you blessings in your life, and then to imagine with God how you might share these blessings with others.  Stewardship is about financial blessings, and it also is about other gifts we have to offer.  Perhaps you have felt a spiritual nudge to serve the church or community in a different way with a gift you have been given.  Blessings come in all different sizes and shapes, and stewardship becomes about sharing them all to make our community a better place, a more God-filled place.

This week I invite you to use applause as spiritual practice to remind you what you are thankful for in your life.  We applaud when we appreciate and want to celebrate with gratefulness for a blessing someone has shared.  May it also be a reminder in this season of stewardship that through the ups and downs of life, God does provide blessings of love for us to share with our community.  Perhaps someday we can share this practice with other churches; so on Sunday’s people will hear cheering like Wednesday night in Chicago. 

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler
 


Nov 15 – Treasure Chest 3

Treasure – Stewardship 2015
To learn more about our entire church wide study, Treasure, go to stpaulshelena.org/stewardship-2015

Commitment Card

We invite you to complete your yearly commitment card for St. Paul’s by going to: stpaulshelena.org/commitment-card-2016/

Weekly Treasure Chest

This past summer my wife and I did something unprecedented; we went on vacation without our children.  Being the good United Methodists we are, we elected to go to that most spiritual of places, Las Vegas.

During a morning stroll; we wandered to old Downtown Vegas.  On the hunt for a lunch buffet some street vendors approached us.  It was a slow morning and only a few vendors were interested in interacting at the un-Vegas time of 10:30am.  In Vegas you get used to avoiding eye contact and saying “no thank you” as you walk past. This worked in all cases except one, Bernie.

Bernie was a sweet looking man, probably in his late 70s.  He had an orange vest with identification demonstrating someone had given him permission to interrupt people.  Bernie also had a notebook with an adorable puppy on the front cover.  In a well practiced move he some how pressed some toy plastic fans into our hands while offering, “Good Morning!”  We paused our stride for a moment as our instinctual Montana politeness took over and we offered our own “good morning” in reply.

Game over, he had us.  In a mix of determination and politeness Bernie shared that he was out that morning collecting for the local no kill animal shelter.  Without ever feeling like he was rushing, within 90 seconds we learned that $20 would spay or neuter an animal and save potential offspring from a poor existence in the alleys of Vegas.

My wife, the animal lover, was hooked.  We were after all not blinking about $80 dinner tabs or $100 show tickets.  What’s $20 to do something good?

One hitch, we had no cash.  My wife and I don’t carry cash.  This was unfortunate because Bernie had sold us on his mission.  He had real concern for the animals and we shared it.

Figuring we’d find an ATM near whatever buffet we found, I asked if he’d be around later.  “No problem,” he replied, with no hint of disappointment.  He rummaged around in his fanny packand  produced his smart phone and credit card reader.  “Most of my donations are this way now.  Even in Vegas no one has cash because the machines all take cards.”

Somewhere in there our $20 donation became $40, probably in relation to some comment made by Bernie about how beautiful my wife is. Did I mention he seemed well practiced?  Our time with Bernie lasted only a few minutes.  We left with smiles and the thought we’d done some good that morning.

In today’s world, how we interact with money is changing.  I would not want to be in the check printing business in the 21st century.  However, while how we relate to money physically might be changing our desire to be generous is not.  Bernie was prepared to accept our generosity in the way we were prepared to offer it. I don’t know if we would have found an ATM and connected with him.  Thankfully, because he was ready, we didn’t have to find out.  I want to thank you St. Paul’s for being ready to accept my generosity.

Rev. Jeremy W Scott

Jeremy is Vital Congregations Developer for the Mountain Sky Area of the United Methodist Church.  His primary role is helping congregations achieve vitality to share the gospel message in their community.

Treasure Hunt
Each week we will hide an image of a treasure chest with a new word somewhere online.  We ask people to explore our website, facebook and app to find this treasure.  When you do email Pastor Tyler at tamundson@stpaulshelena.org.  Let us know what word was on it and where you found it.  When you find it you will be entered into a drawing for a Treasure daily devotional book that will happen each week at worship.
This week the image you are searching for is:

The image you are looking for is in a different location. Please note this is just a clue to tell you what you are looking for. The real image is somewhere on facebook, our app, or website.

Sermon


November 8 – Treasure Chest 2

Treasure – Stewardship 2015
To learn more about our entire church wide study, Treasure, go to stpaulshelena.org/stewardship-2015

Weekly Treasure Chest

 We bring our tithe to God, a dime from every dollar.
It even could be more, but never should be smaller.
For thus the Lord hath said, if we give cheerfully,
The nine-tenths will go farther to meet our every need.

I learned that little ditty when I was in 5th grade and while I didn’t understand the “nine-tenths” thing at that time, I certainly understood “a dime from every dollar.” I wish that I could honestly say that I have been a tither my entire life, but I would be lying. Tithing takes both faith and discipline: faith that God will really make my “nine-tenths go farther” and discipline to learn to dutifully give. And I am a work in progress.

What I have learned from becoming a tither is that it is impossible to out-give God. He will always provide, my job is to believe that He will always provide.

I have also learned that I have a responsibility to be a good steward of all the gifts that God has given to me (including my finances) so tithing is part of my budget. And budgeting isn’t something that comes natural to me…it’s a learned behavior. Around the first of the year my husband (Eddie Black) and I sit down to create our goals for the coming year. During this discussion, we commit to our budget which involves our tithe.

While our tithe goes to support the amazing ministries of St. Paul’s and I am proud to be a part of this Christian community, I still believe that tithing is not about what we give to God, it’s about being faithful to Him. Let’s be realistic, we’re talking about the Creator here, He doesn’t need my dime…He desires my faithfulness.

As I become more faithful to Him and disciplined in my actions, I am blessed beyond measure.

Tracie Kenyon

Treasure Hunt
Each week we will hide an image of a treasure chest with a new word somewhere online.  We ask people to explore our website, facebook and app to find this treasure.  When you do email Pastor Tyler at tamundson@stpaulshelena.org.  Let us know what word was on it and where you found it.  When you find it you will be entered into a drawing for a Treasure daily devotional book that will happen each week at worship.
This week the image you are searching for is:

THIS IS NOT THE IMAGE TO WIN THE HUNT. The image you are looking for is in a different location. Please note this is just a clue to tell you what you are looking for. The real image is somewhere on facebook, our app, or website.

Sermon


November 1 – Treasure Chest

Weekly Treasure Chest

My wife and I will continue to give to St. Paul’s because we have been taught by the teachings of an itinerant Jewish preacher who did his teaching about two thousand years ago. He taught many things, but one of his most important teachings was that we should take care of the poor and less fortunate. His teachings, as you well know, led to the establishment of the Christian religion, and continue to be taught by his followers.

In our case, as part of Methodism, caring for the poor and less fortunate was a principle theme of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. In Montana, where our own church is one hundred and fifty years old, Brother Van and other early day Montana Methodist preachers carried on the teachings of Jesus. This is true today, as Marianne, Tyler and Rick continue this great Christian tradition.

Like any other human activity that is worthwhile doing, the work of St. Paul’s cost money.

What is really important to my wife and me, and I think also to you, is the outreach of St. Paul’s.

This is in two parts. We do a lot in the community of Helena. God’s Love, Family Promise, Helena Indian Alliance, to name a few. We also make our building available to many organizations in Helena that need a place to hold their meetings.

The other outreach is for programs and activities carried on outside of Helena. One of the missions we support is the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR moves swiftly into any part of the world where disaster has struck and provides relief to the stricken, without regard too religious affiliation. The point is those people need help and UMCOR helps them.

Or think of the direct outreach to various parts of the world by the members of St. Paul’s. For example, Don Skillman has lead more than one medical mission to the Amazon region of South America. Just this year our Coordinator of Children’s Ministry, Meg White, led a group of youth and adults to a mission in Central America. We have supported a university in South Africa. There are other examples, but you get the idea.

Another main reason that my wife and I are willing to continue supporting the church is the truly outstanding job the church does with its programs for children and youth. From Promiseland, to Children’s Time during the sermons, to the many programs and activities for older children and youth.

All of these many things cost money. All of them are worthwhile and carry on the tradition of carrying out the teachings of that itinerant Jewish preacher who lived two thousand years ago.

For these reasons we will continue to give to St. Paul’s.

Respectfully submitted,
Cordell Johnson and Kay Mathews
Treasure Hunt
Each week we will hide an image of a treasure chest with a new word somewhere online.  We ask people to explore our website, facebook and app to find this treasure.  When you do email Pastor Tyler at tamundson@stpaulshelena.org.  Let us know what word was on it and where you found it.  When you find it you will be entered into a drawing for a Treasure daily devotional book that will happen each week at worship.
This week the image you are searching for is:
Grace Chest

The image you are looking for is in a different location. Please note this is just a clue to tell you what you are looking for. The real image is somewhere on facebook, our app, or website.

Sermon