Pastor’s Corner 11/11/18

“Love is patient. Love is kind. … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Corinthians 13:4, 7 NRSV I reference this scripture most often for weddings. However, I saw it in a new light today reading the September/October issue of DevoZine. (A devotional magazine written by teens for teens. I highly recommend it! www.devozine.org) What if we loved ourselves with this kind of love? What if we were patient with ourselves? What if we were kind to ourselves? A meme making the round on social media says, “You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself. Be kind.” Hmmm.
Self-talk is so powerful.
Words are so powerful. How do you treat yourself with your words? These few weeks we are focusing on loving ourselves. After spending several weeks talking about how we love God with our whole selves and love our neighbors, we are wrestling with the second half of that phrase, love your neighbor as yourself. An often neglected topic. Finding that space between self- loathing and pride. That healthy space of self-love.
In that same issue of DevoZine Ashley Taylor, age 15 writes, “Each one of us is unique, and the God who created us loves and treasures us all. When we accept this truth, our lives change. We begin to see others through God’s eyes and to love ourselves as God does. Talk with God this week about how you were created so perfectly imperfect. You truly are a magnificent work of art.”
Wise words from this teen that we would do well to heed.
Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 10/28/18

Loving Bodies, Loving Our Body
I therefore beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
This month, we are exploring what it means to forgive ourselves, love ourselves, and love our bodies. We spend a lot of time talking about how to love our neighbors and accept our neighbors, but we often miss the vital detail that the way we love ourselves is the measuring stick for how we love others. Our culture promotes an unhealthy relationship with our own bodies. Further, verses from the Bible are often cut, pasted, and manipulated into a message of shame and disgust about our earthen vessels.
So, where is the balance? How do we love our own bodies? The body of Christ? How can we do better? The message often shared concerning bodies is not a good reflection of God’s image or God’s love. The Bible is full of beautiful passages about loving bodies and loving our body of believers. Above, Paul lays out some thoughts concerning the need to keep the unity of the Spirit amongst the newly united Jews and Gentiles because their one body reflects the other “ones”. Not only are each of us to do our own ministry within the body of Christ, equip others in their own ministry, but to also help the body come to unity. We are called to cherish these earthen vessels we call bodies. They were made to experience this beautiful creation through emotions and our senses. Our bodies were also made to make God’s image and grace crystal clear to the world.
As each preacher shares their own stories of learning to love ourselves, I invite you to reflect on your own attitude toward your earthen vessel. How is your clay jar helping God’s power be evident? What is a message of self-love you can share with a child or youth in your life? We have much work to do, my friends, on this topic of loving our bodies and love our body of Christ. You are needed.
We are currently planning retreats for children/youth and parents on this exact topic. Please keep your eyes open for dates and details in our newsletter and our website stpaulshelena.org.
Peace,
Pastor Sami


Pastor’s Corner 10/21/18

Positive Attitude Month

 

How positive are your actions and thoughts? Can you put your finger on what makes your mood sour? Do you know what cheers you up? Is it something that is accessible to you each day? How contagious is another person’s bad mood? These are viable questions for this month because it is Positive Attitude Month! Questions like these are important to ponder in our lives as we wade through our political environment this fall. It can be very easy to get wrapped up into fear-fueled social media news feeds, constantly listening to the same kind of pessimistic stories, and feeling hopeless about the world around us.

 

I know for myself, I struggle to keep a positive attitude some days. These kinds of questions of self-awareness have been really helpful to me, though. For me, a trip to the gym is usually accessible any day I am feeling less positive. Working out cheers me up and helps my stress. I have spent quite a few years learning about stress triggers and mood shifters in my own life. And, because of the nature of my work, I feel understanding these stressors is a priority. This is what works for me personally, but I would invite you to discern what works for you. For Positive Attitude Month, focusing on intentional positive thoughts is the objective. There are even health benefits from intentionally thinking positive: lowering distress, better cardiovascular health, coping skills can improve, etc. The proof of positive attitudes is evident, and the opportunities to view less-than-ideal situations positively seem to be abundant in our world. For the rest of the month (and hopefully longer), what is one thing you could do everyday to keep your positive attitude fueled? God created each of us to have feelings and emotions, and those feelings and emotions are how we experience our world. God also made us to heal, to be resilient and strong–to learn from our emotions and feelings. How can you embrace how God made you? How can you be intentional with your attitude?

 

Stay strong out there, my friends. And be gentle with one another,

 

Pastor Sami

 
 
 


Pastor’s Corner 10/7/18

The Power of Gratitude
If you have been in the office the past couple weeks, you may have seen a little desk toy with five metal spheres hanging from strings. It’s called Newton’s Cradle, or, more commonly, “executive desk toy.” Whether you saw ours or another one, did you study it? Maybe you even lifted one sphere and watched it collide with the others, ending the last in line flying out. Then, just as quickly as that last sphere flew, back it came, colliding with the rest sending the original sphere flying itself. This simple toy is our new image and metaphor for Helena United Methodist Ministries’ Stewardship Campaign. Sir Isaac Newton discovered this conservation and transfer of energy and momentum, and this simple toy demonstrates not only the science Newton discovered, but it can also show and teach us about the power and energy we each carry and transfer. This year’s stewardship campaign will look a little different. Instead of a seasonal campaign lasting a month-long with 4 or so sermons, we will celebrate stewarship throughout our year. Stewardship is the care, love, and service of all things, whether this is through money, time, service, witness, or even presence. All of these aspects are vital to growing in our discipleship. All of these aspects are important to our mission at HUMM. What does it mean for you to say “yes” to Jesus? In what ways is God speaking and calling to you? We begin with the power of graditude. Generosity can only begin with gratitude. When we see our gratitude not just as a feeling in our hearts, but a powerful energy that can move us to do amazing things, we will witness God’s work together. Generosity will flow from our gratitude, and it will collide with others, sending our brothers and sisters in Christ out into the world to be God’s hands and feet. Keep an eye out for our mailing coming later this month. Then, watch for new opportunities to be stewards! We have plans for new ways to give of yourself, creative ways to use the power of gratitude, and celebrations of the impact our generosity and gratitude make in this world. You will hear stories of how the church has changed lives, how your pennies add up, and how much more powerful we are together. In January, we will celebrate our second Stewardship Sunday, focusing on the generosity of our time and talents. Again, you will see new ways to grow spiritually and share your energy. Then, in May, we will celebrate our third Stewardship Sunday and party! We will rejoice in the good news we have shared, the impact we have made, and the growth we have seen. We are excited to celebrate all year round with you! May you see your importance and your power!
Blessings, Pastor Sami