Discipline is not a bad word
When we talk about discipline most of us think of parenting and the principal’s office. Discipline is what happens when we need to be corrected and our behavior adjusted. However discipline is also used in a positive sense when we talk about sports, music and artistic skills like carpentry or art. Discipline is what we call the practice, the lessons and the rehearsals. It is the inner drive to critically examine your craft, and the exterior effort of being taught and led that we call discipline. Just as we need discipline to excel in art and sports, we need discipline in our spiritual lives as well. These next few weeks we will be highlighting various spiritual disciplines during our worship services as an effort to grow deeper in our faith as a church.
All of the things that we call spiritual disciplines are normal activities in the Christian Life and many times in life in general. They become spiritual disciplines because of the effort of concentration on specific actions in a disciplined way for spiritual benefit. While spontaneity in our faith is valuable and flexibility to what the Spirit draws us to is crucial, we are called to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) and that takes a concerted effort.
Our first topic of the month will be prayer. Both spontaneous and prepared, private and public, prayer is a huge topic. Being disciplined in prayer is a great gift and a skill to be developed. There are many ways to grow in prayer. Learning to pray publicly, gathering with others to pray, and keeping a prayer journal are all ways that can enhance our prayer life. There are a multitude of different ways to pray and many ways to grow in our conversations with God.
Love can be a discipline as well, although we most commonly think of it as an emotion. It might sound like disciplined love is an oxymoron. Ultimately, love is a virtue (not just an emotion) and being disciplined in acts of love does not callus us. Intentionally acting in love causes our hearts to grow and increases our ability to feel and to respond emotionally to others around us. A key part to being disciplined in love is that we can do most things in a loving manner and therefore love can become an innate quality of our lives rather then just a discipline. Disciplined love stretches us and may find us loving people we couldn’t imagine and in ways that we wouldn’t dare.
Living in gratitude is like planting seeds and watering them well. Rarely are seeds like those barren. What a richness we can experience if we are but thankful for the gifts of God and those around us. Even in difficult circumstances there is always something to be thankful for, and the discipline of looking for it shapes our hearts and opens our eyes to the activity of God in our world. It is those difficult circumstances that call for discipline surrounding gratitude. It is too easy to extenuate the negative and descend into despair.
Acts of mercy and kindness are fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. These can be done by individuals or groups of people. When groups of people get together to accomplish something in Christ’s name we call it mission. Joining a group to work at a food bank, trash pick up at a local park with friends, and raising funds for hunger issues all are part of God’s mission in the world. However God’s Mission is not confined to our own neighborhood: it is a global initiative. Supporting and praying for churches and ministries worldwide is a discipline that expands our notion of God’s work in the world. It can also challenge us about who God is as we see people that we perceive as aliens become friends and even brothers and sisters in Christ.
Being intentional about spiritual practices will produce personal growth. Concerted efforts to improve spiritual practice will also sew bonds of faith between believers. All in all, spiritual disciplines allow us to know more about who God is and what God would have us do. We look forward to seeing what God will do with us as we learn together this month.
Sunday February 3rd. Led by youth groups across the country, this mission to tackle hunger and poverty in local communities has been around since 1990. 100% of your donations stays local: non-perishable food items placed in the bins in the main entryway go to the FUMC Food Pantry, and monetary donations will go to the North End Soup Kitchen in Flint. Youth will be available to collect monetary donations after both worship services. Thank you for your support!
On Saturday, February 23, 2019 we will car pool from our church at 8:30 am for a workday at the Shelter of Flint from 9 am – 4 pm. Please consider joining us to do a variety of maintenance tasks, which may involve cleaning, painting, sorting, organizing, etc. Lunch will be provided. If you are interested, a sign-up sheet is in Fellowship Hall. Contact Maureen Utt (810-701-2336 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Saturday, February 23, 2019. Please join us at FFPC in fellowship hall to enjoy good food and great conversation. Doors open at 8:30 starting with nibbles for early risers, breakfast is at 9:00. Bring a friend! Call Julie Grams or sign up in fellowship hall, 810.955.8758
FFPC Men’s Luncheon
Food & Fellowship
Tuesday, January 15th, 2019
Ticket Cost: $15
Men of FFPC are invited to Lunch on January 15th, 2019 at 12:00pm Villager’s Restaurant (1121 N. Saginaw Street, #7, Holly) for food, fun and fellowship.
Please see Pastor Robbie, Ed Schwarz, Jon O’Connell or Bill Black for more information or to purchase tickets. Tickets may also be purchase in the Church Office.
January Study for Wednesday Women’s Group: Children of the Day by Beth Moore, January 9 – March 6 from 10am – Noon inFellowship Hall. Walk the shores of Thessalonica with this verse-by-verse Biblestudy of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. This study sheds light on therelationships shared by those who comprise the church. Participants will gainassurance their circumstances and conditions are not coincidental. God’s timingis impeccable! Whether you’re facing family crises, medical diagnoses,relationship troubles, doubts, or fears, come to receive encouragement forliving the Christian life now and hope for when Christ returns. Participantbooks are $20 each. Register in Fellowship Hall by December 19 to reserveyour copy! See Tina Ritchie for more information
Wreaths Across America, Honoring Our Veterans: Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach, is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies all over the world. Please join members of our church on December 15th at 12:00pm at Holly National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Road, Holly, MI 48442. Carpool available, sign-up in Fellowship Hall. Contact Julie Grams for more information.
• To facilitate a community conversation on the topic of homelessness in our community;
• To raise awareness and dispel myths;
• To define the issue, identify and understand the causes and exacerbating factors of homelessness;
• To better understand the prevalence of homelessness in surrounding communities; and,
• To talk about gaps in services and potential solutions to end or reduce homelessness.
Resource Fair: 6:30 -7:00 pm and 8:30 – 9:00 pm, before and after the program
Program: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Keynote Speakers and a panel will address the causes and an overview of homelessness in the greater Fenton Community and in Genesee County, as well as some of the services and resources available to help people dealing with homelessness.
Please join us as we learn more about this critical community issue and what we can do to reduce and help end homelessness.
No registration required. Sock donations will be gratefully accepted and will be distributed to agencies serving the homeless.
If you would like more information on this program, please contact: Polly Sheppard at 810-938-3020 or the First Presbyterian Church at 810-629-7801.
Financial Peace University – Wednesdays 6:00pm-7:30pm. Do you use money? Do you need money? Does handling money God’s way really work?
The average American has substantial consumer debt from mortgages to auto loans to credit cards, and would struggle to meet a $1,000 emergency expense.
The average graduate of Financial Peace University pays down $5,300 of debt within 90 days, saves $2,700 over those same 90 days, and learns techniques to gain control over their money that can last forever and can be passed down to their children.
FFPC is offering the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class beginning Wednesday, September 5 at 6PM in the Conference Room, facilitated by Elder Larry Zimbler, MST, EA, and ELP (a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider). Childcare is available. The class lasts between 1½ and 2 hours once per week until November 7th (no class on 10/24). Typically attendees bond closely with each other and learn not only from Dave Ramsey but from each other.
This class is for young professionals, newlyweds, those in debt, those not in debt yet wishing to have their money work better for them, and anyone who uses money. If you don’t need this class, I guarantee that you know someone that does. It is an investment in your/their future financial security and, if followed, is the smartest investment you can make.
Register online at http://www.fpu.com/1066799; there is a $109 cost for materials when you sign up – typically $149.