From Pastor Jeff
From Pastor Jeff
The wise men talking to King Herod: “Where is the child that has been born king of the Jews?“ “For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.“ “Then the star went ahead of them, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.“
In the scriptures above, the Wise Men; the Magi; the Kings from the Orient, whatever you want to call the men who were following the star in the sky, what matters is that you know what they were doing. They were following the star with an expectation to find something at the end of their journey. They knew this star was significant. They were men who studied the stars - their patterns, and their movements. This star came out of nowhere; and they knew they should follow it. All the while, they had an expectation that once they reached the end of their journey they would find something wonderful, something magnificent, and something out of the ordinary.
Friends, we all have expectations. Whether it is the expectation that this New Year won’t be like the last. Maybe you expect your car to start when you turn over the key. Or, maybe you expect to hear your alarm clock go off in the morning.
But what happens when our expectation does not match the reality that ensues? We start to push back, maybe even get a little defensive. If your car doesn’t start and you are going to be late for work, you call someone in a panic for a ride to work. When your alarm clock doesn’t go off in the morning, you rush trying to get back some of the time you lost by oversleeping.
Jesus challenges us all throughout the Gospels, to follow him, and within his commands - He never says that following him will be easy, or uneventful. All Jesus promises is that He will be with us throughout it all.
As we enter this season of Epiphany, the season of realization, where are you expecting God to show up in your life? What are you doing to help foster that expectation?
Sometimes reality does not live up to our expectations, and sometimes our expectations are met in an extraordinary way. We have just come through the season of Advent which is a time of expectation and waiting but what happens when what we have been expecting doesn’t become a reality?
The sermon series for Advent was about letting go of our expectations for the perfect Christmas and instead expecting God to show up in the unexpected.
Expect God to show up in a different way than before. Much like the Wise Men who unexpectedly saw the star in the sky announcing the birth of Jesus - “the King of the Jews“. We must continue to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. We must continue to watch for God to show up in unexpected ways.
May God continue to reveal Himself to you in new ways!
an open invitation for all
an open invitation for all
First United Methodist Church hosts free monthly community dinners open to the public.
These events focus on reaching out to our local area, sharing the grace of God and building a more united church family.
Our first Community Dinner of the season starts on September 27 from 5-7pm. Join us for a taco bar!
West Austintown First United Methodist Church offers a group bible study open to the community called Supper, Study & Service in which participants gather to share a meal and explore a book that helps us reflect on our role as Christians in our community.
This study culminates in a Service project in which the group gives back to the local community by way of creating Blessing Bags from donated items, making a meal, and serving it to those in need.
We have partnered with Our Community Kitchen to serve these meals to the less fortunate.
During 2017 Summer, West Austintown First United Methodist Church offered Supper & Study for a second time. The book covered was A Grace-full Life by Wes Olds & Jorge Acevedo which seeks to answer the questions: "In what ways is God an ever-present God?," "Why does God want to have a personal relationship with me?," "How can I fully experience and respond to God's grace?," "How can I die well '"surrounded by God's grace?"'.
Our group connected with Our Community Kitchen to serve a meal and deliver Blessing Bags.
If you would like to attend our next Supper, Study, & Service group, it will begin September 12th. You can find more information for these meetings and others on our church calendar.
During the 2017 Lenten season, West Austintown First United Methodist Church offered a Supper & Study in which members gathered together, reading and discussing Tom Berlin's book Restored which helps us to see our mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. This Supper & Study group finalized their study with a Community Outreach program. They connected with Our Community Kitchen in downtown Youngstown & were invited to serve soup & give Blessing Bags to our unhoused brothers & sisters. Our next Supper & Study will begin mid-July.