Addressing Our Crisis of Character

You may not like what I am about to share because you think I’ve gone from inspiring to meddling. If so, you’re right. The reason is simple. We are experiencing a crisis of character right now. It’s huge. It’s growing. And it must be addressed right now. It involves leaders in our government, business, education, entertainment and even the church. But what may be even more painful to admit is that we know how easily it can begin to envelop us. This crisis manifests itself in the use of power for personal sexual pleasure; lying to keep up a façade of respectability, spreading hatred and innuendo about others as a political strategy; and turning money, power and material wealth into a new version of the holy trinity. Cynicism may lead us to say that this is just the way the world has always worked. And maybe it is. But something has changed. So much so, that it seems that any notion of a hopeful future is disintegrating right before our eyes. That’s why this is the time to get serious about God. Not just by acknowledging that some generic God exists or calling upon that God to bless us the way we want. But by getting over our need to be in control of our lives, and instead getting absolutely serious about God who created us, loves us unconditionally, calls us to live in relationship with Jesus Christ and invites us to share the heart of God with the world. Of course, we all know this is not something that will magically transform everyone and everything right away. But the fact of the matter is that it is the best place I know to start....

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Ingathering 2017 Highlights and Link to Photo Gallery

  Find photos from Ingathering 2017...

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Cowboys, Coffee and Breakfast: innovative ministries creating community

Holy Grounds Community Coffeehouse. Morning Manna. What each of these have in common is a desire to find and know the people who live, work and play in their communities. Each is the result of continuous prayer, thoughtful planning, and more than a little persistence on the part of the congregations connecting with their neighbors. Cowboy Church If you want to see a cowboy or girl in church, you best hold your service on Tuesday evening. Why? Because those folks travel and work on the weekends, moving from town to town on the rodeo, county and state fair circuit. So when Cowboy Church gathers, it’s Tuesday evenings at John and Pat Poole’s place, Adonai Tsuri, in Van Buren, Arkansas. Poole and his wife, and members of their Heritage UMC life group, had a vision of reaching people in the cowboy culture. According to Kip James, a member of the life group, the Poole’s vision was to offer a place where someone could come straight from feeding cattle or work, and experience welcome and belonging. That vision became reality with the construction of Adonai Tsuri, Hebrew for “God Our Rock.” The building is nestled in a bucolic setting overlooking a lake. Women and men—most of them laity—share the responsibility of delivering the message, and music leans toward bluegrass, country and hymns. “The Poole’s wanted to offer a service where everyone was welcome,” James wrote in an email. “There are no expectations about your background in the Christian body, if you have been to a church or never been to a church.” The relaxed, come-as-you-are atmosphere has appeal for all ages, and it’s not unusual to see multiple generations worshipping together. “You always want to come to see how the Lord has worked in people’s lives,” James wrote. “To understand that God still is at work in this world and how much he truly loves us.” Adonai Tsuri Cowboy Church meets at 7 p.m. each Tuesday at 4500 Old Uniontown Road, Van Buren. For more information about Adonai Tsuri, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ adonaitsurieventvenue/. Holy Grounds Community Coffeehouse When an out of town guest suggested they get a cup of coffee, the Rev. Bill Buchanan realized that a national food chain was the only place in Forrest City to get one. He also recognized that there was a need for something different, someplace that served up more than a cup of joe. That’s where Buchanan and the members of First UMC Forrest City found the inspiration for Holy Grounds Community Coffeehouse. The congregation, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, owns a house that had served as a district office and parsonage but hadn’t been used in some time. Constructed in the 1930s, the two-story building was ideal for the project and could be brought back to life with some remodeling. Excitement grew as the idea of repurposing the building as an outreach ministry took root. In addition to offering Westrock fair-trade coffee and a simple menu, Holy Grounds will be serving up a place for people to meet, read, and talk. And if those conversations turn to the subject of God, well, Buchanan is okay with that. “A lot of churches have found that a coffee house is a comfortable place to start the ‘God conversation,’” Buchanan said. “It...

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People Will See God in You

What will people see when they look at you today? You probably assume they see all the things you see about you – what you don’t like about your physical appearance, the pain you’re acutely feeling and every mistake you’ve ever made. But what if you choose to let God’s unconditional love become the lens through which you see yourself? Believe it or not, people will see God in you. And that would be a nice gift to share with others...

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Part-time organist and Rehearsal pianist

First United Methodist Church, Rogers, Arkansas, is accepting applications for a part-time organist and rehearsal pianist.   Duties include two services on Sunday morning, choral rehearsals on Tuesday evening, and services such as Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, funerals, etc.   Salary is $10k/yr.   Please direct all inquiries to Senior Pastor Michael Mattox, michael.mattox@arumc.org, and Director of Music Brian...

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