You Are God’s

Today may be one of the best days ever. Or busy from the time you wake up until you lay your head down on the pillow. Or marked by an important decision. Or marked by deep pain. Or filled with any of a thousand other things. But whatever today is, it’s your life. Which is why it’s essential to remember that regardless of what happens, you are God’s – created in God’s image, loved unconditionally by God, shaped and molded by God, and given a special purpose by God.  

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Fear

Fear starts with a single event, grows over time and eventually infects every thought you think, every breath you take and every thing you do. The worst thing of all about fear is how it leaves you feeling absolutely powerless to deal with it. But God comes to you right in the midst of your fear, frees you from your fear and helps you overcome any fear. So today – and every day – choose God over fear, and experience how you don’t need to be afraid of your fear any longer!  

The Real Deal

Sometimes you package yourself to meet someone else’s expectations. But when you do, you feel discombobulated because it’s just not you. At other times, you try to prove you’re in charge of your life by doing crazy things. But you soon realize you’re still not being you. So today let God’s love fill you to overflowing. Let God heal and, when necessary, transform you. And let God uniquely meld together your life’s experiences, pain, gifts and passion. Then you can be the real deal the best way of all – God’s way.   

A Sunday Prayer

Lord,

It’s easy to see everything that’s wrong in the world. But there’s also so much that’s so right. Sadly, however, it’s easy to overlook it. Minimize it. And say it doesn’t matter. But it does, Lord. Because this is how You’re at work through everyday saints.

     Who don’t care about the spotlight.

     Who don’t care about the acclaim of others.

      And who don’t make it more about themselves than You.

They’re ordinary people who do extraordinary things – because they’ve been transformed by Your love. People who long to share what You’ve shared with them – grace upon grace. People who bring real transformation – in lives, families, churches, schools and neighborhoods.

Thank You for these people. Who quietly live Your love. Who do so with humility,  Who ask nothing in return. Who don’t spend time judging others and telling them what to do. They simply live. And love. And then love some more.

May I become more like them starting right now in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Experience New Cultures by Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Your Church

Experience New Cultures by Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Your Church

By Lupita Chavarria

Associate Pastor at St. Andrew, Geyer Springs UMC

Below is the Spanish version of the story. For the English version, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

En Estados Unidos celebramos el Mes de la Herencia Hispana-Latina para dedicar un mes completo a la celebración de la contribución que la cultura Latina hace a nuestro país, en este mes varios países de América Latina celebran su independencia(México, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica y Honduras) acto que los declara países independientes de España, y lo celebran de una manera muy especial y con ingredientes culturales propios, llamando así a Septiembre el “Mes de la Patria” donde cada país celebra su orgullo nacional de manera única, así mismo cada país le rinde homenaje a sus propios héroes que contribuyeron a su libertad como país.

Los países latinoamericanos celebran con música, baile, comida y desfiles de niños uniformados de las escuelas y las fuerzas armadas brindan hermosos desfiles militares, todo acompañado de un hermoso espectáculo de fuegos artificiales.

En México se celebra el “Grito de Independencia” la noche del 15 de Septiembre y el Día de la Independencia el día 16. Se celebra con música, fuegos artificiales, desfiles escolares y militares. La primera vez que se dio el Grito de Independencia fue el 16 de Septiembre de 1810, cuando Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla al grito de: “Viva México!” Mientras toca una campana y se ondea la bandera Mexicana. Hoy en día el “Grito de Independencia” lo dan los presidentes municipales, gobernadores, presidente de México y fuera de México los Cónsules o Diplomáticos, seguido de la celebración.

El 18 de septiembre de 1810, Chile declaró su independencia de España. Hoy Chile celebra esta fecha con una semana de “fiestas patrias” con desfiles, rodeos, competencias de baile y comidas especiales.

El 15 de septiembre de 1821, Centroamérica proclamó también su independencia de España. Allí nacieron El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica y Honduras. Celebran las Fiestas Patrias el día 14 y 15 con desfiles, reuniones y competencias deportivas, vestidos de colores nacionales, bailes y desfile. Además en Centroamérica celebran con el “Recorrido de la Antorcha” que va desde Guatemala hasta Costa Rica, unos corredores llevan la humeante antorcha a lo largo de la ruta y niños uniformados los esperan.

En Nicaragua las fiestas Centroamericanas inician desde el primer día de Septiembre, terminan con la lectura del Acta de Independencia el día 15 de Septiembre. Las escuelas compiten con rítmicas bandas en sus festivales a lo largo del país.

En la Iglesia Metodista Unida en Arkansas nos unimos a estas celebraciones y cada año celebramos la herencia hispana con nuestros hermanos y hermanas. Hemos celebrado por años en nuestras iglesias PHUMC, St. Luke, Amboy, St. Andrew, Geyer Springs y otras más.

Y como un año es muy largo para celebrar solo una vez, tenemos también las fiestas del “Dia de Reyes” (Enero 6) , “Cinco De Mayo” (Mayo 5), “Día de Muertos” (Noviembre 2) e incorporamos la cultura latina a nuestras celebraciones de Navidad.… Todas las celebraciones contienen deliciosa comida, música, danzas regionales con coloridos vestidos. La cultura Latina es rica en fiestas colores y sabores, celebrando juntos tenemos la oportunidad de unirnos culturalmente con todos nuestros hermanos.

No quiero pasar solo la información, sin la invitación… así que los invitamos a celebrar con nosotros: Septiembre 16 a las 5 pm St. Andrew UMC, Septiembre 18 a las 5 pm Geyer Springs UMC.

In the U.S., we celebrate Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 and dedicate a full month to the celebration of the contributions that Latin cultures have made to our country. In this month, several Latin American countries celebrate their independence (Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras), an act that declares them independent countries of Spain.

These cultures celebrate independence in their own very special ways and with their own cultural ingredients, calling September the “Month of the Homeland.” Each country pays honor or tribute to its own heroes who contributed to their freedom as a country.

Latin American countries celebrate with music, dancing, food and parades of uniformed children from schools, and the armed forces provide beautiful military parades, all accompanied by a beautiful fireworks show.

In Mexico, the “Grito de Independencia” is celebrated on the night of Sept. 15 and Independence Day on Sept. 16. It is celebrated with music, fireworks, school and military parades.

The first “Grito de Independencia” was given on Sept. 16, 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla shouted: “Long live Mexico!” while ringing a bell and waving the Mexican flag. Today the “Grito de Independencia” is given by the mayors, governors, president of Mexico and outside Mexico, the Consuls or Diplomats, followed by a celebration.

On Sept. 18, 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain. Today Chile celebrates this date with a week of “national holidays” with parades, rodeos, dance competitions and special meals.

On Sept. 15, 1821, Central America also proclaimed its independence from Spain. These countries were El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras. They celebrate the National Holidays on the 14 and 15 with parades, meetings and sports competitions, dresses of national colors, dances and a parade.

Also in Central America they celebrate with the “Torch Tour” that runs from Guatemala to Costa Rica. Runners carry the smoking torch along the route and uniformed children await them. In Nicaragua, the Central American festivities begin from the first day of September and end with the reading of the Act of Independence on Sept. 15. Schools compete with rhythmic bands at their festivals throughout the country.

In the United Methodist Church in Arkansas, we join these celebrations and each year we celebrate Hispanic heritage with our brothers and sisters. For years, churches in the Central District have celebrated Hispanic heritage, including Pulaski Heights UMC, St. Luke Campus of PHUMC, Amboy UMC, St. Andrew UMC, Geyer Springs UMC and more.

And since a year is too long to wait to celebrate Hispanic culture, we also have the “Dia de Reyes” (“The Three Kings” on Jan. 6), “Cinco De Mayo” (May 5), “Día de Muertos” (“The Day of the Death” on Nov. 2) and we incorporate the Latin culture in our Christmas celebrations.

All celebrations contain delicious food, music, and regional dances with colorful dresses. Latin culture is rich in color and flavors; celebrating together, we have the opportunity to unite culturally with all our brothers and sisters.

For all of our Methodist churches in Arkansas who want to organize and celebrate the Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month, here are some ideas:

Incorporate traditional Hispanic music into your service, like: El Son de la Negra, Jarabe Tapatio, De Colores.
Serve delicious food like: Tamales, Guacamole, Tacos, Tostadas, Tortas
Decorate with Latino decorations in your church. You can find these in Latino stores in your area.
Play traditional games like Loteria and Toma Todo.

If you need help planning your Hispanic Heritage celebration, I am happy to help! Please contact the Rev. Lupita Chavarria at chavarrialupita@gmail.com. I also invite you to celebrate with us, 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 at St. Andrew UMC, and 5 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Geyer Springs UMC. We will have a celebration of Hispanic and Latin culture, with games, food, dancing and more!