Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real problem; hacked servers of medical providers, insurance companies, and major retail stores have put thousands at risk.  Social Security numbers in the wrong hands will negatively affect our identity, as well as potentially destroy life as we know it.  However, identity theft is not limited to the physical world but extends to our spiritual identities as well.

We are created in God’s image, male and female God created us, and God said we are “very good”.  We are children of God; God is our God and we are God’s people.  However, possessing free will we often find ourselves chasing life’s diversions, consequently experiencing “spiritual” identity theft.

The good news is that God, through Jesus Christ, provides a way back, offers restoration, and restores my true identity, not because of what I have done, but what God does for/in me!  Chuck Swindoll in his book, Wisdom for the Way writes:

God has entrusted to us a great deal. . . .  God is trusting in us to trust in God.  Yet God knows our fears as well, otherwise God wouldn’t assure us so often of God’s purposes and God’s presence.

We feel hurt and alone – God assures us God cares.  We feel angry and resentful – God provides wisdom and strength.  We feel ashamed – God promises to supply all our needs.  Our God is uniquely and ultimately trustworthy! (page 256)

Through the resurrection, Jesus’ victory is our victory.  Because He lives, my identity is redeemed!  Trusting in the “Spirit of our living God” we find God trustworthy.   Today we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our identity in Him, because He lives. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Easter: The Rest of the Story

Paul Harvey became famous for his column, “The Rest of the Story.” Harvey became well-loved for his clever stories which helped us get a new perspective on the news and life. For over 50 years he shared amazing stories with people across our nation.

For some Easter is simply a day when we gather to hunt for chocolate eggs to fill our Easter baskets. For some Easter is a day to go to the mandatory “Easter Family Brunch.” For others it is a day to celebrate a day that changed everything.

Easter is the foundation of Christianity. Dr. Leander Keck puts it well:

“Without Easter, there is no Christian faith.”

Easter is the day when we celebrate a God who defeated sin and death and offers us new life through Jesus Christ. New chapters of life open up to us because of Easter!

“The rest of the story” is about a journey of healing and wholeness, celebrating our victory over sin and death because Christ rose from the dead. We join the chorus through the centuries celebrating the great news: Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

At Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church we invite you to be a part of our faith community, a group of people that are committed to walking together, praying for one another, and supporting each other in Christian love. Here are a few ways that you can deepen your walk with God and get acquainted here:

  • Sign up for a new “Because He Lives” Connect Group. These small groups gather in homes and will use a brand new resource written by some of our Hyde Park Community clergy. Please contact Dave Weaver: dweaver@hpcumc.org or 979-8184.
  • Attend the First Friday Nighters Event: Friday, April 10. You are invited to come for a catered meal ($10) ; Brian Geist will share his journey on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Visit our website to see all that we offer for children, youth, adult, mission, and music ministries: www.hpcumc.org.

You are invited to be a part of the rest of the story of Easter: We would love to have you join us in the adventure!

Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy

Your Kingdom Come

We pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. The reality is that God’s answer to our prayer is dependent upon our willingness to collaborate with God to make it happen. From our children’s ministry to our youth ministry; from our small groups to Sunday School classes; from our shared worship opportunities, and our music ministry, to our prayer and healing ministry, and hospitality ministries; from our outreach opportunities, to our mission partners, and the United Methodist Women, we collaborate with God in extending God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Annually, our Bishop and his Cabinet (the 8 District Superintendents) ask every local church to set “Breakthrough Goals”. The “Breakthrough Goals” provide the framework for developing strategies to achieve the goals set, based on the “Five Fruitful Practices”: Passionate Worship; Radical Hospitality; Intentional Faith Development; Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. At the March 9 meeting of the Servant Leadership Board, the 2015 goals for Hyde Park Community United Methodist were set as follows:

 2014 Actual2015 Goal
Passionate Worship
(Average weekly worship attendance)
593625
Radical Hospitality and New Members (Professional of Faith)2332
Baptisms1725
Intentional Faith Development (Avg. number of Small Groups,
Sunday School classes, and Bible Studies)
4852
Avg. attendees in groups/classes303330
Risk-Taking Mission and Service
(Total number members/attendees engaged in local, national, international mission/outreach, and number of people served.
28,65630,000
Extravagant Generosity
(Avg. weekly giving)
1,619,8331,800,000
Apportionments100%100%

Together we make a difference in God’s kingdom, and partner with God in establishing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I look forward to our shared journey; it’s a privilege to serve in ministry with you! See you in Church!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

“Stressed Out? Worried?”

You might be surprised by the results of a recent survey which tracked the top temptations faced by Americans. The people surveyed said they struggled with the following temptations either “often” or “sometimes”:

• Worrying or being anxious—60 percent
• Procrastinating or putting things off—60 percent
• Eating too much—55 percent
• Spending too much time on media—44 percent
• Being lazy—41 percent
• Spending more money than they could afford—35 percent
• Gossiping about others—26 percent
• Being jealous or envious of others—24 percent
• Viewing pornography or sexually explicit material—18 percent
• Abusing alcohol or drugs—11 percent

When asked if they tried to do anything specific to avoid giving in to a temptation, 41 percent said yes and 59 percent said no.
When people were asked why they give in to temptations, the top four reasons were:

• I am not really sure—50 percent
• To escape or get away from “real life”—20 percent
• To feel less pain or loneliness—8 percent
• To satisfy other people’s expectations of me—7 percent

Reported in Todd Hunter, Our Favorite Sins (Thomas Nelson, 2012), pp. 237-245.

Join us Sunday morning as we continue the sermon series: “The Radical Way of Jesus.” This Sunday’s topic is “Peace.” Jesus had a lot to teach us about how to handle worry and manage stress in the Sermon on the Mount.

Please invite a friend to join you or someone that might need some tools to help them achieve lasting peace in their lives.

Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

It’s All About Love!

We are told in the Bible that we are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Jesus reminds us that the greatest commandment is to love God with my all, and love those whom God loves (Matthew 22: 37-40). Love is something received and something shared. It’s all about love!

This Sunday we continue the teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 6:44). The kind of love Jesus speaks of comes only from God. In the Tuesday morning study group I lead, we have encountered the term panenthiest from two different authors (Marcus Borg and Richard Rohr). I have come to appreciate the depth of its meaning: “God is in me, I am in God, and God is in all things.” (Eager to Love, Richard Rohr, page 142). This is not to be confused with “Pantheism” (all things are God – I am a god).

As I have been introduced to Panentheism, I embrace what I have come to know about it. Panentheism is at the core of Biblical teaching, as well as the teaching of the first century church. It is the foundation of Jesus’ teaching: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” If indeed God is in me, and I am in God, and God is in all things, then this includes my enemies, those I hate, those I have deemed unworthy and worth-less.

The question is how? How do I love my enemies, those who seek to destroy me? The answer finds it’s power and meaning in the depth of my relationship with God, the love I have for myself, and, therefore, the depth of love I’m able to extend to those whom God loves. The next time you are irritated by, and/or in conflict with another; when revenge and retaliation toward the one who desires to harm you seems the only option; stop and look at the other and remember: he/she is a beloved child of God!

To love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you is no easy task. Nonetheless, it is possible centered in Jesus Christ! I look forward to seeing you in church. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Anger Management

True story from the L.A. Times:

Judge tells Public Defender: ‘If you want to fight let’s go out back.’

Last June a brawl broke out in a Florida courtroom. The parties involved were Judge John Murphy and public defender Andrew Weinstock. The argument began as Judge Murphy tried to convince the defense lawyer to waive his client’s rights to a speedy trail, but the defense lawyer was not interested. Things heated up to the point that Judge Murphy said, “You know, if I had a rock, I would throw it at you right now. Just sit down.” Weinstock responded, “You know I’m the public defender. I have a right to be here and I have a right to stand and represent my client.” The video reveals that the judge asks the defense lawyer to step into the back hallway, saying, “If you want to fight, let’s go out back.” Outside of the view of the cameras the fight broke out.

No video recording is available of the fight, but the sounds of loud thuds and scuffling were obvious. The fight ended when two deputies separated the two men. A reassignment was given to the attorney so that he and the judge would not have future interaction. Judge Murphy voluntarily chose a leave of absence, stating he would seek anger management counseling.

This week we continue our Lenten sermon series: “The Radical Way of Jesus: Anger Management.” This message reveals Jesus’ teachings about responding to difficult people and situations in positive ways. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday; invite a friend to join you!

Peace,

Pastor Cathy

Update From Pastor Cathy and the Worship Task Force

During the Vision Weekend last October several task initiatives were launched to help our congregation maximize our effectiveness in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. One of those initiatives was the formation of the Worship Task Force. It has representation from all of our current worship offerings. This group was charged with evaluating our current worship and recommending worship options that will both reflect our diversity and connect new people to our faith community through worship. We have been evaluating our current worship experiences asking both “Who is here?” and “Who is not here?” as we seek to be faithful to our call to reach people with the love of Christ.

In early summer a proposal will be brought to the Servant Leadership Board from the Worship Task Force. Since December the group has been praying for God’s leading, evaluating all of our current worship services in both of our locations in Hyde Park and Nast Community, making field trips to other churches, and gathering data about our neighbors who live in our community.

The Worship Planning Team, our pastors and staff with worship responsibilities and the Worship Task Force are in full agreement. In order to allow time for God to reveal to us a worship strategy for the next chapter of our life together as a worshipping congregation, we recommend the following:

+Blended Family Worship will be put on hold after March 1. Feedback is being requested of families so that future plans can address their needs.

+Tuesday Evening Prayer Worship will also be put on hold after March 24, with the exception of Taize which will continue on the second Tuesday of the month.

The ultimate goal: To provide worship experiences that draw people to Christ, by reaching new people and meeting the needs of our current individuals and families.

Your prayers for wisdom and strength are appreciated and cherished. Thank you for your support during this exciting time of discovering God’s plans for our future together as a worshipping community of faith.

Pastor Cathy

Jesus: A Wild and Craaaazzy Guy!

The celebration of Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary brought back memories and smiles. Characters like Rosanne Rosannadanna, played by the late Gilda Radnor, and the Blues Brothers, played by Dan Akyroyd and the late John Belushi, brought laughter into our homes for four decades.

Steve Martin, who holds the record for hosting the most Saturday Night Live shows with 13, brought back fond memories of a “wild and craaazzzy guy!”

Our Lenten journey begins this week with a new sermon series “The Radical Way of Jesus.” The definition of “radical” is intriguing:

+ very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary
+ very basic and important
+ having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people.

In the Sermon on the Mount, the cornerstone of Jesus’ teaching ministry, we discover radical teachings from Jesus, the Christ, who came to teach us how to live. Join us for this powerful Lenten preaching series on Sunday mornings as we explore what Jesus has to say about managing anger, loving our enemies, and replacing worry with peace.

Jesus, a wild and crazy guy, calls us to live a life that go against the grain of our culture. Invite a friend to join you in exploring what it means to follow the radical way of Jesus.

Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

Loved With an Everlasting Love!

The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation is about relationships, God’s relationship with humanity, and humanity’s relationship with God. Foundational to embracing, maintaining, and sustaining this relationship is love. The unconditional, no strings attached, self-giving love of Jesus is not only our example, but also our calling as followers of “The Way”!

This weekend we celebrate “Valentine’s Day”, a day commemorating a Bishop’s love for God, and God’s people, costing him his life. As we take this opportunity to express our love for those we love, I encourage us to also take this opportunity to remember God’s never ending, and all encompassing love for you and me, and Jesus’ call to love those God loves.

Proverbs teaches, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgression.” (Proverbs 10:12). Paul reminds us, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another”(John 13:34-35). Love is how we partner with God to bring God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”.

Chuck Swindoll in Wisdom for the Way reminds us of “The ABCs of Love”:
“I Accept you as you are; I Believe you are valuable; I Care when you hurt; I Desire only what is best for you; I Erase all offenses . . .. There is nothing shallow about authentic love. Nor is it a magic wand we whip out and wave over a problem with a whoosh, hoping all the pain will go away. Real love has staying power. . . . It refuses to look for ways to run away. . . . While the world around us gives the opposite counsel, love stands firm.” (p.19)

This is the everlasting love of God we are loved with; and the way of love we are called to live. I look forward to seeing you in church as we embrace God’s everlasting love. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance, or neighbor to join you.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Youth Sunday

Today our United Methodist Youth Fellowship and Boy Scouts will lead our services, and we will hear meditations from three students throughout the service. Below you can meet those that will be giving the meditations and read about their future plans!

Kyle Brown has been at HPCUMC since 1st grade, and has been a confirmed member since tenth grade. He currently attends Walnut Hills High School, and plans to study engineering in college. Outside of school, he runs both track and field and cross country, and enjoys skiing, playing soccer, and hanging out with friends. He has attended numerous youth group ski trips, attended last year’s missions trip to Lima, and plans to attend this year’s trip to Haiti.

Sarah Krott is a senior at Indian Hill School. She is planning on majoring in Education but is deciding which college she will attend. While in high school she has participated in Latin Club and Certamen, Key Club, National Honor Society, IH Swim Team, ballet, orchestra, Early Childhood Education Internship and tutoring.

Sarah was baptized and confirmed at HPCUMC. She has been active in Youth Group and Bible Study and is on the Youth Group Advisory Committee. She has attended several mission trips and volunteered at VBS and various church activities. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys babysitting, running a lawn care business and traveling. In addition, she likes to spend time with her friends and play with her dog.

Elena Miyasato is a senior at Walnut Hills High School where she has attended since 7th grade. Elena has been a member of the soccer team for four years and she has earned 3 varsity letters. Off the field, Elena may be found hiking the Appalachian Trail as president of the Backpacking Club. So is also an Indian Culture Club coordinator, a member of the student congress, and the Ultimate Frisbee club at WHHS. Aside from school sports and activities Elena has been a member of UMYF for her entire high school career where she has gone on almost all the groups ski and mission trips..

While she is currently undecided where to attend college, Elena plans to study biomedical engineering. She wants to learn about engineering around the world in order to understand different peoples’ ideas and needs. Elena is looking forward to studying abroad, traveling and wants to continue to play intramural soccer.

This Sunday, at churches nationwide, you’ll see Scouts and Scouters in uniform greeting the congregation, participating in worship services, earning religious awards and conducting service projects to benefit their place of worship. By official BSA designation, Scout Sunday is always the Sunday that falls on or before February 8, Scouting Anniversary Day. Scout Sunday is a chance for faith-based chartered organizations to celebrate and recognize Scouting and for Scout units to show their appreciation for the religious institution that supports their unit. HPCUMC charters Cub Scout Pack 113 and Boy Scout Troop 114. To learn more about scouting at HPCUMC, go to www.hydeparkchurch.org/scouts.