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NCUMC E-Note 7/21/2023

I hope you will join us in person or online for our Sunday Worship Service. Our gospel text this week is Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. It is another one of the 7 parables in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel and we are again fortunate that Jesus explains the parable to the disciples. Our second reading is from Romans 8:12-25.

This Week’s Psalm

Psalm 88:11-17

11Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

13For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14O God, the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.

15But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

16Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving girl.

17Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put M shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Over and over again the writer of this Psalm petitions God in very personal ways while referring to himself as “your servant.” He expects the Lord to answer and is confident that the reply will be positive. He understands and believes that there is an inherent kindness in God’s works—"But you, O Lord, are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Midweek Prayer Requests

Sandy Edmondson asks for prayers for her son Greg who is having a heart procedure on Monday. She also asks prayers for her sister Sharon and brother in law Richard as Richard begins his hospice care.

Please add Dawn Horder to your prayer list. Dawn fell at work on Monday and tore a muscle. She will be laid up for a while and then probably has some physical therapy in her future.

Kathy asks for prayers that she will be successful in finding a place to live.

News From the Cafe

This week at the New Community Cafe we are celebrating Ben Hensley - our first homeless friend to find housing. By supporting Ben in connecting with his social workers, he was able to get a new copy of his state ID and Social Security card, both of which had been lost over the course of his last 7 years of homelessness. We have also provided Ben with food and clothing over the last several months, along with a cool place to rest, access to Wi-Fi, and electricity to charge his devices. This Thursday, Ben moved to Madera to live in an apartment with some roommates while waiting for a few weeks to be placed in his own single bedroom home with his emotional support dog Pandora.

The help wasn’t all one sided though. Ben did a significant amount for us during the same period of time. Without any request or requirement from us, Ben served dozens of hours in service. He sorted, hung, and stocked clothing, moved furniture, and organized tools in the thrift store. He delivered Wednesday meals. He staffed the cafe with Chris regularly and encouraged many of his friends and acquaintances to visit and use our services. Ben helped clean the cafe at closing time. He made sure everyone had food and water - even all of the dogs that came in with their unhoused owners.

We will miss seeing Ben around the New Community Cafe, and he promises to stay in touch. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered and helped make the cafe a safe and welcoming place for dozens of Oakhurst residents like Ben. (Chris can always use help in the café and would love to answer any questions you have.)

A little bit of history

In 1735 John Wesley boarded a ship with 80 English colonists and 26 Moravian christians headed for Georgia. He was searching for a deeper faith and an opportunity to preach the gospel in the colonies. The Georgia colony was only 2 years old and Wesley planned to minister to a small English settlement and serve as a missionary to the neighboring native tribes.

One night a violent storm came up while the Moravians were having their evening hymn sing. As water poured over the decks and the mainsail broke, John couldn’t help notice that as the English passengers were screaming in panic, the Moravians simply continued on with their hymn singing. Wesley confessed to himself that there was a much deeper faith to which he still unfamiliar. He noted in his diary that he was journeying to the new world to save souls but wasn’t sure he knew how to save himself.

A Prayer from the Saints:

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.”

--Teresa of Avila

As always, thanks for all you do.

With love and appreciation,

Pastor Jim

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