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It Is For Freedom!

Next week we will celebrate the 241st birthday of the United States of America. Even with all our problems, our country is still the shining city on a hill serving as a beacon for liberty and freedom in the world. Around the world, people oppressed by despotic leaders or crushing economic conditions long for the freedoms we enjoy in our country.

One of the most important freedoms we enjoy is that of religious freedom. Our country was founded on the principle that God alone is the Lord of the conscience, not the state. As long as our practice of worship does not physically harm another person, we can believe and worship in the way that God has revealed to us free from the interference of the state.

Now, while our 1st Amendment religious freedoms are invaluable, the freedom that is most precious is the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. This freedom has nothing to do with politics or governments, but rather is a gift from our loving God.

Paul writes that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). We have all been burdened down by the weight of sin. We all have had chains that prevented us from becoming all that God created us to be. We have all been locked up in prisons - some of our own making, others forced upon us.

But the good news of Jesus Christ is that he “gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4). In Christ, God did not hold our sins against us. In his death and resurrection, Christ destroyed the power of sin and death setting us free to live without condemnation.

The struggle many people have, however, is that while Christ has set them free through forgiveness, they have not forgiven themselves. Sometimes they stay in the prison even though Jesus has broken open the prison doors and loosed the chains around them.

If this describes you, I encourage you to meditate on the words in Galatians that state it is “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”(5:1). Christ has set you free. Pray that you would fully experience this truth in your life.

On this 4th of July holiday, take a moment in your celebrations to say a word of thanks to the God who loves you and wants you to live fully in the freedom he has given you in Jesus Christ.

Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

The Influence of One Life

In the Spring of 1991, I was finishing my last semester of seminary, taking ordination exams, and looking for a church to serve. I interviewed with churches that spanned the country from Denver, Colorado to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, it was a phone call that came out of the blue from a church I had not even known about that forever changed my life.

208th Army Band in Concert Memorial Day Weekend

We are pleased to have the 208th Army Band with us in concert again this year. They will join us on Saturday, May 27 in our sanctuary, presenting an evening of patriotic and sacred music.

Based in Concord, North Carolina, the primary mission of the band is to promote the espirit de corps of U.S. fighting forces, and to serve as a goodwill ambassador throughout North and South Carolina. The concert will be in the sanctuary and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

As we seek to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom to worship God, we encourage you to join us and bring a friend or two. There is no cost, and the concert is open to everyone.

Family Sunday School for Summer - All Ages Welcome!

Our CE Team is planning an epic Bible bonding experience for this summer, and we want YOU to be part of it! Come Learn, Laugh and Grow together spiritually with a new video series called What's In The Bible?

We will be using the hilarious, fast-paced videos by the creator of Veggie Tales. Phil Vischer has set out to teach kids (and parents) the story of the Bible-God's great rescue plan! We know the stories of Moses, Noah, David, and Jesus, but in this groundbreaking new series, we learn how they all fit together to tell one big, redemptive story.

This new Sunday School is based around families learning together, so children must be accompanied by an adult. We encourage other church members (who may not have young kids) to be a part of our Sunday School Family too. Having a larger group will make activities and discussions more fun!

ALL ages (birth-senior citizens) are going to be entertained while finding themselves learning “Bible Basics” each week. Families will keep a notebook of all the activities, notes and family discussion guides used this summer. This is one journey through the Bible you won't want to miss!

Dates:      Sunday mornings, June 11 - August 27
Time:       9:00 - 9:50
Location:   Fellowship Hall
(The other adult Sunday School class will meet in the parlor)

2017 Summer Music Schedule

We are pleased to have the following musicians sharing their musical gifts with us this summer:

June 25     Ken Davis, guitar & voice

July 2       Connie Burleson, harp
July 9       Melissa Smith, voice
July 16     Darrell Parks, voice
July 23     Mike Price, saxophone
July 30     Katherine "Katbird" Farless, voice

A Full May of Activity!

We have a lot going on in the life of the church in the next 30 days, and I don’t want you to miss any of it. So let me list some of the highlights:

• We are nearing the end of the early service season with three Sundays to go. Thanks to everyone who has helped make the early service meaningful. I especially want to thank the worship team: Jack Harman, Ken Davis, Ed Snider, Betsy Cowan, Amber Manzella, Melissa Smith, Ben Kiefer, and Alex Snider for their dedication and commitment to leading early worship. The team will be participating regularly in the one service during the summer.

Trio Discipleship Groups

I want to tell you about one of the most significant activities that I have undertaken in recent years aimed at growing in my faith in Christ.

VBS News

Mark your calendars! Our joint Vacation Bible School with our next-door neighbors will be held June 12-15, 5:30-8:00 PM at First United Methodist Church. Registration forms are available at the church office.

From the Pastor - Lifestyle: Discipleship

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

I want to tell you about one of the most significant activities that I have undertaken in recent years aimed at growing in my faith in Christ.

Last fall I began meeting with two other men in the congregation for an hour and a half on a weekly basis. We spend seventy-five percent of the time reflecting on a guided bible study using the book “Discipleship Essentials” by Greg Ogden. It is a twenty five lesson study that reviews the basics of our knowledge and practice of the Christian faith. The other twenty-five percent of our time is spent sharing what is going on in our lives and then praying for one another and the church. In addition to the commitment to meet with each other, we each have agreed to invite two other people to go through this group experience next year.

2017 Winnie Green Higher Education Scholarship

The Session and the Endowment Ministry Team of the Session would like to invite eligible persons to apply for a grant from the Winnifred Zimmerman Green Higher Education Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship was made possible by a generous gift from the estate of long time member Winnie Green to aid "worthy students of high academic achievement" with their college expenses.

The Session has established guidelines for the awarding of grants. Grants will be awarded each spring; students receiving scholarships shall not be guaranteed renewal of scholarships. Students must re-apply for a new grant each year.

The application deadline for this year is May 1, 2017. Application forms and the full list of applicant guidelines are available from the church office, on the lobby side of Jeanna’s service window, or may be downloaded by clicking here.

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