Camping Out in the End Times

Camping Out in the End Times

Published December 6, 2023

2nd Sunday of Advent
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say we began this past Sunday in worship grounding our souls in the rhythms, reminders, and rituals of the Advent season. On Saturday, our Family Matters Class and others adorned our Sanctuary with Chrismons, lights and wreaths. During Advent, we will visit traditional scripture lessons in The Gospel of Luke and ask, how does a weary world rejoice? The stories of Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph and Zechariah will remind us that God is always with us working God’s redemptive purposes. Rejoicing can arise amid weariness and even lament. We will hold space for our weariness AND our joy. We will long for that Holy Night when we feel a thrill of hope and trust that the God who makes all things new is out ahead of us. As the hymn O Holy Night hopes “for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

If you were unable to worship with us on Sunday as we got started with the first sermon in our worship series, Be the Gift of Love, please click here to do so. I especially want you to hear about Rosanne Els from South Africa. You will be blown away at the beauty and wonder of our 1st Sunday in Advent.

Please don’t miss The Glory of Christmas presented this Sunday, December 10, 6 pm, in the Sanctuary, by the Sanctuary Choir, Praise Team, Orchestra, Bells, Flute Choir and Stumptown Brass (over 125 participants). The evening will be under the direction of our very own Craig Estep and his/our outstanding staff community: Kathy White, John Woodall, Joel Mullis, John Biggers and Shannon Remley. You will want to be in your seat early.

This Advent season, I want to encourage our MUMC people to do 3 things: Invite. Volunteer. Give.

  • INVITE: Advent/Christmas Eve provide the times of the year when people look for a church where they can connect deeply to the love of God, especially people new to the community. Start thinking and praying about who you can INVITE to join you during an Advent Sunday or on Christmas Eve.
  • VOLUNTEER: Because we have more guests during Advent and on Christmas Eve than almost any other time of the year, we need people to VOLUNTEER. Help us park cars, welcome guests, greet families, pass out candles, and serve communion. To volunteer, contact Pastor Jenny Savage at 704-815-1917.
  • GIVE: Finally, we are a church that wants to GIVE back to our community. You can do so by the following:
    – Operation Christmas Child – Dozens and dozens of households participated in Operation Christmas Child. Thank you! Thank you!
    The Angel Tree – Over 300 angels served among 6 different organizations. What you have done is amazing! See the photos below!
    – Give to our Christmas Eve offering. Every dollar will go to COSKids, Matthews HELP Center, and Jake & Lauren Jones with Wajaro (affiliated with South America Mission). You may not be with us on Christmas Eve, but you can make a gift by clicking here. Under Fund, choose Christmas Eve Offering.

I am so grateful for you and so excited for all that God is going to do in and through our church this month!

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you can take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, Camping Out in the End Times.

Financial Update: Close the Gap in 2023

We have a long way to go in December, as we always do. To make our budget, we need $390,617 (as of December 6) to conclude a strong financial 2023. If you are behind in your giving for our 2023 budget, click here to give.

So far, we have received 305 financial commitments for 2024. I’m encouraged that the total amount pledged is $160,000 higher than this same time last year. If you haven’t submitted a pledge for 2024, click here.

Thank you in advance for a strong finish to our General Budget giving for the year, and your continued support of our ministry in 2024.

Upcoming Events

  • Jingle Jam Kids & Family Worship – Sunday, Dec 10, 9:30 am in the Gym. Details.
  • The Glory of Christmas Concert – Sunday, Dec 10, 6 pm. Details. Presented by our Worship & Music Arts Ministry: Sanctuary Choir, Praise Team, Orchestra, Bells, Flute Choir and Stumptown Brass.
  • Children’s Nativity during Worship Services December 17. Register children to participate by midnight tonight (December 6). Details.
  • Blue Christmas – The Longest Night Prayer Service – Thursday, Dec 21, 7 pm. Details.

View all of our Advent & Christmas happenings here.

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join us this Sunday at 8:15 am (Traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (Contemporary; in person or online here), 9:30 am, Family Worship (Jingle Jam) in the Gym, 11:00 am (Traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan continues in his Advent worship series, The Clock is Ticking. This Sunday he is preaching from Hebrews 12:12-16 and his sermon is titled, Let’s Work on Polishing the Details.

Join Family Worship this Sunday at 9:30 in the Gym for Jingle Jam, an action-packed Christmas celebration for the whole family. Music, games, skits and activities will help remind us what this season is truly about as we celebrate Jesus – God’s greatest gift. We’ll also have Christmas treats in The Commons after the service and a mission opportunity benefitting our Friends at Friendship Trays.

And … in our morning sanctuary services, on the second Sunday of the Christian calendar, the second Sunday of Advent, we continue our worship series, Be the Gift. In this series we are calling each of us to prepare our hearts, our lives, our relationships, and our world to receive that gift of the mysterious, amazing, life-transforming love of God made flesh among us in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But when we receive the gift from God, we are called to be the gift to others. This Sunday, our scripture lesson will be Luke 1:67-80, as we grow together to Be the Gift of Hope.

I do hope that you will make every effort to be in church this Sunday. We have a special Sunday planned with inspiring music. It will begin with our eight member MUMC Flute Choir playing between services in the Sanctuary Reception Area. It will continue in worship at 11 am with our Handbells, Praise Team and Sanctuary Choir sharing a preview to The Glory of Christmas.

Let’s continue the season together, singing and praising our Lord, Jesus Christ. Invite someone to church, it is the perfect time to share hope.

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and yet, hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Be the Gift of Hope,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that our 60 families attending our Advent Fair on Sunday made Advent wreaths, Activity boxes, ornaments, and a special stocking for Baby Jesus to help them celebrate the Advent season together at home?

Did you know that all 305 angels from our Angel Tree will be granted wishes this Christmas? Once again, thank you for your generous hearts!

Did you know MUMC United Women in Faith served 120 Matthews HELP Center volunteers at their annual Christmas party held in The Commons on Monday? This gives the Help Center a chance to show appreciation for all their volunteers and is a great opportunity for our women to serve our community.

Did you know 314 persons attended our community-based Melody Makers Christmas Concert on Tuesday morning, December 5? Click here to watch & listen to this beautiful concert!

Did you know Seasoned to Perfection concluded their weekly gatherings for the year by serving over 120 meals to friends, families, and the Melody Makers on Tuesday after the Melody Maker’s concert. What a wonderful time of great food and Fellowship for so many from our church and community.