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Pastor Steve Lundin

 

Help Us End this Year Strong

Christmas Eve Worship — Sunday December 24
 
This year Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday. We will have two services that day. One in the morning and one in the evening, Sunday morning 10 AM and Sunday evening 5 PM. 
 
The following week, December 31, we will have one service at 10 AM. 
–from Steve
I am willing to work hard if the work is worthwhile and meaningful. Even in serving the church that is not always the case. Sometimes I have really questioned some of the things that churches spend their time and energy on. I am 62 years old and have been serving as a pastor for over 30 years now. Right now is the most meaningful and important work I have ever done. This week I have had about a dozen conversations in which I have been told that our church saved the persons life. Let me put this a little different. God through the work of this church is saving lives. We are an instrument that God is using to feed, clothe, love, and heal. Miracles are happening. People are finding sobriety, housing, health and healing. 
 
Here is the struggle. We spend more money doing this than we bring in. That is not sustainable. We have many generous people inside and outside the church that are wonderfully generous. Without them, this place would have closed down long ago. Now is the time for some Christmas generosity. We need a very strong December to end this year and not be in too much of a hole. Would you help us do that? A small or large extra financial Christmas gift will help us end this year strong and keep doing what we do in the new year. 
 
Thank you. You are helping miracles take place. Christmas Blessings,
 
Pastor Steve


Isaiah 40: 1 – 11

–from Steve
It is Wednesday night and I am studying the Scripture for next Sunday. The text is Isaiah 40: 1 – 11 — a truly beautiful passage of scripture. It begins with, Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. God’s people are in exile in Babylon. Captive, homeless, and in need of comfort.The passage not only speaks of comfort but it is also an announcement of homecoming.
 
As I read it tonight, I am hearing God speak to First United Methodist Church in Salinas — Comfort my people. Maybe our mission is in this passage. Many people today are living lives of exile.They feel banished. All people need a home. There is no sadder state than to be homeless. We are called to comfort and to offer the church as a home to people so that they can find a home in God.
 
“Wilderness” in the Bible is a metaphor for lostness, exile, homelessness. From the wilderness Isaiah and later John the Baptist appeared and spoke — Prepare the way for the Lord: make his paths straight.
 
Advent means “Coming” — God coming. Our task is to prepare for his coming. Help each other get ready. Christmas is about turning and returning to God. Homecoming. Maybe you have felt distant from God for a while — maybe it is time to return even if it is to a place you have never been before. Maybe it is to a place you were always meant to be. Prepare.
 
I hope we can reflect together on this in worship on Sunday. Advent Blessings!



Sharon Forrest

 

Wonderfully Clear Views

The snap in the air combines beautifully with the bright sunlight and dry air to give us wonderfully clear views of our surrounding hills and mountains.  Gratefully, the Warming Shelter is now open; and families, couples, and singles have a safe, warm place to have supper and rest for the night.  Blessings abound!  When seventy people per night experience such an outpouring of assistance, it seems to me that we, too, are blessed.
Thank you to all who make this happen.      Sharon



Rev. Cindy Storrs

 

Practicing Gratitude

I recently read that the practice of gratitude actually changes our brains in a good way. My brain has been so busy these days practicing gratitude, it is working overtime

There is so much to be grateful for: the community’s response at this time of the year with clothing, blankets, food and other items we offer our guests. The outpouring of joy and energy from various community organizations to help provide celebrations of the season for children and families, especially the most vulnerable.

I am grateful for so many of you that are helping to make this season easier for our volunteer residents as well. Many of you responded by taking envelopes from the Angel Tree. Some envelopes will provide a reimbursement opportunity for the heavy winter jackets we were able to purchase for the resident volunteers, and there are directions inside the envelopes about what to do. The envelopes on the tree that have no writing on them have a form inside with some basic information about a resident volunteer to help you in purchasing a gift for them for Christmas. We will be celebrating Christmas with the residents on December 23, with the Leadership Council providing a holiday meal and fellowship. If you are providing a gift for a resident, please return it (wrapped and the recipient identified) to the church office by December 22nd. If all of the envelopes are taken and you didn’t have a chance to choose one, please let me know and I will find a way for you to participate in gifting our volunteers who do so very much.

We will be providing a brunch style breakfast on Christmas Day for our guests and then closing at 10AM. If you would like to help with that meaI I am looking for some folks willing to cook an egg casserole and bring it to the church (cooked) by Monday morning at 8AM.

Thank you for all you do to participate in and support the ministries of the Neighborhood Services Center.

Cindy