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!

Pastor Steve Lundin