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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

What Shape is Your Faith?

What Shape is Your Faith?                              March 12, 2018
 

Shape.  Do you know how to assess the right shape for the right hole?  There was a toy children used to play with that required them to put blocks into a hole that correctly corresponded with their shape.  Do you remember?  How many children tried to put that round block in the square hole before learning that doesn’t work? 

The movie, The Shape of Water just won the big award at the big award show.  If you aren’t into sci-fi, or art shows or parables, I don’t recommend the movie.  But the point to the movie is about loving the unexpected or finding love that fills in all the gaps in your life.  The shape of water is ‘fluid’ and moves where it wants to go.  There is no block to put into the right place, only trust that love finds its way. 

Ok…  where am I going with this?  It is still Lent and Easter is coming.  I wonder what the shape of faith is?  Is your faith more like blocks you have to fit into the right hole or water that flows, free-form into and around all things?  It seems like the right answer is one or the other, but what if the answer is both?  Sometimes faith is specific and sometimes faith is fluid. 

The shape of faith is the shape of the CROSS.  Two boards of wood, nailed together, overlapping at one point, became an instrument for death.  Jesus and many others, were hung on the cross to kill them in a public display of violent hate disguised as justice.  But God interrupted the story of murder and changed it.  God is the plot twist that redeems this event of history.  God mocked the ones who believed they could silence God’s incarnate emissary of love to humanity.  The shape of Faith is the shape of the Cross transformed into an instrument of God’s power for giving life. 

The shape of faith is also the shape of HOPE.  Hope is fluid and personal.  Hope is fluid but always looks into the future.  Hope moves where it will, when it will.  The shape of faith is hope because faith always anticipates God’s intervention, and presence.  Hope always waits for something to happen that will bring a good change, a new experience or a blessing.  Hope waits for a new job, a new baby, a new perspective or a new place.  The shape of Faith is the shape of Hope leaning forward into God’s tomorrowland. 

Faith is not a prescription but a decision you make and a state of your heart.  It is the CROSS and HOPE working together to create a more beautiful and holy world. 

‘Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’  Hebrews 11:1

Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

 


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Pastor’s Ponderings – March 2018

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 2018

“Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see; Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine!”

By Clara H. Scott, 1895

A few weeks ago, I attended an all-day Saturday training on reaching and connecting with Millennials through social media. Christians are called to have eyes of grace and kindness. We are called to BE like Jesus in our life and LISTEN to him. That’s a tall order as one of my Texas family might say. Being more like Jesus means welcoming and getting to know folks who aren’t like us. To some, the Millennial generation seem like people from a different planet, but really they are our friends, children, and grandchildren. How do we connect with them?

In the modern Christian church a generation usually referred to as The Millennial generation is largely missing. This generation were born between 1980 and 2000, which means they are 38 – 18 years old. According to 2015 census data, there are 75.4 million people in this cohort, which makes them a larger generation than the Baby Boomer generation. (As of 2015 there were 74.9 million Baby Boomers, 66 million Gen-X and 28 million of the Silent Generation.)

The Millennials are the rst generation born into a digital world. They don’t know a world without cell phones, lap top computers, and social media. Ask a Millennial and they will tell you their parents have a landline, but they don’t. They are carrying 1 trillion dollars in student loan debt and over 63% of Gen-Y (the other name for Millennials) have a bachelor’s degree. 48% work in a job that doesn’t require a degree.

63% say they’d rather make $40,000 a year in a job they love rather than $100,000 in a job they think is boring. 74% want a ex work schedule and 50% say they don’t believe there will be any social security when they retire. 70% have ‘friended’ their manager or co-worker on Facebook. 56% won’t work at a company that bans social media at work. And Millennials are a profoundly racially diverse generation, and also known for their tolerance toward different races, and sexual orientations.

But here is the challenge we have….Millennials are generally not coming to church. It is not that they don’t like Jesus, it is that they aren’t impressed with ‘so-called’ Christians. Millennials say church people don’t listen to them, they are sick of mission statements and they think we spend more time talking ABOUT the poor rather than doing anything to Help the poor. They believe Christians are hypocritical, judgmental and are anti-gay. They think churches spend too much time blaming culture and too little time doing anything about the troubles of the world. They want to be Mentored, NOT Preached at or Lectured.

Millennials have gotten a bad rap as they’ve grown up and many stereotype them as lazy, entitled, spoiled and always expecting a trophy. Yes, this generation, born into a world of privilege that is very different than any other generation, I believe are a force for change and inspiration! The Millennials are passionate about climate change and eco-stewardship, terrorism, and nancial responsibility. 80% of them are active in their community doing volunteer work! That’s right…from conservation to politics to children’s activities, this group is on the move!

The interests and world concerns of Millennials line up with the values and concerns in the United Methodist church and yet, we have failed to see, welcome and engage with this generation. Is it too late to begin a fresh relationship of collaboration and mutual learning? I HOPE not! I think we are called to be with this generation and offer them leadership skills, and encouragement. I believe we can learn new ways of doing ministry and engaging the community. This is more than a call to change a song or style of music, this is a call to develop new eyes to see younger people as gifted and blessed by God, with strengths all their own.

There are tons of resources on generations and the differences between them. One book recommended to me is called Sticking Points, by Haydn Shaw (no relation), copyright 2013. Or google ‘Millennials’ and just start reading. Or better yet, nd a Millennial and ask them to tell you what they think about anything. Chances are they will have an opinion and information to back it up.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw


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You Make the Difference – Outreach Celebration Luncheon

You Make the Difference – Outreach Celebration Luncheon
 
Saturday, February 24, 2018
 
We welcome you to the United Methodist Church of Vista Outreach Celebration Luncheon. It is our hope that each of you, whether congregation member or community partner, will be able to get to know each other personally and find a common passion as you do good work in the world. The United Methodist Church of Vista believes faith calls us to be the light in a challenging world. Our commitment to justice, compassion, love and community called us to develop the Outreach Community Partner and Grant Program. It is still a work in process as we continue to explore better ways to share our love of Christ in the world.
 
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw
Beth Brainerd Hallock
 
 

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Christmas Eve Services – Tuesday, Dec. 24

4:00 p.m. – Family Service (with childcare)

7:00 p.m. –  Traditional Worship with Choir

and Candlelighting (with childcare)

10:00 p.m. – Meditational Worship and Communion

 

1st Sunday after Christmas – Sunday, Dec. 29

One worship service at 10:00 a.m. (with childcare)

No Student Ministry Sunday School.

Please join your family for worship.

 

 

Join us on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2:00 p.m. for Christmas caroling. Please plan to participate in this wonderful holiday tradition.  It is heartwarming, and fun-filled with Christmas spirit for the homebound we visit and for us, the carolers. We also need cookies to take to these members.  If you have questions, please call Kathy Johnson at 760.726.0442.
 

UMW Bake Sale, Dec. 15 – Home baked Christmas goodies for you!  No time for all that baking at your house, no ingredients for Christmas baking or the skill to make them look delectable?  UMW will fill your need  with Christmassy goodies available, ready to be gifted or immediately enjoyed, in the Narthex on Dec. 15.  All proceeds go toward UMW missions.  Contact Jacque Howard for more information.

 
 
 
 
 

The Education/Discipleship program is collaborating with Breeze Hill Elementary to start a reading buddy program.  Program to launch in January.  If you feel the call to do this, you can contact Margene Haase at m.haase46@icloud.com

Annual “See’s Candy” Drive for Veterans – You may purchase individual small treat boxes to be distributed at Veteran’s Village in San Diego and/or to fill up your own Christmas gift list! Candy orders will be taken Dec. 15 in the Narthex (delivery to follow).  For  details, contact Pastor Frank, pastorfrank@umcvista.org or 760.726.0442. Make the season sweet!15