Bridging the Gap….

Miami is full of bridges! This past week I spent 24 hrs in New York for a Fresh Expressions event. As I flew in and out of the big city I was amazed by all the bridges. It has been ten years since I last was in NYC and I never noticed all the bridges that connected this little Island to the rest of the USA!

As we end our series on Jonah this image is appropriate. In many ways God sent Jonah to be a bridge to the people of Ninevah, to reconnect them with God again!

This too is our calling as the church. We are called to be bridges in our own communities- connecting people with God and the church. As we look towards our move we will be in many places. Our office space will be downtown, our homeless ministry will be at the entrance of Overtown and we might even have a presence on Miami Beach.  For some this might sound complicated yet I believe it is the vision God has for us. God is creating little bridges all over our community. We are the hub and these locations are the first of many spokes into our community. Each spoke is meant to connect a new community with God the real hub and maybe even the hub church downtown!

The last chapter of Jonah, Jonah 4, we find that Jonah is upset that God was merciful and the people of Ninevah repented. Maybe he felt it was a waste of his time to go, maybe he was upset that God was merciful and people were forgiven. Jonah was sent to go and bring people to God, and against all odds, they did repent and believe in God again.

Believe it or not we see the same behavior today. Many churches want new people. Churches want new people to find God and peace and wholeness, yet, when the work of it is actually upon them they don’t want it. When the people from the outside of the church come inside, many churches become nervous and actually don’t want new people inside.

My prayer for us as we venture out of our building and into the world is that we would be a bridge God can use to bring people to God. We are God’s vessels, like Jonah, God is using us!

May we be open to be used by God and as merciful as God has been to each of us!

See you on Sunday!
Pastor Audrey

Gracefully Growing Together in Downtown Miami

If you were in church last week you will remember that we are starting a sermon series on the book of Jonah! We heard last week that God always calls God’s people on a journey!

The past two and a half years we have been on our own journey as First UMC in Downtown Miami as we have prayed, meet, planned, interviewed, crunch numbers, laughed and cried to get to the point of understanding that people are more important than property. Our church has been an example for the church-at-large as to what it means to be faithful, creative and care more about saving souls than keeping the status quo!

Big News
Yesterday was a big day for our church as we closed on the purchase and sale of our property. You may likely see articles in different publications concerning the closing of the property. Our talented member and PR guru Victoria Randolph has been our PR Consultant through this process and has done a great job in collaborating with our developer’s PR Staff. You can find that press release here: https://www.thenextmiami.com/pmg-buys-400-biscayne-55-million-will-build-690-unit-tower/    (Please note that the photo in the article is not a true rendering of what the building will look like. Our design team is now working in a collaborative effort with our architects and PMG’s architects in bi-weekly meetings. More will be revealed about the design of the new building at our next Church Council Meeting).

As we move through a small season in the spotlight we do ask that all media correspondence happen through the church office. If you are contacted by any media please refer them to myself, Pastor Audrey. I will then make sure they get to the proper audience. This is very important as we all want to be on the same page about our future.

Although we are all nervous God calls us to faith and action- this is what our community needs to see and this is what will attract those who engage in the media to our church.

Speaking of media the Breakfast Club ministry was recently recognized in a segment on NBC 6 which will air next Wednesday at 11:30am4pm and 6pm. Miami’s own Roxanne Vargas came out to us on Wednesday and did a special story on the mobile showers, homeless Jesus statue and our redevelopment plans! We will make sure to post that on the church’s page!

All in all we have much to celebrate as a congregation! The road ahead will not be easy! It will be harder before it gets easier but I know without a doubt that this is a journey God has called us to and if God has called us to it God will get us through it!

Please continue to join me in daily prayer for our congregation and exciting new journey with God!

We did it church! Many thanks and more to come to each of you and all of our committees and their chairs past and present who have made this new journey a reality!

See you on Sunday!
Pastor Audrey

I Have a Dream…

I Have a Dream….

Our devotion this week comes from Mr. Walter Baggeson’s message to the Breakfast Club this past Sunday!

How many of us are aware of the holiday that we are coming up to tomorrow? Martin Luther King Day. Do we thoroughly understand how much this man, who we are celebrating has done for our Country?

Does anyone here remember John Zabranski? He passed away a few years ago. He was the old man that sat at the end of serving table every Sunday morning. He always looked a little angry, that was his way. But inside he had a love for his Savior and this church that is surpassed by few.

John loved the Breakfast Club as he joined the church through it. WE had been underway with this service for only a year or two, it was about 1988. He had spent a number of years in the US Navy and we always wondered what kind of a sailor he was because under the best of conditions he was always unkempt. But inside his mind was very tidy. He was the first to begin cleaning up after the breakfast and meeting was over.

Talk about loyalty, he was always here to help, every Sunday, rain or shine. The one thing that he asked was that he would be able to talk to you guys on MLK Sunday every year. He wanted to repeat Dr. King’s speech. And this he did FROM MEMORY! He wouldn’t repeat it all but what he did was always very moving and inspiring. So in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and in remembrance of John Zabranski let us hear it again,

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”

We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.

We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Thank-you, John Zabranski, for reminding us for so long, so many years ago.

And, thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank-you for setting this nation back on track and thank-you for the reminder that we should be constantly aware of our occasional backsliding, of the termites of progress nibbling at the very structure of this fair land. And, under God, we can reach that point where we say, “Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

See you on Sunday!
Pastor Audrey

Living in Grace

Have you ever wished you just had a second chance to prove yourself worthy? Because we are all human, we are bound to mess up time and time again. However, messing up always leaves me feeling guilty and shameful. In these moments, I find myself asking for another chance to mend a relationship or show someone how much I truly care about them.

This week we are starting a new sermon series called “Hide and Seek” where we will explore the book of Jonah and the call God placed on his life. In the first chapter of Jonah, God calls him to go to the city of Nineveh, which is full of wickedness and violence. We might naturally relate to Jonah as he runs away from his calling, but I think focusing on God’s presence in the story offers something more for us today.

Although the city of Nineveh is wicked and has done terrible things, God reveals a great love for these “wicked” people when God calls Jonah to go to them. God didn’t say to destroy these people, rather God pursues them with a second chance and an opportunity to be transformed. Likewise, when Jonah runs away from his calling, God is relentless in offering him another chance to change his mind. The same is true for us today. Even when we mess up, there is hope in the fact that God’s love is bigger than our failures. God chooses not to give up on us, and grants us grace every step of the way. God is constantly pursuing us and offering us the opportunity to be transformed by Christ’s love.

This is good news! We are living in a sea of never ending love and grace! I pray that you find God this week with open arms, offering abundant love and forgiveness.

Please keep Pastor Audrey and the South Africa Team in your prayers as they make their way back to Miami. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, January 12th! If you haven’t had a chance to keep up with their trip, you can read more about their journey in South Africa on their blog: https://fumcmiamisouthafrica2017.wordpress.com/2017/12/31/24-hours-later/

As always, we invite you to join us this Sunday for a time of worship at either 8:30am or 11am! Pastor Audrey will be preaching both services. We hope to see you there!

Love and peace,
Pastor Kipp

Jesus Christ is Comin’ to Town…..

We have all heard the Christmas Song, “Santa Claus is coming to Town.” The song reminds us to get ready and that Santa is omnipresent and omniscient. It could quite possibly be due to this particular Christmas carol that young children get Santa and God confused.

All in all the songs message reminds us to be prepared because someone important is coming to your town.

The joy of Christmas is similar and shares an equal message. Not only is Santa coming to town but most importantly at Christmas we celebrate that God is coming to town. The God who made this whole place is coming to be where we are and live like we live. Athanasius, a saint and theologian from the 1st century said, “God became man so that man might become God.”

In Jesus God became one of us so that each of us might receive the grace of God, be reconciled to God and learn to live our lives in accordance to the life and teachings of Jesus.

God did not come to settle the score and give presents to some and not to others who had been naughty.

God came as a gift in himself to all humanity.

As we approach Christmas Eve service I pray that each of us might be grateful anew for the way in which God has loved us through Jesus Christ.

See you Sunday!
Pastor Audrey

Life in the Valley….

Fall 2008 I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Guatemala for three months. While there we traveled around the countries on the weekends. One weekend we went to a border town with Mexico. The town’s name was La Valle, The Valley. The name of the town described it perfectly. The town was surrounded by mountains. Growing up in flat Florida I never really understood the term valley until going to this small town.

While there were many blessings to living in the valley like being protected by storms the curses often outweighed the blessings. La Valle often flooded, it was hard to grow crops and hard to import or export anything as they were surrounded by huge mountains with rough roads going up and down. People often felt as if they were forever stuck in La Valle.

While there the feeling of being alone and isolated was contagious! We all felt alone especially at night when there were no lights to be found anywhere. I finally understood the sentiments of Psalm 23 and walking through valley of the shadows of death. A valley is a place of isolation and literally feeling down. In our scripture for this week found in Isaiah 40 we hear the good news that every Valley will be exalted. I do not think Isaiah was speaking about a geographical restructuring but rather that the valleys in our lives will be exalted and lifted up.

The coming of Christ means the coming of a promise to lift each of us out of isolation and loneliness and pain. We experience that in part here on earth and will experience in fullness in eternity.

The Christmas season can be very exciting but can also feel like an isolating valley as many of us long to be near to family or to hear the voice of a loved one who has passed. Even in one of the merriest times of the year we can feel lonely and isolated and full of pain. If you feel this way you are not alone. AND for this Christ came to earth- to make all things whole!

As we draw towards celebrating God becoming man in Christ, Christmas, may each of us hold onto the promise and reason why Christ came. Christ came to be God’s love on earth that all may have life and have it eternal. In times of sadness or isolation or pain I hope each of us might draw close to God in prayer and devotion. This might mean opening up your Bible and reading the Christmas story. Drawing close to God might mean turning off the TV and closing your eyes and spending a few moments sharing with God your feelings. Drawing close to God might mean getting outside and taking a walk on your lunch break.

God’s desire is not that we stay in our valley and God is ever present to pull us out!

This Christmas season let us cling to Christ tightly who is our hope and salvation!

See you Sunday!
Pastor Audrey

The Reason for the Season is LOVE!

In 1972 a movie came out about four business friends who escaped to the mountains for a weekend of rest and renewal only to stumble upon another dangerous world no one knew existed. The rest of the movie is about their escape and deliverance out of their worst nightmare! In many ways the men delivered themselves out of the horrible place they were in. After many of them went back home they never forgot the horrible place and even dreamed about it, extremely grateful to be delivered.

In our continued reading of Exodus we find that throughout the book the Israelites constantly forget that they were delivered and what they were delivered from. In chapter 32 we read about the story of Moses going up the mountain. In his absence the people form an idol and even begin to praise the golden calf for delivering them from slavery! Their deliverance story was all wrong. They forgot who actually delivered them. It was not themselves or another deity but rather the God of all creation.

This was their main offense in the story. They forgot that God was their deliverer.

We too might be tempted to forget as well. I know there have been times when I have believed that I have delivered myself from awful situations.

In this story we are reminded that God is the deliverer and an ever present help in our times of need!

This week let us each turn to God and give thanks for the ways God has delivered us and brought us to a place of peace and security!

As you pray this week meditate upon this hymn and give thanks to our great leader, who is our God!

  1. He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
    O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
    Whate’er I do, where’er I be
    Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

    • Refrain:
      He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
      By His own hand He leadeth me;
      His faithful foll’wer I would be,
      For by His hand He leadeth me.
  2. Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
    Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
    By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
    Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
  3. Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
    Nor ever murmur nor repine;
    Content, whatever lot I see,
    Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
  4. And when my task on earth is done,
    When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
    E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
    Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

See you in worship this week!
Pastor Audrey

Deliverance…..

In 1972 a movie came out about four business friends who escaped to the mountains for a weekend of rest and renewal only to stumble upon another dangerous world no one knew existed. The rest of the movie is about their escape and deliverance out of their worst nightmare! In many ways the men delivered themselves out of the horrible place they were in. After many of them went back home they never forgot the horrible place and even dreamed about it, extremely grateful to be delivered.

In our continued reading of Exodus we find that throughout the book the Israelites constantly forget that they were delivered and what they were delivered from. In chapter 32 we read about the story of Moses going up the mountain. In his absence the people form an idol and even begin to praise the golden calf for delivering them from slavery! Their deliverance story was all wrong. They forgot who actually delivered them. It was not themselves or another deity but rather the God of all creation.

This was their main offense in the story. They forgot that God was their deliverer.

We too might be tempted to forget as well. I know there have been times when I have believed that I have delivered myself from awful situations.

In this story we are reminded that God is the deliverer and an ever present help in our times of need!

This week let us each turn to God and give thanks for the ways God has delivered us and brought us to a place of peace and security!

As you pray this week meditate upon this hymn and give thanks to our great leader, who is our God!

  1. He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
    O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
    Whate’er I do, where’er I be
    Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

    • Refrain:
      He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
      By His own hand He leadeth me;
      His faithful foll’wer I would be,
      For by His hand He leadeth me.
  2. Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
    Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
    By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
    Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
  3. Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
    Nor ever murmur nor repine;
    Content, whatever lot I see,
    Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
  4. And when my task on earth is done,
    When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
    E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
    Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

See you in worship this week!
Pastor Audrey

We’ve Got the Power…..

We’ve Got the Power…..

In the year 1990, an artist by the name of SNAP wrote a song entitled, “I’ve Got the Power.”

The past few days that has been my mantra as I have been hoping to wish electricity into being for myself and others!

Fortunately, at the church, we never lost power and have been able to be a place of hospitality and respite for some folks in our community.

Throughout this week it has been interesting to see the reactions of many to being without power. You really see the best of people (sharing, giving, helping) and the worst of people (stealing, impatience, entitlement) come into play.

Although we have not had power in the electrical sense we as Christians do have power from another source, the Holy Spirit. We have the power in tough situations to let Christ’s light shine through in all things. The past few days Paul’s words to the Philippians have rung through my mind, “for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Surely we can do all things through Christ who strengthens each of us!

Today and throughout the weekend as many of us have power or do not have power may we cling to Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, not simply to survive but to thrive and be the hands and feet of Christ in this time.

Let us continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Islands!

Please do take a moment to read the announcements below!

ALSO, Unide Sundie is being rescheduled to Sunday, October 1st. Please continue to collect and make hygiene kits, underwear, socks and more!  That is the same day we will install our Homeless Jesus Statue!

See you in worship this week!
Pastor Audrey

Hurricane Charlie….

Have you ever gone through a hurricane?

Growing up in Naples, FL this was a norm for me. My mom is an insurance agent so we never left for hurricanes as she might be needed after a terrible storm. So we had hurricane parties and to be honest we even prayed our pool cage might be taken away one or two times so we could get a new one! #firstworldproblems!

Hurricane Charlie hit my second to last semester in college. I was working in Lakeland, FL at FUMC with their youth group. Charlie hit Port Charlotte head-on. The youth director I worked for wanted to bring our high schoolers down there to serve the day after the storm hit but there was no place to stay. My parents offered up their home to house thirty high-schoolers and down we went to provide aid.

We worked in a trailer park helping people salvage their keepsakes and then assisting in the breakdown of their homes. We ripped out carpet and tore down walls.The experience was humbling and incredibly sad.

One of our youth who was outgoing was given the job to deliver supply buckets to each trailer. He became very emotional after the third house and said he did not know the feeling inside but he felt like he had the “hots” for everyone. I helped him understand that feeling as God working in him. The feeling of being a vessel of God’s love in the midst of a tragedy. Then he felt the feeling even stronger! He continued his job and prayed with the families and let them know God was with them.

The past few weeks have been a season where we have seen natural disaster strike over and again. Floods in Louisiana, fires in California and earthquakes in Italy. Now we also enter into hurricane season. As we watch the news some of us are accustomed to this season while many of us still ask, “why?”

This question is asked of pastors by our church when going through interviews to become a pastor. The question, “why does suffering and evil happen and what is God’s relationship to it?” I was reminded of this question as I am serving as a mentor for several people preparing for their interviews.

This week in reading over one person’s paperwork while reflecting on all the disasters I was reminded of a few things:

1. God created a great big powerful planet that lives and breathes and has its being. As I watch the power of storms and water I am reminded that I am not in control of everything. The earth will move and shake and change as it does and will not ask my opinion. As God created humans as living, moving and changing beings so God created the earth with the same capacity of change. Sometimes that movement and change caused by different environmental and scientific factors does effect me and other humans. Most of the time humanity’s growth and changes and needs have also effected the earth as well. We live in relationship to one another.

2. God is with us through the changing. Throughout scripture we see God is with people through the changing. At times God through Jesus has taken control of nature but most of the time that was to prove a point to a bunch of doubting disciples. In scripture we hear a parable of two men who built houses. When the storm came, not if it came, the house on the firm foundation stood strong. As we are effected by the earth’s moving we understand that God is with us and we work to build our physical houses and spiritual houses on God’s firm foundation. I do not believe God causes natural disasters but God is with us through them.

This week as we continue to pray for Louisiana, California and Italy I encourage each of us to remember God is with them and maybe even through our prayers and gifts and those of the church at large. Just as God was part of the youth’s work in Port Charlotte so God is working in the midst of these suffering all over the earth.

This week may we be given eyes to see where God is at work and choose to be part of God’s healing hand- who knows- maybe you will also have the “hots” for all those around you!

See you in worship this week!

Peace of Christ,
Audrey