I want to issue a challenge to our congregation today. Congress is working hard on the budget crisis related to the debt ceiling. I have heard a variety of reports that range from “no one is willing to compromise,” to “lots of people are working late hours to build a compromise.” I have no idea where the truth is related to how close our elected officials are to an approval of necessary budget measures. I am certain that as I write this, they only have about five days left before a crisis that has been predicted for months. Here is my challenge: as a church, let’s do something that we can all agree on – let’s pray for our national leaders. Here are some ideas about when and how to pray:

  • Pray in some form or fashion every time you hear or read any news report related to the budget talks. These may not be lengthy prayers. Simply ask for God’s wisdom to inspire the Congress and President.
  • Pray with a generous heart. Pray in a way that builds up and hopes that the best side of every politician can be displayed rather than praying that a certain person or party will be harmed in the process of resolving the debt crisis.
  • Pray for those who will be impacted if the government ultimately does not reach a vote and the nation defaults on its debt. I am sure that some will be impacted by the predicted rising interest rates, but I think we will all be impacted in some way.
  • Pray for the long term health of our nation. This debate is about much more than the debt ceiling. It is about the priorities and economic future of the United States. We are a country that has become very comfortable with debt in our personal and national life. We are paying the consequences for a lack of management of that debt. We need inspired leaders to plan a way forward from our current reality.

Finally, when it is appropriate, would you challenge your friends and colleagues to covenant with you to pray for our elected officials? Many think that our politicians don’t have a chance these days of getting anything done effectively. Rather than join the cynicism, let’s join in prayer. The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, stated, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

Vote for “Volunteer of the Year”
I have a way you can help raise $10,000 for people we love with a few minutes at your computer. No meetings, no events, just a few minutes of your time. We entered Floris UMC’s own Dr. Cynthia Horner and Helping Children Worldwide (HCW) in the “Classy Awards.” The Classy Awards recognize the top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses, fundraisers and volunteers from across the country. The good news is that Cynthia has been selected as a finalist, one of the top 25 finalists for “Volunteer of the Year.” If you know Cynthia, you know that she is actually uncomfortable with personal recognition. Fortunately, she is VERY COMFORTABLE with an organization giving $10,000 to be used for children, patients and programs supported by Helping Children Worldwide. That $10,000 will make a big difference. This is where you (and anyone you know) come in: we need you to vote for Dr. Cynthia Horner in this final phase of the Classy Award process.
Please follow this link: http://www.stayclassy.org/classy-awards/voting
2. VOTE for “Dr. Cynthia Horner”
2. Submit your ballot.

I just did this. It took under 1 minute. Anyone can vote. You can vote for any of the categories, but be sure you vote for Dr. Horner and don’t forget to submit your ballot! The public voting period runs from July 25 to August 26. When the voting period closes, the 10 submissions with the most votes for each Classy Awards category will proceed to the final round of judging and will be announced on stage at the Classy Awards in San Diego on September 17. Our goal is to get Cynthia over the top and share the good works of Helping Children Worldwide with others at the Classy Awards. And remember, a vote for Cynthia is a vote for $10,000 to bless kids at the Child Rescue Centre, patients at Mercy Hospital and Connections for Hope. Together, they touch over 12,000 lives a year.

You Choose the Hymns
For the month of August we want you to choose your favorite songs and hymns for worship. During August we want to focus on worshipping God through singing. Floris is blessed with many talented vocal groups, choirs and soloists. They help us see how to worship God in song. Our desire is to see the congregation join in the music and fully honor God this way each week. Send in the titles of your favorite hymns and songs, along with the time of the service you attend, to Kristin Umbaugh.

Church Council Update
Steve Salvatore, who serves as our Council Chairperson, has provided a Church Council update for June – July. That document, along with ministry reports, can be found on our website on the Leadership Resources page. Read the June – July Church Council Documents.

This Week in Worship
We continue our sermon series A Guide to a Life Well Lived by looking at the story of the Samaritan woman in a new way. I have been reminded by this text how much Jesus loves people and how willing he was to serve them. I think the sermon will give you new insights about God’s love for you and your ability to love others. I hope you will join us. Scripture: Mark 7:24-37.

In Christ,
– Tom

The post eNote from Rev. Tom Berlin – July 28, 2011 appeared first on Today I Saw God.