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The EGG-stravaganza is coming!

EGG-picOur Easter EGG-stravaganza is only three weeks away!

Whether you’re a believer in search of a church,
a non-believer in search of answers,
or someone simply looking for a great way to spend a Saturday…
we want you to come join us for a morning of free family fun!

Easter Egg Hunt for Candy and Prizes
Hot Dogs & Drinks
Coloring Contest
Face Painting with Skeedaddle the Clown
Easter Petting Zoo

Saturday, April 19
10:30am-12:30pm

111 Hodges Street, Morehead City

Everyone is welcome!

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Attention all St. Peter’s folks: Invite everyone you can!
Below is a flyer which you can print and distribute to let people know about this event.

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Click here for a printable flyer for this event.

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Fasting

wordfrompastorFood is a major part of our lives.  Eating satisfies one of our most basic needs for survival.  If you skip breakfast on a Sunday morning, around 11:30 your hunger may start to take your attention away from whatever is going on in the worship service.  Your physical needs take control over your thought process.  Suddenly, instead of thinking about Jesus, you’re thinking about lunch.

Think about how you feel when you’re really hungry – those times that your hunger is so strong you say things like, “I’m starving!  I feel like I haven’t eaten in a week!”   And this comes after missing maybe one or two meals tops!  Now, imagine if you had not eaten in forty days.  No food, no snacks, no coffee, no water… NOTHING – for five and a half weeks.  Christ spent forty days fasting in the wilderness before He began his earthly ministry.  He went without food voluntarily.  Satan tempts Him by saying, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But Jesus replies, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt 4:3-4 RSV).

Fasting is a Spiritual discipline which is often overlooked in the church today.  We see it as an inconvenience.  We see it as too difficult.  We might even consider fasting a health risk (and in fact for some individuals this last excuse is a valid one.)  However, the main reason we don’t fast is because it means going without something we want.  Whether we observe a total fast wherein we eat nothing, or a fast in which we give up something like sweets or desert, fasting involves a sacrifice on our part.  Is that something we’re really willing to do?

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matt 16:24 NIV).   We hear His call to deny ourselves, and we claim obedience, but… do we follow through?  How willing are we to make a sacrifice?

Years ago, when I was struggling with whether or not to answer God’s call to enter the ministry, I went on a fast.  For about 60 hours, I took nothing but water.  As the meal-less hours passed, I found my hunger at times to be almost unbearable.  Fasting gave me a new perspective on temptation – I had chosen to go without food in an effort to get closer to God, and every time I thought about eating, I would focus not on my hunger, but the purpose behind my fast.  I was not going to let the temptation of food come between me and God, and I had to rely on Him to give me the strength to endure.

When Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge and brought about the fall of mankind, she gave in to a hunger temptation.  The serpent enticed her through the thoughts of tasting something sweet upon her lips.  She surrendered to her physical hunger instead of focusing on God’s will.  When I went through my sixty hour fast, I constantly found myself torn between my physical hunger and God’s will.  I wanted to know His will for my life – was I going to keep my focus there, or give in to my physical desire?

Christ spent forty days fasting in the wilderness before He began his earthly ministry.  He had many temptations and battles ahead of Him.  He needed to be prepared for the temptations and battles that lay before Him. He needed to be One with the Father.  Fasting enabled Him to abandon His need for the things of the world and focus solely on His need for things of the Kingdom of God.  He relied totally on God during His temptation in the wilderness.

At the end of my fast, I knelt down in prayer in a church sanctuary.  I had gone, through God’s grace, from thinking about food to thinking only about God.  As I opened my heart to God that morning, I suddenly felt myself transported from the confines of that sanctuary, and placed but for a moment in the wilderness before being returned to that lowly church pew.  God gave me a vision of what I had come through with His help.  He showed me the wilderness through which He had brought me.  For the first time, I felt totally reliant on God.  For the first time, I felt as One with the Father.

Later that morning, I went to McDonald’s and ordered a Sausage McMuffin.  As I sat down to eat, I thanked God for getting me through those sixty hours.  I opened my eyes, looked at my breakfast, and for the first time in several days, I was not hungry.  I only ate that breakfast because I knew I needed to.  The only hunger I had at that point was for the Word of God.  He had carried me through the wilderness; He had delivered me from my temptations; He had awakened in me a new hunger.

The dictionary defines hunger as “a strong desire or craving.”  What do you hunger for – what do you crave?  Is your desire for the things of heaven, or things of this world?  In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

Do you want to show God that you’re serious about growing in your walk with Him?  Consider fasting during this Lenten season. Put down your fork, and pick up your cross, and follow Him.

See you in church!

Pastor Karl

 

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Lay Witness Mission

LWM-event blog 5A Weekend Spiritual Renewal Experience
April 25-27, 2014


A Lay Witness Mission is:

People searching, people taking time to listen, people sharing,
people singing, people experiencing personal spiritual renewal,
people enjoying fellowship and praying together.

Friday:
Evening covered dish dinner, small group discussions, singing, and team testimonies.

Saturday:
Home group breakfasts, children and youth sessions and luncheon.

Evening meal and sessions led by the Lay Witness Team.

Sunday:
Team participation in Worship Services and Sunday School.

Evening time of celebration, sharing and future planning.

The Holy Spirit will be there.
Hope you will too!

Mark your calendars!

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Spring Forward

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Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed this Saturday!

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.

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St. Peter’s Drive In

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This year’s Valentine’s dinner was a trip down memory lane with a 50s drive in theater, poodle skirts, and an appearance by Elvis himself!  Thank you to the St. Peter’s UMC Youth for putting on  a wonderful event!

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My First Sunday as a Minister

Leah's Chapel United Methodist Church

Leah’s Chapel United Methodist Church

January 25, 2004, was my first Sunday as a minister.  On Thursday of that week, the Raleigh District Superintendent, Hope Morgan Ward, had appointed me as interim pastor for Shiloh and Leah’s Chapel United Methodist Churches outside of Louisburg NC.  That Saturday my wife and I drove the backwoods of Franklin County to find the two churches so I would not be late the next morning.  I did not want my first congregation’s first comment about the new pastor to be “Where is he?”

I spent most of Saturday night tossing and turning, anxiously wondering what Sunday morning would bring.  Would they like my sermon?  Would they like me?  Would they like my wife?  How many people would be there?  How would I be sure to end the first service in time to get to the second service?  Would I even remember how to find either one of these churches?  Needless to say, when the alarm clock rang on Sunday morning, I was already awake, having stressed myself into an unplanned all-nighter.  As things turned out, however, all of my worry was for naught because both Leah’s Chapel and Shiloh cancelled their services that morning due to an impending snowstorm.

Since I did not have to preach that day, Cheryl and I took advantage of the opportunity to go back to our home church of North Raleigh UMC one last time. We drove through quickly deteriorating weather conditions to get there, and due to the snow piling up outside, our minister, Dr. Bob O’Keef, was forced to lead an abbreviated service.  Dr. Bob’s sermon was about following where God leads, even if it means getting up and leaving where you’re comfortable.  I remember thinking to myself, “That message sounds like it was written for me… how did Bob know I would be here this morning?”  I was supposed to be somewhere else!  Wasn’t that God’s plan?

When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, he learned of God’s plans.  God said to him, “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8 RSV).  God’s plan for His people was for them to enter into the Promised Land, but even after they left Egypt, the first Israelite would not set foot in that new land for forty years.  God saw that His people were not ready to enter that new life yet.  Could that be why it snowed that January morning in 2004?  Because God knew I was not yet ready to enter my new life as a minister yet?

Just in case I didn’t understand why my first Sunday as a pastor was put on hold, God gave me a big confirmation of my calling during that worship service at North Raleigh.  The closing hymn we sang that morning was “Here I am Lord.”  While we were singing, a man named Eddie left his pew, walked all the way across from the sanctuary to where I was, gave me a hug, and then walked out of the church wiping tears from his eyes.  Now, here’s the part of the story that still makes the hairs on my arm stand up: two years earlier, when God revealed to me He wanted me to enter the ministry, I was sitting in another church singing a hymn, and it was “Here I am Lord”.  God intended for me to be at North Raleigh UMC that snowy, icy morning when the Conference had wanted me to be somewhere else.  I guess God needed me to be ministered to one more time before setting me off on my own.  It was His way of telling me, “Don’t worry about how things will go for you as a minister.  I’m in control.  Everything will be fine.”  Come to think of it, the following Saturday night – the night before I did lead my first worship service – I slept like a baby.

Sometimes we might feel certain we know what God’s plans are.  But those plans might include some unexpected stops along the way.  On my first Sunday as a minister, I didn’t get to preach at all.  Ten years later, I get to preach at St. Peter’s.  Ten years ago, I had no idea how to even be a pastor.  Today, I am truly blessed to be your pastor.  You know, God’s plans always seem to turn out better than we expected!

See you in church!

Pastor Karl

 

 

 

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“Psalm 100″ – February 23

Psalm100blogOn Sunday, February 23, “Psalm 100″ will enrich our Sunday morning worship service at St. Peter’s UMC with their unique style of musical praise.

This group of singers describes themselves as follows: “Psalm 100 is a co-ed a cappella group on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  We believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Lord of our lives who brought us salvation by dying for our sins (Acts 5:30-32).  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our Connection through the Holy Spirit to the perfect Father God in heaven (John 14:6).  Every note we sing and every testimony we give is under His will and for His glory.”

We will have one worship service that morning followed by a Fellowship Luncheon; the schedule will be as follows:

Sunday School: 9:30am
Worship Service: 10:30
Fellowship Luncheon: 12 noon.

February 23 is also designated as an “Each One Reach One” Sunday at St. Peter’s UMC where all of our members and regular worshipers are asked to invite a friend, neighbor or co-worker to church.

Come and join us – you will be blessed!

 

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Ash Wednesday Service

AshblogAsh Wednesday is the start of Lent, a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter).  St. Peter’s UMC will hold a special Ash Wednesday worship service where believers and seekers can confront their own mortality and confess their sins before God within the community of faith.  As individuals, and as a church family, we will focus on sin and death in the light of God’s redeeming love.  It’s a time where we can be reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have for a renewal of our faith.

Join us Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 6:00pm for this deeply meaningful service.

 

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Valentine’s Dinner

driveinsliderThe St. Peter’s Youth are sponsoring their annual Valentine’s Dinner on Saturday, February 15, at 5:30pm.  The theme for this year’s event is a 1950s drive in.  Everyone is invited to attend and enjoy an evening of great entertainment and good food. If you want, you are welcomed to wear your best 50s attire – so feel free to dust off your penny loafers and leather jackets, and press those poodle skirts, and come out for a night of fun and nostalgia!

Saturday, February 15, at 5:30pm

Donations are welcomed and will be used for upcoming youth projects.