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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.

The Road to Healing

Hospice of Carteret County is sponsoring a support group to assist individuals who are mourning the loss of a loved one.  This six-week program (February 6-March 13) will meet on Thursdays at 4:30pm in Meeting Room B at Carteret General Hospital.  Space is limited to ten participants, so call 252-808-6402 to register.

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Meet Our Missionaries this Sunday, January 5!

2785_16282_b5d4958122Drs. Lynn and Sharon Fogleman, cross-cultural witnesses for Jesus with the Mission Society in the new country of South Sudan, will be visiting St. Peter’s UMC this Sunday, January 5.  The Foglemans are some of the missionaries who are supported by our church.  They will join us for worship on Sunday morning and will also make a special presentation on their mission work at 6:00pm Sunday evening.  Everyone is welcome to come hear their testimonies about what God is doing through them in South Sudan.

A Prayer for the New Year

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

- John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer (1780)

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2013 Christmas Parade

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St. Peter’s float received the Mayor’s Award in this year’s Morehead City Christmas Parade.  We praise God for blessing us with a break in the weather both  that morning and that afternoon for our “Follow the Star” evangelism event at the church.  Close to 300 came together to enjoy food and fellowship!  Thank you to everyone who worked so tirelessly to help make this day a great Kingdom day!

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Making Preparations

camel-smWe currently have a full-sized camel standing in our church narthax.  Her name is Caramel.  Her presence is a sign that we have some dedicated Kingdom workers here at St. Peter’s UMC.  A number of individuals have been tirelessly making preparations for a couple of big events scheduled for tomorrow.  At 11:00a.m. our church will participate in the Morehead City Christmas Parade with an elaborate float complete with Magii and Caramel, inviting people to “Follow the Star.”  After the parade, come rain or shine, our church will host a free family event where people can enjoy hot dogs, drinks, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting and balloons with Skeedaddle the Clown, and a coloring contest for children.  Our prayer for this event is that even one life can be changed through Christ – that even one individual can “follow the star” and choose to follow Jesus.

The work that has gone into preparing for tomorrow reminds me of what this season of Advent is all about.  It’s a season of preparation. According to The United Methodist Book of Worship: “The season proclaims the comings of Christ – whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually in Word and Spirit, and whose return in final victory we anticipate.  Each year Advent calls the community of faith to prepare for these comings.”

I am grateful for all those who have worked so tirelessly preparing for tomorrow’s parade and family event.  Tomorrow’s parade will be here whether we’re ready or not, so I’m glad we’re prepared!  One day, Christ will return whether we’re ready or not.  Are you prepared for that day?  Take this season of Advent to prepare your heart for the One who came into this world as a tiny baby, who died for the sins of this world, and who will one day return to judge this world in righteousness.  God loves you so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world so you CAN be prepared for that awesome and glorious day!

See you in church!

- Pastor Karl

Christmas Lights

Do you put up outdoor Christmas lights?  This time of year I love to drive around at night and see the beauty and splendor and, in some cases, gaudiness, of people’s lighted decorations.  When I was growing up, our decorations consisted of one string of multicolored lights that ran along the roofline of our split-level house in Raleigh.  These were the old style lights – the ones with the large glass bulbs.  This was long before anyone ever thought of hiring a professional Christmas Decorating Company to do the work for them.  My father would lay the lights out on the living room floor and plug them in to make sure they all worked before he’d hang them outside.  Once the lights were up and turned on, my sisters and I knew that Christmas was not far off.

Christmas lights serve as a sign that Christmas is coming.  Christmas will be here on December 25th – that’s a fact.  This year, December 25th will fall somewhere between the 24th and the 26th – that’s a fact.  Christmas ALWAYS falls between the 24th and 26th, and as Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty would say, “That’s a fact, Jack!”  Christmas is a holiday on which Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – that’s a fact.  Some people celebrate Christmas with no recognition of the Biblical aspect of the holiday – that’s a fact too.

Luke wrote his Gospel so people would know that the story of Jesus Christ was fact.  He opens the third Chapter with a listing of who was in power when John the Baptist began his ministry to give his readers a specific time frame in world history when these events took place – he is saying, “This really happened, and this is when it happened.  It’s not just a story or a legend – it’s fact.”  In Chapter one, Luke begins, “I am writing an orderly account for you… that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.”   Luke is saying, “What I’m writing about really happened – it’s true!  Here are the people involved and here is when it happened.”

Do you regard the story of Jesus Christ as historical fact?  Are we able to move beyond the written accounts of Jesus’ miracles and teachings to see them as historical fact?  That He really did turn water into wine?  That He really did calm the storm on the sea?  That He really did give sight to a blind man?  Do we believe this AND regard it as fact?  Do we accept as historical fact that Jesus really did rise from the dead and walk out of the tomb?  These are not just stories – they are facts!

Jesus Christ came into the world to bring salvation to God’s people.  The Old Testament prophets foretold this Good News, and the New Testament writers declared this Good News to be true. If we will believe God’s Word, then we can know salvation.  Jesus Christ was born of a virgin – that’s a fact.  Jesus Christ lived a sinless life – that’s a fact.  Jesus Christ died on a cross and accepted God’s judgment for sins – that’s a fact.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day to open the way to eternal life for all who believe – that’s a fact.

Jesus Christ really did do all these things.  And he really did come into the world as a baby so He could grow up and die for you.  That’s the fact of Christmas.  Christmas is not about family, it’s not about presents, it’s not about a certain magical feeling – those can all be a part of what we have made this holiday – but these things are not what Christmas is about.  It’s about Jesus Christ.  The world may not want to hear it, but Jesus Christ is a real-life figure from history; He’s the One around whom all history revolves.  And His birth, the fulfillment of prophecy, is what Christmas is all about.

Our next door neighbor used to sneak over to our house in the middle of the night and unscrew a bulb from my father’s string of Christmas lights.  This teenager knew that if one bulb was removed, the decorations were no good.  If one light was missing, then all the work my father had done was for naught because, without that one light in place, nothing worked.  Taking Jesus out of Christmas is like taking a bulb out of the decorations.  It’s removing the light from Christmas – it’s removing the light from the world.  You have no light – you have nothing but darkness.

Until we accept the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as fact, our holiday celebrations don’t mean a thing.  Until we accept the Word of God and repent and follow Jesus, then we have omitted Him from the picture and our decorations are one bulb short.  If we remove that one light, all God’s work through Christ is for naught.  Without the light, all you have is a meaningless string of darkened bulbs.

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to bring light to those who sit in darkness.  Do we welcome that light, or are we content to sit in the dark?  Or maybe we’d prefer to have a professional decorating company come and put up our Christmas lights.  Then they’d be perfect, right?  Not if they’re missing a bulb.

One light makes all the difference.  There is only one light that matters, and that light is Jesus Christ.  He is the light of the world.  And that, praise God, is a fact.

See you in church!

- Pastor Karl