The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Jonah 1:1-3
This upcoming Sunday at church, we’re going to be starting a 3-week sermon series on the Old Testament book of Jonah. As someone who grew up in the church, the only message I ever heard about this book was that it was about a big fish—who happened to enjoy swallowing and spitting up wayward prophets. But unfortunately, this fixation on a large fish misses the point of what this book is about.
You see, at its heart, the book of Jonah is about exploring the mystery of God’s mercy, and specifically who that mercy is for. And what we see at the beginning of our story is that it isn’t just the wicked people of Ninevah who need grace; instead, it’s Jonah who finds himself in need of God’s mercy. So you see, what we read at the beginning of the story is that when God calls Jonah to be part of God’s mission in the world, Jonah decides to become a prodigal prophet who runs away from God’s call on his life.
Now, as readers of this story, it’s easy to make fun of Jonah’s misguided attempts to flee from God’s calling. But perhaps a more helpful reaction is to solemnly consider how we can sometimes avoid the call of God in our lives. Because while Jonah might be a prodigal prophet, we can often be a prodigal people ourselves who find our own ways of running from God.
Operation Christmas Child
We are kick starting our annual Operation Christmas Child ministry! For the next few weeks, our church will be gathering Christmas presents to be distributed to children who find themselves in need around the world. Here’s how are the various ways you can be a part of this ministry: You can finically contribute to this ministry by making out a check to the “Samaritan’s Purse” and putting “Operation Christmas Child” in the memo section. Our church will send those checks in with the gifts that we collect to Samaritan’s Purse, the organization that leads and oversees this ministry.
You can take an OCC box from the back of the sanctuary, fill it with gifts, and bring it back to the church.
You can purchase individual gifts and leave them in the box. We will be packing all of these gathered gifts into our OCC boxes after worship on Sunday, November 21st.
Click the link for more details on what ideal gifts to purchase:
Redemption of Scrooge
On November 14th, our Adult Sunday School is starting an Advent book study on The Redemption of Scourge. In it, author Matthew Rawle explores what Ebenezer Scrooge’s story tells us about God’s redeeming love. The Adult Sunday School meets before church on Sundays at 9:00 in the A-Wing conference room. If you are interested in being a part of this group or have questions about it, please connect with Bruce LaPenta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sermon Series Survey
As 2022 gets closer, Pastor Chris is beginning to pray and discern what God is calling him to preach on in the new year. By clicking on the link below, you can fill out an anonymous survey that will help him get a better sense of what you think might be helpful to focus on in the coming year.
NORWESCAP is Hiring
The Norwescap Early Headstart Program which uses our facilities is currently looking to hire new preschool teachers. The job is 40 hours a week and roughly 17-20 dollars an hour. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please reach out to Ellen at email@example.com.
Youth Group Gathering
The next Youth Group gathering will be this Sunday, November 7th. If you have a middle schooler or teenager who might be interested in joining youth group, you can connect with Pastor Chris or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Leadership Council Meetings
Our next Leadership Council meeting is this Tuesday, November 9th, at 6:30 pm in the conference room in A-Wing. Also, the minutes from September’s meeting have been formally approved and are now available for anyone who wants to read them. You may email Gretchen for a copy at email@example.com.
Sharing Prayer Requests
If you have a prayer request, you can fill out a prayer card in the back of the sanctuary or email our Office Manager, Gretchen, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be sure to add it to the list on the back of our bulletin. You can also email Gretchen to take off any prayer requests that are no longer relevant or needed.
You will find every newsletter, worship service, devotional, and additional material posted to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FlemingtonUnitedMethodist/
Even if you don’t use Facebook, you can access everything we have there. If you do have a Facebook account, “like” to follow our page and be notified when new things are posted or when videos are about to go live so you don’t miss anything.