His Little Ones
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble,
it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Matthew 18:6 (NIV)
The disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven and, in response, Jesus called to a child. The child, trusting, came and sat with them. Jesus taught his closest followers that unless they became like this child who had stopped whatever he or she was doing to come to sit with Jesus, they wouldn’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven, let alone be “great” there.
Jesus took it a step further. “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to,” Well, it’s pretty graphic. The “little ones” verse follows after the interaction with the child, but the description is extended to all those who believe in him. We are, if we trust and follow, his little ones, too.
Maybe you’re always strong. Unflappable. Steady through all the storms of life. If so, it may be time to open your eyes a little wider. Or, maybe, you find yourself shaken by the unstoppable things that happen to people you love and care for. Maybe you are all too aware of struggles bigger than people’s ability to see them through. I think this reminder from Jesus is a reminder of just how Jesus loves you and me, and how much God seeks to protect us even in our challenges.
“Child-like faith” can get a bad rap. I’ve got kids and their questions routinely humble me. We just welcomed six new members after a disrupted year of Confirmation, and their questions and doubts were also nothing to dismiss. But we, together, continue to believe, and as such are loved, sheltered, and protected in Jesus. We all need to be reminded of this from time to time. Today, trust that you and those you pray for are the fiercely beloved little ones of Christ, and live well in this trying time out of that strong love.
Grace and Peace,
COVID-19 Update – Be Flexible and Keep Your Devices Charged
The last week has seen an astonishing surge in COVID-19 cases around the country, and sadly we here in Hunterdon County are not immune. Barring a sudden reversal in current trends, it is likely this will be our last week of in-person worship until this wave of the virus is over. We may need to stay online or almost fully online through January. We learned last Spring that this doesn’t mean we need to be disconnected, however. Here are three simple things we can do to make this season of online church even more fruitful than the last: Familiarize yourself with how to access the worship live stream each Sunday morning. Share the link with friends and family and discuss the service – the music, prayers, sermon, and more, thinking of how they connect to your life.
Sign up for our upcoming Advent small group study which will take place entirely over Zoom with three possible times to fit every schedule. These are opportunities to get to know one another even better and deepen your knowledge of God’s great love for you and God’s call on your life.
Let a friend in church know if you or someone you love is struggling, sick, or in need of a simple kindness. We can share the light and hope we carry with others as we suppress this virus again.
If you have questions or need some help getting comfortable with online church, don’t be shy. Pastor Ben and others will be happy to set up easy bookmarks and links to keep you connected this winter.
Almost Christmas, a Wesleyan Advent
In his well-known sermon, the Almost Christian, Wesley preached about those whose faith was almost the full, life-giving reality of discipleship, but not quite. Christmas and the Advent before it are annual reminders of the miracle of incarnation, the God who loved and loves us so much they had to come down to earth and show us.
Bruce LaPenta and Lynn Becker (to be confirmed) will be leading a 5-week Zoom small group called “Almost Christmas.” Materials are purchased and available to pick up in the church office. Please leave a $10 donation for your copy of the Study Guide. Classes will begin next Sunday at 9:00; links will be sent out this week. There will also be a Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm and an evening session available. We hope to see at least 20 people connect through this study – all are welcome.
An Introduction from the Chair of the Hunterdon County NAACP, Harrison Dillard
We were blessed at our monthly Council meeting to spend some time with Harrison Dillard, an Army veteran and retired law enforcement officer working to bring about justice for all sides in our current struggles around policing, incarceration, and the rest. If you have been active in the America’s Original Sin study group and wondering what you can do next, this is a great opportunity. All are welcome to join the NAACP regardless of your own race or ethnic background. If you’d like to learn more, please follow the instructions below and, if you feel moved, sign up yourself. Go to www.naacp.org/become-a-member
Input your home zip code in the unit finder field
Select Unit 2092-B Morris County Branch
Input your home address on the next page
E-mail email@example.com so your membership can be tracked
Harrison also shared his phone number – 908-399-9644 – for any who may have questions.
Bishop’s Days on the Region – All Clergy and Laity
Bishop Schol will be meeting via Zoom with all clergy and laity to listen and understand the state of the church and share information about GNJ mission and priorities. Laity will meet on the following dates, including later this evening:
Nov 19, 7:00 p.m.
Dec 2, 9:00 a.m.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
We will not be collecting items for Samaritan’s Purse this year. HOWEVER, we are still collecting monetary donations. Please make checks payable to SAMARITAN’S PURSE. You may mail or drop off your check to the church or to Judy Gordley, 37 Elwood Ave, Flemington, NJ. You may also mail directly to Samaritan’s Purse. If you do this, please let us know that you donated so that we may report our total gifts as a church family.
We also have leaflets and boxes available if you would like to fill your own. Please contact the church office or Judy (908-391-2646). Collection week is NOVEMBER 16-23.
Continuing Coffee Hour Over Zoom
Laura Newton is hosting a coffee hour this Sunday over Zoom. You can follow this link to share about your week and hear how others are doing. Trust me, if you’re shy, you will be welcomed with joy.
Worship with Flemington UMC on Facebook
Each Sunday at 10:30am, reach for your phone, tablet, computer, or other internet-connected device for a time of music, prayer, scripture, and preaching. Watching live gives you the opportunity to comment in real-time with prayer requests, updates on your life, and more, but if you view the service later you can still comment and share prayer requests and experiences from your life with your church.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can simply visit the church’s Facebook page:
The videos are all accessible there without the need to create an account or login. If you have technical questions, please reach out.