Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I was out walking my dog one muddy afternoon last February when a strange notion came over me. My dog, encouraged by warmer than usual weather, was eager and pulling at his leash, urging me to go faster. I decided to call his bluff. A sped-up walk turned to a light trot. A minute later, with him still pulling, I was sprinting. Another minute later, I was winded and resumed walking. That little bit of running, however, had felt good. Really good. It had been years since I’d done any running at all, I realized then, years that passed in the way we sometimes find ourselves putting down a hobby during a busy time only to never pick it up again.
By the time we finished the walk, I’d resolved to go for a run the next day. That didn’t seem significant enough, though. I needed a big commitment. I remembered the Clinton half marathon that ends in front of the church every October and decided then and there to train to run that. Not only was I going to run in it, I was going to run it well. I was going to run it so well prepared that I could finish and then get ready to preach like nothing had happened. I’d need to finish a good bit under two hours for this plan to work. The goals kept increasing for someone who, again, had not run for years and years. I had gone from an unplanned, one-minute run to training for a half-marathon in a single afternoon.
I put together a training schedule. Through the cool weather of Spring and the easier, introductory stages of planning things went well. As summer kicked in the runs got long. One 95-degree, humid July afternoon my schedule told me Long Run – 10 miles. I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic or excited, but I had my goal, and the discipline to follow through. I dragged myself gracelessly forward until my watch confirmed that, yes, I’d covered ten miles. I even felt pretty good, until I tried to catch my breath. I kept trying. I’d pushed myself to the point of an asthma attack.
That scare and a separate injury sapped my enthusiasm for the race. I didn’t bother registering. I set a goal and didn’t meet it. We call this, in the most technical of terms, a failure.
But – and this is the important part – I still ended up running 200+ miles that Spring and Summer I would not otherwise have run. I got in better shape, I felt better, and I’ve continued making time for exercise each day since that first muddy sprint last winter. As the old saying goes, I shot for the stars and missed, but still landed on the moon.
There are a lot of things we would like to do right now but can’t. Whether it’s setting a lofty personal goal that’s just out of reach or the myriad things we cannot safely do until COVID-19 is behind us, we are limited right now. And limitations are frustrating. But we can get so wrapped up in the things we can’t do that we miss all the growth possibilities in this present, too.
God has plans for each of our lives. Those plans require our alertness and our willingness to cooperate with the growth that is taking place. Where are you most aware of your own limitations? What can you do to accept and love yourself as you are while you keep moving toward the abundant life God dreams for you? I’m sure there are books unread, projects unfinished, and maybe even naps not taken that could help heal you in a trying time. Embrace your human limitations and trust in Jesus whose love for you knows no limit.
Grace and Peace,
Change in Confirmation Sunday Schedule – Confirmation is Now THIS Sunday, November 15
Join us in person or over Facebook this Sunday as we welcome our newest and youngest members to the Flemington UMC family. If you are the parent of kids or have friends who have kids currently in fifth-seventh grade, please share that we will stand up another cohort of Confirmands in Fall 2021 en route to becoming a church with programs and possibilities for disciples of all ages.
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 we will need to resume fully online worship and group activities in the coming weeks. We may need to stay online or almost fully online until 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
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.