There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.       Galatians 3:28

Well, again, Happy New Year to all! And thank you once more for all the cards, gifts, and joy you shared with Linda and me during the Christmas Season. You are a very special family! I’ve included the quote (above) to support the following apology and clarification: On a recent Sunday, I made reference to wanting a men’s group and also to a small group we had in Maryland called the Faith, Physics and Philosophy Group. First, I am not a person or pastor who thinks things should be gender segregated. Our Tuesday and Wednesday Bible study group testifies to this. My comments that Sunday centered around my frustration that so few men are in faith-related studies! I was simply trying to identify something of specific interest to the men. Actually, my prayer is that we might have a closer balance of men and women in the upcoming Disciple 1 Bible study. Second, I mentioned a Faith, Physics and Philosophy Group, saying that it was comprised of Ph.D.’s and high-level scientists. My intent was not to be elitist. My point was that even highly educated scientists seek after spiritual meaning and want to talk about God. Too often, the Christians think scientists are atheists or antagonistic to faith. My point is that more often than not, the situation is exactly the other way around. Thankfully, most young people today don’t see color, race, gender, sexuality, or “other” in the way that some older generations have. They simply see people and want to be living life with all people. I support this same attitude and practice and call upon MUMC as a community of faith to always practice the same. On another note: At our Charge Conference in December, you approved the 2018 Church Leadership slate. You can see that slate posted here in this newsletter. I give thanks for these good and faithful servants and for all who serve in various capacities with them.
I hope you will be in attendance at the 10 AM worship service on February 11 (which is also Scout Sunday) to welcome in our new leaders and to say a special thanks to those whom they are replacing. One last thought: I was recently watching an interview with Coach Belichick. I really connected with how he calls his players to, “Think situational football” and “Do your job!” Situational football is looking at the situation at hand, the down you are about to play, and at it only. Look at it --- not how you’re going to win the game, not how you’re going to get to the playoffs or to the Super Bowl. Look at the situation you’re in … analyze what the person across from you is most likely to do in this situation. From that, decide what you ought to be doing. Basically, that’s what it means to “live in the present.” Doing the right and best thing in the moment, in the situation directly in front of you, opens up the potential for a better situation in the next moment … and in the moment(s) after that. New England Patriots players know that they must each work on preparing themselves to be the best they can be physically and  mentally. And then, they know how to come together as a team --- by doing their individual job in each situation and relying on the other guys to be doing theirs. Aren’t you proud of the results? You sure can’t argue against this as a recipe for winning football games!! I think this is the winning approach on God’s team too! We need to each be developing ourselves to be the best Christians we can be --- which includes being at practice … in Bible studies!! Then, we need to come together to each do our jobs together … which is to think “situational church.” Maybe if we spend more time on what’s right in front of us and less on all the things that are past or that we can’t really affect at the moment … well, maybe we’ll win more games: have more fun, touch more lives, and see the kingdom of God come to be on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s be about situational church and doing our jobs in 2018! …Go Pats!! …Go MUMC!!

Peace & Joy
Pastor Bob
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