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Monday, January 28, 2013

Last Week for LifeGroup Sign up!


Check out the video above to see what two of our members have to say about their experiences as part of a LifeGroup

Our LifeGroups are set and ready to kick off the first 2013 trimester! January 31 is the official deadline to join some of our new and exciting LifeGroups, a complete listing can be found in our catalog here, but some new additions this trimester are: 
  • Costa Rica Mission Trip 
  • Saturday Book Club
  • "The Law of Happiness" book study
  • LifeKeys
  • Louk Lent Study
  • LAY Lent Study
  • "The Story" Study
  • FireProof your Marriage
  • Mature and Methodist
  • Second Sunday Drum Circle
  • DivoreCare
  • Easter Drama and Easter Drama Set Crew
  • Youth Mission Trip Planning Team
Sign-ups are online either via the link at the top of this page or on our website here. We invite you to join us in coming together and going out into the world to be the church! If you have any questions you can contact Pastor Jen or Gene Kelsey, Director of Christian Education. We look forward to seeing you soon! 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Note From Strong Missions

This Advent Season, the congregation at West Des Moines UMC was challenged to give to our Christmas offering an amount equal to 1/4 of what they spent on friends and family. We raised nearly $22,000. The fund will be divided between Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM) in Des Moines and Strong Missions in Costa Rica. Below is a note from Charlie Strong in response to the offering and it's potential to change lives in Costa Rica:




What the 10K means to us is all too important.  Besides the fact that basic needs are being met in the name of Christ, you folks are allowing me to personally fulfill my calling, now the calling of so many who work with me.  I take this as all too important.  In addition, the local population sees these gifts as faith in action, strengthening their resolve to persist under dire circumstances.  The locals have even began to organize and do some local missions, and even reach out and send small teams to neighboring countries to do mission work there.  The teams and donations sent speak volumes of the importance of missions to the faith of Jesus Christ, and we're seeing the effects in so many ways.  Please thank the congregation and let them know that this will put food in front of kids who might not otherwise eat that day, put books in front of kids who perhaps would not study that day, and put roofs over their heads while they do both.  We are planning to raise over 100K this year to feed and educate, and this is a great start to achieving that goal.  We will use these funds to add another 20 kids on the feeding program in Los Guido, add a few monthly scholarships to keep kids in school, and get the new roof built to eliminate the leaks at the feeding/education program in Los Guido.  God will certainly take this gift and multiply it for years to come.  In the end it's hard to say exactly what this gift means, but we'll look forward to sharing the many ways it blesses the people here.  We're so thankful to be in this new partnership with WDMUMC, and we look forward to having you with us later in the year. Thanks so much again, and God bless you all.

Charlie Strong, Strong Missions

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Note from CFUM



This Advent Season, the congregation at West Des Moines UMC was challenged to give to our Christmas offering an amount equal to 1/4 of what they spent on friends and family. We raised nearly $22,000. The fund will be divided between Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM) in Des Moines and Strong Missions in Costa Rica. Below is a letter from Carmen Lampe Zeitler in response to the offering and it's potential to change lives here in Des Moines: 




"Children and Family Urban Ministries continues to be honored and grateful for the partnership of the congregation at the West Des Moines United Methodist Church. 

RaJon is a first grader who has for the past year and half brought his own matchless spirit to Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM).  I had dinner with RaJon at the Supper Club on an early January evening.  We talked about his teacher Ms. Schultz, who’s asked us for support with Rajon, and her hope that he would learn and grow this year, and complete and turn in his homework sheets.  He drummed a very fine beat on the napkin holder for a while, which he was quick to tell me was his beat and not one he learned from anyone else.  After he accidentally drank out of someone else’s cup we talked a little about germs.  When he got up and began to walk away from the table without picking up his tray, we talked about how important it is to pick up after ourselves.  All of that happened in not more than ten minutes at the dinner table.  Time spent with RaJon is always fast-paced.      

That ten minutes with RaJon is an apt metaphor for the work of CFUM.  In those ten minutes we covered the highlights of CFUM’s mission: to create a community to support the potential of children, youth, and families through educational success, healthy living, and community engagement.  We covered educational success (homework completion), healthy living (germs), community engagement (picking up after yourself – surely at the heart of community engagement), and most importantly—potential (making your own beat in the world).   

Your partnership provides the other most important aspect of the CFUM mission—a community to support the all-important potential in RaJon and so many others!  We are humbled and honored by your confidence in and contribution to the mission we share.

With deep gratitude,
Carmen Lampe Zeitler"

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebration Sunday! Over $21,000 for CFUM and Strong Missions!


This Sunday we came together as a congregation to celebrate the generosity and faithfulness demonstrated by our Christmas offering this year. With God's help we have raise over $21,000 to feed and serve kids who are hungry both here in our local community through Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM) and Strong Missions in Costa Rica. During Advent we talked about a Different Kind of Christmas and asked the question, "what would Jesus have us do for his birthday?" We saw that Jesus loved the least and the lost and cared about the orphan and the widow.This year we partnered with God, with each other and with these organizations that live out that call every day. We pray that this offering will not only change the lives of the children and families who will receive its benefits, but all of our lives as well.

Not only did Dr. Daniel challenge us to give 1/4 of what we were spending on friends and family to the offering, he also gave himself a challenge. He said that when we reached $10,000 that he would preach in bib overalls. We had a preview at Fall Festivalhttp://wdmumc.blogspot.com/2012/11/fall-festival-recap.html this year, but hadn't seen those "bibbies" since. Due to the overwhelming response, the whole congregation was invited to wear their "bibbies" on this Sunday of Celebration.A special thanks to the choir for their very appropriate song selection and all who were able to join us for this celebration! Take a look at a few of the brave, comfortable, souls from this past Sunday!





















Wednesday, January 16, 2013

LifeGroups starting in February!

{Check out what some of our members have to say about being a part of LifeGroups}

Our newest set of LifeGroups are starting in a little more than two weeks! We are so excited about the new and existing opportunities and everyone is invited to participate.

LifeGroups aren't just small groups, LifeGroups include all of the groups in our church that come together outside of Sunday morning worship to BE the church. LifeGroups are where we do life together. Whether that's studies to help us grow in our faith, opportunities to service the community and the world, or just to come together to enjoy each other's friendship and company, we believe that God works and is working through all of those things. We encourage everyone to find a LifeGroup that appeals to you and give it a try! While some of our LifeGroups are year-round, many groups follow our trimester system and only meet for three months at a time. The schedules for our trimester system is:

  • January: Off (sign ups are open)
  • February -April: Trimester 1
  • May: Off (sign ups are open)
  • June-August: Trimester 2
  • September: Off (sign ups are open)
  • October-December: Trimester 3
Each trimester we have a catalog that has all the groups meeting that semester. You can find hard copies at the church, or an electronic version online HERE. The NEW groups this trimester are: 
  • Saturday Book Clube (Reading "To Heaven and Back")
  • "The Law of Happiness" book study
  • LifeKeys
  • Louk Lent Study
  • LAY Lent Study
  • "The Story" Study
  • FireProof your Marriage
  • Mature and Methodist
  • Second Sunday Drum Circle
  • DivoreCare
  • Easter Drama and Easter Drama Set Crew
  • Youth Mission Trip Planning Team
  • Costa Rica Mission Trip Planning Team
And those are in addition to all of the amazing groups that are already meeting from our church! 

All of our sign ups are online. You can sign up by clicking the LifeGroups tab at the top of this page, or at our website HERE. We would be more than happy to help you sign up or find a group that's right for you. We have a place for you here and believe that God brings us all here for a reason and a purpose. 

If you have any questions you can contact Jen Hibben, Associate Pastor or Gene Kelsey, Director of Christian Education. We look forward to doing life with you!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Build



Most of us know the story about the three little pigs, and how one of them built a house out of straw, another one built a house with sticks, and the third one built a house out of bricks.  And then the wolf came, blowing in the house of straw, blowing down the house of sticks, but unable to affect the house of bricks.  This children's fable has some similarity to the scripture lesson considered last Sunday as Dr. Daniel kicked off a new sermon series -- "What Does It Mean to be a Disciple?".  The first of six aspects to be considered is: "Build".  In his first letter to the Corinthians (3:9-15), the Apostle Paul says we are builders and co-laborers with God, and must take as to what foundation we build on and how we build on it.  As far as Paul is concerned, the only foundation worth building on is Jesus!  Then he makes a distinction between a variety of materials that can be use: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw.  Fire will test what sort of work each of us has done.  So, first, the foundation is critical!  So many in our world are adrift and without an anchor or a proper foundation for facing  life's challenges.  We need Jesus!  He is the blueprint for our lives!  We all like to plan our lives, especially youth.  Youth look at going to college or getting married and having a family or getting that dream job.  But without Jesus as the foundation, plays can go awry.  We live in a time when we see so much evil that can snatch joy in a moment's notice.  Life is so fragile.  Who is your foundation?   Second, The building materials we use make a huge difference!  What we build with will be revealed because it will be tested by fire.  Just like one of the little pigs, some build using straw or whatever is convenient -- some reject God, and build on luck.  And the news is filled with many who have reaped a whirlwind and whose lives are morally bankrupt.  Others use sticks.  Wood is not necessarily bad, but it burns.  Perhaps the sticks represent  the things / collections in our lives.  Sometimes we accumulate so much we wonder where we're going to put all of our stuff.  We must be wise like the 3rd little pig.  Bricks, such as faith, hope and love, are what abide.  Things that last for eternity.  You may have seen the news about a young professional, Emily, still in her 20's, who tragically died right after Christmas.  Dr. Daniel visited at length with Emily's parents.  After spending Christmas at home with family here in Iowa, right before Emily left to return to Colorado, her parents spoke three things to her: "I love you.  Be safe.  Be happy."  The last words Emily's parents spoke to her.  Eternal words!  What a difference faith, hope and love make when tragedy strikes.  The songwriter penned "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

Gene Kelsey, Director of Christian Education 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

In the Name

http://upliftingchrist.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/in-jesus-name-960x540.jpg



Long, long after God commanded that we not use God's name in vain, the Apostle Paul writes to the Colossian church to do everything in the name of the Lord. Both of these instructions can cause us to stop and think, and to ask what is meant exactly. In Paul's case, he had just given the Colossian church (3:12-17) some characteristics, or a description, of a community of faith. He says, "...clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience...with love" -- things that are not automatic or natural. Then he says, "whatever you do , in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus." Our church's mission captures that as we view our purpose to be "changing lives in the name of Jesus Christ." Jesus adds to Paul's words where He says, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." This past Sunday, Pastor Jen Hibben gave us a couple of ideas to consider as we seek to understand what it means to do everything in Jesus' name. It's "on behalf of" Jesus. What if we approached what we do as being on behalf of Jesus? This shifts attention from us and onto Jesus. Or how about "by authority of Jesus"? The disciples were empowered to do mighty and amazing things in Jesus' name. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves, or what God is able to do through us. Although we're human, in Christ, we're new / renewed -- different -- and God is able to work through us "in Jesus' name". And the really good news is that even if we mess up, God is still able to turn our messes into good things of beauty. So "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful...and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord..." Amen.

Gene Kelsey, Director of Christian Education