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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"We are Back" - Pastor Cindy's Devotion - January 24, 2018

Hello friends!

We are back!  Linda Plummer, Annette and Mark Wildin, Jane Beeman, Nancy Cumberland and Dave and I boarded a plane on January 9th and flew to Tel Aviv.  We returned on the 18th, jet-lagged and happy.  We were on the go the entire time.  Wake up call came at 6 am and we spent the day touring holy sites.  In the evening there were lectures and activities and we dropped off to bed each night tired and excited, our minds filled with more than we could process.  Several people have said they would like to see our pictures and we are planning a time when we might share them with you, but the trip was more than what we saw.  It was what we experienced.  Great hospitality from the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian-Christians who fed us and guided us and drove our bus.  Friendship among the 100 Iowans on the trip.  (A shout out to the people from Indianola, Iowa City, Adel, Grinnell, and Rippey!)  Inspiring moments when Bishop Laurie renewed our baptism in the Jordan River.  Lots of care.  How often one person climbing down the steps of a ruin would turn and extend a hand to the person behind them helping them climb down the rocky terrain.  Lots of laughter—some of it as we waited in line to use public restrooms.  (It takes a long time for thirty women to use a public restroom.)  We always felt safe, warmly welcomed, among friends.   

There is more than I describe in a blog post, so let me just tell you about one experience.

One morning we found ourselves sitting on some steps on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  The water was calm and the shoreline was rocky.  Our guide, Victor, was telling us all about the history of the place.  I don’t think we were paying close attention.  I would guess most of us were just trying to process it all.  That beautiful water in front of us was the Sea of Galilee.  Images from the bible of fishermen repairing their nets played out in our minds.  This is the Sea of Galilee where Jesus calmed storms, where Jesus walked on water and Peter didn’t.  The Sea of Galilee where the Risen Christ appeared to the fishermen and cooked a breakfast of fresh fish for them on the shore.  After Victor was done talking, we walked down to the water and took our shoes off and waded in.  The water was cool and clear.  We cupped it in our hands.  We touched it to our foreheads in memory of our baptism.  We all looked at one another.  He was here.  He is here, our hearts told us.  We prayed.  The air was fresh with grace. 

Water, of course, flows and evaporates.  Water is fluid and mingles with water.  The Sea of Galilee, like Jesus, like grace, is not confined to that shoreline.  Today as you turn on a faucet, that water has mingled with the waters of the Sea of Galilee.  That Christ who stood on the shore and said “follow me” still calls us.  Not just in Israel, not just on 8th and Grand, but in the depth of our heart.  We too are water and grace. 

I am glad I went to Israel.  And I glad to be home among you.  Grace like water flows among us.

This is a big weekend at West Des Moines United Methodist Church.  On Saturday night at 5 pm, we will have our Annual Meeting Celebration.  We will thank our retiring leaders and install incoming leaders and look to our future.  A reception follows at 6 pm.  You are all invited! 

On Sunday afternoon at 4 pm, Max Wellman will jazz it up our sanctuary with a concert.  What a great way to warm up on a winter afternoon.  Come!  And bring a friend! 

And of course worship, at 8:30 am and 11:00 am we will renew and rejoice and rejuvenate our faith.  What could be better!  See you there!
Every blessing to you,

Pastor Cindy

Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines Iowa 50265

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"Detours" - Rachel Olson - January 17, 2018

Good afternoon friends-

How do you handle detours, big or small?

This past Monday, as the temperatures were below freezing again, I look outside and see a beautiful sundog. The sun that brings us warmth is giving me a glimpse of a rainbow. That rainbow gives me hope during a time I am experiencing detours. Where am I? I am sitting at a body shop getting a battery for my van, detour. My daughter fractured her pinky finger and hasn’t been able to compete at her first 2 meets this season, detour. Last Thursday, the ice storm put limitations on how I was able to work and could have put me a day behind, detour. This past Sunday morning as I was getting ready to visit my grandfather who was in the hospital, I received a call that he had passed. That was a major detour! How do I continue my discipleship path when hit with these detours? Romans 8:28 came to mind. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Detours come in all shapes and sizes, but all of them share one thing in common...we didn’t see them coming. They catch us off guard, leaving us feeling frustrated, confused, curious and even heart-broken. We question God; why did this happen, at this time. The temptation is to become discouraged, even angry at God, as we experience our faith being rocked. Do we fight it? Do we take a deep breath and submit?

As we experience life, God changes our plans. We choose how we respond. 

Perhaps the lesson we can learn from these experiences is that when we take such detours we might try taking the time to enjoy the detour. What do we see along the detour that we would have missed going our own way? What is it God is trying to focus our attention on? As I reflect on my detours and ponder why God used these at this time, I truly can’t see the big picture, God’s picture. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that things are being worked out for our good. The only thing I can do is...TRUST. To put my faith in God’s plan and continue to worship, serve and be a witness. I have to trust that all things work for good as in Romans 8:28. My grandfather was 95 years old. He lived a long, good life and was at peace. Now I will continue on my disciple journey holding on to his memories

Join us this Sunday for Max Wellman and Friends concert at 4 pm.  A part of the Music & More on Grand series.

Annual Celebration January 27th at 5 pm!  Everyone is invited for an evening of fun thanking our retiring leaders, installing new leaders and looking at our plans for 2018.  RSVP to Sandy Law at 223-1189 or slaw.2@hotmail.com.


Rachel Olson

West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines Iowa 50265

Friday, January 12, 2018

"How Does One Become a Disciple?" - Rachel Olson - January 10, 2018

SHHHHHH!! Pastor Cindy’s out and I am taking over the midweek devotion. I want to begin by saying “Thank You” for welcoming me into your church! With the people I have met so far, I can feel that God has big plans for WDMUMC. This got me thinking, what makes this such a great church? Is it the building? The weekly activities held here? The staff? Or people of the church being disciples? This led me to wonder how does one become a disciple.

A disciple of Jesus can be defined as being a worshiper, a servant, and a witness. It might seem overwhelming to be a disciple, but having faith in Christ and only worshiping Him is a great start. Are we going to mess up? Of course, we are only human. We then need to be able to see that something such as money, career or family is our priority and as GPS says “recalculating,” and turn back to Him. This will take practice, but the relationships you will make and the peace you will feel is so worth the journey.

Creating relationships is wrapped around being a servant. Serving those next door, down the street or even beyond. Even Jesus had served the disciples by washing their feet and giving the commandment to love one another. “…As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 During my one year break from working full time, it was all about me…I was on empty and I needed a lot of “me” time to get filled up again and gain a positive outlook on life. I was anxious beginning a new job, wondering will my serving attitude come back or would I have a constant struggle between serving others and serving myself. The transformation was amazing and I’m able to be a witness again.

“…As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” John 20:21. We are all on a mission to be His witness to the great love and grace He gives us every day. Just as Jesus was sent for a purpose, so are we, to reveal God and tell of His good news. To do this there is no need to stand in the middle of a busy intersection shouting how you are saved, but reflect on those times that God has shown up in your life and SHARE.

With our world full of busyness and anxiety, people are searching for hope and peace. As we understand more about becoming a worshiper, servant and a witness we can start to change the world. As we begin or continue our disciple walk, we will bring hope to others and sometimes not even realize the lives we have changed. God knows where you are today, and He knows how to get you where you need to be. Trust Him and follow His lead.