We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

Time to Celebrate!

For well over a year now, this “Thrive Project” has been on my heart and mind.  Believing that our church was healthy enough and ready to take on this challenge, we started planning and preparing many months ago.  And here we are!  This coming Sunday we will be announcing the results so far!  I’m really excited!

There are so many people to thank.  The Thrive Leadership Team is the group that I’ll begin with.  They have given countless hours to this work.  Kevin Franklin and Bob Inskeep as Co-Chairs, Kathryn Dailey as Events Coordinator, Natasha Stracener as Media Coordinator, Pam Aiken and Krista Sipe as Spiritual Direction Chairs, Betsy Humphries as Administrative Chair, Erin Franklin as Communications Team Leader, Chris and Liz Alleman as Children’s Chairs and Keith and Jennifer Martin as Youth Chairs, all have been a great blessing.  Our terrific staff: Emily Bumann, Tabitha Sarver, Dana Belcher, Pam Hegedus, Karen Terpenning, Jesse Smith, Cameron Floyd and Alex Frizzell have all contributed in so many ways.  My heart overflows with gratitude for each of these people and their contributions to this work.

And to so many of you!  Thank you for attending the presentations!  We hope you enjoyed them!  And we thank you for making your commitment to this important work.  We knew going in that alongside the benefit of your investment would be the opportunity to clarify our vision and celebrate the ways that God is already doing wonderful work here.  Because we are impacting over 1,000 lives a week we have many who now are wanting to further the ways we are making a difference in Huntersville and beyond.  The work of “Creating Authentic Christian Community” is alive and well because of you!

This Sunday we will announce the results so far and will be celebrating by offering the Sacrament of Holy Communion!  No, it is not a first Sunday (when we usually observe the Sacrament), but we believe this is an important time for our family to gather around the table of the Lord in gratitude for his faithfulness and goodness.  God’s good work in you brings us to this table, remembering our blessings and celebrating our future.  And then, we eat CAKE!  Join us in the Fellowship Hall for a celebratory piece of cake as we further connect lives together. 

May God continue to bless the ministry of Huntersville United Methodist Church as we seek to live faithfully the good news of Jesus Christ!  Praise be to God!

Determining Value

Matthew 6:21
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
This statement from Jesus is one of the most poignant verses he speaks into my experience. The statement gets to the very core of my struggle. It reveals so much about me, maybe all of us, as humans. The problem is, how do we assess where our treasures are? Can we be true to ourselves and God, thinking we treasure certain things, when the evidence dictates otherwise?
 
Here’s a way to determine where our treasure is, or in other words, to determine what we value. We examine:
Our calendar (what we spend our time doing)
Our bank account (what we spend our money on)
Our decisions (who we speak to, ignore, placate, aggravate)
Our conversations (uplifting or gossipy, truth-telling or political)
 
It is true, actions speak louder than words, and in the end, what we do really matters more than what we say we believe. How are you doing in valuing the things that really matter, versus the things that make for comfort and ease, pleasure and entertainment?
 
As we enter into this third week of our Thrive Project, allow yourself time to examine and ponder where your treasures are. We think we have “needs” when in actuality we have “desires.” I am asking God to reveal my self-deceptions, and wonder if you might dare to pray for the same thing from God? How might we ask him to help us to see that the things we do with our time, our energies, our words, and, yes, our money, really do reveal the things we value the most?
 
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you are to be treasured above all things. Your grace and mercy, revealed in your self-giving of yourself for the world, showed that you truly value us. Make us mindful of the ways that we are not treasuring that which is good and right, and help us to turn our hearts to yours. Amen.

Pray with Simplicity

Matthew 6:5-15 (The Message-Eugene Peterson)
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.
14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount)
 
Are you praying? I hope you are following my lead and are setting aside time daily to pray for our Thrive Project. I have set an alarm on my phone for 8:00 a.m. as a reminder for my prayer time. Would you set your alarm for a specific time every morning to pray specifically for this work?
 
But, how do we know what to pray for? Fortunately, Jesus knew our struggles and has given us models of praying to follow. Notice the one in the scripture lesson for today is a different version of the “Lord’s Prayer.” I think Eugene Peterson does an excellent job of modernizing this prayer for us today. First, pray simply and in the quietness of a still, calm environment. This helps us with distractions and stills the mind and spirit.
 
Second, we don’t have to even know what exactly to ask for! Isn’t that good news? Just be honest before God and recognize your ultimate need for His presence. And third, recognize that prayer is a beginning point for change in us, not God. We don’t have to convince God by the fervor or veracity of our prayers to do good for us. God loves us, and wants what’s best for us. So, we pray simply: God, you are good and you want good in and from us. Help us. Help us recognize the blessings we already have. Help us discern the ways you may be asking us to modify our behaviors. And finally, help us to see that in the end all will be well because you will make it so. In the meantime, show us the things that are good and right in your eyes for THIS day.
 
For this Thrive Project, Lord, lead us to find ways to participate in your saving work you are accomplishing in this very place, for the sake of your Kingdom and for the blessing of the world. Amen.

Begin with Prayer

Matthew 7:7-12 (MSG)

7-11 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

12 “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get."

As we begin this “Thrive Project”, it begins with prayer.  We have been praying for months now as to how to accomplish this daunting task.  Several months ago, I decided to set a reminder on my cell phone every day at 8:00 a.m. to “pray for God’s guidance.”  I invite you to join me.

Maybe you would be willing to set a reminder for yourself to pray every day?  Set it on your phone, or your calendar, or your refrigerator, whatever works for you.  I ask that you hear these words from scripture that tell us to pray for what we are asking from God directly!  We can be bold in believing that God wants to bless us and I am convinced God wants to bless this project.  Will you join me in prayer?

“Gracious God, hear our prayer, asking that you will lead us to faithfulness and right living, and that you will accomplish your perfect will in and through all of our lives.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen."