September 2017

As we come to September, our Church has met in several meetings finding out we are struggling financially and things haven’t been completed that should have been done long ago and we have several new issues to deal with in our church buildings.  Then Hurricane Harvey has struck a devastating blow to Texas and our hearts are heavy.  Yet through it all the most significant thing I have witnessed is people rising up to meet the need at hand.  Americans are fighters and they will survive!  We could also say that the Love of God and Country have elevated during these most difficult times.  In our own church we might say these are difficult times.  How we respond to situations declares our character.  Are we willing to do what it takes to stand strong and weather the storm before us?

Our response to both these situations are truly dependent on what we believe and what is most important to us.  This is what makes our response so powerful.  

As a body of Believers in Jesus Christ Linden UMC will take up an offering to aide people affected by Hurricane Harvey.  We will send it to our United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR). By this we know our monies and supplies will be used appropriately in helping the people in need.   Please continue to pray for this because it will remain with us for quite some time.  Furthermore, I would have you to search your hearts and give generously not only to Hurricane Harvey but think of your local giving to your own church which is too in a serious financial struggle.

As we read this scripture and pray I ask you to ask God, “What do I need to do for both of these situations.  Can I give more? Can I serve with my talent(s)?  Can I give more of my time? What can I do for the church to make it better?  How can I serve the LORD? How can I help my Brother or Sister?”

This scripture in Matthew came to my mind when thinking of this month’s newsletter. It is 

Matthew 25:14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them. 21 His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them. 23 His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.

24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours. 26 "But his lord answered and said to him, You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Judgement of the Gentiles  31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? 40 And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.

41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. 44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? 45 Then He will answer them, saying, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

After reading this scripture I pray GOD will speak to you in the depths of your heart to instruct you in what you are to do for HIS CHURCH AND HIS PEOPLE.   As the Linden/Jefferson Charge is diligently getting ready for our Annual Charge Conference, on September 24th at 6 PM at Linden this year, with meetings this month to make selections for people to serve her next year and set a budget for 2018.  I ask you to pray fervently for these meetings, for church leadership, and every person affected by Hurricane Harvey.  May GOD guide you in your efforts to help.  Have a wonderful month of ministry! 

In Christ Jesus,

Bro. Tony Antonelli, 2 Timothy 2:15

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