Sherri's Message
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December 3, 2015, 12:00 AM

December 3, 2015

Mary said yes.

My favorite portrayal of the Annunciation is Henry Ossawa Tanner's painting.  I love how Mary perches on the edge of her bed. In her face you can see her mulling over the Angel's words, trying comprehend all that is being told to her.

Every Advent I'm reminded of Mary's willingness to say yes to God.  I'm convinced she could have said no, confirming that God does not insist but instead invites us into the unfolding of the Kingdom.

What is God inviting you to do today to share God's love and grace with the world? Will you be bold enough to say yes, even if you don't understand all of the ramifications of your actions?

The world needs more people like Mary. 

Prayerfully yours,

Sherri

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November 5, 2015, 9:00 AM

November 5, 2015

Around this time of year our family starts asking, “What are we going to do for the holidays?”  It’s not often that we are all together, so Thanksgiving and Christmas are eagerly anticipated, not so much for the holiday, but just for us to be together as a family. 

This weekend and next we will gather together on the Cornerstone District for Regional Church Conferences.  I’ve been eagerly anticipating our time together! The main objective of our gathering is to worship and praise God, plus do a little business.  I hope you and your congregations plan to attend.

I appreciate you making this event a priority on your calendar.  It’s not often that we are able to get together to praise, pray and celebrate who we are as followers of Christ in the United Methodist tradition.

Please pray that these gatherings will be a Holy Spirit filled blessing to all who attend and to our churches and communities.  I look forward to seeing you soon.

Prayerfully yours,
Sherri

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October 29, 2015, 8:24 AM

October 29, 2015

Jesus said, “’Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”  Matthew 25:45

On Monday I had a meeting at Dunkirk First United Methodist Church.  Many of you know Willow Mission resides at the Dunkirk church.  As we held our meeting in the pastor’s office, we could hear people coming in to access the mission’s food pantry, household goods and clothing closet.  A variety of voices, including children and babies, could be heard as needs were met by caring volunteers.

In the four hours the mission was open on Monday, more than 50 families were served by the food pantry.  More than 20 of these families were first-time guests of the mission.  A quick tour of the mission revealed that the household goods section and the food pantry are severely depleted.  The mission is in need of basic household items, like cookware, dinnerware and small appliances.  The food pantry is in need of peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, pasta, mayonnaise, rice and canned fruit.

Fifty families would have gone hungry this week if it were not for Willow Mission.  Imagine if everyone in your church family had no food for the week… With the shelves bare, who will go hungry next week?

This week, please consider taking up a collection of either food or funds to purchase food for Willow Mission.  Please also consider taking up a collection of household goods. I know many of your churches have your own food ministries – but Willow needs your help. Let’s be connectional.  




October 22, 2015, 8:09 AM

October 22, 2015

"Lead me in your truth, and teach me." Psalm 25:5

I've been using a new devotional and each day the chapter ends with a "scripture to carry in your heart." The idea is to take the scripture with you and place it where it will remind you of what you've reflected on in your prayer time.

I've been writing my scripture on a Post-it and sticking it to the back of my cell phone - which may seem very old school, because I could type it into the notes app and refer to it there - but chances are I wouldn't. There's far too much to distract me - too many apps. I suppose there is a way to make the text pop up on the wallpaper, but I don't have the time or the energy right now to figure that out. 

The beauty of the Post-it is that I feel it when I pick up my phone, and it causes me to look at it and re-read the scripture - every time I pick up my cell phone - which can be many times a day. Feeling the text gets me out of my head and sends a different kind of reminder to stop, listen and reflect.

I've often been curious about phylacteries or Tefillin that observant Jews wear bound to their head and arm when they pray their weekday morning prayers. The small black leather boxes contain scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. The use of Tefillin is a literal way of living out Deuteronomy 11:8, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads." 

I wonder if writing the text on a Post-it and sticking it to your cell phone counts. I'm guessing that God would say, "Why not, if it works! Whatever it takes to keep your heart and mind on me."

It certainly has caused me to stop and ponder these questions today. Am I allowing the Lord to lead me? Am I seeking God's truth? Am I open and willing to be taught? How am I living the text out in my conversations and my interactions? 

I pray that today you will find ways to allow the Living Word of God to speak to your heart and mind and conform you into the likeness of Christ.

Prayerfully yours,
Sherri

 

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October 15, 2015, 12:00 AM

October 15, 2015

Earlier this week I had a few minutes to take a walk.  The air was warm, the sky was blue, the trees full of color and the dry leaves crunched under my feet.

In my head I heard the familiar words from Ecclesiastes 3 reminding us that there is a season for everything under the heavens.  I also thought about, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein." (Ps. 24:1).

We tend to think of holy places as space where we have encountered God. For some, that space is a sanctuary or a camp, for others a mountain vista or a beach.  Where are the high holy places you have encountered God?  Every place is a holy place, because it all belongs to God.

Wherever you find yourself this week, take a moment to look and listen for God and see the holiness there – and enjoy the season you find yourself in.

Prayerfully yours,
Sherri

 

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