2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue XI November 2016
FROM THE PASTOR
The campaign is over. 2016 is drawing to an end. Yet the raw emotions and too often nasty words and actions by some continue. While this is deeply regrettable, it does offer the opportunity for the church to model how people in general and Christ-followers in particular should act toward each other, regardless of whether their candidate won or lost, whether they are hopeful or fearful.
Behind our Welcome Center is a framed copy of John Wesley’s Guidelines for Christian Conferencing. He developed these for the members of his early Methodist societies and classes and they are as appropriate or possible even more so for us now and as we move into a new year.
1. Respect others, as Jesus would have done when He was here on earth.
2. Pray for others as well as yourself, especially those with whom you disagree.
3. Listen to others before thinking about what you want to say in response.
4. Understand what others are saying so clearly that you could accurately state their view.
5. Share your own point of view with grace and humility, as well as honesty and candor.
6. Focus your comments on issues being discussed, not on persons expressing them.
7. Commit yourself to the unity of the Spirit, seeking consensus whenever possible.
8. Give the time needed to work through the process in which you are engaged.
9. Acknowledge that you may be wrong, even when you think you are right.
10. Allow the fruit of the Spirit to permeate your way of interacting with others: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I encourage us at every opportunity to read these guidelines aloud at the beginning of very small group, class, committee, board and council meeting and to practice them in church and outside. It will make a difference in us and then we can make a difference in our community and beyond.
See you in church!
In Christ and in hope,
It’s time to order poinsettias!!! Check your bulletin or at the welcome center for order forms. All orders need to be turned into the office by Dec. 12th. The cost is $9. The poinsettias will help decorate our sanctuary for the Christmas season and will be yours to take home after Christmas.
Angel Tree gives us the opportunity to provide gifts for persons referred from the Portage Trustees Office. Here’s how it works:
• Select an angel from the tree
• Purchase the gift suggested for that person’
• Wrap the gift.
• Label the gift with Angel Number
• Bring gift to church and place it under the tree
It is very important to label the gift with the angel number!
Thank you in advance for your generosity and compassion.
END OF THE YEAR GIVING
2016 will end on Saturday, December 31. If you wish to have your giving recorded for 2016, it must either be received by us or postmarked on or before December 31, 2016. Giving received or postmarked after that date will have to be recorded as 2017 contributions regardless of the date on the check.
Children & Youth
All students grades Kindergarten -12th are invited to join us for Mission Possible Kids and Youth Group
December 4 - Christmas Caroling 12:30-3 pm
December 11 - Regular Meeting 12:30-2 pm, we will be shopping for Angel tree items
Noon Year’s Eve Party
Middle School & High School students are invited to join us to celebrate the New Year at NOON with crafts, games, and snacks. December 31 at noon
PRISON MINISTRY UPDATE
During this holiday season please pray for the incarcerated. It is especially hard for those separated from their families during this time of year. Westville Correctional Facility is still in need of pants preferably jeans, all sizes. Coats, all sizes and tennis shoes sizes 9 - 13 new or gently-used are okay. Please know that each offender we see each week is aware that our church, Portage First cares and prays for them as we bring hope! Trust me, they certainly appreciate that!
We want them all to know that they are not forgotten or throw away people but God has a purpose and a plan and a future for their lives, just like he does for you and me. It's God's call to us to bring them that hope! We see hearts softened and changed for Christ weekly if you are ever feeling a tug on your heart like we have, you may want to go behind the Prison Walls on a Wednesday night with us to see what we're talking about, please don't hesitate to contact anyone on the PFHOPE prison team Steve Masson, Wendy Smith, Melissa Sullivan or Mike Matthew. You may go with us up to two times to just observe with no commitment, if you feel like this would be something for you then you could join our team! If not, that's ok too, but at least you can see for yourself how it is possible that you may have had some misconceptions about these men or what we do on a regular basis and you can definitely see how we are blessed weekly! Give the gift of hope for Christmas come join us!! May God's peace be with you as we celebrate His son's birthday together!
A NEW PRISON OPPORTUNITY
Have you ever sat in church, your car, or you are favorite chair and thought..."Lord is there something more you want me to do for you?"
On Saturday November 12th Melissa Sullivan and I attended an informational meeting at the Heartland Church on Route 49 near Kouts Indiana this is a new prison ministry to our area called "Behind the Walls". It originated in Duncanville, Texas and is moving rapidly throughout the U.S. with remarkable results in reducing the recidivism rate, (the rate of an offender's relapse and criminal activity resulting in returning to jail.)
This nationally known Ministry named Behind the Walls Ministry is starting up in Valparaiso. For more than forty years, Bill Glass founder of Behind the Walls, has empowered volunteers to experience firsthand what it's like to lead inmates to a life-changing decision for Christ.
Are you ready to do some time for God? See what thousands of volunteers experience each year, that there's no safer place to share the Gospel than in prison!
Men and women alike can help with a Bill Glass local team and it is being organized now for a Behind the Walls event in September of 2017.
If this is something that interests you in the least, please consider there's many hours behind the scenes done by a group of volunteers known as the "ownership team" this is where you come in. You can be part of this. There are many areas that we could use your help such as prayer team, Finance team, promotion and recruitment, Hospitality, transportation, facility Tech, banquets, and media/tech. Groups are forming now! Contact Steve Masson at 742-0926 for more information. Or go to www.behindthewalls.com
Let's face it! God doesn't want us to sit on the sidelines.
He commands us to share our faith with the "least of these".
So, do some time...FOR GOD!
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
9:30 am Friday, December 2nd
Food Fellowship Fun
Ladies, Remember to bring a bag of "goodies"
to share for decorating our gingerbread houses.
Drop and Shop
PARENTS! Looking for time to shop without the kids? Friday December 9th, bring your children (ages 3-12) to church where we will enjoy games, snacks, stories, movie time and a Secret Santa shop* from 6-8:30 pm. * Please send your child with money to purchase gifts for their family. Nothing will cost more than $1. Important! All children who are left here after 8:30 pm will be given extra sugar and possibly a shot of espresso.
Give the perfect gift. Give blood! The next blood drive will take place Friday, December 16th from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Please call 1-800-Red-Cross or go to redcrossblood.org, sponsor code “fumcport” to schedule your blood donation appointment. You can also download the Blood Drive Donor App if you have a smartphone.
Occurring near the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, this service offers emotional and spiritual support to those coping with grief over the holidays, whether from the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, illness or other challenges.
The Longest Night Service provides a place of healing and comfort in a caring and supportive environment during what can be a difficult time of year for many people. The service will consist of scripture, prayer, poetry and music.
Come early or stay afterwards for light refreshments.
Dec. 4 Kate Blakely & Ethan Keehn
Dec. 11 Kate Blakely & Emma Davidhizar
Dec. 18 Pam Parks & Clara Harbart
Dec. 25 No Children’s Church
Ring the Bell for the Salvation Army!
“O the weather outside is frightful…” which is usually the case on the days Portage 1st volunteers to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. Hopefully that won’t be the case again this year but just in case, bundle up as you volunteer one hour to stand outside Town and Country Markets on Central Ave. The Salvation Army is a place where we can be sure those who come to us for assistance can find help. Their red-kettle campaign is their largest fundraiser each year. Dates this year are Saturday, Dec. 17 and Monday, Dec. 19. We have both morning, afternoon and evening hours. You will be surprised by the number of friends and neighbors you will see. May your serving brings to light the love of Christ.
Check the sign up sheet on the connection center to sign up!
December 4 Worship at 8:30, 10:00 & 11:30 AM
Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
Second Sunday of Advent Pastor Mark
A Mother’s Heartbreak
December 11 Worship at 8:30, 10:00 & 11:30 AM
Third Sunday of Advent Pastor Mark
Not A Silent Night
AGGRAVATED, AMAZED & ASTONISHED
December 18 Worship at 8:30, 10:00 & 11:30 AM
Fourth Sunday of Advent Pastor Mark
Not A Silent Night
Luke 1: 26-38
December 21 Worship at 7:00 PM
Longest Night Service
This service will provide hope and comfort for people
facing the holidays after the death of a loved one or some other deep personal loss such as the loss of a job or the end of a relationship when “Jingle Bells” and “Ho, Ho, Ho!” ring hollow.
December 24 Worship at 7:00 & 10:00 PM
Christmas Eve Pastor Mark
Not A Silent Night
IT WASN’T A SILENT NIGHT IN THE STABLE
While people of all ages are welcome at either or both services, the earlier service will be more family-friendly in terms of music and other worship elements. We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper at the later service. We will have the traditional candle lighting at both services.
December 25 Christmas Pastor Mark
We will have one (1) service only at 10:00 AM
Children are welcome to bring their favorite
Christmas Gift for a time of blessing and thanksgiving.
SAME BOOK, SAME PAGE READINGS FOR DECEMBER
We are challenging ourselves to read through the Bible in 2016. The page numbers for the following daily readings are from the paperback New Living Translation Bibles available at no cost to the readers.
December 1 1 Corinthians 9-11 pp 689-690
December 2 1 Corinthians 12-14 pp 690-692
December 3 1 Corinthians 15-16 pp 692-693
December 4 2 Corinthians 1-4 pp 694-695
December 5 2 Corinthians 5-9 pp 696-698
December 6 2 Corinthians 10-13 pp 698-699
December 7 Acts 20:1-3, Romans 1-3 pp 668, 675-677
December 8 Romans 4-7 pp 677-679
December 9 Romans 8-10 pp 679-681
December 10 Romans 11-13 pp 681-683
December 11 Romans 14-16 pp 683-684
December 12 Acts 20:4-23:35 pp 668-671
December 13 Acts 24-26 pp 671-673
December 14 Acts 27-28 pp 673-674
December 15 Colossians 1-4, Philemon pp 711-713, 726
December 16 Ephesians 1-6 pp 704-707
December 17 Philippians 1-4 pp 708-710
December 18 1 Timothy 1-6 pp 719-721
December 19 Titus 1-3 pp 724-725
December 20 1 Peter 1-5 pp 738-740
December 21 Hebrews 1-6 pp 727-729
December 22 Hebrews 7-10 pp 729-732
December 23 Hebrews 11-13 pp 732-734
December 24 2 Timothy 1-4 pp 722-723
December 25 2 Peter 1-3, Jude pp 741-742, 748
December 26 1 John 1-4 pp 743-745
December 27 2 John, 3 John pp 746-747
December 28 Revelation 1-5 pp 749-751
December 29 Revelation 6-11 pp 751-754
December 30 Revelation 12-18 pp 754-757
December 31 Revelation 19-22 pp 757-759
If you completed reading through the Bible with us this year, please let us know!
By: Bud Gray
The sound of Santa's voice,
The pounding of reindeer hooves
Fade with the light of day
Atop worldwide roofs.
His Christmas rounds complete,
Santa tumbles into bed
With thoughts of Baby Jesus' birth
Swirling through his head.
It's Christmas Day.
God so loved every nation,
He gave them Jesus, His only son
To guide then to salvation.
Rejoice! The birth of our Savior
On this most holy day
Is God's most sacred gift
To help us find our way.
First Friday Fellowship
We will meet on Friday, December 2nd, 5pm at El Salto Mexican Restaurant 757 Indian Boundary Rd. Chesterton, IN. Please R.S.V.P to Sandra Robinson at 764-8433.
Come continue the advent celebration Sunday December 4 at the 8:30 and 10:00 service for the annual Cantata. This year the choir will usher the congregation to witness the exuberance of the shepherds, the peace of Mary, and the redeeming love of the Christ child as they sing "Lead Me Back to Bethlehem"
Happy December Birthday to…
01 Ivy Parker 12 Savannah Riley 20 Jennifer Costello
01 Connie King 12 Marcie Jordan 21 Maria Cheeks
01 Lynn Liesch 14 Darren Warne 21 Karen Helmecy
01 Aaron Massow 15 Bobbi McCoy 23 Teresa McKiddy
02 Sarah Stein 15 Bill Miller 23 Ava Brubaker
02 Deb Massow 16 Shirley Miller 23 Abigail Seberger
05 Don Strohl 16 Steve Davenport 26 Bonnie Grochowski
06 Karen Bridges 17 Jordan Romanov 28 David Coffey
06 Pat Morris 18 Liam Stein 29 Lillian Karsten
06 Andrew Brown 19 Annie Alvarado 30 Virginia Torbitt
08 Rosemary Schest 20 Carl Miller 30 Kathy Wilson
09 Ray Nadolski 20 Dick Samuelson
Happy December Anniversary to…
04 Nathan & Amber Welch 19 Pat & Jennifer Costello
12 Ron & Dianna Cutler 27 Dan & Bobbi McCoy
18 Mike & Connie King 28 Jim & Sue Nickerson
19 Bruce & Kathy Wilson 30 Ron & Melinda Metz