Midweek Message: Hoping They Get Dripped On

Midweek Message: Hoping They Get Dripped On

Dear Hyde Park Family,

 

One of my favorite comedians growing up was Paul Reiser, star of several 80s sitcoms and a very funny author. I remember reading his book Couplehood in college, and to this day I remember his reflections on showering:

 

I’ve discovered that while showering, the areas of our body that we spend the most time scrubbing are not necessarily the areas that need the most scrubbing. There’s a gap between Scrubbing Supply and Scrubbing Demand. For example, the mid-chest gets an awful lot of scrubbing. Right around the chest plate. We love scrubbing that chestal area. Now the fact is, nobody really ever has dirt there. You couldn’t get this part dirty if you wanted to. You’d have to come out of a pool and trip with your arms out. Or eat soup naked and fast. But we scrub there because it’s convenient. It’s nearby, it doesn’t take any effort, you can think about all the Things You Have To Do while you’re scrubbing. So we spend forty minutes scrubbing needlessly.
 
Your feet, however, which really need the attention, get nothing. Admit it. Your feet haven’t been scrubbed since you were in a bassinet. They’re just too far away. No matter how short you are, it’s not worth the effort. So you forget about them. “Well, they’ll get dripped on. They’ll be fine.”
 
I’ll admit it; I’m not the most diligent at scrubbing my feet every day, either.
 
Lately I’ve been thinking about Paul Reiser’s observations in relation to our four private spiritual practices, which are part of our discipleship pathway:
 

            G– Giving in a way that is joyous and generous
            R– Reading the Bible without fear or frustration
            I– Inviting others to Jesus in a way that is natural and not intimidating
            P– Praying with confidence and conviction

 

Developing the daily discipline to practice our “GRIP” requires intentionality and diligence, not unlike scrubbing our feet ever day. Most of the time, our tendency is to focus on the easier-to-reach practices, the ones that are more visible to others, like going to worship, being in a small group, and serving. Yes, those are all important, and we should be more faithful in practicing them.
 

But when we focus solely on those corporate practices, in the hopes that our private practices will somehow just get “dripped on,” we can settle for something less than the full work of God’s cleansing grace in our lives.
 
That’s why, as we live into our church’s vision for the future, we are emphasizing GRIP in each of our worship services moving forward. It is our hope that worship will not simply “give you what you want,” but will give you guidance on how to live “life as God intends it”, which is my favorite definition of the Kingdom of God.
 
Every sermon will be followed by a segment called “Strengthening Your GRIP”, and will give you practical next steps that you can take to grow in your giving, reading, inviting, and praying. Most Sundays in the sanctuary, that time will also include a reformatted, more participatory congregational prayer time, rather than just a preacher doing all the talking. It will model for you ways to pray that are rooted in Christian tradition, which you can practice throughout your week.

 

My conviction is that as we grow in our corporate practices (worship, small groups, service) and our personal practices (giving, reading, inviting, prayer), we will not only be more faithful followers of Jesus, and we will not just be a healthier church. We will be a greater witness to the world of what God’s love can do when it is made real for others.

Grace and Peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

 

PRACTICING EXTRAVAGANT GENEROSITY

Have you picked up your free daily devotional yet? We have been giving away Practicing Extravagant Generositya monthly devotional that will encourage you in your personal spiritual practices of giving, reading scripture, and prayer. Copies are still available in the church office. I took particular notice of the conclusion to last Monday’s reading:

“Through our generosity, God can do extraordinary things. Through our giving, God changes lives, and in changing them, transforms us.”

News from Love INC

News from Love INC

Amanda, a desperate daughter based in California, contacted First Baptist Church, seeking guidance on how to help her 50-year old mother, Yong, who was homeless, isolated and losing hope in Tampa. Per Amanda, “a very sweet lady from First Baptist suggested reaching out to Love INC for possible help for my mother.” The referral was made to the Help Center and the process began. Click here to keep reading.

Give the Gift of Life! Blood Drive Oct. 27

Give the Gift of Life! Blood Drive Oct. 27

Our Blood Drive this month is the same day as our Mission Celebration and Market on Sunday, Oct. 27, and the red Bus will be behind the Harnish Activities Center from 8 a.m. –1 p.m.

We have been learning to Get a GRIP over the past few weeks, and here is a way you can give: give blood and help save a life, and you will also receive a fun Halloween T-shirt!

This October, One Blood is celebrating Owen:

At only 12 weeks old, Owen was diagnosed with Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD). The condition severely compromised his immune system and its ability to fight off germs and infections, putting Owen in danger. To cure his disease, he needed a bone marrow transplant.

When he was just 1 year old, he was fortunate enough to find a perfectly matched bone marrow donor. Owen relied on blood and platelet donors to keep him alive while he waited for his transplant to take and allow his body to generate healthy new stem cells and blood cells.

“During his treatment, he received blood and platelets countless times,” said his grateful mother, Megan.
Thanks to his bone marrow donor and blood donors, today Owen is an active, happy and healthy 5-year-old who is medication free!

If you would like to schedule your appointment, click here, but walk-ups are always welcome.   Please bring a friend with you.

Mission Partner Judeo Christian Health Clinic Annual Report

Mission Partner Judeo Christian Health Clinic Annual Report

Dear Friends,

As you look at the enclosed annual report, representing the time period of July 1, 2018 – June 30 2019, you can clearly see the impact the Judeo Christian Health Clinic has in providing free, quality, timely, and compassionate healthcare to the uninsured of Tampa Bay.

None of the work done at the Clinic would be possible without the gifts of dedicated individuals and groups who give of their time, talent and resources.

We are so grateful and blessed for your continued support.

To view report, click here.

Midweek Message: Bloom Where You’re Planted

Midweek Message: Bloom Where You’re Planted

Dear Hyde Park Family,

I don’t remember the first time I ever heard the phrase “Bloom where you’re planted,” but the phrase has stuck with me. Basically, it’s an invitation to make the most of your circumstances and look for ways to turn the most miserable situation into an opportunity for growth.

The first person to use the phrase was St. Frances de Sales, a 17th century French Catholic bishop:

“Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”

It’s a lovely sentiment, made even more poignant when one considers the challenges that Frances himself had to overcome.

  • He failed at law school and decided to enter the priesthood instead, which surprised and disappointed his parents.
  • He was, by many accounts, a terrible preacher. When he preached, “The listeners thought he was making fun of them.” And people complained to the bishop that de Sales was “too conceited and controlling.”
  • He organized a missionary effort to Geneva, Switzerland, but only two people joined the team – him and his cousin.
  • As he tried to share the gospel, he had doors slam in his face and rocks thrown at him.
  • In the bitter winters, his feet froze so badly they bled in the snow, and one night he had to sleep in a tree to avoid wolves. He tied himself to a branch to keep from falling out and was so frozen the next morning he had to be cut down.
  • After three years of evangelizing, his cousin left him, and he had not made one convert.
  • Talk about a rough day at the office.

But de Sales did not quit, and he chose to bloom where he was planted. Because he could not get a face-to-face audience with people, he wrote his sermons down, reproduced them, and slid them underneath people’s doors. To this day, he is known as the patron saint of journalism because of his printed efforts. Slowly, his efforts warmed the hearts of the people of Geneva, and it is said that he returned to France having converted 40,000 of them to Catholicism.

Over time, throngs of people came to him to learn spiritual practices and how to live the Christian life. His book Introduction to a Devout Life, originally a collection of letters he wrote to common people seeking his direction, became widespread in its popularity all throughout Europe in 1608.

THIS SUNDAY: BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED

The prophet Jeremiah could have identified with St. Frances de Sales. He was writing to Hebrew exiles who were living in the misery of a foreign land. But the text for this Sunday reminds us that even in exile, we can practice the advice of Frances, and “bloom where we are planted.”

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce … seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:4-5 | Jeremiah 29:7)

Join us this Sunday as we continue our worship series “The Bright Side” with a reminder of how God’s power and presence enables us to do more than make the best of our situation. God can help us mature and even flourish amid our hard times.

EVERY TIME YOU FALL

In addition to coining the phrase “bloom where you’re planted,” Frances de Sales also wrote this helpful word of advice:

Do not look forward to the mishaps of this life with anxiety, but await them with perfect confidence so that when they do occur, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them. He has kept you up to the present; remain securely in the hand of his providence, and he will help you in all situations…. If you happen to do something that you regret, be neither astonished nor upset, but having acknowledged your failing, humble yourself quietly before God and try to regain your gentle composure. Say to yourself: “There, we have made a mistake, but let’s go on now and be more careful.” Every time you fall, do the same.

Wise words, indeed.

See you Sunday!

Grace and Peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

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