Pb’s Blog

Now THIS is summer!  Vacation Bible School is in full swing.  Mighty Fortress is happening every night this week from 6:00 until 8:30 p.m.  If you have kids, visit our amazing Vacation Bible School session!  And for many of us, summer starts when the Delaware State Fair opens – which is also this week.  I remember spending many a summer week at the Delaware State Fair when I was a kid.  That was before casinos, sidewalks, air conditioning, and new, modern barns.  Hoses served both as showers and water fountains for humans and animals alike.  Kids slept in the barns with their animals on bales of hay, chairs or hammocks strung up somewhere.  Adults were few and far between.  The Grove was THE place to gather, eat, talk, worship – everything.  What happened?  The State Fair is different today.  More big name concerts and acts.  More amenities. More concrete.  Less good, old time fun.
But the fair isn’t the only thing that has changed.  The world around the fair has changed.  Summer is now an excuse not to attend worship, not to participate in church events – and maybe not even have church events because everyone is on “vacation”.  Everyone?    We can look back and reminisce about the “good old days”.  We can mourn over “how much things have changed”.  We can condemn the “kids” of today.  Instead, how about we set about making things better?  Let’s set the example for our young people.  Don’t skip worship just because you have company or because it’s summer.  Don’t skip the fair because it’s hot and smelly.  When you think about it, the fair and church can both be hot and smelly, amen?  Whatever you do this summer, don’t forget where you came from.  What was and is important.  Traditions.  Consistency.  Don’t run away from what was and avoid what is. 
Enjoy July.  Go to the Fair.  And go to worship.  The beach, the boats, the water, the company – they will all be there.  Heck – they might not even notice you are gone!  Peace  pb.
Mighty Fortress – the Vacation Bible School program used at LNUMC this summer – was a huge success!  For five nights, our entire campus was transformed from a church facility to a castle and all the associated structures.  Each night, young people entered the Castle for opening services and were then dispatched off to hear stories, compete in games, create crafts and – most importantly – be FED!  From everything I saw, the young people had a GREAT week.  And I noticed something else as well.  The adults seemed to have just as much fun.  It is amazing how hanging out with a bunch of young people having fun at a church can liven up even the oldest church member!  We had 80 plus year olds creating snacks in the kitchen – and having a blast!  So what, you ask?  Here’s so what.  First, LNUMC created a safe space for young people to come learn about the Kingdom of God.  Second, the folks who helped out were fulfilling the mission of our church – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  I had a mother of a four year old tell me how she was surprised to have conversations about God with her young child!  Next, the adults left tired – even exhausted – but strangely warmed and fulfilled each night.  Many have said that the concept of a summer vacation Bible school is outdated.  It may be somewhere – but NOT here!  Thanks to Tori Gaudioso who served as Director and put together an amazing team.  Thanks to Michelle and Ed Stricker for opening and closing each night.  And thanks to the countless adults who made it all possible.  We thank the folks who entrusted their children to us for a few hours each night.  We thank the kids for coming.  But mostly, we thank God for the opportunity to serve as a small piece of the kingdom of heaven here on earth, at the little place called Long Neck United Methodist Church.  Peace.  Pb.
We have started a new month – August.   And we are winding up a series entitled “Wicked Women Of The Bible”. based on the book by Ann Spangler.  I have really enjoyed this series – and I have learned a lot preparing for it.  It is amazing to me that – each time I read something – I can find a new twist, angle or view on even an old topic.  We looked at Eve, the Woman at the Well, Rahab, Gomer and Mary among others,  The final installment of the series if Sunday, August 6.  Come join us if you are able.
What’s funny is that the “old dog – new tricks” thing applies to most of my life.  I don’t agree with the saying “you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks”.  Maybe the old dog doesn’t want to learn, but that doesn’t mean we can teach em.  There is an equally good saying – “when the student is willing, the teacher will appear.”  I like that one better.  Life is full of learning opportunities.  Are you willing to learn?  Some of you say, “Hey PB – school is out for the summer; I don’t have to learn nuthin!”.  Others say, “Been there, done that”.  Still others say “Look.  I’ve been a Christian longer than you’ve been alive pastor; what can you show me?”  Each of these shows one thing – a person who has given up, either temporarily or permanently, on learning something new.  If you already know it all, come sit by me.  I’d like to pick your brain.  But it you still have a wee bit of space in your cranium, let’s try to learn it together, shall we?  See you in worship!  Peace. Pb 
We get rain and flooding in the Long Neck area.  Nothing like what we are seeing in Texas, Louisiana and the region.  We can’t just sit idly by and do nothing.  First, we pray for those impacted by this destruction.  We are also called upon to send what we can to help the recovery.  On Sunday, September 3 at both services, we will take a special offering for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.  We will take the collection and send it through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  We use UMCOR because 100% of what is raised is spent on the disaster.  No administrative expenses are taken from the donations.  So, on Sunday, bring what you can to contribute to these relief efforts.  If you wish to write a check, please make it payable to Long Neck UMC with the notation Disaster Advance 901670 in the memo section of the check.  We will then send all the funds generated to our Conference office for forwarding to UMCOR.  Anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated by those in need.  Peace.  Pb.
GREAT NEWS!  The single day offering for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts produced a total of $3,122.00 in donations!  Way to go LNUMC!  We will send this offering to the relief efforts through UMCOR to insure 100% gets to those in need.  Well done, Long Neck UMC!  Well done.  May God bless the giver and those who will receive!  Peace.  Pb