Pb’s Blog

Few people are not impacted by violence of some kind, either directly or through a loved one. We often face the consequences of corruption in our offices, communities, governments and even in our churches. Evil has many faces and we may not always recognize it when it stares back at us. Regardless, we must remain vigilant and strong on the power of the Lord. Our enemy is out to get us, to undermine our faith and take us out of the race. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”. 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
When we face trials and temptations, we sometimes lose sight of what’s really going on. We question God and wonder why He’s allowing us to go through such difficulties. During these times, our enemy tries to use our feelings of doubt, fear and anxiety to undermine our faith.
Faith requires us not to dwell on our poor emotions and allow them to control our decisions and actions. God will always provide the power we need to get through any challenge. No matter how intimidating it seems, we can handle what’s ahead. You make be like David, facing a giant. Or Noah, facing a world of non-believers. Or Jonah, who didn’t want to.go and do. You can give in to those fears and doubts and run away or be devoured by the enemy. Or you can put on the armour of God, stand and fight and survive. As disciples, we never face a challenge alone – unless we choose to do it alone. How about you, today? Are you going to run and hide from the enemy? Or are you going to let the Lord strengthen and protect you from the Evil One? The choice is simple but the consequences are great. Choose wisely. Have an amazing day! 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

Good Grief!  It’s December ALREADY?!!?!?   I will never be ready for Christmas!  There’s so much to do.
We can get ourselves worked up over silly things, can’t we?  Today, I want to remind us all to be attentive to the important things and not worry so much about the other stuff.  Like Christmas Cards, Cookies and baking.  Decorating.  All part of the season, but not the truly important.  Gift shopping and giving.  Clearly the most important thing for many people.  But we need to remember the greatest gift.  The greatest gift we received is the birth of this child known as Jesus.  With his birth, things we set in motion which would guarantee our eternal life.  Don’t get me wrong – new stuff under the tree is nice.  But that stuff breaks, gets worn out, loses its interest.  But eternal life?  Now that’s a pretty awesome gift.  The gist of today is this.  Focus on the important things – faith, family, friends.  If God is first in your day, the rest of it all falls into place.  Hey! It’s December already!  Get BUSY – on the important stuff.  Peace.   Pb.
 
 
Yup.  It’s been a while.  Life has a way of getting busy – even for Pastor’s who “only work one or two hours a week”.  We are now on the eve of Lent – a season of forty days starting on Ash Wednesday, February 14th and ending on Holy Saturday.  “Lent” means “Spring” and has come to be a time of preparation for Christians world-wide.  We’ve all had those folks who tell us we have to “give up” something for Lent each year (chocolate, tv, coffee!); but that’s not the point.  Lent prepares us for the mystery of The Great Three Days – sundown on Holy Thursday through sunset Easter Day.  We change (or repent in theological terms), we prepare for the death and burial and celebrate in the resurrection of Christ. 
But that is the end of Lent.  We start the season with a feast – on Shrove (or Fat) Tuesday you are invited to the church for a huge “breakfast for dinner” – February 13 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m for $9.00 – all you can eat pancakes and fixins!  It prepares us to fast in Lent!
Join us for food on Tuesday, ashes on Wednesday and preparation and change all the Lenten Season.  Want to learn more?  Come check us out.  Peace.  Pb

Well,this week saw snow and wind and rain and now sun and warm.  It must be SPRING!  Before you know it, we will be complaining about the heat, amen? Before the heat of summer, however, comes Easter!  This weekend we celebrate both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday.  Palm Sunday is when Jesus enters the city on a donkey to a huge parade.  Passion Sunday is when Jesus leaves the city, beaten, battered, crucified and dead.  Wow, what a week!  And you think you week is tough! Join is this week at LNUMC for a variety of services.  We have a 24 a day vigil starting on Thursday at 5 and going through Easter Sunday Morning.  We have services on Thursday, two on Friday and Three on Sunday.  Check out the website for times and details.It’s not about having a ton of services and things to do.  It’s about remembering what makes us Disciples, what makes us Christians, what is means to be a Believer.  Really, Easter is BIGGER than Christmas in our faith.  Because, honestly, if you don’t believe Jesus came from the grave three days after hewas crucified, you don’t believe.  The whole “Christian” thing is a big fake.  I, for one, know its’ not.  How about joining me and my family (the Long Neck UMC Family), and let us show you how we know?  See you soon. Peace.  Pb 

 
This is it!  Starting March 29th, we enter the true Easter Season!  Thursday is called Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday – the time when Jesus gives us a new commandment.  Love.  Go figure.  And we learned about Communion and service.  Tonight we gather in the Sanctuary at 7:00 for a service, communion and symbolic foot washing – all to remind us of what happened in the life of Jesus just before his death.  On Friday, there will be two services – noon and 6:30 – to remember the last day of Christ’s life.  And then – on Sunday – the celebration really kicks off!  We celebrate Easter and the Resurrection.  I know.  A lot of church words.  But don’t let the words keep you from worship.  The worship experience is one which you will not soon forget.  Join us.  It will forever change your life.  Peace

May is here!  Summer can’t be that far away, right?  Boats are going in the water.  Folks are opening their summer homes.  Motor homes are streaming down Long Neck Road.  And man, aren’t the locals complaining already!
Isn’t it funny?  We spend all winter waiting and wishing for summer to get here – and then we spend all summer wishing and wanting the tourists to go home!
The human condition seems to be that – regardless of where we are – we are rarely happy.  We are looking back to what happened in the past or we are looking forward to what is about to come.  So busy worrying or projecting, we can’t enjoy the “present”.  
Our summer will be full at LNUMC.  We will have three or four concerts in the Sanctuary – stay tuned.
We will have sales and festivals, sunday school events, kids and adults.  And we can’t ever forget the fun we have (kids of ALL ages) at Vacation Bible School!  
Just because we are on “vacation” from school, work and perhaps other responsibilities, doesn’t mean we are on vacation from worship.  Can you imagine if God answered your prayers and said ‘ “I’m sorry; I’m on vacation.  I can’t help you!”  That would seem so unfair, wouldn’t it?  But yet, we seem perfectly content to skip church for a week, a month or a summer – claiming we are so busy or something else.  I just took a vacation.  I had arranged for a wonderful pastor to be on stand by for emergencies.  And yet, there were those who were upset I wasn’t here 24/7.  
As we move into the summer season, let’s not forget worship.  God doesn’t forget you when the weather is nice – or not so nice.  Why do we put Him on the shelf and bring him our once in a while or in the Fall when there isn’t anything else to do?
Go.  Enjoy your summer.  Come to God’s house every sunday.  He’d love to see you!  Peace.  pb  
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” Proverbs 17:1.
Experts tell us that we live in one of the most affluent times in all of history. But even when we live in abundance, many of us still arent satisfied. We have enough food, clothes, homes and cars, but not enough peace, joy, security and love. Even then, we still look for fulfillment in the pursuit of more money, status-worthy possessions and more prestigious titles.
For most of us, this only produces more stress, anxiety and the burdens of responsibility. This, in turn, reinforces what is truly missing – the peace that comes from serving something larger than Yourself, and the grace of the Lord.
Maybe what we are truly looking for can’t be found in another gadget or toy, or app, or the latest purchase. Maybe we actually need fewer gadgets and possessions – to gain more peace. Today, search your heart for whats missing in your life. Whats missing? We have to be out best . Whats missing? You are!” Peace. Pb