Monday, March 17, 2008

Cadet Ball

It has been many years since I attended a high school dance, but on February 29th, I did. My son is a cadet in a NJROTC program, and they asked me to be the keynote speaker. I'm not sure if their first choice backed out, or if they just couldn't find anyone else to do it, so I agreed.

I have been speaking to a good number of community groups lately, including Civitans and Rotary. I'm scheduled for Lion's Club and a few other groups in the near future. I always jump at the chance to get McEachern's name out to the public. Anytime our leaders or staff are associated with worthwhile community events is a plus for our congregation as far as I am concerned.

So, it was time to dust off the dress blues and speak to a group of high schoolers who had no interest in hearing me speak! They are a great group of value driven young men and women, and I was proud to talk with them, and even dance a little bit.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Atlanta Tornado


Updates will be posted to:
Saturday, March 15, 2008 – 5:15 p.m.Rev. Mike SelleckI’m writing to give readers a quick update of where things stand with the storms yesterday and today. Please note: This data is time sensitive and reflects what has been passed to us at this point.Friday Night Damage--UPDATE From the daylight photos on the news, we can see there is going to be a good amount of cleanup in the downtown area of Atlanta. Prior to checkpoints being set up, Associate Connectional Ministries Director, Rev. Shari Rates was inside the storm corridor early this morning taking photos and assessing the damage. She will be providing us with personal accounts of what will be needed in the days and weeks ahead. Rev. Byron Thomas of Central UMC reports that, despite the fact they are very close to the Georgia Dome, they only received power outages and no wind damage. Saturday Damage UPDATE--Saturday 5:15pm Violent storms continue even at the time of this email. The folks at Aragon UMC were caught in the midst of their Easter egg hunt, but took refuge inside the building--all are fine. There is reportedly a heavy amount of damage in Cedartown. Due to power outages, District Superintendent, Jacquie Rose Tucker, is still trying to learn what the status of things are in that area. Dr. Warren Lathem, District Superintendent of the Atlanta Marietta Distinct, has heard no report of damages in his area.Accessibility UPDATE--Saturday 5:15pm Conference Disaster Relief Committee Chairperson, Mr. Mike Yoder, is on the job. He and a few of additional committee members are in contact with Georgia Emergency Management as well as FEMA and are being apprised of any changes or requests for assistance. According to officials, “all volunteers are being asked to stand down and stay away especially in downtown Atlanta." They request as few people in the area until the storms pass and assessments can be made! Much of the Atlanta area clean up from last night is being done by qualified and properly equipped city crews; car removal, tree cutting, power restoration, rubble pick-up, etc. What is needed--UPDATE--Saturday 5:15pm At the moment we’re asking that you simply be prepared to assist when notification of assistance is issued early next week.Trained crews of UM “early response” volunteers are at the ready if needed. If you have not been trained in early response, please don’t make plans to just show up and see if you can help. One of the lessons from the Katrina and Rita storms is that untrained and unequipped volunteers often become a secondary disaster in an already chaotic situation. Significant steps have been taken to keep random groups of unqualified (untrained as first responders) teams out of a disaster any disaster area.Remember that our strength as a denomination has always been long term recovery – helping people put their lives back together over the months ahead, long after television crews, helicopters, and photographers have moved on. If you are not ready for “early response” work, know there will be many opportunities for all types of volunteers to assist in the recovery phases.If you need to report damage, heed this process: Pastors -- call your D.S.D.S.’s -- call Mike SelleckMike Selleck – call appropriate Disaster Committee folks.(If you’re interested in ‘early response’ or ‘recovery’ training for future disasters, log onto the Conference web site, drill down to Disaster Response, and make plans to get you and a team of folks qualified.)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Finances and Tithing

I did not realize what would happen as a result of our sermon on giving yesterday.

A little background for you who were not there: During Lent I am preaching a series on the spiritual disciplines. The first week in Lent the sermon was on Bible reading and study. Subsequent weeks were on prayer and worship. Yesterday the sermon was on giving and the biblical standard of giving 10% of our income, or the tithe.

At the end of the sermon I said that many of us are not able to tithe because of the debt in which we have placed ourselves. I have taught my children that if they give God 10%, save 10%, live on the other 80% and do not borrow money, they will not only never have financial problems - they will be rich.

I have been inundated with requests by church members to meet regarding their personal finances. I am not a financial expert by any means. However, I can refer you to two programs that we use at McEachern and that I endorse wholeheartedly.

The first is Crown Financial Ministries. You can find more information about them here.

The second is Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. If you are in debt up to your eyeballs, need help setting up a budget, and want to be inspired by others who have done what you feel you can never do, this is the website for you. I am a big Dave Ramsey fan. We will be offering his Financial Peace University here at McEachern starting in the fall. You can start now by following his baby steps and listening to him on 640 WGST from 3-7 p.m. on weekdays.

Most of all, I want our congregation to find real financial peace. It does not come from following our culture's way of going into debt to buy "stuff". It comes from what John Wesley instilled in the early Methodists: "make all you can, save all you can, so you can give all you can". That's true peace, and abundant joy.