Twin Flames

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TWIN FLAMES

The Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church monthly publication



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Who is Your Conductor Today? by Sebastian

As a conductor I’m often preparing and studying scores in my free time (although, I must confess that my brain is automatically ‘studying’ all day) and as I’ve dived deeper into analyzing, deconstructing, and understanding the compositional elements that made masterpieces so effective at communicating, I realize how powerful music is… and how lucky we are to be surrounded by it every day.

THE ORIGIN OF MUSIC

Thomas Fretwell, Christian author, tell us how the Bible has registry of music existing even before the creation of the world. Music comes from God; it was heard when the foundations of the earth were laid and “the morning stars sang together” (Job 38:7). The throne room of God is full of angelic choirs and the sounds of songs from the heavenly hosts (Revelation 14:2-3). Just as the angelic hosts sang when Christ was born, we too are exhorted to “sing for joy to the Lord” (Psalm 95:1) and “to make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Music is a gift from God, one that is an overflow of His nature, and a beautiful way for us to praise Him. It testifies to the fact that God is Himself beautiful. Musical instruments and songs feature heavily throughout the pages of Scripture in conjunction with the worship of God.

This explains why Christianity has given rise to such an amazing array of musical creativity throughout history. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than with the classical composers of the Baroque period (1600-1750). This period gave rise to new styles such as the oratorio, the concerto, and the sonata. Composers such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi gave us some of the most beautiful music the world has ever heard. People have often made the connection between classical music and the spiritual, which is not surprising given the ecclesiastical origins of such music. There is an old saying, reportedly from the outside of a German opera house:

"Bach gave us God’s Word; Mozart gave us God’s laughter; Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words."

Whose spirit cannot be stirred by listening to J.S. Bach’s "Passion of St. Matthew," as he skillfully uses music to take the listener on an emotional journey through the Gospel story. There is a reason why Classic FM lists this as the number one piece that will change your life. Or what about the great "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel’s "Messiah Oratorio," that once brought a king to his feet and still captivates audiences 250 years after his death. Or Mozart’s "Requiem," written on his deathbed, a composition with such intensity that it seems to transport the listener to the impending death of its author.

THE CHIEF MUSICIAN

Until just this past September 2019, the world record for the largest orchestra was 8,076 musicians, achieved by Christian Television System and Music Home Orchestra, at Gocheok Skydome, Seoul, South Korea, on December 16, 2017.10 No matter how large the orchestra, it still needs a conductor to direct the music. It is the conductor’s job to bring to life the composer’s vision. Without him, there is no harmony to the music.

Life can be a little like this. Often, we like to be our own conductors, yet this path often leads to chaos, not harmony. King David repeatedly addressed his Psalms to the chief musician. A prophetic picture of Jesus Christ who is the chief conductor, orchestrating the countless members of the body of Christ around the world into a beautiful harmony as He brings to life the Father's will on earth.

Who is your conductor today?

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Family Ministry Fun by Erin

Normally at this time of year, I would be sharing with you about what our church’s youth and children did to celebrate Halloween, gearing up for our Fall Retreat at Camp Indianola, and advertising for our annual Turkey Bowl football game. But as we all are aware and experiencing, we’re still not yet back to “normal times”.

Even with the restrictions we follow to keep us safe, our children and youth ministries are carrying on as best we can in this abnormal season of ministry. At the end of October, Family Ministries hosted a Family Night Out at Whidbey Farm & Market (on Monroe Landing, across from the Blue Fox Drive-In). The families that joined us enjoyed roasting hot dogs and s’mores over the fire pit, exploring the market store, climbing the hay pyramid, and finding their way through the corn maze in the dark. We have not yet been ready to resume our full Wednesday night programming, but the Youth Group is regularly meeting in the Youth Room on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 for games, conversation, and Bible study.

While we don’t have as busy an event calendar as we have in the past for this time of year, we are still looking forward to a few events as we approach the holiday season. On December 5, the second Sunday of Advent, Family Ministries will host our annual Adventure to Christmas. This is a gathering for all ages, and will take place in Centennial Hall immediately following a shortened worship service. We will have several different stations offering crafts and activities for people to engage with and enjoy.

Our staff and leaders are planning a variety of events leading up to Christmas this year, so look for more information coming soon through the Sunday announcements and Thursday email.

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An Update from our Treasurer

As we prepare for our annual Stewardship Drive, which leads to our 2022 Annual Budget, I wanted to give you an update on the finances of the church. We are a very giving church and have always been able to cover our cost of operations. However, since July, Operating Income (which we call Current Expense Income) has declined significantly. Unfortunately, we are trending in the wrong direction. Our budget deficit is $15,000 through November with two months left in the year. We have asked Pastor David and the staff to keep spending at a minimum as we end this budget year. 

As Treasurer, I am concerned not only for the remainder of 2021, but also our financial stability as we move forward into 2022. Shortly, we will be asking for pledges and preparing the church’s operating budget for 2022. I ask you to prayerfully consider FUMC in your finances this holiday season, and again in the coming year. Thank you for all the ways you have sustained this church during trying times. We all love our church family and want to see us prosper again into good times!  

Blessings to all,

Jim Slowik, OHFUMC Church Treasurer

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Extravagant Generosity by Pastor David Parker

“Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can”

John Wesley

 

Beloved Friends,

 

The generous life is described by attributes such

as grateful, humble, selfless, content, sharing, caring, hopeful and concerned

(just to name a few). A person’s heart that has been shaped for generosity is

more likely to give out of every “account” found in their life. Their time,

talents, treasures, and testimonies are all arenas within which God calls us to

His benevolent, generous life.

 

John Wesley’s words of stewarding our life to

maximize “ALL” means, ways, places, times, and people for the greater good of

all is Heaven’s clarion call to stewardship (the planned and proactive

management and deployment of resources).

 

You and I will soon be receiving an opportunity to

make a pledge (“giving estimate”) for our 2022 operating budget and other

designated giving. This will help our Finance/Stewardship team to plan and

prepare our 2022 budget. It will be presented and ultimately adopted at our

regularly scheduled Church Council meeting on January 24, 2022, 7:00 pm. The

whole church is always welcome to attend these meetings.

 

At FUMC, one of our five chosen core values is extravagant

generosity. Generosity, in a Christian stewardship context, is all about the

desire (and deep satisfaction) that comes from investing our lives in the

things of God. Deploying our gifts for the Lord’s purposes is the will of the

Father. Doing those things with a great sense of excited joy, partnership, and

fulfilling adventure is the personally excited, “Extravagant Generosity”

portion.

 

As it turns out, extravagant generosity is much

more about the size of the heart than the size of the gift. It’s all about the

privilege of sharing in the Master’s ministry. Paul spoke of the Macedonian

Christians as a deeply joyful people who loved to be extravagant! “Their

overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2

Corinthians 8:2). What’s more, their commitment was neither casual nor

circumstantial. They didn’t wait for a need (or a campaign) to give to arise.

Paul reminds us, “Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the

privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people” (2 Corinthians 8:4).

This is extravagant generosity in its purest form.

 

Covid-19 global pandemic

has shaken our world and our church. Many noble saints have held the line and

sustained the ship through our perilous passage. Others have left our church

for singing congregations. This is a deep sadness for us all. We have “trimmed

the sails and battened down the hatches,” and we are not likely done making

significant adjustments to a new season of ministry. This is not the first time

this church has known a season of “tight financial pinch.” The Lord is calling

us all to work together, minister, pray, serve, and sacrifice

financially—together, that His kingdom ministry can continue through our church

family.

 

As we approach the coming year, the David Parker

family commits our support to a FIRST FRUITS lifestyle of giving our gifts and resources

to God. We believe that our full tithe belongs in our local church, just as the

Bible says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse (the

treasury room of the sanctuary), that there may be food in my house”

(Malachi 3:10). When everyone does that, it ensures that our operating budget will be

strong and uncompromised by designated giving. May God challenge us and

stretch us all in our faith and discipleship as together we seek to become

faithful disciples of Jesus Christ!

 

Excelling in this grace TOGETHER!

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