First United Methodist Church Of Bay Minette, Alabama
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

E-News from Pastor Marty

FUMC Family and Friends
Happy Valentine’s Day
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Today, Valentine’s Day is one of the most anticipated days of the year. Couples will present gifts of flowers, candy, jewelry and other gifts to one another. Many restaurants will see a tremendous increase of customers celebrating the day. An estimation by the National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend $27.4 Billion on this day alone.
While I hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day, my prayer is that you will take time to ponder the real meaning of the sentiment behinds Valentine’s – love. Love is more than just romance. Love is more than roses, or chocolate, or diamonds. Love is sacrifice, and commitment, and a desire to be a blessing not only to that special person in your life but to everyone, not just on February 14 but every day of the year.  
That type of love is best seen in the life of Jesus. The love that Jesus modeled isn’t dependent upon our marriage status. Rather it is dependent upon who he is. 1 John 10:7-8 says, “7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 
Because of Jesus’ love for us, we have the opportunity to love others. That is what the world needs. While there is nothing wrong with flowers or candy, what transforms the world is the sacrificial love of Jesus flowing through us into the lives of those we encounter each day. That would make every day Valentine’s Day.
Take a look at these ways to connect in the life of our church:
  • UMM Breakfast, Sunday, February 16th 8:00 am.
  • Finance Committee Meeting, Sunday, February 16th, 3:30 pm, church office.
  • Church Council Meeting, Sunday, February 16th, 4:30 pm, FLC.
  • Circle IV Meeting—Tuesday, February 18th, 9:30 am, FLC.
  • Confirmation is the process where young people are given the opportunity to learn about our Christian faith, can affirm their Christian beliefs, and be admitted as a full member of the body of Christ. Confirmation is open to all young people in the 6th grade and above. The class will begin on Wednesday, March 18. Confirmation Sunday will be May 31. Please notify the church office if you or your child would like to register for this year’s class.
  • WNS
All are invited to supper on Wednesday evenings from 5:45-6:15 pm, but we ask that you please make your reservation by signing the pew pad on Sunday or contacting the church office. Each meal is $5, but we want to ensure we have an accurate head count for our cooking team so that we neither run out of food or over-prepare. Thank you for your help by making reservations.
February 19th – Mixed Green Salad with choice of Balsamic or Ranch Dressing, Pasta Bolognese, Garlic Knots and Double Fudge Brownies!
February 26th – Create Your own Grilled Chicken Salad, Grilled Marinated Chicken Breasts, Variety of Lettuces, Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Toppings and choice of Dressings, Blonde Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream!
  • Lent Book Study 
There will be two (2) opportunities for you to join in a small group Book Study for the season of Lent. The five (5) week study is titled He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado. The cost of a book is $7.
Group 1 begins on Wednesday, March 4 at 6:15 p.m. taught by Robin Rhodes and Roy McBryar in Room #106.
Group 2 begins on Thursday, March 5 at 9:30 a.m. taught by Katrina Zarr Wright at Gail Stein’s home.
  • March is our month to work in the Food Pantry on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am-12:00. If you would like to volunteer please contact Gail Jaye at 656-1663 or email *Peanut butter, canned fruit, canned meats and breakfast foods are always needed*
Hope to see you Sunday!
Pastor Marty
 FUMC Family and Friends
FUMC Family and Friends
Matthew 6:14-15: “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Continuing our discussion from Sunday on forgiveness, I wanted to share some additional information about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. Forgiveness is a vital part of our growth as Christians. Without it, we remain captive to our own sins. God can’t set us free if we are still holding others in bondage. I hope this list will help you as you learn to Forgive Always.
What forgiveness is.
1)     Forgiveness is canceling a debt that is rightfully owed to you.
2)     Forgiveness is removing the control the offender has over you. If you don’t forgive someone for harming you and there’s still bitterness and resentment toward them, they still control you. You’re still the victim of their sin. Jesus can’t be the Lord of your life if you’re still being controlled by what they did to you and not what He did for you.
3)     Forgiveness is giving a gift to yourself and to your offender. It is giving yourself and your offender the freedom to move on; to let go of the heartache and the pain and allow the Holy Spirit to heal you.
4)     Forgiveness is forsaking revenge. In Romans 12:19, Paul writes, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Forgiveness isn’t forsaking justice; it is placing judgment in the hands of the perfect Judge.  
5)     Forgiveness is an ongoing process. You may have to forgive someone time and time again because either they sin against you multiple times. Or because the pain is so deep that it continues to resurface, and you must forgive them over and over again.
6)     Forgiveness is wanting ‘good’ for your offender. You know that you have forgiven someone when your hope is that they will turn their lives over to Jesus so that their future is better than their past.
What forgiveness is not!
1)     Forgiveness is not denying that sin occurred or diminishing its’ evil. Sin is a big deal. Jesus Christ died on the cross because of sin.
2)     Forgiveness is not enabling sin.
3)     Forgiveness is not necessarily a response to an apology. Some people may never apologize. They may never be sorry. They may not even realize that they harmed you.
4)     Forgiveness is not covering up crimes committed against us. If a crime is committed, forgiveness isn’t looking the other way. It is addressing it in a way that brings you healing.
5)     Forgiveness is not forgetting. A lot of people quote Jeremiah 31:34 in which God said, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” And they say, “God forgets. You just need to forgive and forget.” Well God doesn’t forget anything. God is omniscient. God is all-knowing. There’s not a list of things that God used to know. What that means is that God chooses not to view us through the lens of our sin but rather through the lens of Jesus’ grace. So ‘forgetting’ is saying ‘I view you not through what you have done to me, but rather through what Jesus has done for me.’
6)     Forgiveness is not trust. Trust is earned slowly, over time. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that trust is immediately restored. Trust must be rebuilt.
7)     Forgiveness is not reconciliation. It takes 2 people to reconcile. And the other person may not be ready, willing or able to make that happen. All you can do is what you can do.
I hope this information helps you understand the concept of forgiving others.  
First United Methodist Church | 120 West 2nd StreetBAY MINETTE, AL 36507-3213
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