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Faith Blog

Features local churches’ and synagogues’ news, spiritual leaders and special events.

Mt. Bethel UMC North Campus Starts Sunday Services

Mt Bethel UMC

The new worship service at the Mt. Bethel North Campus is an exciting opportunity to reach people with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. The team at Mt. Bethel is building a culture that is relaxed and family friendly – come just as you are. They welcome shorts and flip-flops – yes, even in the cold weather!

They are defining the worship service as “renewal worship.” This means that they are going to integrate some of the traditional elements of worship such as candles, the Lord’s Prayer, a Psalter, and the Apostles Creed with modern worship and a Scriptural-based sermon. Organizers long for their worship to be authentic and pleasing to God.

There is an open invitation to join as they partner with God in building His Kingdom. Services began January 25 at 10am and are held each Sunday morning at 10am.

More info from Mt. Bethel:

Who are we? We are people seeking God through worship, prayer, service, and giving.

What do we believe? We believe in the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. We believe in the holy sacraments of Baptism and Communion.

What is our purpose? We strive to put our compassion into action through the power and presence of Jesus Christ so that our community and our world will be transformed.

What should I expect at the service? Our service includes a Scripture-based sermon with an application for life. The service also includes ancient liturgies with modern worship.

How should I dress? Dress in whatever makes you feel comfortable, whether it’s shorts, jeans, T-shirts, or flip flops. There is no dress code.

Is there a place for my children? We invite everyone into the service; however, we do provide a nursery for children under age four.

We invite you to be a part of something new. We want to provide a warm, casual atmosphere where we can worship, learn, and pray among a body who seeks a relationship with our Creator.

Mt. Bethel North Campus is located at 2509 Post Oak Tritt Road in Marietta, GA 30062

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Mt. Bethel Spring/Summer Consignment and Baked Goods Sale is March 6 – 7

Mt Bethel UMC

The Mt. Bethel Spring/Summer Consignment and Baked Goods Sale is March 6 – 7, 2015. Want to make a difference in local and global missions? You can by participating in this year’s Spring/Summer Children’s Consignment Sale.

Consignor Registration opened Monday, January 19 at 9am. Visit www.mtbethelccs.com to register. All consignors are asked to consider donating all unsold items. These items go directly to families in and around Cobb, neighboring states and overseas.

Volunteer Registration opened Monday, January 19 at 9am. Visit www.mtbethelccs.com to register and be one of the first to shop just by volunteering.

Get the best deals around on toys, books, bikes, children’s furniture, sporting goods, spring and summer clothing, shoes and gear for babies, kids, juniors and expecting mothers. Don’t forget about the Boutique Section for upscale brands, custom-made and smocked clothing. All proceeds go to support local and global missions to benefit families and children of all ages. Credit cards accepted and express lanes available. As always, there will be a bake sale featuring delicious homemade baked goods.

The sale begins on Thursday, March 5th, for the Volunteer and New Mom Preview. The sale opens to the public on Friday, March 6th, 9am – 7pm* and Saturday, March 7th, 9am-noon. All items 30% off on Saturday. Bake Sale will be held from Thursday, March 5th at 4pm to Saturday March 7th at noon.

*No children or strollers allowed on the sales floor on Friday until noon. A loving nursery for all ages is available on site from 8:30am to 12pm ($4 per child per hour, $8 per hour family max – cash or checks preferred). Babies in slings/front or back packs allowed anytime. Please direct questions regarding the nursery to mtbethelccsnursery@gmail.com.

Mt. Bethel UMC is located at 4385 Lower Roswell Road in East Cobb.

 

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Struggling? Tell God about it.

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Listen, love and pray at the Night of Hope at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, held the second Thursday of every month. Drop-in between 7-8:30pm to the Student Center South for a unique evening of personal worship and prayer. All are welcome.

For more information visit johnsonferry.org. Johnson Ferry Baptist Church is located at 955 Johnson Ferry Rd, Marietta, GA 30068 in East Cobb.

 

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Self denial during the Lenten Season

lent-2
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24

If you ever go to a bookstore, notice that you will not find a section called “Self-Denial.” “Self-Help,” perhaps, but not Self-Denial. With our economy and so much of the marketing images around us based on self-interest, self-denial seems like cultural heresy. Yet self-denial is part of the Christian life and practice, most especially in Lent. Why? Where’s the value in self-denial?

Perhaps it’s because we live in such a self-indulgent culture that we need a little self-denial. If we can choose to live without something, whether it is a luxury or some material comfort we’ve grown used to, then we can be less attached to it, less dependent on it, less enslaved to feeding it. If we learn to see God with us when we’re not full in the stomach, then when hardship arises we may remember how to find God there. When God blesses us with feasting, we may be better equipped to recognize that blessing, rather than taking God’s abundance for granted. And when we are faced with the choice between losing something and following Jesus, we may be better equipped to follow the one who gave his whole life for us.

Self-denial is not about self-hatred or self-harm, but about learning to love what is important, and to put God at the center of our lives, even when that costs us. For God knows us better than we know ourselves, and loves us deeply. Our ravenous self-appetites are rarely satisfied. But with God at the center, we learn to seek the one who is eternal, and in whom we find our perfect serenity and joy. God bless you this Lent and always!

 (Reprinted from the newsletter of The Rev. Tom Pumphrey, rector at The Episcopal Church of St. Peter & St. Paul in East Cobb)

Do you have a favorite devotion or message that represents your faith? Email cynthia@eastcobber.com and include “Faith” in the subject line.

 

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday

ash-wednesday

Remember O’ man you are dust and to dust you shall return’ ~ Genesis 3.19

The above Bible verse explains what is Ash Wednesday in a subtle sense. The Ash Wednesday is also known as Dies cinerum, that means, Day of Ashes. It marks the start of Lent and continues for 46 days before Easter. If you do not take Sundays into consideration, then it occurs for 40 days. People fast during these days as a mark of repentance and penitence.

What is Ash Wednesday

According to Western Christianity, the first day or start of Lent is marked by Ash Wednesday. Lent is the period when Christians get ready for Easter. During the 40 days of Lent, one observes fast and becomes spiritually disciplined. Lent is observed by Christian denominations that include the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican as well as the Roman Catholics. Eastern Orthodox denominations do not observe Ash Wednesday and begin Lent on Monday.

Ash Wednesday is said to be a day of repentance. It is said, in ancient times ashes were used to mourn. People dusted themselves with ashes and expressed their sorrow regarding the sins they committed. This was a way of penitence and also expressed in the bible verse:

“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” ~ Job 42:3-6

Ash Wednesday marks the start of the wandering of Jesus Christ in the desert to fast and pray. It was during this time of wandering, he was tempted. It ends on Easter Sunday, the day Jesus Christ was resurrected from death. When the ‘paschal’ full moon appears in the sky, that is the first full moon that rises on or after the vernal, or spring equinox, Easter Sunday is celebrated.

A Mass is held on Ash Wednesday and ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the faithful. If the person is a clergy, the ashes are imposed on the tonsure spots. The priest or minister makes a mark in the shape of a cross on the forehead of the faithful. This mark is not washed off and retained till it wears off on its own. While making the mark, the priest or minister may speak the following verses:

Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. ~ Genesis 3:19

Repent, and hear the good news. ~ Mark 1:1

Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. ~ Mark 1:15

People fast on this day and observe abstinence from meat and repent one’s sins and faults committed. People between the age of 18 years to 59 years who are healthy enough are permitted to consume one full meal by the Roman Catholic church. Some people fast for the whole of Lent period and end their abstinence after Easter Vigil.Hope all ‘ye faithfuls’ have learned some useful information about Ash Wednesday 2011 from the above paragraphs.

(Written by Batul Nafisa Baxamusa. Originally published: 2/25/2011, http://www.buzzle.com)

 

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Prayers of the Presidents

In honor of President’s Day, a sampling of personal and public prayers of America’s presidents.

George Washington
A Prayer for Guidance

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….

Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.

–An undated prayer from Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon


Thomas Jefferson
A Prayer for the Nation
Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–Washington D.C., March 4, 1801


Abraham Lincoln
A Prayer for Peace

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues… until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid another drawn with the sword… so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

--Second Inaugural address, March 4, 1865
Franklin D. Roosevelt
A Prayer in Dark Times

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity…

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph…

Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. And for us at home–fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice… Give us strength, too–strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace–a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

–D-Day, June 6, 1944


John F. Kennedy
A Prayer of Gratitude

Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings–let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals–and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world.

On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist.

–Thanksgiving Day, 1963

(Reprinted from belief.net)

A love sonnet for your Valentine

www.delcusay.com

www.delcusay.com

At a loss for words this Valentine’s Day? Take a page from history and regale your sweetheart with these timeless words from Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Sonnet 43 – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. 
(Composed by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

 

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RISE UP! and Parent. Register for February seminar.

The 2015 “RISE UP! and Parent” Seminar will be held on Friday, February 27th from 7-9pm at Woodstock Church/Shallowford, 3662 Shallowford Rd Marietta, GA 30068.

Advance online registration required. The cost is $10 per couple. The seminar is open to any interested parents in the community.

To register or for more information, click HERE.

 

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From Selma to East Cobb

clay

Author Rev. Junnus Clay

 

 

A longtime East Cobb resident has decided to share his story about growing up in Selma, Alabama, and participating in the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager. The Rev. Junnus Clay is a 16-year resident of East Cobb County, working as a minister, licensed counselor and nonprofit business consultant.

Clay was only 14 years old when the first Selma to Montgomery march was attempted on March 7, 1965. He and 600 marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge — they were led by now-Georgia Congressman John Lewis and the late Hosea Williams. Clay says they were attacked, beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama State Troopers. This nationally televised event became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

“This was the most frightening day of my life, I thought I was going to die!” says Clay, adding that he also marched on other occasions and went to jail. “It was decades later before I fully understood how deeply ingrained segregation and discrimination was embedded in the South; and the high price African-Americans would have to pay for equal rights.”

Clay also saw Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. on numerous occasions and heard him speak regularly at the Selma
mass meetings. “I remember marching with him on two occasions — the second failed attempt to march to Montgomery and the final successful march in Montgomery to the State Capitol,” he recalls.

Clay’s book, “From Selma to Salvation,” chronicles his unique life journey of growing up in Selma, participating in the Civil Rights Movement, leaving Selma, his spiritual conversion through the sermon of a white southern Baptist preacher while stationed in Japan, attending seminary and returning home to Selma to start a new church. “It describes how my life came full circle, from being an activist to an evangelist,” Clay says. He started writing the book last spring; the new movie “Selma” motivated him to
finish it. He has seen the movie, and thought it was very good.

“From Selma to Salvation” is scheduled to be published this month. Anyone interested in purchasing
the book may visit junnusclay.com or email him at jayc2@bellsouth.net. Clay is also available to speak at churches, schools, colleges, etc.

(Written by Lindsey Field)

 

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Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner to Become Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Tikvah

Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner

Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner

 

Temple Beth Tikvah, a Reform congregation in Roswell, is pleased to announce that Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner will become its senior rabbi in July. Rabbi Shuval-Weiner, who has served at Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, Kan., since 2008, was approved by the Temple Beth Tikvah community after a thorough search process that included interviews, a preliminary site visit, and an “immersion weekend,” during which congregants and Rabbi Shuval-Weiner studied and worshipped together.

“From the moment I stepped into the beautiful Temple Beth Tikvah sanctuary and was warmly welcomed by so many committed congregants, I knew this was a dynamic congregation,” said Rabbi Shuval-Weiner.

“I look forward to worshiping and learning alongside Temple Beth Tikvah congregants as we strengthen the bonds to our Jewish faith.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Rabbi Shuval-Weiner as Temple Beth Tikvah’s new spiritual leader,” said Ron Swichkow, president of the congregation’s board of trustees.

“Rabbi Shuval-Weiner is uniquely prepared to support individuals of all ages along their Jewish journeys through meaningful worship, innovative education, and relationship building within the congregation and the broader community.”

Rabbi Shuval-Weiner earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Humanities from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. She holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a Master’s of Arts in Jewish Studies and a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, both from Hebrew Union College. Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rabbi Shuval-Weiner served as a Jewish educator for 10 years in Portland, Ore. She was ordained as a rabbi in 2008 by Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.

A mother of five grown children, Rabbi Shuval-Weiner is married to Jay Weiner, a consultant with The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

In July, Rabbi Fred Greene, who has led Temple Beth Tikvah for the past nine years, will become senior rabbi at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder, Colo. His many contributions to Temple Beth Tikvah will be celebrated during a special Shabbat service on Friday, May 15.

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