JUST A NOTE....

June 2019

As I write this, my mind is on the upcoming Annual Conference, specifically the Ordination Service. For 10 years I have journeyed through the process of the United Methodist Church to answer my call to ministry. It was not necessarily easy. In fact, in many ways, it has been the most difficult journey of my life. And yet… when I look at the reason … it is so very easy to say, “Jesus is worth it.” He is worth every stumbling block, every doubt, every anxious moment, every tear I shed over the past decade. Yes, Jesus is worth it because I was worth dying for to Him! 

 

And as I think about my call, I am reminded of how it began for me. It was a testimony. I listened to someone I did not know share her story of faith and that story sparked within me a fire I never knew existed. I began to want to know Jesus more because I felt Him beckoning me. He became more than someone I read about on the pages of an old book. He became my source of life and hope and redemption. The words of Scripture no longer seemed foreign. Instead, they leaped off the pages of that ancient text and became a living source that I could not put down. The stories became something much more than history. They became relevant instructions and confirmation for my life and the world around me. 

 

I will never forget that person’s personal story of faith. It’s as if the Holy Spirit spoke directly to me through her. And I am forever grateful. 

 

Perhaps you have heard someone’s story and thought, “I wish I could share my faith like that.” And yet, most of us are afraid to really share our faith or our personal Jesus moments with other people. We fear that our stories may not be as powerful as someone else’s. Maybe we think we can’t speak eloquently enough. Or we fear not having the right words. There are many reasons for our lack of sharing our own stories with those we know or encounter. I think it’s time to change that.

 

One of the most effective tools you have for pushing back against lostness and extending God’s Kingdom is your testimony. The story of how Jesus has changed your life and freed you from sin can inspire others to seek a relationship with Christ and know for themselves the joy and fulfillment He brings every day. 

 

As we look ahead at the last half of 2019, I invite you to join me in learning to share your story and be empowered to share your faith. The past several weeks we have embraced the What If campaign, asking hard questions of ourselves and our church. What If we became the Body of Christ, living out our calling to serve God, share the Word, and grow the Kingdom? Before we can truly become a recovery community—a place without judgment for a hurting world, we must become a community of storytellers. As long as you have a breath to take, you have a story to tell. Over the next few months, we will engage in small groups where we will learn to share our stories. We will have intensive studies about faith and what it means. And just hopefully somewhere along the way you will meet Jesus in a new and profound way. I believe that at the end of this time together, at least one of you will stand before us and say to God and the church, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” 

 

What If?

 

Serving Him Together, Pastor Janean

2019 Archives

January 2019

Prayer is a cornerstone of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Just like in any relationship, in order for it to grow and flourish there must be communication constantly. And prayer is one way we communicate with God. We are called to be in private and corporate prayer. 

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 - If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

James 5:16  - Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

 

There are many things Arcadia Church wants. We see needs both in our church building as well as in the community and we want to help. But we struggle with the how. How do we pay for it? How do we get the manpower we need? How do we get prepared? The “how” can be very deterring if we rely upon ourselves alone. We need to rely upon God first before we take any step. 

 

Beginning January 23, Arcadia is going old school. REALLY old school. The church of Acts old school! We are going to offer a service of prayer on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 6:00 PM. The only exception is in December, which will be on the third Wednesday. This prayer hour is a time for us to come together and pray for our local church, the United Methodist Church, brothers and sisters around the world, community concerns, national and international concerns, and for one another. There will not be a choir or a sermon. Instead, it’s an hour that is open for intense, heartfelt, on-your-knees prayer about both your own needs as well as those needs around us. The church of Acts knew the importance of prayer because they were students of Jesus Christ who prayed constantly and earnestly. We need to be his students, too. 

 

We should be in constant prayer about the desires of our heart. Are these things of God? Are the desires we have in alignment with God’s desires? We want a chair lift for the basement. We want a church van. We want to go on mission trips. We want to help local charities. We frantically try to figure out what we are to do and how we are to fund it or do it. But what does God want? 

 

Matthew 18:19-20 - Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

 

Arcadia is ready to take a step forward in many ways. But we are lacking in our prayer life regarding every decision we make as a church. I earnestly believe this is what God is asking of us now. He wants us to humble ourselves, seek his face and pray. Won’t you join me in this new year as we embark on a spiritual journey unlike most of us have ever traveled before?

 

Blessings, Pastor Janean

February 2019

You may have noticed on the church calendar that we are having a missions-focused lunch after worship February 17. I am super excited for this and the future mission-focused lunches throughout the year. Why? Because in order to be missional church, a Christ-led church, a church that reaches the least and lost, we have to know the opportunities to serve. And understanding that serving encompasses a wide variety of ways. 

 

God’s plan in this world is to bring new believers to Christ. When we think of missionaries and mission movements we often think of foreign works; however, missions is something that can be done in your own home town. Maybe the purpose of missions is needed in your own house to bring your family to Christ.

 

When Christ was ascending into Heaven after His resurrection from the grave, He told the crowd standing around that they should stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8). After they had received the filling of the Holy Spirit (whom Jesus had promised would be a comforter to them in John 14), they were to spread out in the area and around the world carrying the Gospel to those who had not heard. It was a direct command from Jesus to carry the good news to other places. New churches were established in the region and beyond by these early believers. 

 

That command still stands today as we, disciples of Jesus Christ, are being asked to be missionaries in our daily lives. The truth is, people need to hear the gospel. While it’s true that they can hear it if they come into a church worship service, too many people are unwilling to step into a church building. So we must go to them for God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). His plan is that those who already know the Gospel share it with those around them. 

 

Through a church mission program we are privileged to pool our resources to help spread of the Gospel throughout the world. Those resources can be financial, our prayers, or our presence. There is simply no boundary to the way God will use us if we let Him and seek His guidance. God wants the world to know about Christ. He has chosen us as individuals and as churches to share that Gospel with others.

 

In Matthew 9:38 Jesus said that we should pray for the laborers to carry the Gospel to the harvest field. Friends, the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. Jesus said that we should pray that the laborers would step up to the task and accept the challenge of carrying the Gospel to the people. Some of the last words of Christ before He ascended to heaven was that we should go and carry His Word to the world. In Matthew 28:19 and 20 Jesus said to go into the whole world with the Gospel, teach the hearers and baptize believers. Interestingly, the command in those verses is not emphasized in the word “go,” rather it is on the word “teach.” The verse reads more like this in the Greek, “As you are going, teach…” It is implied that we will go into the world. Jesus knew the persecution that would soon come to the church in Jerusalem. He knew the believers were about to be scattered in the world. He knew they would “go.” He emphasized the fact that since they are going, they should teach what they knew about Christ.

 

Isn’t that even more true about us today? The world is such a mobile place. We don’t need to be told to go. We are going. What we need to do now is teach what we know about the Lord. The church and current believers have the responsibility to support those who are going into the world with the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

What will your part in missions be? You’re not too young. You’re not too old. You’re not too rich. You’re not too poor. You are equipped by God, through the teachings of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you ready?

 

Serving Him Together, Pastor Janean

March 2019

 

It is February 27. I am writing this the day after the historic Special Called Session of the General Conference. My mind is struggling to focus on what needs to be accomplished today because I am focused on what the last four days have been. For those who are unaware of what I am referring to, I invite you to reach out to me for there is not enough space in this newsletter to explain. In short, the UMC delegates gathered from around the world to vote on a way to move forward as a unified body while still affirming the Holy Word. 

 

Some of you may have read news articles about the conference. Please know that there are lots of truths as well as untruths that are being circulated. So what is true? The Traditional Plan was voted for by the delegates. The One Church Plan, Connectional Plan, Modified Traditional Plan, and Simple Plan were not approved. A disaffiliation petition passed as did a proposal related to pensions. 

 

What does this mean and how are we affected? Today, February 27, we opened our doors as we always do. Tonight, our youth will meet at their regular time. The sanctuary will be open for our monthly prayer service. This Sunday, we will gather together for Sunday School, worship, and fellowship. The choir will sing. Scripture will be read. And the Word of God will be proclaimed through the sermon. Finally, we will gather around the Lord’s Table as one body. So, basically, friends, nothing has changed for us. We were called to serve God together before the conference and we are still called to serve the same God together after the conference. 

 

But I would be amiss to pretend that many of us are not feeling lots of emotions right now. The headlines want you to think that we have banned LGBT+ people from our churches. That is NOT TRUE. I am saddened to read these comments from both friends and colleagues. No one has been banned from the United Methodist Church. The same rules that applied when each one of us joined this church still apply. The exact same rules. Rules that you said yes to. And that I said yes to. In the UMC, LGBT+ people are not allowed to be ordained clergy nor may they be married by the UMC.

 

For the past 10 years I have been walking through the ordination process. I have been examined for 10 years by people, many I did not know, who determined if I am worthy of ordination. I had to offer myself to this examination fully and without walls. There were things I desperately wanted to keep private but when you offer yourself up for ordination, you lose your right to privacy in many ways. I had to share very intimate details. I had to allow access to all of my financial history. I had to give information regarding my husband’s history, regardless of how intimate it was. This is the process. These are the rules. Being ordained is very difficult and humbling. I have watched as people, both heterosexual and homosexual, have been turned down for various reasons. I’ve watched their hearts break because they are trying to follow their calling but being told “no”. And then God does what God does. He makes a new thing. He takes these people who have been told “no” and given them eyes to see where he really wants them to minister. And a new thing grows from what was ashes. 

 

I have cried a lot the past four days over the hateful words from all sides of the conference. What I saw was not a witness for Jesus Christ. What I saw from all sides was hate-filled and volatile. And I pray for it to stop. Because there is a world out there full of needs and hurts and fears who need us to stop fighting and start being the disciples we claim to be. Our personal convictions may differ but they should not define us. This church recognizes everyone’s self-worth, gifts, and beauty as children of God. Love does not mean we must always agree. Somehow that has come to be the meaning for our world today and it is wrong. We can love recklessly while disagreeing. Jesus did it all the time and showed us the beauty in it.

 

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this has come at the beginning of Lent, for we are definitely in the wilderness as people called Methodist. As we engage on this journey through the Lenten wilderness, we must make a careful examination of ourselves. Are we making kings of our ideologies, obstructions out of our theologies, and temples out of our screwed-up notions of who’s in and who’s out? Are we in the way or are we making room for The Way? Perhaps we’re afraid that if we get out of the way, the God might just show up and prove us all wrong? That happened once - over 2000 years ago on a cross on Golgotha. 

 

Friends, I don’t know what is next for the United Methodist Church. I do know what is next for Arcadia UMC. We are going to continue to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We are going to love with accountability, serve with compassion, be merciful without enabling, and point to Jesus at all costs. 

 

“This is the church. Here she is. Lovely, irregular, sometimes sick and sometimes well. This is the body-like-no-other that God has shaped and placed in the world. Jesus lives here; this is his soul’s address. There is a lot to be thankful for, all things considered. She has taken a beating, the church. Every day she meets the gates of hell and she prevails. Every day she serves, stumbles, injures, and repairs. That she has healed is an underrated miracle. That she gives birth is beyond reckoning. Maybe it’s time to make peace with her. Maybe it’s time to embrace her, flawed as she is.” — Rachel Held Evans Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

 

Serving Him Together, Pastor Janean

April 2019

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him {Jesus}.  Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. … Then they saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in all white. … He said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed to the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. …” (Mk 16:1-6 MSG)

 

He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. What a message. What a profound statement to not only hear but to process then ultimately share. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts and emotions that the women experienced in those moments at the tomb. But I know what I experience now when I think of what the resurrection means to me. And that is the focus of our Easter experience. It’s not about pretty dresses or new ties. It’s not about egg hunts or chocolate bunnies. Easter should have each of us asking ourselves, “What does the resurrection mean to me?”

 

While Christmas seems to be the big Christian holiday, in actuality, Easter should be one we, as followers of Jesus Christ put our focus on most. For the God who creates us, loves us, and redeems us willingly stepped forward to die for us. He chose to allow himself to be beaten unmercifully then nailed cruelly to a Roman cross and left to die a death so gruesome and torturous that even the earth wept at his final breath. And then…. and then…Jesus Christ battled death and won! Death no longer has the final say because in the end God wins! 

 

That is why Easter should be the holiday we cannot wait for. That is why we should be all in a tis about preparing for this celebration. But are we? It’s difficult to anticipate something we don’t spend much time thinking about. So I challenge you to really ponder, “What does the resurrection mean to me?” I would love to hear your answers. But more than sharing them with me, I encourage you to share your heart with God. 

 

The resurrection means to me that I live every day for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He and He alone gave me a second chance at a life eternal because I was unable to do it on my own. I recognize that I am a sinner of my own making and desire to do better and be better but find that I fall short. I certainly didn’t earn nor do I deserve the grace of God but through the resurrection of Christ, my life has been bought and paid for and I will spend the rest of my earthly breaths serving Him. Praise be to God, He Is Risen! 

 

Pastor Janean

 

 

 

Easter Events

 

April 20 7-9 PM Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt for Grades 6-12 at Trinity UMC (Cluster Event)

 

Holy Week

 

Maundy Thursday Service 

Tenebrae Service

Easter Sunrise -foot of Broadway and Jefferson at the Riverfront 6 AM

Easter Morning Worship

Easter Egg Hunt following Worship

May 2019

 

Happy Easter!! That’s right, Happy Easter! Easter, is not just a single day. Like Christmas, Easter is an entire season within the life of the church. For seven weeks following Easter Sunday, we are in the Easter season. And what a glorious season it is!

 

What comes to mind when you think of Easter? No, not bunnies or chocolate eggs. What comes to mind? Resurrection, of course! And resurrection is the focus of our Easter season.

 

When Jesus conquered death, he firmly proclaimed that hope is found in him. No longer are we bound by our sins. No longer will sins get to define who we are. No longer will they get to take our hope away, leaving us left in shame and guilt. 

 

And yet, there are a number of people in our community and even our church, who do not know this kind of freedom. They either cannot see it or refuse to believe that it is possible for them to really have it. And for that, I grieve. I grieve for the ones who want to believe, to have hope, to be free… and yet are still bound in their prisons of sin and death.

 

But what if? What if we, as a church, began to be intentional about offering God’s love, grace, and healing power to those living in prisons of their own making? What if we responded to our brothers and sisters who are hurting, lost, and wandering alone in the wilderness with the power of the resurrection? 

 

Remember how the disciples where holed up in the house after Jesus had ascended into heaven, and then the Holy Spirit came into their midst and empowered them to go out into the streets and proclaim the Gospel at Pentecost? They proclaimed the resurrection power that we just celebrated. Church, we have been holed up in our sanctuary for way too long. It is time to let the spirit move you!

 

This Easter season we are going to embark on a small group study based on two simple words - What if. And the focus is simple. What if we intentionally made time to fast, pray, listen, and respond to those affected by the substance abuse epidemic? 

 

As most of you know, I am not only a minister but also an addiction counselor. My husband is an addiction medicine physician. We have lived this disease and now we walk alongside others who are lost, without hope, and dead inside. It’s our mission to see that the lost are found, the hopeless see hope, and the dead breathe new life —a life found in Jesus Christ. 

 

So, what if in this Easter season we really listened and responded? We might just be a part of God’s life-giving resurrection to a person, a family, a community, a world!

 

What if?

 

Serving Him Together, 

 

Pastor Janean

ABOUT US

Arcadia United Methodist Church is located in the Purchase District of the Memphis Conference. 

 

Weekly services:

Sunday School 9:00 AM

Sunday Worship 10:00 AM

Childcare is available. For those with hearing impairment, listening devices are available during worship. 

ADDRESS

270-442-3313

 

261 Lone Oak Road

Paducah, KY 42001

 

arcadiachurch@yahoo.com

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