Message from Pastor Mike
I have several books of useless information. It seems odd that printing companies would publish books of useless information, but so many have been printed that they make up their own genre. You know these kinds of books. They have titles like: "Why do Clocks Run Clockwise?" "What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions", "The Book of Lists", "Stupid History", etc....  It's weird that there's a market for useless information, but where there is a market someone will meet the demand. I have an entire shelf of useless information. When I go to that shelf, I'm usually looking for a sermon illustration. More often than not, I find profound wisdom on the useless information shelf.  
I was thumbing through a book titled, "The Lexicon of Stupidity" and came across these lines from interviews.
"Athlete: I'm 43 now and have lost confidence through having so many setbacks."
"Interviewer: And how old are you now?"

"Interviewer: How long does London Fashion week last?"
"Fashion Publicist: Um, a week."

"Sportscaster: But you said it should have been a goal."
"Player: No I didn't. I said it should have been a goal."
"Sportscaster: So you've changed your tune, then."

There wasn't much listening going on in those interviews. Listening to conversations of people who aren't listening to each other can be amusing. It's especially entertaining when professional interviewers get caught not listening. But unlike the harmless humor of an interviewer's listening mistakes, humor can quickly turn to frustration when people intentionally stop listening to each other. Refusing to listen communicates to the other, "What you're saying is useless information." "What you're saying isn't worth listening to." Few things are more frustrating than not being treated as though your concerns, feelings, thoughts, etc... belong on the shelf with the worthless books.

Frequently, after Jesus would say particularly challenging things, he would follow it up by saying, "Let anyone with ears listen!" He didn't appreciate his words being treated like a book of useless information any more than the rest of us. James gives similar advice saying, "...let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. Proverbs gives us similar wisdom, "Even fools who keep silent are considered wise; when they close their lips they are deemed intelligent. In the Revelation Jesus instructs John to write the seven letters to the seven churches. The majority of those letters conclude with the words, "Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches."

One of the wisest and most Christ-like things that we can do is listen. Listening creates sacred community. Ignoring destroys it. We are blessed by a God who listens. The scriptures tell the story of a God who hears and responds. The relational nature of our God is revealed in God's willingness to hear our prayers and share in the concerns of our hearts rather than put them on the useless book shelf. When we listen to others, we join with God in extending the sacred community, and we might even find some profound wisdom there.

Blessings,
Mike
C.H.O.W. (Come Hungry On Wednesdays)
December 13 at 5:30pm in The Place
$5 for adults and $3 for children 10 & Under

Our next C.H.O.W. menu will be baked chicken, scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, dessert and drink. 

We will also have a Christmas gift exchange ($10 limit) for those who wish to participate.

C.H.O.W. will resume on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. 
Gift Card Fundraiser

Christ UMC Daycare/Preschool is selling gift cards if you would like to purchase some for Christmas gifts! Forms are available on Sundays in the narthex. When you place your order on Sunday, it will be available for pick up the following Sunday.

For each gift card sold, a percentage comes back to our daycare/preschool to be used for improvements.
The Longest Night Service
Sunday, December 17 at 5:00pm
Sometimes, amid the celebration of the holidays, we may feel moments of the natural sadness and pain of loss when someone we love has died. Whether the loss was long ago or recent, love continues and needs to be honored. 

We invite you to join us on Sunday, Dec. 17 at Christ United Methodist Church for a service of the Longest Night. During this service, which begins at 5:00pm, we will embrace and claim the darkness that is sometimes present both in the world and in our own lives. We will gather together to acknowledge our hurt and offer it up for healing.

If the weather on Sunday is inclement, we will have the service on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7:00pm. If you have any questions, please contact Rev. David Howlett at 816-461-1101.
United Methodist Women's Christmas Luncheon & Program
Monday, December 18 at 12:00pm
You are cordially invited to attend the UMW's Christmas luncheon and program in The Place.
The program will be provided by Linda Anderson as "The Innkeeper's Wife" and her husband, Jim, will share music.
Please call Vivian Sasser at 816-373-4772 with any questions.

Harvesters will be closed on December 21, so there will be NO mobile food distribution that day.

Christ UMC & Harvesters Food Drop
Our Next Food Drop is Thursday, January 18 from 2-5pm
 
At our November Food Drop we helped 367 families! 

We welcome all who would like to volunteer to help with setting up, helping take food to cars, and cleaning up.
Christ Care Network Cards/Care Packages
The Christ Care Network is needing your help. We have identified 24 people in our church family who are shut-ins or in care centers, and we want to help them celebrate Christmas! We will be collecting Christmas cards from the congregation for each of these folks. Christmas "mailboxes" will be set up in the church narthex starting Dec. 1st for you to send your cards. There is a list of names on top of the mailboxes.

All cards will be delivered, along with a special care package, to each of these people on Saturday, Dec. 23rd. Please contact Doug Hickman at 816-824-5013 if you would like to help deliver cards/care packages, or if you have any questions about this project.
Cookies for Christmas Eve Services
We are asking for your help in having homemade cookies to serve at our Christmas Eve services. If you would like to drop off any cookies at the end of that week for these  services, or on Sunday morning, please put those in the workroom and make sure they are marked for the Christmas Eve services. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Wilt at 816-295-1065.
Sunday, December 24 Morning Worship Service at 10:00am Only
Christmas Eve Services
2:00pm - Chapel Worship Service

5:00pm - Contemporary Service with Children

7:00pm - Traditional Service with Chancel Choir

11:00pm - Sanctuary Worship Service with Youth

Communion will be served at all services.
Inclement Weather Cancellation Policy for the Church Offices
When the Independence School District is closed due to inclement weather, the church offices are closed on the first day. Any days after that will be determined by the lead pastor and the Church Council chair.
Any meetings or classes that are scheduled will be held unless the committee chair or class leader decides to cancel and will let their committee or class know of the cancellation.
Christ UMC is Collecting Care Packages for Human Trafficking Victims
The following items would be most helpful:

1.Change of clothes in size medium  - preferably comfortable clothes that could easi be donned (i.e. sweatpants, t-shirt, socks, etc.)
2. Toothbrush and toothpaste 
3. Shampoo and body wash
4. Deodorant
5. Hairbrush/Comb
6. Body Lotion
7. Snacks (i.e. travel size snack foods: protein bars, chips, peanut butter crackers, etc.)
8. Notes/Scriptures of Encouragement

Care packages need to be travel size so they can stay in a relatively small space in police cars, etc. 

If you have any questions about these, please call Colene Voth at 816-547-2842.
Christ United Methodist Church | 816-461-1101 | church.office@icumc.org | www.icumc.org
STAY CONNECTED: