It’s a New Day: The Choice Is Yours
by Max Lucado from   Let the Journey Begin

It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice.

 Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love.  No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy.  I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical... the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace.  I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience.  I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite Him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness.  I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness.  I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness.  Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I choose gentleness.  Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control.  I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful-ness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

This devotion is excerpted with permission from  Let the Journey Begin  by Max Lucado, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Your Turn
Are you setting out on a new journey? Or has life sent you on a detour? Are you leaving one chapter behind and stepping out into another chapter? Are you looking for God’s best for you each day? Join the conversation   on our blog  about where God is taking you on your journey today!

Sunday @ 10:30 AM 
You may have heard something about the United Methodist Church in the news recently. For up to date news, go to: . Look for links in the weekly email newsletter.

For a comparison of the 5 plans proposed read:
From the Security Committee:
We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable to worship and gather here at First Church. Therefore, we have hired off-duty police officers to be here on Sunday mornings as they are available.
If you would like to talk to someone about this, please call the church office to speak to Pastor Clark. the week.
January 24th ~ February 1st:
Pastor Clark will be having a Potluck and Informational Meeting on Sunday, Feb. 2nd after the worship service. 

We will provide the chicken, rolls and drinks but are asking everyone to bring the rest according to the following: 

If your last name starts with

A - H, please bring a vegetable. 

I - P, please bring a salad. 

Q - Z, please bring a dessert. 

Serving size for 5-6 people.
Wednesday Fellowship Dinner

$7.00 per person, $18.00 for family of 3 or more

Come, eat, fellowship, stay for bible study or
choir practice.

We are all volunteers, we need help on Wednesdays cleaning up after dinner. The more people we have then everyone can make it to their choir practice or bible study.
Do You Want to Grow In the Body of Christ?
Jim Pressler, a knowledgeable and skillful teacher, is leading a study of Philippians on Wednesday
Come have dinner between 5:30 - 6:30 PM and join other seekers at 6:30 for this small group study. 
Don’t be a benchwarmer. Be active on the team!
Something Special for Singles:  Coterie Luncheon  on Friday, Feb 7th, 11:20 AM at Tuscany Restaurant at Freedom Village. Call Rosemary Althoff for information and/or reservation at 941-782-8844.
SUNDAY, February 9th
5:30 PM

Our choir’s annual VALENTINE dinner and Cabaret is not to be missed! Beautiful singing, old time comedy skits and costumed actors all combine for a riotous evening.
Seven scenes of First UMC messages, production numbers and tons of schtick also add to the fun.
Tickets are $20. Sandy Barton will be selling tickets by the elevator after each worship service.
Join Young At Heart for lunch on Tuesday, Feb 11th in Fellowship Hall at 12:00.  This is a hot, catered meal for only $8, reservations are needed. 
Call Bev Clapper, 756-9091, Church Office 747-4406 or sign the pew pad if you are coming.
Following lunch, Gary Knapp, will talk about his career as an underwater videographer and show one of his films, Beauty of God's Nature Under the Sea .
UMW Meeting Tuesday, Feb 18th.
United Methodist Women are inspired by a program on Climate Justice to plan how we as individuals and as a congregation can make an impact by recycling as much as possible. Come join the discussion, led by Roz Keppler and Carla Gallas at 11:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. Potluck lunch as usual.
UMW Board will meet at 10:00am. 
Broadway Blockbusters

  Sunday, Feb. 23 4:00 PM

 Award-winning performers Craig & Heather Weiskerger bring you an afternoon of Broadway’s biggest hits from your favorite musicals. This dynamic duo has appeared countless times in area theaters and in Europe and Asia. Come for a delicious slice of the Great White Way right here in Bradenton!
It's time to update our
Church Community Directory

Tuesday, February 25th

You will receive a FREE 8 x 10 print and a FREE updated directory.

Call the church office or
click here to sign up now.

IMPORTANT: If you were in the last
directory, your picture and info will be in this directory.  This update is for new members,
members who are not in the last directory and members with change of household status. 

* Please contact the church office if your address, phone number or email has changed since the last directory.
SunCoast Emmaus Walk is open to members of any Christian denomination. Emmaus is for the development of Christian leaders who are members of a local church and have a desire to strengthen their spiritual lives.
You will enjoy 3 days of singing, learning, laughing, worship, reflection, praying and participating in small groups. Discussions center around 15 talks presented by both laity and clergy.
You are invited to have a closer walk with Christ for the rest of your life; this is called the Fourth Day. You are encouraged to become a more active disciple for Christ in service to the world and your circles of influence.


SunCoast Emmaus needs Twelve (12) confirmed Pilgrims,
61 days before the Walk start date or else the Walk will have to be cancelled. Here is the current status:

Men's Walk #93:
  • Walk dates: 4/16/2020 thru 4/19/2020
  • Deadline for 12 confirmed Pilgrims: 2/15/2020
  • Current count of confirmed Pilgrims: 3

Women's Walk #94:
  • Walk dates: 4/30/2020 thru 5/3/2020
  • Deadline for 12 confirmed Pilgrims: 2/29/2020
  • Current count of confirmed Pilgrims: 3

Time to step up! Walks are held at Dayspring Retreat Center in Parrish. To sign up or for more information click on:
A simple meal. Friends and strangers gathered around tables. Good conversation. Welcome to dinner church! “Dinner church has a way of offering this radical hospitality and love that is just really attractive to people,” said Pastor Heather Evans, who coordinates the program for the conference. “They experience God and feel his love there. It looks a whole lot different, but it happens!” 
Please come to Dinner Church Training to find out how you can help. Everyone has a part. Thursdays at 4 pm in the Parlor.
Dinner Church Training is taking a week off, be back next week. 
To find out more, click on: Dinner Church
Walk.  Give.  Change the world.

Manatee County Crop Walk
Sunday, February 23

First United Methodist Church Palmetto
330 11th Ave W, Palmetto
Palmetto, FL 34221

Sign In Time:  
1:30 p.m.

Walk Time: 
2:00 p.m.

CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk events held in cities and towns across the United States raising funds to support the global mission of  Church World Service , a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster. Twenty five percent of the funds raised are returned to the host community to support local hunger fighting efforts Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world.

This walk includes churches from Anna Maria Island, Palmetto, Bradenton, Parrish, Ellenton, and Lakewood Ranch, but you do not have to be part of a church to participate. You simply need to be a person who wants to raise money to help people whose resources are more limited than yours.

Arrive in time to hear or play in the drum circle. Wear your t-shirt or get one when you arrive. Walk with us across the Manatee River and back, or take a shorter walk along the river. Water bottles and orange slices are available, along with the smiles of others who are helping hungry people, locally, nationally, and worldwide. Pets on leashes are welcome.

Together, we can raise funds, walk together and help end hunger in our community and around the world!

To sign up for Team First Bradenton click here! or in the West Lobby of the Sanctuary. Please remember to get a donation envelope.
Are you hungry? 
Visit Rocco's Pizza Pasta Grill at 827 14th St. West in Bradenton, mention First Church and they will donate 10% of your order to our Children’s Bed Ministry
From the Mission & Outreach Team:
REMINDER: We are unable to take donations at this time. Please take all clothing and shoe donations to Hope Chest Thrift Store (the purple building across the street) or to another donation store.  Every week we give out free clothing vouchers to people in need to get one outfit and a pair of shoes from Hope Chest .
Would you like to receive professional counseling in a Christian context at affordable fees? Our church provides this ministry to its members (& non-members) with licensed counselors Richard Vantrease and Grisille Feisthammer on Mondays from 8 am - 5 pm here at First. For details or an appointment, contact Richard at 941-926-2959 or 813-331-7395.
 First United Methodist Church of Bradenton 
603 11th St. West
Bradenton, FL 34205