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Family Discussion Questions from Today's Service:
Here are some questions related to the service to help spark some discussion amongst family members and/or friends.
What is your favorite Worship Song?
Where have you worshipped God outside of the church?
Grace Financial Giving
Thank you to those who continue to give regularly to Grace UMC. We gratefully appreciate it! If you would like to give online (via PayPal) please visit our website. Offerings can also be mailed to Grace UMC at P.O. 276, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472.

 
Lenten Devotional
This article comes from a Lenten study on hymns by the UMC. It has been slightly edited for space, but I found it fitting and very comforting for this time -Pastor Jen

Forgiveness for Me? A Wesley hymn devotion for Lent.
         
 Charles Wesley did not write his powerful hymn "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" specifically for Lent, but it beautifully expresses much of what the season is about.
Many have carried a cross in their pocket during Lent. Feeling its shape throughout these 40 days reminds us of the gift of forgiveness made available through the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This forgiveness is a gift offered to us out of God’s great love for each one of us.
A crisis of faith
Understanding that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected for the renewal of the whole world is one thing. Accepting he did it for me is another.
Early in their careers as pastors, Charles and John Wesley struggled with this issue. While traveling from England to America in the fall of 1735 to serve as missionaries in Georgia, their ship encountered violent storms. Everyone on board the Simmonds was convinced the ship would be lost.
The brothers’ fear, compared to that of a group of German Moravian Christians who calmly faced the weather, caused a crisis of faith. The Moravians appeared content to accept whatever happened to the ship; a living example of Romans 14:8, “whether we live or die, we belong to God.”
Several years later, on Pentecost Sunday 1738, Charles received the peace he had longed for at sea. Back in England and struggling with sickness, he felt a “strange palpitation of heart.” Recording the experience in his journal, he wrote, “I now found myself at peace with God, and rejoiced in hope of loving Christ.”
As you might expect from the hymn writer, Charles spent Tuesday writing a “hymn upon my conversion” to commemorate the experience.
The following evening, May 24, 1738, John famously attended a society meeting near Aldersgate Street in London. As someone read Martin Luther’s introduction to Romans, “I felt my heart strangely warmed,” John writes in his journal. “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
Around 10:00 p.m. that night, Charles reports that John came to his home to celebrate. “We sang the hymn with great joy,” the one he wrote the day before, “and parted with prayer.”
No one knows with certainty which of Charles’ thousands of hymns the brothers sang that night, but “And Can It Be” is one of three scholars find most plausible.
The following year, Charles published “And Can It Be that I Should Gain?” in a collection called Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739) under the title “Free Grace.”
The hymn describes the feeling of awe we experience when we remember during Lent or any other time that Jesus gave his life for me.
Amazing love!
Charles begins his hymn asking the questions with which he, John, and many others have wrestled over the years:
And can it be, that I should gain
   An int’rest in the Saviour’s blood!
Dy’d he for me?—Who caus’d his pain!
    For me?—Who him to death pursu’d.
Amazing love! How can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
(bold added)
There is overwhelming awe in the realization that God has done this “for me,” which he repeats three times in this verse. We are so undeserving of such a wonderful gift.
“Amazing love!” Charles responds, an echo of Romans 5:8 to which our communion ritual  also alludes, “God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
John Wesley calls this forgiving love the justifying grace of God. “[Justification] is the forgiveness of all our sins,” he writes in a sermon, “and, what is necessarily implied therein, our acceptance with God” (“The Scripture Way of Salvation" 1765). By faith through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, we are forgiven and restored to relationship with God.
In the verses that follow, Charles continues to celebrate the gracious gift of forgiveness and Jesus Christ who makes it possible.
He refers to Jesus’ death for our sake as “the depths of love divine” in verse two.
Verse three, which I wrote about previously, the miracle of God coming to earth in Jesus is explained as an act of love:
He left his Father’s throne above…
Empty’d himself of all but love.
Reminiscent of the biblical story of Paul’s release from prison (Acts 16:25-26), verse four beautifully describes the moment of justification as liberation from sin:
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and follow’d thee.
In the fifth verse (not in The United Methodist Hymnal #363) Charles may be describing the “strange palpitation” he felt that Pentecost Sunday when he writes, “I feel my Saviour in my heart.” 
The hymn then concludes with a declaration of the assurance Charles and John longed for aboard the Simmonds years before,
No condemnation now I dread,
   Jesus, and all in him, is mine:
Alive in him, my living head,
   And cloath’d in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, thro’ Christ, my own.
Living the song--We are often our harshest critics because we know our sin so well. The words of the Apostle Paul sound like our own, “I know that good doesn’t live in me—that is, in my body. The desire to do good is inside of me, but I can’t do it” (Romans 17:8 CEB).
During this season of Lent, with or without a cross in our pocket, we remember that Jesus has “taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
“And Can It Be that I Should Gain?” reminds us that God’s forgiveness is something we receive through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a gift offered to us. We are justified by grace through faith. That is amazing love indeed.







Lenten book study
The Conference is encouraging churches and individuals to join together in reading the book Love is the Way, by Bishop Curry.


Food Shelf Challenge

 This week (March 22nd), we will be totaling up all of the gifts of food and monetary donations, so that they can be taken to the Food Shelf. We will let you know which church came out on top, and celebrate our church families coming together for this great cause!

Prayers requested

Hi to all at Grace -
Mark (Zuber), daughter Roni's husband died last Thursday following his months-long battle with cancer. He has been cremated and a memorial service will be held later this year (post Covid 19).
I will very much appreciate you letting the members know of his passing and I ask for prayers for Roni's family at your next service.

God Bless, JIM SHUBERT

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We also express our condolences to Sue Gynild and family at this time, on the passing of her brother.





Grace Community in the News

Congratulations to the Pequot Lakes High School Speech Team on their success last weekend! Kudos to Sonja Palmer and Bryce Fabian!
Applause also for Cassidy Wick on her medals at Skate in the Park. Click to view article


Check out the wonderful piece on Tim and Julie Gowen! Click for




March Missions

Grace Missions for the month of March is the "Lakes Area Food Shelf". Money designated for the missions fund will go towards that program. Our Food Shelf challenge ends mid-month, but we encourage missional donations to LAFS throughout March.
DK-MN Camps
Read about the latest updates regarding Summer Camp 2021.

Update on ushering/seating for Holy Week.
For the next few weeks, you will find our ushers using a "seating chart" of sorts. You may be asked to sit in a pew that is not your regular spot. We are doing this to ensure that we can have as many people in worship as possible, while still maintaining the social distancing guidelines. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and grace!


We Need Ushers
If you are willing to come to church for worship, would you be willing to help usher? Two people are needed to greet and usher each Sunday. Please call Larry @ (218) 963-3765 or lpjohn@charter.net. Thank you!
Mission Update from the Brennecke Family
The Brennecke Journal--Winter 2021
Dear Friends:
 
“…Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Jesus’s words in the garden sealed our salvation. It is said that the real battle was fought there. Everything that followed flowed from His decision to bear the weight of true obedience and submission to the Father. As I meditate on the importance that Jesus placed on submissive obedience to the will of God as a model for our lives, I am challenged to the core. After all, how should we live when we realize:

I was saved by another’s death: “…you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, … but with the precious blood of Christ….” 1 Pet 1:18-19.
He bought me so He owns me“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Cor 6:19-20.
I have trusted Jesus for my eternal salvation, so it only makes sense that I should trust Him for daily provision and guidance during my earthly life:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Prov 3:5-6.
May we faithfully serve the One who loves us supremely, owns us entirely, and promises to guide us as we trust in Him!
 
Stewardship Ministries  At the core of our ministry is this truth: God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7).  Our overall task is to increase the joy of donors as they give to the Lord. The results matter! Of first importance, this delights God! A joyful donor likes the experience of giving and will likely want to repeat that experience.
Many donors are serious about their stewardship of the Lord’s money. Many give sacrificially. I have heard more than one person say, “You can’t out-give the Lord!” They say this from personal experience. 
 
Personal Evangelism  Many of you have heard of (and prayed for) my new friend Walter. Walter is turning 90 this May. For 70 of those years, he has carried burdens from 14 months of intense fighting in the Korean war. You may have heard of Chosin Reservoir, Heartbreak Ridge, Bloody Ridge and the Punchbowl. After landing under fire at Inchon, Walter was a forward observer in each of these major battles. That means he spent his time out beyond our outpost “line of resistance.” When his tour of duty was supposed to end, he had to stay because they had run short of forward observers. He would have stayed even longer, but when a grenade landed in his foxhole, his injuries landed him in the Norfolk Naval Hospital. A Bronze Star with Valor and a Purple Heart are on his fireplace mantle.
We met a few months ago in a local store. He was wearing a “Korean War” hat. I thanked him for his service and told him that two of our children came from South Korea – and that they would not be our children but for the sacrifice of guys like him. We struck up a friendship that day that quickly led to a Bible Study. We meet once each week. As God reveals Himself in the pages of John’s gospel, I trust the Spirit of God will open Walter’s eyes to his need to place his faith in Jesus Christ.  Please pray to that end!  Elaine, his caregiver, has joined our study, and she also needs the Lord. 
It was a blessing when Kaye and Brennan visited Walter. It was good for Walter to meet them, and it was equally good for them to meet one of the men who sacrificed themselves for others. (And of course this visit provided Walter, a Marine, a chance to tease Kaye about her role in the Ohio Army National Guard!)
 
Our family is doing well! We live under the caring hand and power of the Good Shepherd and are very grateful to Him for daily grace and encouragement! Kim is soon to receive a new wheelchair, for which we are thankful. We keep busy in the ministries of Camden Baptist Church, and are sooooo thankful for our local church family.
We are also grateful for your partnership in giving and praying for our ministry. Thank you!
-------Steve & Kim Brennecke
Our Bishop has turned the dial back to Orange. Woot!
We returned to in-person worship on January 31.
Check this link for the phased plan details from the MN https://www.minnesotaumc.org/regatheringplan
Currently, the word from our Bishop is that the dial will move after Easter.
Contact Information
 Grace United Methodist Church 
29318 Patriot Ave - P.O. Box 276
Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
Phone: 218-568-5755