April 28 - May 5, 2021

Philippians 2:6-11 is one of the most beautiful hymns of the early Christians. It answers the key question – Who is Jesus? Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church while in prison in Rome after he was sentenced to death. He knew time was short and many questions remained in the hearts and minds of the early church. Paul loved the Philippian church and appreciated their care for him. This hymn is the at the core of Paul’s love for these Christian sisters and brothers.
Is “Jesus Christ Is Lord” True In Your Life?
Philippians 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We come to the end of the song in today’s text. We began at the top left point of the \/ at the throne of God. We end at the top right point of the \/, again at the throne of God. We behold the glory of it all at the very bottom, at the foot of the cross.

The mind of Adam is precisely the opposite. We begin at the bottom left of the /\ pattern. Though given everything, even the image of God, we determined to grasp for ascent to equality with God. We reached the top with a great tower designed to make a great name for ourselves. The result of all our grasping was a great falling down the other side. The /\ forms a dead-end cycle of determination, disappointment, and despair. The \/, quite the opposite, begins with discontent, leading to a descent into our broken ways where we reach the bottom and find surrender and dependence on God. The way back up is one of being lifted into delight in God and onward to true devotion to others.

Remember what happened at our Babylonian building project: “That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:9).

See what happened in today’s text. The great gathering has already begun at the cross, eyes lifted to the throne of God, every nation, tribe, and tongue making the declaration, “Jesus Christ is Lord”! We do not return to speaking the same language, but we do learn to say the same thing.

Jesus Christ is Lord. This is not software-agreement language. This is the totalizing, all-consuming truth of the universe. That’s not enough. Lest this truth, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” become our personal, everyday, walking-around lifestyle, it means nothing. These are not mere words, but a manifesto. These words must be parsed, translated, conjugated, and implemented to the most granular detail of our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord!

To the extent that I continue to run the pattern of the world /\, climbing my own mountain for my own glory (no matter how much it may benefit others), I am a living denial of the lordship of Jesus Christ. As I follow Jesus downward into the valley of the cross, the valley of vision, he will lift me back up the other side, and, for the joy of the cross, I will run in the way of the \/ again and again and again.

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, whose name is above every name. We want to follow him yet we cling so tightly to ourselves. Come, Holy Spirit, and give us grace to let go of ourselves that we might follow Jesus with our whole hearts. We are weary of our own determination to make something of ourselves. We are ready to surrender all to you that we might become who you made us to be. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

1.  How do you relate to these contrasting patterns of the /\ and the \/? Does this resonate?
2.  Is your discontent with the status quo of your life at a place where you are ready to put your feet on the path of descent?
3.  Where are you challenged in your everyday life to live out the confession “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

For the Awakening, J.D. Walt, Sower-in-Chief, seedbed.com
The post Is “Jesus Christ Is Lord” True In Your Life? appeared first on Seedbed.

Pastor Tom is REAPPOINTED to Good Shepherd UMC
Dear Good Shepherd UMC,
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Sunday, April 25th, is the official “Announcement Sunday” for the Florida Conference regarding pastoral appointments for 2021-2022. You may announce and celebrate the fact that your pastor(s) Rev. Tom Willetts and Rev. Lia Icaza Willetts (ret.) will be returning for another year. It is my prayer that with your pastor(s) and the entire congregation working together, this will be a wonderful year of ministry as you continue to reach out to the people in your community with the Love and Good News of Jesus Christ!
In His Service,
Rev. Thom Shafer, District Superintendent - South West District

Dear Good Shepherd,
Pastor Lia and I are most grateful and thankful to be returning to Good Shepherd UMC as your Pastor and first lady. We will be entering our 14 year of ministry together with you. We give thanks for your wonderful support and love for all these years and look forward to many more years together. We are doing the Lords work and we give thanks for that opportunity. Thank you. Blessings, Pastor Tom

Holy Communion will be served at all worship services this weekend. Please make a reservation by Thursday afternoon for seating. Seating capacity is limited to 62 persons per worship gathering.
Drive up communion will be served on Sunday, May 2 at 11:30 AM in the East Driveway of the church.

The Finance Team continues to keep a careful watch over the income and expenses of Good Shepherd. The financial information of the church is available to all for review. The mortgage is being completed and will be closed in early May. We are most grateful for all your support. Please contact Bart DeGraaf – Finance Team Leader with your questions.
March Worship Attendance – 1057 / YTD - 3627. 717 fewer than 2020.
March 2021 Collections - $27,675.00. $11,117 less than 2020.
March Expenses - $28,636.06.
March expenses were $921.00 more than income.
2021 YTD Collections $93,985. $20,386 less than 2020.
2021 YTD Total income is $94,252.
2021 YTD Total expenses $90,037.
YTD Cash position $4,215.
$44,361 Checking Balance
$119,296 Dedicated Funds Balance. $13,474 in T & T. $77,762 in Contingency Fund.
While our income is down, our expenses are also down. As a result, we are not eligible for any additional PPE support from any sources. We have received loan forgiveness for the 2020 PPE loan. We must repay the interest accrued of $450.

What does all this mean?
Less Contribution Income presents a real challenge to our church operations. We usually have a large positive cash cushion after the first quarter of the year. We do not have that situation this year. We have decreased operating expenses in reaction to reduced income, but we are working in uncomfortably slim margins of cash flow. To decrease expenses further will require very difficult conversations and decisions to reduce staff compensation and ministry to the church. Less income results in less staff and less ministry. We have been able to avoid these reductions because of careful stewardship and your generous giving.

We would invite all contributors to increase their gifts to the church by $10 per week for the next 35 weeks. This will enable us to continue our current levels of ministry and staffing. Please prayerfully consider increasing your support to Good Shepherd. We also need to be inviting new neighbors to watch our worship services online and as we increase space to come to worship. We are in ministry that is impacting lives for the increase of the Kingdom. We must support that ministry and do all we can to invite others to come and join with us in God’s work.

All gifts should be directed to the General Operating Fund of the church. We will be paying the mortgage from the General Operating Fund as well as all the other expenses of the church. If you designate your gift to a specific designated account, we will honor that designation. 
Vaccination rates are increasing slowly in our area and many seasonal residents are heading back north. In person worship attendance is increasing as more people are vaccinated and feeling more confident to gather. Social distancing restrictions are being reconsidered as more test data is indicating that it is not distance apart, but time together that determines risk of infection. The longer time a group of any size is gathered the risk of infection increases unless everyone is fully vaccinated and symptom free. Being outdoors is safer than being indoors. Being vaccinated is less dangerous than not being vaccinated and becoming ill with Covid 19. Herd immunity is an elusive goal of between 65-80% of people vaccinated or with immunity. Currently in Lee County the fully vaccinated rate is 29.87%. The rate among 65 and older is nearly 70%.
The test positivity rate in Lee County is 9.45% and in Florida is 6.85%. 10 people died of Covid 19 this past week in Lee County. In 33903 there were 27 new infections. In 33909 there were 78 new infections. In 33917 there were 31 new infections. Lee County is still considered a RED ZONE of high infection potential.

The Leadership Team is watching all the available information and is carefully considering when, how and what to open of the church. Safety is our greatest concern. DO NO HARM, is one of the three rules of Methodists along with DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN, and ATTENDED TO ALL THE ORDINANCES OF GOD. This is a tough situation for us all. Please continue to pray for our leaders as we discern the best path forward for our church. We are in ministry. We are serving the community in God’s name.

Many folks have questions regarding the vaccine process for COVID-19. I find this very understandable and normal. The vaccines were processed much more quickly than usual with the CDC granting the "go ahead" because the virus had killed at least 2 million people globally.

The technology using mRNA, which was developed long before the COVID-19 began to attack humans. It was the technology used by the drug companies, Moderna and Pfizer. Trails of tens of thousands of participants were given the vaccines, prior to the FDA approval under the emergency authorization act.

The vaccine cannot give you COVID because it does not contain the virus.

"The live virus never enters your body in the vaccination process", according to Dr. Ruth Karron professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She further states " that your cells learn how to make a part of the virus, but coronavirus can't replicate that way. The mRNA actually dissolves and leaves the body, after sending its message to your body."

After vaccination, you may have mild side effects, such as low fever, nausea and fatique which should subside within 24 to 48 hours. Many people, whom I know, that have been fortunate enough to be vaccinated, have had no side effects, other than a sore injection site for a few days.

People with severe allergies should consults with their doctor before getting the vaccine!!!

The information I have used to write this article was obtained by the expert advice of Dr. Karron and Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.
Submitted by Judy Greenstreet, Faith Community Nurse.
Paul & Sue Finn Jr. 5/10/1969 52YRS
Eugene & Elinore Greuling 5/16/1953 68YRS
Tony & Janice Birchfield 5/20/1994 27YRS

John Geary 5/1 Darlene Topp 5/5 Lois Powell 5/7 Elinore Greuling 5/9 Carole Sabel 5/12 Billie Finnie 5/13 Doris Tunney 5/14 Bob Sidaras 5/15 Bill Hubbs 5/18 Alice Greene 5/20 Sue McKenzie 5/21 Bob Wood 5/23 Bill Kliskey 5/26 Gary Olson 5/26 Kay Hampton 5/28 Larry Massing 5/28 Ron Palmer 5/28 Helen Garofolo 5/30 Nita Cater 5/31 Jerald Kelley 5/31 Brenda Morton 5/31
We would like to invite you to celebrate Pastor Tiffania’s upcoming wedding! You are invited to a Wedding Shower for Tiffania and Laurence on April 30, 2021 at 3PM. There are two ways to attend - Virtual by ZOOM or In Person at Good Shepherd UMC. There is limited seating. A reservation is required to attend. Contact the church office at (239)543-2686 for an In Person seating reservation or to receive the ZOOM link information.

The Bridal Gifts Registry is at the Bed, Bath, and Beyond store Or Online at www.bedbathandbeyond.com. The couple is also registered online at www.Zola.com/registry/tiffaniaandlaurence.

A CARD BOX will be in the Narthex for your convenience also. 



Shannon is our Good Shepherd UMC Music Director. She will be getting married 7/3/21 in Philadelphia, PA.

We would like to bless Shannon and Trevor on their journey.

A wedding card box will be in the Narthex for financial gifts or you can go to the website listed below to shop or give.

Note, they are registered at Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and also listed on their registry page is a Wedding Cash Fund.


The years 2020 and 2021 have been difficult years, with Covid-19. In 2020, your United Methodist Women group had a few fund raisers early in the year, before everything shut down. We have included a list here of our 2020 giving. We want to thank those, again, who have helped us continue our giving in 2021 with your donations and $3,170 has been contributed, through our “no people” Spring Fling. so far. Thank you, so much.  During the year, when you are considering your donating, please keep the UMW in mind, so we can again help these organizations, who help so many people and especially when the need is so great at this time. To give, see Donna Michel or mail a check to her at 20758 Wheelock Dr., North Fort Myers, FL 33917, made out to the United Methodist Women. Thank you, again. UMW
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It is the time to consider the need for filling out an application for a Special Needs Shelter . All Lee County residents who qualify must fill out an application every year, in order to update their information. The shelter is available to those who have no other place to go, should a Tropical Storm or Hurricane be in our area.

Transportation is provided to a shelter for folks who do not have any other means to get there. Submit the application early, since processing ends when Lee County enters the five-day forecast cone of a storm.

Bring to the shelter the items you need of a daily basis....prescriptions, personal hygiene products, glasses, extra clothing, extra hearing aid batteries, cell phone and charger, important phone numbers, etc. Food and water will be provided for you but you should provide special dietary needs. You may bring your dog or cat with you, even though they will be housed and sleep in a different area. You will still have access to them for feeding, walking, etc.

I have applications available for you in the Ministry or Worship Center or you can call me at 239-994-5351. You can download and submit an application online at "leegov.com" Special Needs Program or you can access these applications and other pertinent information by calling Lee County Emergency Management at 239-533-0640.
Pastor’s Wednesday ZOOM Bible Study - GOSPEL OF MARK
This Wednesday @ 7 PM by ZOOM. Please contact the Church Office to register and receive the ZOOM link to join. We will be using, N.T. Wright’s - For Everyone Bible Study Guides, “Gospel of MARK” - 20 studies for Individuals and Groups. Intervarsity Press 2009, purchase book from Amazon or Cokesbury. $9.99.



Women's Bible Study
Finding Peace in An Anxious World
A monthly Women's Bible Study - next meeting is May 24th at 1pm - Zoom and in person. Contact Beth Ferris at 239-543-6295 to sign up.