Unitarian Universalist

If you are among the folks that make resolutions for the new year, I want to encourage you to make reaching out to and contact with others your top one. If you aren't someone who makes resolutions for the new year, I want to encourage you to reach out to and contact others anyway. Because, in both cases, you need it, it is good for you (us). It is never too late, until it is. For now, it is not too late.

While we may feel that establishing or re-establishing contact with someone is for their benefit, the gift of letting someone know they are on our mind and in our heart is a serious and much needed act of self care. We may feel that we have nothing to say or offer, we may have let fear, self-consciousness, self-doubt, or self-imposed negativity stand in our way. These concepts are all the more reason why we should make that contact.

For this first full week of this new month and new year, I offer a meditational affirmation to move us forward to acts of self care, and to begin those with the courage to reach out: May all the negative energy bringing us down come to an end. May dark thoughts, overthinking, and doubt exit our minds right now. May clarity replace confusion. May hope replace fear. May the light of our spirit shine so bright that nothing can dim our glow.

Join us in tending to our personal and collective glow this and every Sunday at 11 a.m. service. This Sunday, we gather at 10 a.m. for a potluck benefit breakfast. It benefits us because we can nurture each other with the company and food we share. It benefits the CARE Food Pantry because we each bring a few dollars to donate to this program. After breakfast, we will welcome Rev. Debra Garfinkel, from Tulsa's Church of the Restoration, for one of her soul-feeding services.

Later this month, we look forward to having Nancy James bring her community gift of a vibrational healing sound bath, Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Find out more about us with a visit or on Facebook at "Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tahlequah, 104 N. College Ave."

You are still a blessing.

Traci Clark

First Apostolic

Prayer and songs of praise opened services for Sunday morning, Jan. 5, as the sweet presence of the Lord was felt in our midst. “The Secret of Our Strength” was taken from Judges 13:24-25; 16:16-17 and Revelation 3:8.

The church today contains both the Philadelphian and the Laodicean churches spoken of in Revelation. There are those in the church who will make up the bride of Christ and there are those who, through negligence, will be left behind when the Lord takes his church home. It is up to each one of us to decide where we want to be – keeping our first love and serving the Lord with gladness or believing that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. The lukewarm will be spewed out of the Lord’s mouth, but the faithful will be with him in eternity.

Samson also had a choice of whether to remain faithful to God or to give in to his own desires. He had an unusual experience with God – even his birth was unusual, for it was foretold by an angel. Each of us who has repented, been baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins, and filled with the Holy Ghost has had an unusual birth – we are born again of the water and of the Spirit.

Samson, in his experience with God, not only caught 300 foxes and put firebrands on their tails and sent them through the Philistines’ cornfields to burn them, he also slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey as the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. The secret of his strength lay in his uncut hair, which was a part of his Nazarite vow. But when he chose to give away his secret, his strength was gone and he became like any other man.

Likewise, the secret of our strength in the church was given to us in Revelation as the Lord showed John what we must do to endure to the end. This church has been obedient to the word of the Lord and it exalts the name of Jesus. But if we should choose to let the secret of our strength slip away form us, we will become weak and be like any other man, as Samson did.

We must keep the secret of our strength – we must keep the word of the Lord and walk in obedience to it daily.

Feel welcome to visit any time: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The church is two miles south of Speedy's on Welling Road. For information, call 918-401-0368 or 918-458-9498. Visit our website at facwellingok.org.

Nancy Walker

Cookson United Methodist

The Oklahoma Blood Institute will be hosting a blood drive in the Cookson United Methodist Church fellowship hall on Jan. 20, 1:30-5 p.m. Cookson UMC is on the corner of Highway 82 South and Cookson Bend Road. All healthy adults are welcome to give of themselves and help save other people lives. OBI furnishes all the blood to the Tahlequah hospitals. All successful donors will receive a special long-sleeve T-shirt. Call 877-340-8777 or go to obi.org to pre-register. Thank you for caring and giving of yourself.

Rev. Rachel Parrott welcomes all to worship with the congregation each Sunday at 10 a.m. Small group studies are at 8:45 a.m. Start the new year with putting Jesus Christ in the forefront of your life's journey.

Last Sunday was Epiphany Sunday, the 12th day of Christmas. An epiphany is when a moment of insight, a realization, a revelation becomes crystal clear. It is when God shows up in the middle of ordinary life.

In the gospel of Matthew 2:1-12, the maji are discussed. They are more like astrologers, and not kings or magicians. There is something in the sky that tells them the cosmos are changing. The star is the symbol of the light of the world – which Jesus is. The maji follow the light. The grandeur of the glory of the heavens bring people closer to God in some way. It helps to remind everyone of their place in this vast eternal universe. Seek out God – the truth, the way and the life. People are searching. The maji were open to God's call.

A relationship with God begins with sensing something calling you – a light, a shimmer of hope, a spark of love – and so you start on the journey. It will be a continual journey into the eternal. There will be many epiphanies along the way. It is important to have a daily devotional life, involved in a Bible study and attending worship on a weekly basis. Put your faith into action through serving others in love. You never know how God is working within people around you.

As 2020 begins, it is easy become overwhelmed by the state of the world. Look around you and see how many people are looking for God. Focus on God's love. Love God and love others – this is what Jesus teaches. This is how Jesus and why he died. God is love. Love is the light shining in the darkness. Love is that which evil cannot overcome. Love is what everyone needs. It is the Epiphany. Be like the stars shining in the night leading people to Christ through love. Help people to travel by a different route so everyone can experience and live into a different kind of life.

Cindy Ballew

Peggs Community Church

Here we are, another new year. Our first Sunday service of 2020 began in prayer led by Brother Loyd Eaton, with 63 in attendance. The devotional was prefaced by a recorded message from Paul Harvey, followed by Scripture from Mark 8:33-38. Our first song was "Victory in Jesus."

No birthdays were reported (or admitted to), but we had two couples celebrating wedding anniversaries: David and Michelle Fisher, and Bobby and Patty Cole. Get well prayers and wishes go out to Bill Grimes, as well as all those mentioned on the prayer chain. Our love, sympathy, and prayers for God's peace go out to the McCullah family and the Shell family on their recent losses.

Food pantry distribution is Wednesday, Jan. 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sack-and-pack begins for the returning students that evening just prior to Bible study. A CPR "refresher" course is set for Monday, Jan. 13, beginning at 6 p.m. There is no charge for this class, nor will there be any certificates issued. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m., is our annual business conference wherein we discuss the future business of the church, elect church and Sunday school officials, and plan events, such as vacation Bible school, revivals, and such. It is important that all attend and let your voices be heard, if it is at all possible. Thursday, Jan. 16, is the senior luncheon.

Brother Mike took the pulpit this morning and based his message on Scripture found on John 1:1-17. Every Christian should know what these passages impart and how to let those that are not Christians or believers understand that information contained in these words are not only true, but truth, and the simplicity of the gospel. If you can't understand or believe this Scripture, you're probably not going to understand anything else, like you must be born again; Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the only way to the Father is by him (Jesus). Christ is the Bread of Life, the Living Water, friend, confidant, master, closer than a brother...He is everything and should be. Jesus is most definitely the only way to heaven, no matter what anyone else might tell you. Man's "wisdom" will always fall far short of that of God's and what he wants for us. Seek his wisdom first, follow his word, walk his path. It's the only way to eternal life.

Kay Cordray

God's Mountain Church

Rev. Carl Clark opened service with prayer. Sandra and Carl Clark, accompanied by Lula Thompson, started out the new year with the song “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and “Walking the Sea."

Classes adjourned with Sandra Clark teaching the juniors, and Donald and Holly Devine the teens. Ethan Horney taught the adult class on trusting God and laying aside worry.

Why worry when you can pray? Matthew 6:25: “Consider the lilies, they don’t toil nor spin; yet they are arrayed with greater beauty than king Solomon and all his kingdom.”

The birds of the air don’t worry where their next meal comes from. Our heavenly Father takes care of them. God has an abundance of all we need to get through this life.

Classes returned to the sanctuary. Prayer requests were taken, followed with prayer. Congregational singing included the selections: “There is Power in the Blood," “When the Redeemed are Gathering In” and “Victory in Jesus.”

The booster band sang “Jesus Loves Me," "I Wanna be a Sheep, Baa Baa Baa Baa" and “Running Over.” Lula Thompson sang “Consider the Lilies.”

Our Korean War veteran, Brother Earl Stoneburner, delivered the message from Daniel 7:14 and Revelation 21:1-4.

We have so much prophecy foretold and fulfilled throughout the holy Bible.

Daniel is full of prophetic words. It all coincides with the other.

God says not one jot or tittle will pass away until all be fulfilled. What a mighty God we serve. His ways are past finding out. He is an all-knowing and supreme God. There will be a great day coming for all who have repented. A sad day coming for all who have rejected God.

Service closed with an altar call and prayer for those responding. There was a special prayer for those who had needs. Pastor Clark dismissed the service with prayer.

Attendance was 58.

Wednesday evening Bible study is at 6 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

Lula Thompson

Tahlequah First Baptist

Change is inevitable. As we go through life there is always change. As we grow to be adults, there is change every step of the way and in every phase of life. We start changing as soon as we are born. In a lifetime, we will experience many, many changes. It’s part of the growing process. Most of these changes will be good, but some changes may catch us by surprise. Some changes we expect. But some changes we won’t, and they will be difficult to cope with and get through.

We must remember in all the changes of our lives that the Lord God is in control, and if we give him our hearts and put our complete trust in him, he will see us through every moment of our lives, the good times and the bad times. He is always with us, steadfast and loyal to the promises he gave us. There is a time for everything.

There is a beautiful Scripture in the Bible to remind us of these changes and a song was even written about it in 1965. I would like to share it with you today from the NIV translation of the Bible: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die ; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build; time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace."

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in their toil – this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

Join us for worship this Sunday: Early worship, 8:15 a.m.; Sunday school, 9:30 a.m.; and late worship, 10:45 a.m.

Terri Fite

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