Saludos de nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Cristo de la Iglesia Nueva Vida en Durango. Or, in vernacular you can probably better understand: “Greetings from our brothers and sisters in Christ from the New Life Church in Durango.” I just returned from a 7-day mission trip to Mexico. Our team of nine Lynn Haven members assisted the New Life Church with Vacation Bible School and built a handicapped ramp for their sanctuary. It’s worth noting that since I was a part of the construction team, it was even “less hardly able” than our own crew that builds ramps here in Bay County.
In addition, I had the opportunity to preach on two occasions and my wife, Lee, led a women’s Bible study. It was a productive week of ministry as we renewed our partnership with that congregation and their pastors, Jorge and Yulimar Martinez. They are doing great work for the Lord and making a difference for Christ in their community and world.
The VBS we helped with had about 75 children in attendance on Monday. But by Friday, that number had grown to over 200! Many of the families represented said they planned to return for worship. Not only are they touching the neighborhood around their church property, the New Life congregation sent out their first mission team last fall to a village in the mountains and they regularly take offerings for the poor in Venezuela. It was exciting to see a Body of believers that understands its mission is to “go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15 NLT)
Clearly, that is the case for our Lynn Haven United Methodist Church as well. We have committed ourselves to RiskTaking Mission and Service so we “offer ministry opportunities that stretch our congregation, causing us to do something for the good of others out of our deep desire to serve Christ.” As a result, in addition to the Durango trip, we sent a youth mission team to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and participated in two medical mission teams to Honduras in July. We want everyone involved in ministries of service and outreach, so please prayerfully consider joining us for our “Back to School Bash” at Southport Elementary on August 7. There is also still room on our Family Mission Trip to Gretna, Florida, September 23-25. Children ages third grade and up can participate with their families and younger children can come on Saturday for the day. For more information or to sign up, contact our Children’s Minister, Mary McQuagge (MaryMc@ MyLHUMC.net). Last, but not least, we are sending a team to Uganda this fall to build a church. We need servants to help with the construction, along with financial assistance for our two resident missionaries that will lead the effort, Jack Williams and Dale Jones. Contact Jack (jdjwill3@gmail. com) for more information and you can purchase mission shares at the table outside the Transmitter sanctuary.
I am thankful to be the pastor of a congregation that understands one of the great things about following Jesus is the chance to participate in the Great Commission. Let’s continue to “go and make disciples” in Jesus’ name.
To God be the glory!
Lead Pastor, Lynn Haven UMC
It was an amazing, passion filled worship service at Fusion today. Our numbers are increasing each week. The energy in the room today was palpable. God is calling His people to come forward for prayer, praises and life changing commitments are being made.
The Fusion team made preparations for a scheduled new member announcement and baptismal ceremony for Marla Denecke. Her family and friends gathered around to witness and pray as Marla was baptized in a large galvanized tub in the front of the worship room.
After her baptism was finished, as service was about to resume, another gentleman announced that he felt called to be baptized as well. This gentlemen had given his life to Christ while meeting with Terry Tatum last week. Upon witnessing Marla’s baptism he felt he needed to do the same, fully clothed and all! The church gathered up front once again and prayed for him as he was also baptized. Much rejoicing was happening at Minnesota Ave!
All God’s people said: Amen!
This morning I got a call from a person I've been assisting for 3 weeks through parish community outreach and case management who had come to Panama City with a referral for a new job. The couple raised 4 children in a Methodist Church out of state. After the spouse and three of the four children died in tragic circumstances over the last 7 years, the individual was broken, aimless, and angry with God, had abandoned the Church after the spouse's death in 2009 but now had realized that faith lived through a godly spouse and children saved and nurtured in the Church instead of based on a personal relationship with Christ is not faith at all. Faith is not a second-hand gift. The circumstances that brought this person our way are miraculous, in and of themselves, involving a "chance" conversation in a passing contact with a person engaged in lay ministry at LHUMC who anonymously extended an unusual grace in meeting a specific need that one wouldn't expect to have met so promptly or in such a place. That LHUMC member, then invited the person to seek additional help at "that Methodist Church up the road." Today, Pastor Terry Tatum spent time in spiritual guidance and a prayer of salvation with this wounded person. The angels are awe-struck! The remaining adult child, halfway across the country, is celebrating and grateful. I am praising God for his prevenient grace and for allowing LHUMC to be a means of grace in sharing the Truth of the Gospel with this new Christian. Tonight in fellowship with others, a new believer will take the first tentative steps in a personal journey of faith in a new hometown and a new community of believers. We are grateful to God and to others who will come alongside this person to help bring spiritual and emotional healing and new joy in living. Oh, God of Second Chances, thank you for a new beginning for another wounded and wandering soul! Amen!
This month, our God-Sighting comes to us from Pastor Terry Tatum. He, like the rest of us on the church staff, has seen God at work in our congregation and community, and here is an account of what he experienced at our Baptism in the Bay event as well as some of what else he has seen God do in the first half of 2016. “On Sunday, May 15th, I had the opportunity to witness one of the greatest things I have seen since becoming a Follower of Christ. On that day, 23 members of our church family were baptized in North Bay, with over 150 people in attendance who were there to support their brothers and sisters in Christ as they made their baptismal vows. This was truly a great day in the life of our church.
In addition to those participating in the sacrament of baptism, this year we have seen 95 people profess their faith in Jesus Christ. I have personally witnessed people accepting Christ in a local McDonald’s, at our Mobile Food Pantry, during worship services, during Youth services, and at our weekly AWANA club. The Holy Spirit is moving in a mighty way right now, and I am humbled and thankful to be able to witness God’s mighty hand at work in our church and community.”
Over the last year, the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church has provided a Mobile Food Pantry for the community of Bay County. Thousands of pounds of food have been distributed to hundreds of families in need. At a recent Mobile Food Pantry, an attendee saw the love of Christ being shared at Fusion by our servants and staff and she decided to attend worship there the next Sunday. During that worship service she felt the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit and in the days that followed she gave her life to Christ.
Julio later sat down with her to discuss how and when she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Today, she joined the church and after she joined, Terry suggested all in attendance to join him in the laying of hands over her and Mindy Clemons led a wonderful prayer.
Terry was moved by the Holy Spirit to do this. It was a true God Sighting.
On Wednesday, April 13th Chris Morris, along with his parents Jon and DeDe Morris met with Pastor Terry to discuss questions Chris had about baptism. During that conversation, Chris gave his life to Christ and all of Heaven rejoiced. Chris was baptized at the 9:30 service at our Transmitter campus on April 24th by Pastor Craig and had several family members and friends present to share in this glorious occasion. Chris has a very mature understanding of his faith and has been actively involved with our AWANA program and children’s ministry for some time.
Since the beginning of the year, the Lynn Haven Church has recorded over 76 professions of faith. This brings our total professions of faith to 229. It is easy to see the fruit of our outreach and mission projects. In March, we praised God for Nancy Stewart’s nephew who came to Christ at his home. He had been on our long-term prayer list for over a year. Through the work of the Holy Spirit and the support of our prayers, another person can say he has found the grace and peace of Jesus Christ.
AWANA & Youth On Wednesday, April 27th the Holy Spirit moved mightily in our ministries with young people. Pastor Terry was able to share the story of Jesus with the older Awana children at Transmitter and 6 boys gave their lives to Christ. At the same time, Neal was at Fusion sharing the Gospel with the youth, and six youth gave their lives to Christ! Lynn Haven Church truly is a fruitful congregation for Christ here in Bay County! Look for opportunities at work, in your neighborhood or in friendships to show the love of Christ to those who are in need.
Tammy first came in contact with our church when she attended our Mobile Food Pantry earlier this year. While there, she immediately felt the love of Christ through those serving. She soon attended a Fusion worship service and said she felt something come over her during the service, a true peace, something she had never felt before. A few weeks later while attending a church in her hometown, she felt the same feeling again and realized it was the Holy Spirit. At that moment, she gave her life to Christ and couldn’t wait to get back Fusion so she could tell folks what God had done in her life. Tammy credits her encounter with our Mobile Food Pantry and her experience at Fusion worship for leading her to Christ and plans on making Fusion her church home.