Message From The Pastors

Message From The Pastors-webpage

Stay up to date with all that’s happening at First Methodist Houston.

Click here to subscribe to the Pastors’ weekly email.

December 1, 2022

In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; the nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!     – Isaiah 2:2-3, 5

 

Happy New Year!

ChristmasI know you may be thinking, “that’s a little early, don’t you think? We are a month away from all of that!” While that is true on the cultural calendar, the church calendar, which shapes the rhythm of our year around life of Jesus, holds the first Sunday of Advent as the beginning of the new year. So, Happy New Year, Church!

Advent, which developed as a season in the church during the 4th century and has been widely practiced across churches worldwide since the 6th century, comes from a Latin word, which means, “coming” or “visit.”  It is a season that begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. The focus of this season is on preparation – as we prepare our hearts and our homes for the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas, we prepare our lives for Christ’s return.

Christ’s second coming is the fulfillment of Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection and is the event that all of history is moving towards.  Advent renews our anticipation in the reality that we proclaim at the Table: Christ will come again! It points to the time where God will make all things new in Christ, to a world free from sin, death, and decay – where we will be free from all that separates us from God and from one another.

How are you anticipating and preparing for the return of Christ? I encourage you to adopt a practice this Advent that helps create space in your schedule for growing in your faith. You can begin or end each day with the lighting of a candle and the reading of a devotional or scripture and ending with prayer. 

If you’re looking for a place to begin, I would suggest reading a chapter a day the Gospel according to Luke. If you begin today, you will finish on Christmas Eve! You could do this alone, with members of your household, or by calling a friend or relative on the phone.

I also encourage you to find a place where you can offer hands-on service during this season; for in serving, we experience Jesus in the face of others. Whatever you choose, I pray this will be a season of wonder, joy, and transformation.

At the beginning of the book of Isaiah, the prophet provides a vision of a world renewed – where God’s people would be like a high mountain that would draw others to come and learn to walk in God’s ways and in God’s light. This vision ends with a picture of the transformation that comes from its fulfillment:

“they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

In order to live today as that future reality were already coming to pass, the prophet calls them to action in the present moment, “Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

This is the world we, too, are longing for. This is the world we know, in faith, that Christ will usher in. This is the Advent journey. So, as we begin this new church year, let’s become signposts that point others to the hope we ourselves have found.

Come, Church, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

One Together StewardshipOne Together Stewardship Campaign Update

Here is our progress to date on our One Together Stewardship Campaign for 2023 Ministry and Mission:

  • General Ministries: $1,707,493
  • Missions: $247,245

As a benchmark, in a normal year, we would anticipate Mission pledges totaling $300,000 and non-pledged income for Missions totaling $120,000.

It is challenging, at present, to provide an accurate benchmark for pledges to general ministries (and we are working hard to establish reliable benchmarks and metrics for the future!). However, here is some data that might be helpful in gauging how we are doing.

Over the last 12 months, our total income applied to general ministries (excluding extraordinary gifts and draws from our line of credit) was $5,524,478. Of that, $3,975,672 came from tithes and offerings. We have not had an annual campaign for general ministries since 2019 (a pre-COVID year) and data from prior years shows a wide variance between pledged and non-pledged income from tithes and offerings.

Given that we are reestablishing the practice of an annual campaign and rebuilding this capacity within our organization, it is important to establish a benchmark that is a stretch, but attainable. Therefore, I am setting $2,000,000 as a goal for pledges toward our general ministries (anticipating the rest would come as non-pledged income).

This is a great time to make a commitment to our ministry and mission for 2023 through a pledge to our One Together Campaign to help us reach our goal. Every commitment matters. Pledges can be made by placing a pledge card in the offering plate or box on Sunday morning at any of our services, by mailing your commitment card to the church office downtown, or online at fmhouston.com/one-together.

Thank you! Your generosity enables us to make a difference in one another’s lives and to bring hope and transformation to our city. Thank you for being the church… one together!

Rev. Lance Richards
Senior Pastor
First Methodist Houston
[email protected]

Here’s Some Of What Else Is Happening At First Methodist!

Administrative Board Meeting Called Charge Conference

Our last Administrative Board meeting of the year will be held on December 15th. Because we had such an early Charge Conference date this year, we have a couple of items that still need our approval.  Our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Elijah Stansell, will be with us to convene a short special Called Charge Conference […]

Stephen Ministry Training

Don’t miss the last opportunity to join the 2023 Stephen Ministry Training Class! Find out more about this important ministry by joining a virtual Information Session on Sunday, December 4th @ 4:00 PM. For more information, or to RSVP and receive the Zoom link, please call 713-458-4701 or email [email protected]

Magi Tree

Join our mission to help families around the world this Christmas!

Order Poinsettias

If you would like to purchase poinsettias to be placed on the altar in memory or in honor of a loved one, please fill our the form below. The cost of each plant is $30, and the deadline for your order is December 11th. You may pick up your poinsettias after either the Christmas Eve […]

Source Family Christmas

Join us for The Source Family Christmas in the Atrium following worship on Dec. 18th.

Christmas Schedule

Christmas is a beloved time at First Methodist, full of traditions both joyful and sacred. All throughout the season we will be holding special holiday services and events, as we prepare for the celebration that is Christmas Day. Come join us and see what it is to be a part of the First Methodist family.

Christmas Missions

Join our mission to help families around the world this Christmas!

Historical Tour of Downtown Campus

Please join Rev. Ann Spears for an historical tour of the Downtown Church on Sunday, Dec. 4th at 12:15 pm. To reserve your place, please email Ann at [email protected] To learn more about the church’s history online, visit our history page here: History

Movie Night

Join us at our West Campus on December 10, 2022!

Family Advent Celebration

Join us December 4, at the downtown Campus!