NEWSLETTER

THE COBBLESTONE CARRIER  

                                                                                                                        

North Ridge United Methodist Church          

Founded 1816

3930 North Ridge Road, Lockport, New York 14094                            716-433-4105

“The Living Cobblestone Church”

email: northridgeumc@roadrunner.com         website: www.nridgeumc.org

Visit us on Facebook at North Ridge United Methodist Church                                                          

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

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As I sit down to write this, we are less than two weeks away from the 2020 Presidential Election.  Election years are always tough, this one more so given all the traumas that have come our way this year.  Who would have thought that the country would be shut down for so long and that the way we do things would have been fundamentally changed perhaps forever?   If you think about it, there should be no surprise given the circumstances that folks are on edge about so many things. 

Let’s step back for a moment and think about the things we can control that are causing fear and anxiety.  There really isn’t much we can control in this world.  We can take precautions to minimize our exposure to COVID and hopefully not get it.  But, unfortunately, we can do everything right and still get sick.  As I told everyone when church started back up:  The precautions are not going to ensure that there is no chance of getting COVID, we are just using common sense measures to minimize the risk. 

Then there is the election.  We have no control over how that turns out other than “voting our conscience” to use an old phrase.  I believe it is not by accident that this saying has gone the way of intelligent debate.  In United Methodism we see conscience as a sign of the grace given as a gift by God to lead us in the right direction even before we know that we need help.  God is not Republican or Democrat.  He is God and he loves all his children.  He wants them all to live safely, peacefully, and without hate, anger, or fear.  Is anyone asking what God wants us to do?  Is anybody listening to what God wants us to do?  Through grace, he is never silent.  He may just have something to say that we don’t want to hear. 

Regardless of how you feel about who should be the next President, there is a large percentage of your fellow Americans who feel the exact opposite way you do.  And, if they can get out the vote successfully, your candidate is going to lose.  That is the way it works.  We all know “they” are out to manipulate and steal the election.  In other words, regardless of who wins, we will be right back to square one with one half of the country accusing the other half of being stupid and worse than the devil himself.  When does it end?  It doesn’t unless we refuse to be changed by Christ’s grace in our lives. 

People are tired because it is a vicious cycle that we know is wrong but refuse to admit our guilt in the process.  In this week’s Gospel lesson, Jesus is again being set up to say the wrong thing by the church leaders of the time.  He uses their own methods against them.  They give up their effort because his arguments can’t be refuted.  This is because they come directly from God.  Do they acknowledge this?  Of course not.  There would never have been a Crucifixion if they had.   

I think the larger question is not whether the followers of President Trump or Vice-President Joe Biden are going to Hell.  We should instead be asking if perhaps we are all going to Hell if we continue to “feel” the way we do.  Does God want you to be angry with your neighbor even if you feel that anger is fully justified?  By no means.  We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. 

It doesn’t matter how we feel.  Feelings can lie.  Grace never will.  Nothing is ever going to change until we start loving each other again.  We can’t control how the country goes in this election.  We can’t control other people.  But we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit control how we act and feel.   

With Christ, we see that we don’t need to be in control.  Things don’t have to turn out the way we think they should because they are going to turn out the way Christ wants them to.  We are not angry any longer because we see the good things that God has blessed us with, even in the midst of trying times.  We can see that even those we disagree with are a blessing in our life. 

Vote early and often.  For yourself.  God believes you are the best candidate to get you where you need to be.  Christ is already King and will lead us to the Promised land; a place where no worldly leader can take us.  If only we follow him.  In this season cast all your burdens down and accept his yoke.  It is way lighter than carrying the burdens you carry now.   –Pastor Matt

ANNIVERSARIES 2020  – Happy Anniversary to:

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December 18              Ken and Yvonne Peloquin

We need more anniversaries to celebrate; remember, we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries quarterly with a birthday party.  If you would like your anniversary included in our newsletter, please let Ruth Weaver Metzger or Don Schultz know.   

BIRTHDAYS 2020

Nov.  2   Kiersten Hake

Nov.  5   June Schuman, Roger Israel

Nov. 14  Lindsay Schmidt

Nov. 15  Ashley Randall, Susan Israel

Nov. 18  Michelle Newman, William Buzzard

Nov. 21  Lucille Cervola

Nov. 28: Celeste Hake

Nov. 30  Julie Eaton

Dec.  1   Marge Kerns

Dec.  2   Troy Doebler

Dec.  4   Chris Rademacher, Maren Schultz

Dec.  5   Linda Heist, Nolan Hake

Dec.  6   Ava Schultz

Dec.  7   Joseph Andrews, Michelle Boyd

Dec.  8   Rachelle Ripley

Dec,  9   Nathanial Swanson

Dec. 11  Amanda Jacobs

Dec. 14  Erin Rademacher

Dec. 16  Jaren Israel, Don Peterson

Dec. 17  Keri Aiken

Dec. 20  Morgan Boyd

Dec. 21  Gabriel Worley, Scott Dinse

Dec. 23  Noelle Paquette

Dec. 24  Roger Brawn

Dec. 26  Emma Mylchreist

Dec. 28  Krista Roberts

Dec. 29  Mark Lafler, Lorraine DeRize Dec. 30  Karen Randall

The Theme for NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER is:    GRATITUDE AND WONDER

5 Ways To Rock The Gratitude Challenge This Thanksgivg

October 29, 2019 by Tom Harkins

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it’s now official: gratitude is good for you. Recent scientific studies have indicated that people who express gratitude to friends, family, and other people important in their lives were more optimistic and had a better attitude; there were even indications that their gratitude led to better health and fewer visits to the doctor. However, despite best efforts, gratitude often gets lost in the rush of hectic Thanksgiving gatherings. Everyone is too busy buying turkeys in crowded supermarkets, tidying up the house before guests arrive, and preparing new and challenging recipes to be grateful. It doesn’t have to be that way! This Thanks-giving, you can have a great family gathering AND still take time to embrace what the holiday is all about. Here are five ways to rock the gratitude challenge this Thanksgiving

1. Write It Down                                                                             

If you want to be mindful of what you’re grateful for in your life, take the time to write it down. A gratitude journal – and the time you set aside to write in it each week – can help you focus on the things in your life that make a difference and for which you’re thankful. You can start your journal in the weeks before Thanksgiving; purchasing a notebook right after Halloween would work just fine for this. Once you have your journal, allocate an hour or so every week to sit down and jot down three or four things for which you’re grateful. You’ll be surprised by the impact this simple act has as well as how it helps you meet the gratitude challenge.                                                              

2. Do Something Good                                                             

Another great way to rock the gratitude challenge this Thanksgiving is to have a positive impact on your community. It’s easy to give back this time of year. For example, you could volunteer your time at a nonprofit organization that’s helping people in your city, such as a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. You could also contribute to a benevolent organization, such as providing canned goods or donating a meal to nonprofits that support less fortunate people during the holiday season. Nonprofits often rely heavily upon volunteers and donors at this time of year, so giving your time and effort can make a real difference. Moreover, helping others will give you a chance to reflect on all the goodness of the people in your life so that you can be more grateful for everything you have.

3. Keep It Simple and Ask for Help                                                                

One of the best things you can do to stay focused on gratitude this Thanksgiving is to go back to the basics and get support from the people in your life. If you’re hosting family and friends for your Thanksgiving meal, resist the urge to go overboard with food, drink, and decorations. After all, most guests are happy and satisfied with a simple but classy affair, so don’t make things hard by trying to do too much. When it comes to dinner and home preparations, don’t go it alone. Ask your guests if they can bring a side dish or dessert to add to the meal and take some of the cooking burden off you. You should also try to get some help with getting your house ready; if you have a significant other and children, enlist them to tidy up while you’re doing the food prep. Keeping the holiday simple and classy Doing this will lower the stress factor considerably, and help you stay focused on being grateful for your life and all the wonderful people in it.

4. Express Your Gratitude with Words                                                
One of the toughest obstacles in the gratitude challenge is telling the
people in your life you’re thankful they’re there. After all, many people
have trouble expressing feelings. However, Thanksgiving is the best time of the year to set all that awkwardness aside and let people know you’re thankful for them. Take the time at your Thanksgiving celebration to
express your gratitude to your friends and family; doing so around the
dinner table can make the meal special. If important people in your life couldn’t make the holiday gathering, set aside a few minutes to make a call, or send a letter letting them know how thankful you are for them. Giving thanks to your loved ones is in the best tradition of the Thanksgiving holiday; additionally, expressing gratitude can help you feel better about yourself and improve your relationships with the most
important people in your life.

5. Do Something with the People You Care About                           

While a holiday meal and gathering is fun, a great way to rock the gratitude challenge this Thanksgiving is by actually doing something with the people in your life that you care about. Living in the moment with your family and friends is a great way to express your gratitude and appreciate those who are important to you. So, while you have everyone gathered for the holidays, consider doing something fun together. For example, there are usually charity runs on Thanksgiving morning that you can all participate in together. Perhaps your family and friends can have a blast playing a friendly game of touch football in your backyard after you finish the turkey. A simple walk in the fall woods with family and friends can be a memorable way to celebrate the holiday together, too. Regardless of how you do it, spending some quality time with your friends and family is a wonderful way to express gratitude for them, and feel thankful in your own heart as well.

You can pass the gratitude challenge this Thanksgiving and find the time to be thankful for everything you have. Just follow these tips, minimize the stress that comes with the fast-paced holiday season, and get ready to share everything you’re grateful for with your family and friends this Thanksgiving!

THANKS FOR LISTENING      –     RUN THE RACE   by Greg Laurie

Discouraging things can happen when you follow Jesus. Life doesn’t always go the way you hoped it would go. Tragedies befall you. People let you down. You ask questions that go unanswered, and sometimes you wonder if you can keep going. But whom did you sign up to follow? I signed up, if you will, to follow Jesus. Jesus always has been what He promised to be for me. He’s never failed me once. He’s never let me down. And He’s the author and finisher of my faith, which means that God finishes what He starts.  He started a work in your life, and He wants to continue it. But for that to happen, you need to keep your eyes on Jesus, who ran His race for you. He had His back ripped open by a Roman whip when He was lashed 39 times. After that, He picked up a huge cross and carried it through the streets of Jerusalem. Then they nailed His hands and feet to that cross, and He hung there.  The people cried out in unison, “Crucify Him!” His own disciples were largely in hiding. One of His own handpicked friends, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him. How easily Jesus could have said, “I’m done here, people. No one apparently understands why I’ve come to this world and what I’m about to do, so I’m not going to do it.” And He would have been justified. So why did Jesus do it? What kept Him going? Hebrews 12:2 gives us the answer: “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame” (NLT).    What was the joy awaiting Him? It was you and me. He knew what His death and resurrection would accomplish, and that was the joy that kept Him going.

He ran His race for us. And we need to run our race for Him.

Why is Advent Important?

Preparation for Christmas is an important theme for Advent, but more is involved. Advent gives us a vision of our lives as Christians and shows us the possibilities of life.   The vision of life that Advent gives us is twofold; it looks back to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, and it looks to the future when Christ will come again. In the interval between these two events we find meaning for our life as a Christian.  First we celebrate Christ-become-human. We view his life and experience his presence as a human being in our history. Christ came to show us what life can and should be. He gave us true and valid principles by which we can live true and valid lives. But Jesus knew that the human heart could not live in isolation. He formed the Church around the concept of a people held together by love. In that community we discover unlimited possibilities and meaning. Alone we can do nothing. Together we find real meaning.  When Christ left this earth, he did not abandon us. He remains with us in his Spirit, the Church, the sacraments, the Scriptures and each other. He lives in community with us and keeps his vision of life before us.     

When Christ comes again, his presence will no longer be hidden behind the signs and symbols of the liturgy or the words of the Scriptures. His presence among us will be revealed in all its fullness, a presence that will never end, a presence that will perfect and complete our community.

This is the “greater significance” of Advent. In these few short weeks we take in the sweeping panorama of time – from Christ’s birth to his Second Coming. The season of Advent brings us the magnificent vision of life and hope for the future given to us by Christ.   Advent is our time to become more involved, more caught up in the meaning and the possibilities of life as a Christian community. Thus we are preparing not only for Christmas but also for Christ’s Second Coming. This means that when he comes again, we will be awake and watchful. He will not find us asleep.       © Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent – A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeem

The WONDER OF CHRISTMAS

Celebrating Christmas  By Tim Moore Christmas holds a very special place in the heart of most Christians. It is a time for family and giving and good cheer. It arouses fond memories of pageants and living nativities and even Charlie Brown’s Scripture-honoring special on television.

Most of us are intimately familiar with the story of Christmas — perhaps so much so that the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation of Jesus no longer fills us with awe. If you fall into that category, I hope this Christmas you’ll consider once again the promise of peace the Messiah’s First Advent foretold.

Pondering the Birth of Jesus                                      

Matthew and Luke describe the details surrounding Jesus’ conception and His birth. Those narratives are surprisingly straightforward in their description of those events-as if virgins conceiving and angels appearing are regular occurrences!

Previous Lamplighter articles have focused on the faith and faithfulness of Mary and Joseph — Jesus’ mother and surrogate father. Additionally, I’ve always found it instructive to consider Mary’s response to all the events she witnessed. Luke says three different times that she stored up in her heart and treasured the fulfilled promises of God and that she pondered all that she experienced. Amidst the busy-ness of the Christmas season, we would be wise to meditate upon and ponder Jesus’ birth.

Being Excited About the Birth                                           

The second aspect of Christmas that merits reflection is the reaction of people who looked forward to and then witnessed His actual arrival. Lowly shepherds, exalted magi, and angelic hosts alike demonstrated great excitement.

The shepherds hurried to see “that which the Lord [had made known to them]” (Luke 2:15). The wise men traveled from afar, eager to worship the newborn King. They “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” when they realized that the baby was just a few miles away and also hurried to worship Him (Matthew 2:10). The account of the angel’s declaration of great joy to the shepherds and the heavenly host’s song of praise resonates with their joyful exuberance.

Receiving Assurance From the Birth                             

When various individuals were made aware of the Messiah’s soon arrival, they were either afraid or assured of joy. Zacharias, Joseph and even Mary were each told by their angelic messenger not to be afraid. As their role in God’s plan was explained, their initial fear quickly changed to assurance

Zacharias went home from the Temple believing that he and Elizabeth would have a son named John. Joseph awakened from a dream determined to do as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. And Mary submitted herself as a bond slave of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior. The shepherds likewise were overwhelmed with fear when they saw an angel of the Lord, but their fear quickly turned into eager joy. All of those people chose to believe in the promises prophesied. Their assurance led to great joy and a role in the Lord’s nativity.

On the other hand, Herod, who fancied himself the king of the Jews and was surrounded by priests and scribes who rightfully described the prophecies surrounding the Messiah’s birth, was motivated only by fear. Afraid that the newborn and rightful King would threaten his power, he decreed that all the male babies in the vicinity of Bethlehem should be killed.

The Centrality of the Birth                                                 

As Christians, we need look no further than the calendar to realize that the advent of Jesus Christ stands as the central event in human history. Although secularists would like to remove any reference to Christ from our demarcation of time prior to and since the last 2,020 years, the fact remains that the world has adopted an approximated year of Jesus’ birth to be the hinge upon which human history pivots.

No other supposed holy person is recognized in such a manner. This is no minor point. God’s Prophetic Word points over and over again to two great revelations of the Messiah — once when He arrived as a Sacrificial Lamb, and again when He returns as the Lion of Judah. Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem rightfully divides all of human history. And, the last days of the world as we know it will culminate with His glorious return.

Expecting the Follow-up of the Birth                                                

Finally, the gospel accounts of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth capture the expectation various eyewitnesses felt. Whether the shepherds, the magi, the angelic host, His parents or Simeon and Anna — all of them believed the promises of God, and they were inspired to anticipate the arrival of the Messiah.

The angels knew because God had revealed His plan of incarnation to them and commissioned them to share that good news (Luke 2:8-14). Mary and Joseph and the shepherds knew because of these specific angelic messengers. The magi knew to anticipate the Jewish Messiah because they had studied the prophecies in God’s Word (Numbers 24:17). (It is widely understood that these sages from the east would have been exposed to the Jewish prophecies during the time of the Babylonian exile.) And, the Spirit of God Himself revealed to Simeon and Anna that they would see the Lord’s Messiah (Luke 2:25-38).

Do you share the same sense of high expectation about the Lord’s Second Advent? You have been given many prophetic signs to watch for — signs that will herald that you are living in the season of the Lord’s return. Those signs are converging today. Are you full of anxious expectation?

Where Do You Stand?                                                              

Does your heart thrill with the good news that Jesus has come? Do you have a Peace which passes all understanding? Do you Ponder your Savior and resonate with Excitement and blessed Assurance that He is coming again?

Do you recognize the Centrality of both His First Advent and His soon return in human history and your own testimony, and do you live Expecting Him?

I pray that you do, and that this Christmas you will once again give “glory to God in the highest” while we wait for Him who was, and is, and is to come!

ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM OUR CHURCH BULLETIN 

  • COBBLESTONE MISSION CRAFTERS will meet on Tuesday afternoon from 1-4 pm.
  • If you want to place an announcement in the bulletin, please enter the complete information on the sheet circulated each Sunday.
  • Administrative Board meetings will be scheduled as needed for now.
  • Our Mission Project for October will be to collect money for UNICEF.
  • Our Mission Project for the Advent and Christmas season will be to collect items for USSS (United Stockings Sailors Soldiers).  Please see the insert in today’s bulletin.

RECENT PRAYER REQUESTS FROM OUR “PRAYER WARRIORS”

Please pray for: 

  • The Holy Spirit to bring our Friends, Neighbors and Members to worship.
  • Our country/world      
  • President Trump and First Lady (2)                     
  • Safe delivery for Dawn’s daughter (4)                                       
  • People – depression, mental health, therapy, loneliness (5)                  
  • End of virus (2)
  • Election in US and Bolivia (4)                
  • Raul (4)                              
  • Carole’s grandson (3)        
  • Randy S. (3) Jenny’s niece (3)    
  • Aryn, Rob & Family (3)    
  • Family of Debby Boyett (3)          
  • Rosanna, MRI (2)                          
  • Diane P., fall (2)                              
  • Democrat cities (2)                        
  • Nick P., shingles (2)                      
  • Pastor Matt and Family, loss of Uncle  (1)
  • Dick S., test results (1)

You are always invited to worship with us.  Even if you have been away for a time, we look forward to seeing you soon! –  10:45 am on Sundays.

We are following the safe guidelines put forth by the Upper New York Conference for the safety of each person in our worship service and in our building.  If desired. You can still access our service as it has been streaming and posted on our Facebook page and You Tube.

COBBLESTONE COOKERY

BY

NORTH RIDGE UNITED METHODIST WOMEN  – 

1998 COOKBOOK EDITION

CORN STUFFING BAKE

Stove Top stuffing                                       

2 large chicken breasts

1 can cream corn chowder                        

2 Tbs. Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise)                                                  

Bread Crumbs                                              

1 small van Green Giant corn niblets

Make Stove Top stuffing for 4 servings, according to package instructions.  Cook chicken thoroughly.  Make dressing into a “crust” in the bottom of a square glass baking pan which has been greased (8 x 8). Blend chicken (which has been cut up), corn, soup and Miracle Whip together and spread on top of dressing.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.     –Audrey Peck

PUMPKIN CAKE

1 (20 oz.) can pumpkin                                

1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk                                                              

4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice                             

1 box yellow cake mix                                                                                            

½ tsp. salt                                                      

1 c. chopped nuts                                                                                    

3 well beaten eggs                                       

1 stick margarine, melted                                                                                  

1 c. sugar

Mix all ingredients in order given and pour into 13 x 9 inch greased pan.  Sprinkle one half of dry yellow cake mix over top, then 1 cup chopped nuts.  Drizzle with one stick melted margarine. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.     – Annette Schultz

                                                                                        

The Cobblestone Cookery 1998 is available for purchase from the UMW. Books are on display in the Fellowship Room for $2.00.

                                                                                            

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves   together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.   WE MISS YOU.