Monday, November 30, 2015

Pastor Doug's December Newsletter


"They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary, His mother."  Matthew 2: 10-11

How domestic! How ordinary! The magi follow a wonderful star until it stops over "the place where the child was", (Matthew 2:9) and what was that place? A house. That's all, just a house. The magi discover the Messiah, the Son of God, in an ordinary "house". They find Him in ordinary circumstances, with an ordinary looking mother, much as they might find any other child.

How often do we go looking for Jesus in places that are not ordinary; such as on top of a mountaintop of one kind or another? This can sometimes be good, but not if we forget that the most likely place to find Jesus Christ is in ordinary circumstances. We find Him in our homes, in our workplaces, and in gatherings of friends and relatives.

In other words, the holy is in the ordinary. That's one of the most basic meanings of the Christmas season, The Son of God entered human history in everyday circumstances, and that's still where we're more likely to find Him.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being present, always, in all of the ordinary times and places of my life. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pastor Doug's November Newsletter

The Touch of he Master's Hand.

T'was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste so much time on the old violin
But he held it up with a smile."
"What am I biddin', good folks?" he cried.
"Who'll start the biddin' for me?"
"A dollar? A dollar? Then two! Only two?"
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"
"Three dollars once. Three dollars twice;
Going for three ....", But no,
From the back of the room, far back, a gray haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tighteing the loose strings
He played a melody oure abd sweet
As a caroling angel sings

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who will make it two?"
"Two thousand! And who will make it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice;"
"And going going, gone" said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite ununderstand"
"What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply
"The touch of a Master's hand"

And many a man with a life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like a cheap violin.
A "mess of potage",  a glass of wine;
A game ... and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice
He is "going" and almost "gone.
Buth the master comes in and the foolish crowd
Never can understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought.
By the touch of the Master's hand.

May God bless you and keep you, until next time.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pastor Doug's October Newsletter

The Christian Alphabet:

A: Always I will praise You Lord. You bring true happiness.
B: Because You save my immortal soul, and promise me a place in Your kingdom.
C: Considering all of Your righteous ways, You alone are worthy of praise.
D: Deliver me, God, from sin and shame, for You alone are able.
E: Every day, from morning to night, I will prase Your Holy name.
F: Faithful are You to deliver all who call on You in Jesus' name.
G: Great are Your works of power in heaven and on earth.
H: Happiness is mine, You deliver me. Your promise I have claimed.
I: I will tell others of Your great love, and the redemption Jesus bought for me.
J: Just a broken and contrite heart is all You require of me.
K: Kindle within my heart a fire of love like the love Jesus has for the world.
L: Love and happiness fill me heart, Oh God. Thank You for delivering me.
M: May You always hear my prayers for the lost, for while I was lost, You heard prayers for me.
N: Never will I turn from your commands, as they have all become precious to me.
O: Open my heart to Your Holy Word. Let me hear what should be heard.
P: Prepare me, please Lord, whatever it takes, that I may, liek Jesus, serve others.
Q: Quiet my will, help me Lord, I pray. I want all things to go Your wat.
R: Reach out and touch others through me, Lord. Kee me sensitive every step of the way.
S: Send me Your Spirit. I want only to obey. Let me never do anything to lead others astrat.
T: Teach me in Your loving and faithful way. Instruct me in everything I say and do.
U: United in You, through the blood shed by Your Son, Jesus Christ, my risen Savior.
V: Vast are the gifs You have given me, though I am not worthy of even one.
W: Without fail, You keep Your promises, and one is that Jesus will return.
X: X-Ray my every thought, dear Lord, I want to think like Jesus.
Y: You alone are righteous, dear God, You alone can deliver.
Z: Zealous for Your righteousness am I, my dear Lord, my Savior, my God, my creator. You alone bring happiness to my soul, for You alone can deliver.

Have a great October! See you next month!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pastor Doug's September Newsletter

Dear Struthers Families,

These days everything seems to be changing, from pencils and slide rules, to the computers that perform everything from our personal needs to very specialized surgeries.  Home telephones are almost a thing of the past, as cell phones are now the main means of communication. Home cooked meals have been replaced by microwave dinners and fast food, horses by cars, trains by planes and someday people may even travel in space. Everything seems to be evolving.

But one thing remains unchanged; God, His Word and Jesus Christ. His grace and salvation are still the same as when Jesus offered them to those he walked among some 2000 years ago.   

Today God, the Church, and Jesus, are far from many peoples’ lives; as they have little, if any, interaction with God, except for an occasional utterance of God’s name.  We all are hungry for something to fill our lives. The world fills our lives with “things”, but we are all really seeking peace and happiness. This comes from God. 

How many minutes a day do we, or our children, spend worshiping, thanking, praying to God, or studying the Word of God?  We wonder why our kids are doing the harmful things they are, and why some even senselessly kill one another.  Is it because we have walked, or run, from God’s Word? Jesus walked here, the Word made flesh, to sharing a timeless message, God’ love for all. 

How have you experienced it this year?  I challenge us all to shut off the computer or TV and spend a night together as family or friends, fellowshipping and reading the Bible for 10 minutes each week, praying for our family, friends, co-workers, our communities, our churches, our nation, our service personnel and ourselves. I know Jesus always found time to spend with His Father in Heaven. It was important to him. 10 minutes a week doesn’t seem like much till the world and our life schedules step in and then we find ourselves scratching our heads wondering where the day went, or weeks or even the months slide by.  Don’t let this year slip by. Make some time on your PDA, iPhone,  or  text each other a  reminder for 10 minutes of time for God.   I truly believe we will forever be changed by this time spent with our Heavenly Father. 

God Bless,
                      Pastor Doug

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pastor Doug's August Newsletter

Welcome to the initial edition of Pastor Doug's newsletter.

This will be a bit of information, for those who do not know me.

My name is Doug Theobald, and I am the Pastor of the Struthers United Methodist Church, in Struthers, Ohio. By some odd quirk of God's will, I am also a firefighter in East Cleveland, and that is roughly 75 miles from my church. I love doing the Lord's work, and also having fun at the same time. I am a fan of the Cleveland Indians, and I love all things Snoopy, Minions, and really all fun animated characters. I really enjoy the children's message part of services, becaue you just never know what is going to come out of the mouth of a 5 or 6 year old. I am often pleasantly surprised at just how closely some of these children pay attention, and stunned, on occasion, when they have been able to answer Biblical questions with authority. We are a smaller church with a huge heart, and we love taking the word of the Lord into the world.

Each year, our Youth Group has a mission trip, where they, and their adult supervisors, visit an area struck by poverty or natural disaster, and do work to help people in need, while spreading the Word of God at the same time. We have recently returned home from a mission trip to Virginia where we helped people in need. We helped rebuild peoples homes, and helped build their faith at the same time. In turn, they helped build our faith as well! What a totally exhausting, yet incredibly rewarding experience. It is always wonderful working alongside our youth, and the adults who made the trip, Pictures of our trip are on our website, in the "photos" link. Now we are home, completely worn out, but so happy to have been able to share the love of God with those in need.

Looking ahead to events at the church, we will, of course, have services at 11am on Sundays. We also have the Canfield Fair to look forward to. We have just finished upgrading our church website, so it is good to have that up and running.  The Lord's work never ends, but we love it!

Our Bible Lesson for this month will come from Luke 8:41-56 (RSV)

41 And there came a man named Ja′irus, who was a ruler of the synagogue; and falling at Jesus’ feet he besought him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.As he went, the people pressed round him. 43 And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, 44 came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden,
she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” 49 While he was still speaking, a man from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50 But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she shall be well.”51 And when he came to the house, he permitted no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.52 And all were weeping and bewailing her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up at once; and he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed; but he
charged them to tell no one what had happened.

Jesus paused on his way to heal Jairus' daughter in order to restore to full life his own 'daughter'. Her faith healed her, but Jesus' words gave her back her humanityAs if the poor woman in this story has not already suffered enough, even at the moment of her healing she has to come forward and admit to Jesus, in front of  all the people in the crowd why she needed to touch him and how she was healed. She had to suffer the humiliation of announcing to all who could hear that she was unclean. (which was one of the worst things that could happen to a person in that time)

This unnamed woman had been hemorrhaging blood for 12 years. In all that time the woman, anything she touched, and anyone who touched her was regarded as unclean. No one was going to make a path through the crowds to allow her to speak with Jesus.

She was, no doubt, weakened by her many years of illness and blood loss, yet was determined to get to Jesus, as she knew that just to touch him would be enough. She pressed through the crowd until with the tip of her finger she touched the hem of his robe, "and immediately her hemorrhaging stopped" (v. 44).and she was healed.

Then came the embarrassing moment when she identified herself and told her story to Jesus and to the crowd. Her relief at being healed after so many years gave her the strength and confidence to speak up. In a moment, the embarrassment and shame fell away as Jesus' voice echoed in her ears, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace" (v. 48). "Daughter"-  a woman who had been an outcast for so long is affirmed in her special and close relationship with Jesus. He claims her as a daughter.
Jesus paused on his way to heal Jairus' daughter in order to restore to full life his own 'daughter'. Her faith healed her, but Jesus' words gave her back her humanity

I'll see you next month.

God Bless!

Pastor Doug