March 24, 2019

LOVE: THE EMOTION FOR POWERFUL CHANGE

                God commends His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:8) Nearly two-thousand years ago a small band of one hundred-twenty believers gathered for Pentecost in an upper room. Their attention was centered on twelve men who knew Christ in a very personal way. Their Lord promised these twelve He would deliver to them a power from on high and finally in Acts 2:1-4, this comforter came upon them. Immediately we witness the first sermon being dramatically proclaimed without fear of persecution when Peter dares to warn and enlighten the group of the heinous sin they had committed. In only a few short chapters, Peter and John have their first real altercation with the San Hedrin. (Acts 4:5-12) In reading we wonder whether they will run away as they did during the trial, scourging and crucifixion of Christ. This time we do not see the cowering, frightened, apprehensive and fearful group of so-called friends running from the first sight of danger. Rather Peter stands his ground and firmly calls out “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:10, 20) Do you think Peter felt a sense of accomplishment for standing rather than denying Christ? The biggest question now is “WHY?” Why did the earliest believers stand strong against opposition? The major happening between Passover and Pentecost was the resurrection. Now with HOPE beyond words they could understand the nature of God’s love and power and could declare the whole counsel of God to those who needed to know His love and Hope.

Do you think Christianity could have survived all these many years if the truth was guarded by dormant and spineless cowards? God never intended for someone so counterproductive as timidity or fearfulness to be a Christian’s nature. But this is where God steps in! Love is the single and most only antidote for solving the problems of our sinful world. When we have love for God, it overcomes the fear of man. Loving God propels you to honor, cherish, worship and magnify God. Knowing the love that God has granted to us provides the impetus to share His love with those around us. Love is that antidote for the timidity that may have us in its grasp.

John says “…love casts out fear”. (I John 4:18) Look back at the apostles again just before Christ’s death. They were immature. Though they continued to declare unfailing allegiance to Christ, guaranteeing never to forsake Him, claiming their love would never cease, where were they when His death drew near? Were they standing near or watching or even sleeping? Did they cry out in His defense as that innocent Jesus stood silent without a single positive referral? Suddenly though, this scene changes when Christ returned from the grave and gave the Apostles the single charge to “Go into all the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:16) Now the world knew what love was about and it was able to conquer the cowardice of the weak. Today, love brings about change, heroism and looks the possibility of persecution in the eyes and says, like Esther, “If I die, I die.” (Esther 4:16) That kind of love never fails, and it was that kind of love that the first Christians came to know, because they had experienced it firsthand! This is the kind of love that makes us greater in His eyes, so let’s express it!

James W. Farris

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Mar 24   (Sun) English Partners, 2-4pm Fellowship Hall

Mar 24   (Sun) Plaza Bible Study, 3pm

Mar 25   (Mon) Ladies Prayer and Fitness Class, 6pm

Mar 25   (Mon) B-12, 7pm, Fellowship Hall

Mar 26   (Tue) Ladies Bible Class, 10am, then Crafty Ladies

Mar 26   (Tue) U.C.B.I, 6:45pm, FLC room 104.

Mar 27   (Wed) Bible Classes, 7pm

Mar 29   (Fri) Zambia Mission Fund Dinner, 6:30pm.

Mar 31(Sun) Bahama Mission Lunch. All donations accepted.

Apr 13 (Sat) Florida Bible Camp BBQ and Silent Auction, 10am-noon.

Apr 14 (Sun) Dinner Honoring our College Grads, 7pm, FLC

Jun 2  (Sun) Youth Group Senior Banquet.

Jun 4-6 Vacation Bible School, 6:30-8:00pm

July 14-20 Florida Bible Camp

THE LORD ADDED…Francis Appiah gave his life to Christ and was baptized on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Francis is a new student at Santa Fe College in Automotive Service Technology and comes to us from Ghana, Africa. We rejoice with him in his decision and pray for his continued growth in the Lord.

SYMPATHY is extended to Kim Ip at the death of her mother, Sylvia Ip who passed away on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. A memorial service was held for her on Monday, March 18. Please keep Kim and her family in your prayers.

OUR ANNUAL COLLEGE GRADUATES APPRECIATION DINNER is Sunday, April 14th at 7pm at the UCCC Gym – please plan to come and support our GFC college grads. Olive Garden will be served for only $5 each or $20 per family! Please sign up.

EASTER EGG HUNT Parents save the date of Sunday, April 21 after morning worship and invite other families to come join us in our annual egg hunt for kids in the Family Life Center. It will take place from 11:45am-12:00pm. All in our church family please bring plastic eggs and candy to Donny’s office between now and Sunday, April 14th.

GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY to this year’s Florida Bible Camp BBQ and Silent Auction, Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased from Donny Dillon, Skip Skipper, Don Turk.

GATORS FOR CHRIST Tonight is our college led worship night at 6pm at UCCC and at 7:30pm is our final Spring dinner & devotional at the Payne’s home (7027 NW 51st Terrace) – don’t miss great food, worship, fellowship & fun! Wednesday is our college & post grad class at 7pm by Bobby, Donny & Chris in the gym. Thursday at 7pm is our Men’s & Women’s Small Group Bible Studies! Friday night is Bama vs. Florida baseball at 6:30pm and TeaStori game night at 9:30pm (All free)! Directions are available at www.GatorsForChrist.org calendar.

ZAMBIA MISSION FUND

Are you planning to attend the Zambia Mission Fund Dinner & didn’t get to RSVP? Please call Marylou or Toni ASAP at (352) 377-7379.

YOUTH GROUP NEWS

Save the date for our next Monthly Dinner & Devo to be hosted by The Woodys on Sunday, April 14th at 6pm.  More info to come.

“By Request” Singing Sunday Night, April 14 Our next singing night will include requested songs. Please add your requests to the sheet on the bulletin board no later than Wednesday night, April 10.

THANK YOU Dear UCCC, We don’t have words enough to tell how much of a blessing the congregation there has been to Gene and I. We appreciate the many visits to Palm Gardens by so many of you, the cards and especially the prayers. You helped us through some dark and difficult days. We have wonderful weather here in Ft. Myers. Gene rides a three-wheeled bike around the block several times a day. He goes to out-patient rehab three days a week. He’s working hard and progressing nicely, has moved up from a walker to a cane and there are times he doesn’t use a cane. Love and blessings to all, Gene and Barbara Catterton.

HONDURAS HELPING HANDS Our Honduras Mission Team continues to make preparations for our trip to Las Casitas, Honduras in June. Our Helping Hands project assists members of the team with raising money for the trip. If you have any projects around the house, the “Helping Hands” team is willing and able. Please contact Darren Coffield at 256-529-3554, or thecoffield@gmail.com for any details.

BAHAMAS MISSION LUNCH in the gym after morning worship on Sunday March 31st at 11:45am. Please plan to come for lunch and donate whatever you would like to help our Bahamas mission team! Our team is traveling to help a church plant in Long Island Bahamas in partnership with the Highbury Park Church of Christ on August 8-14th! Sign up in Bible class or on the main bulletin board in the hallway of our Worship Center.

UPDATED PICTURE DIRECTORY to be printed soon. If you have new information or would like to submit a more recent photo, please email it to the church office (Marilyn@uclights.com) by the end of March so that it can be included in the new printing. Thank you!

ELDER’S CORNER

1 Peter 5:2 “Be Shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care…”

Genesis tells us we are made in the image of God. In what way or ways are you most like Jesus/God? Do you love as you should? Do you forgive easily? Do you serve others with a good attitude? How much compassion do you show? Let’s ALL try to be more like Jesus!!

Lendon Suggs

Private prayer with an Elder(s) is available down front following the closing song or by appointment.

Please remember our sick and shut-in with cards, visits or a phone call and keep them in your prayers.

Hospitals: (this past week)

Brooke Hinckley (Shands)

Special Care Facilities:

Mary Banks, Annetta Beazlie, Mary Jo English, Katherine Guttery, Doris Hogan, Jodi McKim, Bennilene Pennisi, Bettye Roberts, Edith Robinson, Bob Stancliff, Lanelle Waters, Edna Watson, June Wiles, Virginia Witt

Others:

Donald Allen, Gene Catterton, Douglas Guntor, Joan Jaudon, Carol Massey, Rick Worley, Ruth Wyatt, Gary Wyder.

Prayers for the safety and strength of all those in harm’s way serving our country and community.