December 5, 2021

Amazing Grace

                There was a preacher from a small Texas town who showed up one Sunday morning with an old, rusty, bent bird cage, and set in on the pulpit. He spoke of running across a young boy in town the day before who was carrying the cage with three birds inside.  He asked him what he had, to which the boy replied, “Just some old birds.” He asked him what he was going to do with the birds, and the boy said, “Take ‘em home and have fun with ‘em. I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers to make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time!” He told the boy that he would soon tire of that, so he asked what would he do then? He said, “Oh, I got some cats – they like birds, so I’ll take ‘em to them.”

After a brief silence, the preacher asked him how much he would take for the birds. The boy said, “Huh??  Mister, you don’t want them birds – they’re just plain field birds. They don’t sing, and they ain’t even pretty.” He asked again how much? The boy said, “10 bucks!” The preacher took $10 from his pocket and gave it to the boy, who quickly vanished.

He gently carried the cage to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, softly tapping the bars, and set the birds free.

One day Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, gloating and boasting to Jesus, “I just caught a world full of people down there – set me a trap, using bait they couldn’t resist, and got ‘em all!” Jesus asked what he would do with them. “I’m gonna have fun – teach them how to marry and divorce, hate and abuse, drink and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs to kill each other.” Jesus then asked what would he do then. He said, “Oh, I’ll kill them!” “How much do you want for them,” Jesus asked. Satan replied, “You don’t want those people – they’re no good – they’ll just hate you, spit on you, curse you and kill you.” Jesus asked again, and Satan replied, “All your blood, tears and your life!” Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The preacher picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.

 Anonymous

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Dec 5 (Sun) English Partners, 9:00-10:15, FLC room 206

Dec 5 (Sun) Adult Bible Classes, 9:30

Dec 5 (Sun) Worship 10:30am

Dec 5 (Sun) PM Small Groups

Dec 6 (Mon) Ladies Prayer and Fitness, 6pm

Dec 6 (Mon) B-12 7pm in the Fellowship Hall.

Dec 7 (Tue) Ladies Bible Study, 10am followed by Crafty Ladies

Dec 8 (Wed) Bible Classes, 7pm

Dec 9 (Thr) St. Francis House Dinner. Contact Donny Dillon (352-514-8261) if you can help with a menu item.

THANK YOU for all the prayers, cards, food and all that you’ve done for Skip and I during this time of healing and recovery. Your kindnesses have meant so much to us. Skip and Myrna Flint

DAILY BIBLE READING SCHEDULES 2022 are available in the tract rack in the hallway. We can also send it to you electronically upon request to the church office.

YOUTH GROUP NEWS Christmas Party will be held December 19 hosted by the Vairo’s! January 14-17: Winter Camp is just around the corner! Please let me know if you plan to attend. Cost per camper is $75. Scholarships are available, please see Joshua Mann for additional information. High Schoolers interested in attending Challenge Youth Conference (CYC) in Pigeon Forge, TN, should let me know by end of December. The event will be February 25-27.

GATORS FOR CHRIST Hard to believe this is our final week of the Fall semester together! We are in the gym Wednesday at 7pm for our final installment of the “Armor of God – Shield of Faith and Helmet of Salvation” by Mark. We have our annual GFC Christmas Semi-Formal on Thursday, December 9 from 7-10pm in the gym – don’t forget to bring a $10 or under wrapped gift for exchange.

B-12 — HOPE GATHERS HERE Every Monday night at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall, hopeful hearts gather in Bible-based fellowship and prayer, encouraging one another in our efforts to overcome the effects of addictive behaviors. Please join us and increase the hope as we help one another the B-12 way. (B-12 is a Bible-based 12-step recovery program.)

CHRISTMAS FOR THE COMMUNITY Thank you for all the donations for gifts for the foster children! All from our church family are welcome to be a part of the “Drive-Through Christmas Parade” on Sunday, December 12 from 12-1pm outside the FLC to welcome each foster family, give out gifts and stockings with candy to the foster kids as they drive by, and Santa Claus will be there too!

COATS FOR THE HOMELESS On Friday evening January 7 our college students will be handing out Coats for the Homeless Downtown – if you would like to donate a coat, blanket, winter hat, scarf or gloves, please drop it off at Donny’s office by Sunday, January 2.

ELDER’S CORNER

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

How many of us in our hearts know that God loves us and His affection for us has no limits; but sometimes we struggle to grasp this truth especially when we face crisis or hardship. Well, the Israelites struggled with this truth because they were facing hardship. They thought that God did not love them anymore, but Jeremiah reminded them: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3. So, no matter the circumstances, the sad moments or the heartaches; God is there every step of the way, don’t let go of Him, rest in His love.

Ramon Osejo

Private prayer with an Elder(s) is available down front after worship 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)

Special Care Facilities:

Donald Allen, Onley Bowers, Katherine Guttery, Daisy Martin (Ayers #224), Carol Massey (Parklands Care Center), Jodi McKim

Others:

Judy Beard, Ann & Ed Bresnyan, Emily Carpenter, Myrna Flint, Chuck Gatton, Teddie Goodner, Yvonne Griffin, Douglas Guntor, Brooke Hinckley, Larry Hood, Joan Jaudon, Bennilene Pennisi, Don Turk, Rick Worley.

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

ADULT CLASSES:

Wednesday Night:

FLC Gym, “The Armor of God,” Various

WC Fellowship Hall: “Worship,” G. Wyder

Sunday:

FLC Dining Room (#109): Hebrews, M. Jamieson

WC Fellowship Hall: The Holy Spirit in Action, B. Wharton

FLC #104: “Culture Shock: A Christian’s Response to Culture Today,” Marshall Jaroch

FLC #206: “English Partners”

FOOD PANTRY BAGS Available upon request.