Pastor Augie's Ramblings for the Week of November 22nd
Hello First UMC Alachua!
One year ago today, Thursday the 19th of November, a good friend of mine was struck by a car right in front of me. He is ok and with us today, but that morning was a shock to my senses. Dave and I were training for the Space Coast Half-Marathon that was being held on December 1st, just a few days away. We had been training together three days a week or more for about 6 months. When we would run out on the road, Dave would always run to the street side. He always joked that he didn’t have kids like I did and needed to keep me safe.
We were on our longest run of the training and subsequently our fastest. We had gotten really strong and were excited about the potential of beating any of our goals at the actual race. It was about 5:30am, five miles into our run for the day, when a truck passed us and didn’t move over far enough to avoid Dave. The side-view mirror of the truck had clipped Dave’s arm and shattered it. I thank God that we were together and got emergency services on site ASAP. The driver stopped and turned himself in, for that I am thankful also.
When we realized there was no way he could continue the training another friend stepped up and paced me through the race to see me through to the finish line. I crossed the finish line and Dave was there cheering me across the finish line. I’ll never forget that day. 13.1 miles in 2hrs 42min and 42sec. My goal was 15 minute per mile pace and I smashed that goal with a 12:26 minute per mile pace. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been possible without Dave and all the hard work. We supported each other and most of all encouraged one another. I call him “Dave the Encourager!”
I can’t tell you how many times we need that person in our lives. This year has been tough on so many of us. I know after that race the world and my personal world would be shifting like never before. We’ve all experienced trials and struggled to make it day to day over the past year. Now we come, headlong into the holiday season with even more questions about this pandemic and how we can gather, in a safe and responsible way. The end of the year is approaching so quickly, and we are praying that we can close the chapter on this year.
2021 will still have many of the problems we are facing today. Things will not be done overnight, and they will require the tough work of engaging the world as it is, knowing that it isn’t where it needs to be. Training is like that. We know we aren’t where we want to be and that we have a long way to go to get there. Very few people wake up one morning and run 13 miles without some form of training. I believe that we are called to train up and engage the work of God’s kingdom. Even more I believe we are called to do it together. To encourage one another, to bear each other’s burdens, to carry the weight when others can’t, and to provide hope inside of what seems like a hopeless world.
Who encourages you and who are you encouraging? I pray you have a Dave in your life who will be the one to text you, call you, run with you and celebrate with you. I pray you will be that for someone else. Our world is in deep need of this kind of encouragement. Our world is stuck in a hopeless cycle of telling us how bad things are and how we will never finish the race set before us. Our world needs the hope of a Savior that shows up and does the work with us. That’s Christ in the world and that’s what we will begin the work of preparing for on Nov. 29th. I hope you’ll join us.
For this week, we will wrap up our sermon series Earn. Save. Give. We will look at what it means to give all that you can and where that giving should come from. I pray you have heard God’s call on your life to recognize who our gifts come from and how we can steward them. This week I pray we will recognize how much more God can do with us when we offer up our whole selves and hold nothing back. I believe God will do so much more than we can ever imagine when we show up in that kind of way. I’m excited for the hope that builds in us when we truly believe that and dive in with everything we have!
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, in person or online!
Dave would want me to finish with his favorite encouragement and what we all knew was his calling card; “Yeah Buddy!”
With Grace & Peace,
Operation Christmas Child – We will have boxes available on Sunday mornings. For more information contact Charlie Barkley – 352-262-1194
Thanksgiving Outreach – Sign Up Link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4da5a922abfa7-thanksgiving Sign up by Friday November 20th. Meals are due Nov. 25th to the fellowship hall. See signup for more information.
School Ministry – Please return your Thank You cards for the teachers and staff of Alachua Elementary on Sunday the 22nd to Pastor Augie. Thank you!
Movie on the Lawn – December 6th at 6pm – Join us under the tent for “Elf” a fun Christmas movie! BYOD – Bring your own dinner, blankets and/or chairs. We’ll be sure to use good social distancing and enjoy a movie in the open air!
Hanging of the Greens – We will decorate our church for the Advent Season on Nov. 22nd after church.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us connect with people who don’t use electronic media! We send out the E-Letter via mail each week! Let us know if there’s someone we could be connecting with.