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The latest from First United Methodist Church

Stay up to date with the happenings of First United Methodist Church by visiting our blog. You'll find information such as announcements, sermon notes and thoughts from our pastor to encourage and challenge your walk with the Lord.


Our Sister Churches in Cuba

by: FUMC Communications

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Pastors Stephen and Julio will be traveling to and visiting our two sister churches in Belic, Cuba, August 23rd-28th. This will be Pastor Stephen’s first time meeting our Cuban brothers and sisters.

Due to limited space and weight, the pastors will be taking ONLY the following items that have been specifically requested:

Small flash lights for batteries AA & AAA

Batteries AA & AAA

Rain ponchos—all sizes

Women’s & Children’s lightweight canvas shoes

Underwear for men & boys

Underwear & bras for women & girls

Please be in prayer for them as they prepare for this important trip.

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Pastors Stephen and Julio will be traveling to and visiting our two sister churches in Belic, Cuba, August 23rd-28th. This will be Pastor Stephen’s first time meeting our Cuban brothers and sisters.

Due to limited space and weight, the pastors will be taking ONLY the following items that have been specifically requested:

Small flash lights for batteries AA & AAA

Batteries AA & AAA

Rain ponchos—all sizes

Women’s & Children’s lightweight canvas shoes

Underwear for men & boys

Underwear & bras for women & girls

Please be in prayer for them as they prepare for this important trip.

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A Home of Their Own

by: Laurie Stephens

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Four times a year, we are hosts to guests from Family Promise of Hillsborough County. This is an amazing ministry that provides temporary housing, meals, and services to families who are homeless. Our church provides the temporary housing and meals for a week at a time. This is a labor of love that involves a number of volunteers responsible for everything from laundering the bedding to setting up and taking down the bedrooms to being overnights hosts. In the evening, the families gather together for a wholesome meal provided by one of our small groups. This is my favorite time… read more

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Four times a year, we are hosts to guests from Family Promise of Hillsborough County. This is an amazing ministry that provides temporary housing, meals, and services to families who are homeless. Our church provides the temporary housing and meals for a week at a time. This is a labor of love that involves a number of volunteers responsible for everything from laundering the bedding to setting up and taking down the bedrooms to being overnights hosts. In the evening, the families gather together for a wholesome meal provided by one of our small groups. This is my favorite time of the week because we get to know the families a little bit as we talk and laugh and enjoy the meal.

In May and June, we hosted a delightful family of six. The four daughters were so cute and well-behaved and it was evident that they are loved by both Mom and Dad. While we were caring for their comfort needs, Family Promise of Hillsborough County was working with them to become independent again. We were so pleased when they graduated from the program this past Friday. It takes a village to raise a family and so we all feel such pride in their accomplishment!

Here are some photos from their graduation.


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Summer Camp

by: Laurie Stephens

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This week, 19 of our youth and children attended camp at Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp. In the midst of swimming, sailing, four square, creating tie-die shirts, and all of the other typical camp activities, these 19 grew deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ. They will come back changed. And those who see their transformation will be changed as well.

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This week, 19 of our youth and children attended camp at Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp. In the midst of swimming, sailing, four square, creating tie-die shirts, and all of the other typical camp activities, these 19 grew deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ. They will come back changed. And those who see their transformation will be changed as well.

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Satan is a Liar

by: Laurie Stephens

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Zach Williams has a new song out called "Fear is a Liar".
Here are some of the lyrics:

When he told you you're not good enough
When he told you you're not right
When he told you you're not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you're not worthy
When he told you you're not loved
When he told you you're not beautiful
That you'll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
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Zach Williams has a new song out called "Fear is a Liar".
Here are some of the lyrics:

When he told you you're not good enough
When he told you you're not right
When he told you you're not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you're not worthy
When he told you you're not loved
When he told you you're not beautiful
That you'll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
'Cause fear he is a liar

How often do we fall into the trap of believing the lies that Satan whispers in our ears? He capitalizes on our doubts and worries to keep us from truly believing that we ARE loved and we ARE enough in God's eyes. Don't believe his lies. Cast your fear in the fire.

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God's Abundance

by: Laurie Stephens

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“Jesus said, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’

They said to him, ‘We have only five loaves here and two fish.’”

Matthew 14:16-17

This is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. This scripture tell us that Jesus had compassion on them and healed the sick. After a long day, the disciples want to send the people away, but Jesus tells to them to feed the people. The disciples complain that they only have five loaves of bread and two fish. It’s not enough. Jesus blesses the food and everyone eats until they are satisfied. After the leftovers… read more

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“Jesus said, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’

They said to him, ‘We have only five loaves here and two fish.’”

Matthew 14:16-17

This is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. This scripture tell us that Jesus had compassion on them and healed the sick. After a long day, the disciples want to send the people away, but Jesus tells to them to feed the people. The disciples complain that they only have five loaves of bread and two fish. It’s not enough. Jesus blesses the food and everyone eats until they are satisfied. After the leftovers are collected, twelve baskets of food are left. This is more than just a miracle. It is Jesus expressing the amazing grace of God’s love. In the Kingdom of God there is never scarcity or want or not enough. The Psalms shout of a God whose “love is everlasting”. For Jesus there is always abundance. That is good news that we need to take to our hurting and frightened world.

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The Story Isn't Over

by: Laurie Stephens

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You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:48-49

The Sunday after Easter is typically a low Sunday. The energy of Easter is gone. Many of our northern visitors have started to head back for the summer months.

In the scripture lesson for this week, even the disciples of Jesus are hiding out and laying low. They are terrified and unsure of what is going on around them. Jesus appears in their midst and reminds them… read more

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You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:48-49

The Sunday after Easter is typically a low Sunday. The energy of Easter is gone. Many of our northern visitors have started to head back for the summer months.

In the scripture lesson for this week, even the disciples of Jesus are hiding out and laying low. They are terrified and unsure of what is going on around them. Jesus appears in their midst and reminds them again that his resurrection is real. He invites them to touch his wounds. He asks for something to eat. Jesus is indeed resurrected. Jesus tells the frightened disciples do not be afraid. He tells them that their work is just beginning. Jesus will give them what they need to go and spread the good news and make disciples. This is our work too as followers of a risen Savior.

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He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

by: Laurie Stephens

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"He is risen!"

"He is risen, indeed!"

That exchange was heard over and over again yesterday as we celebrated Easter Sunday. What a wonderful day it was. Easter is special in every Christian's heart, and that was no exception at First Church.

Our celebration of Jesus' resurrection delighted all of the senses. Breakfast was served before both services (we have amazing cooks!). The Wesley Centre and the Sanctuary were amassed with pinks, blues and white from the hydrangea and Easter lily plants. Pastor Stephen's message was thought-provoking and the music...

Methodists love their church food, but they love worshiping through music just as much.… read more

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"He is risen!"

"He is risen, indeed!"

That exchange was heard over and over again yesterday as we celebrated Easter Sunday. What a wonderful day it was. Easter is special in every Christian's heart, and that was no exception at First Church.

Our celebration of Jesus' resurrection delighted all of the senses. Breakfast was served before both services (we have amazing cooks!). The Wesley Centre and the Sanctuary were amassed with pinks, blues and white from the hydrangea and Easter lily plants. Pastor Stephen's message was thought-provoking and the music...

Methodists love their church food, but they love worshiping through music just as much. Yesterday we pulled out all of the stops! The Praise Team was in fine form as we sang songs that were fitting for such a celebration, such as Victory Chant. The handbell choir played at the 11:00 service - always a treat - and the chancel choir set the tone with I Know That My Redeemer Lives.

All in all, it was a wonderful celebration befitting a King... and a Savior. He is risen, indeed!


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