2900 County Barn Rd. Naples, Fl. 34112

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These days we don’t seem to put too much emphasis on those Pilgrims.  One thing we should do each thanksgiving is give thanks to God for our provisions and blessings.  For some, thanksgiving and gratitude are not the first words that roll off our tongues.  Below are thirteen questions to ponder this Thanksgiving as you think about your life and where God is in the midst of your life.  It is simply food for thought as we sit down with friends and family and enjoy food with one another.  Blessings and thanksgiving to you.

THANKSGIVING ASSESSMENT

1. Would the people who live nearest to you characterize you as a complaining person or a thankful person?

2. When was the last time you sat down to literally count your blessings?

3. When was the last time you spent time grumbling, moaning and complaining about life?

4. When you look at your world, are you pessimistic about everything that’s going wrong?

5. When you look at your world, do find yourself celebrating God’s common grace?

6. Do you view yourself as one who has been constantly short-changed and neglected?

7. Do you view yourself as one who has been unfairly showered with blessings?

8. How often do you fill in the blank with grumbling, like “If only I had _____” or “I wish _______ was different”?

9. How often do you fill in the blank with gratitude, like “I can’t believe God has given me _________”?

10. In your relationships, are you encouraging friends and family to continue their grumbling?

11. In your relationships, are you encouraging friends and family to find reasons to give thanks to God?

12. In your relationships, do you find yourself frequently tearing others down?

13. In your relationships, do you find yourself frequently building others up?

What follows are the words from our Florida Conference Minister.

October 2, 2017

Dear Church,

The member congregations and staff of the Florida Conference woke this morning to an all-too-familiar tragedy; a mass shooting. Our hearts break at the thought of more terror being spread by a lone gunman with a high-volume weapon. We are brought back to the morning of June 12, 2016 when the PULSE nightclub became a crime scene and a memorial.

We hold our sister churches in Las Vegas in our prayers, knowing that the path to wholeness is a long one and that the scars of those few minutes of gunfire will stay with the Las Vegas community for years to come. As congregations in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Hood, Texas have taught us, the work of healing goes on long after the cameras are gone and the candles have gone out and people are left with pain in body and soul.

We are also witnesses to the power of love. We learned from the PULSE shooting that communities can come together to proclaim and live out the gospel news that LOVE WINS. Violence scars and strains our communities, but it is not the final word.

But as faith communities that respond to individual need, to natural disasters and to the specific needs of our local communities, we have to ask ourselves and our nation this question: what are we called to do to help end gun violence? Whatever the motive of this shooter, he had the means to inflict enormous harm in a very short time. Can we continue to wring our hands and accept this violence, or will we seek policies that limit the access of angry people to means of destruction? As contentious as this issue can be it is one that we must confront if we are to honor the memories of those who have been lost today and each day.

The Florida Conference is a member of the Florida Coalition to End Gun Violence and we encourage our local settings to act for the safety and security of all God’s children. We hold in prayer those who have lost loved ones, or who face long-term rehabilitation. We ask that our members be sensitive to victims of violence who are re-traumatized by this event. And we pray for the courage to confront the gun violence in our society, believing that change can happen.

Be at peace, and be in touch, won’t you. LOVE WINS.

John Vertigan
Conference Minister

Irma got everyone anxious and out of sorts.  Routines have been disrupted. Power has for the most part been restored but sometimes we have a bit of difficulty remembering what day of the week it is.  The storm has past but the effect linger. My guess is you are feeling some of them as well.  Any significant event in our lives changes us and stays with us.  So Irma will be with us for a long time.  One of the questions I asked myself early on after Irma, ‘what could I have done differently to prepare better?’  I’ll be making some changes most likely for next hurricane season, hoping that we are hurricane free for the rest of the season. It’s a good question to ask while Irma is still fresh in our minds.

I heard a lot of ‘Thank God’ being said from a variety of people.  I think mostly it was that the person was not harmed and their property was not damaged.  One could go on and on with analogies of being sheltered in the storm and relate it to faith.  I’ll save those for when they match up with scripture passages and use them on Sundays.  The question I want you to think about if you said thank God during the storm is, how much do you rely on God in your everyday life?  If you only cry out in a storm, there is room for improvement.  

 

On Sunday, July 16, Mayflower, after a lengthy process was approved as a Blue Zones Project Faith Based Community.  We held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the end of our worship service then celebrated in the Family Life Center.  The Blue Zones Project has identified nine key concepts for living a longer healthier life.  By adopting these principles into one’s daily life, there is a good chance you will have a better quality of life. 

The Blue Zones Project covers all aspects of a person’s life and for church folk the easiest one to work on is faith and spirituality.  Blue Zones Project has found that if a person participates regularly in a faith based environment it adds years to your life.  But we already knew that as faithful church attenders.

Combining that with the other eight principles of the Blue Zones Project, we look forward to a brighter future and better well-being individually and as a congregation. Please join us on a Sunday to hear about how God works in your life and how adopting the principles of the Blue Zones Project may enhance your life and livelihood. 

Those two words are important to our health and well-being.  Yet a lot of times we neglect them.  In our fast paced society we don’t take time to rest.  The desire to do more, be active is a symbol and symptom of our society.  We do not take enough time to rest even though Jesus tells us to.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  If you notice he is actually not saying rest but where to find rest.  We find our rest in him.  Which leads us to, how do we find rest in Jesus?  The best way is to set aside some time in the day to sit in prayer and meditate on God.  The first thought to this idea may be, “I don’t have the time!”  That, my friend, is the very problem.  We think we have to always be doing something.  We are not called human doings, we are called human beings.  To be with Christ is to find rest in his presence.  Rest and pray.  Three simple words that we can incorporate into our lives on a daily basis to become more healthy, more compassionate, more loving and more like Christ.

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MAYFLOWER CONGREGATIONAL UCC

2900 County Barn Rd 
Naples, Florida 34112

Office Hours: 
8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mon - Fri.

Sunday Worship 9:30
            Refreshments 10:30

Church Phone: 239-775-0055
Fax Number: 239-775-3253

Pastor Alan's Cell: 239-227-8500

office@mayflowernaples.com
pastor@mayflowernaples.com

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