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First United Methodist Church
Bristol, Tennessee

Your Weekly e-Newsletter and Events Schedule
November 14-20, 2019

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
November 17, 2019

Luke 21:5-19

What Sign Will You Give Us?
Rev. Brandon Berg

From the Pastor’s Pen
It is Wednesday morning, I’ve just returned to the office after singing Morning Prayer, and I want to share with you the text I encountered from the Revelation to John. Brace yourself; it’s a doozie.
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
‘With such violence Babylon the great city
   will be thrown down,
   and will be found no more; 
and the sound of harpists and minstrels and of flautists and trumpeters
   will be heard in you no more;
and an artisan of any trade
   will be found in you no more;
and the sound of the millstone
   will be heard in you no more; 
and the light of a lamp
   will shine in you no more;
and the voice of bridegroom and bride
   will be heard in you no more;
for your merchants were the magnates of the earth,
   and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. 
And in you was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
   and of all who have been slaughtered on earth.’
Now, I should let you know that my colleagues and I went round and round on Monday talking about interpreting Biblical prophecy, about millennialism and historical contextualization and all that jazz, and nobody convinced anybody of anything. Those of us who have a strong opinion about the role of prophecy and how it is to be understood have come about those opinions through a lot of practice and education, and we’ve had to work so hard to convince ourselves of the validity of our opinions that we have too much at stake to let go. The rest of us who have long given up concerning ourselves with placing Biblical prophecy in a specific historical context had throbbing heads by the time we cooperatively gave up the argument.
I’m in the latter group.
I do think that Biblical prophecy has a word to speak to us, but I’m not sure that coming down hard on one approach or another does any justice to us or to the text. Much Biblical prophecy has lasting power not because it reflects a certain historical context or because it gives us a concrete divine plan to follow (“nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son”), but because these texts speak a word that transcends history to speak to human experience across a spectrum of historical and cultural contexts. Can you think of a context in which
your merchants were the magnates of the earth,
   and all nations were deceived by your sorcery?
I bet you can. Maybe we should replace “Babylon” with another word. Then in that context, we can hear the mighty angel still calling judgment on magnates and sorcerers. In that city or nation or community or industry will no longer be heard the sound of music, the sound of industry, the joy of a nuptial celebration. The lights will go out and craftspersons will cease their work. Nothing will remain.
That’s dismal.
I’m convinced, however, that there is a “however” always to be spoken. There is always room for repentance. If we can turn from spilling the blood of prophets and saints, from the slaughter of the innocent and neglected, God can lead us away from doom and into safety. Not only that, but God can still lead us into glory.
That’s the hope in which I live. No soul is so corrupt as to be beyond rescue. The grace of God still has residence in us, no matter how ugly and calloused we can become on the outside. God can redeem every individual, and God can redeem every human institution we form if we will only open ourselves to the possibility that we might be doing something that needs to be fixed.
So I hope we can still open ourselves to the possibility of God’s redeeming power. If we can do that, I think God will use us, our institutions, our structures, our governments, our churches, and all human constructs to bring transformation and healing to all people everywhere.
That’s the hope in which I live.

This Week’s Feed the Hungry Offering
Our Feed the Hungry offering for today is Local Missions.
This mission helps members of our church family and other immediate local mission needs.

Charge Conference
Sunday, November 17
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Weaver Memorial
United Methodist Church
132 Peoples Road
Bristol, TN 37620

Bristol Emergency Food Pantry
Annual Food Drive
Saturday, November 16th
Volunteers needed to work 2 hour shifts from 10am to 6pm.
Call Jim at the Food Pantry
to sign up.

Send a Card to and Pray for Someone You Miss
All of us know how wonderful it feels to hear from a friend – anytime – just to know they are thinking about us and maybe to hear some of their latest news. This is especially true
if sickness has kept someone away from family and friends they have loved.
Thus, here are some beloved FUMC friends we hold in our hearts, who currently are not able to worship with us. As the Lord lays it on your heart, would you lift up special prayers for them this week? Would you send them a note/card and tell them so?
As you think about these dear ones and others you have missed from week to week, call the church office. We will share addresses so that we, all of us, may stay in contact by way of cards.
Roy and Martha Ann Watson
c/o Marianna M. Watson
3834 Greenway Drive SW
Roanoke, VA 24018
Jim and Brenda Hobbs
2437 Windsor Ave.
Bristol, TN 37620-1809
Don and Mary Tankersley
1058 Oakland Dr.
Bristol, TN 37620-4438

Last Sunday at First UMC
Message by Rev. Brandon Berg 
from Luke 20:27-38, God of the Living

Who among you is left who saw this house in its former glory?
How does it look to you now?
Doesn’t it appear as nothing to you?
So now, be strong, Zerubbabel, says the Lord.
Be strong, High Priest Joshua, Jehozadak’s son,
and be strong, all you people of the land, says the Lord.

Work, for I am with you, says the Lord of heavenly forces.
As with our agreement when you came out of Egypt,
my spirit stands in your midst.
Don’t fear.

This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says:
In just a little while, I will make the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the
dry land quake,
I will make all the nations quake.
The wealth of all nations will come.
I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of heavenly forces.
The silver and the gold belong to me, says the Lord of heavenly forces.
This house will be more glorious than its predecessor, says the Lord
of heavenly forces.
I will provide prosperity in this place, says the Lord of heavenly forces.
~Haggai 2: 3-9

Beautiful flowers graced the Altar Sunday. They were given by Greg
and Marianna Watson-Cox in honor of Roy Watson, World War II Navy
Veteran, and in honor and memory of all Veterans for their sacrifice and
service to our country.

Shake us today, Lord of hosts,
out of our reverie and self-satisfaction;
Have mercy, Lord.
Shake us today, Lord of hosts,
and give us generous hearts
that long to see your glory.
Go from here a generous people,
giving all you are and all you have
for the Generous One
who gives all for you.

All of us at First UMC Wish You a
Happy 16th Birthday, Matthew Hess!
November 21

You’ve Got Mail
Look for your letter!
It’s from the Church Finance Committee. 
We need your estimate of giving as soon as possible to build a budget. The future of the church is in God’s hands. The budget is in ours.
If you do not receive a letter, let Carol know. We will send out one immediately. You don’t have to be a member to help.
Thanks in advance for helping. Your gifts are all appreciated.
Let’s step up!

UMW Fundraiser
The UMW is selling knives with proceeds used for missions projects.
Think ahead for Christmas gifts.
Contact Kathy Wagner at (423) 323-5446.

End of October
-$25,049.35 General account
+3034.35 Designated reimbursement account
The Finance Committee has established a Designated Reimbursement account. 
The seed money for this account was the money earned by the Fall Fete. 
Since then there have been gifts from others in the church. 
If you wish to contribute to this just mark your gift Designated Reimbursement. 
This gift would be above your normal giving. 

The Frederick Buechner Lecture-November 18, 2019
9:15 a.m. King University Memorial Chapel
Receiving the Saints: Augustine and Monica through Painters’ Eyes
4:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, TN
A Conversation with James K. A. Smith
7:00 p.m. First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, TN
Testimony as Poetry, Augustine the Artist

Send Your Pictures and Announcements
to Publish in the Newsletter

Send your photos and announcements for the Newsletter
call Carol at 423.652.2811 Tu-Th, 9-2.
For each publication, information is
needed by noon on Wednesday.

Your Church Event and Planning Calendar
November 14-20, 2019
Thursday, November 14
6:00pm-Yoga with Jean-The Upper Room
6:30pm-Mankind Project-Youth Room
Friday, November 15
5:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
 6:30pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Saturday, November 16
9:00am-Holston Quilters Guild (until noon)-TH
Sunday, November 17
9:30am-Sunday School 
9:30am-The River Contemplative Worship-Tankersley Hall
10:00am-Common Ground Worship-Chapel
11:00am-Traditional Worship Service-Sanctuary
12:15pm-Choir Rehearsal
5:30pm-Charge Conference-(until 7:30pm) Weaver Memorial UMC
Monday, November 18
6:00pm-Belly Dancing Class-Yoga Studio
Tuesday, November 19
 8:00am-Men’s Prayer Group-Tankersley Hall
Wednesday, November 20
6:30pm-Youth Activity-Tankersley Hall

            To make changes or additions to the calendar contact Alan Gorrell 423-652-7377
                                                   or Sandy Gorrell 423-652-1987.

First United Methodist Church
Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor (276.237.6498)
 322 Vance Dr., Bristol, TN 37620

Our Vision
Building A Community Where Anyone
Can Become A Deeply Committed Christian