Word of Encouragement

John the Baptist sure was a character, simply waiting in the desert till he heard from God that it was time to fulfill his calling. No one really knows how long he waited, for some reason I think it was a very long time. Throughout the Bible, trips to the desert tended to be unpleasant: hot and dry, people were always complaining about not having enough to drink and the Israelites came right out and said they just wanted to “go back.” Of course, going back may be an option for some. The desert can be a tough place. We get through our own desert experiences the same way Moses did and the same way John the Baptist did. We set our hope on God’s promise. God promised Moses He would lead the people out of the desert into the promised land. He promised John he would be the one to prepare the way for the Lord. If you find yourself in a spiritual desert, a place where nothing seems to be going the right way, then it would be a good idea to follow the lead of Moses and John the Baptist: pray, give God time, and cling to a promise God has given you. Start with a really simple promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” You are never alone!

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

100 Days of Prayer and Fasting

100 Days till Easter
How to Begin Your Fast and Prayer time

STEP 1: Setting the Objective

Why are we fasting? We are fasting for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for the gift of generosity to pour over Wesley, for special grace to handle a difficult situation. So we ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for our prayer fast. This will enable us to pray more specifically and strategically. For the 100 days of 2019 leading up to Easter, we are praying for wisdom and fasting every Friday. Prayer begins Sunday January 13 and the first Friday fast will be on Friday January 18. We will pray through Easter Sunday April 21 and the final fast will be Good Friday, April 19.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our church, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.

STEP 2: Make Your Commitment

Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:
• How long will we fast – We have decided to set aside Fridays.
• When will we pray—we will pray when we are driving, when we are shopping, when we rise in the morning and when we lie down at night.
• The type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only, or water and juices; what kinds of juices you will drink and how often). You may have medical reasons like diabetes and need to eat and drink. If this is so, still set aside time for prayer and meditation, even sitting at the beach and being grateful for your life is a form of prayer.
• What physical or social activities you will restrict? It is necessary to make a sacrifice of this time to open space for the Holy Spirit to work.
• How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s Word. Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.

STEP 3: Prepare Yourself Spiritually

The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
• Ask God to help you recognize where you fall short of His grace.
• Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
• If a person comes to mind you may have offended, seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4).
• Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
• Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15.
• Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
• Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13).
• Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
• Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17). The phone will ring if you have it on…

STEP 4: Prepare Yourself Physically

Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without professional supervision.
Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
• Do not rush into your fast.
• Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods. • Eat raw fruits and vegetables

While You Fast

STEP 5: Put Yourself on a Schedule

For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be. Each Friday:
Morning
• Begin your day in praise and worship. Say thank you.
• Read and meditate on God’s Word, preferably on your knees.
• Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
• Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, for Wesley Church, your community, your country, and beyond.
• Pray for His vision for your life and for Wesley and empowerment to do His will.
• If a particular verse hits you, write it on a card or paper or in the notes at the end of the booklet.
Noon
• Return to prayer and God’s Word.
• Take a short prayer walk.
• Spend time in intercessory prayer for our community’s and nation’s leaders, for the world’s unreached millions, for family or special needs and for Wesley to follow God into the future.
Evening
• Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”
• If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
• Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.

When possible, begin and end each Friday on your knees with your spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer and study of His Word are often better spent alone.
A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio C. Ruibal – a nutritionist, pastor, and specialist in fasting and prayer – suggests a daily schedule and list of juices you may find useful and satisfying. Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your circumstances and tastes.
5 a.m. – 8 a.m.
• Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices are generally preferred. If you cannot do your own juicing, buy juices without sugar or additives.
10:30 a.m. – noon
• Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
• Herb tea with a drop of honey. Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
• Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt. After boiling about half an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it.

Tips on Juice Fasting

• Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
• The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.
• Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach’s sake.
• Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.

Breaking Your Fast

STEP 6: End Your Fast Gradually

Much of what is recommended is for breaking an extended fast of three or more days, so we should not really be too concerned, but here are some ideas: begin eating gradually Saturday morning. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative consequences. Since we are having a series of one day fasts, it is not likely to bother you so much when you begin eating again. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.

Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:

• Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon.
• While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:First day: Add a raw salad.Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.Third day: Add a steamed vegetable.Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet.
• Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.
• You may want to use these 100 days to simply start eating healthier as a lifestyle.

A Final Word

STEP 7: Expect Results

If we sincerely humble ourselves before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God’s face; if we consistently meditate on His Word, we will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21). The Lord will give us fresh new spiritual insights. Our confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. We will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. We will see answers to our prayers as long as we pray for wisdom and not simply for God to change our circumstances. God can and will move in our circumstances, we just need to give Him room to do what is best rather than what we want.

A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit daily, we also need new times of fasting before God. A 24-hour fast each week has been greatly rewarding to many Christians.

It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time out, or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.

I encourage you to join me in fasting and prayer again and again until we truly experience revival in our homes, our churches, our beloved nation, and throughout the world.
May God grant us wisdom in the days ahead.

May He lead us through troubled waters.

May He grant us the honor of being a faithful voice for Him in this community where we are placed.

May He allow us to see His hand in the midst of our lives and the life of Wesley Church.

And may we all submit to His will. Thy will be done O Lord!

Notes: write down the scriptures God leads you to as you pray and meditate.

Notes:

Download your copy of 100 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

Pack a Sack Update & Info

The Pack a Sack team gets many questions about current needs, how to help, etc.  All great stuff! Here are a few answers:

  • We currently deliver 98 bags per week (54) to Dickenson and (44) to Town n’ Country.  We pray we can reach more children in need.
  • Volunteer opportunities
    • Drivers are needed.  Deliveries are made on Fridays around 11:30am. If interested contact Shaun Black.
    • Pre-assembly and Pre-Packing – teams meet at different times based on schedule and inventory.  Pre-assembly teams  organize the shelves and food items for the next packing.
  • Sign-up for Amazon Smile – Proceeds benefit PAS.
  • Food donations  are needed year round.  A list of needs is located in the copy room (across from the office or just ask Jamie).  Just pick up 1 item every time you go to the store – it adds up quickly!
  • Become a monthly contributor or corporate sponsor. The monetary need to sustain this program is about $900+/mo.  This is why food donations and monetary donations are so important.  If your place of business, civic group or school would be willing to  do a 1 time donation or food drive, we’d be happy to discuss this opportunity.
  • Prayers – We are always grateful for prayers for the PAS children, for donors and for the teachers and administration that help us provide for these children.

Sharing Good News

Two local girl scout troops have chosen Pack a Sack as their “hometown hero” charity.  A portion of their proceeds will go to Pack a Sack….we’re also hoping to get some cookies for our bags.  STAND BY with more information on how you can order GS cookies from these troops.

A Community Montessori School has decided that our campaign “Kids Helping Kids is something they want to do year round, so they are collecting PAS items for the rest of the school year. We have already received 3 large collections from them since November. We are grateful for their help and involvement.

On behalf of all the volunteers – thank you!

Fellowship Feast Menu – January 2019

Delicious meals and fellowship will be enjoyed every Wednesday at 5:30pm in the Family Life Center. Invite your friends so they can meet our Wesley Family!

January 9th – Pork Steamboats – Open faced Hoagie Roll stuffed with Slow Roasted Pork and finished with gravy served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans with onions. $5.00

January 16th – Chicken Monterey – Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast topped with Crisp Bacon ,Shredded Cheese and Green Onions. Served on a bed on Seasoned Rice and Julienne Fresh Veg. $5.00

January 23rd – Meatloaf Special – Special recipe Homestyle Meatloaf Served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Peas $5.00

January 30th – BBQ Chicken Sandwich Special – Barbecue Boneless Chicken served on Grilled Garlic Toast with Pickled Red Onions and Bread and Butter pickles served with a side on Onion Rings $5.00

All Meals include Drink and Dessert. Vegetarian selection usually available.

Son Rise Cafe Menu – January 2019

Son Rise Cafe Menu

Breakfast is served 8:30-10:30 am each Sunday in the FLC

January 13th – Western Omelette Special – A fluffy 3 Egg Omelette stuffed with Ham, Green Peppers and Onions, finished with Shredded Cheese. Served with Choice of Home fries or Grits and Grilled toast.  $5.00

January 20th – Ham Steak Special – Grilled Center Cut Ham Steak grilled and topped with Red Eye Gravy served with Two Eggs any style and choice of Home fries or grits. $5.00

January 27th – Eggs Benedict – Two Eggs poached to perfection served on a Toasted English Muffin with Grilled Canadian Bacon finished with Hollandaise Sauce and served with a choice of Home fries or Grits. $5.00

Son Rise Cafe Regular Menu Available Every Week

Word of Encouragement

Happy New Year Wesley. During this season, many of us look back at all we can celebrate and look forward to what night be in the days ahead. 2019 is going to be a most challenging and exciting year for us. In reading through Luke and preparing for upcoming messages, I know that chapters 9 and 10 are critical to understanding the good news of Jesus as Lord. Jesus tells the very busy Martha, “I discern that you are anxious about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better way.” Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. While Jesus visited her home, she knew it was time to put aside all business and worship. She sat there like a child at the feet of the rabbi and wanted to learn, to absorb the compassion and the love and the truth Jesus brought to her home. She had no time for housework or cleaning. Her business was with Jesus. I hope and pray we recognize that our priority is to sit at the feet of Jesus. For 2019 we will be focusing on coming into the presence of our Lord through worship and prayer. Sunday I look forward to sharing with you the first red letters in Luke. Bring your Bibles to church and be prepared to come into the presence of the Lord.

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie

New Year’s Message from Pastora Misleydis to Wesley Sisters

Pastora Misleydis

Thank you, many thanks for the many beautiful things that you sent us for our family and the church. We are really all so grateful for each one of you, for supporting us, not only in material things but also in our spiritual journey which are of the greatest value.

Jessica is so happy with the beautiful things for her baby. She also asked me to thank you. Jessica lives in a town north of us so I hope to go see her and the baby soon.

Quilt raffled by the Craft Women- done by Nancy Sent to Media Luna church – December 2018

I have also been able to bless some Media Luna mom’s with the baby things you sent us. On Sunday I told the church about your thoughtfulness and generosity as a testimony of God’s love among His children. I also showed them the beautful quilt you sent us. It was great to see the photo you sent me where you are displaying the quilt with Gail.

The Media Luna Church is always praying for you, the Wesley family, Pastor Ernie, his family and the General Conference

I still have not been able to install the application on my phone to send you other pictures. There is someone at the church who ways they can help me get this. I’ll keep on trying but until then, I am sending some pictures now on email.

FYI- The 25 lb package from Wesley for Jessica and all Media Luna babies arrived precisely on Christmas Day- December 25th

Blessings

Jessica, pastora’s niece, while pregnant with Brianna
Jessica’s baby, Brianna (6 ½ lbs), born on December 23rd, 2018

 

Good News/Bad News….

The GOOD, EVEN GREAT news is that Pack a Sack is growing which means we  are reaching more children that so desperately need our help. We are delivering 98 bags now each Friday and we suspect that number will be over 100 after the new year. The Bad news it takes a lot of food and monetary donations to meet the monthly requirement to fill these bags. Filling 392 bags per month with 11-13 food items is about 3,700+ items, and it adds up really fast. With that, we are looking for another corporate sponsor that would like to get involved with Pack a Sack. We ARE BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE for our current corporate sponsor and have been able to joyfully grow and provide, but looking ahead with this new growth, we find we need additional help….a great problem to have right!!! If you are interested in helping with a monthly contribution or even an 1 time year end donation (tax deductible), we would certainly appreciate that help. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please feel free to give me a call – Jamie @ 813/967-3800 or jamiewas@tampabay.rr.com.

From all the PAS volunteers, thank you for your support and prayers!

Pack-A-Sack News

Christmas Blessings from all the Pack a Sack Volunteers.  We want to thank everyone for all the food donations, prayers and support for Pack a Sack this past year.  We feel so blessed to be able to reach these children and we couldn’t do it without all of you supporting this ministry. Don’t forget to Grab a Sack in the back and if you could pick up 1 or all items on the list, we’d certainly appreciate it.  We are busy restocking the shelves over these next few weeks while the children are on break.  You can also help us buy signing up for Amazon Smile and designating Wesley (all funds Go to Pack a Sack) as your preferred charity…. 

We wish you and your families a Very Merry Christmas!

Word of Encouragement

So Sunday I talked about Joseph and the phrase “after he considered this…” He was considering his own life and what to do with the news that Mary was pregnant and the child was not his. When he was finished considering how this would affect his future, he was afraid to take her home. There is more than one sort of considering. There is, of course, the sort Joseph undertook, considering how circumstances will affect your future. That really gets people almost nowhere important. It ended up making Joseph afraid. Then there is the sort of considering that takes into account other people and how your life intersects and influences others. Now that is a higher form of considering and often takes divine intervention to practice. And then there is a third sort of considering concerning your relationship to your maker and how He created the lilies of the field. Only when you link the two higher forms of considering will you find fulfillment in life.

As Christmas nears, we consider what gifts to give to one another. It would be wise to consider our giving on a higher plane. What of me can I give to make others feel valued? How can I help my loved ones sense the awe of an immeasurably wonderful God?

~Grace & Peace~
Pastor Ernie