Living Life’s Greatest Priority in 2015

Jesus gave us a clear look at God’s top priority for our lives when a “teacher of the law” asked him which of all the commandments in the Scriptures is the greatest. Jesus answered:Hear, O Israel!

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Knowing life’s greatest priority for a Christian and living these commandments out daily are not the same, are they?

Join us in the new year for a 5-week practical look at these greatest commandments. Let’s unpack this important statement from Jesus and discover together what living these out really means. Let’s make some key faith connections to begin the new year, and to reflect on our own commitments to faithfulness in the light of God’s steadfast faithfulness to us. Click on the Schedule tab to see the calendar of classes.

Happy New Year! See you Sunday in Faith Connections!

Chad and Nancy Bradley on December 7

We are looking forward to hearing from Chad and Nancy Bradley now that they have returned from mission work in Tunisia. They visited Faith Connections in May, shortly before they departed, and we have been eager for their return to tell us all about it. God has worked in them and through them in some amazing ways in this Muslim, North African country. Join us at 9:00 a.m. in our usual place (C210) on December 7 for a fabulous follow-up from two special young missionaries.

Our Minsitry to Bethlehem Bible College

Bethlehem Bible CollegeAs FUMC’s 2014 Holy Land travel group prepares to depart, we are receiving items for our “suitcase ministry” to Bethlehem Bible College. Through this ministry, we deliver supplies and other items to the school that are unavailable to them there, or are prohibitively expensive locally. The College has sent us a wish list, so if you would like to participate by donating an item, see the post at Thank you!

Faith Connections Fall 2013 Series

The Story of Ruth:
A Book of Struggle, Hope, and the Power of a God in Control


The Faith Connections Sunday Morning Bible Study
9:00 – 9:50 a.m., Sundays, Sept. 22 through Oct. 20
Led by Adult Discipleship Pastor John Harman


This 5-week study from the Old Testament Book of Ruth will follow the story of God’s faithfulness through an outsider who became part of God’s great story of redemption. Join the Faith Connections class for this Bible study series, and reconnect with how God works in all circumstances to bring hope and a future when all seems to be slipping away.

The series begins Sunday, September 22. Join this great journey and hear God’s Word of grace for you. You do not need to register or have any previous Bible study experience. Faith Connections meets every Sunday, 9:00-9:50 a.m., in Room C210 at First United Methodist Church in McKinney, TX.

Joshua Returns

PrayingMany, many thanks to Gary and Diane for such a rich encounter with the practice of prayer. The 3-week series “Prayer for All God’s People” has provided us with some excellent resources for our spiritual lives.

This Sunday, May 5, Faith Connections will resume our series in the Book of Joshua, “Walking by Faith in a Land of Promise.” The lesson this week will pick up with the summaries of Joshua’s southern and northern military campaigns in 10:29–11:23. The big questions for us in the light of the sweeping, grandiose language of conquest are, “What kind of vkhopeshictory was this, and what does God’s strategy here teach us about following God daily?”

This is a challenging section of Scripture. We must pay careful attention to how the story is told here, in order to avoid missing the point of the language. If we do not recognize and identify the special features of these passages, we can easily misread the story at this point, and as a result, miss the lesson embedded there for us today.

Join us on Sunday for an interesting encounter with history, the blessing of studying together in community, and the opportunity to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Study on Prayer

Thanks to Diane and Gary for leading this new study.

During the lesson last Sunday I started considering a simple, easy-to-follow schedule of daily prayer for myself, which, for me, too easily can be pushed to the side. I thought of the hymn, Lord of All Hopefulness, which does not appear in The United Methodist Hymnal.

Each of the four stanzas offers a simple prayer:

Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day

Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day

Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day

Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day

I thought, whatever my prayers may be from day to day, the simple timing of daily prayer suggested in the song may be something that is simple enough for me to incorporate into my daily regimen.

We’ll see you on Sunday.

Tom Washburn

Places We’ve Been

Via DolorosaThis Sunday, April 7, Holy Land travelers Gary and Diane Clay, Ron and Connie Brown, and John Harman will share images and personal faith reflections from the January 2013 journey. By popular demand, Faith Connections will dedicate a class to seeing and hearing about how these travels have influenced the faith journeys of these pilgrims.

Join us this week for the firsthand stories, blessings, and lessons that this group has to offer. Let your own faith story resonate with others as we take a virtual trip together and remember how our Lord lived, died, and rose right here on earth.

Join Us This Month on “The Way”

The WayFaith Connections invites you to our study series during this month of March, The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus. As we continue to travel this season of Lent, we approach Easter fully focused on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is a special time, and your presence with our class family is special to us. So plan to spend these four Sundays with us as we grow together.

The Way by United Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton will take us to the Holy Land for a visual experience of the place where Jesus lived and ministered. A brief video segment hosted by Rev. Hamilton will set us on the path each week, setting the stage for our Bible reading and discussions. Click on the Schedule tab above to see each week’s topic.

Our journey through the Book of Joshua will resume in a few weeks. Joshua: Walking by Faith in a Land of Promise has been our core study series since October, and we have completed Chapter 10. Faith Connections is a strong class family, so if you do not have a regular place of Bible study and discipleship, let us welcome you warmly at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays in Room C210.

Bethlehem Bible College’s Wish List

BBC LogoThe group traveling from FUMC to the Holy Land in January will have the privilege of personally delivering the supplies that we donate to the Bethlehem Bible College. This extraordinary institution is co-led by Palestinian native, former McKinney resident, and United Methodist missionary Alex Awad.

Alex AwadAlex and his wife Brenda, along with Alex’s brother (and the school’s President Emeritus) Bishara, offer our group warm hospitality in Bethlehem, an introduction to the ministry and a tour of the college, and an excellent presentation on the history and current state of the Christian community in Palestine. We learn a great deal from them and look forward to our upcoming visit. This is an exciting connection for us to have in the Holy Land.

We are honored to have this opportunity to serve and support the ministry of Bethlehem Bible College. They have sent us a “wish list” in order to help us maximize this opportunity, which you will find below. You can also download and print a pdf version here: BBC Wish List 2013. Please bring any items you would like to donate to Sunday school (Room C210) through January 13, or if you would like to bring items by during the week, drop them off in Pastor Harman’s study in the main church office.

Bethlehem Bible College Wish List

Office Supplies:
  1. Flash Memories 8 or 16 GB ( 10 to 15 )
  2. Blank CDs and DVDs
  3. Highlighters
  4. Scissors
  5. Legal Pads/ Note Pads/Spiral notebooks
  6. Scotch tape and Tape for Shipping
  7. Tape dispenser
  8. Blue Ink Pens
  9. Dry Erase Markers and  White board eraser
  10. Expo White Board cleaning Spray
  11. Staples/  Good Quality Staplers
  12. Manilla Envelopes 10×12 Inches non padded
  13. Post-it-Notes
  14. Push Pins
  15. Rubber Bands
  16. Office High Quality Paper Cutters ( 1)
  17. Clip on tabs for file Folders
  18. Pencils
  19. paper clips and pin holders
  20. Copy holder (for typing)
  21. Pen Holder for Desk.
 Guest House Supplies:
  1.  Towels for the bathroom hand Towels & Bath Towels / Kitchen Towels
  2. Beddings like the fitted ones with the pillow cover sets (twin Size)
  3. Toothpaste
  4. Soap Bars
  5. Shampoo
  6. Toothbrushes
  7. Hand Creams
  1. Vitamins Centrum multi purpose
  2. Calcium with vitamin D preferably
  3. Ibuprofen or Advil
  4. Aspirin
  5. Tylenol Extra Strength or regular/ and Tylenol for Children Chewable
  6. Band aids assorted sizes
  7. Children Vitamins
  8. Neosporin ointment
  9. Omega 3 (Fish Oil)
  10. First Aid kits (7 of them)
  11. Ace wraps
  12. Glucosamine Chondroiten
  13. Theraflu
 Children: Summer Camp Supplies:
  1. Coloring Books
  2. Story Books
  3. Craft Books
  4. Crayons & Coloring Pencils
  5. Special  Scissors for Art Crafts
  6. Children Scissors
  7. Glitter & Beads
  8. Glue sticks
  9. Reward Stickers
  10.  Toys ( Puzzle, mind building games)
  11. Colored construction paper (A4 size)
  12. Balloons (colorful and fun)

The “Little Town” of Bethlehem

ScrollBethlehem features prominently in the stories of Jesus’ birth, and no surprise because it was the expected place of the Davidic Messiah’s arrival. For some basics about this important place in Scripture and in history, see Wayne Stiles’ recent blog post. He summarizes some key points about Bethlehem and offers some spiritual reflections appropriate to this season. It’s good reading and a good way to prepare for Christmas Eve celebrations.