Reach Out

Blessings to all:
As we continue through the pandemic, I hope all are well and making the best of our current
situations. As I speak with my fellow Pastors around the state of Indiana, it is clear to me that
many parishioners have chosen not to come back to church. At the same time the amount of
people viewing services on YouTube, websites, or live streaming is also declining.
I thought that after the initial fears of the pandemic had eased, more people would begin
attending services, either in person or virtual, but that is not the case. Historically, people have
increased attendance in times of national emergency or concern. Clearly, we are living in a new
time.
Based on this observation, it is more incumbent upon us to reach out to our brothers and
sisters and assist them in finding a relationship with Jesus Christ. We may not be doing that in
the same manner as we have in the past, but we have all been commanded by Jesus Christ to
do that task.
From Matthew 28:19-20, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey
everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the
age.
So, do not be afraid to reach out to your brothers and sisters because God is always with us. We
are never alone and allow yourself to be led by God’s Holy Spirit in all we do.
Pastor Ed Armantrout


Do not fear

I was watching Governor Holcomb’s telecast this week when it was announced that facemasks are to be worn in public beginning July 27th. The two doctors, on either side of him, were answering questions related to the wearing of the masks. The majority of my career has been spent being a banker, so I am willing to take the doctors advice on the wearing and the safety involved with us wearing the masks.

I was bothered by the doctors use of the word fear and how often I hear newscasters discussing how fearful we all should be during this time of the Pandemic. If we read Matthew 17, verse 7, but Jesus came and touched them, saying, “get up and do not be afraid”. Whether we are surrounded by family and friends, home alone, or isolated in a nursing home or retirement center, Jesus is always with us. We are never alone, and although we should try to be careful and safe regarding the virus, it does not require us to be fearful.

So, I hope what I have written today encourages you in the world of the Pandemic that we now live. What I hope this propels you to do, is to be an encourager to all those that you any type of contact. Whether in person, text, email, old fashion phone call, something someone just invented that I do not know about yet, but in all forms of communication.

Please allow God’s love, peace, and grace, to lead you in all aspects of your life.

 

Pastor Ed Armantrout



Pastor Ed Welcome

Hello,
My name is Ed Armantrout and I want to take a few moments of your time to tell you about me
and my family as I begin service to New Burlington UMC and Selma Christ UMC. I started a
career in banking in 1977 and I just retired in March of this year. I joined the Methodist church
at the age of 18 because a friend invited me to attend Wilmore UMC which shared a Pastor
with New Burlington UMC at that time.
I meet my wife, Bonita, in 1985 and began to attend Yorktown UMC until I was appointed to
Sugar Grove UMC in Jay County in 2011. That became a duel appointment in 2013 with Bethel
UMC in Blackford County just north of Dunkirk. I found that working full time and having two
church appointments was difficult for me and I asked to have just a single appointment. I was
then appointed to Honey Creek UMC in Henry County and I have been there five years.
Bonita and I have been married for 34 years and we have three daughters, Raquel, Lisa
(Waylon), and Elecia (Jeremy), and five grandchildren, Belle, Bella, Sawyer, Ronan, and Sofia.
We have lived in Yorktown, in the same house, all of that time.
Besides having been active in church, I am currently the Treasurer for the Yorktown Chamber of
Commerce, a board member for the Minnetrista Cultural Center, and President of the Yorktown
Kiwanis club.
I am looking forward to meeting all of you and getting to know you.
Pastor Ed Armantrout


Good-bye

Friends at Selma & New Burlington,
I want to thank you all for allowing me to be your pastor these past two years. We have
laughed together, shared tears, grown closer to one another in the church, and
deepened our faith. It has been a true joy serving with you.
While I’m excited about my move to Rensselaer Trinity and the ministry opportunities
awaiting me, it is bittersweet to leave Selma and New Burlington churches (especially
with not being able to see many of you due to Covid-19). We have done much together
to further the Kingdom. We have reorganizing our churches structure so we can be
more fruitful. We have a clear vision that will lead us through the next several years of
ministry. At Selma we have updated the front of our sanctuary. At New Burlington
we’ve worked on the outside of the church, grounds, and added a whole new look to the
inside. And we’ve all learned how to worship outside the box.
Do know that I love you all, and I’ve enjoyed serving with you. Thank you for your
friendship in Christ, and the love you have shared with me and my family. I trust that
you will be open and welcoming to your new pastor, “Rev. Edward Armantrout” as he
begins to lead you as your new pastor in July.
The Apostle Paul shared these words in Colossians 3:12-17. These words resonate
well with my soul, as I think of you and my final words: “Since God chose you to be the
holy people he loves, clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility,
gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone
who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above
all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let
the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you
are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each
other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God
with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Blessings, Pastor Andy Martin


“Time to Stop the Whine” — Heartlight®

heartlight.org

 
by Phil Ware (04/29/2020) | The Jesus Window

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.

Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.

Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

(Psalm 71:17-18 NLT)

“It’s time to stop the whine.”

There, I said it. It’s something I’ve wanted to say to my fellow baby boomers for quite some time. We’re already known as a generation of navel-gazers — folks who talk about their feelings and all the ways things should be and could be and used to be without doing much to make them better. We need to stop our hand-wringing and whining about how the world “is going to hell in a handbasket.” Instead, let’s do something about it. Let’s make a difference in the future like we once dreamed we could do. Let’s leverage our income, our capabilities, our vitality, our time, and our later life passions to share faith forward.

And yes, I do know that our 401 k plans are a mess with the economy and that we are now the vulnerable group for COVID-19, and many things are uncertain right now. That’s the point! In this time of uncertainty, our faith and our focus on future generations have to be our passion.

Go back to the words of Psalm 71 and ask God not to abandon us during this time of uncertainty, death, sheltering in place, and a bad economy.

But, why ask God not to abandon us?

Notice that it is NOT so that we can have a better retirement income and economic security. It is NOT so that we can have good health and a comfortable lifestyle. It IS so that we can proclaim God’s power and his mighty acts to the generations who follow us. This implies that we are living in ways that invite God to do mighty acts because we trust him with passionate faith!

For me, one of the saddest verses in all the Bible says:

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done… (Judges 2:10).

Why had younger generations grown up and not known the great things the LORD had done?

Why had they grown up and not known the LORD?

They didn’t know God; they hadn’t experienced the LORD’s power because their parents and grandparents were busy building their homes, charting their careers, and gaining wealth in their new land. In the middle of building their futures, these older generations had forgotten to risk for the LORD. They didn’t live to experience the mighty hand of God in their lives. They settled. They settled into their land, lifestyles, and routines, and quit risking in faith. They deprived their children and grandchildren of what they most needed: God experiences in their day and older adults leading the charge to have them!

If younger generations today are looking for God-experiences and real faith-under-fire courage, let’s help these coming generations have them.

Let’s invite them to go on a mission with us — start praying and planning now while we are confined.

Let’s support them in their passion for serving Jesus in what might be unorthodox and risky ways as life returns to its new normal.

Let’s join with them in making a difference in poverty, social inequality, prejudice, the digital divide, hunger, unclean water, human trafficking, street kids, and caring personally for the plight of refugees and displaced people.

Let’s follow their example of service and join them in the gritty work of loving the very kind of people Jesus loved.

Let’s ask them how we can help them in their passions to serve Jesus in their world.

We’re here today to share faith forward.

Let’s support them in their efforts with our time, money, encouragement, prayer, involvement, and affirmation.

During this time of social distancing, we need to be praying and planning how we will pass our faith forward when things return to their new rhythms. Because God is the God of new things (Isaiah 42:9, 43:19, 48:6; Jeremiah 31:22), because his mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:20-22), how will we show our younger generations that we are ready to live a renewed faith with renewed passion and renewed hope?

I want to make my last third of life matter for the Kingdom of God. I don’t want to just mindlessly pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I want that prayer to be my rallying cry as I seek to bring God’s Kingdom character and compassion to life in today’s world. In all the places I live, travel, and touch, I want to leave a Jesus imprint. More importantly, I want to invite the coming generations to join me in my life, travel, and touch in the name of Jesus. I want to join them, and invite them to join me, and experience God’s “mighty miracles” in our day.

I don’t want to talk about the “power” and “mighty miracles” of God only in the past tense. I don’t want my grandchildren and their generation to hear only about what God did a long time ago. I want them to experience God’s power and deliverance in action. I want them to experience the Holy Spirit making them better than they are while they are serving others in the name of Jesus.

To help me keep my focus, I plan to begin my day with the simple prayer from Psalm 71:17-18 we read earlier. At the end of my day, I will pray one of my favorite Bible prayers before I sleep:

LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.

Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known…

(Habakkuk 3:2)

It’s time for those of us who are older to quit demanding that church should be about us, for us, and to please us. We’re here today to share faith forward. It’s time to stop the whining about church stuff, the coming generations, and what we’ve lost during the COVID-19 crisis and confinement. Let’s start expecting God to do great things with us, through us, and among us. It’s time to seek these God moments while inviting future generations to experience the LORD’s presence and power with us.

Yes, LORD, we know of the great things you have done in the past, but today, for us and for the generations who come after us, we ask that “in our time make them known”!

 


CoViD19 response

Friends in Christ, in the wake of school closings and all the news concerning the Coronavirus, I just
wanted to let you know that we “Do plan to have worship services tomorrow morning.” At the same
time, I do understand if you feel that staying at home is the best course of action for you and your
family.
There is still much “unknown” of this virus. From all the information I have been receiving from the
Bishop, Conference, and CDC we are cautioned about meeting in groups of over 150 and staying at least
six feet apart from each other. And for those age 60 and over, are cautioned to not meet in groups of 10
or more. Coronavirus affects all ages but it poses even a greater threat to those over 60, those who
have weakened immunity, and to those who have health related issues (heart problems, diabetes, lung
disease).
As Christians we also trust that, “We are in God’s hands and there is no better place to be!” We are not
to live in fear but in the security of the Lord. Just as Paul encouraged young Timothy, “For God has not
given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” We will get through this as
God’s people, but now is the time to truly be the Church. We need to pray for those who are hurting,
lift up those who are suffering, and share what we can with those who have not. Let us not be deterred
or distracted.
Fortunately, there have not been any recorded cases of the Coronavirus in our community or
surrounding areas and we give thanks. However we are to still be cautious and do the best we can with
what we can. Wash your hands with soap in warm water and sing “Jesus Loves Me” (it takes 20
seconds, the same amount of time you’re supposed to wash your hands). Keep your hands away from
your face. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize.
Until further notice we will not be having greeters at church. Your bulletin will be on a table as you
enter the church for you to pick up. The offering plates will also be on a table for you to leave your
offering (plates will not be passed). I ask that you refrain from handshakes and hugs, and we will omit
our greeting time. Communion will also be suspended until at least May. Sunday evening service may
also be postponed (I will make this decision Sunday morning).
The message part of our service will be uploaded on Facebook, and Rick may even be able to put a video
link in so that you can “View” on Youtube. However, we are still in trial and error for the video part but
we do hope to get this working. More info to come as the Leadership of the Church meets to discuss
future plans.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Andy


Renewal

Friends in Christ,
The season of Lent has begun. This 40 day period (excluding Sundays) will eventually
lead us to an open tomb and the wonderful Good News of Easter. However, before that
day arrives we must journey down a path that will remind us of Jesus’ last days, and the
last hours of his earthly life.
For Christians, this is a time of, “renewal” as we reflect on all God has done for us
through Christ Jesus. This renewal time will lead us through deeper disciplines of
prayer, fasting, almsgiving, service, and Biblical study. Many of us will choose to “give
up” something as a way to seek a closer connection with God, who gave up His only
Son for us. We “give up” something important to us to develop self-discipline (if we are
faithful in little things, then we are more apt to be faithful in bigger things). And as we do
this, we are reminded of just how human we are, and how our needs and wants can
drive us! So Lent is a time of introspection, a time of renewal, a time of not just “giving
up” but also, “giving in” to where God would lead us.
For non-Christians, Lent must seem strange. Their first experience will probably come
at a restaurant. Chili’s, Applebee’s, even Culvers will have their “Lenten Special” on the
menu (or on that little stand up card on the table). No doubt, some will wonder, “Fish on
Friday, what’s up with that?” It may even seem stranger if it’s Wednesday and their
waiter has a black smudge of a cross on their forehead.
Of course the rituals of Lent are not meant for us to parade our piety. Just the opposite,
they are to be a private, intimate time of renewal with our heavenly Father. At the same
time, some of the disciplines we choose to follow may affect our regular routine. In
doing so a friend or a family member may ask, “Why or what are you doing?” And of
course we should share our heart as the Lord leads us.
This Lenten season I do hope you take time for renewal in your walk with Christ. May
God bless you and your family as you make your journey toward the cross and as you
come to share in the joy of Resurrection Sunday.
Blessings,
Pastor Andy


Remembering

Friends in Christ,
For Christmas, Micah and Eli received snow saucers for sledding. However, we’ve not had much snow to try them out. If we do finally get some, I plan to take them out by the Reservoir where the horse camp is. There are a couple nice sloping hills and it’s close enough to New Burlington Church so we can warm up when we need to.
I remember as a boy I just loved winter and sledding! I grew up near Carbon, IN and we had one of these “huge hills” that we sled on. My cousins and other neighbors would come over and we would spend hours upon hours on this massive hill playing in the snow. Night and day we would sled when the snow was on. My brother, sister and I have many fond memories of that hill in the country.
Last summer I drove by our old homestead and I kind of laughed as I saw this “massive hill” for what it really is, a “long and gentle slope!” It’s funny how our perspective changes as we get older and “taller.” But to a child growing up it was an adventure. It was the best and fastest hill around. It was hours and hours of fun. It was wonderful memories made with family and friends.
In the church we often talk about the importance of, “remembering.” Of course this is Biblical. Over and over again the Israelites are called to “remember” what God had done for them. The “Passover” was celebrated in order that one would never forget God’s deliverance of his people from bondage, and so later generations could enter into this miracle God provided. “Standing stones” were erected when God did an incredible work so that future generations would “remember the story” and enter into it.
And we too, know the importance of “remembering” God’s incredible works of grace, and what it is to enter into the story so that it becomes, “our story too.” We do this each time we take the bread and cup into our hands and “remember” what God has done, and we enter into the presence of God and into the story of God in the here and now. It becomes “our story.”
This month we will enter a new season, “Lent.” Lent begins with our “Ash Wednesday” service on Wednesday, February 26th at 7:00pm. This is a time to “remember” who we are (God’s people) and where we have come from (created in God’s image out of the dust of the earth) and to whom we will return.
The season of Lent calls us to “look inward” at ourselves. It’s a time for us to look seriously at our walk with Christ and to become more intentional in our spiritual life. During Lent people usually “give up” something “important” to them. Remembering that God gave up His only Son for us, sacrificing Himself upon a cross; we give up something important to us as a way to enter into the story. During Lent we seek to be more intentional in practicing spiritual disciplines like prayer, abstinence (fasting, silence, solitude), meditating on God’s Word, and engagement (worship and fellowship). Lent calls us to “Remember” and to “participate in the here and now” in the God story.
It is my hope that this month you will make some wonderful new memories with your family and friends. And as we enter the season of Lent together, we will grow closer to God and to each other.
God’s Blessings,
Pastor Andy


ELF

Friends in Christ,

 

The scriptures for Advent and Christmas paint a vivid picture of our, “Ever Loving Father” and the world into which God came in human flesh. They show us how God never gives up on us.  He constantly seeks us out, and he makes the way possible for us.  Even when we have disbelief, doubts and fears, God never turns away.  He is Emmanuel, “God with us!”

 

This message of hope is just as important today, as it was to those in the days of shepherds, wise men, and angels proclaiming the Messiah’s birth. This season we

will proclaim the mystery of the incarnation, and the “Hope” that our Ever Loving Father brings to our world.

 

This Christmas season I will be using the movie, “ELF” (Ever Loving Father) to help us see and experience, “God with us!”  We would love for you to join us in worship at 9:00am each Sunday.

 

Dec 1 – “Fitting In to the Christmas Story”

Dec 8 – “Don’t Lose Your Tights”

Dec 15 – “Contagious Joy”

Dec 22 – “Believing the Unbelievable”

Dec 24 – “The List” (Christmas Eve Service 8:00pm at Selma Christ)

 

Blessings, Pastor Andy Martin



Life is a Highway

Friends in Christ:
 
Fall is here but the temperatures these last few days of September have been really warm.  Of  course, I’ll take all the warm temps I can get especially knowing what’s coming after Fall.  I’ve really enjoyed our cool nights, windows open, no bugs, and great sleeping.  What a great time of year.  Soon our trees will be taking on all of their Autumn colors and we’ll have consistently cool days (and cooler nights).
 
This past week Susan went to stay with her dad in Owensboro KY.  He had knee surgery and everything went well (Thank you for your prayers).  The kids and I met her on her way home in Brazil (where my parents live).   We saw a hint of reds and yellows in some of the trees.  And…, we saw our share of “Flashing Orange!”
 
Highway construction and road repairs, it seems it never ends.  And in some of those wonderful construction zones was the “grooved” pavement.  You know, it makes that awful noise as you drive on it for miles.  I guess they want to keep you alert (as if the chuck holes didn’t).
 
And I got to thinking how our lives are sometimes like these little stretches of highway.  We go along for awhile and things are running pretty smooth.  Occasionally we hit a bump or a chuck-hole but we pass over them quickly.  But then comes the “change” in the road (the grooves begin) and we know it’s likely to be rough for awhile.  Sometimes life is just like that.
 
The Bible is full of stories that tell us that “those times” come to us all.  However, we do not have to live in fear of them, for God goes before us and helps us through them.  The prophet Isaiah shares with us these words from the Lord, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!” (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)
 
It somehow helps us to know that when we face the “change in the road” that if we “look up” we can begin to see the beauty in the trees.  When we “look up” to God and cry out, he is there to hold us.  He comforts and strengthens us.  He brings new radiance to our lives again.  Sometimes we travel on that rough rode for several miles before we can look up, but the Good News is that we can never travel that road alone.  God is always with us and goes before us.
 
May God bless you and your family as we “look up” in awe and wonder at the beautiful colors of Autumn.  May we always “look to God” for his leading and his help in our lives.
 
  Blessings, Pastor Andy