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Blessing of the Toys

Posted by jklossner    0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

From gifts, to leftover food, to extra wrapping paper and supplies- I have no idea how to start cleaning my house from the Christmas explosion that happened just a few days ago. This Sunday as part of worship, we will be doing something a little different. We are asking all our children to bring one toy with them to worship. This may seem odd, but we are going to take some time in worship to bless these toys, and here’s why-

We call this the “Blessing of the Toys.” All the kids will come up and remember the joy that received in being given this gift, but then we will ask how they can use this gift to bless someone else this coming year. This seems like a good question for all of us, not just our kids. With what we have been given, how will we use it to be a blessing this next year. In some faith communities the celebrate and sing “Te Deum” on December 31: it is a day to thank God for all the days, a moment to bless all the moments of mind and heart, breath and sight; a time to “see” and savor.  This doesn’t sound far from what we will be doing through Blessing of the Toys on Sunday. We will reflect on the year, look tangibly at our blessings, and allow what we see to challenge us to see others who need the gifts we have been given this year.

Blessing of the toys might sound odd, but I don’t know of a better way for us to be grateful for our gifts, and in doing so, be grateful for the most important gift of all in Jesus, our hope and salvation. May God bless our moments in 2018- and may these moments be a reflection of the gift of hope that has been given to us.

Whether this year was amazing, heartbreaking or a mixture of both, come worship with us on Sunday and know how God makes all things new once again, and in this new year, a new blessing waits for you as well.

This Sunday we have the great privilege of hearing one of our Associate Pastors, JB Bryant, preach in Access! Don’t forget to remind your kids (and your kids at hearts :-) ) to bring a toy with them to worship!

See you Sunday!



Struggling with an imperfect Christmas?

Posted by rrindfuss    0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

Christmas is three days away. Take a deep breath. Breathe in the peace. Breathe out the stress. Repeat. The lead-up to Christmas is often a trying time. We struggle for the perfect family get-together, perfect decorations, perfect gifts, or, honestly, just to get through it without messing up anything too badly. I don't tend to stress much over decorations, but this year I've been struggling with getting the rubber duckie nativity outside my office just right. Sure, it may not be your struggle, but I believe where it's led me will give you some peace.

My struggle began a few weeks ago when we introduced our Reindeer and Donkeys sermon series at Access. In reading the scriptures I realized that the Bible never says Mary rode a donkey. That tradition goes back to a book written in the 3rd century. Also, there were no wise men at the manger. The Bible says they came later.

With that knowledge in hand I set out to perfect my rubber duckie nativity. First, I went to a co-worker whose desk near mine – to the east of course - and asked permission to put my wise men ducks there, looking in the general direction of the Mary and Joseph duckies. We have great plans for the wise ducks to join up sometime in January. A few days later, though, another co-worker commented that the Mary duck already had a baby Jesus duck, and that seemed, well, premature. So now the Mary duck has a color-coordinated blue Post-It note hiding the baby Jesus duck until Christmas. Apart from everyone being rubber ducks, my nativity has reached historically accurate perfection. Maybe. There's bound to be some other detail I've missed that will make it fall short of perfection.

Two thousand years ago, the original nativity seemed to fall well short of perfection too. First there was the census that drove Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in the final days of her pregnancy. Then there was the whole inn debacle. The wise men recognized a king had been born, but they showed up late. At least the shepherds showed up in the right place at the right time.

I realized, though, as I recalled the original Christmas story that none of those imperfections mattered. God embraced them and worked in the midst of them. The only detail that truly mattered was that the perfect God had come into the world, choosing to join us in the midst of imperfection. What God sought then and still seeks today is not perfection but relationship.

Christmas is three days away. Take a deep breath. Breathe in the awareness that Christmas is about God wanting to relate to you. Breathe out the stress of trying perfectly to prepare, because God chose and chooses to come to us in the midst of imperfection.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. – Bring family and friends and celebrate the birth of Christ with us on Christmas Eve! Access will worship at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. You can find a full list of FUMCR Christmas Eve services at


Access Update

Posted by jklossner    0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png

This last weekend in Access we announced in a staff transition that will be taking place starting January 1. Pastor Rich is changing positions and thankfully will continue to be part of our staff. I'll let Rich tell you in his own words what he will be doing: 

Dear Access friends,

Christmas Eve will be my last day with the Access congregation but not my last day with FUMCR. 

We're coming up on a year since Access moved to the morning and to our new facilities, and that milestone prompted me to begin thinking and praying about "what's next?" The answer could have been a lot of things, but since the very beginning of my vocational ministry I have dreamed of doing something that combined my love of technology, computer programming, and the like with service to God. Twenty years ago when I entered seminary, the church world and tech world didn't overlap much, but that has changed dramatically in the intervening years, and as I prayed and thought I came to the conclusion that now is the right time to begin exploring what new job/ministry possibilities might exist. Amazingly, our church has provided a way for me to do that here at FUMCR.

In the new year I will continue to do some typical ministry work while also branching into some technology projects. I'll continue to be the staff liaison to our Men of Faith men's ministry and our Children First school partnership ministries. I'll take over leadership for our Group Life small group ministry, and from time to time I'll serve as a backup preacher for Clayton in our traditional worship services. On the tech side, I'll manage a project to migrate our dated church database system to something newer and lead a project to take FUMCR's "My Journey" software, a program that helps guide people in practical ways to grow spiritually, and make it into a marketable product that other churches can find and use on the Internet.

There are many things I love about Access, but most of all I love you. You have listened to my teaching and returned to hear more. You have listened to God calling you to new ways of living, working, and serving and shared the experience with me as you responded. You've invited me to feed hungry people, clean up from tornado damage, tutor students, and engage in other acts of service alongside you. You've entrusted me with the highest and lowest moments of your lives. You've prayed for me and encouraged me, accepted me as the quirky person that I am, and you've done the same for countless others. You even let me dress up as Han Solo and bring R2-D2 to worship, and you invited your friends to join us! I'm grateful that although the context will change, I will get to continue being part of your lives and having you as part of mine.

You have a gifted and talented pastor in Julie, and exciting days are ahead for Access. Keep inviting your friends and neighbors to worship with you, so that they'll be able to look back one day like I am and give thanks for the many ways they've encountered God through the awesome Access community!

In Christ,


This Sunday right after worship we will be celebrating Rich and all the gifts and leadership he has brought to Access. Stick around after Access and be sure and share your gratitude.

We will continue our series Reindeer and Donkeys as we come closer to Christmas!

We will see you Sunday!