A Whopper of a Fish Story

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah

Have ever felt like there was a distance between you and God? A distance that made you uncomfortable? Or maybe it’s just that you have this overwhelming sense that something is missing from your life and that there has to be something more. There is something in the bible that might help. And it’s a whopper of a fish story. Interested?

There are sixty-six books in the bible and perhaps the most polarizing is the Book of Jonah. You might remember the story. Jonah is a prophet of God who has served faithfully in the past, but he balks at his next assignment. Rather than do what God has asked, evangelize the hated city of Nineveh, Jonah jumps on a ship heading in the opposite direction. His clear and unambiguous intention is to get as far away as possible from the place God was sending him. But God has a very unique way of bringing Jonah back to the task at hand. This is where the Book of Jonah gets its reputation as just a big fish story. This is where the story becomes polarizing among believers. For some folks, the Book of Jonah is an historical account of a wayward prophet. For others, Jonah is a metaphor or a parable some ancient rabbi used to teach a timeless truth. That polarization comes from whether or not the mode of transportation God used to place a prophet back on the path was really a big fish, the inside of which served as Jonah’s home for three days. This debate has been a distraction that has minimized the lessons Jonah has to teach. How unfortunate! You see, the Book of Jonah is so much more than a whopper of a fish story. It has a lot to say about the subject of obedience. But even that’s not the main point of the story. The main point of the story is that God will go to extremes to draw people back to Himself – all people! From pagan Ninevites to a disobedient prophet named Jonah and even 21st century Americans.

That’s right! God is still going to extremes to bring people back to Himself. That’s what Easter is all about. You could even say that Jonah is a precursor to the Easter story. Jonah went reluctantly; Jesus went willingly. So, if you’ve ever felt distant from God, especially if you’re feeling that way right now, we have an invitation for you: Sunday, March 10th marks the beginning of a sermon series designed to help people find their way back to God, past, present or future. We hope you can join us.

Either way, blessings to you and yours in this upcoming Easter season,

Pastor Jeff

Kyra Clark
Leader Profile

Dallas Johnson would tell you that he has been serving the Lord for a very long time. Since 1979 in fact. In that time, Dallas has served three different churches, but he’s been a member at Remington UMC for eight years. Dallas would also tell you that he met the love of his life, Luann Miller, in 1969. They married four years later and have had three children. Together, Dallas and Luann have been serving and leading our youth as volunteers for many years. They’ve also served in the Lafayette Great Banquet community, a group that puts together spiritual retreats so that the guests might come to have a deeper understanding of a relationship with Jesus Christ. In this organization, as well as his service to our church, Dallas has been a living example of what it is to be a servant leader. His strength of character and his humility in leadership are examples that we could all profit from emulating. Currently, Dallas is serving as a member of our Administrative Board and is on our Trustees team. He and his teammates are dedicated to maintaining our church properties and making sure that they remain attractive and appealing to seekers and those of us who otherwise use them. Dallas is committed to sharing Jesus with others and is the quintessential bridge builder. When you encounter Dallas, it won’t be long before you see his trademark smile flash right back at you. Thank you Dallas!

Kyra Clark
Redeemed by Christ, To Respond in Love

To say that Charles Dickins’ A Christmas Carol is a timeless classic is something I can personally attest to. My first encounter with the story was when I was about five or six years old, and it was probably not in a format Mr. Dickins would have recognized. It featured a cartoon character named Mr. Magoo, who was brought to life through the distinctive voice of the late Jim Backus. My next exposure to the story was a far more realistic one. In the mid 1980’s, George C. Scott was stellar in his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge. I finally got around to actually reading A Christmas Carol shortly after my 30th birthday. After all these years, A Christmas Carol, continues to inspire me regardless of the format. If my own experience is any kind of guide, there is something about Ebenezer’s journey that has stuck with us for almost 200 years. Maybe it’s that like Scrooge, we all know that we are in need of redemption. Somehow, even the least experienced of believers all understand at some instinctive level that we are fallen and that sin in our lives is a problem. Perhaps the story of Scrooge resonates with us so much because it shows us that if Ebenezer Scrooge can be redeemed, then so can we. This Advent season, using Matt Rawle’s book of the same title, we are going to look at the Advent through the eyes of Ebenezer Scrooge, his journey, and what it can mean to us.

  • December 2nd, Through the eyes of Ebenezer Scrooge, we see how Jesus relentlessly invites us into his peace.

  • December 9th, With the help of the Ghost of Christmas Past, we see how God does not want our hope to be held hostage by our past.

  • December 16th, Scrooge is reacquainted with his humanity by the Ghost of Christmas Present and we are reminded that Advent shows us the depths of God’s love for us.

  • December 23rd, On Christmas morning, Scrooge experiences pure joy because he has come to see that God’s greatest gift to him was his life; and Scrooge’s greatest gift to God was how he used it. It is said that Scrooge “Kept Christmas well” from that day forward. So can we.

I hope that through an old story, we can all find new meaning in a story that’s even older. May we experience the true peace, hope, love and joy that Advent brings this year. And may we share it with a world so in need of the Good News.


Pastor Jeff

Kyra Clark
Leader Profile

John Budzynski is currently serving as a Co-Lay Leader at RUMC. He is very involved with many of our weekly services such as Liturgist, Children’s Time Teacher, Jr. Church Teacher, lawn mower, and is always ready to step in to any other position where he is needed. In the past, John has served on SPRC, Trustees Chair, Vice Chair of the Administrative Council, Finance Committee, and on the Fruitful Congregation Team. Not only is he active in our home church, but he is our North West Districts Lay Leader, serves on the Conference Board of Laity, NW Districts Operations Team & Conference Coordinating Council. It is easy to see that John has a servants heart!

In the few hours he has left in his busy week, he loves spending time with family. John is married to our Administrative Assistant, Rhonda. They have 2 adult children and 8 grandchildren that they are very involved with. You will catch them running to grandchildren’s sporting events or babysitting. John loves to be outdoors working, reading, and thinking about doing home improvement projects. We learned recently that he is a mighty canoer.

Be sure to give John a pat on the back and let him know how much he is appreciated here at RUMC!

Kyra Clark
Building Bridges with Spiritual Gifts

Now about the gifts of the spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

1 Corinthians 12:1

What is a spiritual gift and how do I know I have one? It turns out that the Apostle Paul has a lot to say about that. In short, Paul tells us that a spiritual gift is not necessarily the same as a talent, either physical or mental. For example, you might be able to run one hundred yards faster than anyone else on the planet. If so, chances are that this might be a genetic or physical blessing, but for it to be a spiritual gift, it would have to be something that God has given you for a specific purpose so that evangelism or ministry can happen on His behalf. In fact, a spiritual gift is more likely to be something that is way outside of the wheelhouse of your strengths.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul talked about some specific spiritual gifts. Beginning October 14th, we will talk about four amazing spiritual gifts and how God uses them by giving them to folks so that they can be bridge builders between people and His Son Jesus.

On Sunday, Oct. 14th, Pastor Jeff’s message will be on the spiritual gift of encouragement.

On Sunday, Oct. 21st, Jeremey Sterk will be delivering the message on the spiritual gift of hospitality.

On Sunday, Oct. 28th, Brandi Schemerhorn will share on the spiritual gift of grace.

And rounding out the series, Pastor Jeff will give a message on the spiritual gift of generosity.

My prayer for us is that this sermon series will do more than inform us about the nature of spiritual gifts. My prayer is that the sermon series will do far more than help us to simply figure out what spiritual gifts we might have. My prayer is that the sermon series will help to equip us. May we be empowered and equipped to use the gifts we have to do what we say we exist to do – build bridges between people and Jesus.


Pastor Jeff

Kyra Clark
Ferris Bueller's Day of Reckoning
The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart. -- Psalm 15:2

In the mid-eighties, I went to see a movie called Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I loved it! Matthew Broderick played Ferris Bueller, a charming, highly intelligent, off-the-charts popular high school senior who lives in an affluent neighborhood in suburban Chicago. Ferris is also a highly manipulative kid who is about to graduate. He sees that it is one of those beautiful mid-May Illinois days infecting everybody with spring fever and he decides to skip school. He recruits two of his friends to join him for a day of adventure in downtown Chicago. The movie revolves around all the things they do that day and all the clever strategies Ferris employs to both get his way and to get away with it.

A few days ago, I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off again. I would still recommend it – it’s still a charming and distracting movie. But thirty years is a long time and today, I see Ferris’s character in a very different light. When you set aside the charm of his character, you have a disobedient rebel who cheerfully flouts the rules. The writers and producers of the movie depict authority figures as either legalistic dupes, (the principal at the high school), incredibly boring (Ben Stein’s character is stellar!) or as loving and accomplished, but utterly clueless when it came to their kids (Ferris’s parents). I found myself wondering what might have become of Ferris Bueller had he been a real person. He would be about fifty years old today and speculation could take us in a couple of different directions – he could have become a gifted leader in industry, the military
or politics. The kind of leader whose charisma and intelligence enables him to inspire folks to greatness. Or he could be a tax cheat facing prison time over fraud charges. He could be a loving husband and an example to his children, (He clearly adored and cherished his high school girl friend in the movie), or he could be on marriage number three or four, due to his serial philandering, a total stranger to his children. Who knows.

Here’s what I do know: as followers of Jesus, we should be aware of the fact that there is a little of Ferris Bueller in all of us. We all want to have our own way and, if left to our own devices, we, like Ferris, would be willing to manipulate people or circumstances to get what we want. I know that I would. The outdated, but still all-too relevant term is sin. As followers of Jesus, we know that we live in a fallen world and we are all sinners. We should know that when we make light of our sin, or try to minimize it, we set ourselves up for some really big problems. Most of us give at least lip-service to this spiritual reality. But too many of us tend to see God in the same light as Ferris sees his parents; loving and accomplished, somebody he’s proud of, but also as utterly clueless when it comes to his schemes. I assure you; God is anything but clueless and it is we who are clueless when we act as if God doesn’t see, or doesn’t care about our sins. He sees. And trust me, He
cares. To carry this metaphor a bit further, if there is a sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it might be Ferris Bueller’s Day of Reckoning. But as intimidating as the sequel sounds, it still can have a happy ending. When God’s day of reckoning comes to us, it’s not about God punishing us, it’s not about God “putting the hammer down” because we’ve stepped out of line. It’s simply that the moral books must balance. As a result, we are forced to live out the consequences of our sin every time. God hates sin! There is no question about it. But what might not be as clear is the “why” of it. God hates sin not nearly so much because it’s an affront to Him and His character. (even though it most definitely is) It’s more that God loves us so much that he hates to see what sin can do to us. If there is a metaphorical sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I think a huge theme of it would be this: God’s people try to manipulate circumstances to their own advantage, their deeds catch up with them, God gives them a way out. That way out is Jesus. That truth is God’s grace. It works every time.

Pastor Jeff

Kyra Clark
Youth Bake Off and Lunch!

Since it was so much fun the 1st time, our youth are again holding a Bake-Off and Auction to raise funds for 2 major projects this year.

So mark your calendar and the fun will begin!

  1. You can bake! Bake your favorite pie, cookies or cake to enter the Bake-Off. A prize winner in each category will receive a beautiful, silver spoon (and bragging rights) to acknowledge this great accomplishment. We ask that each baker pay a $10 entry fee!
  2. You can bake! Bake your favorite pie, cookies or cake to donate for our Auction! Baked treats will be auctioned off to raise funds for our youth projects! Your baked good is your donation!
  3. You can eat! You can come and enjoy a light lunch to prepare you to eat and judge the baked treats to help us select our winners! We ask that you donate to or youth fund for your lunch and the privilege of judging our Bake-Off Contest!
  4. You can spend! After you enjoy your lunch, your great dessert and some wonderful fellowship, you an participate in our Baked Goods Auction and take home a delicious homemade pie, fresh baked cookies or a yummy cake.

All of the money raised from the Bake-Off and Auction will go toward our mission trip to Chattanooga, TN in June and the digging of 3 new wells in Burkina Faso, Africa. Please pray
about these two very important projects and how you can participate and support our youth!

Thank you! We hope to see you at our Bake-Off and Auction!

Kyra Clark
VBS Food Allergy Announcement

Game On for Vacation Bible School is going to be great! We can't wait! But in order to make sure it stays great, we're going to be careful about our snacks we provide. Please take note of the following:

Remington United Methodist Church and Remington First Christian Church will naturally take all precautions to provide a safe environment for all of our children, especially those with peanut allergies. While we will take all necessary precautions, we cannot guarentee a totally peanut free environment. Therefore, we will make sure that we provide snacks that are peanut free and appropriately labeled as such for those like your grandchildren who suffer from these issues. We will also make sure our volunteers are alerted so that they will be asking the right questions when children come for snacks. We ask that folks who are planning to donate food items for VBS this summer to be aware of this issue so that when they donate, they can be mindful of the need to label them so as to avoid any potential medical problems.

Finally, we recommend to any parent who has a child that is afflicted with these allergies to excerise all due caution by working with us closely so that we are fully aware of their issues. In so doing, you will be helping us help them.

Kyra Clark
Bible Study Hiatus

Bible study has become an important part how we see ourselves here at Remington United Methodist Church. And the tradition continues. We’ve recently completed a twelve-week study called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. In the words of one participant, “It was transformative.” We will do it again some time in the future.

This summer we will have a brief hiatus, but we will be starting a new women’s bible study in August. In addition, we are excited to announce that we will be offering another Financial Peace University class by Dave Ramsey starting on Thursday, September 13th. Further details will be available soon. Please keep checking in with us.

Kyra Clark
You Asked For It
“After three days, they found [Jesus] in the temple courts .... asking questions.” -- Luke 2:46

A few months ago, I received a great suggestion that I haven’t gotten around to acting on. It seems there are some questions about who our board members are and that folks would like to know. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. At the end of this article, the board members and their roles will be listed. In addition, beginning in June, we will profile one of the board members each month so that you can know a little bit more about them and what their roles on the board are. But before we get to that, the notion of asking questions struck a chord with me. Chances are good that no matter how seasoned a saint or inexperienced a seeker, you probably have questions about God’s Word, or the nature of God Himself, or ..... well, whatever. I know I have questions and I’m your pastor! For example, the Book of Revelations is pretty much a mystery to me. So, if you could hear a sermon preached on any topic that would satisfy, or at-
tempt to anyway, your curiosity, what would that be? So, here’s what I propose; on May 10th, Rhonda Budzynski will send out a message on the email prayer request line which will invite you to ask any question you’d like to know more about when it comes to God, the bible or any other spiritual topic. In addition, you can fill out a questionnaire that will be in the back of the church beginning May 1st. We will tabulate all the responses and the top five will represent a sermon series called: “You Asked For It”. I look forward to hearing from you on what it is that you’re most curious about.

Oh, and before I forget; here are our board members and their positions on the board:

  • John Budzynski and Wilma Clark: pastor parish team and co lay leaders.
  • Jim Stringfellow: pastor parish team leader.
  • Dave Miller: finance team leader.
  • Bob Clark: trustees team leader.
  • Robyn Stark: finance team and recording secretary.
  • Norma Alberts: finance team.
  • Dallas Johnson and Denny Miller: trustees team.
  • Sandra Longest: pastor parish team

When you get a chance, thank these people for their hard work and leadership in serving our church. Last thought: remember that anyone is welcome to attend our board meetings. With some exceptions, the vast majority of what we talk about is open to the public and it doesn’t matter whether you are a member or not. We’d love to have you there.

Kyra Clark