August 2012


rave cinemas

 located in The Avenue, 2241 Town Center Drive

Melbourne, FL 32940

321-775-1210

continues our

Sensory Sensitive Cinema movie series 

The volume is lower, the lights remain half on, and moving

around is OK. The movie starts before our other features begin

that day. Bringing special dietary snacks/drinks from home is

encouraged. We want the children on the autism spectrum and

their families to feel relaxed and enjoy the movie!

Saturday, 15 September 12

10:00 am

showing in 2D, regular matinee pricing applies

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Saturday, 29 September 2012

10:00 am

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Saturday, 6 October 2012

10:00 am

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Some of the most active entries on this blog is our devotion that appears  each Sunday.  I get feedback from people who enjoy the devotion who don’t share it with anyone.  Others tell me that they use the devotion occasionally to teach or share with a group.  This week, I wanted to share one about two of my favorite subjects–the resurrection and my mother.

He Is Alive

Matthew 28:6

Central Theme:  Jesus is not dead; he is alive.

Introduction–Tell the story from Matthew 28:1-15  Two  women were coming.  There was an earthquake.  An angel appeared.  The stone was rolled away.  The soldier saw the angel.  They fainted  The women came up and the angel told them.  He is Alive!  Go! Tell the disciples.”  As they went back to the disciples, Jesus appeared.   Have a member read Matthew 28:6

I.     Before my mother died I struggled with my prayers for my mother.

  • A. She was an amazing woman, the best Christian I ever met.
  • B. I love her and I will miss her everyday.
  • C. But when she died, she went to be with Jesus.

1.  That will makes her happy.

II.     Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we have great hope.

  • A. I know that Jesus lives.
  • B. I know that Jesus has taken the stringer out of death.
  • 1.  Did you know that when a bee stings, it looses its stinger and dies
  • C. Jesus took the stinger from death and we don‘t have to worry anymore.

III.     Jesus was alive and the women knew it.

1.  His resurrection changed their lives.

Conclusions:  Jesus’ resurrection changes our lives, too.

We all understand that our federal government is divided into three co-equal branches.  There is the executive branch, the legislative and the judicial branches.  The purpose of these three branches of government is to insure that the people of the US receive justice.  You see, very few people (masses or individuals) are just.  We tend to see things through the biases with which we have been raised and in which we live.

During the history of the Jewish people, especially during the time of Ezekiel, the nation God had chosen was being punished because they were wicked.  In fact, Ezekiel tells us that they were so evil that they thought God was the one who was bad.  In reality, we all live with a hint of that suspicion dwelling in our minds and seeping into our hearts.

Before I became a parent, I thought my mother and father were mean and hateful.  Then I had children; and I understood that they were simply trying to mold us into mature adults.  In fact, I often think that they were kind of soft on us.  I know of other parents who decided that they would be harder on their children because their parents were too easy.  “I thought my folks were tough but I’ve realized that they were wimps,” one neighbor confessed, while nursing a steaming cup of coffee.

The reality is that we cannot understand God.  Therefore, because his actions are so foreign to us, we think that God is mean.  The executive director and pastor of The Special Gathering often says that we can only see things through our own perspective.  That means that we understand what is happening from the way we see it.

Even though, it’s a hard lesson, we must learn to trust God and believe that His way is right no matter what happens.  Years ago, I was taking my children to the beach.  Usually, I would put the car keys in my pocket and lock my pocketbook in the trunk.  That day, scruffling to get everything out to the ocean, I forgot to lock my car and my purse up.

That night, I went to the car to get something out of my pocketbook and realized that my purse was gone.  I climbed back into the car, attempting to re-track my steps.  All the time I was driving, I was doing spiritual battle with myself.  That day, while sitting at the beach, watching my children play, I had promised the Lord that when bad things happened, I would no longer blame Him but I would realize that I was to blame and take on the guilt for my mistakes.

Prior to this day, my carnal logic was that because I turn everything over to the Lord, He should keep me from doing stupid things.  Of course, it’s not godly thinking but it was my thinking.

As I scouring the community for my pocketbook that had our checkbook, credit cards and pretty much all of our financial lifeblood in it, I kept struggling with myself to acknowledge that God was not to blame for this problem.  Again and again, I would say out loud, “Lord, I know this isn’t your fault.  I know that I lost the pocketbook, not you.”  My mouth was saying one thing but my heart wanted to scream “God, why did you let this happen to ME?”  Finally, I said, “Lord, it doesn’t matter how I feel.  I know that you are not to blame.  I made the mistake.  I am to blame.  I will not blame you.”

As I walked into the door from my desperate searching, the phone was ringing.  “This is the Rockledge police department.  We have your pocketbook.  Can you come and get it?”  That night I experienced a clear act of God’s mercy and grace.  I learned to not blame God for my mistakes.  God is not responsible for my goofing up.

As a merciful bonus, I only had $.47 in my wallet.  The thieves took the money.  Then they tossed everything into the bushes on a lonely, almost deserted road.  A car behind them happened to see them toss the pocketbook.  He stopped, retieved my purse and took it to the police department.  Nothing was missing.  None of the credit cards had been used.

The Lord used this driver, even a couple of thieves to teach me a valuable lesson about His justice.  Because we are people who do not really understand what is right, we need God to help us understand.  Many times he uses other people to teach us about his loving and just ways.

Hunter Spanjer is a three-year-old child who attends a deaf school in Nebraska.  Like many young deaf children, he is proficient in signing.  He uses the standard S.E.E. (Signing Exact English) method.  The problem is that his school district believes that the way the child signs his name “Hunter” looks like a weapon.  Hunter’s parents have been asked to change his name because the school district has a strict “no gun policy.”

The sign for Hunter’s name is similar to the ASL sign for an R.  However, like most names, his parents have stylized the sign to become Hunter’s unique name.  The sign to signify Hunter’s name moves in a circle.  The school district believes this is a violation of their policy because it looks like Hunter may be pointing a gun.

This entire episode has caused a national outcry.  Perhaps political correctness has finally gone too far.  Asking this child to change his name is not only ridiculous; but it will be confusing for the three year old who is already dealing with a disability.

His parents have decided that they will not submit to the pressure put on their son; and they have set up an FaceBook page to establish public support for the child.  Various news organizations have also picked up the issue.  Their story has appeared on various news shows, including CBS and FOX.

 

This is a part of the Edgewood United Methodist Church News.  Think you will enjoy it.

American Sign Language

Written By Herb “Padre” Agee

Engle­wood United Methodist Church

 

When I was 40 years old, I was pas­tor at a small, strug­gling, inner city church in Lake­land. I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I took a sign lan­guage class. The teacher was a deaf woman who was also an ordained Assem­bly of God min­is­ter. She had attended South­east­ern Col­lege in Lake­land, which is an Assem­bly of God school. I took sev­eral classes from her and started learn­ing to sign. I even took some classes at the com­mu­nity college.

The next year I moved to Rock­ledge to become the chap­lain at Wuesthoff Hos­pi­tal. After a while, some­one dis­cov­ered that I could sign a lit­tle bit. They started call­ing me when a deaf per­son came into the hos­pi­tal to reg­is­ter as a patient.

I quickly informed those who needed to know that the hos­pi­tal was required by law to pro­vide “real” inter­preters for deaf patients and to have TTY’s avail­able so they could use the hos­pi­tal phone in their room. The TTY or TDDallows the phone to become a type­writer of sorts so the deaf patient can com­mu­ni­cate with fam­ily and friends who also have a TTY. Cell phones, tex­ting, the inter­net and emails have almost made the TTY sys­tem obso­lete, but at the time, it was the only way for the deaf to com­mu­ni­cate by phone.

We bought sev­eral to have avail­able and I made con­tact with some inter­preters to have on call if we needed them. This kept me from hav­ing to take the legal respon­si­bil­ity of sign­ing impor­tant med­ical infor­ma­tion between doc­tors, nurses and deaf patients. I wasn’t that good!

One day, a deaf patient came in to reg­is­ter for a test with­out us know­ing he was com­ing. We usu­ally had an inter­preter there wait­ing for them. Not this time, so… “Who do you call?” You guessed it! The chaplain!

I went down to help with the reg­is­tra­tion process, think­ing that was all that was needed – but, no, he was hav­ing an ultra­sound of his kid­ney right after he reg­is­tered. There was no time to get an inter­preter and he did not want to have to come back later, so with his under­stand­ing of my lim­ited abil­ity to sign and read his sign­ing (oh, did he under­stand), we went into the test.

I tried to com­mu­ni­cate every­thing that was hap­pen­ing, but as they were doing the ultra­sound of the kid­ney, I was watch­ing the screen, which he could not see. He signed, “What’s going on?” I responded, “I think you’re pregnant.”

I think all ultra­sounds look like a baby.

He laughed and laughed, and the tech­ni­cian looked at me, won­der­ing why he was laugh­ing dur­ing the test. I just shrugged as if I didn’t know. We made it through the test, though.

I later met his wife and went out to din­ner with them and some of their deaf friends one night. Grad­u­ally my con­nec­tion with the deaf and my sign­ing slowed until I lost touch and, as with any lan­guage, “use it or lose it.”

Recently I’ve been drawn back to sign lan­guage. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m 60 years old and many peo­ple I try to com­mu­ni­cate with are strug­gling with their hear­ing. Some of them have admit­ted to it and are try­ing to get use to hear­ing aids and some of them are liv­ing in denial and try­ing to get by with a lit­tle sound and a lit­tle lip reading.

My niece has a child who’s a lit­tle over a year old. She and many other peo­ple are teach­ing their chil­dren some signs because babies can learn to com­mu­ni­cate with sign much ear­lier than they can talk.

Candy and I were dis­cussing this the other night and I said, “Wouldn’t it be great if every­one was taught sign lan­guage as a child and as every­one talked they would also be sign­ing what they were say­ing? Then, if some­one started los­ing their hear­ing, they would always know what was being said because of the sign lan­guage.” No one would ever be kept out of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion, even the deaf. They would be able to com­mu­ni­cate with any­one and not feel iso­lated from the hear­ing community.

Richard Stim­son, who leads The Spe­cial Gath­er­ing, which is a church for the men­tally chal­lenged, once told me a story. It was about a man whose whole min­istry as a pas­tor had been in the deaf com­mu­nity. As he sat beside the bed of a deaf saint who was dying, he asked her, “What do you look for­ward to most about heaven?” Her reply was, “That every­one will know how to sign.” She had no con­cept of want­ing to “hear,” but she wanted to be able to “com­mu­ni­cate” with everyone.

Guess what? God knows sign language!

I’m study­ing ASL again. I’m not sure why. If I lose my hear­ing com­pletely; none of my friends or fam­ily will know sign lan­guage. But, maybe I will be able to slip into the deaf com­mu­nity for friend­ship and communication.

Any­way, if any of you are inter­ested in learn­ing ASL, which is Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage, be sure to check out the web­site: www.lifeprint.com. It is a great learn­ing site, and it’s free.

Maybe God has a new min­istry for me down the road — deaf motor­cy­cle rid­ers. Who knew? But with the loud pipes and road noise, it could hap­pen. Unfor­tu­nately, most of the bik­ers only know one sign. You’ve prob­a­bly seen it used in traffic.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/simplelife/#ixzz24sMLYO9D

In the early 1990’s when Nancy became a consumer at ARC in Vero Beach, Florida, she told her supported living coach, that her life goals were to bleach her hair blonde and go to California to become Marilyn Monroe. Bleaching her hair blonde was easy, getting her to California, proved harder.

Nancy was never a person who fostered small dreams or ideas.  Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Nancy was 15 years younger than her sister, Roxanne. But Roxanne took her everywhere. When I inquired about this, Roxanne said, emphatically, “Of course, I took her everywhere.  She was my little sister.”  Nancy was born with Down’s Syndrome; but she never allowed her disability drive her into a corner.  Perhaps “hanging” with her teenage sister fostered those large dreams and desires.

Nancy’s life in West Virginia revolved around swimming, summer camp, school, then ARC, the singer, John Denver, The Monkees and her best friend, Susie.  Nancy and Susie were together throughout their school years and at ARC.  Eventually, they became roommates.

When the unthinkable happened and Susie was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Susie was moved into a nursing home.  Out of compassion, her parents believed that it was best for Nancy that she not see Susie again.  But when Roxanne and Gary came to visit the family and heard, “We threw a fit,” Roxanne said.  The parents gave in and Nancy was allowed to see Susie.  Later, as the disease took its grip on Susie’s life, she moved back in with Nancy.  “Susie died in Nancy’s arms,” Roxanne reported.

As the health of her parents grew more frail, Nancy and her mother and father moved to Vero Beach.  It was here that Nancy revealed her desire to become Marilyn Monroe.  She adopted Star Wars and wrestling as a new passion.  Friday night was “Smack Down” Night.  Nancy and her friend, Annie, spent their Friday evenings with The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker and Stone Cold.

Her one enduring joy, however, was men.  Most men she found attractive; and she was convinced that nearly every men found her irresistible.  She often recited the men that she was soon marry.  However, in the middle of her list, she would stop and say, “No.  I think I’ll just marry Jackie,” who was her black cat.

One evening, Nancy and her roommate decided to go out to dinner.  They called a cab and told the driver to take them to The Patio restaurant.  They ordered dinner and wined and dined for several hours.  Finally, when the waiter came with the bill, he discovered that the two charming ladies had not brought any money with them. Undisturbed, Nancy said, “Call my supportive living coach, Diane.  She’ll take care of the bill.”

Fortunately, the restaurant owner did know Diane.  He called her and explained the situation.  Diane arrived, paid the bill and began an intense retraining program regarding appropriate behaviors in a public restaurant which included emphasis on the fact that you always have enough money with you when you go out to eat.

It was my privilege to carry Nancy to and from Special Gathering for about seven or eight years.  She and I would have great conversations about the Lord but Nancy didn’t always have her theology correct.  “I love Jesus,” she told me one week.  “But I’m not a Christian.”

Of course, I could not let that go without questions.  “Nancy, have you asked Jesus to forgive you for the bad things you have done?”  Yes.  “Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart and be your best friend and your boss?”  Yes.  “Then, Nancy, you are a Christian.

“No, I’m not,” she said with emphasis, “I’m an Episcopalian.”  Most weeks, she told me that she wasn’t a Christian, she was an Episcopalian.  Then some weeks, she was a Methodist.  I think she died an Episcopalian.

Nancy was never a weak person; but she wasn’t ashamed to go to the Lord for strength and comfort.  She often asked for prayer.  For many years, she sang in the Special Gathering choir.  She would share her faith wherever we sang by her great smile and winning ways.  “Nancy was always smiling,” so many people said after she died.

Joanne was her caregiver for several years before she had to go into the nursing home because of Alzheimer’s.  She, Annie, Laurie and Eric often visited Nancy as her health declined. Nancy always remembered Annie’s name and recognized Laurie.  She would smile and put out her hand reaching for each visitor.  Of course, Nancy never lost her ability to flirt.  Even at their last visit a few days before she died, Nancy threw kisses at Eric.

At last, her body gave out and she slipped silently into the arms of her Lord, who is also an Episcopalian and a Methodist.  She has left us but we have our memories.  Her smile.  Her joy.  And I will always remember our conversations about the Lord in the night as I drove her home from a choir performance or Special Gathering.

God is Forgiving

Psalm 86:5

Central Theme:   God forgives everyone, even me.

Introduction–If I have a cup of water and I pour it on to this rag, what will happen?  The rag will get wet.  (If appropriate pour the water on to the floor.  If not pour it into a saucer or rag.)  This rag is wet and it will be wet for a long time; but it will dry.  If I slap Sam in the face, will it hurt?  Yes.  I can’t instantly make this rag dry again.  If I hit Sam, I can‘t take it back ever.  Folks, we find ourselves in a mess.  Because we sin and we can’t take the bad things back.  We can’t make the rag dry instantly.  And we cannot make the slap not hurt.  But there is one thing we have.  We can get God’s forgiveness when we sin.

               Have a member read Psalm 86:5.

I.     Tell the story of David and Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12.

1.  David slept with Bathsheba; then he killed her husband.

2.  God told David that he was a sinner.

II.     David asked God to forgive him.

A. God did forgive David.

1.  God says that David was a man whose heart was like God‘s more than 200 years after this incident.

2.  But David had sinned and even God’s forgiveness did not take away the results of those sins.

B.  David‘s little son died and many other bad things happened to David’s family after that.

III.     God forgives but he does not always take away the bad effects of those sins.  –ex There was a woman who became a Christian after she had killed someone.  She was sentenced to death.  Even though she was a Christian, she still had to die.

Conclusion–God forgives everyone who asks for forgiveness.

This week, I received several phone calls concerning problems which have surrounded friend’s lives.  The horrific circumstances don’t seem fair or just.  My friends are faced with problems that don’t appear to have any answers.

We’ve all been there.  Most of us don’t walk from these times with our heads raised high.  In fact, I wish I could remember the advice I gave them today the next time I’m walking through a deep valley of despair.  I shared with my friends that often God’s plan for our lives isn’t readily visible to us until years later.  It was good advice and I truly believe what I said.

However, the problem with problems is that problems are often so overwhelming that the problem is all that I can see.  Faith, trust and God’s love for me are thrown quickly out the window as I stew in unbelief and piercing pain.

An additional problem with problems is that loneliness accompanies the tossing away of our belief in a good and loving Lord.  Once you have tasted the love of God, there is not a more debilitating pain than trying to survive without the assuring knowledge of God’s love.

Slowly, we emerge from the fog of our problems back into the arms of our Lord and Savior.  Years ago, I read a unforgetable book by a man who had spent years in a Soviet prison.  As a Christian pastor, he was imprisoned as a lunatic.  He was treated with mind-altering drugs.  The book contained letters that were written during his time in this drugs-induced imprisonment.

I don’t remember the name of the author but I remember one sentence that he wrote.  He said that many of the things he wrote while in prison weren’t theologically correct.  Many were written through drugged, fear-filled nightmarish days.  “However,” he said, “the important thing is not how I felt during the time of my imprisonment.  The important thing is that I loved Jesus when I went into prison and I loved Jesus when I came out.”

Often the problem with problems is that we believe that we are the doubting, fearful people without understanding that we were drugged by fear and doubt.  We cannot accept that the important thing is that we loved Jesus when we faced an awful circumstance; and we still love Jesus when as we walk through the other side.  What we say or think in the middle is not significant.  The beginning and the ending are the important thing.

Depression and fear strike all of us.  Who is your Savior when you enter the battle?  Who is your Savior when you emerge from the war?

On Sunday evening at Camp Agape, we had a bread and cup service.  Each year, the members of several programs of Special Gathering gather for a spiritual retreat in Vero Beach at Life for Youth Camp during Memorial Day weekend.  This year we had about 180 people who attended from seven of our programs.  People came from as far south as Port St. Lucie and as far north as Jacksonville.  We are rrestricted in the number of cabins we could use.  Therefore our numbers dropped from approximately 220.

Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  We exist to do classic ministry, discipleship and evangelism.  This is our purpose and our mission.  Camp Agape is a set-aside time to get into the skin of our members and for our members to get to know each other.

Each day at camp we eat our meals together.  We sleep in the same cabins.  We play games, do crafts and slide down the waterslides.  The highlight of the weekend is the bread and cup service.  Here, we remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  We also want to embrace the time of fellowship that this meal represents.

As in years past, we have served the bread wafers and the small cups of grape juice in two lines. Each person is given the invitation, “If you are a friend of Jesus, come.”  During the mingling in the aisles as people wait for their turns, there is a stirring of the love the Lord has for us shown by the fact that he would come to die for the bad things we do.

Five years ago, when The Twins (two young women in their early 20’s) came to me to be served, I realized that this was the first time in their lives they would be served the wafer and the cup.  I gave the bread to Ariel with the explanation, “This is a small piece of bread.  Take and eat it.  Jesus said that this was to be done to remember that his body was broken for us.”  I explained the cup in a similar way.  Ariel solemnly took the wafer and small cup.  She ate and drank it.

Then it was Clara’s turn.  She is blind.  She is unable to walk and is confined to a wheelchair.  I placed the wafer in her hand and explained.  “This is a small piece of bread.  Jesus said that we are to eat the bread to remember that his body was broken for us.”

Clara felt the bread with her other hand.  “Jesus said that?  Wow!” she said.  Somehow her simple exclamation did something new in my spirit.  The wonder of his sacrifice was magnified as I encountered anew the privilege his sacrifice affords us, giving us access to the Father.  My heart exploded with joy.

I gave Clara the cup and my feeble explanation.  Clara took the cup and said, “Wow!  This is for me?  Wow!”  By now I was weeping.  How can a simple “Wow” renew and even transform my understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice?  I have no idea. But I was acutely aware that access to the heartbeat of God is mine.  What more can be said but “Wow”?

As Clara’s simple exclamation made my heart sing, how has God opened your eyes to spiritual truths by the actions or reactions of your members?

As a “hook” this year, I have used the winter waves on the east coast of Florida that our surfers love.  This makes our play regional.  However, you can insert any event that is peculiar to your area. There may be a Christmas tour for which your community is known or some regional arts festival, the rodeo.  In addition, we are using youth from several local churches.  They are the speakers who are leaving rehearsal to go surf.

This play is divided into 1) speakers–these are the people at the beginning of the play who are reading or speaking the modern-day part of the play. i.e. the surfers and decorators. 2) actors–they are the people who are portraying the  Biblical part of the play, Mary, Joseph, wise men.  3) choir 4) readers–they are the people who read the narration.  Our readers are usually choir members who have not been given solo parts.

Our music and words have come from the wonderful children’s play, Stranger in the Manger, by Jonathan Crampton and Sue Smith, published by Brentwood-Benson Music Productions.   I have included the words to the songs.  They are copyrighted by Brentwood Choral.  You will need to buy the Demo CD and the Split-track practice CD.  There is also a great orchestration CD and books available.  This music is certainly worth the expense.  The music is wonderful.  The words are not childish but can adapt to adults who may have a difficult time learning the choral parts.  Your members will love upbeat, big band sounds. 

A Florida Christmas

By Linda G. Howard

All the actors, speakers, choir, readers and helpers should be out front getting their costumes on.  Speakers who are youth should be helping to do different tasks.  The play will begin at set time but everything (costumes, etc.)  will be out front in full view, rather than in a backroom.  Choir should be ready to get into position on the side of the stage opposite where the actors will be entering and exiting the stage. Everyone is hurrying to get things cleaned up and out-of-the-way at the time that the play begins. 

Speaker 1 (comes out with a bathing suit–possibly a wet suit—swinging in mid-air  and a surf board under his arm and shouts)—Surf’s up!

Several people begin to get up as though they are leaving. They gather up surf boards.  Shouting:  All Right! Let’s go!

(As the Speakers are talking, the choir gets into place. People finish getting actors seated and all the boxes out-of-the-way.)

Speaker 2—(stands)  Wait a minute!  Are you getting ready to leave?

Speaker 1 (coming over to Speaker 2)—Yeah!  This is Florida, Man.  There is surf and we can catch at least a full hour of waves, if we hurry.  (Motions to everyone to leave.)

Speaker 3—(Stands in the way of the surfers.)  You promised to help with our Christmas play.  It’s time to start.  (Sarcasticlly and motioning to the audience.) The audience is here, parents, friends.

Speaker 4—(Standing with speaker 3)  You can’t leave now!

Speaker 5You don’t understand.  We wait all year for the winter waves.  This is Florida.  That’s what a Florida Christmas means waves, waves and more waves.

Speaker 2Come on.  We know better than that.  Sure, Christmas in Florida means waves but it means a lot more.

Speaker 6—He’s (or she’s) right.  We can’t forget the real meaning of Christmas.

Speaker 7—Big deal, a baby, a stranger in a manger.  How does that compare with waves, real winter waves.

Speaker 2—It’s the story telling how much God loves us.  That’s way better than waves.

Speaker 5—Okay, we’ll stay but this better be good!

(As the speakers put their surf boards away, the choir begins to sing.)

1.  Tell Me the Story of Christmas

(chorus)

Tell me the story of Christmas. I love to hear it told.

Every detail of that incredible night.

Never, no, never, ever grows old.

I love the part where the angels are singing

and the shepherds and wise men are worshiping.

I’m ready to hear all the wonderful things That happened in Bethlehem.

So tell me the story of Christmas once again.

 

Good Christian Men Rejoice

Good Christian men, rejoice With heart and soul and voice.

Give ye heed to what we say:

News! News! Jesus Christ is born today!

Ox and ass before Him bow And He is in the manger now.

Christ is born today, Christ is born today.

 

(Back to top and Repeat Chorus)

 

I really love to hear the story get repeated, cause every time you tell about the birth of Jesus,

If someone else can hear about it and believe it,

They’ll find his love.  So if you wait until the middle of November

Or if you sing it from December through December

Just tell the world about His coming and remember the way it was.

(Repeat Chorus)

Hark! The Herald Angels sing

Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King;

Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies.

With Angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King.

(Repeat Chorus)

Tag–So Tell me the story of  Christmas once again.  Again!

As the song ends, the curtains should open half way.  Mary and Joseph should be on stage by the end of the song.  Holding hands, smiling.  

Speaker 1 to Speaker 5—(They should be carrying the final box of costumes out of the stage area. They stop in the middle of the stage area but on the floor.)  Ahh, maybe this won’t be too bad.  I guess the waves can wait.  (They continue to stand-off to the side on the floor area.)

Joseph:  (Joseph comes to the edge of the stage.  He puts his finger to his mouth and says) Sh-h-h.  (Everyone joins him, including the choir. Joseph puts his hands on his waist and walks to the side of the stage.  Angel walks up to Mary and begins to talk to her.)

Reader 1:       God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee.  The girl was engaged to marry a man named Joseph.  Her name was Mary. 

(Mary’s angel leaves. Mary goes to Joseph to talk.  They walk to center stage.)

Reader 2:       Mary was engaged to marry Joseph.  But before they married, Mary learned that she was pregnant with a child by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mary’s husband, Joseph was a good man.  He did not want to bring shame to Mary before the people.  So he planned to divorce her secretly. 

Speaker 1 to Speaker 5:  (They should be standing on the floor area but still in view of the audience. Speaking loudly.) This is my favorite part.

Except for Mary and Joseph, everyone–including the choir–says:  Sh-h-h.  (Speaker 2 comes and helps them to sit down.)

Mary walks off stage.  Joseph goes to center stage.  He is confused, hurt, and angry.  He sits down and drops his head as though asleep.  Joseph’s Angel comes on stage wakes him up and talks to Joseph. 

Reader 3:  While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream.  The angel said, “Joseph, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus.

As the Joseph angel exits, Joseph goes and gets Mary.  They stand together talking as the choir sings.

2. The Answer is “Yes”

 (Verse 1)  What do you say to an angel who suddenly appears

With news that’s so surprising you can’t believe your ears?

Do you have to think awhile, or do you tell him with a smile

(Chorus) The answer is “yes” to whatever God says. His plan is all right with me, wherever He leads.

Anytime, any place, I’m gonna obey. He knows that I know that He knows best.  That’s why the answer is Yes.

(Verse 2)  What do you say if you find out

The Father’s calling you for something very special  He’s planned for you to do?

Do you try to run away or bow your head and simply say:

(Repeat Chorus)

(Verse 3)  The answer isn’t “Maybe” or  “Come back and ask me later.”

When you choose between your own will and the will of the Creator

(Repeat chorus)O-o-oh  He knows that I know that He knows best.  That’s why the answer is Yes.  Yes!

Reader 3:  And Joseph did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream.  He married Mary.

(Joseph puts his arm around Mary.  Mary and Joseph walk off the stage. Close curtain or the stage should be empty.)

(Shepherds move into place at the front of the stage on the floor.)

Reader 2:    At that time Augustus Caesar sent out an order to all people.  The order said that all people must write their name in a book.  All people traveled to their own towns to be registered.  So Joseph went to Bethlehem in Judea.  Joseph went with Mary.  While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby.

(The Angels come out to the shepherds.)

Reader 4:       Some shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep.

Reader 5:       An angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds and said,

Reader 6:       “Don’t be afraid.”

Choir sings “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

3.  Angels we have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high,

Sweetly singing over the plains

And the mountains in reply,

Echo back their joyous stains.

(chorus) Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Come to Bethlehem and see

Him whose birth the angels sing.

Come, adore on bended knee

Christ the Lord, the newborn king.

(repeat Chorus)

Tag:  In excelsis Deo.

After the choir sings, the curtains open, Mary, Joseph and the baby are there.  Choir sings “A Stranger in the Manger.”  Some of the shepherds who can go up the stairs and kneel go up and kneel by the baby.

4.  Stranger in the Manger

(verse 1) There’s a crowded inn in a little town,

At the barn out back shepherds gather around.

As they go inside, they are all bowing down.

What can it be?  Come look and see.

(chorus) There is a Stranger in the manger, out where the animals are fed.

There is a Baby in the hay, we’ve seen, who’s using that manger for a bed.

Why are there songs of joy praising this little Boy?

Telling the reason that He came?

There is a Stranger in the manger, and King

Jesus is His name.

(verse 2) It was long ago. It was far away but we’re still surprised

When we hear it today.

Could the Son of God be asleep on the Hay?

Yes, it is He.  Come and Believe!

(repeat Chorus)

Why are there songs of joy praising this little Boy?

Telling the reason that He came?

There is a Stranger in the manger, and King

Jesus is His name.

Jesus is His name.

Jesus is His name.

Angels should move on to the stage. 

As the music begins for “Walkin’ Like a Wise Man,” the wise men begin to move from the back. 

At first, they should be looking up into the sky, as thought they are  wandering around. 

Then Speaker 7 should come out carrying a large paper star on a stick. He will walk from the floor onto the stage and stand behind Mary and Joseph with the star held hight.   Then WiseMen see the star, point to it and come to the place where Mary, Joseph and the baby are.   They come on stage and kneel on the floor before the baby.

5.  Walkin’ like a Wise Man

(verse 1) Just another moonlit night like many they had seen

But there was something different about the sky above them.

It had to be the brightest star proclaiming heaven’s King

And if they follow, they would surely find Him

(chorus) Three men out searching in the night,

Who walked by faith and not by sight.

Woh-h-h-h   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

Woh-h-h-h   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

 (verse 2) Just a humble village where nobody would have guessed

The men would bow in honor of the little Baby.

But as they knelt before the child to offer up their best,

They knew they found the reason for their journey. (Return to chorus then “We Three Kings”)

We Three King

We three kings of Orient are.

Bearing gifts, we traverse afar

Field and Fountain, moor and mountain

Following Yonder Star.

Now everyone who follows Him

Is really walking just like them.

Woh   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

Woh   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

 

In the darkness, faith is the key.

When you trust Him, you’ll find you’ll be

Woh   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

Woh   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

Woh   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

Woh   Walkin’ like a Wise Man.

 

Speaker 7 with the star should be on stage standing behind everyone.  Joseph should take the baby and hold him walking around the stage or just standing looking at the baby.  Choir sings, “A Strange Way to Save the World.” All of the speakers should come on stage and bow before the manger during the song.  

6.  A Strange Way to Save the World

(verse 1)  I’m sure he must have been surprised

At where the road had taken him cause never in a million lives

Would he have dreamed of Bethlehem.

And standing at the manger, he saw with his own eyes

The message from the angel come to life.

And Joseph said,

( Chorus) Why me?  I’m just a simple man of trade.

Why Him? With all the rulers in the world?

Why here? Inside this stable filled with hay?

Why her? She’s just an ordinary girl.

Now I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say,

But this is such a strange way to save the world.

(verse 2) To think of how it could have been if Jesus came as He deserved.

There would have been no Bethlehem, no lowly shepherds at His birth.

But Joseph knew the reason love had to reach so far.

And as he held the Savior in his arms

He must have thought,

(repeat Chorus)

Tag:  But this is such a strange way to save the world.

Joseph puts the baby back in the manger.  Speaker 1 goes to Speaker 2 and puts his arm over his shoulder. 

Speaker 1:  You are right this is much better than surfing.

Speaker 2 and everyone else:  Sh-h-h.

Choir sings “When I think of Christmas.”  As each new verse is introduced the person mentioned will leave. 

Verse 1:  Speaker 1 and the other youth (except Speaker 7)  will come and give the baby to Mary. 

Verse 2:  The youth will take away the manger and wave. 

Verse 3:  Joseph will wave and leave.

Verse 4:  Mary will wave and leave.

Verse 5:  Youth holding the star will wave and leave.

Verse 6:  The Angels will wave and leave. (Youth should help them where necessary.)

Verse 7:  The Shepherds will wave and leave. (Youth should help where necessary.)

Verse 8:  The Wise Men will wave and leave.

Verse 9 and 10 the Youth with the star should come back at the star verse.  Last time one of the SpG speakers will pull him off the stage area.

7.  When I Think of Christmas

When I think of Christmas, I think of how God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful,

the manger was empty Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how a new star was shining bright

Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how the angels sang “Glory,” a new star was shining bright.

Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how the shepherds were frightened,

The angels sang “Glory,” a new star was shining bright.

Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how wisemen came searching,

the shepherds were frightened.

The angels sang “Glory,“ a new star was shining bright.

Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how the whole world is different cause

wisemen came searching.  The shepherds were frightened,

The angels sang “Glory,“ a new star was shining bright.

Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty

Till God’s only Son came to earth.

When I think of Christmas, I think of how God’s love is the reason the whole world is            different cause wisemen came searching, the shepherds were frightened,  The angels sang “Glory,” a new star was shining bright.  Mary was smiling, Joseph was thankful, the manger was empty Till God’s only Son came to earth.

Choir Sings:

8.  Finale–Joy to the World

It was, long ago, It was far away but we’re still surprised

When we hear it today

Could the Son of God be asleep on the hay?

Yes, it is He.  Come and Believe!

(chorus) There is a Stranger in the manger, out where the animals are fed.

There is a Baby in the hay, we’ve seen, who’s using that manger for a bed.

Why are there songs of joy praising this little Boy?

Telling the reason that He came?

There is a Stranger in the manger, and King

Jesus is His name.

Joy to the World

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come

Let earth receive her king.

Let every heart prepare Him room

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven and nature sing

And heaven and heaven and nature sing.

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonder, wonders of His love

For our 2012 Special Gathering Christmas music, we are using the score from a children musical,  Stranger in the Manger, by Johnathan Crumpton and Sue Smith, published by Brentwood-Benson Music Productions. Brentwood Choral holds the copyrights.

Even though it is a children’s musical, it will adapt easily to the needs of the adults in your program.  You will need to buy the Demo CD and the Split-track practice CD.  There is also a great orchestration CD and books available.  This music is certainly worth the expense.

Crumpton and Smith’s music and words are wonderful.  The words to the songs are not childish. They tell the message of the miracle of God’s son’s birth in a touching and anointed way.  In fact, everyone has their favorite song. Most of our choir members tear up during one of the song. I’ve had to almost harden my heart to the song, “This is Such a Strange Way to Save The World,” because the words are so powerful that the first 500 times I heard it, I cried.  Even now, writing about and remember the powerful words of the song, I am fighting back tears.

The musical score can easily be adapted to adults who may have a difficult time learning choral parts.  While many of the words may be difficult to say for people who have speech impediments, I’ve found that our members are learning the words because they love the music.  The big band, upbeat sound of the orchestration and musical score make this musical easy for our members to learn because they want to work hard to learn the words and be a part of this choral expression.

Of course, there are many differences between men and women; but one of the biggest differences is the attitude toward tools.  Men love tools and love inventing tools.  There is a tool for every job a man has to do.  Did you know there is a special wrench used exclusively for adjusting spark plugs?  Another one for adjusting the carburetor on your car?  There is even a widget that is only needed to replace the screens of your house.

Women on the other hand love to work with whatever is available.  Give a woman a metal nail file, a butcher knife and a pair of scissors; and she will attempt to conquer the world.

At times those of us in specialized ministries are told how special we are because we do what we do.  Usually, we smile and thank the person.  However, we know that this is actually not the truth.  At The Special Gathering, we work with people who are mentally challenged.  Our members are more like other adults than they are different.  Even though we do have different tools in our tool box from those used in the normal congregational setting.

First, we must insure that our members are safe.  I jokingly say, “I’m the only pastor in South Brevard or Indian River County who carries rubber gloves in my suit pockets.”  But rubber gloves are merely the beginning.  We must check our members when they arrive and when they leave.  We must insure that they are safe about each half hour by doing a visual check on many of our members.

Second, we need some training in how to teach.  Our members learn on a third to fourth grade level but socially they are kind of stuck in junior high.  Nevertheless, they have all the concerns and worries of any other adult.  Combining those skills while understanding that our members must be treated with the dignity of any other adult, does take some fine tuning of your teaching skill set.

Third, we have transporatation issues.  Today, I’m minus a van to pick up my members because the church that lends us their vans needs to use it.  I have to rearrange my transportation schedule.  Our members don’t drive.  If we don’t pick them up, they probably won’t get there, no matter how much they want to attend.  We have learned, that if we pick people up, the attendance rate is 80 to 90 percent.  If we depend on others, that is, support staff to provide the transportation, their attendance drops to 30 to 40 percent.  And the longer support staff is used, the greater the decrease in attendance.

Of course, there are other issues that face us.  On the other hand, there are some pretty important things that we don’t face.  Our members are extremely grateful for anything we do for them.  We often say that we are the only pastors in town who are loved by all of our members.  Part of our tool box doesn’t have to be a way to pacify our parishioners.

If you look at statistics, our congregations are fairly large.  But no matter how successful we become, we don’t have to be concerned about anyone else wanting to take our jobs.  In the years, I held positions in the local church, there was always someone aspiring to take my position or wanting to tell me how to do the job I was doing.  At Special Gathering, we have no sandpaper attachment needed to smooth over the feelings of people who want to take our positions.

Also, our members are pretty stable emotionally.  There are some members who have a dual-diagnosis but they are definitely in the minority.  When I first ventured in to this ministry, I was warned by my pastor to beware of this population because they are draining.  Then I explained that I would be working with people who are mentally challenged and that they are surprisingly emotionally stable. “Oh,” he said with a grin.  “Then you’ll be working with people who are less draining than I do.”

Yep, those of us who are on staff and volunteer at Special Gathering believe that we have the best positions in the Church.  We are working with people who are grateful, helpful and pretty stable.  Weighing the pros and cons, I’ll keep my tool chest.

What are some of the things you do with your members that are different from what you would be doing in a different congregation?

God is Patient

II Peter 3:9

Central Theme:  God is patient with everyone.

Introduction–  Bring branch from the jassmine vine.  Tell about the other one getting killed in the storm.  I was sad because it was beautiful and large and provided shade for the back yard.  Do you think a man of God should be more concerned about a dead plant or a city like Vero Beach (Melbourne), Florida?

I.     Have a member read II Peter 3:9

A. Tell the story of Jonah.

B.  Show a dead plant.

C. Jonah wanted God to kill all the people in the city.  However,  he was so angry when the plant that had grown over night had died that he said he wanted to die.

II.     God is patient with everyone.

A. He does not want anyone to have an unhappy life or die without Him.

1.  Tell about getting angry with some people who were spreading terrible gossip about you.  At times you wanted them to disappear.  I didn’t really want them to die but I wished they would just be gone.

2.  God helped me to love them because he loves them.

B.  This is how God  helps me be patient with people I don’t want to be patient with.

1.  God can help me remember that he loves that person as much as he loves me.

2.  God can help me find good things about that person.

3.  God can help me love that person when they are not with me.

A. Many times when we are not with a person, we think about what the other person did or said and then we get angry.

Conclusion–God is patient and he can help me to be patient also.

Announcement From

The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council

WEBINAR: Understanding Asset Building & Public Benefits for People with Disabilities in Florida

Visit our Website 

This series consists of two 90-minute installments and will give participants a basic understanding of many benefit programs offered by local, state and federal governments, many of which have applications and rules that change often and can be confusing. Sharon Brent, Director of Training & Technical Support at National Disability Institute will conduct the training sessions.

After participating in this series, you will have a better understanding of:

  • Public benefits and differences of programs under Social Security – SSI & SSDI.
  • The value and effect of how earned income (wages) and unearned income affect cash and medical benefits for both programs.
  • Work Incentives and which benefit program they apply to, when to use them & the value they offer when applied.
  • The difference between Medicaid & Medicare rules and the value when individuals earn income.
  • Available information from the SSA website & other important web resources for updates and continuous learning.

Who should participate in this two-part series?

  • SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries who work or want to work
  • Parents & family members of SSI & SSDI beneficiaries who work or want to work
  • Direct service professionals who work with a SSI or SSDI beneficiary who earns or wants to earn income
  • Vocational rehabilitation managers & staff serving people with disabilities who work or want to work
  • School-to-work transition staff
  • Anyone interested in learning more about public benefits and the interaction between benefits, employment and asset building

THIS IS A TWO-PART SERIES. Participants must attend both sessions – access to the September 24th session will be given only to those who attend the September 10th session. REGISTER NOW!

This webinar is presented by:

MEETING INFORMATION

Date: September 10 & 24, 2012

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Time: 1:30 to 3:00 PM Eastern


Captioning will be provided during this webinar. If you use a screen reader and would like a copy of the powerpoint presentation ahead of time, please contact Katie Metz.

Visit our Website


 

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