JULY 2018
Open hears. Open minds. Open doors.
The people of The United Methodist Church
Wrestling With God

As we go through life we all face challenges. No one escapes them. We face situations that we are not prepared for and respond in the best or only way we know. This is also true of the people who lived in ancient times, like the ancient Israelites. The family of God has plenty of stories about these life challenges. For example, in Genesis chapters 27 through 33, we see a family face challenges and how the move through them. We see deception, theft, hurt, and broken relationships. Jacob steals his brotherís birthright by deceiving his father, Isaac who was legally blind. In his hurt anger and loss of his inheritance, Esau vows revenge and plans on murdering his brother once Isaac passes away. The mother and source of the idea to steal the Esauís inheritance suggests that Jacob run for his life and not return until things cooled down. Jacob leaves home and travels several hundred miles away to live with his relative Laban.

We pick up the story 20-years later when Jacob is traveling back home his family and brother who is on his way to meet him with an army of men. Jacob now faces the brother who he cheated and the consequences of his actions. Jacob has lived with his dishonesty for 20-years, representing himself as the heir to his fatherís throne and inheritance while he knows in side that he achieved his privilege though cheating.

Itís easy to read this ancient story and think about it as something distant and unrelated to our lives in 2018. The truth is, we all make mistakes and fail one another at times. We all can do things that disappoint someone we love. Jacob knew that whatever happened with his brother, he had to face him. He wrestled with God because he wanted to find peace. He wanted internal resolution to his shame and guilt. He didnít want to be called the deceiver anymore.

He wrestled with God all night long. He didnít turn and run back to his Laban. He didnít escape by taking his own life. He didnít come up with a reason to defend his actions. He came to terms with himself. He looked inside and said, ďI want freedom from this guilt! I cannot go any longer in this way of thinking and living.Ē It may be the hardest thing a man does in his entire life, look inside at the contents of his heart to see his own dishonesty.

We guys get the wrestling part, we can take on the toughest challenge when it comes to the outside world. We face difficult situations that demand physical strength and the endurance to work through the problem. We go the extra mile for those we love without complaining or saying anything about how we feel. Thatís because we are men!

We find a way to cover unexpected bills and emergencies while keeping it together. The pressure takes its toll because feelings are bottled up inside. Expression of feelings acts like a release valve, giving us relief. We are not meant to hold everything inside even though the tough guy model suggests that we do.

Jacob was at the point where he could not hold his feelings in check any longer. They were all coming to the surface after years of bottling them up. God knew this and when the time came for him to face his own guilt, hurt and dishonesty, God was there to meet him. Thatís because the point where God is most likely to get our attention is when we are in a crisis; when we are confronted with the feelings inside. If you are in a fix, God will be there right with you. He showed up that night when Jacob feared for his life and in his appearance, Jacob wrestled with God. Jacob fought for his spiritual life and for peace and freedom from the torment of his deeds.

Now God was here with him in his struggle, in his torment. He did not defeat God, even though it appears in the text that he had won. Thatís because he was not wrestling God, but wrestling with God. The two were working together to conquer his torment. As a result, he had gained the blessing that he so needed. He had spent the night wrestling with God, not as a competitive context of will, but as a bonding in faith. He had gained new standing by facing God with his lies and deception and received the blessing. He received the mantle of inheritance that God gives to all of his children, including men. And in doing so he was given a new name, Israel.

This story is about you and your life and your challenges. It helps us see how looking inside can lead to renewal and transformation, freedom from guilt and fear. When Jacob got up that morning and limped his way to his reunite with his estranged brother he had a clean heart. He had a clear conscience. He was free from his deception, because in that encounter he met God and, in his confession, came to terms with his guilt. His great fear of his brother melted away when he saw Esau came running out to meet him with open arms. They embraced and cried with joy.

It is a powerful story that unfolded over a 20-year period. Itís a story about a young man who wanted his fatherís love and approval and blessing so much that he would steal his brotherís birthright. Itís a story about guilt, shame and hard feelings held for decades. And finally, it is the story about a man who finally found the courage to look inside and face himself with the truth. And when he did, God was there to meet him. The toughest battles we face as men, are those that come from the world inside of us, the world of feelings. Let us have the courage to share risk sharing them. Let us risk the effort to live with a clean heart.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Robin

Bill & Marge G.; Johnnyís cousinís son, Eric; Derek S.ís cousin, Joseph;
Ron & Kathryn C.; Chris L.; the Larry F. family; Irene J.; Bonnie Y.;
Maxine S.; Leslie D.; Diane N.; Bronwyn B.; Jerry O.; Leonard C. formerly
of Chugwater; Tom K., Mike H., Deb H. & Harold D. of Chugwater, and the
Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.

Diane H.'s dad, Howard R.; Jeff A.; Leonard C.; Harold D.; Tim D. family;
Carol N.; Tom K.; the Larry & Barb F. family; Josh F.; Kim McB.; Carol E.;
Lanetta C.; Deb H. family; Bill & Grace S.; our veterans; and the Chugwater
community and school.

Prayer for immigrants/refugees. The government has detained people coming
across the border illegally and have separated parents from their children.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than to see a 5-year-old child standing alone,
without his mother. Many parents do not know where their children have been
placed, and it in unclear how soon they will be reunited. Let us pray for
these vulnerable families in this time of severe hardship. Let us also pray
for the authorities responsible for reuniting these people.

July 4th: Independence Day
July 12th: UMW Picnic @ 12:00 p.m. Lewis Park
July 21st: Monthly breakfasts at 8:00 a.m.
*Men at Tasty Treats
*Women at Western Sky's
July 22nd: Combined Church serive: Slater Hall with picnic to follow.
Directions to this location are as follows:

1. head south on I-25
2. exit at Slater Rd.
3. turn left (east)
4. travel approx. 3.5 miles
5. Slater Hall is directly after crossing RR tracks

Pastorís scheduled weeks off
Seventh Week Dates:
July 30-August 5th
Sept 10-16th
October 29-Nov. 4th
December 26-30th.

By Kathy W., UMW President

Summer is almost here! As usual, the United Methodist Women decided
to suspend business meetings until Fall, but we did get together
on Saturday, June 16, after the WUMC breakfasts to scoop ice cream
into cups for the Ice Cream Social scheduled for Fatherís Day, June
17. Thanks to Carolyn F., Rowann S., Julie M. and Ann C., we finished
in record time. On Sunday, we served a choice of root beer floats or
ice cream sundaes. Thanks to Janet A., Julieís daughter, for donating
the root beer from Ace Hardware. Everyone seemed to enjoy the treats,
especially the fathers who attended as honorees.

Our next summer activity will be a bring-your-own picnic at Lewis Park on
July 12 at noon. Because this will be mainly a social occasion, we
encourage you to bring your mothers, daughters, sisters, and other women
friends for a relaxed lunch in the outdoors.

All ladies of the church are invited to attend any of these events. We
need all the help we can get to carry out the activities UMW does at
WUMC and in our community. If you need a ride to any of these activities,
please call Kathy W. at 322-1623.

We will present a special report at our joint worship at Slater on July 22nd.
Kelvin & Kathy L. along with Pastor R. will present information and inspiration
from the June annual conference event in Ogden, UT. We will share news about
the approved merger between Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Conferences which
created the new, Big Sky Conference. We will also discuss the status of the
ongoing judicial process involving Bishop Karen Oliveto. Make sure and join
us for this important service and event. Please join us for a carry-in lunch
after worship. Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Conferences voted to approve a
merger of the two conferences creating the new Big Sky Conference this June.
The new conference combines all of the churches from Utah, Colorado, Wyoming,
Montana & Idaho.

Pastorís Office Hours
Pastor Robin is now holding office hours at both churches on Friday's.
Take note that on weeks off, no office hours will be held. Hours are a follows:
Wheatland UMC Ė Friday 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Chugwater UMC Ė Friday 3:00-5:00 p.m.

We are always in need of volunteers to supply snacks and cookies and volunteers to serve
as monthly liturgist, ushers, felloswhip coordinators and communion stewards. If you
can please put your name on the sign-up sheet in the Fellowship Hall.

**Please remember to write down any meetings, gatherings, etc. on the calendar in the
Fellowship Hall so nothing is forgotten.

Wheatland and Chugwater will worship together twice more at Slater Hall on the fourth
Sunday of July (22nd), and August (26th). Join us for this combined gathering of the
faithful at 10:00 a.m.

In 2019 Wheatland United Methodist Church will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of
its organization. We invite anyone in the congregation to help us plan for this
momentous occasion. If you have pictures from past years (and can tell us who is in
the pictures), we'd love to have copies.

A special media literacy presentation and discussion will be held at our July joint
service on the 22nd. Join us for a special discussion about the American news media,
including a brief history and evolution of American news. We will discuss a variety
of issues including the idea of ďfake news.Ē Join us for this engaging study of
American news media after the lunch on Sunday, July 22nd at Slater Hall.
Pastor Riley spent two decades training media professionals and broadcast journalists.
His unique experience in working with and teaching in this area offer us a deep look
into our news media.

I have been appointed to remain at Wheatland & Chugwater churches for another year.
The SPR Committee approved the renewal, as did Wyoming Superintendent Jeff Rainwater.
I am glad to continue my work here and am glad to have another year working with you
in these two special churches.

Guest Speaker on Suicide Prevention
We will be having a special message from Rhianna Brand, the Director of Operations
for Grace For 2 Brothers Foundation, an educational organization dedicated to the
advocacy of suicide prevention around the state of Wyoming. The foundation provides
resource information and assistance to those who are in crisis, or who know someone
in crisis. In addition, we provide support and resources to survivors of suicide loss.
Join us on August 26th joint service at Slater Hall at 10 a.m.