Open Hearts – Open Minds – Open Doors

Gratitude and Joy


“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

James 1:2-3


            November is the time every year when I spend a lot of time considering what it means to be truly grateful and content with the blessings that I have. Our culture cultivates in us a sense of discontentment. We are shown images of happy people that have the newest gadget. These people often have a beautiful family, an immaculate home, a fancy car, and the newest phone!

The ads shown on TV are designed to make us desire a lifestyle that doesn’t really exist. But, we want it all the same. Real life will never be picture perfect. Sometimes the outside picture we present on Facebook doesn’t show the cancer diagnosis, problems at work, relationship struggles, addiction, and grief that we might be facing.

True joy comes when we learn to be grateful even in the midst of our messiness and imperfect lives. The theologian Henri Nouwen says, “To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives-the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections-that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment.”

                The key to Nouwen’s statement is that gratitude is hard spiritual work. It rarely happens by accident. The Scripture from James printed above makes this clear when it says, “Consider it pure joy.” It doesn’t say that you will feel joyful when you face trials, but instead that you must make a conscious choice to consider the tough times as a joy.

              This November, as you are taking time to thank God for all that you have, remember to also thank Him for your difficulties and ask Him to use those difficulties to help draw you closer to Him. God can redeem our suffering, our trials, and our grief if we allow Him to work in us.

                                In Christ’s Service




Oakdale Youth

                                Kaitlynn Shannon

The Youth Program at Oakdale UMC made its revival in August. Since then the program has started meeting three times a week. On Wednesday’s after school the youth program meets with the Acorn kids. During this time the youth have snacks, participate in musical activities led by Holly Koch, and then break for a lesson. On Sunday mornings, the youth go between participating in worship and participating in Sunday school. Sunday evenings consist of Methodist Youth Fellowship. That is a time to spend in community. We have dinner provided and then we do a lesson.  The Youth have taken an interest in service projects and have made hurricane Harvey health kits and written letters to the residents at the Stephenville Nursing Home.

The Youth Program is thriving.  The focus is to grow in our faith as disciples as we love God, Serve Others, and Live Righteously. The Youth program is always looking for volunteers, ideas, and donations. Like our Facebook page Oakdale UMC Youth to keep up with the youth group with pictures, announcements, and activities!


Latvia Mission Trip

 The July 26 – Aug. 7, 2018, West District trip promises to be transformational.

We have 2 members who are planning to make this trip.  Holly Koch and Jim Goodpasture will be our representatives.  Some of you may have already purchased some of Holly’s delicious pumpkin bread that she is making and selling to help raise funds. 

There will be additional fund raising opportunities in the future to help with their expenses.

Christmas Cookies for the Troops

 Once again, the Central Texas Conference is sponsoring a mission project for the churches of the CTC to bake cookies to be delivered to the troops for Christmas.

Last year 8,575 dozen cookies were delivered! The Conference goal is to double that this year.

Oakdale’s goal is to prepare and pack 50 dozen cookies.

If you would like to help, package 1 dozen cookies per Ziploc bag and bring to the church where they will be packed 2 dozen per box by the Oak Dale Youth on the evening of December 17th.  The boxes will be delievered to the assigned coordinator to be delivered to their assigned Air Force Base.

 ANGEL TREE Angels are available in the foyer of the church.  They are due back Sunday, December 17.


WEBSITE -  oakdaleum.org

FACEBOOK – Oakdale United Methodist Church


We still need funds to replace the carpeting in the parsonage. The carpeting there is many years old and worn.  If you could help with this project, please mark your checks or envelopes “flooring

IN THE MEANTIME- a small, but merry band of volunteers were able to feed nearly 200 hungry college students at the Wesley Foundation in early November.  Thank you to those who helped with desserts and manual labor.  If you ever get a chance to help with this, you will be moved by the gratitude and friendliness of the young people you will serve.  We’ll let you know the next opportunity.



  December 2019  
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