Doesn’t it just figure—just when you’re getting used to the idea of this relationship, just when you think you’ve got things all figured out—a message from the Lord comes and turns everything upside down. An angel appears to Joseph and brings the same words that we will hear on Christmas in Luke’s gospel: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to do something outrageous in order to bring to fruition something that the law and the prophets have yearned for, do not be afraid to do something that pushes you past any mercy you can imagine—do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife” (Matt. 1:19, paraphrased).

This is a pivotal moment in Joseph’s life; all of what he stands for—his good name, his beliefs, his morals—are being challenged by an angel in a dream, an angel that is urging him to forsake all that he knows and believes in to participate in a story much bigger than him. Joseph upon hearing the devastating news that his fiancé’ is pregnant—feeling betrayed and humiliating—is working on a plan to quietly and without a scene to part ways with Mary, the one who was to be the love of his life—his happily ever after.

Have you ever experienced this in your life—trusting in someone or something, planning your future only to have the rug pulled out from under your feet—devastated, embarrassed, humiliated. I believe that we’re all a little like Joseph. We each have our own ways of dealing with personal, spiritual, and professional matters—our own ways of moving through this hectic season of the year. Perhaps there is a voice we’re already dimly aware of, perhaps it’s a voice we’re not prepared to hear, a voice that is asking us to go somewhere we could never imagine going, a voice calling us to surrender more fully to God in being a part of inviting the coming of Emmanuel—God with us in our own lives and in our world.

Join us this week at Sedona United Methodist Church as Rev. Fred Mast continues an Advent sermon series “Journey to Bethlehem” in a message entitled, “A Strange Way to Change the World” and based on the Gospel story in Matthew 1:18-24. Sunday mornings we enter the spirit of worship at 9:30 a.m. featuring meaningful times of prayer, joyous music, and life messages that will help move you closer in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Our worship is upbeat and lively, and spirit filled! Immediately following worship, you are encouraged and invited to stay and join us in our Fellowship Hall for the friendliest and best fellowship time anywhere featuring delicious snacks and great coffee and always welcoming friendship.

Sedona UMC is currently offering an Advent study based on Adam Hamilton’s “The Journey—Walking the Road to Bethlehem”. Two studies are being offered—Tuesday mornings at 10:30 am at the church (110 Indian Cliffs Rd.), and Tuesday afternoons at 2 PM at the Gathering Place (1835 W. State Rte. 89A) in West Sedona. The entire community is welcome and invited—Please Call the church office for more details (928)282-1780 or just come.

We also offer a number of book and bible studies: Wednesday’s our Men’s Bible Study at 9a.m. and Thursday’s our Women’s Bible Study at 9:45 a.m. So many great missions, ministries and events happening at Sedona UMC—Visit our website at us on and “Like” us on Facebook. We would love to pray for you!—Prayer requests may be submitted online or by calling us at 928-282-1780. We are conveniently located at 110 Indian Cliffs Road off the Back O’Beyond roundabout on Route 179 in Sedona. All are welcome at Sedona UMC—Come and grow with us!