img_09191492Can you think back and remember a day you waited for a long time with great anticipation and excitement? Most of us can. As a child, Christmas and birthdays were such days. Later it may have been graduation day, your wedding day, or maybe the day you would finally retire. Depending on the nature of the day and what it might hold, such a time might also bring about a certain amount of anxiety because of the challenge you might face. For years, months, weeks, and days you waited, and then finally, the day arrived. Can you imagine the anticipation and excitement the children of Israel faced as they stood before the River Jordan the evening before they were to cross over into the Promised Land? The earlier generation had failed to enter because of unbelief and the new generation had waited a long time, for some it was close to forty years. Joshua and Caleb, who were now in their eighties had waited even longer. According to the promise to the Patriarchs, Jewish anticipation went back about five hundred years. But now, Joshua tells the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5).

All four gospels recall the story of Jesus coming to that same Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. The synoptics record that when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:13-17). What is the symbolism of Jesus being baptized at this spot? This is the same place, not far from Jericho, where the Israelites crossed the Jordan when they entered the land of Canaan. The fact that Jesus also began his ministry there, by “crossing the Jordan,” portrays him as a “new Joshua”, in fact the two names in Hebrew, Yeshua and Yehoshua, are almost the same.

Just as there is excitement and anticipation, there must also have been some anxiety as they beheld the swollen river and thought about the fortified cities that lay on the other side, or as Jesus prepared to emerge from the waters and enter the wilderness to be tempted by Satan in preparation for the start of his ministry. Life is like that. Often, with our hopes at their highest, there are accompanying challenges and problems that we face at the very same time. There are times when we are tempted to just stay in the safety and security of the “wilderness” or remain in obscurity, not risking stepping out and fulfilling God’s call upon our lives. Join us this week at Sedona UMC as Pastor Fred Mast brings a message entitled “A Time to Cross the Jordan”—challenging us to explore and answer God’s call upon each of us and to be all that God is calling us to be! Sunday mornings we enter the spirit of worship at 9:30 am featuring meaningful times of prayer, joyous music, and life messages that will help move you closer in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

TONIGHT!!! Friday night (January 13th) beginning at 6pm, join us for our monthly Family Movie Night featuring the movie “The Letter Writer”. This is a tremendous movie with a touching and great message of one man’s ministry of writing letters of encouragement to complete strangers. After receiving one of his letters, a young teenager is moved to embark on a journey to meet this kind soul and in the process change her life. We will be serving Mini-Meatloaf’s, mashed taters, and salad as well as all of our normal movie night favorites and plenty of great desserts so come hungry. This event is FREE of charge and you are encouraged to invite, pick-up, and bring your friends and families.

Saturday morning (January 14th) all men invited to join us for a delicious SUMC Men’s Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. at The Golden Goose Restaurant in West Sedona. Our featured guest speaker will be Reg Urena who will be presenting: “The Korea’s-Best Case Scenario for the Future”. All the men of our Verde Valley Communities are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Immediately following worship we will gather together in our Fellowship Hall for our weekly fellowship and greeting time which will feature lots of great snacks and the best coffee this side of the Jordan River! All are invited to come and make a new friendship with the “friendliest congregation” anywhere.

So many great ministries and events happening at Sedona UMC—Like us on Facebook and visit our website at  In need of prayer? 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.