Please read and distribute this pastoral letter as needed!
In it you will find updates on conversations regarding human sexuality and the future of our church, Youth Ministry Updates, Children’s Ministry Updates, Upcoming Worship Schedules, and News on Rev. Phil’s Ordination.
May you be blessed and called to pray for our church! Pray daily! Pray at mealtime! Join us Monday Evenings at 6:30 for prayer! Share this page as you feel led to let others know that God is going to do something new in us and through us!
Here is the video of April 3rd’s Sermon on Confirmation Sunday! We hope you are blessed by God in its message about faithfulness and relationships founded on the example of Jesus Christ!
Below is a text draft of the sermon:
What is confirmation all about?
we all confirm our vows… for some of us we confirm them today for the first time publicly
There once was a country church with a new pastor
The congregation welcomed her and said “Welcome, but you need to know something right away. You see, we have unwelcome visitors in our sanctuary every Sunday.
They hang from the rafters and we’ve tried everything to get rid of them to no avail.
The new pastor took their statement under advisement…
The next Sunday the congregation came in and, slack jawed, stared at the empty rafters where once hung the bats that they could never get rid of…
“Pastor, how did you get rid of the bats?”
The new pastor said, “I came in yesterday and I baptized and confirmed them… so I don’t think we’ll ever be seeing them again!”
we have a misunderstanding sometimes about confirmation
but as I see those who’ve confirmed their vows
those who’ve said yes to membership this morning
because although you’ve said it with your voice
you’ve already said it with your heart and your actions long before this day
you’ve all already figured out that this thing we do called faith is about relationships
So I went to Megan, my wife, yesterday
and I said
“I have our relationship all figured out
I’ve studied it
I’ve learned about who you are
I really love what you have to offer me
and so I’m ready to go out on my own
knowing that you love me
and live life on my own
oh, don’t worry I’ll call on you when I need something
and I know you’ll be there for me when I need you
I think I’ve got this…
thanks for getting me going in the right direction
I’ll take it from here!”
Do you hear how silly that sounds?
So why would we do this with our relationship with God?
Grandpa said to his grandson…
two wolves live inside you…
one who seeks to satisfy its own stomach and go out in this world on it own
one who seeks to give more than it receives and to live within the pack
Grandfather, which one wins?
The one you feed, Grandson.
The one you feed…
relationships are what make religion real
that’s why I’m becoming more and more convinced that
we shouldn’t be calling it “faith”
Faith says “I Believe”
Faithfulness says “I Love”
and if we had a bunch more of us convinced about who they ought to love
rather than a bunch of people convinced about what they believe
I bet we’d be closer to what Jesus asked his disciples to do long ago…
It’s about relationships
If I could give you any teaching this morning
it would be that
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means relationships
and because of that
relationships never reach completion
and so discipleship
it’s a process
it’s not a sprint
it’s not even a marathon
it just keeps going and going
not even death ends the process
relationships never reach completion
we continue to learn
we continue to change
we continue to develop
there’s a lot of waiiiiit for it…. waiiiit for it…
and that’s fine
it should be fine
there’s no rush
if God prepared this world over the course of billions of years
then God’s certainly in no rush
If God was in a rush God wouldn’t have commanded us to take a full day off every single week
So let’s do this…
focus on relationships
invest in faithfulness… staying together, living together, loving together even when the going gets rough
and in doing this
live out what it really means to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
We pray that the Easter Sermon births within you a deepened sense of God’s blessings as you resign for re-employment!
Here’s the Transcript of the sermon as well:
Did you know that
“There is an unwritten tradition in Washington that cabinet secretaries all submit pro forma letters of resignation at the end of a first term for a re-elected president”
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching over the past few months
and I’ve not even told Megan about this until now
and I wanted to wait until we had as many people here as possible
to announce that I too have a letter of resignation to offer this morning
and I hope by the end of this message to receive your letters of resignation as well
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this
about “calling it quits”
you know… I’m not alone
the disciples called it quits too
Peter was ready to go back to fishing
after Jesus dies
even after he rose from the dead
they effectively resigned
Jesus said you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins
and I’m feeling like an old wineskin recently
so like the disciples long ago
I have this temptation to resign
So why shouldn’t I?
Why shouldn’t you?
Why shouldn’t we all?
50 years is a pretty good run as a church
I think we should think about “resigning”
some of us have already
some of us may feel like we fit into the category that Wesley calls the “almost Christian”
and yet we think we can be followers of Christ on our own
when the hallmark of being a Methodist is knowing that it’s our deep connection to the community of faith that produces the fruit worthy of the name of Christ
but it’s not your fault
it’s the church’s fault
we’ve not given a good enough reason to stay connected
it’s not about programs
it’s not about worship styles
it’s not about charismatic pastors or leaders
it ought to be about being real
but I wonder if it’s too late
Like I said, 50 years is a pretty good run
3 years as a pastor at a particular church has long been the average in UMCs
I get it… some of us don’t have the energy to commit as much as we used to
some of us are burnt out in our jobs or at home
some of us are burnt from church experiences and can only muster coming here once or twice a year
I get it…
so should we resign?
throw in the towel?
You know even Jesus threw in the towel
you might say no…
but he did
I can prove it…
we read it…
he emptied himself Phil. 2
he threw in the heavenly towel
for a human towel
a basin and towel
that’s the kind of resignation I’m talking about
There is something called the new birth
Jesus talks with Nicodemus about this
We are born first of flesh and blood
and then there’s the new birth in the Spirit of God
and in order for us to receive that new birth
we have to resign from our previous birth
our previous DNA if you will
and take on the DNA of heaven
Now some may say
this happens once when we’re confirmed or when we are baptized
but I would tend to agree with Wesley that our understanding of the New Birth
may come to us in multiple experiences in our lives
Hence the reason I’m talking about resigning this morning
I don’t know about you, but I need a refresher in the reality of the resurrection
I need to feel afresh the new birth that Christ offers through the power of his resurrection
In other words
I need a surge of hope from God
I need to feel the power of the Holy Spirit again anew in my life
I need to lead you all more like a shepherd and less like a professor
and so that’s why I’m resigning
from my former ways
and believing with all my heart
that God is going to do something new with me
That’s what the resurrection is all about!
It’s about each one of us coming to the reality
that Jesus is more of a midwife than a monarch
in his living out the role of the messiah
Jesus comes to each one of us like a messianic midwife
gently yet firmly guiding us through the process of the new birth
Jesus resigned from heaven to become children of flesh and blood
so that he could accept our resignations of flesh and blood to become children of heaven
So here’s my letter of resignation
That’s also my hope for employment
and I hope it can be yours as well.
The Wesley Covenant prayer
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside by thee.
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
So I say to you this morning
Let’s give up
so that God can re-employ us again
there’s no better time than now
to experience the new birth that Christ offers
and we’re not talking about eternity with God
even though that’s a real part of the story
If there’s anything that our scriptures
If there’s anything that our hymns this morning
If there’s anything that the resurrection gives us… it’s this…
Life begins now
it’s time to be alive now
stop trying to do things on your own power
stop thinking that doing things the same way will lead to different results
It’s time to resign
and to accept that God has new jobs waiting for us today
we start today in heaven’s employ
Will you allow Christ’s resurrection to be your resurrection as well?
Start new today
Start fresh today
Make a renewed commitment today
Let’s together as a church make a new commitment today
Jesus says you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins
New wine must be poured into new wineskins
and become new today
let’s renew our commitments
let’s let God reorganize our priorities
let’s let God renew our focus, our energy, our mission, our reason for waking up each day
Christ is alive
And Jesus Christ is looking to be alive in you today as well!
Often there are requests from church members to listen again to the message from our worship services. Below are some of the more recent sermons offered. We pray that their words deepen your relationship with God and with others.