A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, August 30, 2009

First UMC to Welcome a USC Fan this Sunday (Sept. 6)

This Sunday, September 6, my brother, Dave McDowell who is a USC grad will be providing the 9:45 & 11:00 special music at First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, Ohio.

Did I mention that he is a USC grad? Wow, when he's in church, it will be just six days prior to the big OSU/USC game that has national championship implications.

I don't know if I should bring this up, especially before the big game, but one day, I heard him say a disparaging remark about Jim Tressel's sweater vest. OK, forget that last comment.

Did I mention that he is a USC grad?

Seriously though, please offer a warm Buckeye welcome to my big brother, an ordained Deacon and Music Director of our home church, Stewartstown UMC, Stewartstown, PA. He is a talented musician who will offer his gift of music with us and he will enjoy meeting all of you. It will also be great for our family to spend time with him and our mother who will be traveling with him this weekend.

Did I mention that he is a USC grad?

Learning Something New Every Day!

During my recent sermon planning retreat in Adam's county, a friend of mine and I spent an afternoon sight seeing Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church, located in Blue Creek, Ohio.

Moore's Chapel is named after Rev. Joseph Moore who organized the congregation as early as 1796. The historical distinction is that this church is on the site of the first Methodist Episcopal Church building in Ohio and the Northwest Territory dating back to 1800.

With so many United Methodist church buildings scattered throughout Ohio today, it was humbling to think that this was the location of where the very first one was built! The original building was a log cabin. An estimated guess is that there are probably about 1,500 to 1,800 UM churches in Ohio today.
We toured the two room church which continues to be a place of worship and fellowship for the Moore's Chapel congregation.
Before the sermon planning retreat, I never heard of Moore's Chapel UMC and it's historical distinction and I've been a pastor in the West Ohio Conference for the past twenty-four years! There's something new to learn every single day.

Sunday Worship Preview - September 6

Sunday, September 6 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional & 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "Rethink Church"

Features - 14th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Communion

Scripture - James 2:1-10 & Mark 7:24-37

Theme - Today’s Gospel reading is a difficult scripture for us because it offers us a side of Jesus that we don’t often see. In Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, he uses a negative term that was common in the 1st century. But thanks to this woman’s faith and determination, he rethinks his mission and ends up healing her daughter. What does it mean for us to rethink what it means to be the church? Who is God calling us to reach with God’s healing and unconditional love?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sermon Planning in Southern Ohio

I just got back from my annual three day sermon planning retreat to help me plan out sermons and worship themes for the upcoming year. A friend of mine who is also a United Methodist pastor joins me on this retreat and we help each other discern God's voice on what sermon topics would be most helpful to our respective congregations.

Here are some of the highlights from the retreat.
  • While I wasn't able to incorporate everyone's ideas on which sermon topics to cover in 2010, I feel really good about the topics that have been chosen and how these topics will help our church to be faithful in our mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world. A big thanks to everyone who offered me sermon topic ideas!
  • Since I'm still in the process of finalizing the sermon schedule, I won't include specifics, but there will be sermon series that will help our church to 1) attract seekers to our worship services 2) help us dig deeper into the bible 3) equip us to be involved in ministry and service 4) challenge us to new ministry initiatives 5) help us to take better care of ourselves; physically, mentally, and spiritually, and 6) enable us to celebrate the church seasons in new and fresh ways.
  • My friend and I stayed at a beautiful home on the shores of Lake Wynoka in southern Ohio. (See picture above.) In addition to taking in the beautiful wooded area nearby, we also enjoyed a boat ride that took us around the lake.
  • As always, our retreat included morning and evening devotions from the United Methodist Hymnal and we concluded our retreat by celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion outdoors.
  • During our free time, we drove about 45 minutes to see the location of the oldest Methodist Episcopal Church in the Northwest Ohio Territory, Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church. We were able to take a tour of the small church building (not the original building.) We both were reminded that we are part of a rich history of those early Methodists traveling far and wide in order to "spread scriptural holiness throughout the land."
  • 2010 is going to be a great year for us (including these two pastors!) to become more fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ through inspiring sermons and passionate worship.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 16 Sermon - "The United Methodist Way - The Via Media"

Video Forum on the Present Health Care Reform Debate

Kudos to Church of the Resurrection (United Methodist Church) in Leawood, KS for hosting a recent panel discussion forum at their church on the present health care reform debate.

This forum is a refreshing example on how to have a civil conversation on a very controversial topic that is dividing our country.

Here are the panel discussion participants:

Sam Turner, CEO, Shawnee Mission Medical Center
Myra Christopher, President and CEO, The Center for Practical BioEthics
Keith Wisdom, CFO, United Health Care Midwest
Rick Kahle, President, Employee Benefits, Lockton Insurance
Hilda Fuentes, CEO, Samuel Rodgers Health Center
Dr. Ritch Richardson, Emergency Room Physician, Johnson CountyEMS Director
Brenda Sharpe, CEO, REACH Health Foundation

Click on the link below to watch the forum:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great Advice!

A friend of mine sent this piece of advice to me that was part of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit a couple of weeks ago. These were the closing thoughts from Bill Hybels.

1. Meet with God every day.
2. Read something good 30 minutes a day.
3. Review your replenishment strategy.
4. Decide to say “yes” to God every time the Spirit prompts you to do something.
I guess before I work on #3, I need to have a replenishment strategy! I think I do to some degree, but it's not written down and as intentional as it should be. Also, I'm always saying that I'll read something good each day, but since the transition this summer, I haven't made this a habit again.
Of the four things, I'm probably most disciplined in #1 and there is always room for growth with point #4.

By the way, isn't it cool that my friend took the time to send me and several other people the highlights of this conference to help us in our ministry? I appreciate the collegiality and support through other pastors in our United Methodist connection. We're all on the same team and we need each other.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Health Care Specifics - United Methodist Church

Here is some more specific information related to the current health care debate and the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Board of Church & Society in alignment with the denominational position on health care is recommending the following four components (The John 10:10 Challenge) to be included in any new health care reform:

INCLUSIVE - Health care is a right and a shared responsibility that is grounded in our common humanity.

AVAILABLE - Health care must contribute to the common good by being available to everyone, especially those who cannot afford it.

ACCESSIBLE - All persons should have access to health services that provide necessary care and contribute to wellness.

ACCOUNTABLE - Our health care system must be accountable, offering a quality, equitable and sustainable means of keeping us healthy as individuals and as a community.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Daily Scripture Reading/Prayer Resource

Several people asked me about "The Daily Office" method of reading scripture following the sermon in church today. I use this method each day by going to this website. This website is also listed on my web blog's side bar for future reference.

The advantage of this website is that in addition to the daily scripture readings, it also provides a mini-personal worship service with various prayers.

While there are many methods for daily scripture/prayer, here are some reasons why I choose to use "The Daily Office" approach:
  • Over a two year period, this method helps me to read most of the bible (if I keep up with the readings!)
  • It offers a balanced approach by including an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, an Epistle reading, and a Gospel reading on a daily basis.
  • This method is based on the liturgical year which means that the scripture passages are always appropriate for the church season such as Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, etc.)
  • Since Christians all around the world are using this method, there is a sense of Christian unity in knowing that I am not the only person reading these particular scripture passages each day.

A few other helpful pieces of information in using "The Daily Office:"

  • The Psalm is always a response to the theme of the Old Testament reading. The Psalm for every Wednesday is always a passage from Psalm 119 which is a very long Psalm that highlights the importance of God's Word.
  • Often times, the four scripture passages for a given day will be linked by a common theme depending on the church season. For example, Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter typically have common themes since there is a liturgical focus. Keep in mind that there are also many other days when the readings are not meant to be linked by a theme such as the Season After Pentecost which is the season the church is presently celebrating. During this season, there is usually a continuous reading through a particular book of the bible. Obviously, when there is a common theme, the readings will jump around a bit. The important thing to remember is that you are always getting a balanced approached to scripture from both the Old and New Testaments.
  • The particular "The Daily Office" readings I use come from the Episcopal Church which is closely associated with the Anglican Church's selected readings with some variations.
  • Don't confuse "The Daily Office" with the Sunday lectionary. They complement each other since they are both rooted in the seasons of the liturgical calendar. The Sunday lectionary is a three year cycle and "The Daily Office" is a two year cycle.
  • A cycle of readings for private and public use goes back to the first centuries of the early church. By participating in this method of reading scripture, you are joining in an ancient Christian practice that has proven its worth over several centuries.

Sunday Worship Preview - August 30

Sunday, August 30 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional & 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "Like a Little Child"

Features - 13th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Baptism

Scripture - Mark 10:13-16

Theme - Our guest preacher, Dr. Chap Clark is founder of ParenTeen & Hurt Seminars, Vice Dean of Regional Campuses and School of Theology Master's Programs and professor of youth, family, and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Senior Editor of Youthworker Journal. Dr. Clark is also leading two workshops at our church this weekend.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Official United Methodist Statement on Health Care

To encourage civil, reasonable, and prayerful dialogue, I invite all of us to read and reflect on the following official United Methodist stament on the issue of health care based on the 2008 "Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church."

¶ 162 V) Right to Health Care—Health is a condition of physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. John 10:10b says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Stewardship of health is the responsibility of each person to whom health has been entrusted.

Creating the personal, environmental, and social conditions in which health can thrive is a joint responsibility—public and private. We encourage individuals to pursue a healthy lifestyle and affirm the importance of preventive health care, health education, environmental and occupational safety, good nutrition, and secure housing in achieving health. Health care is a basic human right.

Providing the care needed to maintain health, prevent disease, and restore health after injury or illness is a responsibility each person owes others and government owes to all, a responsibility government ignores at its peril. In Ezekiel 34:4a, God points out the failures of the leadership of Israel to care for the weak: “You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured.” As a result all suffer.

Like police and fire protection, health care is best funded through the government’s ability to tax each person equitably and directly fund the provider entities. Countries facing a public health crisis such as HIV/AIDS must have access to generic medicines and to patented medicines.

We affirm the right of men and women to have access to comprehensive reproductive health/family planning information and services that will serve as a means to prevent unplanned pregnancies, reduce abortions, and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The right to health care includes care for persons with brain diseases, neurological conditions, or physical disabilities, who must be afforded the same access to health care as all other persons in our communities. It is unjust to construct or perpetuate barriers to physical or mental wholeness or full participation in community.

We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care.

Blaise Pascal: 1623 - 1662

One of my favorite conversion quotes (see below) is by Blaise Pascal who is remembered on the calendar of saints today.

In addition to his famous quote below, an accomplished French physicist, he is known as the inventor of the mechanical calculator and what would later become, our modern day syringe and hydraulic press.

"In the year of grace, 1654,On Monday, 23rd of November, Feast of St Clement, Pope and Martyr,and others in the Martyrology,Vigil of St Chrysogonus, Martyr, and others,From about half past ten in the evening until about half pasttwelve,


God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, (Ex 3:6; Mt 22:32)not of the philosophers and scholars.Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.God of Jesus Christ."Thy God and my God." (Jn 20:17) Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God. He is to be found only in the ways taught in the Gospel. Greatness of the Human Soul. "Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee,but I have known Thee." (Jn 17:25)

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy. I have separated myself from Him. "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters." (Jn 2:13)" My God, wilt Thou leave me?" (Mt 27:46) Let me not be separated from Him eternally." This is eternal life,that they might know Thee, the only true God,and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (Jn 17:3) Jesus Christ.


I have separated myself from Him: I have fled from Him,denied Him, crucified Him. Let me never be separated from Him. We keep hold of Him only by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Renunciation, total and sweet. Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director. Eternally in joy for a day's training on earth."I will not forget thy words." (Ps 119:16) Amen."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Worship in Guatemala '09

Some of our mission team members attended a non-denominational worship and a Catholic mass in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala (July 14-21.) I attended the non-denominational church and there were probably 150 to 200 people in attendance.

The pastor's sermon was on seven points about our salvation in Jesus Christ. Several of their hymns were familiar to us, although the singing was in Spanish. Val, our mission trip coordinator, translated the spoken parts of the service for us.

We were greeted warmly by the congregation, the worship leaders, and by the pastor. I was invited by the pastor to bring greetings to the congregation on behalf of our mission team with Val translating for me. Here's basically what I shared:
  • That we were a United Methodist mission team from the US here to help put in a water pipe line for the community of Pachatulul.
  • I thanked the community of San Lucas Toliman and their congregation for welcoming us to their country and community.
  • I shared that the mission of our church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and we were trying to live out our mission by helping with this project.
  • I thanked the pastor for his message and for how they are sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in their community.

Before we left on the last day, the pastor and his wife came to our hotel and offered a prayer of blessing upon our team. That was pretty special. A picture of the pastor preaching during worship is included with this post.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday, Mom!

Excerpt from my August 16 sermon, "The United Methodist Way - The Via Media" at First United Methodist Church, Lancaster, Ohio:

Let me close by sharing why I’m a United Methodist.

In 1950, my parents came back to their new home in Pennsylvania from their honeymoon trip to Florida. And when they got back, my mom asked my dad, “Which church are we going to attend this Sunday?”

My mom, assumed that my dad would say the answer she wanted to hear which was her church, the Presbyterian Church. But my dad didn’t hesitate. He immediately said, “Well of course, we’ll be going to my church, the Methodist church.”

Now, I don’t think that story will ever make it in the book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It doesn’t really tug at your heart, does it? On one level, it’s true, though. The reason I’m United Methodist is because my dad decided before I was even born that he and my mom would start attending his church. And by the way, for the record, I love Presbyterians. Some of my best friends are Presbyterian!

So let me give you the more important reason why I’m a United Methodist. And this is just a recent example among many others I could give.

About this time last year, a friend of mine who’s a pastor, invited my church and several of the surrounding United Methodist churches to participate in a research program that was being conducted by United Methodist Communications, the media arm of our denomination.

They wanted to know what impact the media phrase, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” was having on various churches around the country. So I said, “Sure, what will this research program involve?” And by the way, if you think about it, that advertising phrase is really just accentuating our Via Media approach to faith, where we’re willing to listen to all sides and perspectives. “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.”

Well, this thing ended up being a very tedious project, because as the local coordinator for this, I had to track down the Sunday School and worship attendance figures for fifteen surrounding United Methodist Churches, including my own, over a two month period. I also needed to make sure that each church was putting the “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” slogan on their front church signs. That was also part of the survey project.

I remember during the first week or two, wishing that I had never said yes to this project. Do you know what’s it’s like to try to track down fifteen churches with information over several weeks?

And on top of that, I was skeptical that an advertising slogan would have that much of an impact in increasing our Sunday School and worship attendance figures.

But anyway, I went about tracking down this information week after week, grumbling every step of the way, thinking to myself, “Why am I even doing this? This is such a waste of my time.”

During the middle of this project, I have a staff meeting at church and I asked the other pastor about a funeral he recently conducted. The local funeral home had a family who didn’t have any church affiliation and the family had requested one of our pastors to officiate for their loved one who had passed away.

So I asked him why this family was very specific in wanting a pastor from our church to conduct the funeral. Any my associate pastor said, “They chose our church because of the message you put on our church sign recently that says, ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.’ When they saw our sign message when they were driving by our church, they told the funeral director that this was the kind of church they were looking for. A church that welcomes all people.”

Thank God it’s more than just a slogan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Putting Three Points on the Scoreboard

This past Saturday, I officiated at a wedding at Ohio Stadium, home of the Buckeyes. The picture above is immediately after the wedding when we were able to walk around the field. Hopefully, I'll receive a picture that someone took of me and "Buckeye Guy," the fan we see when we watch OSU on TV.

For the wedding sermon, I told the couple that I would attempt a field goal and put three points on the scoreboard to help them get off to a good start in their new relationship together as husband and wife.

Briefly, these were my three points:

1) Rely on your teammates. This was from the Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 passage that talks about "two being better than one." This passage also talks about how we need others to pick us up sometimes. I told the couple that God is the one who picks us up but that God wants us to help each other as well. I pointed to the 80 or so people in the crowd and said, "these are your teammates too. Rely on them. They want to help you."

2) Wear your uniform. Their 2nd scripture passage was Colossians 3:12-17 in which Paul tells us to put on love. In addition to wearing scarlet and gray jerseys (or in my case blue and white jerseys without the name on the back!) we also need to wear love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, etc. so that we can live out our faith on a day to day basis.

3) Give your best all four quarters. In the 3rd scripture, I Corinthians 13, Paul's famous "love chapter," in verse 8, he writes three words that are important to always keep in mind. "Love never ends." The reason that love never ends is because of the biblical promise that a time will come when God will make all things new and when sin and death will finally be defeated. With this hope undergirding our lives everyday, we are able to give our very best to God and each other for all four quarters of our lives.

Thanks to the good news of our faith, the wedding couple was already up 3 to 0 by the end of the sermon!

Congratulations, Nate & Krystal!

Monday, August 17, 2009

God's Faithfulness Throughout Our Lives

This morning, I've been reflecting on how God is faithful throughout our lives.

This past Saturday, I officiated at a wedding for a young couple eager to start their lives together. This Saturday, I will be celebrating at the wedding of a couple who are older and who are looking forward to this new chapter in their lives as they become husband and wife.

Yesterday during worship, it was an honor to baptize three children into the faith and to hear the congregation express their commitment to nurture and care for these families through the life of the church.

And this morning, I will be leading a funeral service for a member of the church who I was able to get to know through my early visits at the hospital here in these first weeks at my new church. This man has left a legacy of always being there for his family whenever they had a need and they are grateful for their dad's love.

Throughout our lives, God is faithful and I am thankful that the church can be there for us during these holy moments.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Worship Preview - August 23

Sunday, August 23 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional & 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "The United Methodist Way – A Methodical Growth Plan”

Features - 12th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Baptism

Scriptures - Galatians 5:16-25 & Matthew 5:38-48

Theme - We conclude a three part sermon series on the theme, “The United Methodist Way.” What are the distinctive characteristics of our Wesleyan heritage and how can they help us be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? On this Sunday, we ask the questions, “Why are we so methodical in our approach to faith” and “What difference can this approach make in our lives and in our church?”

Saturday, August 15, 2009

God's Grace is a Guiding Grace - August 9 Sermon Reflections

This past week, in response to my sermon on "Grace Upon Grace," someone in my congregation included God's guidance in his definition of God's grace. I think this is an extremely helpful way to think of God's grace.

Too often, we only connect God's grace with a moment in time when we were born again or when we experienced salvation. When we think of grace as a guiding grace, it helps us to see that grace is active with us every day of our lives.
The United Methodist understanding of grace includes this aspect of grace since we believe that conversion isn't simply a momentary time in our lives when we are saved, but is a life long process in which we allow God's transforming love to lead us on to holiness and perfection.

It's so encouraging to know that people are reflecting on the sermons and the worship themes and that together, we can come to a better understanding of what it means to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"We're Lousy" - Joe Paterno

We're off to a typical pre-season start to the Penn State football season. You gotta love Joepa!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Any Sermon Ideas?

In a couple of weeks, I will be attending a sermon planning retreat and putting together a preaching schedule for next year. Here are my specific goals for this year's retreat:
  • Spend this personal retreat time reconnecting with God through prayer, scripture, quiet reflection, Holy Communion, long walks, running, and worship.
  • Pray for my new congregation, First UMC, Lancaster, Ohio, that the sermon themes in 2010 will help us to grow in what it means to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and world.
  • Enjoy God's creation.

Specifically related to the 2010 preaching schedule, there are three vital areas I will keep in mind in my planning.

  1. Be faithful to the church's annual liturgical calendar which helps us to stay in rhythm with the church seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, etc.
  2. Reflect on the past, present, and future needs of the congregation.
  3. In addition to sermons which will be based on the pre-selected scripture readings from the lectionary, I want to design several sermon series around various themes. I have discovered that sermon series can be effective since a congregation can spend an extended period of time on a topic, rather than just one Sunday.

Regarding the planning of themes around sermon series, I want to make sure that I have at least one sermon series per the following four categories - 1) evangelism 2) discipleship 3) pastoral care needs 4) equipping for ministry/service

If you have a particular topic that you would like me to consider addressing through a sermon series in 2010, let me know by Wednesday, August 26. I might not be able to incorporate your idea because of a limited number of Sundays, but the more ideas I receive, the better the brainstorming will be! Some of the sermon series ideas that I thought would make the cut for 2009 didn't make it because of the specific needs of the congregation.

The picture with this post was taken at last year's sermon planning retreat. I was at a scenic park in the beautiful mountains of central Pennsylvania and took this picture at just the right time when the sun was setting.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Worship Preview - August 16

Sunday, August 16 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional & 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "The United Methodist Way – The Via Media”

Features - 11th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Baptism (9:45 & 11:00)

Scriptures - Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & Mark 12:28-34

Theme - We are in the middle of a three part sermon series on the theme, “The United Methodist Way.” What are the distinctive characteristics of our Wesleyan heritage and how can they help us be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? On this Sunday, we focus on United Methodist’s approach to faith which is known as “the via media.”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Week in New Church Reflections

Well, I've been at my new church, Lancaster: First UMC in Lancaster, Ohio for a full week now. Here are some of my thoughts in this time of transition and new beginnings:
  • The people are very welcoming and helpful to the new kid on the block. Our family has been received with open arms from day one.
  • I love the intimate feel of the sanctuary with sections of pews in somewhat of a semi-circle with a balcony. It's a great environment for preaching and leading in worship since everyone is close to the front of the sanctuary due to the architecture.
  • The music is high quality and a lot of intentionality goes into the planning of services by a worship team on a weekly basis.
  • This is a multi-faceted congregation with all kinds of outreach and ministry not to mention two properties in addition to the downtown church to provide space for ministry. One of those facilities, Crossroads, was built in 2005 and provides space for a Wednesday worship, ministries, concerts, and a space for community groups to meet and hold events.
  • I'm looking forward to a special lunch toward the end of the month in which the United Methodist pastors of the city will meet and see how we can more effectively make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by working together in partnership.
  • I'm excited about a new three part sermon series which begins tomorrow on the theme, "The United Methodist Way."

We're off to a great start. Praise God!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

In our move to our new home, we think we finally figured out why we haven't been able to connect to the internet on a consistent basis. Evidently, we need a new modem since the one we have is an older model. A new one is coming in the mail within the week and is supposed to take care of our problems.

I also have a zillion questions about Outlook. For example, I'm wondering how I can get contact information from the Outlook on my church computer on to my personal Outlook and blackberry smart phone. I know somebody out there is saying, "Oh that's easy, just do this and that and you're set." But it never seems to be easy for me, at least.

And yet, I admit that I love technology when it works and when it doesn't do weird things out of the blue for no apparent reason, like just a few minutes ago when my wireless printer was saying that there was a paper jam when there really wasn't.

Since I have a strange fascination with the latest technological gadgets even though I really don't have a clue how these things work, I need to be reminded again and again that all that we really need is to remember Jesus' words to love God and our neighbor.

Now, how do I find that scripture verse in my digital bible again?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Worship Preview - August 9

Sunday, August 9 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional & 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "The United Methodist Way – Grace Upon Grace”

Features -10th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Communion

Scriptures - Revelation 3:20-22 & John 6:35-44

Theme - Today marks the beginning of a three part sermon series on the theme, “The United Methodist Way.” What are the distinctive characteristics of our Wesleyan heritage and how can they help us be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? On this first Sunday, we focus on the United Methodist understanding of grace.