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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Easter Poem by John Updike

A big thanks to Ben Witherington for posting John Updike's (1932 - 2009) Easter poem on his web blog. The poem is a powerful reminder of the Christian's affirmation of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles; it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes, the same valved heart that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages: let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché, not a stone in a story, but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of time will eclipse for each of us the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb, make it a real angel, weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous, for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty, lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed by the miracle, and crushed by remonstrance.

Planning for the Future & Being Content - James 4 Review

Yesterday's (Jan. 29) Weekly Pastor's Bible Study Summary:

James is a "know it all." Just listen to the first verse of chapter 4: "Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are are at war within you?"

James seems to always have an answer to his own question! There is an assuredness in James's writing. Maybe that's why he he begins his epistle by saying to ask in faith and to not doubt (1:6) and warning us to not be "double-minded" (1:8.)

The first 2/3 of chapter 4 focuses on being content and not coveting. Is the key to being content found in verses 9 & 10? "Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection." Is James telling us that we can't reach a point of contentment until we realize our own brokenness and need for God? The good news is that we don't have to stay in our brokenness and mourning. Joy will follow!

The last part of the chapter (verses 13 - 17) is what one bible study remember referred to as the "Franklin Covey" passage of scripture. She reminded us that Franklin Covey has just about everything you need to plan for the future - calendar, goal setting, etc.

But it seems that James would not have been a very good commercial spokesperson for Franklin Covey! "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.' Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring." - verses 13 - 14a

Actually, I enjoy walking through a Franklin Covey store and admiring their products to help me plan for the future. I'm wired to be a planner and to look weeks, months, and sometimes years ahead. I don't think James is telling us to not take the time to properly think about and prepare for the future. It seems that he is warning us against the arrogance of planning for the future without any thought of God.

How many stories/testimonies have we heard in which someone says, "before I started this ministry program, I wanted to do something else, but because of the way things turned out, I had to go a different direction and I'm glad I did!"

James is reminding us to stay humble to how God is present in every moment, and to realize that even our best drawn out plans, are subject to change because after all, we're all totally dependent on God anyway! Humility seems to be a key attitude in this chapter (James 4) for James.

Next week, my bible study will conclude our study on James by focusing on chapter 5.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Preaching

Preaching intrigues me. I'm amazed how the Holy Spirit can use a preacher's personality, intellect, and unique gifts to deliver a message from God week after week.

My friend, Pastor Terry Heck, who serves at Bellbrook UMC, one of our fifteen Common Cup churches, has the uncanny ability to deliver memorable sermons. One of the reasons why I think she is such a good preacher is that she is willing to take some risks in allowing the sermon to go the direction that the scriptural text is begging her to go.

Just today, Terry shared a brief summary of the sermon she preached last Sunday at her church. She didn't disappoint! I asked her to send me a copy of her sermon to post on my web blog. (See below.) Notice how she takes the story of Jonah and creatively invites us to repent by going out on a limb and sharing her own sins. Now, that's vulnerable. That's good preaching.

January 25, 2009
When the Word of the Lord Comes Jonah 3:1-5, 10
... and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. Jonah 3:5

In the name of God who is Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

God goes to Jonah, tells him to preach repentance to the people of Ninevah and Jonah does not want to do it. Jonah runs away from God because he knows that if the people listen to him preach and then repent that God will forgive them. Jonah does not want these wicked people to be forgiven so he avoids offering them the opportunity. While using this story of Jonah to realize that there is a little bit of Jonah in each of us – we really don’t like it when people who have done terrible things are forgiven – the story is also about God’s reconciliation with the people. God wants to forgive us. This is one of the greatest stories of grace in scripture.

When God confronts Jonah the second time, Jonah is obedient. He goes into Ninevah and preaches a sermon of repentance. The people are so stricken with the reality of their sin that they tear their clothes, put on sackcloth, and begin to beg God to forgive them. When the word of the Lord comes to them, they repent. And God forgives them. As one scholar writes, this is a story about God’s desire to be reconciled with the worst of people! (GBOD website)

All of my life, I’ve heard God’s word calling me to repent. I imagine that many of you have, too. I am so struck by the immediate response of the people in this story and yet I know that we have had the same word from God and I have not reacted so immediately or so sorrowfully. These people are actually in grief over their sin.

The initial reaction for us might be that we aren’t as bad as these people. You know, they were pretty evil – so much so that they were in danger of being destroyed by God’s wrath – as the story goes. So, there’s no way that I am that bad! Is that what we think, when the word of the Lord comes to us? Do we think that we are not that bad so there’s no real need to weep and plead for forgiveness?

As I pondered this text, I realized that I have heard the word of the Lord all my life, I’ve preached the word of the Lord, yet I know that I, too, need to repent. So, as I speak with you today, I offer these words as words of repentance. I told my husband what I was doing in my sermon and he offered to make a list of my sins for me to share with you. I imagine when I finish, some of you may be able to think of some other sins of mine, as well. But perhaps instead of focusing on my sin, you might think about your own life and how you respond when the word of the Lord comes to you.

Lord, I repent of my sin. For those times when I put my own selfish desires before consideration for others, I am sorry. For the times when I may have spoken a word of harshness that was hurtful instead of helpful, for times when gossip was just too good to keep to myself, for times when I relished in a bad story about another, I am sorry.

Lord, for those times when I treated another as if they were not good enough to be my friend, for those times when I stuck to my own kind, for those times when it did not seem worth the effort to do differently, I am sorry.

For those times when I was not a good steward of my money, the times when I purchased items for myself when I could have helped someone who was poor, for the times when I threw food away because I had too much before me, I am sorry.

For times when I refused to think about persons who are homeless, mentally challenged, or those in prison, I am sorry. For the times when I did not write a letter to my government representative expressing my concerns for people and circumstances in our community and in the world; for the times I did not speak up when someone spoke in a derogatory way about a person of color or from another country or of another religion, for the times when I thought it would be easier to let someone else do the work to bring justice, I am sorry.

For the times when a smile, a letter, a visit, or a phone call could have made a difference and I refrained from doing any of these, for the times when I was too busy with paperwork to remember that we are all called to be about people work, for the times when the church got in the way of Jesus, I am sorry.

For those times when revenge seemed better than reconciliation, for those times when I thought war was the only answer, for those times when I did not try to understand another point of view, I am sorry.

For those times when others did not see my point of view and I was quick to dismiss them, for the times when I labeled people as being too unbending when I know that I do not always bend easily, for the times when I know I write people off my list of acquaintances and friends, I am sorry.

For times when I have hurt family members, friends, and neighbors; for the times when I have argued over issues that are not important, for the times when I have belittled people for their opinions, I am sorry.

For the times I do care for your creation, for the times I trash something that can be recycled, for the times when I have ignored the lives of your animal world, Lord, I am sorry.
Lord, for those times when I refuse to recognize that I am excusing myself from obedience to you, when I rationalize my selfish actions, when I think it is kinder to let persons alone than it is to help them see your way, I am sorry.

And, Lord, especially for those times when I failed to offer the good news that Jesus came into the world to overcome oppression and injustice, to offer compassion, to bring unqualified forgiveness, and to love us all, that your kingdom might come on earth, I am most deeply and continually sorry.

Lord, in your mercy, forgive me.

These are the things I remember when the word of the Lord comes to me and I repent of my sin. You know, we have no idea what wickedness dwelt in the lives of the people of Ninevah. Undoubtedly, we assume immorality, cruelty, and all sorts of wicked behavior. But, in the heart of God, wickedness is wickedness, sin is sin.

When you heard my confession, you may have thought it was not that bad compared to what the people of Ninevah must have been like. Yet, failing to build God’s kingdom, failing to put God at the center of our lives, is sin and helps to perpetuate an atmosphere in our world where the most wicked of lifestyles can exist.

The people of Ninevah heard the word of the Lord and they immediately repented. When you hear the word of the Lord, how will you respond?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Update on Rev. Eric Bondapa

Here is a recent e-mail I received from Rev. Eric Bondapa, the pastoral student attending Africa University. Our Common Cup ministry of 15 United Methodist churches was supposed to host Eric this past June and July as a student intern but his visa was denied.

Eric continues to keep in touch with us even though we still have not met face to face. He is truly an expression of the abundant and overflowing love of Jesus Christ.

Here's the e-mail I received from him today:

I first greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and savior.

I wanted to thank you for your prayers, my results were okay and I'am now sure of graduation in June. May you please tell my churches that I love so much, their prayers were heard by God and I'am now about to finish my studies here at Africa University, so that I can go and serve God. It was a difficult time being a student here, learning in a new country, with a new language, but God is good, yes, he is good all the time.

I thank you for your support, may God bless you and assist you in your ministry.

Love in Jesus-Christ

Rev Eric

Monday, January 26, 2009

Too Close to Home

Last night, the show, 60 Minutes on CBS, ran a segment on Wilmington, Ohio which has been home to a DHL express package services company and is leaving the area. Xenia, Ohio, where I serve as pastor is located just north of this community.

Wilmington has a population of approximately 12,000 people. Over 7,000 employees are losing their jobs. The hit to Wilmington and the surrouning area is huge. 20% of the region's businesses are dependent on the presence of DHL.

Clinton County is facing a 2 million dollar gap in a 14.5 million dollar budget due to the loss of this company.

How can the church be there for people who have lost their jobs, their dreams, and the many friendships they had through their place of employment? Any suggestions/ideas?

If you haven't already seen it, watch the 60 Minutes segement below.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Worship Preview - February 1

Sunday, February 1 (8:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Traditional and 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "Love for a Lifetime - Intimacy"

Features - 4th Sunday After the Epiphany & The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Scriptures - Song of Solomon 2:8-13 & Matthew 18:21-35

Theme - Intimacy can so often feel elusive for a married couple. Why is this so? As we focus on the 3rd part of a four part sermon series on “Love for a Lifetime,” we will look at marital intimacy from a biblical perspective.

2,000 Years in 2 Days!

We had our annual confirmation retreat this weekend at Camp Wesley, one of our United Methodist camps just north of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Confirmation consists of youth (mostly 7th graders) who are preparing to become full members of the church this April.

The purpose of the confirmation retreat is to help the youth, their adult mentors, and the confirmation program leaders (including me) to get to know each other and to learn about church history and Methodist history.

This means that we have to cover the highlights of 2,000 years of church history in 24 hours. Imagine trying to cover all of this without being boring! Amazingly, with a little creativity, and with the presence of the Holy Spirit, we were able to hear about the ups and downs of the history of Christianity and to hear about what makes United Methodism unique and helpful in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

In addition to our church history presentations, the special worship services during the retreat are also really meaningful. For the last worship time together, we celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and gave thanks to God for our deeper relationships with Christ and with each other.

What I think is special about the annual confirmation retreat is that the confirmands have the opportunity to get to know the pastors and the adults as real people.

Enjoy the brief video interview I had with two of our ten confirmands, Chris Beckelheimer and Amy Wilkinson. It's difficult to hear their responses, so listen carefully.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bible Study on James Chapter 3

Our Thursday morning bible study group met yesterday to continue our Epistle of James bible study and we focused on chapter 3.

A comment was made that there is a little Dr. Phil in this chapter because it's all about how we communicate with one another. There's healthy conversation and there's unhealthy conversation and it all has to do with the tongue.

The sobering verses in this chapter are 5 & 6 - "So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!" The Message translation by Eugene Peterson which we use for our bible study uses the phrase, "It only takes a spark..." That little phrase, while used negatively here, reminds me of the hymn, "Pass It On" which uses that same phrase positively - "It only takes a spark to get a fire going but soon all those around will warm up to its glowing. That's how it is with God's love..."

We don't have to think long and hard to come up with recent and personal examples of when we have heard someone say something in a hurtful way toward another person, even to a sister or brother in Christ! Sometimes, those words have from from our own mouths. Lord, have mercy.

Because of the frequency of how people say hurtful things, is there any chapter in the bible more relevant than James chapter 3? "...the tongue...a restless evil, full of deadly poison." (v. 8)

This is why the opening of the chapter cautions Christians to think long and hard before accepting a leadership position in the church. James is saying, you need to a be a person of tremendous discipline if you expect to tame the tongue when speaking to other people. We each have the choice to either build up others and the church or tear it down.

Let's build it up.

Next week, we'll focus on the 2nd to last chapter of the Epistle, chapter 4.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Reflections

Wow! What a euphoric day (regardless of our politic party leanings!) Mostly, I think it's a good thing to sense renewed positive energy in our country but there's a part of me that is more cautious due to the tremendous challenges that our new President now faces.

The day for me began with our weekly church staff meeting in the chapel. Together, we offered our prayers for the new President which included a lengthy and meaningful scripted prayer that I came across on the beliefnet website.

I missed the actual oath part of the ceremony, and found it interesting that the Judge and the President didn't quite get the order of the wording correct. While wanting the day to be flawless, perhaps this awkward and very noticeable misstep is a reminder that it's futile to expect everything to go as planned.

Painful memories of calling a baby to be baptized by the wrong gender pronoun and calling a bride by the groom's first name come to mind! (I won't share all of my foibles but these will do for now!)

Nevertheless, it's a historical day for our country and the world is watching us closely.
One final reflection - the benediction given at the ceremony was amazing. Wow!

President Obama, if you read my blog, here are my words for you this day:

"May God surround and keep you strong as you seek to advance peace and justice throughout the world."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday Morning Road Trip - Evangelical UMC

Cindy Liming, a member of Faith Community, is in the process of visiting all 15 Common Cup churches on Sunday mornings so she can become better acquainted with her fellow Common Cup brothers and sisters in Christ.

I asked Cindy to send me a brief summary of each of her visits as a way of highlighting how Christ is at work in each of our sister churches. Two Sundays ago, she visited Evangelical UMC in Xenia and here is what she experienced:

"This morning, I attended the Sunday morning service at the the Evangelical United Methodist Church on Third Street. I have a couple of friends who attend there and I recognized several people because they come to Common Cup on Wednesdays.

I felt like I was at a family's reunion - the fellowship and closeness amongst the members were so strong and sincere! I felt the power of the Holy Spirit in that place as I sat listening to the beautiful music the choir provided. Pastor Rex greeted everyone as if he had known them all his life (maybe he has) and the children enjoyed and, even better, understood what he told them during his talk with them.

I have had a warm and peaceful feeling all day as I remember my experience from this morning - such nice people in such a pretty church with the sunlight filtering in through the beautiful stained glass windows - offering praises to God through Jesus Christ.

I think the key words for the people of this church are WITH EACH OTHER. They talk with each other, pray with each other, laugh and cry with each other, share with each other, and all their actions are done with God's love. I felt welcomed by their friendship and I hope to visit again."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Worship Preview - January 25

Sunday, January 25 (8:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Traditional and 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "Love for a Lifetime - The Sweetest Place on Earth"

Features - 3rd Sunday After the Epiphany

Scriptures - Ephesians 5:22-33 and Colossians 3:12-17

Theme - In this second sermon of our four-part sermon series, "Love for a Lifetime", we will explore what women wish men knew about women, and what men wish women knew about men. Men and women often have a hard time understanding their differences, yet understanding those differences leads to a stronger partnership in marriage.

The Letter of James - Session #3 Highlights

This past Thursday, my weekly bible study focused on the 2nd chapter of the Epistle of James. Here are some of the highlights:

  • James instructs the Christian community to be inclusive and welcoming to all people, especially people of all socio/economic levels (vv. 1-7) I shared with the group that one of the most inclusive/eclectic churches in the country is Glide Memorial United Methodist in California. It has one of the most diverse population mixes of any church. I would call it a "James" type of church!
  • In verse 8, James refers to "the royal law" which is Leviticus 19:18 and which Jesus emphasizes in his ministry. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show no partiality.

  • This is the chapter that has the whole "faith vs. works" discussion (vv. 14 to 26.) This is probably what is most known about this epistle. Some have argued that this shows that James (who emphasizes works) has a very different theological perspective than the Apostle Paul (who emphasizes faith.) In reality, when the Apostle Paul uses the word, "faith," he means a lively faith in which faith and works are combined. When James uses the word, "faith," it is like us asking someone today, "to what faith do you belong or what is your religious denomination?" So James is saying that to be a Christian isn't just about ascribing to the particular faith of Christianity (faith,) it's about having a lively faith, where faith is active and includes good works. Long story short, James and Paul would agree that true faith always includes good works.
Next week, we tackle James 3.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Minus 9 in Minster, Ohio - Brrrrrrr

The weather is cold outside (minus 9) but the Spirit is warm here at Maria Stein Catholic retreat center (Maria Stein, Ohio) which is about an hour and a half northwest of Xenia. I'm here with 9 other United Methodist pastors drawing closer to God, sharpening our ministry focus, enjoying awesome meals, and joining in worship/prayer.

Here are some specific focuses of our time on this retreat:
  • Reviewing planning needs for ministry in 2009 including our hosting of the April 23-25 Wesleyan Institute which will be held at Faith Community.

  • Looking carefully at our Lenten focus (February 25 through April 11) "The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations," a United Methodist resource designed to help churches faithfully live out our core values of Radical Hospitality, Passioniate Worship, Faith Forming Relationships, Risk Taking Mission, & Extravagant Generosity.

  • Heard a presentation on key elements of effective church leadership, borrowing a page from FDR and his focus back in 1933 on making the first 100 days of his presidency focused and strategic to help the country.

  • Personally, I have been able to read several chapters from the book, "Disappointment with God" by Phillip Yancey which I will be using as a resource for one of the sermons in the "Though I Walk Through the Valley" sermon series in April/May.

This is our 2nd annual clergy retreat at this location and we have really enjoyed it. Retreats have a way of building community, trust, collegiality, and a renewed faith. Which reminds me...We learned so much about each other by playing the simple game, "Apples to Apples" last night! Yes, memories are being made. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Worship Preview - January 18

Sunday, January 18 (8:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Traditional and 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "Love for a Lifetime - In the Beginning"

Features - 2nd Sunday After the Epiphany

Scriptures - Genesis 2:18, 21-25 and Mark 10:1-9

Theme - This is the first of a four-part sermon series on "Love for a Lifetime". Today, we will set the stage looking at God's purposes for loving relationships between men and women. We need to remember that Love, Marriage and Sex are God's idea. We want to better understand God's plans and purposes, to invite God to take control of our relationships, and to have hope that with God's help we can experience the level of joy, love, and happiness God intends for every marriage.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Letter of James - Session #2 Highlights

My Thursday morning bible study had our 2nd study on the Letter of James today and we focused on chapter one.

Here are some highlights from our study:
  • Scholars aren't sure if the letter was written by James, the brother of Jesus or by another author who used the named James (a common practice in the ancient world.) The reason for thinking it wasn't written by James, the brother of Jesus - the Greek used is very sophisticated. The reason for thinking it was written by James, the brother of Jesus is because of tradition and because of James' focus on caring for the poor and lowly, a theme that Mary, the mother of James and Jesus emphasized in her Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55.)

  • The letter begins in typical letter writing fashion but the rest of the letter doesn't come across as a letter. Instead, if feels more like wisdom literature compiled together in no particular order.

  • We discussed how James says we aren't to be double-minded (James 1:8) and to have faith. This is often hard to do. How can we know with full assurance that we are doing what God wants us to do? Part of the answer, according to James is to know the Word inside and outside and simply do what it says.

  • Even though we are to live out our faith through action, James reminds us that God is the one who enables us to do what is right when he writes, "Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights..." - James 1:17 We'll discuss the whole faith vs. works debate next week, but here it would seem that James would agree with Paul that faith is critically important. Everything we do that is good is only because of God's graciousness.

Next week, we'll focus on chapter 2.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ministry on Epiphany Day

My small group which is actually a group of pastors serving 15 United Methodist Churches in the Common Cup shared ministry model prepared and served a meal at St. Paul's Outreach Center in Dayton, Ohio.

Our goal is to be involved in hands on mission outreach at least once every two months in addition to our twice a month gatherings for scripture, prayer, ministry planning, and sharing. We typically serve a January luncheon for those in need at St. Paul's each year and it's always a lot of fun to come together and shine the light of Christ.

Speaking of which, it's interesting that we served this meal on the Day of Epiphany, the final day of the Christmas season and a day in which the church recalls the story of the wise men following the star to the Christ child.

In celebration of Epiphany, we sang, "We Three Kings" while preparing the meal in the kitchen. At one point, we changed the verse to say, "We nine pastors from Common Cup are, preparing a lunch, we traveled afar." We received several compliments from the St. Paul's volunteers who said we sounded pretty good. We also sang "Go, Tell It on the Mountain" and then stopped singing when we couldn't think of any other Epiphany hymns to sing from memory!

The picture above shows how much fun we had in preparing this meal. My job was to serve the potatoes and macoroni and cheese, take this picture, and not get in people's way.
Our next outing as a small group will be to go on a two day retreat at Maria Stein retreat center located in northwest Ohio in a couple of weeks. We use this time to do some ministry planning, but it's really meant to be a time to reconnect with Christ on a personal level.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Word, Sacrament, & Order

United Methodist ordained Elders are set a part by the church to a ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Order.

Word and Sacrament refer to preaching/teaching and administering Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Order refers to the overall administration of the life of the church.

Thankfully, the United Methodist Church uses a connectional church governance system in helping us to be a people who have a sense of structure and order to help us fulfill our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

On Wednesday, January 21, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. during our Common Cup program at Faith Community UM, the Common Cup clergy will be leading a session on church governance. This session will be particularly helpful for church officers/leaders to attend so that we can become more familiar with how we are to order ourselves in the life of the church. While our system is far from perfect, it does provide us with a proven system that when implemented, helps the various ministry components of the church work together in fulfilling our common mission.

One week earlier on Wednesday, January 14, 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., I'll be leading a session on the changes that will be in our new 2008 Book of Discipline (the 2008 edition gets printed in 2009) as a result of last May's General Conference which was held in Texas. Some of the changes will have an impact on familiar liturgy parts we commonly use during weekly worship.

For the next week and a half, I look forward to preparing for these two sessions (January 14 & 21) and identifying the basic components of our connectional system which are most helpful in the ordering of our congregational life and ministry.

There's a reason why we are called, "Methodists."

Sunday Worship Preview - January 11

Sunday, January 11 (8:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. Traditional and 9:45 A.M. Contemporary)

Sermon - "High Def Christianity - A 24/7 Revolution"

Features - Baptism of the Lord Sunday; Blanket Sunday Special Offering; & Coins for Missions (Coins placed in the offering will help support St. Paul UMC Outreach Center in Dayton, FISH Food Pantry, the Caring Place Meal Ministry in Xenia, & IHN which provides temporary housing for families in need.)

Scriptures - Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11

Theme - This is the second sermon in our two-part sermon series "High Def Christianity." What does it mean to switch from an analogue faith to a digital faith? As Christians, we are to clearly shine Christ's light 24/7 to a darkened world. Our baptism is the beginning of our life-transforming revolution.