On Sunday we will be discussing an article titled,
“African Methodists worry about the church that brought them Christianity.”
This article is an account of some of the topics discussed at our past general conference and looks at these questions from the perspective of the African Methodist Church. Come and join us for a short discussion at 10 AM on Sundays.
This is our text for this Sunday!
Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV)
3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
I could post a picture of myself running a 20 K long distance race up and down the hills of Wheeling West Virginia, but you might not recognize me.
The Elby’s Distance Race was a big thing in its day; back in the 1980’s or so..
Just imagine me toward the back of the pack. I might even actually be in this picture. I was not in the running for winning. The winners ran a 5 to a sub 5 minute mile. The course record was 1 hour and 56 seconds for the 12.4 miles (20 k) For me, I considered just finishing the race a win.
I thing that I learned about running a long distance race is that if a person is going to run a 20 K race, then a person needs to practice running such a distance. Running over 12 miles is not easy, but practice strengthens the body and increases one’s aerobic capacity. If one listens well enough to their body, the pain of practice produces strength and the ability to finish the race. We find the ability to accomplish the goal of finishing the race by putting ourselves to the task.
I think life is a little like a race. The question is, are we living so as to complete the race? Despite the effort and even the pain, what do you need to practice more at? What makes us a person ready to cross the finish line?
Paul tells us that it is Christ who makes us able, but sometimes the course is difficult and certainly not without effort or pain. None-the-less even the pains we suffer in life bring forth a divine blessing. Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us. It does not disappoint us because God love is made more present and real to us. We become a people focused on that which does not fail. Perhaps sometimes the road can be long and the movement from suffering to hope is not a direct path, but God does not abandon us within the race. Therefore whatever your situation is keep running. You will cross the finish line.
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I guess that there are a lot of good reasons to worry about things in this life; although, I have found that usually we worry about things that never happen. I think sometimes we are just good worriers and sometimes we find it hard to trust in God’s love and presence within our lives, but if we look back on most situations we come to realize that we have indeed made it through. Over the bumps, and sharp falls we have not been forgotten, and even in the midst of true difficulties and tragedies if we persevere often in life the greatest losses can bring about the greatest gains. I tend to think that this is the work of God. When we are able to see the highest heights from the lowest points I think that it is God who is raising our vision and lifting us up.
If this is true and God is with us, then we all should be warriors and not worries! How can we serve the one who so empowers life?
Here is a story worth watching. It might not speak directly about God, but I believe that I see God’s hand within the tale:
This Sunday we are thinking about Jesus as the good shepherd. In this parable the image of Jesus followers is that as being the sheep.
I can’t say that I know too much about what sheep are like. Sheep and shepherds were a universal experiences for the people of Jesus day. At least at every Passover one of the main dishes was a lamb and lambs were often used in sacrifices. The demand for lambs was likely great, but for most of us if we haven’t been in 4-H or grew up in a rural area, we probably have no idea what raising sheep is like.
Therefore it is a little hard to connect with this image. Still when we try , we may discover that it is difficult to see the idea of being a sheep as a positive image. It turns out that sheep aren’t the smartest critters. So what does it mean to be a sheep? How can that image be helpful or even encouraging.
There in lies the thought for my sermon.
It is probably worth listening to Ken Davis’ take on this question:
Come Join Us This Easter Morning and hear the Breaking News..
Jerusalem’s own WJRU News Team investigates the mysterious disappearance of the body of Jesus.
Hear EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS from:
- Jesus’s own followers
- Pontius Pilot
Also an explosive interview from a Roma Guard who claims it was all a cover-up!
And what happened to the body of Jesus? Come and decide for yourself!
The word “Tenebrae” comes from the Latin meaning “darkness.” The Tenebrae is an ancient Christian Good Friday service that makes use of gradually diminishing light through the extinguishing of candles to symbolize the events of that week from the triumphant Palm Sunday entry through Jesus’ burial. This increasing darkness symbolizes the approaching darkness of Jesus’ death and of hopelessness in the world without God. The service concludes in darkness, sometimes with a final candle, the Christ candle, carried out of the sanctuary, symbolizing the death of Jesus. A loud noise may also sound symbolizing the closing of Jesus’ tomb. The worshipers then leave in silence to ponder the impact of Christ’s death and await the coming Resurrection.
All are welcome!
YOU ARE INVITED TO CELEBRATE A SEDER For Maundy Thursday Date: March 24 Time: 6:00 PM Location: Fellowship Hall R.S.V.P. (Sign-up Sheet on Table next To Kitchen) This meal is a Christian version of the Jewish Passover Seder, or ritual meal, modified for use in families. It is most effective in teaching children (and parents, too) the tradition of Communion, a representation of the Last Supper of our Lord with his apostles.
Volunteers are needed to prepare the meal and participate as readers. RSVP/ sign-up sheet on table next to kitchen door.
It’s Fall Festival time at Empire United Methodist Church. On Saturday, Oct 24th at 4:30PM to 7:00PM you can
dig into a hearty Swiss Steak Dinner and shop at the United Methodist Women’s “Country Store”
On the menu: Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, coleslaw, rolls, dessert and beverage. Each dinner is $12, and the family rate (parents and children) $28.
Browse the “Country Store” featuring home-made pies for the holidays, handmade crafts, attic treasures and fresh baked goods.
Join us for a great time of fellowship, a delicious meal and much more. For more information, call the church office at 231.326.5510 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scientifically, over time the body replenishes its cellular make up. Most of the cells that now make up your body were not a part of you when you were born. The materials for these new cells came from what you have eaten. Therefore, you are what you eat, but what constitutes our spiritual nature? What have you used to renew and construct your inner being? How do we build a healthy spiritual life?
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