My past few sermons have been about the great fish stories of the Gospels: Jesus calling of Peter, Jesus paying a temple tax with a money spiting fish, and the feeding of the 5000 with two fish and five loaves.
This Sunday we are going to be finishing our stories as we hear about Peter in the boat. Jesus is risen and when Peter gets back to Galilee he goes fishing. He climbs in a fishing boat and fishes all night and catches nothing. In the morning the disciples encounter the risen Christ for the third time and Jesus calls and challenges Peter to live the greater life he intended for him. “Do you love me more than these?” “Then feed my lambs.” What happened to Peter, and why did he go fishing? Where did God intend for him to be?
What about us? What can Peter’s boat mean to us? Do we sometimes loose track of Jesus call to live the greater life? Does God ever give up on us? Come Sunday, and we will be thinking about some of these things.
Sometimes you see humorous pieces around car shops. In one shop there is a small sign that states if you have a complaint take a number. Below the sign is a small tag with “1” written upon it attached to a ring. The ring is attached to a pin and the pin is inserted into what looks like a hand grenade. So, who wants to complain? Really no one likes complaints; although, sometimes complaining is necessary and just. Any good business will help their customers find satisfaction. How does God deal with our complaints? Does heaven have a complaint department?
Comes this Sunday as we consider the Apostle Paul’s disposition with regard to many things he could have complaint about.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (NRSV)
The old notion is that a person must work to live. The more successful one is in their work, than the more comfortable they will live. Many people work for this greater life of wealth and comfort.
In contrast Jesus died so that all may live. Jesus never seemed to put to much stock in gaining material advantages, being wholly comfortable, or interpreting the importance of life by counting the number of possession one owns. Instead of being self serving he concerned himself with the lives of others.
Paul argues that all should live for him who died, and that this is true life -everlasting. The pattern we need follow in this life is to live more like Jesus. It is then that we find a life given and not earned. We are met by grace.
What life are you living for? How do these two notions meet and greet one another, or are they in conflict?
The saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is a very old English proverb. It recognizes that people create new solutions where there is need. Problems and the desire to overcome some particular obstacle may serve as a catalyst for the creation of new inventions and ideas. However, the process of inventing usually takes a whole focused effort. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” Edison is known for the things he created, but each success was built upon a multitude of failures. His greatest genius may have been in his perseverance and being willing to deal with a problem from multiple perspectives.
I once read a book about developing a youth ministry within the local church. One of the points the author made was that our problem isn’t that we fail, but that we fail too slowly. The thought was that failure is often a part of the process of finding success. When something doesn’t work it simply needs to be recognized, abandoned or adapted, and then something different tried. Eventually, success is likely to be achieved. The only necessity is that a church does not give up.
Every church is confronted with the need to grow and change. I think there are always roads that lead to growth and life for churches, both large and small. The largest challenge is being willing to take the journey down roads that may be unknown or untried. I think most congregations prefer to be still and remain comfortable. However, it is not typical that being still will produce growth. We have to allow ourselves to be confronted with both the needs of life and the calling of God upon us. What new ideas, projects, and ministries is God calling us to? How should these needs and calling generate innovation within us? Are we willing to try and fail and keep trying?
The Bible speaks about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Perhaps only as we so love and move; wholly engaged with the challenges we face, and focused upon finding a solution that God may truly bless us. What does it take to make a church grow?
Get ready for an action-packed 5-day super hero training camp where kids discover their strength in God! Hero Central VBS prepares kids to Do good! Seek peace and go after it! Ps. 31:14B (CEB). Kids at VBS Hero Central learn that God’s heroes have:
- Heart (Samuel Anoints David)
- Courage (Abigail)
- Wisdom (Jesus Goes to the Temple)
- Hope (Beatitudes)
- Power (Pentecost)
Grab your cape and get ready to fly with epic music, spectacular science, crafty crafts, heroic recreation, and fantastic Bible stories!
VBS will be open at Empire United Methodist Church, 10500 Michigan St, Empire at 9:00 AM to Noon every day, June 25 – 29.
Empire United Methodist Church, St. Philip Neri Catholic Church and Glen Lake Community Reformed Church are sponsoring this community VBS event.
Contact Laurie Taghon at email@example.com – Empire United Methodist Church; or call Tina Dunphey – St. Philip Neri at 835-0518; Gretchen Schwaiger – Glen Lake Community Reform Church at 334-4537 to register your child.
You can find the PDF file for hiking the Sleeping Bear Trails below:
James crossing the walk way. When the sign at the beginning says the trail might be flooded you really should read it.
Barred Owl –Empire, MI
One of the most successful slogans says that “Diamonds are Forever.” This might be true. They are carbon crystals formed under great heat and pressure. Even if the suns of the universe should cease to shine, diamonds might still be present. (there just may be no one to appreciate them) Who knows how long it might take for the bonds of carbon atoms to simply dissolve. On earth diamonds are rather rare, but I once watched a show that theorized that diamonds fall as rain on the surface of Jupiter. The pressure of the atmosphere is so great that it causes the prevalence of carbon in the atmosphere to form crystals and plummet to the surface. Can you imagine a planet surface stacked deep in diamond crystals? Beauty, riches, and glory are relative concepts. How would we think about such things if we could witness heaven or see the person of God? What would happen if the eternal were become more real to us than that which is transient? Would a diamond still impress us? Would we see life any different?
This Sunday I am preaching on Isaiah 6:1-8 and Isaiah’s vision of God. What happens to us and to life when we perceive the eternal and the glory of God within?
Pentecost Sunday is here.
My Preaching text will be John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
4 … “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
As a wedding gift, a relative once gave us a homemade set of wind chimes. They were constructed from long metal tubes and would resonate in harmony as the wind caused them to sway and sound off. When we dared to put them up, they added music to the wind that was invisible. I suppose some might call the chimes noisy and even annoying, but there was also something beautiful in the tones and something mystical about being able to play with the wind. Perhaps in some ways our lives should be to the Spirit as those chimes were to the wind. What sounds, harmony, and movement come from your life as you feel the Spirit of God blowing? Does anyone perhaps even find you annoying?
Mini-Retreat scheduled for May 8
Everyone is cordially invited to attend a mini-retreat day on Tuesday, May 8 at 11:00 AM, for a time of prayer, a program, a craft and fellowship. Darlene Logston Bonner will present a program on the US2 Missionary work she has done. She also has become active as an Origami Owl jewelry designer and will offer a “jewelry bar,” splitting the profits to raise funds for the UMW.
After Darlene’s presentation, Kay Coombs will lead a craft project – painting pine cones for table decorations.
Please bring prepped pine cones to the meeting.
To prepare pine cones:
• Fill a 5-gallon bucket 1/2 full of water, add 1 cup vinegar for each gallon of water (kills bugs, etc.)
• Soak pine cones 30 to 45 min. stirring every 5 to 10 minutes.
• Remove pine cones, place on towel to dry for 2-3 days or dry in a 200 Degree oven for 30 minutes.
• Spray with acrylic Mod Podge, keeps pine cones from becoming brittle. • Bring paint brush and pine cones to meeting. Kay Coombs will provide paint
Mark 8:34 (NRSV)
34 … “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Why would a person take up a cross? It is a short walk to a certain and torturous death. Jesus spoke these words knowing that his time was growing short. For him, inevitably, there was a cross. He could not live as he chose to live and avoid it. He could not be who he believed himself to be and side step it. Jesus was heading toward a confrontation between himself and the social and political powers of the world around him. He disagreed with the piety of the priest, the teaching of the Pharisees, the money of Herod, and many of the religious affections of the masses. Therefore he did not want people to be surprised that something had to give.
John 11:50 (NRSV)
50 You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.”
Jesus carried the cross not because it was how he chose to die –not because he had a death wish. The cross was placed upon him because of how he chose to live. The question to us is not what are we willing to die for, but what are we living for? Aare we willing to live as Christ lived knowing what happened to him? Do our chooses in this life causes us more sacrifice or worldly gain? Do we live just for self or for something more? is there a cross in chooses? If there is, just remember, where there is a cross for the sake of Christ there is also a resurrection.
Sunday – February 11 – after worship – PASTA POTLUCK – Come, join the fun and fellowship – Bring favorite pasta dish or tossed salad w/dressing or dessert or rolls/bread.
Here it is! The December Empire UMC “Beacon” Newsletter!
Saturday, November 11 Traverse Bay UMC 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM $10 per person (includes lunch)
“Storytelling – Make Plain the Vision” Keynote Speaker: Ray Buckley, author The Main Event features author Ray Buckley. Ray is joining us from Alaska to talk about “Storytelling – Make Plain the Vision.”
Included in the morning program will be mission grant highlights and business of the district. After lunch, five exciting workshop opportunities will be presented: Ray Buckley, Native Storyteller & Author Ray Buckley – storytelling for pastors and worship leaders. He will help us tell our stories in regard to sharing the Vision or the Passion that we feel for our churches and for Jesus Christ. What are our core values and aspirational values – and how do we shorten the gap between who we are and who we believe God is calling us to be?
Charles Boayue – The Bible: The Story of Call This workshop will present a unique way to understanding Holy Spirit as God’s Call on us. The presenter will share his call story and examine how the Holy Bible is God’s call on us through story-telling. Come, relax, and see how God invites us to enter the story before it is over.
Jan Huffman – Intergenerational Story Telling Stories shape our identity and help us connect across the generations. Stories also nurture faith. They bless and strengthen the Body of Christ. We will, together, start with our stories and continue finding more opportunities and resources for next steps.
Frankfort UMC – The Art of Listening “Know this, my dear brothers and sisters; everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.” James 1:19a. This workshop will offer practical ways to improve your listening skills as well as stressing the importance of being a good listener. Learn how to effectively use listening skills to help explore content, feelings, and spiritual concerns.
Melanie Young – Archiving Church Stories – What Do We Keep? Pastor Melanie is the chairperson of the Conference Commission on Archives and History. Does your church struggle with what to do with those files that keep piling up? Are you running out of space? Do you know what to do with old pictures or newsletters? Come and get your questions answered. 2:30 PM – Closing Worship with Holy Communion served If you plan to attend, please contact Pastor Russell.
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