But What About Them

Numbers 11:24-29 and Mark 9:38-41

At some point in most human group life and activities, such questions come forth:

“Why are they doing it that way”

“Who gave them permission to do that?”

“Should we stop them from doing that?”

Questions as old as Moses and as significant to who is following Jesus most closely! And once asked, such questions have to be addressed rather than suppressed.

It seems to be our nature to do things different ways and yet, to want things done a certain way and by certain people. Otherwise, there might be confusion and chaos. But if approached “poorly” doing it only “my/our way” can lead to conflict and false feelings of superiority.

Poor, pitiful humans! We need leadership, guidance, and a Savior!! This Sunday we will, as always, turn toward the One God to worship and to seek guidance from. Even so, we have a hundred different ears and brains, and the call for humility and patience and understanding is ever present.

Yet, the good side of all this is the actual good ministry and mission and community togetherness that come from taking the Spirit led step of faith! We just need to keep taking those “steps of faith” and not get stuck on who has been given power, permission, and authority. The answer is pretty much…EVERYONE. Some things we ALL can do, and some things are specific to your personal “gifts, graces, and talents.”

We are a “work in progress” and we all need each other!

Invite someone to come and be part of our worship and work together this Sunday and coming week!

Pastor Barry †

Homecoming: Bearing Witness to Past, Present, and Future

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, Romans 16:1-16 and Hebrews 12:1-3

On Sunday September 19th, the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, our sermon title is Homecoming: Bearing Witness to Past, Present, and Future. The scriptures are Psalm 124, Romans 8:31-39 and Revelation 21:1-5.

A congregation’s Homecoming Sunday may emphasize its past and present, but it’s future is ever before it. So, this Sunday we will have a multitude of voices in song, word, and deeds share about our life together at Kedron UMC.

As Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, there is a times and season for everything and it is good to recall people, places, and things from our church history. And Romans 16 and Hebrews 12 reminds us of the importance of names and what each one means to another. Hebrews 12 says we, the living now, have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us in memory and in the hope of Resurrection.

We expect to eat together and fellowship after our worship. Again stories, names, and events will be shared. There is much to be said for “church” throughout the year but occasions like Homecoming bring into focus how much we are blessed by past, present, and future. Give God the thanks and praise!

Invite someone and we will see you Sunday!

Pastor Barry †

Where Were You When…?

Psalm 124, Romans 8:31-39 and Revelation 21:1-5

Events both bad and good often leave an indelible mark upon us. We remember the moment, the day vividly. It might be very personal or might include an entire community or a nation. And we remember our responses and what helped or did not help.

Many reading this know exactly where they were when it was announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated. And most all will remember 9/11 which we commemorate 20 years now this coming weekend.

Our faith points to the depth and height of responses and feelings which come from us in both days of trouble or victory or the Ultimate Hope in every heart. The scriptures are realistic in both their tears and their hopes. We too don’t have to deny pain and loss nor do we ignore Gods promise to care and move us forward to a good future.

From the cry of the Psalms to Paul’s affirmation of God’s love to the Hope of Revelation, we will hear of the Word for us in this time of remembrance and in this time of challenge. Be encouraged.

See you soon in worship!

Pastor Barry †

Let’s Work Together

Proverbs 22:1-2; 22-23, James 2:1-17 and Mark 7:24-37

Most of us remember our first job; the paying one! And before that, most children have assigned chores, responsibilities around the home. School becomes “work” or so it seemed! Remember “homework?!”

Most of us are not born into royalty thus being spared actual work to get things done and make a “living.” Sadly tho many have been born into poverty for multiple reasons. And even a hard working person can find themselves in sudden poverty due to illness, injury, layoffs, or conditions beyond their control.

Our scriptures address the poor, the disfavored, and the physically challenged and demon possessed. What did Jesus do? What is expected of the people called “church?”

This Labor Day Sunday, Holy Communion Sunday, and somber week leading to Remembering 9/11 twenty years out is as good as any Sunday worship to hear “what saith the Lord.” What will we hear about “work” for the good of others and even for ourselves when “bad things happen to good people?” Indeed we will get close to the heart of a “lived faith” not just a “said faith.”

And to add to the impact of these eventful days we will hear about the approach of September 12th Grandparents Day as well! And most of us that are or were around grandparents can usually testify to their examples of work for family and church!

We will have much to “absorb” in worship this September 5th!! Invite a friend or neighbor too!

Blessings “good and faithful servants!”

Pastor Barry †

And They Sung a Hymn

Psalm 150:1-6, Ephesians 5:18-20 and Matthew 26:26-30

I think that there is music for any occasion, mood, memory, and mind set! Birthdays, anniversaries, wedding parties, ballgames, movie soundtracks, and sleep disorders all enlist music to help and to enhance the event! And people have different preferences and “tastes” in music. Some just can’t abide banjo and others nod off to classical. Within worship, churches too have preferences.

For most however, the bottom line is to make music and be glad in it! The gladness may be enthusiastic or somber but it is a response to a need or to a blessing. This Sunday is no different. We may have a bit more singing and playing but we will hear of some descriptive moments in scripture which show us the people of God responding in song as worship and response to life in the moment!

Bring your “listening ears” prepared to raise your voices unto the Lord! We all may have our struggles and stresses but music is a gift from God to help us!

Thanks be to God

Pastor Barry †

Hard Times, Hard Sayings, But Eternal Life

Psalm 34:15-22, Ephesians 6:10-20 and John 6:56-69

This past Sunday the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the Assumption of Mary into heaven both body and soul. This doctrine proclaims Mary was not buried at death but was received directly into glory. Most Protestant churches honor Mary but do not teach this as doctrine. However, we can see one spiritual value emphasized that we can affirm. This is the affirmation that the body is good, valuable, and has an eternal future as a “transformed body.”

Our scriptures this Sunday remind us of the hardships and difficulties we endure since we are bodily creations. The psalmist notes our afflictions. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that we have “to wrestle” against adversaries. And Jesus speaks hard to grasp words such that the disciples are tempted to abandon the Teacher.

But, we are not left to our own weakened condition to contend with afflictions and enemies, and doubt. Paul uses the language of “protective gear,” and Jesus says he is the “bread” which will nourish and sustain his disciples in this life.

This is Good News when all about us is trouble from COVID19, other diseases and injuries, natural catastrophes, and warring conflict. So, let us “put on the full armor of God” and remember who is the Bread of Life that helps our finite bodies and calls us to help others as well.

“The Lord be with you. And also with you!”

Pastor Barry †

Trying Times? Try Wisdom!

I Kings 3:4-15, Proverbs 9:1-6 and Ephesians 5:15-20.

Between unprecedented Western fires, drought, heat, COVID19, schools difficult reopening, and one’s own personal, family, and work problems, it seems like we are in need of wise leadership and our own wise behavior! Not a time for foolishness!

Our texts for Sunday highlight the third King of Israel and his seeking God to guide his governing. Solomon is known for thousands of proverbs and wise observations on life. His 38 year reign was peaceful and prosperous. If only he had been more careful about marrying foreign wives who brought their own gods and shrines into Israel!! Less than wise behavior!

Every generation has to wrestle publicly and personally with how to live “the good life” within a nation or community of diversity. Life in the community of Church should go a long way in helping bring about peace and shared prosperity. But Church is also there for all when times are less than good, when we “mess up.”

Paul in Ephesians addresses issue and attitudes and is not far removed from the wisdom of Solomon! Paul simply points to life in Christ as the “wisest way to live!” Let us take to heart the attitude of Solomon early on: to ask for understanding and guidance from God before we ask for “riches and glory” I Kings 3:12-15.

Join together in worship as you are able this Sunday. Invite your neighbor. And pray!

Blessings,

Pastor Barry †

The Great Question

Psalm 103 and Matthew 22:34-40

Baker Bachman, long active at WESLEY MTSU, will bring our message this Sunday. A lifelong Methodist out of Mt Juliet, Baker is exploring a vocation in ministry. He is finishing Orientation To Ministry studies this month. Pray for him in the discernment process that continues. His experience with the MTSU Wesley fellowship has helped shape his life in faith.

He steps up to bring our sermon on the Greatest Commandment from Jesus’ response to the inquiring Pharisees, experts in the religious Law. The answer is not so surprising to our ears, but to carry through on such a Commandment requires our deepest attention to understand and find a faithful response.

God, neighbor, and yourself: how we go about loving these three goes a long way to describing the quality of life we have.

Pray for Baker and yourselves as you participate together in worship and prepare for the week ahead.

Blessings,

Pastor Barry †

Sin and Bread

II Samuel 11:26-12:13a, Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 and John 6:24-35

As good and great and anointed as he was, King David made a mess of relationships. He found a way to commit adultery, kill the husband, and see a baby die as a result! It’s a horrific Bible story but just as current as the latest celebrity crime news.

It’s amazing God puts up with our sin. It’s a good thing God’s love for us is never-ending. It certainly brings home to us the deep meaning of the hymn “Amazing Grace!”

Both in Exodus and in John, the message is highlighted that even when we sin and are empty of really doing good, our Creator will deal with us mercifully. The consequences of our bad choices and awful decisions are present but the emptiness our behavior brings upon us is overcome by the Bread of Life.

We are reminded of this unmerited favor from God every time we receive the Bread and Cup at Holy Communion. And even when we sit down for breakfast, lunch, and supper! We are fed and sustained by the Gifts of God. Even when we have had terrible “manners” toward God and neighbor before we have the Bread of life, we are meant for something better!

Think upon these things as you enter into worship this week. And also whenever you sit down for a meal!!

Thanks be to God!

Pastor Barry †

Breadth, Length, Height, Depth

Psalm 145:10-18, Ephesians 3:14-21 and John 6:16-21

Paul the Apostle certainly uses a lot of words to describe “the riches of God” in Christ. Of course, throughout scripture God is deemed worthy of all the best words and descriptions human language has at its disposal!

Psalm 145 tells of the greatness and goodness of God. The Gospel of John passage amazes us with the compassion and power of God demonstrated in Jesus! So it’s no wonder that we are left with “unpacking” all these descriptions as best we can. And perhaps we are once again “lost in wonder and praise” at the majesty of God.

Sunday we will key in on Paul’s use of earthly “dimensions” in Ephesians 3 to help us grasp the impact of Jesus upon us, our world, and all Creation.

Buckle up for a ride into the “spaces” in which God is ever present. If you were impressed with the recent private entrepreneurs Branson and Bezos and their rocket rides into space, you should be even more impressed with the God who makes all things possible!

All glory to God!

See you in worship!

Pastor Barry