Micah 6:8 and Matthew 22:34-40
So, from early on we recite pledges, oaths, creeds, statements of faith, beliefs. Scout Oath, Pledge of Allegiance, Apostles Creed. John 3:16. Some will change over a lifetime but most will get “embedded” in our mind, soul, and body. And God “waters” and gives the “increase.” We become, through the Spirit, a people of God for the sake of others over time!
This Sunday, as we celebrate as a nation the beliefs and practices of a representative democracy, we gather in congregations to also celebrate beliefs and practices of the Christian faith. And how they are handed along to others and the next generation by repetition and example, word and deed.
Church and nation are distinct but in both there is a place for Micah’s call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God!
Practice may not make “perfect” but it sure might help people over the long haul! And into Eternity!
Keep on keeping on!
Pastor Barry †
Psalm 77:11-20, Galatians 5:13-25 and Luke 9:51-62
People attend, participate in, and serve through the church for numerous reasons. Some we are fully aware of and others are buried deep. Both have long histories.
Certainly in praying, singing, hearing scripture and sermon, we are investing in a way of life. It will often seem to be very different in emphasis and detail from those who never appear in the ongoing life of the church. Our service to others and our fellowship may look quite different
We hesitate to judge. We simply note the “fruit of the Spirit” as in Galatians 5. Where and when does it appear? If in church life, we rejoice. If outside church life, we rejoice! God is not bound by time, place, or people.
Yet, where are we to be reminded most often of “the abundant life” as well as those things which work against the fullness of life? I think you know well. Of course, God moves throughout the world and we can learn about Sin and the Spirit in all of human endeavors, e.g., secular life, workplaces, communities, recreation, education, and government.
Our scriptures provide us this Sunday with familiar lists of Spirit led life and Flesh driven life. We listen in, remember, and learn accordingly. Jesus finally says “keep going” and really…..don’t spend a lot of time looking backward. Memories are important but present and future is where your Eternal dwelling is to be. Having “put your hand to the plow…..don’t look back.” Onward~~~~
Prayers and thanksgiving for God’s blessings!
Pastor Barry †
I Kings 8:12-21, Galatians 3:23-29 and Luke 8:26-39
Fathers Day arrives in our churches and we remember and celebrate! What often goes unsaid is the struggle of being a Father, a parent, a family member with all the forces that work against being faithful to those roles and identities.
The Luke text doesn’t quite seem to fit for the emphasis on Father’s Day does it? It’s the assigned Lectionary text and I first thought too hard to work with! As I read it over and over, tho, I was moved to consider that the demon possessed man here had a father or WAS a father! Often, the scriptures offer to us an opportunity to consider what else lies behind the story presented to us.
Does the healed man return to his family, to his father, or to his own children? What might we expect to occur when one has been made whole by the power of God? What changes in relationships when we are made better by the hand of God?!
We will hear what God would lay on our hearts through these scriptures, our songs of praise, our service, and our fellowship! There is no Sunday worship that goes without these elements!
Consider your place in your extended family and include your church family in that consideration. You belong and wholeness is ever a renewing gift from God in those relationships.
Pray for the people of God gathered and then in mission and ministry!
Grace, peace, and healing~~~
Pastor Barry †
Psalm 8:1-9, Romans 5:1-5 and John 16:12-15
So much to say, not enough time! Our second Sunday in June has a number of themes to focus upon. Peace With Justice, the Trinity, First Sunday After the Birth of the Church (Pentecost), The TNWK Annual Conference beginning June 15! These will be mentioned, noted, and hopefully received as both mission and encouragement.
And two more: D-Day June 6, 1944 and June 6, 1742, the latter when John Wesley was not allowed to preach from his late father’s church and he went and preached from his father’s tomb!
Somehow these can all be tied together! Our departure point will be tying the two June 6th dates together as powerful moments of both sadness, struggle, and yet hope in the victory of God. We are to be people of Hope not despair as much around us today would pull us into no Hope.
Paul is clear. We have hope because “Gods love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” Jesus says we have the “Spirit of Truth” to lead us. Psalm 8 says God has crowned us a with a certain “glory and honor.”
We should be encouraged! So, as much as needs to be said this Sunday just keep your hearts open to what God wants YOU to hear and respond to. We will grow as disciples of Jesus as well as go and make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world!
Pray in preparation!
Pastor Barry †
Acts 2:1-8, 12
Reading the Acts 2 text is exciting. Relating to the Acts 2 text in 2022 is more challenging. Most of us have not had anywhere near the experiences described from the first century church’s beginnings.
But few would say they have never had an encounter or spiritual moment which moved them in meaningful ways. Life in the church often surprises us with powerful feelings about ourselves, God, and neighbor.
And the most experienced outcome of Pentecost for us is the reality of being supported in all our days by the Spirit as Comforter and Advocate. In any age of the Church, the “fruit of the Spirit” is welcome: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…….” As Paul says, “there is no law against these things!”
As I write this, I am still recovering from knee replacement surgery. I am also mindful of how many in our congregations are dealing with matters of illness, injury, loss and recovery. Changes in our lives can come suddenly or over long stretches of time. We are promised a Helper. The One who comes to us in so many ways and through the care of others us the Spirit in power to sustain us.
As you participate in worship this Pentecost Sunday, whether in the sanctuary or whether at home or care facility, remember: the Spirit is with you to Comfort and Help. Give thanks and praise. Pray in the Spirit for others as well
Praise, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!!
Pastor Barry †
Acts 1:1-11 and Luke 15:11-24
This coming Sunday’s worship time doesn’t feel very routine or complacent! Our country has experienced a terrific loss of children and adults to very public violence. We have waves of grief, memories of other losses, and alternating feelings of anger and anxiety.
Worship is rarely “routine or complacent,” but we don’t always bring to our church time together such full emotions and thoughts. And it’s also Memorial Day weekend and there before us is a USA history of men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces. And do I even need to mention whatever personal struggles or joys you bring with you into the sanctuary?!
Yet, isn’t it good to be part of a community that turns to God regardless of our current situation bad or good, joyful or troubled! Through the Word in sermon, music, prayer, and fellowship God provides.
The two scriptures before us don’t seem to directly address our National grief and concerns, but who doesn’t need to hear of power from the Holy Spirit so we can bear witness during the week in word and deed?! And who isn’t drawn to a story of a compassionate parent, a sinful younger brother turning around, and an older brother with a “bad attitude?!” Oh yes, something is in these scriptures for us even in the midst of National grief and grateful thanks to those who have died in service to country.
As pastor I am still rehabbing from knee surgery. It seems slow and laborious! I miss getting out to church! Or even outside the house! I miss bringing a message on this momentous Sunday. Yet, I am there in spirit and through the marvel of live streaming media! We are together in our joys and concerns!
Thank you for your prayers and kindnesses and your prayers for our “two Sundays in a row” guest preacher LeNoir. She will bring the Word once more!
God bless and hope to see you before too long. Hug somebody and shake a hand in worship this week!
Pastor Barry †
Psalm 148, Revelation 21:1-6 and John 13:31-35
Weeks after Easter Sunday, on the verge of full swing into the 2nd half of 2022, the scriptures this Sunday are a veritable “greatest hits” list! Given the state of much of our world and perhaps our troubled personal lives, it’s good to hear and feel the joy and Good News in these verses.
The Psalmist can’t sit still! Everything in all creation is to praise the Creator. This matches well with many days and weeks in Spring season in Tennessee! John the Revelator presents us a vision of all things new where death, grief, crying, pain will be no more.
And Jesus in the farewell address to his disciples reassures them of the glory of God revealed in the Son of Man. Part of that is to love one another as Jesus has loved them! The glory of God in genuine care and compassion for each other.
Indeed, scriptures to pull a chair up to on your front porch and read or hear recited. Scriptures to record on your media devices and play as you go for Spring drives in the beauty of Creation. Scriptures to be put to music so as to sing with joy.
These are ways to contend against all that seems to be against us and God’s children everywhere in 2022. We must not believe that the worst wins out. The Psalmist and the two Johns won’t allow that!
Read on faithful people! Listen to God’s greatest hits playlist!
Pastor Barry †
Acts 9:1-20, Revelation 5:11-14 and John 21:1-19
Those forty days after Jesus’ Resurrection were just packed with “quality time” with the disciples. And then for the rest of the first century the early church told the stories of Jesus to the world.
It has not stopped yet. Peter and Paul, John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos, the women bearing the first witness to the Risen Lord: the list goes on and is impressive still after 2000 years.
We ask ourselves if we are still open to God’s revealing on our Damascus roads? We hear Jesus tell us to “feed the flock” to go “fishing for more.” We are asked to trust that God will truly bring Heaven to Earth when all is finished.
It’s a powerful true story and it’s good to tell it Sunday after Sunday, during the weekdays, and to show it to others in deeds not just words alone. Such a retelling is helped when we come upon slight oddities in Scripture like the number 153 in John 21. The number of fish caught after Jesus instructed the disciples to cast the net. We will explore that number as well as the “numbers” in Acts 4 and the “thousands” of angels and earth creatures” in Revelation 5.
Interesting, engaging, and ultimately an enthusing of our spirits to be about the sharing of Good News and pointing to the Kingdom of God!
And the Table will be prepared as well so we will have spiritual nourishment for the mission week ahead!
Join us as we go fishing and feeding!
Pastor Barry †
Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8 and John 20:19-31
On April 24th, Second Sunday of Easter, our sermon title is A Change Is Going To Come. The scriptures are Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8 and John 20:19-31.
If you are inclined to make lists, then our Second Sunday in Easter scriptures are full of things and events to fill a spiritual list!
First of all, praise is to spill out even in the form of loud banging cymbals! Talk about getting your attention! After that start, “peace, the Holy Spirit, us as priests, being loved and free from sin, and even doubt” have high profiles in the early church of the Resurrection!
We are more settled now (maybe?!) in church life than in the first century CE, but the same list of “things of the spirit after Jesus’ Resurrection” are present and “at play” in the fields of the Lord!!
And it’s more than just talk, it’s about action. A better word describing action for us “the priests of the new Kingdom (Revelation 1:6)” is mission! We are about mission both local and beyond!
In worship this Sunday, as we praise the gift of Eternal Life and Resurrection over Death, we will be reminded of our ministry as “priests” in a new Kingdom appearing all around us. What are we all about as a congregation? Let’s check our list! And add to it as the Lord guides!
Happy Easter ongoing!
Pastor Barry †
The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:5-6
Indeed….the faith begins in words shared about Jesus even if he is not seen. Children learn from being told the stories of Jesus. And hearing leads to “looking around.”
Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter. They are all about hearing and looking. “Seek and ye shall find…” God can be found everywhere, but it’s a good idea to seek him where there are reports about him: worship, feeding the hungry, examples of caring in homes and health care facilities, disaster relief, weddings and funerals, the workplace. Any of these could and do happen during Holy Week. And they are present year in and year out.
Sunday’s worship will have multiple voices telling the stories of Jesus and encouraging us to keep “looking around!” And in the “finding” we will discover Life Eternal in our midst and in that of our neighbor.
Join us this Easter and the weeks up ahead!
Pastor Barry †