Category Archives: Pastor Barry

A Change is Going To Come

Job 42:1-17, Hebrews 7:23-28 and Mark 10:46-52

Things in each life may stay the same for years. But, they just don’t stay the same forever! Moments present themselves and change can come by unwelcome force or by inner will.

Suffering Job’s moment came in dialogue with God. The blind beggar Bartimaeus seized the moment and asked for help. In the Hebrews text we are told who makes the change to come about. We have a high priest who intercedes for us, bids us to follow.

Change can come slowly or suddenly, quietly or loudly, alone or with others. The one thing to keep in mind is that God is in the midst of the change. What will we make of that?

Life is like a flowing river. We are carried along. We can grab an out cropping of rock and try to stay put for a while. But at some point we let go and go again with the flow. Sometimes the waters are fairly calm and at other times it’s like being in white water racing toward more rapids or a waterfall!

For the person of faith, as scary or uncertain as the stream may be, there will always be a Life Jacket to keep us safe, to help us change around in the water and keep our head up as we are pulled along toward the river’s End.

A change is going to come. Why not expect it to include a blessing for you as once for Job and Bartimaeus? Yes, it may be during a rough time in life, but a blessing nonetheless!

As the season of Fall reminds us so well, changes will come!

Pastor Barry †

Humility, the Apostles, Al Capone

Job 38:1-7, Psalm 104:1-9 and Mark 10:35-45

Lovely October Fall isn’t it? So far so good. The outdoors beckons as does get- togethers and travel to the hills and mountains. People notice God’s handiwork, Nature, in all it’s awesomeness and beauty!

Such an awareness of the majesty, mystery, and marvel of Creation often leads to a humility in knowing our human place and limitations in the world. Or according to Job and many of the Psalms.

Well, in spite of the disciples having those scriptures and seeing Jesus’ good examples of servanthood, they were not very humble but rather inclined to having power and glory for themselves. Hard lessons were to follow the disciples for years to come.

It’s not much different today or in any generation. Power, ambition, greed, pride beckon us all too often. Al Capone, gangster during Prohibition and beyond, is an example of most of the “vice list” above. On October 17, 1931 he went to prison after years of crime and a clear lack of humility and willingness to serve anyone but himself.

He is an extreme example of the failure to learn from Job, the Psalms and the teachings of servant Jesus. Sadly we all will be tempted in that direction even if to a lesser degree than one of the most infamous criminals.

Let us take to heart the message from these scriptures and examine ourselves during the beautiful, magnificent season in God’s Creation. We are part of that. Let’s just be reminded of our place and role and identity in the world!

Enjoy God’s gifts and be humble!

Pastor Barry †

Lights, Camera, Action!

Jonah 3:1-5 and Mark 1:14-20

“Lights, camera, action!” We’ve heard that expression all our lives (if you are over 50!). And these scriptures are just right for filming or for visualization of some kind.

Jonah is told a second time to go to Ninevah a city with a bad reputation. A big city. “Repent,” is the message. They do and then the story shifts later to Jonah’s less than good attitude about the sinners repenting.

In Mark, while John the Baptist is in jail, Jesus repeats the call to repent since the Kingdom of God is upon us. And to help in getting out the message and the signs of the Kingdom, recruitment of followers and workers is underway. “Come, follow me,” says the Teacher! There is Good News here! There is a word for us today in all this.

Repentance? Getting serious about following Jesus? What would either look like in an “lights, camera, action” world? Can we envision some “change” within us or some outward behavior we have been resisting? Jonah resisted but finally stepped up. On the other hand, the fishermen on the shore responded quickly to the call (they would have their spiritual struggles later).

Where are each and everyone in this great story of God?! Let’s ask ourselves in worship and in mission this week ahead.

Invite someone to worship this October!

Pastor Barry †

Table Talk

Job 1:1, 2:1-10, Hebrews 2:5-12 and Mark 10:2-16

Sunday October 3rd is World Communion Sunday. As we celebrate Holy Communion, we will do so knowing millions of other brothers and sisters of Christ around the earth do likewise. And they do so in different languages, cultures, and experiences.

The texts we will read in worship do not directly address The Lord’s Supper. Instead, Job, Hebrews, and Mark speak of suffering, struggle, divorce, and little children. What might we make of this?

I think of what we usually do when we eat a meal together in family or in community. We “cover a lot of topics!” And most of us don’t spend a lot of time on painful subjects. We want to enjoy the meal and incline to small talk, current events, laughter, work matters, plans for fun and leisure.

But, the meal time with God in Christ cannot exclude the difficult things. Indeed, it centers on Cross and Death. But it points to all things Resurrection and Joy, the “abundant life” Jesus promises here and forever.

So, all matters of scripture can be brought to the Table, all things human and divine are acceptable to offer up while sitting with Jesus and his disciples. “This is the Lords Table and all are invited.” All manner of things in Life and Death are welcomed to share with a Savior who loves, cares, and has mercy upon us. Pull up a seat, break bread, drink of the cup, and stay awhile with the Lord. Tell Jesus anything, ask Jesus anything.

Thanks be to God…. †

Pastor Barry

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 †