Psalms 105:4, 5 and 8
Seek the LORD, and His strength: seek His face evermore. Remember His marvelous works that He hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of His mouth . . . He hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.

Memorial Day (This weekend) is set aside to remember those who have fallen in our nation’s wars. Sadly, the day will pass and most of us will be so caught up in picnics, family gatherings, or outdoor projects that we won’t even give much thought to the real meaning of the day. That’s too bad, because remembering does many things. It brings me back to the reality of what actually happened. It also encourages me to see the dedication of those who fought and died. Remembering stirs within me a sense of gratitude and appreciation, and it strengthens my resolve to do my part in serving God, country and others.

Throughout the Bible, God’s people are instructed to stop and recall what He did for them. Psalm 105 is a song of remembrance of God’s goodness to His beloved ones. It traces His direction, provision and protection through their history and the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. As believers in the 21st century, we can look back over a much longer history and see how God’s plan has and is unfolding, and observe His incredible goodness to us.

Psalm 105:1-5 shows the natural progression of what happens when I pause to remember—I give thanks to Him and continue calling on Him. I sing of Him, and talk with fellow believers of all He has done. Then I must go tell others of His greatness. When I stop to trace the work of God’s hand in my life and in the world around me, these things just come naturally.

But the key to being able to rejoice in the past is not found in counting the number of good things that have happened, but in remembering that God remembers! I can rejoice because He never forgets His plan and He never forsakes His promises. Even when life is tough and things don’t seem to make sense to me, I can rest assured that He is in control and He is working out His plan. He has my best interest at heart. Knowing this encourages and strengthens me, and pushes me to do my best to live for Him.

A song that was popular when I was younger went something like this:

“When I remember the cross that He bore,
When I remember the thorns that He wore,
My heart cries out, ‘Oh Christ divine, I’m thine forever!’
When I remember what He did for me.”

I encourage you, my friend, at this Memorial season, take time to remember.

Chaplin Rob

Doing The Hope Accounting

May 24th is the date which all the various Wesleyan denominations remember each year as “John Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience. The year was 1728. From that day in May we tend to date the beginning of the Methodist movement. Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed.” Wesley intended nothing more than renewal of the churches as well as getting the Gospel out of just the sanctuary and into the streets, fields, institutions, and homes.

This was the profound personal moment when Wesley was given the assurance of his salvation. Impressive, yes, especially since he had been an Anglican priest, missionary, and academic for many years!

This is often our experience in that at moments in each of our lives we have a profound spiritual experience which changes our life dramatically. And it may be the first step of Christian discipleship or it may be a “second touch” further along our spiritual journey.

Vital personal relationship with God in Christ is the key to a joyful, meaningful life of faith. It is both individual and communal. We are not made Christians alone but we must find ourselves “one to one“ with Jesus to “know salvation.”

Having said that, I want to emphasize that each person is unique and no one spiritual experience is for everyone. The “Aldersgate” experiences are not “prepackaged!”

Yet, as our text in I Peter says, we are always to “be ready to give an account for the hope that is within us.” Each of us needs to find the words to express to others that “I belong to Jesus. I love because He first loved me!” Often we stumble on the exact words but we get the “doing the faith” right in our relationships with others!

This Sunday we will explore John Wesley’s faith experience as well as that of the disciples in John, Acts, and I Peter. Don’t miss it! Your experience is included too!


Pastor Barry

A Mattress, A Good Pair of Shoes and Peace

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and our texts do not mention one mother! But the qualities often associated with “mothering” are everywhere in these verses.

And few people will give a lot of thought to Anna Jarvis of West Virginia around the turn of the century 1900. She was a Methodist who carried on her mother Ann’s dream of bringing together women of the Civil War who had lost family members to that great conflict of both North and South. The intent on those early Mother’s Day celebrations was less on sentiment and more upon the desire for peaceful ways over ways of war in resolving conflict! Our texts support a number of images associated with peace over war: mansions or dwelling places that are secure and peaceful; forgiveness instead of curses upon our enemies; growing into maturity through reconciliation (“pure spiritual milk”) rather than division.

Well….this all sounds like wisdom we might have heard from our mothers at some point along our way! We can celebrate the whole family of God this Sunday, too, even if we are not blood kin nor have the same mother! We obey the 5th Commandment and we follow Jesus the Son who has many children prepared for many “mansions” as we gather this May 14th. As to the “mattress and a good pair of shoes,” that has to do with a single mom teaching Home Economics in the Appalachians. More on that Sunday.

As you are blessed with family and friends like family, in turn bless others Continue in peace!

Pastor Barry

The Abundant Life Table

If any word describes the Christian life better than “abundant” please let me know! In all of these scriptures for Sunday there are generous descriptions of ways of living in God’s present and future reign. A Good Shepherd leads us in right directions, feeds us and gives us drink at a grand table, and we are kept secure! (Psalm 23). As a new family of brothers and sisters we share and share alike (Acts 2:44,45). Our needs are met in community! And in I Peter 2:21 we are never without an example and a presence as to how to live. We have a “Bishop of our souls” (KJV)!

Translating this into the year 2017 and month of May….well, there is the exciting challenge! Practice may NOT make perfect, but it surely is as close to “abundant” as we will get in this life!

Let’s help each other be examples for others in abundant living. And this “abundant living” (John 10:10) has very little to do with bank accounts unless like John Wesley instructs us, “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”

Be a blessing!

Pastor Barry