June 25th Devotional

If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:3-5 NIV

As we begin to resume gathering together in some in-person ways as the church, it doesn’t take long to realize what we’ve been missing. Worshiping together, serving together, and studying together. None have gone away completely, but just some MIA!!

We’re one Sunday into a new season of worship with temporary safety precautions in place during the pandemic. Hopefully we can continue safely until a vaccine or other measures emerge to release us from these restrictions of interactions with each other and the broader public.

As to study…..how are we doing in our lifelong call to “seek, knock, and the door being opened” to Kingdom living? Sunday School at both congregations is soon to find ways to regroup and study Scripture, reason together, share experiences, and build on what others have taught for generation after generation. Kedron’s adult class will resume this Sunday 8:45am June 28. Locks will do likewise before long.

The Tuesday Bible study at Travis Perry’s home will need to completely reconsider time and place since Travis’ is relocating with family. Bless him for his hospitality and teaching over the years!

During the month of July there will be considerations underway as to other options for study together. It feels as though the need is great to be encouraged through the Word and to find inspiration for service and witness!

Ideas and offers are welcome as to times and places. Until then, make it a daily habit to open your Bible and other devotional readings in your home. Share with someone “nearby” and give thanks for that which comes from God! “Call out,” “cry aloud,” “look” and “search” as Proverbs insists! We need that kind of help to continue forward together in this very unusual time.

Blessings in your readings and studies! Bear witness as you can with others!

Pastor Barry

A Father and Son Experience? Listen and Learn

Genesis 22:1-14, Romans 6:12-23 and Matthew 10:40-42

The experience of father Abraham and son Isaac’s near death by sacrifice moment is both inspiring and disturbing. Not something you would wish upon anyone nor legally would go unpunished today! But, being at the very heart of God’s promise to bless all generations through Abraham, there it is for all to ponder and pray through.

It just so happens that John Wesley’s birthday falls on this Sunday as well as this Genesis text. A birth in 1703 that only became truly momentous some 35 years later when Wesley’s heart was so moved by God that the spiritual movement known as Methodism sprang forth and continues into the 21st century!

Which one of these stories is more appealing and one you can relate to? Even so, in sermon, prayer, song, and witness we will attempt to share both in worship! Who ever said faith was an easy walk! We are asked to hear these stories of faith and to look inward and outward ourselves and to ask, “what saith the Lord to me?!”

We should pray to be challenged and to hear rightly what is good and helpful for each one in a troubled world. How might we be inspired to step up our faith for a full life offered in commitment to God in Jesus Christ!

Perhaps as the week’s unfold in Summer “by our fruits will we be known” as Christians! Let’s do this together not unlike Abraham and Isaac going up Mt Moriah and John Wesley being “strangely warmed in his heart at a prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street in London!

Pastor Barry

I’m Glad God Cares

Psalm 86:1-10, Romans 8:31-39 and Matthew 10:24-39

This Sunday has the highlights of our “coming back from a mini-exile,” a recognition of Fathers in our lives, and the official first day of Summer 2020! Cause for celebration! Our return to the sanctuary will be less like a “celebratory parade” but more like a cautious stepping “inside” after an extended absence! We will still be staying “safe” during a time of public health concerns. Some will not be able to join us and will hopefully still be watching our “live streaming” broadcast. It is all a work in progress. It is a walk by faith not by a lot of sight!

And our scriptures and sermon focus on a caring God whatever we are going through. Life can be hard and difficult. The Bible is clear in agreement on that! But nowhere are we to “fear” or feel as though there is no hope. The Psalmist, Paul, and Jesus resoundingly declare God CARES!

Yet, being human as we are…..we have our “moments.” And we seem to be going through a universal “moment” when the path before us and the road ahead are not as clear as we would like.

All the more reason to hear “what saith the Lord.” All the more reason to gather together as we can in person or in whatever means keep us connected! So, “come on in” or “tune in” this Sunday! God has a Word for all of us together in this moment!

“See” you Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Why Do We Experience Setbacks In Life?

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10

Do you ever think that your level of success in life is minimized by the problems and setbacks you experience along the way? Well, it’s just not true.

Our problems and setbacks don’t determine the shape and direction of our lives. What problems and setbacks do, however, is reveal character. They show us how we respond to fear, disappointments, and failure. They reveal what level of resilience we possess; whether or not we’re content to play the role of a victim; and whether we’re willing to take a risk again after initial failure. In other words, they diagnose our shortcomings and call us to positive change.

Problems and setbacks are the crucible of character formation, and they give us perspective as we pause and evaluate what’s truly important in life. So don’t be discouraged when troubles come your way, instead hang on to your faith, See the obstacle as possibly the way forward. Remember God’s word and ask yourself, “what can I learn from this”. Trust that the God who created you and in whom you place your faith and trust will carry you through your setback or trial.

Strong people are made by opposition like kites that go up against the wind. – Frank Harris

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. – Helen Keller

Blessings on your journey,

Chaplain Rob

This Weeks Devotional

This Friday will be 33 years now since President Ronald Reagan visiting in a divided Berlin, Germany spoke publicly to Soviet leader Gorbachov and said “tear down this wall Mr. Gorbachov.” It took another two years but the Berlin Wall that divided a city and a nation came down and a united democratic Germany was reborn.

Our Gospel is all about breaking down walls between us and God, neighbor and neighbor, Jew and Gentile, differences that falsely lead to conflict and fighting. That’s why Jesus is often referred to as the Mediator (Hebrews 8:6). And blessed are the peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9).

Obviously one of the most difficult tasks for us in the “human condition.” A never ending calling, but one that has produced results and reconciliation throughout God’s creation. How might each of pray about and pray together for this to occur in so many spheres of life in the next half of 2020?! Let us pray to seek reconciliation and peace where we see conflict and division.

Just as the Berlin Wall finally came down to reunite a people, justice accompanied that reconciliation and rebuilding. It is a community process and takes collective and individual patience to see it through. Remember that God is obviously patient with us! Nevertheless, God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven~~~~+

Let’s step out in faith and do and be what God leads us toward…..The Peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 65:17-25). The lion and the lamb will lie down together!

Pastor Barry

Not an Apostle but Close

Psalm 116:1-9, Romans 5:1-8 and Matthew 9:35-10:8

On this second Sunday after Pentecost we note that our national Flag Day falls on the 14th as well. It’s astounding when you realize the number of flags in the world, the number of nations! And how memorable our Pledge of Allegiance is when it calls us to “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We are people of faith in a specific nation as are millions throughout our planet. And as Christians, we identify with Jesus who calls us today just as he called that first group we know as Apostles. He pledged Himself to them 100% even if they failed Him multiple times. And the Gospel of Matthew names them: Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John and 8 more!
Remarkably, Jesus gives them authority and power to do a lot of good. He shares God’s call to mission with them weak and inadequate as they are!

The same authority is given to us 2000 years plus later! We should wave that “flag” as well as our country’s flag! It is a powerful Liberty we are given to serve freely our Savior and Friend Jesus. He has empowered us to do that very thing…serve others for the Kingdom of God!

This Sunday we will hear of these early Apostles and their descendants, that is, US! And other Christians around the world in different nations, under different flags but under One God known to us in Jesus Christ.

See you Sunday as you “listen in” to hear your name as well as the names of others even the Apostles!


Pastor Barry

One God the Trinity

Isaiah 1:12-18, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 and Matthew 28:16-20

If you ask a 4 year old, why we attend church on a Sunday, they will likely answer “to hear about God.” When our son Ben was around 2-3 he was seated in a high chair around the table and for some reason our talk was about church. I just asked him “who is Jesus?” Ben replied quickly, “God.” And he kept on playing with a toy as he spoke. He had no depth of understanding to his answer but had picked up enough from his Sunday school and worship attendance to unknowingly make a confession of faith about God and Jesus! Out of the mouth of babes!

We go to church to worship God and to be not only “hearers of the Word but doers” as well. We live in a troubled stretch of time and a word from God is sought. This Sunday is also, besides Trinity Sunday, a special day of the church year as it is Peace With Justice Sunday. So much could be said and needs to be said about our country and the world’s problems. In every town and home we hear social and economic updates on this and that, opinions, and proposed solutions.

Perhaps we first must speak of God and then seek peace with Justice as we remember and act upon the very relational nature of God as Trinity. So, we will do our faithful best to focus on God, listen and (re) learn who God is for us. Never a finished task but one that should lead to the very “abundance of life” Jesus calls us to in John 10:10. And from that we can lean into Peace with Justice for all. All should have “the abundant life” in Jesus.

We will sing the stories of faith, hear the scriptures, pray for one another, recite our historic Nicene Creed, recite The World Methodist Social Affirmation and believe. (If you have a UM hymnal at home, be sure to have it with you as we “live stream” our service). “O God, help Thou our unbelief.” And then continue “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Join us this Sunday in worship!

Pastor Barry

Troubles have Doubled

If you are like me, during the last two weeks you’ve felt like our national troubles have doubled. From COVID-19 anxieties and grief, to financial and employment disruption, now to an eruption of awareness of systemic injustices, there is a sense of being overwhelmed by the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

Even so, the person of faith, the Christ follower is ever seeking through prayer and scripture and the community of believers, a way forward and through these troubling times. There are as many opinions as there are people! Yet, the person of faith will always seek guidance from our primary sources of scripture, Church tradition, God-given reason, and personal experience. These should shape our opinions more than just what we read and hear from various social media.

Here are some scripture passages regarding “wise behavior” that you might meditate upon when your news and media sources leave you perplexed, frustrated or even fearful and angry. Chew upon these and let them “digest” and spiritually nurture your concerns.

•Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22, NIV

•Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible. Romans 12:18, TLB

•Steer clear of foolish discussions which lead people into the sin of anger with each other. 2 Timothy 2:16, TLB

•Don’t refuse to accept criticism; get all the help you can. Proverbs 23:12 TLB

•O mortal, the Lord has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV

Read and meditate upon these passages. And afterwards, we might also do well in contacting our various governmental authorities and representatives (local, state, national) encouraging them with your prayers and asking for their knowledge and experience and wisdom to be applied justly to the times we are living in.

Peace and grace to you in these trying times~~~~†

Pastor Barry