Sunday, April 30, 2017

Church Development in Nigeria

Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna speaks at a roundtable discussion in Lagos, Nigeria, in March. Organized by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the three-day roundtable focused on the future of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UMNS.
Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UMNS
Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna speaks at a roundtable discussion in Lagos, Nigeria, in March. Organized by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the three-day roundtable focused on the future of The United Methodist Church in Nigeria.
By the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel
April 7, 2017 | LAGOS, Nigeria (UMNS)
The United Methodist Church in Nigeria held a roundtable in Lagos, Nigeria, last month to develop a strategic plan for the future of the church.
Organized by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the three-day roundtable included more than 50 participants from the four annual conferences in Nigeria, as well as partners from the Iowa and Great Plains conferences and members of United Methodist general boards and agencies.
The roundtable meeting gave The United Methodist Church in Nigeria the opportunity to develop a clear mission statement and strategic plan for the next six years when the church will celebrate its centenary.
“This roundtable has helped our church to be more focused in mission, pushing us to put our faith into action,” said Ahmed A. Ahmed, a young adult who participated in the event.
The six-year plan includes providing micro-finance loans to women who run small businesses; strengthening health services; enhancing education and leadership development by upgrading Bayam Theological Seminary to a university; establishing a task force committee to promote reconciliation between the tribal faction of the church; enhancing evangelism and discipleship and empowering local congregations through agricultural training and initiatives. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Egg Hunt (3)


Notes only, no video
15-16 Apr 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Easter
Matthew 28.1-10 (message)
Isaiah 25.6-9 (also read)

Look! (Robin grabbing me by the elbow)
      Draw someone’s attention & focus (first robin of spring)

Look! The earthquake and the angel
      The tomb is opened, but Jesus is not to be found
      The tomb is opened, not for Jesus but for us
      The angel is there, not to assist Jesus
      The angel is there, to assist us to look and to witness
Delicious irony
      The dead man is alive
      The living men “became like dead men”
Chrysologus (c. 977), “The Tomb devours death and not the dead”
But: “Don’t you be afraid” (the women)
      “you are looking for Jesus, the crucified man”
            Appropriate that we celebrate the Lord’s Table
            Jesus, risen, retains his identity and wounds as crucified
Look – direct your attention and focus to the drama that must not be missed

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Africa University Farm

Agatha Muagura speaks softly to the chicken she has selected to slaughter as part of a training exercise at the Africa University farm in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Muagura, a freshman agriculture student from Mozambique, wants to be a farmer. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

By Kathy L. Gilbert
April 10, 2017 | MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS)

Freshman Agatha Muagura whispers to the plump white chicken she is cradling in her arms. The bird is remarkably docile after being chased down, swung around by its feet and shoved on top of a scale for weighing.
Next lesson for Muagura — slaughtering and pulling out the innards. Next step for the chicken — Africa University dining hall.

Even though it is the end of the road for the chicken, really, until today, that chicken had a happy life.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Do You Know What I Have Done to You?

Notes only, no video
13 Apr 2017, Community Maundy Thursday @ Presbyterian Church
John 13.1-17, 31b-35 (message)

Text: Missing institution of the Lord’s Table
      John 6, feeding the multitude, bread from heaven, Passover
      This is John’s story of the last night, last teaching
      “Prologue to Passion” (F.D. Bruner)

Problem addressed: How to relate to an absent Jesus
      Supper addresses absence
            Proclaim death until he comes, 1Co 11.26
      This Sermon (of Jesus) addresses absence
·       John 13:1  Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father.
·       John 13:3  knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God
·       John 13:33  Little children, I am with you only a little longer.
·       John 13:33  Where I am going, you cannot come.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Egg Hunt! (2)

I Will Rise

Peculiar Limo

When you see a stretch limo cruise by, you probably wonder who is inside. A celebrity, a CEO of a large company, a foreign dignitary? For people in the know in Peculiar, they are more likely to think, “Probably some kids going to youth group at their church.”

Peculiar UMC does not own a limousine. The church’s pastor does, though. It’s his daily driver. Rev. James Stanfield-Myers bought a Jeep a while back with the intention of handing the keys over to his son, Whitman, when he got his license. That seemed like a long ways away when Whitman was 11 years old, but the fateful day came around. Stanfield-Myers considered replacing his Jeep with another one, until he started pricing them. 

"They had gone up significantly,” he said. So, he started brainstorming, and shopping, about what kind of fun wheels he could get that wouldn’t break the bank, knowing that college bills loomed in the future. During his initial online shopping, he learned that you could get a real deal on a used hearse. “We figured our home owners association would not appreciate us having a hearse parked in our driveway all the time,” Stanfield-Myers said.

The rest of the story ...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Members

Bob and Gwen, presented by Sue, make their vows on March 26. Welcome!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Another new Eagle Scout

Celebrating Tyler on March 26. So blessed to be partnered with an excellent Scout troop, developing leadership and character in our young men! The final pic is of some of the guys (and a fearless leader) doing the Pizza Hut - Jabba the Hutt song.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

True Love and Easter

You are invited to discover the extravagant love of God in Jesus Christ! Forgiving, faithful . . . and REAL.

Join us in worship at any of our three services each weekend:

  • 6:00 pm Saturday, contemporary (guitar and percussion)
    • simple Easter Vigil on Saturday April 15
  • 8:30 am Sunday, traditions (organ and piano)
  • 10:45 am Sunday, traditions + choirs, including 
    • bells and children's choirs
    • professionally staffed nursery
    • children's church most Sundays during the message

Bring the whole family and enjoy our annual Easter Eggstravaganza (egg hunt) on Sunday April 9 at 2:00 pm.

Check out our ActionChurch opportunities for hands-on mission and service through partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Mission Central, the Mountain Top Food Bank, and more.

Consider being part of one of our smaller groups, whether in small groups during the week, our youth group, or Sunday School.

Wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome here!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Egg Hunt!

Thanks to Michele and team for another wonderful hunt! Over 150 kids and families enjoyed a beautiful day and the hospitality of Jesus.

Stuffing Eggs

Thanks to everyone who made a fantastic egg hunt possible!

Of Sinners and Salvation

08-09 Apr 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Palms
Psalm 118 (call to worship)
Matthew 21.1-9 (kids)
Matthew 26.17-35 (message)

Triumphal Entry, with folded palm crosses

STORY: tough guy Stan Dale, martyr, Lords of the Earth, by Don Richardson
      As a young man with a proud military tradition in the family, this really appealed to me.  If I could prove my faith, demonstrate my loyalty, through the fire of suffering and martyrdom . . . . Well, what more could you ask?  (Remember, I’m also the guy who got rid of the mattress to sleep on plywood so that I could prepare myself for such hardships.)

Martyrdom is certainly in the Book, but discipleship is a bit more complicated.  We understand that holiness and faith and integrity are simple and clear, but the waters of real life are far from pristine.  Most of us have had the experience of feeling that we’re doing good, our faith is secure, our heart is pure and ... then our souls erupt with something truly filthy.  Where did that come from?  Jeremiah the prophet says, “The heart is devious above all else.  It is perverse – who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

I appreciate that the story of Holy Week includes the sublime and the perverse, martyrdom and cowardice, forgiveness and sin.  It’s a story I need, mainly because my life is not as sublime as I’d like.  Today we travel from Matthew’s story of the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday to Holy Thursday in Passion Week.  Thursday is the night in which Jesus institutes the Lord’s Table as a sacrament for the church.  And it is the night on which the church is revealed as a total failure.
      In offering the bread and the cup, Jesus gives it to us “for the forgiveness of sins”.  In the cycle of the story, he first tells them, “One of you will betray me.”  And, after the Table, he tells them, “All of you will desert me.”  Holy Communion, the Salvation Feast, is a feast for sinners.  That’s what the church is, first and foremost: a community of sinners.  If we ever forget this, then we will never become a community of saints.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dead: Fail Forward (4)

01-02 Apr 2017, Christ Mountain Top, Lent 5
Psalm 130 (call to worship, confession)
John 11.1-45 (kids)
Ezekiel 37.1-14 (message)

Rob Weber, revival service

      “Mortal, can these bones live?”
      “Lord, you know”

Mostly dead … The Princess Bride
The “man in black,” after having his life sucked out of him by “the machine” is taken to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) and Valerie (Carol Kane)

Israel destroyed as a nation-state

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Prayers at the Lord's Table

This year, during Lent, I am using the Ambrosian Eucharistic Prefaces as part of our prayers at the Lord's Table (celebrated monthly on Sunday mornings and weekly on Saturday nights). Bishop Ambrose of Milan is one of the great figures in church history and was part of the conversion and discipleship story of Saint Augustine. Here is Alan Griffiths' translation of one of the Eucharistic Prefaces for the 3rd Sunday of Lent:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always, here and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

When you blessed the seed of Abraham long ago,
you foretold in his posterity
the coming of Christ your Son in human flesh;
and that same multitude of nations
which you promised to Abraham and his descendants
you have gathered now
from every people and tribe and language,
and bound them together in the Church of Christ,
in which we rejoice to receive the gift of that blessing
once promised to our holy ancestors.

And so, Lord God, with angels and all saints
we exult and glorify your holy name:

Holy . . .

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Blind Shall See

Another "Eucharistic preface" from the Ambrosian Rite (Milan), translated by Alan Griffiths, this one for the 4th Sunday of Lent:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
to give you thanks and praise, Lord God,
with every power of mind and body,
because through you the blindness of the world is ended
and for those in darkness the true light has shone forth.

Among the brightest miracles of your saving power
you bade the man born blind to gain his sight.
In this you gave us an image
of how the human race,
afflicted from its beginning by blindness,
would receive your healing light
in the sacred waters of Baptism.

And so, with the choirs of angels,
we praise your glory, now and for ever
as with one voice we sing:

Holy . . .

From We Give You Thanks and Praise (Alan Griffiths).