Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Love Has Won: Conquering

Unfortunately, neither video nor audio is available for this message.

Love Has Won: Conquering                           \1Jn 01-05 Conquering
05-06 May 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 98 (6:00 pm Open Table only)
Children, Acts 10
Message, 1 John 1.1-5, 3.1-3, 4.1-7, 5.1-8

Our journey through this “love letter”
      Showing the love of God in a world structured by hatreds
      Experiencing the forgiveness of sin and forgiving the sins of others
      Uniting people across deep division and difference
      Putting an end to the practice of sin in our own lives

Today our theme is “conquering”, in some ways already addressed
      Sin’s power over us – compelled to repeat the same mistakes
      Sin’s power over us – fear, judgment (in John’s language)
      Division’s power over us – race, gender, class, political party, sexuality, religious background, national origin, favorite sports team

This separation from our own Self and from the Other is a symptom of what John calls the teaching of the antichrist, the rejection that Jesus came in the flesh, the repudiation of resurrection, the denial of the Father and the Son. The antichrist is so spiritual that human connection is unnecessary. Not at all. It is in those basic human connections of father and son, mother and daughter, spouses and partners that we become fully human. The antichrist is so spiritual that all our intimacies must be transcended. By no means! It is in the physical intimacies of a hug or handshake, of changing a diaper or feeding someone with a disability, of a kiss on the cheek or combing the hair that we encounter the soul of the other and even the soul of Jesus.
      As a father, I rushed through a lot of that with my boys. I was very efficient. I could change a diaper with such speed. My percentage of spray was much less than Robin’s. Gradually I learned to slow down. Driving them to music lessons or ball practice doesn’t have to be about efficiency. It is an opportunity for connection. And when we connect with another, when we love a brother or sister, we join the ranks of conquerors, of those who overcome the spirit of the antichrist at work in our world (4.3, 5.4).

Boehm's Chapel

Our visit to Boehm's Chapel, where our confirmands dressed in period clothing.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Missionaries in Cote d'Ivoire

United Methodist missionaries Francine Mpanga Mufuk (left) and the Rev. Jean Claude Masuka Maleka lead a Bible study at Nazareth United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The married couple are both from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
Story by Heather Hahn, photos by Mike DuBose
May 1, 2018 | ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS)
To see United Methodist mission in action, check out the ministry of a husband-and-wife team of missionaries in Côte d’Ivoire.
Together, Francine Mpanga Mufuk and the Rev. Jean Claude Masuka Maleka — both from the Democratic Republic of Congo — wed the work of evangelism and development.
Helping to make their missionary work possible is financial and prayer support from diverse local churches — with perspectives across the denomination’s theological spectrum.
At a time when many United Methodists are debating whether the church should stay united, Maleka points to missionary work as something that binds the denomination together.
“As a missionary, I pray for the unity of the church,” he said. “God is God of all, no matter who you are.”

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Some Gave All

The World War II memorial in Washington, DC.

Long's Barn, since 1767

Following in the footsteps of our ancestors in faith - Martin Boehm and Philip William Otterbein met here at a "Great Meeting" in 1767! The first stop on our Confirmation Class field trip to Lancaster County.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Cub Scout Dens

We've got a fantastic team of leaders, parents, and boys in Pack 106! So glad to be their sponsoring organization.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mission Meals

Thanks to the youth and parents for an outstanding set of meals - all to support their summer mission trip!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

UMCOR approves over $46 million in grants!

By Bella Simonetti*
“We take for granted the monumental work that we in The United Methodist Church do,” said Bishop Thomas Bickerton, the board president for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). “It’s normal to us, but it’s viewed as exceptional work by the outside world.” 
UMCOR’s board of directors approved an unprecedented amount in the form of grants during the annual spring board meeting. More than $46 million was awarded in support of disaster relief and recovery, global health projects, and sustainable development. 
A significant amount of money was approved for grants supporting ongoing recovery projects related to 2017 disasters, including wildfires in California and hurricanes. 
It is estimated that last year’s hurricanes caused more than $200 billion worth of damage in the United States. To alleviate some of the burden on impacted communities in the United States and in the Caribbean, UMCOR approved $7 million in grants during its 2017 fall board meeting

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Opening Day

Pastor JP and Zoe in the Opening Day parade and giving the invocation and blessing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

United Methodist orphanage in Congo

By Philippe Kituka Lolonga
April 6, 2018 | GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)
Delphin Mukandira Nduba began living at the orphanage in 1997. Today, he is a carpenter.
“It is for me the occasion to express my gratitude to Mother Adolphine Okako and The United Methodist Church for their blessings in my life.”
He said the schooling he received has helped him to be able to educate his three children.
“My life is the work of God and I ask others not to neglect the orphans. God bless the Mother Adolphine Okako for her work to this orphanage ministry,” Nduba said.

Praise the Name of the Lord our God 2018-0429

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Shout to the Lord

Mother Knows Best

John Wesley’s mom raised her children in the faith. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.
A Feature by Joe Iovino*
Few moms know what it’s like to raise ten children like Susanna Wesley.** Her son John, the founder of the Methodist movement, published a letter in which his mom shared her “principal rules” for parenting, covering things big and small.
Because our understandings of child development have changed greatly in the nearly 300 years since Susanna was raising her kids, we might not agree with all of her advice. But some still rings true today.

Religious education

Devotions – “The children of this family were taught, as soon as they could speak, the Lord’s prayer, which they were made to say at rising and bedtime constantly,” Susanna reminded her son.
Worship and Music – When the Wesley children were a little older, the day began with reading or singing a psalm, reading an Old Testament chapter, and saying private prayers—all before breakfast. At the end of the school day, they paired up to read a psalm and a New Testament chapter.
Sabbath – Sundays were special in the Wesley house. The children “were very early made to distinguish the sabbath from other days,” Susanna wrote. Even when the kids were very young, they were expected to participate in the family prayers, “which they used to do by signs before they would kneel or speak.”


Focus – In the Wesley household, nine to noon and two to five were reserved for the children’s education, a top priority for Susanna. “It is almost incredible what a child may be taught in a quarter of a year, by a vigorous application,” she remembered.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Tiny church at the center of the community

The Rev. Heike Miller (right) visits with Dieter Kugelmann outside the United Methodist Church in Lorsbach, Germany, during Café Gegenüber, a weekly gathering for coffee, cake and conversation. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
Story by Vicki Brown, photos by Mike DuBose
April 9, 2018 | LORSBACH, Germany (UMNS)
A weekly gathering for “kaffe und kuchen” hosted by a tiny 12-member United Methodist church has transformed one village and its relationship with the church while raising money for a life-changing education program in Ghana.
Lorsbacher Gemeinde (Lorsbach United Methodist Church) of the Frankfurt Church of the Caller Circuit began the Café Gegenüeber last year, with a trial opening during the summer months.
“We wanted to do it for the people here,” said Helga Saalbach, a member of the church. “A long, long time it was our dream to have a café. The main purpose was to raise money, next to give the love of Jesus.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Invention of the Wheel

From the annual Blue and Gold banquet of Cub Scout Pack 106. Thanks to these tremendous leaders!

Love Has Won, Not Sinning

28-29 Apr 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 22:25-31
Children, Acts 8.26-40
Message, 1 John 2.15-17, 3.4-15, 5.16-21

·       1 John 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
·       1 John 3:6  no one who sins has either seen him or known him.
·       1 John 3:8  Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil
Our survey 2 weeks back – you all raised your hands to say you were sinners … Just sayin’

Of the reading in 1 John 3, one commentator writes, “Perhaps the preacher should take a hint form the Lectionary and take a vacation from this text” (D. Moody Smith, cited by Black, 415).

Then, the reading in 1 John 5, on “mortal sin”, which doesn’t show up in the lectionary either.
·       Thanks John for nothing. Mortal, venial, 7 deadly sins
·       Doesn't name one!
·       Only lists one command, a two-parter, love brother and sister and believe in Christ Jesus (1 John 3.23)
·       Murder, to hate brother or sister
·       Lie, to say we have not sinned.

Processing this cognitive dissonance:
·       Contradictory is not the same thing as contradicting himself. “But yesterday, you said…” “Today ain’t yesterday.”
·       No attempt to systematize. Both the problem and the fun of the Bible.
·       Listening in on half a conversation

JOKE: I was traveling back to my hometown and, responding to Mother Nature, decided to stop at one of those rest areas on the side of the road.
I went into the washroom. The first stall was taken, so I went into the second stall. I had just sat down when I heard a voice from the other stall.

“Hi there, how is it going?”

I am not the type to strike up conversations with strangers while sitting on the john in restrooms on the side of the road. I didn’t know what to do, but finally I said, “Not bad.”

Then the voice said, “So, what are you doing?”

At this point, I was starting to find the situation a bit weird, but I said, “Well, I’m headed back east.”

Then I heard the person, all flustered, say, “Look, I’ll call you back. Every time I ask you a question, the idiot in the next stall keeps answering me!!!”

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Love Has Won, Uniting

21-22 Apr 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 23
Children, John 10.1-18
Message, 1 John 3.14-24, 4.16-21, 5.1-5.3

Our world today is deeply divided, polarized. We live our lives and perceive the other in caricature. We have lots of enemies (and I’m not even thinking of foreign affairs and military power), and we’re quite content to hate them. We’ll protest that we’re not “haters.” Good enough. But in John’s language, we either love or we hate. There’s not any middle ground of “meh.” So, if we’ve got people in our lives that we really don’t love … John might be asking us some pointed questions.

Chris Swallick – Yankee fan. Me an Oriole fan. Jeffrey Maier. Married couple who are Yankee and Red Sox fans. Chris: That might be tougher than Republican and Democrat. John tells us that we cannot love God and hate brothers or sisters. That is, if we have hatred in our hearts toward someone else, we aren’t in the love of God, we are, to some significant degree, separating ourselves from God. God always loves us, no matter how ridiculous we are, but that does not mean that we cannot cut ourselves off from God by holding onto hate.
      To address the Republican-Democrat thing…. The Scripture commands us to pray “for all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2.1-2). When Barak Obama was president, a lot of folks couldn’t stand him or his policies. What did I say to them? “Pray for him.” It is an act of love. Now that Donald Trump is president, a lot of folks can’t stand him and his policies. What do I say? “Pray for him.” It is an act of love. Our friends in recovery, working the Twelve Steps, understand this. They learn to pray for those who have hurt them, and find in that prayer a freedom they did not have before.
      Love in 1 John is not some cozy feeling, an affectionate regard. Love is chosen. Love is intentional. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4.19). We weren’t loved by God because we were already good. We weren’t loved by God because we shared God’s vision and policies for the future of the planet. We weren’t loved by God because we were so stinkin’ cute. We weren’t loved by God because of our party affiliation. We are loved by God because God chooses to love us, as messed up as we are. And this love we now share, because we were first loved by God, is not just for God in return. It is for others! “Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” (1 John 4.20-21).

New Eagle Scout

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

HIV testing in the Congo

Laboratory assistant Marguerite Losowa administers an HIV test at the United Methodist Health Center in Irambo in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UMNS.
By Philippe Kituka Lolonga
March 28, 2018 | BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)
United Methodist hospitals in the Democratic Republic of Congo are escalating efforts to fight the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa. One focus is educating women about the importance of HIV/AIDS testing.
“The lack of sufficient information to some women,” said Marcel Omelo, HIV/AIDS supervisor in East Congo, contributes to HIV transmission. He emphasized the need to educate both men and women “in order to prevent contamination and to save their families from its impacts, particularly from a socioeconomic point of view.”
As a first step, United Methodist hospitals in three cities — Bukavu, Goma and Uvira — are conducting awareness sessions. At the United Methodist Health Center in Irambo, for example, Dr. Damas Lushima provides monthly meetings to encourage women to take a more active role in combating the disease. One way is through voluntary testing for HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Washing Feet

By Kathy L. Gilbert
March 29, 2018 | POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (UMNS)
On the week that Jesus died, he washed his disciples’ feet as an example of what he wanted them to do for others.
Lots of folks at Christ Church, a United Methodist congregation, get that message.
On Palm Sunday, March 25, a line of homeless people gently curved around the side of Pompano Beach (Florida) Chapel. Eagerly awaiting them were humble volunteers wearing bright red T-shirts and welcoming smiles.

Amazing Grace & Mighty to Save

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Kids at Easter

Including the ceramic Easter eggs we give out to all the children.