Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Life Design 2: Dance of Delight



2019 Discipleship series
19-20 Oct 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying, Psalm 25.1-7 (1-10)
Children, Genesis 2.25 – 3.10
Message, Zephaniah 3.8-20, Mark 1.9-11

Last week, as we began this message series on Life Design, our fall invitation to discipleship theme, we explored Disruption. Every one of our lives is disrupted at some point. Cancer, grief, divorce, job loss, and a hundred other losses along the way. Demands of the job that are so extreme that we lack time to even contemplate how to change it. Every one of our days is disrupted. A simple sit-down becomes an unexpected grievance. The rush out the door becomes a broken plate. The dog gets loose. The milk turns. We’re out of that one indispensable ingredient to make dinner.
       When the little disruptions pile up or when a really big one comes along, we identify with the poet Dante: “In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost” (Cited in Whyte, 1). Yet, our theme Scripture:

Theme Scripture, 2019: Ephesians 3:18-21  I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,  21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Today’s theme is the Dance of Delight. Next week, Dare and Dream. Then, Detour, Discern, and Decide. Today, Dance of Delight. [Video of my dance on the rock.] And, quite honestly, dance finds its place in the midst of Disruption. That is, in fact, the best place for the dance of delight.  And I would suggest that just about every one of us has found a way to delight, to dance, in the midst of some disruption. I do not suggest that we delight in the disruption itself but find delight elsewhere in our lives that gives us strength to endure the disruption. A couple weeks back, I saw a delightful disruption story on the news. During halftime at a high school football game in the southwest, in the middle of the band’s program, the sprinkler system went off. And the band played on. They didn’t forget their dance steps.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Monday, October 28, 2019

Generosity: From one hurricane afflicted church to another


Lynn Haven UMC (LHUMC), located in the heart of the Hurricane Michael devastation, knows the pain and heartache of losing everything. On October 10, 2018, Michael was relentless with its power. Many members of Lynn Haven UMC lost their homes, business, jobs and their church home. Since last fall, the church has met in the parking lot and now meets at Bay Haven Charter Academy to continue ministry in the best way they can. Just days after the storm made landfall, the church was distributing supplies and meals to their neighbors. 

After seeing the complete devastation Hurricane Dorian left behind in the Bahamas, the LHUMC family immediately mobilized and identified Bahamas Methodist Habitat as the best way to help. 
On Sunday, September 8, 2019, LHUMC collected a special offering during communion designated for the Bahamas Methodist Habitat. The church communicated to the members that they would use church mission funds to match their individual contributions up to $2,500. The initial offering was over $8,800; meaning at least $11,300 will be sent to the relief effort. To date, the congregation has collected over $10,000 and anticipates even more money to be collected through online and text efforts. 

Kite Fest (3 of 3)




Thanks as well to all our sponsors!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Danced Delight


In the middle of the front lawn as the electrical line for the new sign is put in.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Life Design (1): Disruption



12-13 Oct 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying, Isaiah 44.6-8 (6:00 pm only)
Children, Genesis 28.10-22
Message, Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43
Mission Moment, World Communion Sunday (observed), Pounding the Pastor completed

Many of you have heard by now that mom fell out of bed on Thursday a week back, hitting her head hard against the floor. Miraculously, there was no concussion, no fracture, and no internal bleeding. By Friday evening, she was home from the hospital and on Saturday headed out with us and a caregiver on family vacation! We are so grateful. It was a disruption, our theme for today. And, all of that messed with my brain! For the first time ever I left on vacation and didn’t pack underwear or socks. See, this story is all about me. It is my disruption. Does it destroy the design? Well, if we’re talking about whether or not it messes with my plans and expectations for vacation … of course it does. But if we are talking about a flexible, evolving plan, headed in a clear if a bit general direction, responsive to circumstance and prepared to adapt … not one bit.

Theme Scripture, 2019: Ephesians 3:18-21  I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,  21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

“In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost” (Dante, in Whyte, 1).
       Over and over as a pastor I have heard this refrain. My wife, my husband, my child died unexpectedly, long before their time. And I feel lost. I’ve been stuck in the same dead-end job for the last ten years, but I can’t get anything else. Am I destined to this misery? My husband, my wife, my partner left me. And I can’t trust anyone anymore. I’ve worked for the same company for thirty years and was just downsized. How do I start over? I hate my work, and I’ve found my passion, but I have too much debt to just quit and start over. I’m trapped with no way out. Whatever design we had for our life has been disrupted, or entirely destroyed. What now?

Kite Fest (2 of 3)




Thanks to the Scouts for bringing the shooting gallery.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Memory

Candles lit in memory ... at the service of hope, healing and remembrance hosted by Mountain Top CARES, a group for persons affected by Substance Use Disorder.

Monday, October 21, 2019

You Have One Job



Thanks to Joel Shuman for preaching on Oct 6 while I was on vacation!

You Have One Job…
A Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Christ United Methodist Church
October 6, 2019

Lamentations 3:19-26
Psalm 137
Luke 17:5-10

The Reading:

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here at once and take your place at the table'? Would you not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?

So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'"
Getting Real about the Text:
            That Jesus. About the time you think you have him figured out – when you think you have a handle on what he’s up to – he goes and does something like this, calling his closest friends, and by extension all of us, “worthless slaves.” Such language seems unbecoming, especially from someone who’s always talking about love and forgiveness and every other kind of pleasantry. Surely there’s a mistake here: maybe a dyspeptic medieval scribe who thought the gospel needed to be edgier, or a translator who lacked an appreciation for the nuances of koine Greek?

Lament

Friday, October 18, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The New Birth (Saving Grace #4)



28-29 Sep 2019, Christ Mountain Top
Praying, Psalm 51
Children, 2 Kings 4.8-37
Message, John 3.1-18

Our fall ROOTS message series this year has looked at four of John Wesley’s 53 standard sermons. We’ve focused on themes of salvation and grace. We started with Salvation by Faith, then The Almost Christian and The Witness of the Spirit. Today, we finish this series with The New Birth (sermon 39).

I talked about this theme with a friend once and he remarked, "Well, my wife is not going to like this. No new birth in our house!" It was a joke, and it is based on the mistake Nicodemus made when he was meeting with Jesus: Literalism. But Jesus was speaking figuratively, not literally – and speaking truth: "You MUST be born again."

Today, most folks have heard the expression "born again". It has become, for some, a description of a certain kind of Christian person. "Are you a Christian?" "Yes, but I’m not one of those ‘born-again-ers’." It has become associated with aggressive evangelism, judgmental conviction, and narrow-mindedness. Of course, that doesn’t even vaguely resemble Jesus, who gives us this phrase. So, I suggest to you that any negative associations you have with the expression be laid aside as we look at the biblical text through the lens of John Wesley.

A little background: The expression "born again" shows up only on two passages in the Bible. One is in Jesus’ meeting with Nicodemus in John 3, a passage that uses the phrase more than once. The other is in 1 Peter 1.23. Both cases use the phrase the same way, and both are translated into English in multiple ways: "born again", "born from above", "born anew". A parallel phrase, "born of the Spirit", shows up in Galatians 4.29 as well as in John 3 with Nicodemus. Notice that in this image, it is the Spirit of God who gives birth, a decidedly feminine image.

New Member!

In Christ Alone

Band opening, 29 Sept



Elisha and the Shunnamite

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pounding the Pastor

Pastor JP weighing in ... this Sunday 13 Oct is the final day for our food drive to bring in many multiples of JP's weight in food and financial gifts to the Mountain Top Food Bank.

Church Picnic





Thanks to Tim for coordinating the meats and hosting the event and to Kim and Lexi for providing some fun games - like the water balloon toss. It was a great Sunday together!

Sign Project




Prep work for the sign project, led by Dalton. Removal of the old Children's Ark sign and removal of  a shrub planted inside the brick wall around the old church sign.

See You at the Pole


Local high school and middle school students gather for prayer at the start of the school day on 25 Sept.

Pasties

If you have enjoyed those pasties, they have supported Dalton's Eagle Scout project to provide a new church sign. Here's Dalton preparing some of the dough in advance.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Baptism!




On Sunday 25 Aug, we celebrated the baptisms of Paige and Connor! Welcome to the family!

Open Table Outdoors




On Saturday 24 Aug, our alternative service, AKA "Open Table," moved to our picnic and recreation grounds for an outdoor service and cookout. Who let the dogs out?