This coming Sunday, September 25, 2022, I’ll be preaching on Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15. It’s one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament and I’m looking forward to sharing my take with all of you. But I’m even more excited to have the choir performing “African Psalm” by Patrick Liebergen. They’ll be joined by Kurt Gartner and Cole Parsons on percussion and Carol O’Neill on the flute.
Last Sunday’s sermon was titled: “#BeUMC: Reading Scripture Through United Methodist Eyes.” In that sermon, we talked about Article IV of the Confession of Faith, in which the role of Scripture is strongly confirmed. An excerpt: “We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation.”
But Scripture is not the only source of theology for United Methodists. (It’s the main source, but not the only source.) We also use tradition, reason, and experience. We need all four if we are to think through our faith for ourselves and thus make it our own. The Book of Discipline affirms that “all Christians are called to theological reflection.”
This United Methodist Church recognizes the necessity of theological reflection and the existence of a large amount of diversity within that theological reflection. Again, from The Book of Discipline, “the Church encourages serious reflection across the theological spectrum.” This statement affirms the need for a well-reasoned faith, while also acknowledging the fact that our theological reflection often leads us to different places.
This encouragement to reason things out and to think for myself is another part of what I love about being United Methodist. The working title for my next sermon is “BeUMC: Making Sense of Things.” My texts include Acts 11:1-18, 1 Corinthians 15:12-28, and 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.
Warning: I may get a little worked up Sunday. (But my ire won’t be directed at any of you.) I’m going to talk about how United Methodists value and use scripture. The sermon title is “#BeUMC: Reading Scripture with United Methodist Eyes.” I’ll be responding to the charge that we, as a church and as individuals, don’t take the Bible seriously. It’s a charge that I have really grown to resent in recent years.
I chose this topic for this week because it’s also the Sunday when we present Bibles to third graders. Hope to see you there.
This Sunday (August 14, 2022), I’m continuing my #BeUMC series with a sermon on the Means of Grace titled “Experiencing the Presence of God.” Our scriptures will be Philippians 2:1-13 and John 15:4-5.
This Sunday, I’m continuing my #BeUMC sermon series with a sermon on the United Methodist understanding of grace. Grace is commonly understood as God’s forgiveness of our sins. In the broader, biblical, (and United Methodist) understanding, grace includes the forgiveness of sins. But a better, more comprehensive, working definition would be that grace is a combination of God’s power and God’s love at work in the world, seeking to redeem all humanity and all creation. My text will be from Ephesians 2:1-10 with a nod to Philippians 2:12.
This Sunday, I’m preaching the first in a sermon series titled “What’s So Great About Being United Methodist?” or, to go with the denomination’s social media campaign, “#BeUMC.” Our beloved denomination hasn’t had the easiest time of it lately, but there are many reasons for us to stick with it. Reasons both theological and missional. This first sermon will feature one of the reasons theological, focusing on our belief that love is God’s reigning attribute. My text will be 1 John 4:7-21. I’ll be referencing John Wesley’s interpretation of this passage, but I aim to preach a sermon of interest to United Methodists and non-United Methodists alike.
Here’s the key quote from Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament:
God is often styled holy, righteous, wise: but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom in the abstract: as he is said to be love: intimating that this is . . . [God’s] reigning attribute; the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections. 
 John Wesley, Notes on the New Testament, 1 John 4:8.
“Coming Home” has been our theme this Advent and it’s also my informal sermon theme for Christmas Eve. I could use a little help. How do you know when you are home? Or, what does “home” mean to you. Replies to firstname.lastname@example.org or 620-252-9622.
Tomorrow, I’ll be preaching on Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 21:34-38. The first Advent candle will be lit by the Vinduska family at the 8:15 service and the Holt family at the 10:30 service. Shauni Larson and Joy Clemence will be liturgists. The choir will be singing “Our Hope is in Emmanuel” and our hymns will include “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Joy to the World.”
We’ll be honoring our members who have attained the age of 90 years or more this Sunday. I’ll also be preaching a second sermon on Ruth. This one on the second half of the book. You won’t need to have heard last week’s sermon in order to follow this week’s, but if you want to listen to it you can do so here. The choir will be singing The River of Life.
I’m always happy to see one of our “Love Kindness” (Micah 6:8) still up in a yard around town. Have you ever looked at one of those signs and wondered what it means, exactly, to “Love Kindness.” I’ll be talking about that this Sunday, October 31, 2021, as we take a closer look at Ruth 1:1-18.
Also, a friendly reminder to bring your candy if you want to donate to the youth’s Drive-Thru Trick-or-Treat project.
This coming Sunday (October 24, 2021), I’m preaching on Mark 10:46-52, which tells the story of Jesus healing Bartimaeus of his blindness. Bart was persistent and made his way to Jesus despite his disability and the opposition of those around him. That prompts several questions: what’s keeping you from Jesus, what’s keeping you from being the disciple Jesus has called you to be, the person God created you to be? I would love to hear from you. You can text 620-252-9622 or email email@example.com.
Tomorrow morning (Sunday, October 16, 2021), I’ll be delivering a message on the hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.” This old hymn provides a lot of information about the goal of Christian living in our present age. The choir will be back with the anthem “Blessed Assurance.”