The online bulletin is back at https://abilenefirstumc.org/bulletin/.
I (John) haven’t preached a sermon since May 12, 2019. So I’m really looking forward to preaching tomorrow (June 22, 2019). To make up for lost time, I plan to preach not one, but rather three sermons. Fear not, they will be short (about 5 minutes each). I’ll be preaching on 1 Kings 19:1-15; Galatians 3:23-29; and Luke 8:26-39.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 reads “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (NRSV). Because of these verses, we sometimes pray for the leaders of our government in the opening prayer on Sunday morning.
You may have seen a call by Franklin Graham for Christians to pray for Donald J. Trump this Sunday. That isn’t going to happen at First UMC. For starters, we usually pray for elected officials by position and not by name in order to be non-partisan. Also, if you think we should pray for Trump by name at the behest of Franklin Graham, I would ask you to consider how you would feel if the popular vote had carried the day, Hillary Clinton was president, and Jessie Jackson was asking us to pray for her.
In my own personal prayers, I pray for President Trump on a regular basis, just as I prayed for President Obama, President Bush, and President Clinton. As far as corporate prayer as a gathered congregation, I think our present policy is best.
We’re observing All Saints/Memorial Sunday tomorrow. We’ll be honoring the following members who passed away since the last time we observed All Saints Day. Here’s the list. Please let us know if we’ve missed anyone.
- Orban Haas, June 2, 2018
- Phyllis Frederich, June 7, 2018
- Ralph Hilton, September 28, 2018
- Jerry Sleichter, October 24, 2018
- Charles “Bud” Bankes, November 26, 2018
- Kenneth Brown, December 3, 2018
- Gary Coleman, December 23, 2018
- Rose Marie Rogers, January 8, 2019
- Phyllis Newell, January 21, 2019
- Wendell Gugler, February 11, 2019
- Paula Peterson, February 21, 2019
- Mary Ruth Dieter, April 14, 2019
- Robert Bottorff, May 6, 2019
Last Sunday, the old computer that we used for running the worship slides decided it didn’t want to work properly anymore. Since we typically have middle school or high school students (who use iPads for school) running the slides we decided to save money and replace the old computer with an iPad.
I plugged the new iPad in and had everything all set up, but I didn’t relay all the relevant information to the person running slides and sound. So the small snag we encountered during this afternoon’s worship service was my fault. Things have been relabeled to ensure that the next time something goes wrong, it will be something else entirely.
At present we don’t have very many copies of Worship and Song (the green songbook). We would like to have enough copies to place them in the pews throughout the sanctuary. For that reason the Memorials Committee is inviting people to donate a copy in memory of someone they love for $12. We hope to have someone in the narthex/lobby with bookplates you can fill out this coming Sunday.
Last night’s Tenebrae service was powerful and moving as it always is, but I need to make a note to myself (and hopefully, because it’s public, other people will remind me). That note: And Can It Be That I Should Gain doesn’t work even when sung to the familiar tune of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross because it’s just too long.
This past Sunday (April 14, 2019) we welcomed our newest member Easton James Heger, the son of Heather James and Michael Heger. He was baptized at the 8:15 worship service.
NO COMMUNION SERVICE ON WEDNESDAY
Because there will be communion at the Holy Thursday service, we will not be having a Wednesday evening communion service this week.
HOLY THURSDAY SERVICE
This year’s Holy Thursday service will be held on: Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. It will be a service of Tenebrae (Latin for darkness) and will include Holy Communion. Children are welcome, but they may have a hard time appreciating the service.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
We will be holding a Good Friday service at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2019. This will be an “interactive” Good Friday service designed with children and youth in mind.
Last Sunday’s worship services were led by the 2019 Confirmation Class. They did a great job and we’re glad to have each and every one of them as professing members. Pictured above, from left to right: Carson Woodworth, Jensen Woodworth, Jack Hunter, Troy Boyd, Blair Adams, Joy Clemence, and Ava Crist.
Rev. Rick Saylor will be filling the pulpit for Jenny and I on May 19, 2019. Jenny and I are using a vacation Sunday and will be out of town.
In last Sunday’s sermon, I talked about how fundamentalism/biblical literalism doesn’t actually work—the most revealing tell being that even the staunchest fundamentalist are fundamentalist about everything in the Bible (very few people have given away all but one coat). Everyone interprets the Bible, although not everyone admits it. In my sermon this coming Sunday, I plan to talk about one way of understanding biblical authority, or more accurately—since all authority on heaven and earth belongs to God—how God exercises some of God’s authority through the Bible. I’ve got the first draft down, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.