Guest Preaching Schedule

This information made it into the bulletin, but not the blog. My apologies. Here’s a list our guest preachers in June. (I’ll be preaching on June 23.)

  • June 2 — Susan Mercer of Wesley KU (John and Jenny will be present and will lead the worship service)
  • June 9 — Amanda Cormack
  • June 16 — Amanda Cormack
  • June 30 — Mark Queen

All Saints/Memorial Sunday

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


Just passing on a few things we’ve received via email:

From Neighbor to Neighbor: Sandbags are available at NE Second Street, for pick-up by residents in the 67410 zip code.  Need help transporting and placing sandbags? Call 785-200-6750. Willing to help deliver/place sandbags? Call 785-200-6750

From Hollie Tapley, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Great Plains Conference of the UMC, we’ve heard that they are looking for 50 volunteers to help with sandbagging in Chapman. I’ll follow up with more details when I get them.

The Triumph of Love

John Wesley: Optimist of Grace, by Henry H. Knight, is one of the best summaries of John Wesley’s theology that I have ever read (and it is, by far, the shortest). Here are a few excerpts:

Wesley’s vision of a new creation filled with the love of God is a fitting outcome of his theology. From 1725 on he was committed to holiness of heart and life as the content and goal of salvation; now, near the end of his life, he extended renewal in love from the hearts of humans to the entirety of creation. [Which means that all of creation will be redeemed/saved.] This was one of the last of the many insights Wesley gained throughout his life and ministry.

His fundamental insight, that governed all the rest, was that salvation is all about our renewal in love, our being restored to the image of God. Without this holiness of heart and life we are neither truly happy nor truly Christian. [1]

… Commenting on 1 John 4:19 (“We love him, because he first loved us”) Wesley wrote, “This is the sum of all religion, the genuine model of Christianity. None can say more: why should any one say less . . .”332 Wesley believed that this love of God will triumph in the end, and it is this same love that seeks to triumph even now, in every human heart. [2]

I’ve been thinking about restarting The Breakfast Club with this book. Let me know if you’re interested.

[1] Henry H. Knight III, John Wesley: Optimist of Grace (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2018), 141.
2] Ibid., 145

A God So Smitten

Today, I’m re-upping a quote from Kenda Creasy Dean. I don’t know about you, but I need the reminder.

“The Christian God-story emphasizes a God so smitten with creation that God chooses to enter creation with us, and stops at nothing—not even death—to win us back.” [1]

And according to scriptures like Romans 8.18-23, when God gets us back, all of creation will come with us. But what I like best about this statement is the use of the word smitten. I had never heard that word used to describe God’s love for us before. God’s love for us is so powerful, so profound, so vast and so everlasting that we’re always in danger of underestimating or understating it. I’m going to add smitten to the repository of words I use to describe the love that God has for us.

[1] Kenda Creasy. Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church (New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Voices: Augustine of Hippo on Riches

Below is the quote from the great theologian Augustine of Hippo. I find that I need to pray the closing prayer on a regular basis.

“Riches … are gained with toil and kept with fear. They are enjoyed with danger and lost with grief. It is hard to be saved if we have them; and impossible if we love them; and scarcely can we have them but we shall love them inordinately. Teach us, O Lord, this difficult lesson: to manage conscientiously the goods we possess.” — Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 133

I’ll simply say Amen.

That Was On Me

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.

Voices: Not Left to Our Own Devices

I read this long ago, but I just came across it again this week:

The cross is not a sign of the church’s quiet, suffering submission to the powers-that-be, but rather the church’s revolutionary participation in the victory of Christ over those powers. The cross is not a symbol for general human suffering and oppression. Rather, the cross is a sign of what happens when one takes God’s account of reality more seriously than Caesar’s. The cross stands as God’s (and our) eternal no to the powers of death, as well as God’s eternal yes to humanity, God’s remarkable determination not to leave us to our own devices. — Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon [1]

Whether I’m looking at the general human condition, or simply my own life, I’m thankful that we have a God who does not leave us to our own devices.

[1] Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, expanded ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2014), 47.

Additional Copies of Worship and Song

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.

May is Food Pantry Month

May is the month First UMC traditionally provides food and funds for the operation of the Community Food Pantry which helps supply food and utility funds for those less fortunate. The following is a list of the immediate needs of the food pantry:

Baking Supplies: cake and muffin mixes, frosting, oil, flour, and sugar
Canned Foods: fruit, vegetables, soup, condiments, and meat substitutes
Cereal: hot cereal, cold cereal, cereal and breakfast bars
Cleaning Supplies: laundry soap, dish soap, and hand soap
Paper Goods: toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, and facial tissue
Pasta: macaroni, noodles, and spaghetti
Personal Hygiene: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, women’s feminine products, disposable diapers, men’s shaving supplies, hand and body lotions, and creams
Meats: any kind of canned meat and fish, especially tuna
Miscellaneous: peanut butter, jelly, coffee, tea, ramen noodles, rice, dry beans, crackers, juice, syrup, instant potatoes, hamburger helpers, spices, salt and pepper, jello, and pudding mixes

Grocery bags (complete with a list of needs attached) will be available on Sunday mornings beginning tomorrow (May 5, 2019) and then throughout rest of the month to take home with you and fill, and then return the following Sunday or to the church office during the week. This year everything we receive will be going to the Community Food Pantry (not the Little Free Pantry on site), so feel free to bring larger items.