The Balancing Act


(This is the third post and an exploration for January 2018 sermon series at Cheatham Memorial UMC, Click here for more information)

Success is more than just how we feel. What are the touchable parts of success and how do they link together? This will be a central part of the first of these January messages. These posts are my personal journey but can apply to anyone who to struggling to find success.

This Sunday is “Epiphany Sunday”, the last of the 12 days of Christmas and begins our quest to find success. This is the Sunday that we traditionally tell the story of the Magi and their three gifts to the Christ Child. The mysterious treasure of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The gold is easy to understand. This “metal of kings” is still a portable store of wealth and tradable for just about anything you want. Frankincense is not a western thing. In the orient, this incense. was a common item of worship. Owned by the rich, it is burned and produces both smoke and aroma that are a see-able gift to God. Myrrh is a fragrant oil, often used as a burial preparation, usually reserved for people with wealth. These were the best gifts for Jesus and the trappings of success.

My lesson is that of balance. Success is not just one thing. Scripture gives us clues through the gifts of these mysterious strangers.

  • Gold-life must have money in it. Money to keep things together, money to manage well and stretch its worth, money to share and help others. Monetary wealth is not inherently evil and poverty is not inherently spiritual. There are both wealthy and impoverished people in the Bible’s witness. The spirituality of money is more than accounting.
  • Frankincense-Life is worship. The successful life must express God. This is done through personal and corporate worship and brings strength and certainty. A life with churchy stuff but the absence of faith is empty too. Success stems from spiritual integrity.
  • Myrrh. Life includes death and all of its stuff is temporary. The successful life is an investment that grows and not merely a safe that holds the experiences and possessions that we acquire. Value on our things, possessions, experiences, or feelings, must be seen in light of their permanence. Salvation keeps death from defining life as failure.

Lesson for Success:  You are not successful simply because you got the promotion, built the house, earned the degree, married the girl, had the baby or got the really cool car.  You may feel successful for a moment but, without balance, you will come up empty and success will be false.  

Faith can make wealth and poverty, varying worship styles and doctrines, and qualities of life and death successful. Our plan must contain all of these three gifts bound by God’s Holy Spirit. This study is an exploration and must parse out the role of faith in success. The acquiring of success must include this trinity of things and concrete ways to express them.

More to come…..


Success, Elusive Success…

What is success? The common answers are usually and emblem of success such as money or power. OK, but what is the essence of success and how does the Christian life inform it. Success will be our exploration for the January 2018 sermons at Cheatham Memorial UMC.

It is also a personal reflection from a personal struggle and would apply to anyone struggling to find success in their life.

I am turning 60 this year. For the first time, people are offering to give me the senior discount at restaurants! I feel fruitful as a Christian, passionate as a pastor, loving as a husband and grandparent, and a real part of my community. However, looking back, I really struggle seeing my life as a success. Do you ever feel that way? I would like to know what God’s definition of success is through scripture, witness and a season of prayer.

Please share the journey with me. Write a comment below with an answer to these questions: What is a picture, emblem or symbol of true success? Who is the most success person in your life and why? Finally, “what is success in your life and what does that look like”?

The four sermons for January will explore Christian success in four characteristics, through the witness of four Biblical Figures, These messages are:

  • January 7, in Communion Sunday and will explore, ” Success requires Focus: Peter’s success” from Mark 8:27-Peter grows from a bumbling disciple who is always tripping on his own tongue into the ͞rock͟ upon which the church is built. His influence is still felt today and his success transcends monetary success.
  • January 14 brings, “Success Requires Love: Ruth’s Success” from Ruth1:1–22. Relationships and family ties have more to do with success than money does. In Christ are the seeds to strong families and and influential faith.
  • On January 21 , “Success Requires Direction: Paul’s Compass to Success”” from Galatians 5: 13-25. Following the dollar is not enough. The spiritual compass is not always the easiest to follow and the life in Christ is hard to account for. We need to know how to read our scoreboard.
  • Finally on January 28, ” Success Overflows: The Wealth of the Christ. ” looking to Matthew 25:14-30. True success brings in the Kingdom of God-That means everyone’s lives improve. Success was never meant to be held but to overflow in ways that bring salvation .

I continue to look at these questions very personally. My answer? Success happens when my surroundings, family, church and community, are better because I am there. Faith in Christ is central to my definition of success but Jesus must be more than an excuse to explain any short comings. Journey with me as we find our way together. Success simply must be more than just driving a nicer car.

(Photo credit: Amanda and Jason Patzke)

Honest Joe! August 2017 Worship together!

honest joe source slide in jpgThis month’s series looks at the life of faith through the lens of Joseph, son of Israel/Jacob. He was the pampered youngest son of a family that put the fun in dis-functional. We will explore four answers to the questions we have about faith in real life and in real time. Joseph’s story is an important cross road in both Jewish and Christian history. Join me in studying through his story! Joseph is more than a colorful coat!

Continue reading “Honest Joe! August 2017 Worship together!”

Have a Heart Like Jesus-Summer Sermon Series

Our Children at Cheatham Memorial UMC have been challenging us to “Have a Hear Like Jesus” and the. Grown up Kids are going to try to keep up this summer.  Each of our June and July Sermons will explore one aspect of Jesus’ heart and how we can adopt this for ourselves.  This is where a healthier life comes from.  Expect practical ways to find this heart in yourself.  

Here is where we are coming from:  Our Mission: Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World.  Our Vision: We are Christ’s Love in Action: Following Christ, Serving Others, and Unifying the Church.  Our Drivers: Loving God’s Word, Deepening the life of Prayer and developing ministering Skills.

Are you looking. For a church home?  Maybe its been a while since you have been? Our family is very warm and easy to break in to.  Come Check us out on Sundays at 10:00 AM. Click here to go to our website for more details.  

June 4: Pentecost Sunday! Wear Something Red, Holy Communion 

John 7:37-39 and Acts 2:1-21 Have a Heart Like Jesus: An Overflowing Heart

The heart of Jesus is never a stagnant pool but a rushing and refreshing river. With living water flowing from us, everyone gets “wet”!

June 11: Pentecost 1, Trinity Sunday

2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Have a Heart Like Jesus: A Heart That’s in Order

The heart of Jesus is people focused but Spirit driven. People and relationship are our priority but we also have a mission to accomplish. How do we keep that in balance?

June 18: Pentecost 2, Father’s Day, Children’s presentation

Romans 5:1-8 Have a Heart Like Jesus: A Heart that’s Right

“We are justified by faith”. What does that really mean? It means that we begin with the heart of Jesus which is right with God and just toward God’s people.

June 25: Pentecost 3 

Romans 6: 1b-11 Have a Heart Like Jesus: A Heart that’s new

The heart of Jesus knows what sin is and how to die to that sin. That means that the Christian is new every morning. Rather than carry the many burdens of yesterday, Jesus moves us forward to significant living here and hereafter.

July 2: Pentecost 4, Independence Day Sunday, Patriotic Theme, Holy Communion

Matthew 10:40-42 Have a Heart like Jesus: A Heart in Action.

A heart of Jesus knows that love and faith are verbs. We will pray for our nation and move our feet to faith driven and spirit led action.

July 9: Pentecost 5 

Matthew 11:25-30 Have a Heart like Jesus: A Heart at Rest

The heart of Jesus has a still center. This is not natural nor is it a part of our frantic culture . Stillness in the storm is a discipline that lets Jesus carry the load while we move forward in the work of building his kingdom.

July 16 Pentecost 6 Children’s Music

Romans 8:1-11 Have a Heart like Jesus: A Heart with a Witness

Jesus has a heard that is free and focused on God. From this heart our words match our action and we become a living witness to the amazing”raised up” grace of Jesus.

July 23: Pentecost 7

Genesis 28:10-19 Have a Heart like Jesus: A Heart that Dreams.

Life is a journey with many milestones. The heart of Jesus is one that is not afraid to dream. We have a lot of mundane and everyday things that wear us down. Dreaming God sized dreams fill us up!

July 30 Pentecost 8 Covered Dish

I’m Romans 8:26-39 Have a Heart like Jesus: A Heart that Prays

The heart of Jesus prays large and confident prayers that are more than merely words. When things do seem to “all work together for good”, we need to pray from the Holy Spirit, our place of strength.

August will continue a similar theme as we look toward the “NEW YEAR’S DAY” of back to school. August 20 will be a children’s service and honor our teachers.

New Beginnings: May 2017 Sermon Series


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May Marks our “ A Day of New Beginnings”.  Easter marches into Pentecost with new opportunities to grow in Christ.  Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church invites you to join us for worship at 10:00 AM each Sunday.  Click Here to learn more about our active and loving church family. Make church worship and service a part of your new beginning. 

“Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.”

-Brian Wren 

(This is a Day… UM Hymnal 383)

 May 7:  4th Sunday of Easter

John 10:1-10  “Hey Porter!”  This rich parable has a special meaning to the resurrected Church.  Where are you in this story?  I want to be the gatekeeper. 


 May 14: 5th Sunday of Easter Mother’s Day

John 14:1-14  “Which Way’s What” Followership is the first step in leadership and discipleship.  What way do we go and how do we know?  This is a lesson in listening to the Holy Spirit. 


 May 21:

1 Peter 3:13-22  “Free to Obey” Obedience isn’t giving in and being tied down.  There is great freedom in knowing Christ through obedience. 


 May 28:   Conference Sunday, Confirmation Sunday

Acts 1:1-11  “Lifted to life” Jesus was lifted to his rightful place-he did not jump up there.  In Christ we are lifted up.  Not by our own strength, but the very hand of God’s grace.  This marks a new year for us to minister together!





Fire, Shipwrecks and Serpents: Worship for Preparation and Easter

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You are invited to join our Cheatham Memorial Church family for worship!  This is a brief sketch of our Lent and Easter worship.  You can also follow us on Facebook and our website .  If you are in our corner of East Texas, don’t drive by, drive in.  We would be honored to show you our “Welcome Home”.   Here is our worship journey toward Easter

 We need a breakthrough.  In our hearts, homes and communities we need that breakthrough of awareness of God.  God is already at work in the parts of our lives that hold us spiritually hostage.  Have we intentionally sought God?  Have we taken personal responsibility for a breakthrough of Grace.  What we lack is the intimacy with God that is key to breaking the chains. 

For our part of the breakthrough, we will focus on three spiritual practices.  They are to GIVE-time talent or tithes, FAST-at least missing lunch on Wednesdays, and PRAY-specifically for that particular move of God we desperately want and need.   This is not a weight loss program nor manipulating God for a new car but a celebration of the living resurrection of Jesus!  God will provide direction and BREAKTHROUGH

Where is God moving in your life?  What is holding you hostage-habits, addiction, relationship, employment, finances fear, health, or other?


 The sermons are a 5 part journey through Acts . We will gather each Wednesday Evening at 5:30 for studies, centered on our Spiritual Gifts and practices.  We will have many of our traditions but our goal is to be prepared for a personal, walking around, and living resurrection. 

March 1: Ash Wednesday

Matthew 4:1-11  “The Desert Journey”. We are setting the stage for our Lenten preparation by meeting in the desert.  In the desert we are all on the same level and totally reliant on God.  The contest for the Christ’s will is the same temptations that we experience in our daily living.  Where will our BREAKTHROUGH come?  It starts with intentionally becoming more intimate with God. 


 March 5:  The First Sunday of Lent , Lent Begins, Holy Communion Sunday

Acts 2:42-47  “A Community on Fire”

Pentecost started a spiritual fire in the homes and workplaces of the believers.  After the overwhelming breakthrough, the new “Christian” community responded by church worship, personal worship, prayer, charity, and fellowship.  Faith was for everyday living.  Where are we being led to take the Pentecost fire?


March 12:The Second Sunday of Pentecost

Acts 6:8-7:3, 7:54-8:1  “Discipleship’s Cost

The walk with Christ is free of charge but very Costly.  What will we pay?  What riches will be receive?


 March 19:  The Third Sunday of Pentecost- We will have a guest Preacher, Jesse Brannen

Acts 8:25-40  “Living Water Alive” (This is my study text for the series. 

We wear our baptisms and others find the living water for themselves. There is not shame in needing a guide!  In our words, ways and relationships, we will share our water with others. 


 March 26:  The fourth Sunday of Lent

Acts 9:1-31”The New Transfiguration

Paul’s conversion mirrors the Christ at the mount of Transfiguration.  Where did God meet you on the road.  Where is the road before you headed? 



 April 2: The Fifth Sunday of Lent  Holy Communion

Acts17:16-31  “Knowing the Unknown”

God is made known to us with the images and experiences of daily living.  God is shared with those who live with and around us.  It is not accidental that we have the story in the exact way we need to share with those around us. 


 April 9:  Palm Sunday: with a reading by a child at the beginning, A Children’s Play, Special Music, Procession of Palms!

Matthew 21:1-11 read by a young person or persons and possibly using the “Voice” version  as a format. 

Acts 28:1-23  “The 29th Chapter of Acts”

Help me read the 29th chapter of acts!  Oh wait, you must write it first.  The Holy Spirit is writing it through you! Thank you Terry Teykl-Check out his book here!


April 10-15:  Holy Week

We will focus our attention on a Good Friday ,“7 Final Words Service, with several speakers .  We will also offer a prayer Labyrinth and a time of praying through the Scriptural Stations of the Cross.  Pat and are  using the stations with Children’s Church. We will plan further use of the art work throughout the church. 


April 16: Easter Sunday


Easter Sunday will be tradition rich with special music, breakfast at 8:30, Easter Eggs by age group at 9:00 and rousing worship! Watch for further details on the CMUMC Website







CMUMC Advent and Christmas Sermon Schedule

candlelight-151224-155_0036Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church in Edgewood Texas meets at 10:00 AM each Sunday.  Check out all of our directions and activities at

December features the holiday theme, “Christmas is a Family Story”.  Our visual will be numerous family pictures and service projects  to “Plug us In” to the real meaning of Christmas. .  We will have many special elements of worship along with the tradition songs and acts that we all cling to.

Pray these prayers with us throughout the week before each of the Sunday services.

November 27, 2016  The First Sunday of ADVENT!  The Sunday of Hope

Matthew 1:18-25  “A Family of Hope”

Hope is born at home when our home is in Christ.  Whether your family is church, community or your house full of “kin”, this is where your faith is formed.  May this church house be a house of hope and a family of childrens-play-151220-154_0111faith for you.

Leader:  Christmas is coming!  And Christmas is a family Story, one that we share together.  Join with me as a church family to pray as we begin our worship on the Sunday of Hope

People:  Almighty God, you are the source of hope that conquers all things. You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness through the light and love of your Son Jesus.  We stand together as a family to worship you.  Thank you for the Hope of all things that came to us on that first Christmas.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN!

 December 4, 2016  The Second Sunday of Advent The Sunday of Christ the Way

Matthew 3:1-12 A Family of Direction

The message of all saint’s is that in Christ, there is always a later.  Jesus gives us answers for the NOW as we place our faith in the eternal later offered to us by faith.

Leader:  Christmas is coming!  And Christmas is a family Story, one that we share together.  Join with me as a church family to pray as we begin our worship on the Sunday of Salvation in Christ the Way!

People:  God of direction and salvation.  Thank you for the Way, truth and life found in your son Jesus. We bless you for the for the kingdom of heaven has come near in a saving faith.  Draw us all close as we celebrate the lifegiving journey of salvation found in you. It is all for Christ we pray, AMEN. 

Angel Tree -151213-L1012628.jpgDecember 11, 2016  The Third Sunday of Advent  The Sunday of Joy

Luke 1:47-55 “A Family of Unutterable Joy”

The Magnificat speaks with bubbles of joy with words that flow out in faith.  Faith bring Joy.  Joy is an evidence of faith?  In a family, faith defeats drama and crafts hearts and minds into life eternal.

Leader:  Christmas is coming!  And Christmas is a family Story, one that we share together.  Join with me as a church family to pray as we begin our worship on the Sunday of Christ our Joy!

People:  God of completeness and Joy!  Thank you for the life of Grace and peace found in your son Jesus.  We raise our voices in praise as we celebrate the Joy that conquers all sadness. Bless us together as a family of faith as we worship you this morning.  In the Joy of Jesus we pray!  AMEN.

December 18, 2016  The Fourth Sunday of Advent  The Sunday of Peace* Includes the Children’s program

Matthew 1:18-25 “The Drama Free Family”

Faith breeds fearlessness.  Without fear, there is no need for drama, pushing and shoving.  All of that is replaced with an environment of Joy filled and God directed Peace.  If you have this, you want more! If you don’t, Faith is the place you start.

Leader:  Christmas is coming!  And Christmas is a family Story, one that we share together.  Join with me as a church family to pray as we begin our worship on the Sunday of Christ our Peace!

People:  God of eternal peace, we greet you as a family to proclaim your Gospel.  You told us that “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[. Thank you for the Peace Jesus brings.   It is all for you that we assemble to tell the story of your dramatic love for us.  In the Peace of Jesus we pray.  AMEN. 

 December 24, 2016  Christmas Eve 5:00 PM with Candlelight and Holy Communion

This will be a tradition filled service with joy, children and a rich sense of family.  The scripture reading will be from Luke 2:1-20 and speak to the Wonder of the birth of our Savior!

Leader:  Christmas is coming!  And Christmas is a family Story, one that we share together.  Join with me as a church family to pray as we begin our worship this night of the wondrous birth of Jesus!

People:  Lord and God of All.  In your son is our completeness.  We bless you together and praise you for the life in Jesus Christ that began at his birth so long ago.  In Him is our life of purpose her and our eternity forever after.  In the awe filled name of your son JESUS.  AMEN!

December 25, 2016  Christmas Day!!! Lots of Special Music and a Blessing of the Toys.  Each child can bring their favorite gift.  Our prayer will be that it remind them of Jesus all year long!

John 1:1-14 ”The Forever Beginning of a Family”

The story of Christmas is a beginning and not an end.  Advent is over but the Christmas journey is only beginning.  This is the day that the Word becomes bless and walks among us!!!

Leader:  Christmas is HERE!  And Christmas is a family Story, one that we share together.  Join with me as a church family to pray as we begin our Christmas Day worship on this blessed Christmas Morn!

People:  God of Life, God of family.  Draw us close and allow us to see that Christmas is bigger than just gifts and much more than just one day in December.  Draw us close as we strive to remember that every day should be filled with the wonder of CHRISTMAS DAY!


The holiday warm our spirits and gives us permission to hold the things of God close.  You are welcome to join us for Worship, teaching and service projects.  We at

click here for the CMUMC Website

e a gentle place to visit and an easy family to “Break Into”.  Even if it has been a while, come join us.  We will save you a seat.