Summer Worship: Don’t miss the possibility!

Christ meets us in the summertime too. Don’t miss an opportunity for growth in faith. Cheatham Memorial has a summer focus on teaching the equipping-skills that make our discipleship and disciple-making fun, fruitful and frankly, possible! Over the summer we will talk about concrete tools like public and private prayer, and study, small group leading. Watch for posts with “Take Aways” from this sermons

June 3,2018. 1 Samuel 3:1-20 “Equip for youth” The Skill of listening The life of faith is the key to a young soul. Our bodies age but we can keep a youthful and excited spirit by being equipped for and equipping others for healthy eternal living in the here and now! What does equipping mean anyway ?

June 10, 2018. Mark. 3:20–35 “Forgiveness is standard equipment”. The Skill of ForgivenessWe are born to forgive and lose this skill along the way somehow. When we forgive we are freed, even if others think we are crazy for doing so. How do you forgive that one who doesn’t deserve it?

June 17, 2018. 2 Corinthians 5:6-17. “I See…”.The Skill of DiscernmentDad’s only know where to go when they walk by faith. Many don’t and bear the bitter fruit of walking alone. This applies to all disciples. Discernment is a skill learned through prayer and applied in every day ways. The voice of the Spirit is often dismissed. How do you listen for God’s direction. Prayer is an essential skill.

June 24, 2018 Mark 4:35-41. “Life-Speak” The Skill of Planning for AdversityAdversity is real and essential to our witness. How do we speak of our “storms” as victory and not failure. Holding a spiritual conversation in our own words is an essential skill. How do we speak life?

July 1, 2018 Acts 20:8-17 “Pay Attention” The skill of Sacramental LivingThe sacraments are a gift to the church and a pattern for living for each disciple. How can your life be a means of grace EVERYDAY?

July 8, 2018 Mark 6:1-13 “ A Mutual Education” The skill of TeachingNo one out learns a true teacher. The gift of teaching is not upon everyone BUT the ability to teach is a skill that can be learned. We all teach others the things we know. How will we share the gospel honestly and personally.

July 15, 2018 Guest Pastor: Rev. Mike Toland!

July 22, 2018 Music and Worship with ”Tin Top Road”July 29, 2018

2 Samuel 6:1-13 “Real Might” Worship. The skill of communicationWorship is directed to the one true God but interpreted differently by different people. True might in worship is that connection between hand and heart that comes when we let down our guard and celebrate the Holy Spirit.

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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)

“Christmas is a Family Story”-Interactive

Cheatham Memorial’s Theme for Advent2016 is, “Christmas is a Family Story”.  The title has two meanings.  First, the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus is central to the Gospel. However, and second, so is OUR family story, and OUR family traditions.  SO….with the telling of the Gospel at Advent and Christmas, interacting with our deep sense of family traditioncandlelight-151224-155_0036s, a rich potential for spiritual growth is born at Christmas.

Your family may look like a Norman Rockwell Christmas card or it may look like quite the opposite.  God is not impressed with mere appearances either way.  The Christ came at Christmas for all families in their many forms.  You don’t have to meet some ideal to be moved by the love of Christ as shown in HIS family.

The Bible tells us that on the first Christmas, Jesus family was a day labor carpenter named  Joseph, travelling with his pregnant fiancé Mary, to pay taxes they couldn’t afford without the money to for transportation and a proper hotel room.  Jesus came as a surprise that night.  There was desperation and poverty in Jesus’ family all over this story including His dad disappearing from the family without explanation.  The thing that held this family together was a strong relationship with the living God and a deep connection to their extended family and church family.

childrens-play-151220-154_0098The only reason that they didn’t divorce was that God reached out to Mary and Joseph to assured them both that they were ok even if the rest of world didn’t understand. AND THEY LISTENED TO GOD. What does your family story need from the Gospel of Jesus’ family this Christmas Season?

We welcome you to join our family in East Texas or to follow along on our website.  The five sermons from November 27 through Christmas day will be outlined here at thethoughtfulpastor.com and you are welcome to give a comment or ask a question

A list of our Christmas projects and worship can be found at our main website.  Plug in to any of our activities and add us to your family traditions.  We are an easy church to “break in to”.  You may contact me through the site or email me at revavanhooser@aol.com. 

God’s richest blessings to you as we prepare together for the coming of Jesus at Christmas!

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Cheatham Memorial September 2016 Worship!

The theme for September is is “A Work in Progress” and the image is the cross.  Yes, we have a cross in every sermon but these four message will give it more weight.  Do our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness flow from the cross of Christ or just adorn our t-shirts?  I am asking this of myself  during quiet time.  What amazing  power the cross has in our everyday living….when we choose to access it.  How do you do that?  Come to worship and see.  We will also explore prayers of blessing and host a two-week short course on prayer, September 15 and 22 at 6:30 PM.  See cheathamumc.net for details

September 4, 2016: 16th Sunday of Pentecost  Jeremiah 18:1-11   “The Potter’s House

We are all a work in progress.  Even when life is under pressure, faith can build us even if circumstances are trying to get us down.  The greater the pressure, the stronger the earthen vessel.

September 11, 2016: 17th Sunday of Pentecost, remembrance of 9-11,  1 Timothy 1:12-17  “Strength for the Falls”

The promise of redemption if from Jesus himself.  People of faith are strengthened for the everyday “falls” that inevitably come.  Like physical fitness or a baby learning to walk, it is through our trials that we are strengthened in faith.  This gift from the Christ is for all who believe and for all who don’t.  We are all walking redemption’s path.

 September 18, 2016: 18th Sunday of Pentecost, Gideon’s Sunday with special offering.  1 Timothy 2:1-7  “Levelling Prayers” 

In the prayer closet, kings and paupers are judged the same.  This epistle is inviting us to seek God rather than asking God to seek us. How are we praying for our own spiritual formation?  How are we praying for our political and church leaders in their life’s seeking of God?

September 25, 2016: 19th Sunday of Pentecost.  Luke 17:5-10  “A starting place”

This service will be an old school revival Sunday and include our favorite “Methodist Roots” hymns in an upbeat and tradition filled worship experience! The vision of a victorious end is the start of all good journeys.  Where is our starting place in the Christian life?  The truth is that we have many starting placed in Christ.  It is a journey of many steps.  We don’t begin our life of salvation all mature and filled many answers.  We start at the foot of the cross with the harsh reality that we are not finished yet, we continue with the present reality that we don’t journey along, and we live for the completion of our journey with eternity in Christ.  That being said, how do we begin?

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Coming Events:  Charge Conference! Fall Festival on October 15 and a celebration of our fund raiser on October 16!

The April 2016 Sermon Schedule

April brings the spring  and a newness to our faith journeys.  Easter has given us the faith of an empty tomb!  These scriptures have been chosen to reflect the four gifts of the cross-the final point of our Lenten sermons.  Forgiveness, Righteousness, Faith-Sight, and Ministry are given to us at the cross and lived in the resurrection in everyday life.  These gifts are for the here and now as well as the hereafter.  Come and join us in worship!  For more details check us out at Cheathamumc.net

April 3:  The second Sunday of the Easter Season  “Every Eye” Revelation 1:4-8

The first gift of the cross is that of a Jesus focused sight.  In Christ we simply see things differently.  The tomb is empty and is the bedrock of the Christian’s faith.  It is a place of victory and eternity rather than a place of death and finality.   Seeing our everyday with the focus of Jesus makes for healthier and eternal living.

 

April 10:  The third Sunday of the Easter Season  “Right Away”  Acts 9:1-20

The second gift of the cross is the forgiven life.  With our ransom paid at the cross we live with the righteousness of Jesus as our guide and goal.  By faith through Jesus’ gift to us we have this righteousness!  It is a responsibility as well as a privilege!  Living out of Jesus’ righteous freedom makes for healthier and eternal living.

April 17:  The fourth Sunday of the Easter Season  “Healing Right Away”   Acts 9:36-43

Jesus is still in the healing business but not always in the way that we imagine it should be.  The final gifts of the cross are being forgiven and made worthy for ministry.  Peter had denied Jesus and squandered many opportunities for faith.  Yet, this story show him to be used of God for a dramatic healing event.  Being healed of our sin puts us in a position to minister in a way that makes for healthier and eternal living

April 24:  The fifth Sunday of the Easter Season “Laity in Ministry Sunday”

Our lay leadership, with Judi Yarbrough bringing the message, will share our ministry from the last year  in pictures, word and song. This will be an exciting service of praise for the shared ministry of Cheatham Memorial UMC!

See you Sundays at 10:00!

 

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The January 2016 Sermon Schedule

The Cheatham Memorial Family invites your to a brand new year of Spiritual Growth in Jesus Christ?  We worship at 10:00 AM each Sunday with activities for disciples of all ages and places.   The Theme for January centers around our church family’s growth goals:  Loving Scripture, Deeping the life of prayer, and developing our basic skills for ministry.  Each message will include everyday ways of doing and being a growing Christian.

Watch our website for our many worship, learning, service and fellowship activities!  Here are our study offerings.  Everyone is invited to search the sermon text BEFORE worship and then follow up with the Sermon briefs afterward.  Here are our offerings for January!

January 3, 2016:  Three Kings Sunday-“Epiphany”  Matthew 2:1-12  “Becoming a Star“.  We will search this story, which everyone thinks they know, and find some details that are their plus some things we thought but aren’t there.  In this story we will celebrate the role of searching with the eyes of Christ for grace in our everyday living.

January 10, 2016:  Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, “For Such a Time as This”.  In this passage that some call the “Desiderata”, we will celebrate and discover the role of timing in our everyday life in Christ.  Not just any timing but that of God’s timing.

January 17, 2016: the Second Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, “You’ve Got This”.  Have you ever said, “Spiritual gifts?  I don’t have any.”  Wrong!  “A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good” 1 Cor 12:7.  Everyone has gifts from God to use for God.  By using them we watch God build us and others.  We no satisfaction and peace that we never knew was possible.

January 24, 2016: The Third Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, “Pieces, Parts and Whole”  In this often quoted text we will celebrate the role of order in our discernment of God’s direction for our everyday living.  We each are a part of someone else’s lives as well as taking care of our own.

January 31, 2016:The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 1 Corinthians: 13:1-13, “Never Fails….: This is a continuation of last week’s text and a discovery of our driving motivation to be and become a Christian disciple-LOVE.  The very word is often abused and misused.  To grow in grace is to grow in love in our everyday living.  This is more than a wedding scripture!!

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Weekly Sermon Brief: November 15, 2015, “The Church isn’t a church isn’t at Church”, Mark 13:1-8

 

Click here to read This week’s text for this sermon bite.

This past Saturday I was rewarded with an honor that shows that my vast array of gifts and graces are finally being recognized  Members of our Historical Society, who care for our magnificent Edgewood Heritage Park ( it is a living museum!), sought carefully and bestowed upon me the august honor, I sniff back a tear just thinking about it, of making me a Judge, yes a juSlide1dge…..of the pinto bean competition.

While I am only a talented amateur at this time, with the proper training, focus and motivation I might go professional in the future.  Sadly, the title would not fit onto my business cards but I will prevail as people recognize this honor and see me in the light of a true pinto bean judging professional.  And when the pronounce, out of jealousy, that I am full of beans, I will proudly proclaim my gracious thanks for recognizing this wonderful filling within me.  Hallelujah and amen.

Silly isn’t it?  Be we  often have trouble see ourselves in our real significance as a redeemed child of God.  The disciples in our story have spent the day being taught by the one who spoke creation into existence and at the end of the day, all they can say is, “wow, we sure have a beautiful church.”

Look at the title;  The Capital “C” Church is the worldwide saving enterprise of which our small “c” church-congregation is a part.  and while it meets at the Church-House or sanctuary, of which we are blessed to have a great facility, the building is NOT the church.  Those smiling people at the top of the post are the real sure enough, Jesus following, Spirit led CHURCH. 

Slide2Admittedly the Jerusalem Temple was a big deal. Originally built in 957 BC, Destroyed around 604 BD, Rebuilt a century later and then remodeled just before the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, it was a huge facility that was more than a church.  This was an icon of the Jew’s national, racial and religious identity.

To the Jew, the Temple was a sign that God’s victory over the world and was a center of the world and not just the center of Israel.  The Temple is where God lives and provided a place to speak to and about God!  This was where people were led to God and learned the stories that edified faith.  However, it had sadly become and idol to some and an amusement park to others rather than a power center of God.  The Roman invaders used it as a tool of manipulation.  By controlling Temple worship and giving local leaders municipal “Bean Judge” type titles, a small force would control big crowds through brutality and civic organization.

Jesus would prophesy in verse 2 of the destruction in 70 AD.  It would beSlide3 the building that was defeated and not God!  This took the newly forming Christians back to the desert tabernacle and dispersed them throughout the world.  Jesus was taking the formal faith of the temple back to its roots.  He speaks of false messiahs, soul stealing rumors, family upheaval, political and natural disasters and redeems them from sources of fear to the validation of this new faith in Jesus the Christ, our God incarnate.  Jesus told them to expect these things, be ready for injustice and to speak in the power of the Holy Spirit.   The Christ would call for patience as “the Gospel must first be preached to all nations.”

This past Friday, this old pattern would come to call in the attacks in France:   At this writing there are 129 dead  with 352 others wounded, 99 of them critically in premeditated and coordinated attacks — This isn’t merely terror, it is war.  This is also not faith but a false and narrow chaos dressed up as religion.

In light of the horrific attacks in Paris, terrorist  tactics haven’t really changed that much since the first Century.  Neither has the Gospel.  We can watch terror groups who wage this war on us as they prey on populations who are  desperate , and will grab onto anyone that gives hope.  Beyond the extortion and brutality, modern terror groups are fixing basic needs, Providing an identification and a purpose “organizing social welfare programs and even recreational activities for children, distributing food and fuel to the needy, and setting up clinics.”*  This helps build community around the groups ideals.  They build on earth for war while we build for the Savior and His Kingdom.

Last Friday, the command to love our enemy became far more difficult and  Romans 12 says “17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[says the Lord.  The voices who spout wrath  can be attractive.  But wait a minute and consider a truly Christian response to this terror.

First, DON’T FORGET GOD, we must respond by a smart faith. Rage isn’t enough.  Warmongering at all cost in the Name of God on our own will is the height of spiritless and human centered Sin.  On the other hand Peace Mongering at all cost in the name of Jesus is lazy and far less Christian.  We cannot lose our souls by replacing our faith in the risen Jesus with faith in government and weapon systems.  Seek Christ by holding fast to Christian Standards and principals and recognize in this text, that this isn’t God’s first experience with this  behavior.  We must pray, search the scriptures and engage our enemy like never before and do it AS THE CHURCH.

Second, find ways to cope NOW: take care of our kids and other sensitive people by limiting the terrible images.  Stay informed but don’t add to the sensationalism of the Media.  Stay connected with God in prayer, study, service and worship.  Keep it real and not just routine to keep the fear in perspective. Be prepared to grow spiritually and be challenged in this “Desert Spirituality” in its great cloud of unknowing- “Wars and rumors of wars”.  Prepare for the future with and for the living God. We must fight by faith and remember that we do not fight alone.

Again, this is not easy but by God’s grace it is possible.  This isn’t about beans!  With the proper training, focus and motivation we will be able to judge a secure truth through the eyes of Christ.

*http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/12/world/meast/who-is-the-isis/index.html

This post is a follow-up to our sermon from last Sunday and I pray it touches your heart and that you have a church to be “Welcome Home”.  If you don’t, please click on the link below and check out our Family.  We would love to welcome you whenever you find yourself in our corner of East Texas.  Come and see us!

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