Meet the Day; Lose the “MASK”

Face coverings come in many styles ranging from industrial-disposable blue to fashion-colored bling. One man, seen at Kroger, wore one with the lower half of his own face printed on it. They help filter any COVID laden spit, can help our current crisis and certainly won’t hurt anything.   Meet the Day, Wear this MASK.

Equipping skill: being transparent with God by faith and growing in genuineness with others

There another mask that we choose to wear to make us feel safer.  This one  won’t help but does hurt and some choose to wear them anyway. This is the false face we often use to hide our true self.  I don’t mean a positive attitude in a bad situation or the courtesy of not unpacking your emotional junk in a social situation. Wear this mask, Lose the day.  This mask is the stress inducing false face that we wear before others when we think we aren’t enough.

Face coverings mess up our communications. From Travis Bradberry, (wearing masks)“…our facial expressions are blocked. And we rely on facial expressions to understand emotions when words are mismatched with tone even more than you might think. According to a UCLA study, facial expressions account for 55% of successful communication when words and tone sound inconsistent.” Protective masks can create misunderstanding in communication, whether intentional or not.

Intentional false coving is far more destructive. The energy needed to maintain it is exhausting. We eventually believe the lie and even think we can hide our true self from God. This denies access to God’s forgiveness and blocks the daily living communion with God that we desperately need. This mask tells God to step back, that we are the authors of our faith, and we lose the capacity to be genuine with God or people.

Romans 12:9-13 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

This describes the true face of faith, the place of healing and the source of peace. The genuine life is loving, rejoicing, hope filled and lived in ACTION. So, live well. Cover your mouth and nose. Uncover your heart. You are His beloved, you are enough and you don’t need the false stuff. This is where true life comes from. Live it well.

Pray the REBEL’s prayer with me, “Jesus in you I am enough!”

Christian Life Hacks-INTERACTIVE

The Internet Universe is over stuffed with “Hacks”, clever, small actions that improve your life. There are hundreds of thousands of “Hacks” out there showing you what you have been doing wrong. With them, you can improve everything in life from peeling pomegranates to ironing shirts. This is a list of spiritual practices. You aren’t necessarily doing them wrong but you might need a little jump start in order to experience a bigger spiritual impact.

Some of this list was collected from other places while others are my own. This is a living document. Please add your own in the comment section!

1. Bullet Point Journaling:“BUJO” is all the rage and has streamlined my rather hit-or-miss journaling. Another post on this blog shares my heavily adapted system. This system of journalling systematically and efficiently uses your journal as icon, focusing your spiritual goals in everyday living. The first page is an index followed by few pages of lists and goals. Know where you have been, where you are and where you are going in Christ through them. The rest creates space for daily lists of your encounters from each day. Rather than prose, you make bullet point lists-simple, clear and focused lists. One small blank book replaced my scattered notebooks.

2. Use color in your journal: I am not all that artistic but adding a cheap assortment of colored pens to my $5 blank book keeps me in the word longer and opens me up to the scripture from a different part of my brain. Simply adding the act of doodling helps me pray more creatively and connect with the word.

3. Create a “Monday Morning Briefing”: I have three e-mail devotional sources of different perspectives that I read each Monday and glance at through the week. This is an addition to and not a replacement of Scripture and prayer. You should choose three-A single source is thin while more than three clutters your in-box. Here are my three: Cary Nieuwhof-leadership, Patheos-a variety of posts that either edify or tick me off, and “Talent Smart”/Travis Bradberry-Emotional intelligence.

4. Create an email account for devotional posts: This keeps Spiritual matters from becoming lost in the pile and keeps you from checking work stuff at prayer time. My IPhone made this easy to check.

5. Keep it simple: I have chosen a small blank drawing-paper book and a small double-spaced journaling testament for morning devotions. These reside in my bag and go wherever I go. Prefer a tech solution? I carry an Ipad and phone anyway but I find too many distractions in them for quiet time. Analog or digital, keep it simple and easy.

6. Create a fixed devotional space with a mobile solution: My desk at home and at word are sacred spaces. At my knee is a bag where my prayer and devotional items live. I can work on sermons or pray through an issue wherever I am. My prioritized work list and prayer list share the same space and carry the same spiritual weight. How could this work in your life and

7. Make a photo of a critical prayer matter and use it as wallpaper: My kids, grands and church family rotate across the front of my phone as a reminder to pray and not just talk about praying. Even if your are just praying about bad weather, keep it up front.

8. Bookend your day with God: Condition yourself to make prayer your first conscious thought and a disciplined habit of your final thought as you go to sleep. This simple habit will change your life in Christ.

9. Turn those daily repetitive task into prayer time: I hate unloading the dishwasher and folding clothes but look forward to the prayer time. These mindless tasks are exceptionally rich times for prayer. The old monks worked with their hands while they prayed. We can make any space sacred.

10. Make Lists: Lists of Books read, edifying movies watched, Bible verses by topic, birds watched, prayers answered, and such can provide focus and depth for your devotional time.

11. Own a Psalm: Choose one psalm, pray through it until you own it, then choose another. This is God’s own devotional book and will open you up to spiritual riches.

12. Have and be a prayer partner: Devotional time is solitary but you were never meant to travel along. Find your intercessor then be available to someone else. NOTHING opens a disciple of Jesus up to deeper things like blessing another person in prayer.

September Bible Teaching Series

Join with our church family in studying five stories that we all know…or think we know.  Will you be surprised by what you think the Bible says about these foundations of faith?  Feel free to study with us on this schedule.  Email me at revavanhooser@aol.com for a hard copy or email attachment.  Comments are always welcomeseptember 2018 worship planner with study guide jpg

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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)

An Honest Joe: Worship and Study Guide

honest joe source slide in jpgThe Bible is a living connection to God and people.  In Joseph, the son of Jacob/Israel, found in Genesis 37-50 is a life full of those connecting moments.  Honest Joe’s story is more than just a colorful coat and contains tips for successful living.  Our Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church family will being studying through these chapter in our August 2017 sermons.

We welcome you to follow along and comment.  Begin with this  “Infographic”, follow the study guide and  make comments from your own experience.  Everyone is welcome to comment.  Check out our Cheatham Memorial website for more details. (  Put your US Mail address in a comment and I will send you a paper copy if you wish)

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Here are the four topics that I picked and a 30-Day reading guide.  This is less than one page per day f reading!  Please leave comments to those things that gave you something that adds value to your life!

August 6, 2017: Weekley Reading Genesis 37-39
Genesis 37:12-28 “Faith is a Journey”.

August 13, 2017: Weekly Reading: Genesis 40-42
Genesis 39:1-23 “Life Can Be a Dream”

August 20, 2017: Weekly Reading: Genesis 43-46
Genesis 45:1-18 Forgiveness: A New Beginning”

August 27, 2017: Weekly Reading Genesis 47-50
Genesis 50:22 “Faith Gives Birth to Faith”

Where do  you find yourself in Joseph’s story?  LEAVE A COMMENT! Thanks for reading along with us!  Looking for a church home?  We have a great church family. Join us!

WELCOME HOME!

Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church

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Office Hours: Monday – Thursday 9 am – 3 pm
205 South Houston Street/P.O. Box 800
Edgewood, TX 75117
Tel: 903-896-4935 Fax: 903-896-4935
www.cheathamumc.net
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