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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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!

June 2016 Sermons at Cheatham Memorial

compass of faith

The Cheatham Memorial Family invites you to join us for worship at 10:00 am each Sunday.  We have a variety of activities and service projects that you can check out at our WEBSITE!

Do you ever feel like you have lost direction?  We will discuss ways to “Face the Fire by Faith”.  What do I do with faith in a world that seems so random.   Transformation is a mystery that begins and ends with faith.  The fun stuff lies in the middle.  Find your way with us as we seek Christ together.

June 5:  The 3rd Sunday of Pentecost, Communion Sunday,

Text:  1 Kings 17:8-24 “Now What”

Transformation in the soul is built by our experiences in the day to day.  We need companions for the journey and our eye on God.  With each day’s ups and downs, let’s face it, faith can just be difficult.  And yet we grow through these experiences.

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June 12: 4th Sunday of Pentecost. 

Text: Galatians 2:15-21,” Faith is Dead Right”

The way to faith is faith.  God is faithful to plant the seeds of faith within us and water them with our experiences. Faith expressed leads us to faith experienced.   “Paul speaks of what kind of sinner he is and asks, “what kind of sinner are you?”

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 June 19: 5th Sunday of Pentecost, Father’s Day

Text Luke 8:26-39  “Hey, those are my pigs!”

A dad’s promise does not come from a perfect life but by following a perfect Jesus.  Faith opens our eyes to our own brand of distress and randomness.  Rather than excuse our lives as “Just the way it is”, a new way is given, by faith, to all who will fearlessly face the challenge.

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 June 26:  6th Sunday of Pentecost

Text:  2 Kings 2:1-14  “Pass it on”

Faith is not a possession to hold but one to nurture and pass on.  Our companions in life feed our faith but also depend on us to build them up too.  Leadership is successful when we let god and watch another grow.

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Monday School: November 30, 2015, Coping with Christmas 1 of 3, Matthew 20:20-28

This is an overview of our discussion and not a text for success.  This is not just a Holiday thing either.  We are sharing stories and principles for coping with life and not just Christmas.  This is not a discussion of right and wrong behaviors but of healthier and unhealthier.  This is not a discussion of living stress free wither-only dead people are stress free. The trick is living in heathy stress and not constant distress. There are no quick fixes but this story gives us a framework for discussion.

Read our story from the Gospel of Matthew and follow along as we ask the text some questions:  Click here for Matthew 20:20-28

Our discussion of the text:  James and John show up to see Jesus with their mom.  She asks them to make these two the number two and three people in His messianic kingdom.  She misunderstood the kingdom to be an earthly-political one while Jesus was teaching that it would be one in heaven.  While she only had her community model to understand a kingdom, she knew Jesus, recognized  and she had faith that He could make her request happen.

Jesus gave them all a question as an answer and used Holy Communion language to teach them.  He is asking, “do you really know what you are getting in to.  They said sure and then Jesus said, “You’ve got it!”  BUT the three seats of leadership are not His to give nor theirs to receive-they are for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Later, Jesus would gather them together, with all of the grumbling, and explain that their mission was not to set up another human led, lord and master government system.  The Kingdom of God would be spiritual and focused on serving others rather than being the big dog in charge and being served.  Jesus did not die the make them power people but to be their ransom-payment-redemption, freeing them for a rich life that changes the world.

After this rather lively discussion of the text, we turned the worksheet over and asked these question.

  1. Who brought whom to Jesus? Did mom bring the boys? Or did the boys bring mom to fade the heat?  Who brings their mom to something like this!  Perhaps mom was that strong willed and didn’t trust her kids to stand up for themselves.  Maybe the sons brought mom to take the heat and passively do their talking to Jesus for them.  It makes a difference in our family dynamics.  Who is the strong willed in your family and who waits to be brought along.  Neither is more right or more wrong but you need to understand how that works to understand how a group of people come together and operate in a healthy way.
  2. Why did anyone have to bring anyone? The short answer is anxiety.  one or another was worried more than the other and pushed this action to relieve the anxiety.  Mom worried about sons, or sons worried about what Jesus would think or all of them just wanted to make sure they got to the front of the line.  Some things to consider
*The anxiety of each person in any group or family effects the anxiety of others.
*Some handle stress and anxiety better than others but everyone is two people; how they are normally and how they are when anxious.
*Self identity effects how we see God and hence how we see everything.  “Know thyself!”
*When unhealthy living is all you know, that’s how you go about living and will strive to make that happen.  Likewise when your family is healthy you will strive to maintain healthy living.
  1. First from verse 22: He calmly refocused the question in a spiritual way  in a calm place in a focused way.  When our family is in crisis we can begin by getting focused around facts and not emotion.
  2. Second from verse 23:
  3. And third from verse 25     How did this effect the group dynamic?  I made the other 10 “indignant”!  It caused stress and acting out.  He and gathered this family of disciples.  Being together in a familiar place is powerful but has to be mutually respectful  to be healthy
  4. What happens in football when you have 12 players on the field.. “Too many players on the field” gets a flag and the loss of control.  When an outsider or one unhealthy voice gets control the play has to change directions!  This is hard and usually goes against long standing patterns.  Jesus didn’t let the two define the mission that was to be their lives.
  5. What happens when one (or more) try define a group members identity.  anger with yelling?  anger with silence, isolating?  or….calmly sharing the cause and asking God to lead rather than the emotion of the moment.  Prayer is amazing when we do it at first instead of as a last resort.  Following Jesus’ calm yet firm persona.  He did not yell back and taught then retaught the role they would have and the one they would follow.  Consistency and discernment is a key.  Seeing God clearly through the fog of anxiety is key to getting started.  Knowing whose you are is key to knowing who you are and living in the healthy light of faith.
  6. What correction did Jesus offer?  Seek to serve and not be served.  Seek to follow God in spirit and truth rather than lead from your own limited vision and strength.  His witness and example would lead and guide all of those who follow.  It was suggested that this confrontation by James and John’s mom was embarrassing!  They probably knew the answer but pushed the point any way.
  7. Fusion versus differentiation:  Sometimes we are “Fused” as a group to the point that we lose all individuality-this is called fusion.  Sometimes we are so focused on ourselves that we don’t need anyone else-this is called differentiation.  The truth is that we float around somewhere in the middle.  We must know ourselves well enough to go to Jesus without mom making our case for us.  We also have to take on our life’s role with or without Mom’s approval and be ok.  We must be connected to our group but not to the point we have no identity-that describes a cult.  To lack any need for our family makes us empty shells and narcissists.
  8. Ideally, who should we “fuse” with?  The only perfect person that ever walked was Jesus.  He is the one who gives us an identity that gives us a life of significance here and life eternal hereafter.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Sermon Brief: Mark 10:17-31 “O Come on….You Know this”

October Theme

This is the first of two in a series of sermons with the goal of clearing the clutter that we tend to pile around the Bible.  Join with us as we explore these stories together.

Did Jesus ever tell a joCamel-and-needleke?  Some people act like He was only the man of sorrows and that sour, and harsh actions are Christian service.  Jesus was constantly at dinner with people and speaking to diverse groups.  He was fully human and fully God, yet capable of weeping.  It is reasonable to think that he would also laugh.  Some believe that this  comment about rich people  was a joke!  Granted, the punch line is lost to the centuries BUT that does fit.

Scripture is dealing with life and death seriousness in our story today but Jesus is not afraid to laugh the truth into this crowd. Still this is not a comedy but a love story.

Click Here for Mark 10:17-31  The text will tell you where I am coming from .

Slide1This is a picture of 19th century graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried together. On the Protestant part of this cemetery Colonel  van Gorcum, of the Dutch Cavalry. His wife, lady van Aefferden is buried in the Catholic part. They were married in 1842,the lady was 22 and the colonel 33, he was a protestant and didn’t belong to the nobility.  This caused quite a commotion in the day.

After being married for 38 years the colonel died in 1880 and was buried on the protestant part of the cemetery against the wall. His wife died in 1888 and had decided not to be buried in the family tomb but on the other side of the wall. Two clasped hands connect the graves across the wall telling a love story that is bigger than the grave.  The barriers weren’t brick-class, denomination/style, family relationships, background, or gender-they were spiritual.  Even in death they found a way.

Their love story reflects the love story that the Gospel has for us.  Jesus is in the region of Judea and across the Jordan. He is teaching at a furious pace to prepare his followers for the crucifixion.  His inner circle of disciples is trying to “get it” and temple staff members are there to make sure they don’t.

A man rushes up and asks the central question of all life, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus starts listing the 10 commandments,  but the man hastily interrupts-saying Come on, I know this. Jesus “Looked at him and loved him”.  He saw his spiritual brick-wall and told him to give away all of his riches and follow. The man clung to his money and went away sad, unrepentant and unredeemed.

Jesus rounded up his disciples, laughed and quipped about running a camel through the eye of a needle being easier than that rich guy entering into God’s kingdom. Jesus laughed the truth into them that God gives us the gift of possibility where we have none without on our own strength.

Good old clumsy Peter piped in that they indeed left everything to follow him. He was trying to live out of the rich man’s spiritual problems instead of his own. Thus pointing out that they were way ahead of that rich guy. Of course Christ’s closest ones there wasn’t whole lot of riches to leave behind.. I am sure that Jesus just shook His head.

The point is not what they lost by following but what they gained, which was everything, Nothing we can lose by faith can compare to What Jesus Gives us. Indeed the more we leave behind by faith the higher the capacity to reap spiritual riches. “But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Come on… we know this!  but it is hard to walk away from our walls.  Our real separation is not brick, class or background but a Spiritual relationship with God that show us and then removes the false separations built in our own minds.  Even in death Jesus found a way to overcome the wall that is sin/separation, and he did that through the Cross and our inheritance of an empty tomb.

So what do we learn from this?  The love story of Jesus is bigger than the grave

We have walls between us and God of our own making.  God is assertively reaching over them to grasp our hands.  Of course we have to live inside our own walls, not those of someone else.  God reveals our separation, our sin, and the Grace of Jesus removes them one brick at a time. Keep reaching!  Grace reaches back when we risk losing something personal to gain everything.  The empty tomb is a better place to live than the grave yard.

Salvation is a personal gift but is lived out in our church families.  Congregations build walls too.  When we hide behind the walls of style, denomination and tradition we slap God’s nail scarred hands away and retreat into our four lonely walls.

Unity is as tough now as it was in Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Like then, we are living in a world of change and are left to witness to an unchanging God  in our ever changing cultural reality.  How, by looking at to Jesus as our ground and goal rather than trying to cling to people.  By gladly preparing our church for the next generation instead of trying to make them look like us.  Focusing our vision is  listening to God rather than just making better plan.

At Cheatham Memorial we are unveiling our new vision statement at Charge Conference next week.  This is more than a glib slogan but a way of discerning.  Slide3

We settled on “Welcome Home!”  This is what I want to hear when my time on earth is done and what we want others to hear when they step through our doors.  Rather than just doing good things, we will test our ministry and ask if we are following Christ, serving the community and unifying the body as we do them.  If the answer is no then we are probably only serving ourselves and need to re-think.  Live in Christ, you cant lose.

Let us work according to Christ’s mission and we have already succeeded. and when we quit telling God, as the rich young man did, how smart we are and move toward disciplined listening we will grow in Grace and live a life of significance.

 

This is a follow up to our sermon from Sunday and I pray it touches your heart.  Please find a church that gives you a hearty “Welcome Home”.  If you find yourself in our corner of East Texas, Come and see us!

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“Monday School” A precept study of James; Chapter 2 week 2

Tonight we had some new folks and an excellent discussion! Our church family has set aside Monday Evenings at 6:00 for Adult Bible Study.  This is a 5-week Inductive study where we look at the whole to see where God’s direction comes from.  This group is bathed in prayer too.

In Monday School, It is as important to know HOW to study as it is to know the information. We are not seeking simple intellectual knowledge but God’s wisdom.  To do this we will hone three skills:  Observation-spiritual reading, Interpretation-spiritual seeking, and Application-putting truth into practice.  No one is an expert.  We are all finding our way.

One thing I ask!  Don’t consult any commentaries until we are done.  One goal is to build confidence in our abilities to apply scripture

Our text is James Chapter 2 (Click Here)

This week, after prayer,  we focused on the key word, “Faith”.  We discussed the definition of the word and underlined each use of the word as the text was read aloud.

Faith is ultimately relying on God and puts life in perspective-it is not about us!

The poor were used as a positive witness of faith.  Why?  They appreciate what they have, have a perspective on what “things” matter, and they relied on God because that is all they had to rely on.

The rich were a negative witness on faith.  There must have been a problem within those first readers on the issue of favoritism and injustice to the poor or these would not be so prominent in James.  The rich were in a position to judge and were harsh to the poor, They trusted in their own wisdom, relied on their own resources

We shared stories about the struggle with everyday issues surrounding helping others-cat food, pan handlers and motel rooms to name a few.

We discussed when we feel alive and how that relates to our faith more than our circumstances.  We discussed at length the death that we feel when we don’t use our faith and just talk about it.  Prayer and study are doing something about faith formation to be sure BUT nothing compares with works done in the name of Jesus for someone else.

Everyone is encourages to leave a comment, especially group members.  All are welcome next Monday at CMUMC at 6:00.

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Sermon Brief: October 4, 2015 “Tell Them the I AM sent You”

 

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Before health education and restrictions on the tobacco industry nearly everyone smoked . People who did not smoke often carried light to share for others as a courtesy.  As a kid, I was fixated on the Zippo Lighter.  They clicked, flicked and snapped into a flame that did not consume the fibers in the center of the little chrome grid. This was cool and weird at the same time, just like the “burning bush” that confronted Moses.  God had a mission and a direction for Moses.  He had a cool-weird Zippo lighter moment and had the presence of mind to listen and follow.

Our smoking habits have changed.  Lighters are not as commonplace BUT  Jesus is still the way, the truth and the life.  He is the God of all creation and that does not change with the whims of culture.  God is the source of direction for our lives.  Even when we lose our way, God is still speaking to his people.  The greater question is, are we listening?

Click here for our Sermon Text: Exodus 3:1-15

Here are some of the high points:

  • Moses has lost his way.  Born into hiding, prayed into being a prince of the most powerful nation in history. He had everything all figured out until he killed a man.
  • He fled Egypt at about age 40, he could be 70- or 80 years old, trapped in the sheep business. His direction is to water and pasture for the sheep. The Big picture direction of his life was lost
  • God called through an angle in the guise of a fire. Like a zippo, the flame is alive with sound sight and the very voice of God but it is not consumed This is a holy moment on a holy patch of ground.
  • The message: GO to Egypt, bring the message of victory and release, deliver them. Your marching orders, your credentials and your provision is simply from “I AM. Tell them I AM sent you.  This is a derivation of the Yahweh, the name of God.  They would understand.
  • There is no question that this burning bush moment is God’s direction, authority, and provision.  He may question his sanity or his faith but this is to far out there to be anything less than God.  He shows more than a little doubt of self or his ability but the mission is all there.

Wouldn’t you and I have a less anxious life if we followed God’s clear direction with such surefootedness.

A young man that is now a certified lay minister and holding down a church asked me a question.  We were have a parking lot conversation with another pastor who was accustomed to saying “God told me” this and that, whether choosing a song, sermon, or a car.  He often spoke this way and  I knew him as a man of God committed to the Gospel and prayer.  The young lay pastor  was quiet in this conversation as our neighbor was telling us what God had told him to do.  After this pastor left, my friend quietly asked.  “Brother Joe hears from God?  How does he know its God and not someone else?”  This is a great question .

Moses has some hints for listening for God’s voice in this story.  I have never heard Charlton Heston’s voice booming a message out of the rafters or had writing magically appear on the wall but I hear God’s voice in my spirit. Many of my friends and colleagues have been re- assured of their life’s direction in many different ways.  How do we hear?  How do we know it isn’t a misleading voice?

Good questions!  People are dying from a lack of direction. Suicide, depression, missed opportunities, lost wages to unproductivity burden us when we lose our direction and flounder in our faith.  It can all be crushed by simply knowing and following God’s direction by faith.  Before you get too excited though, God makes us work for it and we will battle with doubt most of the way!

We are seldom blessed with an angelic and fiery message.  We live by faith and not sight.   God’s message is subtle, silent and sure we have to listen for it.  Consider these when you are discerning your life-direction.

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Walking in faith and seeking God’s direction begins when we pay attention to God in your everyday life, create time and place for prayer, know your own story.  The light of Christ is your, portable, powerful and shareable.  Jesus isn’t I was or the I will be he is the ever present and eternal “I AM”.  Jesus is your portable, powerful, eternal and living flame.  Carry it well and share!

You have the authority, God has the direction for you!  I AM knows you by name

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October 2015 Sermon Schedule

October Theme

We will continue to discuss the many tools that God gives us to discern our life’s direction  Concentrating God’s word as our compass and the Holy Spirit as Guide.  We will cut the clutter and discuss as much about what the Bible doesn’t say as what it does say.   We will hone our discernment skills to refine our “Vision Statement” as a congregation and to develop our personal life statement as well.  Come and see us at 10:oo worship!

  • October 4: Exodus 3:1-15 “Tell Them I-Am Sent You”
    The word of the day: God’s Direction for our lives and our congregation. This direction is Knowable and Do-able.  What God requires, God Directs and provides. Moses was endorsed by God, and In Christ, so are we.
  • October 11:  “Laity Sunday!”The message will be brought by Lay Person Jackie Fitzgerald from 1 Peter 4:10-11.  Judi Yarbrough will also present a mission report in word and photos.
  • “October 18: 21st: Mark 10:17-31 ”Oh, Come on….You know this!”We know the basics of Christ, some of us even from childhood,  but we still have to be reminded of them from time to time.
  • October 25: James 3:1-12 “But we must all learn”Not all can or should teach.  It is a gift and a craft.  BUT we must all learn from our many teachers.  Christ is teaching all things everywhere.  Listen, and learn…..

“Monday School”: A precept study of James-Week 1

Tonight we had a small group with a BIG discussion! We have set aside Monday Evenings at 6:00 for Adult Bible Study  This is an Inductive study where we look at the whole to see where God’s direction comes from.

In Monday School, It is as important to know HOW to study as it is to know the information. We are not seeking simple intellectual knowledge but God’s wisdom.  To do this we will hone three skills:  Observation-spiritual reading, Interpretation-spiritual seeking, and Application-putting truth into practice.

Tonight was James, Chapter 1: CLICK HERE  for the full text:  Hey the book in only 5 pages!

What we observed:

  • It was written by a powerhouse guy, but a real person who really knew Jesus.  He had a solid grasp of a mixed Christian culture and Jewish wisdom literature.  This is the New Testament book of proverbs.
  • People of faith have problems. Seeking God uses them to build us up, strengthen us, to stay standing and motivate us to DO faith instead of folding when times get tough. We shared stories about carrying on.  Tough times build a Faith that stands when the heat is on and an untested faith is no faith at all.
  • One likened to simply hearing as reading a novel, when tired, looking away, and looking back to forget what we read.  Faith leads to Wisdom which moves us from a forgetful hearer to an effectual doer.  Talk+love= action.
  • Wisdom that builds faith listens, then speaks and doesn’t get mad.  Mad takes our mind off of God.
  • Finally wisdom is shown by keeping our mouths under control and our moral decision inline with God’s word.  This is hard BUT we have everything we need to observe, interpret and they bravely apply. We don’t have to feel inferior to ANYONE but carry on.

Next week Chapter 2:  How is a growing faith lived out with others.  Excellent Group! Group members and others are welcome to add a comment

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