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)

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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!”

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

SUNDAY WORSHIP 10:00 AM

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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The GODWORD: slowing down your spirit in big hurry

We live in a blind rush. Slow down for a minute and breathe-even if you have to do it in a hurry.

I start my day with a single focusing word-a GODWORD. This is a guide word to snap me back when my mind get away from me. It is prayerfully discerned, reinforced by scripture and stays on my phone as a touchstone. My word usually come from some experience from the previous day. 

You are invited to receive & share this guide-word/Godword with me by text or email. The devotional usually goes out from 8:00-9:00 am central or other important moments. I do miss one now and then. PLEASE READ THE WHOLE BIBLE PASSAGE. I use the Bible Gateway app . 

Anyone wishing to receive them can email their cell number or email address to revavanhooser@aol.com.  This is a private list and comes as an Individual contact-not in a group.

If you ever wish to be removed from the list, simply contact me and I will take you off without comment at any time.

The purpose is to connect my day with friends and be held accountable to a daily discipline.  Comments are welcome at this site. 

Thanks for being my fellow traveler in Christ. Please share your GODWORD and other scriptures that give you focus in a comment below.  

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 www.cheathamumc.net .  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. 

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 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?

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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?

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 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. 

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 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? 

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 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. 

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 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!

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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. 

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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

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Advent 1: The Sunday of Hope-Interactive

Cheatham Memorial’s Sermon series for Advent is “Christmas is a family Story” with firstcandlelight-151224-155_0036 Sunday of Advent being the Sunday of Hope.  Our message for Sunday, November 27, 2016 came from Matthew 1:18-25  and was titled “A Family of Hope”.  Please read this before you finish this post.

The Blble’s focus is on the Holy Family and lifts them up as an example of how our families need faith to be healthy and thriving.  Mary and Joseph are struggling here but HOPE KEPT THEM GOING. If your family, whatever it looks like, is struggling, there is hope for you in Christ. 

Hope is born at home when our home is in Christ.  Hope is born in a family, hope is learned in our families, and hope is a key element in our life of salvation. Family is where God created the space for your faith to be formed. This is why family is so important to God

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The beautiful young ladies are our hope and remind us  what hope looks like. They beam with the life of Grace.  We owe them the gift of Hope that Jesus brings to our family and share the story.

The Bible’s word for hope is elpis (el-pees) and is defined as a trust, confidence, expectation and anticipation of welcome and security.  It is the sweet sister of the word faith and is the fruit of good character which is founded on faith in Christ.  Hope is how faith carries on when times get tough.  We can do anything as long as we don’t lose hope.  Hope as a family value is multiplied as our family grow in both number and spiritual maturity.

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One carrying a grandson due in January, one with twins in April and one Son-in-Law absent- that is 15!

Teresa and I married.  That makes a family of two.  We have three married children, two grand’s and three more grand children on the way.  Our family is now 15 which means our influence has gone up over seven fold. 

Hope is more than a numerical change though, also we have all grown in faith.  Our family is not perfect.  We have all had times of darkness and doubt but draw on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His living hope that we will outlast our troubles.  Our relationship with Jesus is eternal, our trials are temporary, and our life of salvation is always growing stronger.  THE FAMILY IS THE PLACE WHERE THE SEEDS OF HOPE ARE PLANTED AND NURTURED AND TOLD IN OUR FAMILY STORY.

Matthew chapter 1 begins Jesus’ genealogy and lists the super heroes of faith.  If Fred the donkey thief was in there somewhere but somehow became forgotten.  The family story  of hope has a healing amnesia that conquers the darkness.   It shows up in Jesus family just as it does in ours. There are two lessons here.  One, that the Holy family is called of God and two-family MATTERS!

Joseph was not superman, he was a working guy-a carpenter- and he knew without a doubt that Jesus wasn’t his child.  He also knew the living God and was a spiritually sensitive soul.  When the angel of God spoke he obeyed, knowing the cost to his reputation, his family relationships, knowing he was losing his home town, and his business.   Joseph chose to cling to the hope of the future and the direction of God rather than divorce.

Mary knew her lord, knew without a doubt that God is the source of hope for her family, that hope wouldn’t come from the neighbors,  She and her husband would cling to their faith and live the promise growing within her body.  This family is not so different from yours and mine.  They could have doubted and split. Instead they clung to God’s hand and their unique calling as a family and overcame.

Here are my observations and some questions for myself that I found in the text-

  • First, The center of everything in this text is HOPE from Christ. That hope is caught by faith, taught in the hard lessons of life, and transmitted to the next generation.
  • Hope begins with a praying parent, preferably TWO, but God will use what you have
  • No family is perfect but faith perfects life and forges hope
  • The Christian life is real life and God meets you where you are.
  • If any member of the family grows in faith, the whole family grows in faith.

Here is the interactive part-Add your comments below and share the overcoming hope that you either have or need.  We are all better if we share

  • If you aren’t a Christian or are but don’t go to church, would you be willing to try worship during the Christmas season?  What would encourage you to go?
  • What is God calling your family to do?
  • How do you plant or communicate hope during a hard time to your family?
  • How are you growing personally as a disciple of Jesus Christ?
  • How do you pray for your family members?

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What story does the “Bible” of your life tell??
For more information about Cheatham Memorial UMC go to cheathamumc.net

 

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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!