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!

 

Monday School: 1-16-15 Our “Spiritual Underwear” Final Week

The goal of this short study is two-fold:  first to understand more of our BASIC Methodist beliefs, and second, how to better express our beliefs to others.  We used the foundation of the Articles of Religion and the General Rules as a framework for our study.  Just as Underwear is the foundation of our clothing, usually unseen, intimate, different preferences on different people and keeps the rest of our ensemble together, so are our theological doctrines .

You can read the one-page General Rules with us by clicking here.

You can read the 2- pages of the Articles of Religion with us by clicking here.

Let me begin with my thanks to our group.  I rarely get to discuss theology at any depth and have never had as much fun as I have with YOU GUYS! 

Methodists begin by teaching the method to growing into our theological understanding.  we start with Scripture, use our God given brains to reason, reflect that with our Christian tradition and then translate into our living experience.  Add to that the fact that we are wonderfully mad as Biological, Psychological, Social and Spiritual and we look for balance in all things as we discern and discuss the words about God that we use.

THE THEOLOGICAL BALANCING ACT

We discussed our assumptions, or better our deepest beliefs, and how they color our understanding of God.  I shared mine, which are varied and admittedly overanalyzed.  Things like my role as a pastor to a community and not a congregation, the Bible as a touchstone, connection to God and people, the sacraments as a source of amazing comfort , on an on.  We encouraged to know our assumptions, non-negotiables and grow a willingness to be both “Critical and Constructive”.  See page 78-89 of the Book of Discipline.

The articles give us a language of faith but it is up to us to make them personal.   They are precisely written and intentionally placed in an order of importance.  Everything flows from God, trinitarian in our understanding, but ONE GOD.  We spent most of our time speaking of the sacraments.

The sacraments, specifically, Baptism and Holy Communion ( or the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist as you choose), are also a language of faith.  They are a doing of the story of God as Creator, Jesus as prophet, priest, King and redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as the real worker in these powerful acts of faith.  It is amazing how common touchable elements such as water, juice and bread can reach to the invisible part of ourselves and awaken our relationship with Christ.

We also discussed the five sacramental acts of worship that other Christians count as sacraments, namely-confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction.  They aren’t bad, just don’t carry the weight that the Baptism and Communion do.

Each of us had stories of a time where the sacraments helped us to make sense out of something or met a spiritual need.  We had an “All Saint’s Sunday” a few weeks ago that was particularly powerful to me.  Each of us had a different take of what name we use for God when we pray.  Ultimately, the goal of any sacramental experience is to form our lives  into a living Holy Communion.

The question was asked, “how do you do that”.  This study must become more than words.  The short answer is to “attend to the ordinances of the church”, whether that is worship, study, prayer or service, in such a way that God is made real to us personally.  If God is that real to us personally then it will leak out into the lives of others.

I will not outline the 125 articles here but will point you to the link above and invite anyone of any denomination to look through them and discover your stance on the individual parts.  Please don’t stop there though.  Look at the whole of who God is and how overwhelming his love and grace is for you.  Studying these different pieces is not meant to just tickle your ears but to open your heart to a deeper working and practical walk with Jesus!

All of this and we never discussed the organizational structure once.  We will get to that on our next installment sometime after New Year’s

Next week we will take a November 23, 2015 off for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Our new study will be announced soon.   All are welcome to join in the study at any time on Mondays at 6:00.   Everyone is welcome to add with a comment on the doctrinal statements below.

Click here to check out our main website!

logo 1

Thank you Captain Underpants for adding a little humor to a serious subject. 

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

 

Slide1

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.

Slide2

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

 logo 1

Click here for our website

“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

logo 1