This 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!
May Marks our “ A Day of New Beginnings”. Easter marches into Pentecost with new opportunities to grow in Christ. Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church invites you to join us for worship at 10:00 AM each Sunday. Click Here to learn more about our active and loving church family. Make church worship and service a part of your new beginning.
“Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.”
May 7: 4th Sunday of Easter
John 10:1-10 “Hey Porter!” This rich parable has a special meaning to the resurrected Church. Where are you in this story? I want to be the gatekeeper.
May 14: 5th Sunday of Easter Mother’s Day
John 14:1-14 “Which Way’s What” Followership is the first step in leadership and discipleship. What way do we go and how do we know? This is a lesson in listening to the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 3:13-22 “Free to Obey” Obedience isn’t giving in and being tied down. There is great freedom in knowing Christ through obedience.
May 28: Conference Sunday, Confirmation Sunday
Acts 1:1-11 “Lifted to life” Jesus was lifted to his rightful place-he did not jump up there. In Christ we are lifted up. Not by our own strength, but the very hand of God’s grace. This marks a new year for us to minister together!
Cheatham Memorial’s Sermon series for Advent is “Christmas is a family Story” with first 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
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.
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?
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 traditions, 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.
The 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 email@example.com.
God’s richest blessings to you as we prepare together for the coming of Jesus at Christmas!
Underwear is the foundation of our clothing. It is usually unseen, intimate, different preferences on different people and keeps the rest of our ensemble together. Our theological doctrines do the same thing. They hold us together and serve as the foundation of the ways that we speak of God. They are usually unseen, intimate and more assumed than taught. Now and then a disciple needs to get down to the basics. This week our group will put our core teachings right out in the open and studied them together. In our United Methodist context, these are found in the General Rules and the Articles of Religion. The goal is two-fold: first to understand more of our BASIC Methodist beliefs, and second, how to better express our beliefs to others
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.
Our small group meets for 90 minutes each Monday at 6:00 we began by discussing how we “do” theology. Methodists teach that there is a process 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.
We discussed at length the three General Rules to Do no harm, do good and attend to the spiritual practices that lead us to God. Many stories of how God had gotten our attention were shared from our diverse group. We discovered that while these rules are Methodist and Wesleyan they are basic to any Christian of any background because they come directly from the Gospel . Everything starts with grace.
I shared two things that boil my blood when people feel obligated to tell me what a Methodist is. The first is when they tell me that we don’t believe in the Bible and don’t actually have any doctrine. Second that we are about salvation by good works. Teaching, learning and witnessing to our theological heritage is the antidote to this whenever, “Two or more are gathered.”
The question was asked if these two statements were meant to replace Bible study. A great question but our answer was a definite NO! The doctrinal statements flow from scripture but cannot replace scriptures role in the life of piety. Searching the Scripture is central to the method of Methodism. We are seeking God’s perspective. One of our number shared that it was through prayer and Bible study that they were able to give a difficult thing up to God. This led to the discover that “God, turns out, could do much better with things than I could anyway.”
We read through the first 5 of the Articles and will probably finish next week. They are precisely written and intentionally placed in an order of importance. Everything flows from God, trinitarian in our understanding, but ONE GOD. Before we could subdivide the doctrines we must be in complete agreement of one God who is the source of forgiveness and gives us the living resurrection in Jesus Christ. We also discussed the sufficiency of Scripture and what that means to our salvation. While scripture does not directly speak to every single thing, it contains our sufficient road map to being and living as saved Christian disciples.
Wonderful things happen when we study our own doctrine and discover a solid place to find ourselves in Christ. Our discussion was definitely Weslayan and United Methodist in scope, however, these things are so basic and scripturally driven that they can be applied to most any thoughtful Christian.
Next week we continue with the articles of religion. You are welcome to join in or read along from where you are. We will read them one at a time and find the thread of Jesus’ grace and the Holy Spirit that ties them all together. 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.
Thank you Captain Underpants for adding a little humor to a serious subject.