Pastor's Blog
August 30, 2018, 8:38 AM

September Blog



As a young girl I remember going to my great grandmother Price's home.  She had a special jar that held a large set of dominoes.  My brother and I would spend most of our time setting up the dominoes in different configurations on the living room floor.  And then.....one of us would touch the first domino just enough to make them fall one after the other click-clacking as they toppled over.  Sometimes we would be so excited as we set them up that one of us would accidentally touch a domino and down they would come before we finished the pattern we decided upon.  One little shift, one simple change and they all fell down.

In Michigan, seismic shifts are sometimes unnoticed by us, but those who monitor earthquakes notice the small shifts that happen.  These shifts cause changes in the earth's crusts forever.  Little shifts not only have a big impact in the crust of the earth, but also in every area of our lives.

Most of the time, it's the small changes in our lives that make a big difference.  I will be doing a sermon series over the next weeks titled, Seismic Shifts based on a book by Rev. Kevin Harney.  I invite you to explore with me six key areas for change in our lives and how to make small but powerful shifts that will.....

  • Increase our joy
  • Expand our faith
  • Bring us health and rest
  • Enrich our relationships
  • Create financial stability and contentment
  • Help impact our community and the world

The sermon series begins on September 9.  There will also be a weekly reading guide to help us daily on the Seismic Shift adventure.  Like the first domino in a domino chain, one wisely considered action can set in motion an entire life changing sequence.  I'm excited to see what God will do in my life, your life and how it impacts the mission of this church.

Pastor Becky

 

 




August 1, 2018, 10:22 AM

August Blog



Every Sunday for nearly three years Walter had a routine.  Just before 10:00 a.m. he would open the doors to Epworth and prepare the church for worship.  If the weather was cold, he would build a fire in the old wood stove.  If it was hot, he would open all the windows and distribute the hand fans with a picture of Jesus on one side and an ad for a local funeral home on the other.

Next, Walter would open the Bible located on top of the wooden pulpit and read the selected Scripture for that week.  Then it would be time for prayer.  Often there were folks in the community included on Walter's list.  The latest national and world news would be mentioned.  But always, Walter ended every prayer with a plea for God to remember and bless his beloved church.

Every Sunday, Walter had a routine, but what makes this story so unique is that with very few exceptions, Walter began and ended the Sunday morning worship service....alone. Alone?  Why? Many years ago, Epworth church was built on land donated by a neighboring farmer, but if for any reason they stopped meeting regularly, if Walter stopped opening the church doors every Sunday, the property would revert to the original owners...Epworth church would cease to exist.

So what is the big deal?  If Walter is the only one bothering to attend, let him go somewhere else or stay at home.  Why not face the inevitable and allow Epworth to quietly disappear?  What harm would it do?  For Walter, it was a big deal.  God had a divine purpose for his life and for the church he loved.  But for now, Walter must be patient, be faithful.....and wait.  Wait for what?....

One Sunday morning a young family, new to the area, visited Epworth and after meeting Walter joined him in worship.  They found something unique about this little church nestled among the trees and the old many who faithfully opened her doors.  On the following Sunday they came back and within a few weeks the children were bringing their friends.  At year's end a minister was hired.

Today, Epworth is a small family church situated between several farms and hidden among the trees.  Every summer they offer vacation Bible school for the neighborhood and each Christmas is celebrated with a pageant performed by the children.  Many of the original family have died and some of their children have moved away, but the miracle of Epworth has never been forgotten.

On the first Sunday of August, people come from across the United States to visit the church of their youth and relive the miracle of the old man who refused to let his beloved church die.  The worship service is followed by a picnic on the church grounds.  While the children are playing and the adults are eating, you may notice a family wandering over to the nearby cemetery.  If you listen carefully, you'll hear a parent telling a child, "Let me tell you a story about Walter....."

--Larry Davies, "Turning Points:

A Church, the Messiah....Wait! Why?

December 15 & December 22, 1999,

Sowseeds@hovac.com

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A lovely villa rests on the shores of beautiful Lake Como in the Italian Alps.  Some tourists complimented the trusted old gardner who had maintained the grounds for years.

"The owner must come here frequently, 'one said.

'No,' he replied.  'He has been here only once in 15 years, and then I did not see him.'

'But how do you get your orders?'

'From the owner's agent, who lives in Milan.'

'Then he must come here often?'

'No, not often.  Perhaps once a year or so.'

The tourist was amazed.  'You have no one to supervise your work, and the grounds are as neat as if you expected the owner to come back tomorrow!'

The old gardener firmly replied, 'Today, sir! Not tomorrow, but today.'

That gardener was faithful to his trust."

Are you and I going to be just as faithful--to God, to each other, to our church?

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and seek to be a faithful disciple that responsibility also includes being faithful to Christ's Church.  Ephesians 4:15 says, "We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly.  As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."

It does take each person participating in the ministries of the church, doing their part for Christ, for the church to be healthy and growing.  There are ministries within the church that need your help.  The Leadership and Nominations Committee is beginning their work of seeking persons to serve on specific committees that manage and oversee the administration and program ministries of the church.  They have prayerfully considered whom to call.  Perhaps it will be you.  I pray that you will step out in faith and serve.  If you are interested in serving the church in a certain way, please contact me.

We want First United Methodist Church to continue to be a vital beacon for Christ in our community and the world for generations to come, but it takes each one of us to make that happen.  Know this 'Christ is Counting on YOU!'

God Bless You,

Pastor Becky

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