Sunday, October 14, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening

This was a week where the Church was alive. 
Thursday - Memorial service for Sue Calhoun.  It was a most meaningful time as we celebrated the life and faith of a dear friend and member of PWC.  Walter's Beatle's medley captured Sue's spirit. 
Saturday - We celebrated the marriage of Brandi Weymuth and Zach Corbett.  It was a joyful time to share with family and friends. 
Saturday - During the Saturday service 3 young people were baptized.  New life.
Sunday - The Youth Band led worship at 10:45 Modern Service.  This brings hope and encouragement to the church.
Sunday - Sign up for this weekends Ladies Retreat; Scout chili supper tickets; Flu shots as we partner with Ian's Rainbow Foundation to join Glen and Julie Moise in educating people about the flu.
Sunday - At a district and conference level, our new District Superintendent, Rev. Melissa Dodd was installed to her new ministry. 
I know there are many who worry about the church, but I have seen her alive and well this week.  And we anticipate even more coming.
It's been a good day.  I hope you've had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening

Philippians 4:8
“...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —think about such things.”
Think about...
True. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH and the life.
Noble. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Right. Jesus is our RIGHTeousness
Pure. Jesus, without blemish or spot.
Lovely. He is altogether lovely.
Admirable. Jesus gives an example.
Excellent. Worthy is the lamb.
Praiseworthy. Jesus, worthy of our praise.
Something - Someone - to think about.
It’s been a good day. I hope you’ve had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening

I spent 16 hours this weekend, with a small group of church leaders and a consultant with thr Unstuck Church group. It was an in-depth conversation with the basic goal of moving toward ways of reaching unchurched people in our mission field. For our church to do and be what we believe God wants will result in reaching hundreds of new people who do not have a relationship with Jesus. It is an exciting endeavor. It is challenging. It is future oriented.
One observation on our work was there was no talk about “why people don’t come to church” or that many people are opting out of church.
Mark Morgan and others in the Unstuck group are in 100’s of churches. They work with churches of various sizes. They see churches after churches that are growing, making new disciples of Jesus Christ. It can be done. It is being done.
Of course these things are not easy. But here we go. Together we seek God’s leading as we move forward to lead people to join us in following Jesus.
It’s been a good day. I hope you’ve had a good day to.
steve

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening

I could reflect on SCOTUS controversies.
...health issues affecting many of our members.
...beautiful, joyful wedding (Congrats Tyler and Lauren).
...a great rendition of Just a Closer Walk With Thee.
...new tax laws and possible effects on charitable giving.
...denominational conflicts
...on-going war
...a new church in Hondorus.
...young people entering ministry.
...up-coming strategic planning consultation.
...exciting opportunities for strengthening families.
...Bible Study.
...The last sermon preached — the next sermon to preach.
...confirmation class.
...up-coming women’s retreat.
...and the list goes on and on.  Life is filled with a vast variety of blessings, opportunities and challenges. And we may rejoice that the Lord is in and with us through them all.
It’s been a good day. I hope you’ve had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening

Progressions of faith...When we think about where God is interacting in our lives we move from thought to thought.  Perhaps we are desiring that God direct us in some activity.  Maybe we are praying for God's healing or some other provision.
We begin with God.  Our thoughts and hearts turn to God. 
We have been taught that God is all powerful so perhaps our first thought is that God COULD.  God could do what I am preparing to ask for/about.
From there a general belief kicks in.  God could and God CAN.  There is nothing to hard for God.  God is able. 
With that settled we move toward making our request personal.  With the understanding that God could and can, we think God MIGHT answer my prayer and move powerfully in my life.
From that point the matter of faith begins to stir more fully.  We do not grunt and groan until faith "kicks in" but something happens in us.  Perhaps it is a result of all those days in prayer and scripture reading.  Maybe our regular practice of worship speaks into our hearts.  Maybe we simply get this great sense of God's presence in our lives that seems to come down from heaven.  Suddenly we believe that the God who could, can, and might, WILL.  God will hear my prayer.  God will answer these prayers.  God will.
Then we find ourselves knowing that God IS.  God is real.  God is alive.  God is at work.  God is personal.  God is.
It's been a good day.  I hope you've had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening

When the Kurtz family (Warren, Diane & Natalie) joined the church today, Warren shared why they chose to "join" the church.  We establish the fact that membership does not necessarily have benefits.  When you are a visitor we encourage you to park close to the building and we seek to extend extra hospitality.  When you join we ask you to park further away, give money to support the church, be sure you take part in serving Christ and others, get involved in learning in a group, and be intentional about attending worship regularly. 
But back to Warren and the Kurtz family.  Why join?  He summed it up with the word "accountability".  It is true we never completely "arrive" in the spiritual life.  We continue growing in the grace and love of God.  Being part of the church includes a personal accountability to the church.  It was a good word.
I take accountability seriously.  I am accountable to our United Methodist Church with the superintendent and bishop.  I am accountable to our Book of Discipline.  I am accountable to you, the congregation I am appointed to serve. 
I also have an accountability group that I ask to hold be accountable.  There are three basic areas they watch.  They ask about my spiritual life.  How are my prayers and scripture reading?  Am I finding new insights from the Lord?
They ask about my health.  Am I working out?  Am I taking care of myself physically?
They ask about my family.  How is Cindy?  How are the kids?  Things like that. 
It means something to know there are people thinking about you and praying for you each day.  It means something to know someone is going to ask me some questions and I will give an account.  Accountability helps.
I hope you have someone to hold you accountable for your faith and growth in grace.  That is part of what the church seeks to provide.  I hope you learn from the Kurtz family and heed to message to be accountable in your faith.
It's been a good day.  I hope you've had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Reflections From Sunday Evening (after a break)

It was great to be back at PWUMC today.  Everything about the day felt great and I know many sensed the presence of the Lord among us today.
In the past month I have spent lots of time with family and friends.  We have been to church in St. Louis, Platte Woods, and Kimberling City.  All great! (Still good to be back in the swing of things.)
It was a blast spending time with great friends. (Thanks Clif and Dee)  We worshiped, ate, went to the "Happy Together" tour, watched Elvis' '68 Comeback Special. (seriously) Went through the Negro League Baseball Museum and Jazz Museum.  All great.
We then returned the favor and went to the Branson area and kept the friendship theme going.  Clif took me to the Crane Broiler Festival.  Just a hint...I ate a chicken! 
We had an opportunity to catch up with friends and totally enjoyed the conversations.  A blessed time off.
But even better to be back as we gear up for a season of ministry this fall.  We feel renewed enthusiasm throughout the church.  Discipleship opportunities abound.  Children's ministry is full of enthusiasm.  Mission and service is ready to roll.  So here we go.
It's been a great day.  I hope you've had a great day too.
steve