Sunday, June 18, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

Had a nice lunch and Father's Day conversation with my dad.  Funny how he remembers these stories from long ago.  I am sure the story about Jesse Jame's horse was passed down to him when he was young.  Evidently one of my ancestors had a big white horse.  Out in the country of St. Claire County Jesse James was interested in the horse.  (Would this be my great grandfather?) He made a number of offers but each was denied.  Finally as Jesse James prepared to ride away he made one more offer.  The horse he was riding plus added some more money to the deal.  Accepted.
The story continues when they read about Jesse James being cornered by a posse only to break through the back door of a store and out the glass window.  He was reported to have ridden out of town on a big white horse.
You be the judge on that one.  But it is pretty amazing the stories in our families.  You have them.  As a matter of fact you are writing stories now - your stories.  What will they be?
The story is told of my great grandfather...
Is it a faith story?  I hope the faith gets woven into the story of your life.  It will be remembered and told long into the future.
It's been a good day.  I hope you've had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

Think of a song that you will stay in the car and listen to before you go inside.  What makes that song special?  What does it remind you of?  Is it tied to a time in your life that you especially appreciate?  Is it tied to a memorable experience?  What do you remember?
We do things like this when a favorite song is played.  It has meaning.
Let's try something else.  Do you remember a church service that was deeply meaningful and you still remember it?  What about some other setting for a spiritual experience?  Do you have a memory of a time when Jesus Christ was keenly recognized in your life?  What were the circumstances?  What was the need?  What was the joy?
Too often people wait until a crisis to stop and remember.  Certainly stop and remember that verse of scripture, that song you heard that touched your heart, that prayer someone prayed for you, that message you heard, when in crisis.  Do not hesitate.
But what if we made this a more regular part of life?  What if you had a pretty good day and things seemed pretty good and you still took some time to remember the Lord?  Do that enough and the next thing you know you have developed a good habit.  When we remember the Lord in good times the Spirit builds our spiritual strength.  Then when a crisis hits we are much more prepared to face the challenge and experience anew the powerful grace of Christ.
So take two minutes and listen to a favorite song.  But take time to remember the Lord.  You will not regret it.
It's been a good day.  I hope you've had a good day too.
steve

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

Memorial Day serves to remind us of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our country.  It is amazing to think we have World War II veterans among us who remember those they served with.  There are veterans of Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  All have memories of some they served with.  We have active duty military we count among our church family.  They serve in a long tradition of those willing to sacrifice that we may enjoy freedoms.
It is an extension of the day to remember family and friends whose lives we celebrate.  Memorial Day may lead to Decoration Day.  Do take the time to remember and be thankful.
We had a full week at church.  We had a Celebration of Life and a Celebration of Marriage.  I saw an 11 day old baby this morning!  We shared the news that our own Britton Fields completed Pastor's Licensing School and will be appointed to serve at PWUMC at annual conference.
I had a great blackberry streusel muffin this morning.  If you have not stopped by the cafe on a Sunday you are missing out.
As usual -never take this for granted - we had great music today.  We had joyful celebration and meaningful reflection.
It was a blessed day.
It was a good day to remember.
It was a good day to celebrate our faith in Jesus Christ.
I hope you've had a good day too.  And have a blessed holiday weekend.
steve

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

I give extra thanks to God for six leaders in Platte Woods UMC.  Glenn and Barbara Ladd, Jim and Margie Thomas, and Dean and Deb Welsch.  They are our Confirmation Class leaders.  Week after week they invest themselves in the lives of young people leading to confirmands making their profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Today we witnessed the fruit of their love and efforts as seven young people stepped forward into the Christian life.
We could not touch the lives of young people in this way were it not for the excellent leadership Britton Fields and Brand Stumbaugh provide.
It is always a special moment to baptize and confirm.  In our tradition the ordained (Nancy Listen, Jessica Richard, and myself) place our hands on the confirmands and symbolize the Holy Spirit coming.  It is pretty amazing.
In addition to our confirmation class we witnessed another youth being baptized. Blessings on Kaitlyn Bolt! We also shared in Calvin Hagedorn's baptism.  We pray for Benjamin and Kaity as they raise Calvin in the faith.
One gets the idea the Holy Spirit is moving in the church.  I give thanks.
It's been a great day.  I hope you've had a great day too.
steve

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

What a fun day!  Mother's Day is hard to beat.  The "kids" came up and fixed lunch for everyone.  Mom and Dad with us.  A good family day.  Never take family for granted.  A joy!
Also had a super day at church.  Three baptisms put all of us in a great spirit.  Truly witnessed the move of the Holy Spirit today.
It is impossible to explain the joy of holding a child in your arms and placing the waters of baptism over their head marking them as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I will surely be praying for the McKee's and Lane's as they raise their children in the Church and in the love of Jesus.
We also put the baptismal to good use today.  McKelvey McDaniel stepped into the water to make her profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  She was buried with Christ in the waters of baptism and raised up to enter the new life of a Christian.  Amazing!
Next week there will be more.  More baptisms.  More professions of faith.  More joy and grace to go around.
It's been a great day.  I trust you've had a great day too.[
steve

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

One Profession of Faith.
Two new members.
An infant baptized.
Communion served and received by many.
Prayers lifted on high.
A traveler assisted on her way.
Amazing music and worship.
The Word read and proclaimed.
Sunday School classes sharing the faith.
Children introduced to Jesus.
High School Seniors recognized and blessed.
Youth encouraged.
Friendships discovered and renewed.
Generosity practiced.
Thoughts inspired.
People serving.
This and much more.
Just another day in the life of the Church.  When we stop and think of how many lives are touched on a weekend and then multiply that across the world it will take your breath away.  Truly the Spirit of the Lord is moving across the face of the earth.  God continues to renew His creation and touch His people.  It is a joy to be part of what God is doing.
It's been a great day.  I hope you've had a great day too.
steve

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Reflections From Sunday Evening

When we were talking about Thomas this weekend it struck me how gracious Jesus is to meet people where they are rather than where the "should" be.  One reason that is very hopeful is that "should" is totally subjective.  I have one idea of where I "should" be but you may have a totally different perspective.  Rather than establish some secret level of faith, love or commitment the Lord comes to each of us where we are.  Pretty amazing.
Of course Jesus does not leave people where he finds them.  Jesus does not save us from our sins and our past then move out of life.  No, Jesus is in this for the long-term.
The Lord meets us where we are.  He moves us toward him and brings us to a place of repentance (turning around) and faith.  He changes our hearts and then begins changing our lives.  Again, pretty amazing.
Thomas had to struggle with the idea of Jesus rising from the dead but once he was convinced his only response was "my Lord and my God."
I am wondering how and where you will meet Jesus and how you will express your faith?  My Lord and my God.
It's been a great day.  I hope you've had a great day to.
steve