Sunday Sermon: By Serving Others

Back in 2009, I had an opportunity that was an unbelievable privilege. During the season of Lent, I was invited to preach at my hometown church, Perry Memorial United Methodist in Shady Spring, W.Va. I quickly accepted and was humbled by the chance to preach from the same pulpit where some of my favorite preachers stood.

As I look back, I remember feeling some pressure and a lot of temptation leading up to the service. Keep in mind this was the same congregation that saw me running up and down the aisles, stealing microphones as a child, and doing a bad impersonation of a singer during the Christmas cantata. They knew me and I knew them. I felt a lot of pressure to preach an easy message, one that would be easily received by the congregation and would allow me to maintain the “hometown boy does good” status I had earned.

The passage I preached from was not easy. It was from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, where Paul speaks of the foolishness of the cross. The message I preached became a message that would serve as a centering point for how I try to serve. What I said was that the Gospel and the cross breaks down the barriers we often create and welcomes all people. In a way, that message set up how I have tried to preach ever since. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: By Serving Others”

God Needs You … We Need You

They say the church is no longer needed today. That it has long served its purpose.

They say the church is just an ancient thing. That its teachings and beliefs are no longer relevant.

They say the church’s mission is no longer worth it. That no one is paying attention anymore, so the church would be better off just not trying.

Do you really believe any of that? Continue reading “God Needs You … We Need You”

Sunday Sermon: God is at Work

Those of us who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s enjoyed a bit of nostalgia this week. Some of the cast from “Saved by the Bell” reunited and performed their iconic roles on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”

It was a hilarious modern skit of a show that transformed Saturday morning entertainment and provided pre-teens and teens with a relevant and engaging show of their own. There was Zach, Slater, Kelly, and Jessie. Even Mr. Belding made an appearance as the group tossed out their classic lines and even sang about how they would always be “friends forever.” Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: God is at Work”

Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015: Follow

Since moving to Kentucky in 2007, there is a lot I have learned about our great commonwealth. I have learned that a Derby Pie is a unique combination that must be tasted to be appreciated. I have learned that Lexington is not only the “horse capital of the world,” but also the “traffic jam capital” as well. I have learned that you can tell when someone is new to the state by how they pronounce “Louisville.”

Yet of all the things I have learned about Kentucky, probably the most significant is this: we love our sports. Sports is part of the culture in Kentucky. From the youth basketball courts to the college basketball games, we love to take in sports and talk about them daily. Go to McDonald’s in Lawrenceburg on any morning and you are guaranteed to hear people either talking about the next Kentucky game or a recent high school contest. 

We love to get involved in sports. We love to watch the athletes and cheer for our favorite team. We get excited when our team wins and we get frustrated, for example, when a certain team dressed in Gold and Blue decides not to make a basket against Texas. We love our sports.  Continue reading “Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015: Follow”

Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 (Giving)

New Year’s Day has its varied traditions. Many of these traditions are cultural and regional in nature, such as eating black eyed peas or putting a coin in cabbage. Some of these traditions are centered on the idea of seeking good luck and fortune for the new year. Personally, I never understood how one could gain luck through eating cabbage or black eyed peas.

Among those traditions is one we are most familiar with and, perhaps, one we participated in a few days ago. That is the new year’s resolution. The idea that we will resolve to do something different in the new year that we did not do not as much in the previous.

Problem is that it seems we just recycle previous resolutions. Our resolutions often cycle around the common themes of losing weight, saving more money, and finding more ways to relax. Resolutions, though, that are appropriate coming out of a season of heavy eating, tons of purchases, and stressful calendars. For the record, my resolution for 2015 is to find more time to relax and not to stress about the little things in life. We’ll see how long that lasts. Continue reading “Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 (Giving)”

A Mission for the 22nd Century

This morning, I asked you all about what is it that you love about Claylick because it is important for us to claim what is special about this amazing church. I ask, as well, because I love hearing the stories about what makes Claylick special to each of you.

It has been four months since Abbi, Noah, and I moved here. Every day since we arrived we have been amazed by what God has been doing. A lot has happened in these four months. We have all laughed. We have all cried. We have all been challenged. We have all pondered about what it means for us to be the church God desires us to be here in our communities. It has been a busy four months.

Perhaps, then, it is appropriate for us to call a time out. To pause and reflect on where we have been and look ahead to where we are going. To get a sense of what God is doing in our midst as we discern what God might be asking of us as individuals and as a church. Continue reading “A Mission for the 22nd Century”