A Few New Year Thoughts

A Few New Year Thoughts

Published January 10, 2024

1st Sunday after the Epiphany | Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that in case you missed being with us on Sunday in worship, I hope you’ll take the time to worship with us by clicking here. I think it will give you insight to the note I share below.

The note comes from one of finest persons of faith I know, Carolyn Perlman. She is a part of the many that provide the spiritual bedrock to our community of faith. She also teaches one of our several dynamic Sunday School classes, the Elizabeth Patrick Class. Carolyn writes:

“Chuck, as you know, I have been a member at MUMC for almost 25 years and a very regular attendee in both Sunday School and Worship! This place of worship has been my most holy and beautiful place. I walk through the doors and my blood pressure drops significantly. Great medicine for a senior adult! I didn’t realize just how much I missed being with everyone in person. COVID was a game changer for many of us.

But this is what I experienced today (January 7). I walked into the Sanctuary and was immediately hugged by several people who I know love me and have been praying for me. That was nice. When we Passed the Peace, I made the rounds!! And that’s putting it mildly. I got another hug and ‘love wish in my ear’ from Dot Smith, then Ann Haegle, and several other Elizabeth Patrick folks. It was amazing. My heart became so full, I could hardly stand it. The music, the sermon, the overall atmosphere lent itself to a wonderful spiritual experience. Then came Holy Communion.

I sit near the front because I’m short and don’t like it if I can’t see the speaker! I watched my friends from over the years come down the aisles with their hands held out to receive the elements. Many of those folks stopped by and gave me one more hug!! Too much love!! I gazed at all those people, some wheeling their parent who had previously lost a limb, some with their children giving them instructions on how to receive, some couples who were lovingly touching each other, then I saw you and Karen (just being one of the crowd).

I witnessed those who have recently lost a loved one, the people sitting behind me who are preparing to become new members. Each and every one of us present with different struggles, different backgrounds, more or less degrees of pain and sadness, happiness and joy. But there we are … gathered there with a common bond of our love for Jesus Christ, preparing for The Last Supper which binds us like nothing else!

What a glorious feeling it was for me. I was touched by the Holy Spirit with such gratitude, I can’t articulate it. I had very sweet tears coming down my cheeks … complete tears of joy!

Let me just say this……. I love Matthews United Methodist Church!”

And MUMC loves you (and Mace), Carolyn Perlman. You have been a gift to us for 25 years. Your footprints of faith are all over us. Thank you! Thank you! The gift of your words mean so much.

I love to keep you aware of some of the things happening in the life of MUMC. Here are some 2023 numbers related to our Home2Home Ministry:

  • 142 families (399 people) served
  • 1522 furniture items picked up/received
  • 1555 home items were delivered
  • 250 families donated items
  • 774 people showed up to serve
  • 1900 hours of service

Just amazing! This is the people of God called Matthews bearing witness to our community that God is for them.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you can take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, A Few New Year Thoughts. Legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once said, “It is not the will to win that matters–everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” As we begin the New Year, I’ve got a few thoughts that might be helpful.

Upcoming Events

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend – January 14 & 15, including a Peaceful March to Matthews Town Hall on Sunday & Commemorative Worship Service on Monday.
  • Community Bingo Night – Friday, January 19, 5:30-7:30 pm. Details
  • Leadership Connection – Saturday, January 27, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. Details
  • Former MUMC Pastor Rev. Dawn Hand preaching in all morning worship services – January 28
  • Global Impact Missions Celebration: February 3-11. Schedule & Saturday Serve Registration
    Our Global Impact Missions emphasis provides the congregation with the opportunity to make an annual commitment to a life of missions and service. This year, our theme is HOPE based on the scripture from Romans 15:13 CEB: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Be sure to register now for the February 3 Operation Saturday Serve event to make 1,000 sandwiches for Local Missions Partner, Roof Above.
  • Embracing Disability Lenten Emphasis: February 18 – March 17
    I’m so excited about our upcoming Lenten emphasis on Embracing Disabilities: Creating An Everybody Mentality. Our own Julie Jones shares on behalf of the Lenten planning team: At Matthews UMC we believe God has called and equipped people with and without disabilities with gifts for ministry that are essential to our community. This is our motivation to create a more inclusive church community. It’s not for them, it’s for all of us, because we are incomplete as a church without the gifts and presence of everyone.

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join in worship this Sunday at 8:15 am (Traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (Contemporary; in person or online here), 11:00 am (Traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan has begun a worship series on the Old Testament Book of Ruth, titled Keep Moving Forward. His sermon for this Sunday comes from Ruth 2:1-7 and is titled, Starting from Scratch.

I want to give you fair warning about my sermon for this Sunday morning. If you read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament of the Bible, you’re going to run into things Jesus said that you would like to avoid or ignore. I’ve felt this nudge on my heart to tackle one of mine coming from Luke 12:49-53. I’ve titled my message, I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said That.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on Sunday. Be sure to invite someone to church. You never know who might need hope as they are struggling with the fires of life.

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and yet hope-filled days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Better … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II