5th Sunday after the Epiphany/Global Impact/February 5, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that what a weekend around here, in the church building and in the parking lot:
- The Marriage Course with our Marriage Ministry on Friday night;
- Our Men’s Ministry gathering at our monthly breakfast and hearing Bo Bobrowski give witness to the work of God in his life … I was mesmerized by his witness;
- Dozens of Matthews area residents lining up in our parking lot to claim free trees from the Town of Matthews’ first TreeStore … Trees Charlotte gave away 350 trees to more than 150 residents;
- Scouts collecting food for Loaves and Fishes and doing cleanup down our streets;
- 15 basketball games in our Youth Basketball League on Friday and Saturday;
- Centro Cristiano Hosanna (CCH), our Spanish speaking community offering Saturday morning prayer;
- CCH Men in Lumberton residing the home of Lula Dial …
- Our 10th Anniversary Celebration of CCH … What a special Sunday! If you missed it, please watch our CCH celebration video here (video link below) and our 11 am service here.
- Participation with our Matthews American Legion Post in remembering the Story of the Four Chaplains. You can read more about the Four Chaplains here.
- And so much MORE …
I can barely catch my breath as I think of all the places where God has been at work in and through MUMC.
MORE: FOR the Community … FOR the World
Friends, all of the above causes me to reflect on the community where we live, work and worship. Did you know that over 60 new people move into the Charlotte area every day? Did you know that the population of the Charlotte area is expected to eclipse 1.2 million people by the end of 2020 and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down? Did you know that families, students and professionals are flocking to our community to find new opportunities to follow their passion and establish a home for themselves?
I’ve witnessed, though, a reality in our culture, and especially in our community … that within 10 minutes of the buildings of this church … there are hundreds of people who have never had a life-changing encounter with Jesus; and there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have no idea that God is for them. If you expand that radius, the numbers begin to increase exponentially.
Now here’s the problem when it comes to church in our culture. For too long in our culture, the church has been known more for what it is against than what it is for. At Matthews United Methodist (MUMC) we’ve set our sights as a church to change that narrative. We want to be known as a church by what we are for. We are for each other. We’re for love. We’re for kids and youth and young adults and older adults. We’re for spiritual growth and maturity. We’re for belonging and hope and purpose. We’re for the kind of life transformation that can happen only through the love and grace of Jesus. We are not just IN this community, we are FOR the community … and we are for all these things because we believe that God is for all these things. God is for the community. God is for people. God is for us. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, then who can be against us.” That’s why the vision of Matthews United Methodist is not to build a great church for us … it is to build a great church for the community, for the world … the kind of church that would put the world-changing love of Jesus on display for other people to see and experience. The kind of church that would give away its Christmas Eve offering, the biggest offering of the year, so that thirsty people could have water, the most vulnerable people in our community could have a place called home, and that hungry children in our schools could have food.
We seek to be the kind of church that would be so missed if we weren’t here. What started nearly 150 years ago with a handful of settlers has grown into a community of faith that is so far beyond any dreams that were imagined…with hundreds of people gathering each week to worship God, dozens of children hearing about the love of God every week through our United Kids, and dozens and dozens showing up to United Youth every Sunday night to learn about what it means to follow Jesus.
Now we could stop and say we are content with that. We could pat ourselves on the back and say “well done,” but we know God is not done with us. We envision so much more … more students and kids coming to Jesus, more lives changed and families transformed and stories rewritten, more impact in our community, and more disciple-making.
At MUMC, I hope you’ll join me in and praying and then trusting for more love, more joy, more hope, more healing, more laughter, more growth, and more transformation to be brought into our midst.
This Sunday (February 9) in Worship & Upcoming Opportunities
This Sunday, we kick off our 10th annual Global Impact Celebration (GIC) emphasis. Our theme for 2020 is Celebrate: 10 years of GIC at MUMC. To kick things off, Pastor Brad and I will be sharing together a message of celebration and hope and vision. Our CCH community will begin a new series titled Challenging the Status Quo. Pastor Roldan’s sermon title is Follow Your Route and Adjust Your Routine from 1 Corinthians 2:12-16.
I hope you won’t miss these upcoming events and opportunities (info/registration links in blue): Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on Tuesday, February 25; Ash Wednesday Service on February 26 at 7 pm; Annual Women’s Retreat on March 27-29 (register by Feb. 12); Prayer for the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (May 5-15; would you join me in praying this prayer that I’ve written?); Questions We Hear Jesus Asking our Lenten Sermon Series beginning on March 1.
I’m so excited to be with you on Sunday … because learning to live as someone deeply and unequivocally loved by God shapes everything – it shapes our self-understanding, our relationships, our vocation, and our perspective on life. It frees us to be fully who we are created to be.
Come On, Let’s Celebrate,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Enjoy these highlights from our special moments together this past Sunday…