8th Sunday after the Epiphany
Just these lines, my friends …
…to say that I love the privilege that is mine to be one of your pastors and to invite you to the Table of our Lord, whether you are in our sanctuary or gathered with your family at home. If you missed worship this past Sunday, you can experience our beautiful music and sermon by clicking here. What follows is the prayer we prayed at the end of my sermon:
Gracious God, help us to remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked 9 hours that day and was rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry, and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, O God, that the scary-looking bum begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
O God, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with just those we hold dear. Open our hearts not only to those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive. Bless us with patience, empathy and love. Through Christ our Lord, we pray … Amen.
Men of Matthews United Methodist (MUMC), you would love to gather with our Methodist Men the first Saturday of each month. They are involved in so many things that are making a difference in our community. What a special group! This past Saturday we heard a challenging witness from Sam Hatcher on not stiff-arming the Holy Spirit. Then Craig Estep, our Director of Music & Worship Arts shared his personal story of faith. It was riveting. Men, I hope you’ll join me in being a part of this special community.
OK, I’ll admit it. I’m still reveling in your remarkable generosity for 2021. I’m reminded of the story in Mark 10 as the rich, young ruler comes to Jesus. He asks Jesus, “What must I DO to INHERIT eternal life?” We all know there is nothing we can DO to INHERIT something. He thought of life as transactional.
Your continued generosity to Matthews United Methodist (MUMC) reveals the lesson Jesus teaches. When you look at the verbs, Jesus says “go, sell, give, come, and follow.” These verbs reveal the heart of MUMC. The nouns and adjectives aren’t that important, but the verbs point to action. I love how Jesus invites the young ruler, and all of us, to a simple way of living as followers of Jesus. Your generosity each year to the mission and ministry of MUMC is discipleship in ACTION. This is what a disciple does. This is what you do. That is why I am continually humbled to serve as a pastor at this amazing church. I love you and am deeply grateful for you.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, whether in-person, livestream or on demand. Be sure and invite someone to church. You never know who might want or need a church whose future is filled with hope.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week, titled “Frodo and the Ring.”
Our 2022 Budget
You can click here to see the budget/ministry plan for MUMC for 2022. It was unanimously approved by church leaders at our Charge Conference on Saturday, January 29.
A Note from Pastor Paul
The departure of Pastor Brad Hopper on January 15 left a huge hole in our hearts and in his ministry areas. Many of you have asked how we plan to cover Pastor Brad’s responsibilities. We are excited to announce that Amy Devore is assuming the staff leadership role for Global Impact. She will be increasing her weekly hours to accommodate this new role while continuing to provide vision and structure to The Micah Connection, a new ministry helping us navigate the area of social Justice. As a former servant leader, Amy is uniquely qualified to work with the Global Impact Team. We are blessed to have her on our staff in her new role as Director of Missions and Social Justice Ministries.
As an appointed Pastor, Brad also provided great leadership in worship and pastoral care. We are fortunate that Rev. Jenny Savage, our Director of Welcome and Hospitality, will be assuming Brad’s roles in worship and pastoral care. Rev. Savage will continue to be a valued member of our clergy team. We do not anticipate adding an additional clergy person to our staff at this time.
Racial Bridge-Building Forum on February 15
For six years now, we’ve been designing community forums on racial bridge-building. Matthews United Methodist will host our next one on Tuesday, February 15 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary, featuring Dr. Lucretia Carter Berry, President & Learning Community Director for Brownicity. Dr. Berry is an antiracism curriculum specialist, course designer and author of What LIES Between Us – Fostering First Steps Toward Racial Healing, a TEDx speaker, and a writer. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Iowa State University and her BA from South Carolina State University. Her subject for the forum: “If we don’t keep them in the dark, our kids will light up the world”. We are especially hoping this will be helpful for our community families with children. This event will be in-person in the MUMC Sanctuary and online by clicking here.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us this Sunday in person or online at 8:15 am (traditional – in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Hebrews 13:4 and his sermon title is The Ingredients for a Good Home.
In our morning services, we launch our annual Global Impact emphasis. I will be interviewing two of our wonderful missionaries involved with The International Leadership Institute (ILI). The ILI is a global movement of men and women who are passionate to change history by training and mobilizing leaders of leaders to reach people with the power of the Gospel. One of our guests is an international Director for ILI overseeing the work in the Middle East and North Africa. The other guest serves as the ILI Director for the Middle East and North Africa. The nations in these regions are some of the countries of the world that are least reached with the love God in Jesus Christ. Most are places in which Gospel good news is restricted and people that walk in the way of Jesus face persecution of some type. The heart of the work in these areas is to train indigenous leaders in principles of leadership and discipleship. I’m so excited for you to hear from both of these men.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that 5 families in Pineville who were burned out of their apartment homes received nearly 50 pieces of furniture by our Home2Home Ministry? In addition, Home2Home Ministry received a donation of 25+ brand new Sealy mattresses, box springs and rails. The first delivery this past Saturday was to a family that had been sleeping on the floor…what a blessing!
Did you know 12 boxes containing 634 pairs of new, warm pajamas were shipped to Mayfield, Kentucky to be distributed by Mayfield First United Methodist Church? They will be distributed to persons impacted by the devastating tornadoes of early December. The pajamas come from Promise Pajamas, a Global Impact partner, and shipping costs were covered by our Global Impact funds.