6th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor. For me, my gratitude was so deep and immense as I listened to beautiful congregational singing, anthems, special songs, prayers, the reading of Holy Scripture, ushers and greeters offering warmth and hospitality, and then the privilege that is mine to put the Word in words for God’s people called Matthews United Methodist. If you missed being with us you can watch the entire service, including my sermon, Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable, by clicking here.
All of this has me pondering the reality of God’s boundless love this week. I’ve come to conclusion that it can be quite disruptive and off-putting. Our natural tendency is to think “same is safe and different is dangerous.” I can hear my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Bogart, saying “stranger danger!” But in full bloom, this leads to tribal divisions, war, death, and destruction.
It was no different in the early church! The mentality of “our kind vs. their kind” in the Acts of the Apostles was a huge cultural and religious force that was a major barrier to the Kingdom of God and an authentic experience with Jesus. When you look in Acts, really when you read any of the letters of the Apostle Paul, he sets his face like flint on dismantling “us vs. them.” In the boundless love of God, we are offered a way of living that converts fear to love, prejudice to openness, supremacy to service, inferiority to equality, resentment to reconciliation, isolation to connection, and hostility to hospitality. Paul calls it The Most Excellent Way (I Corinthians 13). It is the way that exceeds expectations and defies all logic. It is the way of love.
This past Sunday was my last time to be at our sacred desk until September 11. For the next few weeks, you will have some of the finest pastors I know putting the Word into words:
- July 17 – Paul Craig, our Executive Pastor.
- July 24 – Corey Milliet, our Pastor of Age-Level Ministries.
- July 31 – A.J. Thomas – A.J. is currently serving on assignment with our Western North Carolina Foundation of The United Methodist Church.
- August 7 – Jenny Savage – Our Pastor of Welcome and Hospitality will be preaching her very first Sunday morning sermon for us.
- August 14 – Larry Whitley – He is the Senior Pastor of the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Matthews. Please welcome my dear friend, Pastor Larry to our sacred desk for the 4th time.
- August 21 – Paul Craig
- August 28 – Corey Milliet
- September 4 – Dan Pezet – Dan is the District Superintendent of the Metro District (Charlotte area) of The United Methodist Church.
Please be sure and invite someone to church with you this Sunday. You never know who might be looking for a community that is seeking to live in the boundless love of Jesus.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week. The devotional is titled, Grace in Every Moment. In the devotional I tell the story of a Wilson family hike in the mountains near Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.
Our Path Forward
It would be hard to imagine, but perhaps, all our denominational struggles just might be new to you. There is hardly a week that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me how they can get up-to-speed. I recommend the following:
- Watch the Rev. Tom Berlin video by clicking here. You may realize that every few weeks I communicate with you about this excellent explanation of what is before us in The United Methodist Church.
- Read through our Matthews United Methodist FAQ here.
- Read through a new FAQ developed by The United Methodist Church here.
- Join us for Our Path Forward Session 3 in The Commons on Sunday, August 28 at 9:30 am or 11:00 am. Rev. Kim Ingram, our Secretary for the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist church will be with us. Kim is also the leader of the Clergy Delegation to the General Conference in 2024. She will update us on United Methodist things with clarifications and helpful information.
A Huge Need for Vacation Bible School
A Global Pandemic has done a number on our volunteer base. I hope you’ll prayerfully consider helping us with Vacation Bible School, July 25-29. Our needs are as follows: 30 volunteers (14 for preschool, 8 for elementary, 8 for preteens). Even if you are unable to serve the full week, we encourage you to find a buddy to join you and cover the time you are unavailable. Contact Alix Arndt at 704-815-1903 or sign up here.
A New Study to Begin this Fall on September 21: The Good and Beautiful God
Beginning on Wednesday, September 21 (for nine consecutive Wednesdays) from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, I’m going to lead the study of The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows by James Bryan Smith. We all have ideas we tell ourselves about God and how God works in our lives. Some are true, but many are false. Many of these thoughts determine not only who we are, but how we live.
In our time together, we’ll be invited to put our ideas to the test to see if they match up with what Jesus himself reveals about God. This book and our time together will help us to discover the narratives that Jesus lived by – to know the Lord he knew and the kingdom he proclaimed – and to practice spiritual exercises that will help us all grow in the knowledge of our good and beautiful God.
We hope you’ll join us. You can sign-up by clicking here. You will want to get signed up and have your book by September 10 to give you plenty of time to have read Chapter 1 and completed the soul training exercise by our first time together on September 21.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join 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 is preaching from 2 Timothy 1:3-7 and his sermon title is Adjust Your Dynamic.
Pastor Paul will be preaching in all our morning services. His sermon is titled When the Journey is Too Much from 1 Kings 19:1-4 NIV.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Kaitlyn Havican, daughter of Todd & Robin Havican, was married to Jordan Faircloth this past Saturday? Pastor Corey assisted in officiating the ceremony. Congratulations, Kaitlyn & Jordan!
Did you know Miia Harris, daughter of Leaton and Raila Harris is starring in the movie, Monster High, which premieres in theatres on October 6? This is the same young woman who has been singing for us for years in the Youth Praise Team and in our 9:30 Praise Team. Watch the trailer here.
Did you know that Bridge Builders Fellowship is touring the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC on Saturday, August 6? This is the site of the Woolworth’s lunch counter where a sit-in occurred in 1960. Hear the stories of those four young men, plus other important events in the Civil Rights Movement during our 90-minute guided tour. All are welcome! Register online via Realm by July 25th. Click here for more details.
Did you know that a portion of your proceeds from your regular Amazon shopping can go directly to support the church or one of our Global Impact Mission partners? It is easy with the AmazonSmile links on our website! Click here to connect for Prime Day on July 13 (today).
Did you know that the Handbell Refurbishment Project is now complete? All one hundred and eleven handbells and chimes have been returned from the Malmark-Bellcraftsmen factory in Pennsylvania where they have been lovingly disassembled, parts replaced, repairs made, cases fixed, handbells buffed, polished, and reassembled to serve in worship to the Glory of God here at Matthews United Methodist Church! They look beautiful and sound sonorous! The ringers and chimers look forward to continuing to offer their musical praise to God for years to come! The first Sunday the bells and chimes will be rung in worship is Sunday, September 25 for the 8:15 and 11:00 traditional worship services!