Hope is a Dangerous Thing

Hope is a Dangerous Thing

Published September 20, 2023

17th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say I love our times together each Sunday. This past week we experienced together the baptism for Elise Katherine & Grant William Hamrick and Kena Jana Hockfeld. Holy, Holy moments! And how about a newcomer to us, Suzanne Harmon, and her cello. Oh My! Welcome, Suzanne, to our community of faith.

On Sunday, we also continued our fall worship series, Pathways to Discipleship, with the second sermon, The Pathway of the Bible. You can worship with us by clicking here. Several of you have reached out to me about the book I mentioned, Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today. Adam Hamilton’s book is so very accessible, clear, faithful and helpful. It is the best book I know for the person who wants to steer clear of fundamentalism, cliché answers and dry scholarship. This book is so important for us at this time. You can order your copy by clicking here.

Speaking of the Bible, many of us grew up thinking of the Bible as a set of rules that should govern our lives and truths we have to believe. In our minds, the Bible, like the tablets Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, was made of stone. It was an unchanging rulebook that showed us how sinful we were and how perfect God is.

Fast forward to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). In it, he asked, “If your child asks for bread, would you give them a stone?” Of course not. Why, even evil people generally want to nourish their children.

The gift God has given us in the Bible is similar. Rather than a hardened rulebook or final theological declaration, what if we were to think of the Bible as bread meant to nurture and sustain our faith?

If the Bible is not stone but bread, then the Bible takes wisdom to interpret. At times the Bible will offer tough nourishment, calling us to curb our appetites. At other times the Bible may offer tender assurances of God’s commitment to all. Whatever meal the Bible serves up, we can see it as a gift meant to cultivate our faith as we wrestle with it.

We’ve got a very wise Bible interpreter coming our way on October 8. It will be a special day of homecoming for Rob & Susan Fuquay. Rob is a former pastor of Matthews United Methodist back in the early to mid-1990s. Today Rob is the Senior Pastor of the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. I think Rob just may be the finest preacher in United Methodism. Susan, his wife, is the daughter of the late Bishop Richard Wilke, the founder of Disciple Bible Study. Susan, herself, put together the fast-track efforts for Disciple Bible Study. Rob will be preaching in all three of our morning worship services, and then on Sunday evening at 6:30 pm in the Sanctuary, they will be sharing with us about The Future of The United Methodist Church. I hope you will make every effort to be with us morning and evening.

We also want to share a special thank you to Gwynn Aycock. She is retiring on September 22 from her nearly 30 years of service with our United Kids, principally in our nursery. Gwynn says, “I have met so many kind and loving families and now I am blessed to see the children of so many who grew up at MUMC coming to the nursery and Sunday morning classes. God is good.” Pastor Corey says, “Gwynn has made quite an impact on generations of people. We have been so blessed to have had her here for this length of time.” Thank you, Gwynn, for your faithfulness and how you’ve given of yourself through the years! You have been a gift to us.

If you are interested in making an impact in the lives of children the way Gwynn has, please click here to learn about serving on staff with United Kids.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week where I offer a few reflections from the movie, The Shawshank Redemption. The title for this week’s devotional is Hope is a Dangerous Thing.

Campus Upgrades

The renovation of our Welcome Center is nearing completion! We’ve wanted to refurbish that space for a long while. In addition, on Christmas Day of last year, you’ll remember we had a frozen pipes episode that left us with six inches of water in the Sanctuary and throughout our hallways. We have finally settled the details with insurance and are preparing for new carpet and flooring for our main hallways. It will be a fresh new look. The majority of that work will occur from October 9 – October 20. That means Sunday, October 15, ALL of our regular worship services will be in the Gym. In the meantime, we apologize for the inconvenience.

Upcoming Events

  • Parents Night Out: This Friday, September 22, 6-8 pm in The Commons with games, dinner, crafts & more for kids 4 yrs-6th grade. Nursery also available. Register
  • Endowment Celebration Dinner: Thursday, September 28. Purchase tickets here.
  • A Walk for the Cure – Saturday, October 14, 10:00-12:00; hosted by Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church (381 Crestdale Rd, Matthews). $25 adult if register in advance/$30 day of event; $10 child ages 5-12. Register at mtmoriahsmatthews.org: click Give, Make a Donation, choose Other under Fund, add “Walk for the Cure” under Note.
  • New Studies: Faithful & Inclusive, Singles in Scripture, The Anxiety Opportunity & The Lectio Course. View All

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join us 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 (Centro Cristiano Hosanna) community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from I Corinthians 16:13-15 and his sermon is titled, A Productive Family.

On Sunday, we continue with week #3 in our fall worship series, Pathways to Discipleship. These pathways bring intentionality and purpose to every day. They are the way of creating tangible habits that support our heart’s intentions. John Wesley, the founder of our Methodist movement calls these purposeful actions, the means of grace.

This week brings us to The Pathway of Service. In preparation for Sunday, you’ll want to read John 13:12-17. Do you ever get the feeling that the little efforts you make really don’t make any difference at all? Are you among the millions of people in this country who don’t think it matters if they vote? We get so focused on the big issues, the big names, the big stories that we are easily tempted to think that the little efforts we make, the little actions we take, don’t amount to much at all. But that’s not the way Jesus sees it. I’ll see you on Sunday to wrestle with it … and be sure to invite someone along with you: a neighbor, a friend, a colleague, a pickleball partner. They may need some Good News as well as a little encouragement.

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

In the Community. For the Community.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that year-to-date as of September 12th, our Home2Home Ministry has served 92 families, picked up 1074 items and delivered 1016 items? This is just beyond belief! To be a part of this amazing ministry, contact Earl Coggins at 704-244-0552.

Did you know that Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity had a ground-breaking for their first duplex on Saturday? The two new homeowners and their families helped break ground for their new homes. Your gifts to Global Impact support Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity…thank you! Pastor Chuck was included in this article in the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly with more details.