12th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/August 19, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that Karen and I have returned from our road trip adventure to and from Shawnee, KS. We got Karen’s mother all moved and returned with a bunch of her beautiful things. You would have loved watching us bounce down the freeway in that big U-Haul truck. We are still feeling the vibration of the highway and the truck.
This past Sunday (August 16), I had my first opportunity to watch all our online Sunday services since the beginning of the pandemic. I thought they were all filled with wonder, beauty and heartfelt worship. The music, the prayers, backpacks, Passing the Peace, Pastor Paul’s and Pastor Roldan’s dynamic messages … all was woven together to make the love of God real to so many. Thank you! Thank you!
Mercies in Disguise
Several years ago when I was going through a particularly difficult time, I found it hard to envision brighter days ahead. I woke up one morning earnestly praying that God would give me some tangible reminder that there would be strength to take things one day at a time.
Later that day, I was driving back to my office from a lunch appointment when a song began to play on the radio, one that I had never heard before. It’s a song called “Blessings” by a Christian artist named Laura Story. Click here to listen to the song.
As I listened to the lyrics, I had to pull my car over, and I wept over the beauty of the lyrics and the way it was giving me exactly the message I needed to hear that day:
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from your word is not enough
All the while, you hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near
What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise
The Bible is filled with reminders that just when we think we’ve hit rock bottom, just when we think we are at the end of the rope, God is with us to give us just enough strength to see the “bright side” that is ahead of us. Maybe some of these passages will speak to you right now:
- I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13)
- My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
- I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9-10)
If you or someone you love is going through a tough time, and they could use some “good news” to get them through their day, then I can think of no better place than Matthews United Methodist.
We hope that you will join us online, and let’s discover together how to find God even when times seem cloudy and dark.
NEW MUST-HAVE Connection Tools: OnRealm.org & Realm Connect App
Stay connected to Matthews UMC by downloading the FREE Realm ConnectApp for iPhone and Android devices. You will need these tools for “everything MUMC” in this season and when we can gather together. If you have questions, or if you have not yet received an email invitation to join Realm (check spam and promotions if you don’t see it), contact Ashley Broome at 704-815-1901. Use Realm to:
- Communicate with your groups;
- Register for events;
- Participate in Zoom gatherings;
- Manage your giving;
- Update your personal information and profile picture;
- Connect your spiritual gifts to uniquely serve; and more.
www.OnRealm.org and the Realm Connect App are simple to use and crucial components for you to know what’s happening in and through the life of Matthews UMC!
News—Keeps everyone up to date with the latest posts, photos, and events for your group and for the Church as a whole;
Posts—Post messages to your group and comment on posts by others in your group;
Photos—Capture your moments together (or while apart) and share them with your group to help stay connected;
Events—See event and online event details (date, time, location, Zoom link, etc), submit your registration or RSVP, and sign up to bring something;
Files —Access your group’s shared files and resources;
Chat—Send your entire group, or select individuals, a chat that starts a conversation;
Inbox—Send an email message to your entire group, or select individuals;
Participants—See names and basic profile details for the people in the Church, based on their privacy preferences;
Notification Settings—Manage your preferences for group notifications and emails.
On Tuesday, August 25, at 7:00 pm, we will have a virtual information session online on our YouTube page at YouTube.com/MatthewsUMC to show you how to use Realm to connect with announcements, events, registrations, groups, giving, serving and more!
This Sunday (August 23) in Worship
I hope you’ll be with us for online worship this Sunday at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish-speaking).
This week in our CCH community Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Acts 11:25-26, and his message will be “Where Title and Purpose Meet.” This is a continuation of the worship series: A Church without Borders.
In our morning services, my sermon is titled, “Red Sea Moments.” All of us have Red Sea moments in life. So what do we do? Ahead of us is an option we cannot really take … times when we cannot go forward … we cannot go backward … we cannot go around the problem … and we cannot even stand pat. So what we do in the face of a Red Sea moment in life? You can prepare for Sunday by reading Exodus 14:10-22.
There are some meaningful things that happen when we all gather together — even remotely — prioritizing worship together as a community of persons walking in the Way of Jesus. I know it might feel weird to sing with a TV or computer. I know it might feel weird to worship in a circle with your family in the living room. I know it might feel weird to think of your house or your yard as a church. But let’s embrace the weird. When have we ever been “normal,” anyway?
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and very challenging days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that 20 people came together for our first Bridge Building Conversation in July? They enjoyed a time of connection and thought-provoking conversation. Come and Join Pastor Chuck and MacKenzie Wilson as they start a conversation based on the book The Myth of Equality. Purchase the book here. To join in the Zoom conversation, click here.
Did you know that Pastor Chuck and Pastor Larry Whitley were interviewed on Sunday, August 16 by Tonya Rivens on her radio show, Sounds of Inspiration on Streetz 103.3/100.5.
Did you know Global Impact provided Disaster and Crisis Relief and Recovery funds to the food pantry at Charlotte Rescue Mission? During this pandemic Groups aren’t allowed to bring in meals and food was running low, but thanks to your giving more supplies and food staples will be delivered soon.
Did you know Global Impact provided Disaster and Crisis Relief and Recovery funds to International Leadership Institute? Thanks to your giving, Yousef and his team can provide emergency relief, in the midst of this global pandemic, to their partners in the Arab world.