My Summer Favorites

My Summer Favorites

Published September 7, 2022

ONE Service SEPTEMBER 18 at 10:30 am
No 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 Services or Kids Sunday Morning Groups.
Click for Details
Hispanic Heritage Celebration Service

14th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …

… I returned to the office this week, having relished the gift of a study and renewal leave. Karen and I shared some wonderful experiences, the insights from which I am eager to share with you over the weeks and months ahead. For now, I am grateful to all of you for continuing to grow in your faith and your support of the ministries of the church throughout this summer. I am also grateful to the staff community and volunteers who made God’s love real in remarkable ways in the areas of worship, children and youth ministries, missions and discipleship.

You can’t imagine how fired up I am to be with you on Sunday, as we kick off a new worship series. I’ll share more about that with you at the end of today’s Just These Lines. 

Here is my list of “favorites” from my time away. Perhaps you will enjoy them as well:

Favorite Film: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. It’s a real charmer of a film: original, creative, life-affirming storytelling.

Favorite TV show: Heartland. It is sappy and sentimental, but great storytelling about multi-generational family stuff and all built around horses in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world: central Alberta, Canada.

Favorite Video: Unmasking the Anti-CRT Crusade with Dr. Jemar Tisby and Dr. Robert Chao Romero. Despite all the misinformation you may have heard about Critical Race Theory (CRT), this 35-minute video provides an accurate introduction to the themes and basic concepts of CRT. In the video, Dr. Tisby interviews Dr. Robert Chao Romero, author of Brown Church, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and a trained lawyer who knows all about CRT in its proper context. Dr. Romero breaks it down for us with a wonderful dose of Pentecostal passion!

Favorite Song: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road performed by Sara Bareilles in an Atlanta Theatre. This is an amazing interpretation of the 1973 hit song by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. You must hear the poignant way Bareilles (just like John) opines for a simpler grounded time. I think it is one of the most amazing vocal performances I’ve heard in a long time.

Favorite Quotes: The following quotes have meant a lot to me in my time away: Paul Cousineau: “What matters most on your journey is how deeply you see, how attentively you hear, how richly the encounters are felt in your heart and soul.” One other from Barbara Brown Taylor: “Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.”

Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 31:1-6 meant so much to me. Let’s begin with v. 3: The Lord appeared to him from far away. “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again, I will build you … Again, you shall take tambourines and go forth dancing. Again, you shall plant vineyards … and shall enjoy the fruit.”

Favorite Moments: There are just too many to count, but let me mention a few,

  • A birthday concert I arranged for Karen and our family in Blowing Rock. Highlight moment – dancing with my granddaughter, Lenny, to Twist and Shout by the Beatles.
  • Moments of reading books to my grandkids.
  • Listening to my daughter, MacKenzie, speak to over 600 women in a Black Mountain Conference Center.
  • Watching golf with Karen’s dad, GGP (Great Grandpa).
  • Playing golf in Pinehurst with my two sons, my two sons-in-law and the fathers-in-law.
  • Ending the leave with my entire family and other long-time friends on the shores of Lake Oconee in Georgia.

Favorite Book: How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question by Michael Schur. It’s an absolutely hilarious and utterly insightful exploration of different ways to make moral, ethical choices. The author has produced some of the greatest comedies of the last twenty years (The Office, Parks and Rec, The Good Place.).

Favorite Conversation: A dinner conversation with Allen and Carly Mask and my daughter Molly in Raleigh. Carly is the powerfully talented daughter of our very own Dan & Lisa Brantmeyer and she grew up in our MUMC youth ministry. She met Allen at UNC-Chapel Hill. They married and have been touching the world ever since. What a fabulous young family.

Favorite Song to End a Sabbatical: September by Earth, Wind and Fire. As August days turn to September, I’ve been playing this song over and over preparing for the amazing days ahead with the people of Matthews United Methodist.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week. It is a new one and titled, What MattersThe devotional includes a few things I reflected upon during my time away.

The Good and Beautiful God study

Beginning on Wednesday, September 21 (for 9 consecutive Wednesdays) from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, I (along with my wife, Karen) will lead a 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.

I hope you’ll join us. You can register by clicking here. You will want to get registered and have your book as soon as possible 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 & Family Worship), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan is preaching from James 5:7-12 and his sermon title: Patient & Productive.

Join us for Family Worship at 9:30 in the gym for an adventure under the Big Top as we discover how we can “Trust God no matter what.” Songs, games, skits and activities will concentrate on this month’s virtue of Trust based on Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding.”  Plan to stay after the service for a few minutes to take part in a fun Mission Opportunity for the whole family in The Commons.

I’m so excited about this Sunday and our fall season together! Come join us and reconnect with coffee, great fellowship and worship. In our morning services in the Sanctuary, I will begin our new worship series titled A Life Worth Living. In this series we want to invite people to live a life that fulfills God’s best purpose for us; a life that knows the joy of being called, gifted and empowered as people through whose lives the love of God is made real in this world. My sermon is titled God is Calling from I Samuel 3:1-11. In addition, we’ve got a special musical treat for you during the middle of my sermon. Be sure and invite someone to church because you never know who might be looking for a life worth living.

Just a reminder that we will have ONE Combined Worship Service on September 18 at 10:30 am for our Hispanic Heritage Celebration. There will be no 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 Services or Kids Sunday Morning Groups. Click here for details.

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

We are the church, together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that 3,287 videos have been watched on RightNow Media by our church community in 2022? If you are not using free subscription offered through the church, click here to join! Groups, classes, couples, family, friends, and individuals are using these Christian resources, which provide a wholesome option of entertainment and education for kids, too!

Did you know Craig VanArsdol’s barber shop (along with other groups in the community) hosted a haircut time for all area children who needed one before school started as a reach-out ministry to the community?

Did you know that faithful servant Jesse Barbour has periodically tightened up the bolts on the MUMC Manhassett music stands over the years? He usually finds that many of them have loosened up over time. Thanks Jesse! It’s the small actions of generosity behind the scenes that God smiles upon!

Did you know the Handyman Ministry built a pergola at the Matthews Help Center this past weekend?  Thank you to Chuck Delong Joe Bates, Joe Culpepper, Fred Goolsby, and Sid Riddick!

Did you know that Angel Makes Three, a group comprised of three of our Praise Team members, sang the National Anthem to start the proceedings of Saturday morning’s parade and to kick off the 2022 Matthews Alive, which has not been in existence for three years due to Covid? We are so proud!

Did you know that you can volunteer to glean fields with the Society of St. Andrews? Two church members picked peppers for Common Heart, a new Global Impact ministry partner that provides food to the food insecure in Union County. They delivered 128 lbs of bell peppers to Common Heart for families in Union County.

Did you know that Global Impact provided funds for Pastor John in Kidron Valley,, Uganda to purchase a new tractor?  We sent funds a few weeks ago and today he is using a new tractor to farm and grow vegetables for the orphanage and for the community!  Thank you for your financial gifts to Global Impact!

Did you know 33 hospitality volunteers welcomed Matthews Alive guests and served 820 cups of lemonade during our Lemonade Outreach on Saturday? Lemonade Outreach Rocks!