18th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/October 9, 2019
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I was heartbroken not to have been with you on our special Youth Sunday this past weekend. I love our young people, but the marriage of our nephew took the Wilson tribe to Kansas City. In fact, the entire Wilson family gathered, and you will be pleased to know we made it through the entire weekend without anyone going home early. If that last comment makes no sense to you, please click here to watch my sermon from June 30.
This week, I’ve watched this past Sunday’s worship service on our Matthews United Methodist Church (MUMC) website. You can watch it at MatthewsUMC.org/Live. I think you’ll find Sunday to be stunning.
This past Sunday, so many of our young people guided us in our worship of God and our examination of our 8th fruit of the spirit: kindness. Pastor Corey Milliet, Emma Hall and Sophie Beeman put the Word into words for us:
- Pastor Corey: “It requires being kind to people who may be unappreciative or undeserving, even those who have hurt us – and to be kind consistently, in season and out. The kindness God wants from us is not random but sustained. It’s not to be an occasional act, but an essential, enduring part of our character.”
- Sophie Beeman: “The reason we are to practice kindness is because God practices kindness … on us. Kindness isn’t a state of mind or a mood; it’s an action. And until it becomes a natural part of who we are, it needs to be an intentional action. That means until kind actions flow naturally from us because our hearts are filled with kindness we have to practice kindness. Kindness is serious business. It’s serious because of God showed kindness to us and what it cost Him. We didn’t’ deserve His kindness; He provided it out of the goodness of His heart. In light of the great kindness He showed to us, He calls us to show extravagant kindness to others.”
- Emma Hall: “This summer on our Mission Trip to Baltimore … we had the chance to see firsthand what the incredible effects of extreme and radical kindness can have on our daily lives. If we are patient with people, forgiving, not rude, arrogant, irritable, or bitter, people will start to notice. Through those types of actions, people will see that you are different and begin asking you questions about why you’re here and what you believe. It is through kindness that we have the chance to invite people into the story of Jesus … Walking in kindness can open our hearts in a way that judgement and condemnation never will.”
Are you just blown away by the beautiful words of these young people and their leaders? When you pass any of them in hallways of MUMC, please be sure to say “thank you” for how the light of Jesus shines so brightly through them.
Promises. And God Remembered.
For a few minutes let’s focus on the simple phrase from Genesis 8:1 “God remembered Noah.” Through frightful nights and long days cooped up in a smelly ark, the Bible says God remembered Noah. And when the flood was over, God painted a rainbow in the sky and said, “When I see it I will remember – not YOU will remember, though of course, we do, but I will remember.” The story ends with God’s covenant, God’s promises and the assurance God will remember.
Life is all about promises: I promise to pick up bread and milk on the way home; I promise not to tell; I promise to show up for work and do my job; I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country. The most significant promises are, of course, the promises we make in the front of a church. As parents we present our innocent babies in their ruffled dresses and starched little suits promising to lead them in the way that leads to life eternal. The parents make promises and the church makes promises for the sake of these children in the presence of this covenant-making God. We make promises in confirmation to always remain a faithful member of Christ’s Holy Church. In return, God promises to remember. And the really good news is that even when we fumble or fall or fail to keep up our end of the bargain, God still remembers and God still keeps God’s promises.
Nearly 38 years ago, I made a promise in the presence of God – “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.” It’s a promise I have never regretted and one I have been only too glad to keep. The really good news is I believe God has remembered that promise as well. All I can say is we have been blessed beyond our deserving, went places and did things we never expected, and today we can truly look back and give God thanks for the journey.
Promises. And God remembered.
Laity Service Awards
This week we are celebrating some remarkable people: Carolyn Pollack, Grant Overbey and German AlenCastro. These persons are recipients of the Laity Service Award for 2019. This recognition is given annually by The United Methodist Church of Western North Carolina. We will honor them as a part of worship on Sunday, October 13, and they will again be celebrated on Sunday, October 20, at North Davidson United Methodist Church as a part of a district-wide time of recognition. I know you will join me in saying “thank you” for these selfless, servant-hearted people.
Carolyn Pollack – Carolyn is married to Jon, and they have both given themselves so completely to the work of God in and through MUMC over the years. Carolyn has chaired several groups in church life including our Staff Parish Relations Committee, the Preschool Leadership Team, and the Preschool Advisory Council. She is also an active participant in the Foundations Sunday morning class. In the community, she volunteers in her daughter’s classroom in Belmont, was a founding member to start a charter school in the area for students interested in going into a Trade profession and works closely with the Belk Foundation, which invests deeply in public education — specifically K-3 achievement and excellent teachers and leaders, both building blocks for successful education. As you can see, at the center of Carolyn Pollack is a heart for loving God and loving people. MUMC has been most fortunate to have had her faithful service.
Grant Overbey – Grant is currently the Chair of our Administrative Council. He has served in this position the last three years. Prior to this, Grant has served MUMC in strategic planning, finance, trustees and leadership development.
Grant is a spiritual leader, always asking questions about where God might be with regard to decision making within the life of our church. He cares about discernment and the will of God. He wants the church to be involved in those matters that make a difference in our world.
As you can see, for the last decade or so, Grant has been at the heart of all matters related to leadership at MUMC. Our church would be infinitely less without his caring touch and wise counsel.
Germán AlenCastro (Centro Cristiano Hosanna) – Germán always shares his skills to serve the church, both inside and outside the walls of MUMC. He is always willing to participate and help in any way. He has joined in the painting of many rooms and walls on our MUMC campus, and has contributed to the rebuilding of a home in Lumberton. Pastor Roldan says, “May I take this opportunity to thank God for the life of Germán. Both he and his family have been a gift from God.”
Carolyn, Grant and Germán are gifts to all of us in the way they reach, teach, praise and serve.
A Trip to the Border
Amy DeVore and Kathryn Snearly are deeply involved in our ministry at Matthews United Methodist. They are bright, bright lights. Not long ago, they traveled with other United Methodists from the Charlotte area to McAllen, TX as they made a trip to the border. They’ve written a few thoughts and included pictures from their trip. You can read Amy’s narrative here and Kathryn’s narrative here.
If you will, please consider putting an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming dates:
- Celebrating Judy Suarez on Sunday, October 20: In the past weeks, Judy Suarez has retired from her position as Daily Bread Ministry Coordinator. We can’t even begin to describe how grateful we are for her decades of faithful service. Sunday, October 20, 10:30-11:00 am & 12:00-12:30 pm in the Sanctuary Reception Area, please drop by to thank Judy for serving. You may give a Love Offering to Judy by giving directly to her or by making a gift to MUMC no later than October 31 (note “Judy Suarez” on the memo line).
- The 30-Day Gratitude Challenge to begin on October 30: Do you think you could write a note of gratitude every day from October 30 through Thanksgiving Day, November 28? That is the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. You’ll hear more about it in the days to come.
- High Impact Servant (H.I.S.) Meeting on Monday, October 28, 7:00 pm in The Commons: The HIS Meeting is a quarterly gathering of staff, lay leaders serving in a ministry area, and all other interested church members for the purpose of worship, fellowship, and sharing information about what’s going on in and through the ministries of MUMC.
- Annual Charge Conference, Tuesday, November 5, 7:00 pm in the Chapel: The Annual Charge Conference is a business gathering where we officially approve all Charge Conference requirements of the Western NC Conference for the 2020 calendar year. Anyone is welcome to attend.
- Joash Chest Sunday, November 17: This is our annual Sunday when our families make their financial commitments for 2020. These are some of the holiest moments we share each year. I love watching you stream forward to make your commitments.
This Sunday (October 13) in Worship
I’m looking forward to seeing all of you on Sunday in worship as we continue our worship series titled The Spirited Life. This Sunday we will explore our 8th fruit of the Holy Spirit – self-control.
Also, this Sunday in the Gym will be Deep Family Worship. This week we’ll learn how God protects us through the story of Moses as a baby. Through fun songs, the boogeyman, activities and a Dr. Seuss book, we will learn how God protect us. Serving others gives us a way to help protect those in need. We’ll also have a Packing Party with items collected to give to give to legal asylum seekers as they travel through borders to meet their sponsors. You can prepare for Deep Family Worship by reading Psalm 91:1-4.
You can’t imagine the joy that is my heart for the privilege that is mine to be one of your pastors. By the way …
I’m Choosing Kindness,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know Becoming One families made over 175 sandwiches on Sunday for Urban Ministries?
Did you know at the Matthews Document Shred and Electronic Donation Event, held in our large parking lot, was a huge success with 307 cars/customers, 7,000 lbs of shred, 2,000 lbs of electronics donated, and 73 American flags to retire? Thank you to the volunteers and sponsors who helped make this event possible. Mention spring event?
Did you know that nine ladies from the Rehobeth Circle purchased and served lunch to 95 ladies at Doves Nest last Thursday? Circle members shared that the experience was beautiful and fulfilling. For more information about Circle, Activities and retreats for women, please visit MatthewsUMC.org/Reach/Women/
Did you know that Beau Snider impersonated Joseph and young artist, Hannah Smith, brought it to life on a canvas during Sunday’s Preteen Deep Kids?