5th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/July 10, 2019
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say this is our fourth summer together at Matthews United Methodist, and my heart is full thinking of you. Your spunk, strength, curiosity and genuine sense of community for both the buoyant and the exhausted echo through the streets of our community with the roar of love. I thank God every day for how you make God’s love real in tangible ways to our community and world.
This past Sunday (July 7) was so special: beautiful, inspiring, seasonal music, the rhythms of Holy Communion, the opportunity to kneel and trust, the release of prayer, and making application of God’s Word to our lives. After t a beautiful witness from Cassidy Barker about the recent mission trips by our Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers, we then had an update from our Global Impact partner, Jacky Asse, with Wings of Hope Ministries in Haiti. You can watch here.
The Speed of Love
Yes, it’s important to be productive. Yes, it’s important to have times when we are unavailable—when we can think, plan, and work with a minimum of distractions.
But, let’s face it, bad stuff happens. And, most of the time, unscheduled productivity killers occur unpredictably. People get sick. Machines break. Errors occur.
Interruptions are part of life. And getting angry when life throws us off schedule doesn’t help.
Here are some suggestions that might help us deal with our frustrations when interruptions occur.
- Take a deep breath. Smile. Choose not to get angry.
- Remember that people are more important than things. Choose not to make people feel that they are an interruption, a problem, or a waste of time.
- Learn to see interruptions as an opportunity. Every interpersonal encounter Jesus had which was recorded in the Gospels was an interruption. He was doing the most important thing in the world, yet he was unhurried and fully present with everyone who broke his concentration.
In a world of speed and productivity, slowing down deepens our ability to notice, pay attention and love one another. Let’s learn together the speed of love.
“Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?” (Jeremiah 2:25)
An Important Church Financial Matter
I hope you received our recent letter updating you on our church finances. You can read this important letter here if you missed it. I thank you in advance for responding with a heart of generosity.
I made a short video on these financial matters. You can watch here or on the link below.
The 24th Edition of Rainbow Express Camp
We are having a wonderful week (July 8-12) with all of our Rainbow Express friends (persons with and without disabilities) in our midst. Our church campus has been teeming with energy and excitement. I have had camper after camper tell me, “I’ve been counting down the days to camp since last year.”
In case you didn’t know, there are actually two camps: a Day Camp for Children and Youth and an Evening Camp for Young Adults. In the Day Camp we have 26 buddies (Age 4-12), 64 youth/teen campers and 115 youth/college/adult volunteers. In the Evening Camp we have 57 young adult campers and 40 adult volunteers. We also have 65 additional workers, including Matthews United Methodist Church staff, nurses and Rainbow Express staff. All of these persons are pitching in to learn, grow and serve. A very special “thank you” to the extraordinary group of volunteers who help to make this happen. All of God’s Children have gifts to share.
My heart beats a little faster this week. I’m blown away by so much of this experience.
Other Upcoming Dates
I hope you’ll put an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming events:
- Lunch and Learn on July 28: The Endowment Committee invites you to a Lunch and Learn on Sunday, July 28, at 12:30 in Room 158. Tom Dundorf, President and Managing Director for Family Wealth Partners will be reviewing the impacts of recent tax law changes and how those changes are impacting your charitable and other deductions in 2019. Please RSVP by July 25 to Beth Lynn if you would like to attend. Learn more about the Matthews United Methodist Endowment here.
- Answering the Call with Rev. Nicole de Castrique Jones on August 11 – Our “Answering the Call” series has highlighted many of the persons who have answered God’s call to vocational service in and through the ministry of Matthews UMC. Rev. Jones is the latest to come our way in that long line of outstanding persons. It will be a real treat for us to have Nicole and her family here. See details here.
- End of Summer/Back-to-School Bash on August 18 – Our morning worship services will feature Summer Brooke and the Mountain Faith Band — with a full concert that evening at 5:30 pm, followed by an Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social for everyone.
This Sunday (July 14) in Worship
Sunday will be another beautiful day of worship for the people called Matthews. CCH will finish with the series, Springs in the Desert. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Matthew 4: 1-10 and his theme will be A Necessary Test. At 801South, Pastor Corey will continue the message series War -Winning the Battle Within Yourself. We will be looking at our words and how the things we say impact other people. And in our morning Sanctuary services, I’m so excited to welcome Dr. David Wilkinson back to be with us again. We are so excited to have him preach on Sunday morning, and then lead a series of presentations on Sunday evening and Monday, July 15. You’ll remember Dr. Wilkinson from being with us a couple of years ago. He is a Methodist minister, PhD, astrophysicist and theologian. He is the Principal of St. John’s College, The University of Durham, Durham, England.
I will be interviewing Dr. Wilkinson on Sunday evening at 7 pm in the Sanctuary. I have some very pointed questions for him and you will not want to miss his response. My questions/statements are based on the responses I’ve been getting from people in our community around an informal survey I’ve been doing. I’ve been asking the following questions:
- What are your one or two biggest obstacles to staying Christian?
- What are those roadblocks you keep running into?
- What are those issues that won’t go away and make you wonder why you keep on believing at all?
I’ve been overwhelmed with the bracingly honest answers. I haven’t done any kind of statistical analysis, but the responses fall into five categories.
- The Bible portrays God as violent, reactive, vengeful, blood-thirsty, immoral, mean and petty.
- The Bible and science collide on too many things to think that the Bible has anything to say to us today about the big questions of life.
- In the face of injustice and heinous suffering in the world, God seems disinterested or perhaps unable to do anything about it.
- In our ever-shrinking world, it is very difficult to hold on to any notion that Christianity is the only path to God.
- Christians treat each others so badly and in such harmful ways that it calls into question the validity of Christianity – or even whether God exists.
You will not want to miss Dr. Wilkinson’s responses to these questions/statements.
I look forward to reuniting with you this Sunday in our community of “will-not-give-up-hope.” Do bring dear friends and new neighbors.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Carlos Rodriguez, recent Central Cabarrus High School graduate, was celebrated in the 11:00 Youth Sunday School class before leaving for Fort Benning, Georgia, where he’ll spend the next 10 weeks in basic training for the U.S. Army? After that, Carlos will join the infantry, which — as he explained to his Sunday School class — means he’ll become a member of the ground combat troops who are prepared at all times to defend our country. We can all take pride in this respectful, thoughtful, mature, and intelligent young man’s call to serve. His Sunday School class celebrated him with a party and a whole lot of prayer!
Did you know that our United Methodist Men served 120 men from Charlotte Rescue Mission all day on July 4? They took the day to roast an entire pig — led by David Shepherd and his son Luke — and served it with all the trimmings. The prep and mingler team was led by Rich Buchanan, and included Ben Icard, Dave Corpening, Dennis Green, Doug Hunter, Marshall Edwards, Mike Schenck, Jeff and Marge Averill and Scott Lyons. They cooked, played games, watched fireworks, and did so much more. It was a special day!
Did you know that Richard Williams, David Feus, Mark Kime, and Chad Lloyd are currently on a well-drilling team through Living Water International in the community of Escuintla, Guatemala? Please pray for the community and the people they encounter during their trip.