12th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/August 28, 2019
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that we launched our worship series on The Spirited Life. It was a glorious Sunday of beautiful, spirited music, uplifting prayers and so much more. (Watch here!) By the way…just a reminder that we are working our way through The Spirited Life (the Apostle Paul’s description of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit) in all our worshipping communities (801South, CCH and Sanctuary).
It is an exciting week in Matthews with our annual gathering of Matthews Alive. Join us in extending Matthews United Methodist hospitality all weekend to our friends who park in our parking lot, use our bathrooms and so much more. The opportunity is ours to love as Jesus loved!
Every year Matthews Alive brings us to Labor Day.
Rev. Becca Stephens is one of my favorite writer/leader/pastor persons. She is the founder of Thistle Farms in Nashville. She writes:
“About work. Forget balance in my opinion. It just stresses me out more to try and keep everything balanced! For me, it’s better to just lean into the day and love my way through it. Whether it’s dominated by meetings, kids, staffing issues, writing, freedom, or pastoral emergencies. Here are a few other things that help me. Take whatever feels helpful, and leave the rest.
1. Have a no meeting day once a week where you get to create the work, not just respond. (This is in addition to a day off!)
2. Develop simple daily rituals that give you peace. Simple. Daily. Rituals.
3. Memorize the Serenity Prayer and perhaps the prayer attributed to St. Francis.
4. Practice gratitude – every single day. It’s not a burden, it is a gift.
5. Don’t worry if you are not inspired. Vision is overrated much of the time, uninspired sweat equity is underrated.
6. Everyone is busy, so fill your time with what feels close to your heart.
7. Move your body.
8. Stop comparisons. When you are comparing yourself you will come up short or have a false sense of being ahead. It’s all good.
9. Repeat on hard days “The sun will rise again.”
10. Find peace in the truth that everything except love passes.
Those are my top ten tips about work today, it will probably continue to evolve.”
There is a lot of good stuff on that list.
The Mindset List
There is another list I love to see every year. It is called the Mindset List, and it comes from Marist College. The Mindset List was created to help college faculty members have a better understanding of incoming freshmen. It is not a scientific or demographic analysis, just a simple way to think about this year’s college freshman class by looking at some of the things that have always or never been true for them. It is also a reminder of how quickly things change. Here are a few of the items included on this year’s Mindset List:
- They have always used thumb, jump and USB flash drives, but they have never used a floppy disc.
- The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures or to text and twitter.
- Nearly half of their generation is comprised of persons of color. They have witnessed two African-American Secretaries of State, the first African-American President, Disney’s first black princess and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
- They are as non-judgmental about sexual orientation as their parents were about pot smoking. Only two thirds of their generation identify as exclusively heterosexual.
- They have always had to take their shoes off when boarding an airplane.
- Blackboards have never been “dumb”, in fact they have hardly ever been black.
- Face recognition technology has always been used at large public events.
- By their sophomore year, their generation will constitute one quarter of the U.S. population.
You can see the entire list here.
Maybe #8 tells us why getting in touch with their mindset is so important. I’m so grateful to be a pastor of a church where I don’t have to spend all of my time with other baby boomers. Our church keeps me connected with children, youth and young adults…but it’s not as easy. With the Greatest Generation quickly leaving the scene and the baby boomers quickly moving into their sunset years, staying in touch with younger generations becomes important if we are to understand the present and glimpse the future.
We send off this year’s freshman class with our prayers and our blessings. We offer them the experiences we have had and the wisdom we have gained over the years, but if we are wise we will not burden them with all of our biases and baggage. We open the way for them to lead us into the future, hoping they will do a better job of dealing with some of our long-time issues like bigotry, poverty and divisive politics than we have. We send them off with our hopes and prayers…but I promise, if you send them a floppy disc, they’ll make fun of you forever.
Disciple Bible Study
Augustine was a great bishop of the church who lived in the 5th century. His mother earnestly prayed that he would give his life to follow Jesus, but Augustine was fully immersed in the ways of the world. One day he sat with a friend on a bench weeping over the state of his life. The story goes that he heard a boy or girl – he says he does not know which – singing a song. The sound was coming from a neighboring house. The child was chanting over and over: “Pick it up, read it; pick it up; read it.” Here is what happened next, in Augustine’s own words:
Immediately I ceased weeping and began most earnestly to think whether it was usual for children in some kind of game to sing such a song, but I could not remember ever having heard the like. So, damming the torrent of my tears, I got to my feet, for I could not but think that this was a divine command to open the Bible and read the first passage I should light upon.
So I quickly returned to the bench … for there I had put down the apostles book. I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof.”(Romans 13:13-14) I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”
There are so many stories through history of people having life-transforming experiences with their encounter with the Bible. Today studies have been done seeking to find what keeps people engaged and growing in their faith. The one common denominator? You probably guessed…the Bible. Even for people well along in their faith journey, the Bible is the key source for continued growth and vitality in faith.
We all get put off by Bible-thumping, self-righteous folks who use scripture to threaten and judge more than to offer hope and life. But this doesn’t change the fact that the Bible is still the primary medium in the Christian life for spiritual encouragement. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet…” (Psalm 119:105)
You can sign up for Disciple Bible Study here.
Pathways to Peace
I hope you can join us in the Sanctuary on Tuesday, September 24, 7 pm, as we welcome Dr. Mae Elise Cannon. Dr. Cannon is the Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a consortium of churches seeking to be a part of conversations for peace among our Middle Eastern friends. That night, Dr. Cannon will be hosting a conversation with Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth from Israel and Palestinian-American Aziz Abu Sarah, about multi-faith dialogue and engagement in constructive conflict, peace, and reality of life in Israel and Palestine. They hope to discuss the role all of us can play in hosting dialogues about disagreements and becoming peacemakers and reconcilers in the midst of conflict. Dr. Cannon says, “We believe we can bring hope to broken communities through the world – even to Israel and Palestine.
This Sunday (September 1) in Worship
This past Sunday (August 25) we got started with our new worship series, The Spirited Life. We began by asking ourselves what transformative character looks like in a follower of Jesus. We discovered that the best list available would be the nine qualities or dispositions that are listed in the Book of Galatians 5:22-23 by the Apostle Paul. He calls them “the fruit of the Spirit.” You’ll remember the list goes like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now if these qualities are at work in our lives then the Bible gives us every indication that we will look like Jesus.
I would be heartbroken if we’d looked to this worship series as a laudable listing of lessons on self-improvement. Friends, we are not trying to get a hodgepodge of character traits and virtues that are universally admirable and commendable up and operational in our lives. No! No! No! These nine qualities or dispositions reflect the very character and mission of God … and these dispositions come by letting Jesus work in us. I’m hopeful you will not miss a single Sunday.
So this Sunday, September 1, let’s get started with the list. The Apostle Paul begins his list with the most important of all these life-transforming qualities … it is the particular fruit of the Spirit known as love.
I’m choosing love,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that our Couples in Christ Marriage Ministry Summer Photo Challenge winners have been announced? Todd & Patti Ginder won first place and will receive overnight getaway & dinner gift cards; Chuck & Kristin Wiedenhoeft won second place and will receive dinner & movie gift cards; and Mark & Elaine Arnold won third place and will receive dinner & coffee gift cards!
Did you know that Larry Curtis is the Lay Director for the Walk To Emmaus Men’s Walk this September 5-8? Earl Coggins, Mike Martin, Scott Cooper and Dan Meyer are all serving on the team, and Jenny Savage will be participating in the Women’s Walk September 12-15.
Did you know that Hunter Adcock was featured on WBTV News last Thursday for being a Dream on 3 recipient? Hunter loves NASCAR and got to attend the big race in Bristol! Hunter was the charity’s 100th dream! Watch the segment here.
Did you know that Bob Aycock painted a picture about creation while the Preteens were listening to the Bible story on Kick-Off Sunday?
Did you know that teacups with details on our Couples in Christ Marriage Ministry events are displayed around campus when there is an event coming up? Register here by this Sunday (Sept. 1) for the Couples Paint Night to be held on Saturday September 7.
Did you know that Pastor Chuck anointed the hands of 48 teachers for our 2019 Class of teachers in the MUMC Preschool? This was done as a part of actions of worship on August 27 in the Sanctuary.