Transformed Me Forever

Transformed Me Forever

Published June 19, 2019

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time/June 19, 2019

Just these lines, my friends …

to say that it was a wonderful Father’s Day/Trinity Sunday at Matthews United Methodist (MUMC). Beautiful music and heartfelt preaching guided us into the presence of God. A high moment for me from Pastor Paul’s sermon was this statement: “A child is not likely to find a father in God, unless they have first found something of God in their father.” I needed to hear that. Thank you to Paul for sharing that thought. You can watch the message here.

Since I wasn’t preaching, I had the chance to speak for a few minutes to the Elizabeth Patrick Sunday School class. Their class has had four deaths over the last couple of weeks. You can’t be around loss and suffering like that for very long without it exacting a price from the soul. I invited them to pray with me — and for me — as we remember and celebrate the lives of these beautiful people. I told them I would be holding their class close in my prayers during this season of great loss.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with our new member class. What a wonderful group of folks making their entrance into Matthews United Methodist in a few weeks. Meg Moore, one of the brightest lights I know, is our staff community leader for this class. I’m so delighted new people continue to join the life and ministry of Matthews United Methodist.

Transformed Me Forever

The famed psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote, “All religions are therapies for the sorrows and disorders of the soul.”

He was right. I would prefer that people turn to God out of strength, but it rarely happens. People are usually driven to faith by the realization that there is nowhere else to go.

Sooner or later, our souls are bloodied by the circumstances of life. Our backs are to the wall. Human resources prove to be inadequate. In desperation, we fall to our knees and a peace that cannot be explained comes over us.

I’ve heard thousands of people tell their faith stories — in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and in church — and faith always begins the same way…at the point of desperation.

My faith journey began many years ago—on a summer night in Jonesborough, TN. I said a prayer that went something like this: “God, I don’t know if you are up there or if I am talking to myself. But if you are up there and you’re listening, I surrender all that I am and all that I have to all I know of you. Either hit me over the head with a two-by-four or change me because I’m not worth much at all the way I am.”

Some of my Baptist friends tell me it was not a proper prayer, but I meant it—and it transformed me forever.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. (Colossians 3:15-17 from The Message)

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

This week, over 400 children skipped through the halls of Matthews United Methodist, sang in the Sanctuary and discovered God’s grace through Bible stories. I heard one little girl was so scared during the retelling of a story that she hid and cried. If only we had the imagination of children as we encountered the stories of faithfulness from God’s Word.

Yet, Vacation Bible School at MUMC is never simply an end unto itself. Part of the learning this week has been about our brothers and sisters in Christ who reside in other parts of the world. Through the generosity of our VBS children and their families, we are receiving an offering through the week for the Kidron Valley Orphanage in Uganda. I’ll let you know how much they raise.

Running an on-site camp for the week would be impossible without the dedication of our volunteers. Did you know that it takes 195 volunteers to serve the 400+ children? I am so grateful for their incredible commitment to planting seeds of faith in the young lives entrusted to our care. A very special thank you to Abby Johnson for another year in designing our awesome looking VBS t-shirts, and thank you to all the amazing volunteers in how you give and serve.

Family Date Night Summer Photo Challenge

We are encouraging families and couples to spend intentional time together this summer. All you have to do is plan a date with friends, family or a loved one and capture a picture while having fun together. Pick up a Date Night card at the Welcome Center to include in your photo. Upload your photo to social media with the hashtag #WeAreMatthews in the post description and tag @MatthewsUMC. For contest details, please click here.

Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska

The clergy of the church and a number of delegates (MUMC delegates: Teressa Clark, Hugo Hernandez, Philip/Brenda Tate, Kent Winslow; District delegates: Julie Cochran, Earl/Jeannette Coggins, Amy DeVore, Fred/Carol Goolsby, Bob/Cheryl Healy, Kim Layton, Scott/Linda Lyons, James Ross, Karen Wilson) are in the middle of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference meeting at Lake Junaluska. Though it doesn’t officially begin until Thursday, June 20, there are meetings all week. This is a staple of Methodism. Lay and clergy representatives from every United Methodist charge in Western North Carolina meet annually to affirm the work of the church and vote on petitions, budgets, etc. This is a special conference because we are voting on delegates to send to General and Jurisdictional Conference next year in Minneapolis, so please keep us in prayer as we do that today!

Other Upcoming Dates

Please put the “X” on the calendar for these upcoming events:

  • Modern Family: June 30 through July 28 – Our leadership community for the Sanctuary worship has put together a terrific worship series that will surely catch your interest. It is called Modern Family. What does a modern family look like? How can the relationships in which we live become the tangible expression of the love of God being made real in our world through us? The story of the first family teaches us about our own families. The story paints the living portrait of God’s dream for all of our human relationships. The story reminds us that none of our families are perfect. Come join us and hear what the Bible has to say about our families. In preparation for Sunday, June 30, read Genesis 1-3.
  • Dr. David Wilkinson on July 14-15 – This is the smartest man on the planet … but he is able to take enormously complex issues and bring them right down to earth to us. He is an astrophysicist and theologian from the University of Durham in Durham, England. We are so excited to have him preach on Sunday morning, July 14, and then lead a series of presentations on Sunday evening and Monday, July 15. You will not want to miss a single moment of sharing time with this marvelously inspirational man. Click here for details.
  • Answering the Call with Rev. Nicole de Castrique Jones on August 11 – This 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. This is a real treat for us to have Nicole and her family in our midst. Click to read Rev. Jones bio!
  • 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 (June 23) in Worship

It’s Conference Sunday at Matthews UMC.  Your pastors are  away at Annual Conference, but we’ve got some special things planned for this Sunday. CCH will begin a new worship series titled Springs in the Desert.  The sermon will focus on Nehemiah 9: 15-20 and is titled Eternal Fidelity. 801South and Pastor Corey will continue the message series Altar Ego. Come see what we are laying down by faith on God’s altar this week. And in our morning Sanctuary services it is a Special Music Sunday. The 8:15 and 11:00 o’clock hours feature LUX: The Dawn From On High, an extended work by Dan Forrest. Our 9:30 hour will feature extra praise and worship centered on The Lord’s Prayer led by our Praise Team.

I’m praying this week for all of us to have opportunities to make God’s love real to the people we come in contact.

Reclaim Some Hope this Week,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that the Emerald School of Excellence — North Carolina’s first recovery high school for students with substance use disorders — will open at Memorial United Methodist Church this fall? This is made possible by an active group of passionate people, including our own Jim and Trish Tanger, Tom and Nancy Dundorf, and Glen and Gayle Harrison. Please be in prayer for Memorial UMC and Pastor Brandon Lazarus on this new endeavor.

Did you know that Meredith Strause, daughter of Joel/Kristen Strause, and rising Senior at Covenant Day is interning for five weeks this summer at the Freedom School in the Dominican Republic? Kristen will join her daughter the first week in July, which will be Meredith’s final week of service. As an intern, she will be working with the children of Freedom School on English enrichment through games, activities, curriculum and Vacation Bible School.

Did you know that the Weekday Preschool Ministry at Matthews UMC is seeking volunteers to help paint 10 rooms next week (June 24-25)? Work continues over the summer as we refresh the space before summer camp. Thank you to our leadership team — Sharol Wiley, Patty Rudisill, Joanna Karnis and Jeanette Winslow — for the continued work to prepare for fall. Please call 704-815-1988 to join the painting fun!