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Proclaiming the Kingdom… how’s your foundation?

So, as we continue our lenten learning, did you realize that the most influential sermon EVER was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?  Check out the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.  Also, this past week it was pointed out that the majority of Jesus’ teachings occurred on the mountainsides, something that was yet another “ah-ha” for me.  Seems to make sense that Jesus would feel a little closer to “home” on a mountainside, don’t you agree?  What a perfect place for Jesus to teach!  Adam Hamilton’s book, “The Way:  Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus,” highlighted that it’s important to not only consider what Jesus taught, but also how he taught.  There are three tips to keep in mind:

First, Jesus liked to teach using similies, or figures of speech.  (the kingdom of heaven is “like…”) which provided real-life examples for us to connect complex ideas to, because he knew we needed that in order to wrap our heads around them.

Second, as we know, he gave us easy-to-remember stories called parables to give us simple associations to connect to heavenly topics.  How many biblical parables can you list?  🙂  (without googling!!)

Third, Jesus taught by using many prophetic hyperboles – – using exaggerated points to help drive the point home.  (example:  if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out…)  Jesus was emphasizing the seriousness of sin, and yes, he wants us to take that seriously, yet not literally!  Does he have to tell us this a MILLION TIMES?  LOL

Jesus became human to reclaim us for the Kingdom… and help us understand our need to repent – – not just to ask for His forgiveness, but to also begin thinking AND acting differently, as Jesus modeled for us.  He gave us the foundation we need… which brings me to the following YouTube!  How many remember this song??

 

 

So, how’s your foundation?  Is it a little sandy, and in need of a little more help?  As we learn to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, our foundation can grow stronger, with the help of God’s mercy and grace.  Remember, we are not on this journey alone, and we can join this mountain top adventure with the greatest teacher ever!  Let’s proclaim God’s kingdom – – by our words and deeds – – for everyone to hear!  Are you humming that song again??

One Great Hour of Sharing = 100% helping others in need!

How can we help others in need?  Watch this video to find out!

http://umcgiving.org/oghs
For more than 50 years, United Methodist congregations have been taking part in a special One Great Hour of Sharing offering, laying the foundation for UMCOR’s ministry of relief and hope.

Donations UMCOR receives through this offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, cover our costs of doing business. Gifts like yours make it possible for UMCOR to use 100% of all other contributions on the projects our donors specify, instead of on administrative or fundraising costs.

Without your offerings, UMCOR would not exist!

Donations also allow UMCOR to respond to disasters immediately after an event and before funds can be raised.

Because of your donations, UMCOR is ready to respond in times of crisis.  Please prayerfully consider giving to help others in need.

 

Whose “stretcher-bearer” are you?

the-wayAs Pastor Jerry continues his series based on “The Way:  Following in the Footsteps of Jesus” by Adam Hamilton, we learned about being instruments of God’s healings.  What’s that all about?  Back to that in a bit….

He began by pointing out the obvious….The reality is that when you live in a small town, it is pretty hard to remain anonymous!  Everyone seems to know everyone’s business.  The same was true back in Jesus’ day.  Jesus’ first sermon was in his small home town of Nazareth, where he was scorned and rejected (not to mentioned almost killed!).  How heart breaking that must have been for him, as it was the foreshadow of what was to come.  He then walked 24 miles to the town of Capernaum, which would become the home base for his ministry for the next three years.   It was here that a demon-possessed man confronted Jesus as he was teaching in the temple. Jesus cast the demon out, and healed the man’s loneliness and isolation.  This was something Jesus understood first-hand after his rejection in his home town.

It was here in Capernaum that Jesus performed many of his miracles and healed hundreds of people.  Which gets us back to the point of being instruments of God’s healing.  “What??”  you say, “I’m not a doctor!”  We don’t need to be.  He is the great physician, and will use us, if we only let him.  He beautifully modeled this with the story in Mark 2: 1-5, when friends carried a paralyzed man to Jesus in the hopes he would be healed.   When they got to the house where Jesus was staying, there stretcherwere so many people they could not get in.  These committed friends were not daunted or discouraged, so they simply went to plan B.  They decided to carry him to the roof, where they would make a hole big enough to lower their friend down through, so he could see Jesus.   And the key point from this story is not that Jesus healed the paralytic, but that he healed him  because of the faith of his friends!  They believed and intervened on his behalf!  And Jesus healed their friend. I think there’s a lesson there for us!  🙂

Which brings us back to the title of this post…whose “stretcher-bearer” are  you?  We all need them… those friends who will carry us in our times of need.  They are willing to pick us up and take off the roof, to get the job done.  Thank heavens for faithful friends like that!  So,  whose stretcher-bearer” have you been?  Who have you helped “carry” through a difficult time? What steps are you willing to take to help get them to the feet of Jesus so they can live abundantly, when they don’t have the strength to do it on their own?  Think about that this Lenten season.  Someone needs you more than you know!

Tempted, Tested, Strengthened

Our church is studying the book, “The Way:  Walking in the footstepsLent of Jesus”by Adam Hamilton during this Lenten season.  Pastor Jerry’s sermon this past Sunday highlighted the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, where Jesus would not only be tempted and tested, but also strengthened for his purpose.

But first, let’s review what Lent is…. it is the 40 days prior to Easter (not including Sundays) that is a season of repentance and a time for us to drawer closer to God.  It is a time for us to prepare for the blessings of Good Friday and Easter morning.  Jesus showed us – – by His example – – that it IS possible to  overcome temptation and the messiness of our lives.

Jesus’ public ministry began when he went to his cousin John (yes, the one and only John the Baptist) and asked to be baptized.  It’s important to note that even though Jesus was sinless, he was baptized for our sake; not his.   Then Jesus went to the wilderness for the next 40 days to fast and pray.  And this is where the tempted, tested, and strengthened part comes in…

What was emphasized from this teaching, was that each of us face our own wilderness – – metaphorically – – when our lives feel empty like barren lands and we wrestle with evil, hurt, and doubt.  But even in our wilderness, we are not alone;  God is ever present with us!   He is there to guide us, if  we only listen to His still small voice.

Jesus was tempted  by Satan, first by food, then by fame, and last by power.  More importantly, not only was Jesus being tempted, he was also being tested… to see if he would remain steadfast.  Thank heaven He did! And this strengthened his resolve, and should likewise do the same for us.  We can do just anything through Christ who strengthens us!

As we walk in Jesus’ footsteps for the remainder of Lent, what wilderness are you currently wandering in?  What temptations are you wrestling with?  Remember, Jesus has shown us the way, and he was willing to die for us to prove it!

Ash Wednesday… what’s that all about?

What is that smudge on their foreheads??  Just ask Chuck!  And come to our Ash Wednesday Service this week at 7:00 pm at Hope UMC to experience it first-hand!

“Hello? Can you hear me now?”

telephone - maleAs a part of our 2014 goal setting for Hope United Methodist Church, the Leadership Team (formally called Administrative Council) decided that each member of our church deserved a personal phone call.

So, on the evenings of March 9th and March 16th we will be having our very first church phone-a-thon!  We will be calling and asking each member the following two (yes, only two!!) questions:

1. We would like to know how we (the church) can best serve you (and your family)?

2. We would also like to know which area(s) in the life of the church you would like to be involved in?

We want to help make Hope UMC an important part of your life, and we need  your input in order  to do just that.

We look forward to chatting with you soon!telphone - female

The Evangelism / Member Care Ministry Team