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“Building Fences or Building Bridges?”

“If a brother or sister believer hurts you, go and tell them – work it out between the two of you.  If the person listens, you’ve made a friend.”  Matthew 18:15 (The Message) “You can’t go wrong when you love others.  When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.”   Romans 13:10 (The Message) Once upon a time, there were two brothers.  Their father had a large farm and when he became too old to work, he called his sons to him.  “I am too old to work anymore,” he said.  “I will divide my farm in half and give each of you one-half  I know that you will always work together and will be good friends.” When the brothers first started farming on their adjoining farms, they were the best of friends and would share everything together.  Then, one day, there was an argument between the two brothers and they stopped speaking to one another.  For many years, not a word was spoke between them. One day, one of the brothers was at his house when a carpenter came to his door and said, ... Read More »

“Spiritually Dead or Alive?”

Many times, I have had folks say to me: “Pastor, I do not need to go to church.  I can worship God on my own.”  While the latter may be true, I often respond by asking: “Are you being nourished or how often are you distracted?  Regular church attendance is extremely valuable, is very important and should be practiced by anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ.  Church is not something that you do individually it is something that you do collectively.  To be a follower of Christ is not just what you do by yourself it is what you do together with other people.  There are many reasons why you should come to church regularly, such as: It Is What Jesus Did: “Jesus went back to Nazareth, where he’d been brought up and as usual he went to the meeting place on the Sabbath.”  (Luke 14:6) The Bible tells us that “as usual” or as another translation says “as was His custom” Jesus went to the place of worship.  This is also in keeping with one of the Ten Commandments which is, “Observe the Sabbath by keeping ... Read More »

Dead or Alive?

Many times, I have had folks say to me: “Pastor, I do not need to go to church.  I can worship God on my own.”  While the latter may be true, I often respond by asking: “Are you being nourished or how often are you distracted?  The following are two of my favorite illustrations about the importance of attending church: (1) A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.      “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time, I have heard something like 3,000 sermons, but for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them.  So, I think I’m wasting my time and the preachers and priest are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.” This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column.  Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:      “I’ve been married for 30 years now.  In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals.  But, for the life ... Read More »

50 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life (Continued)

Want to make changes in your life for 2017? Reading the Bible can change your life in so many ways… at least 50 but there are many more ways. How can it change your life? “The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to their self but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest) 12: Choose Hope – To choose hope and perseverance is not to brush aside our grief. It is to address our pain head-on and to work through our feelings. To choose hope is to believe that happiness and joy are attainable again, despite what our grief tells us. 11: Don’t Be a Stranger to God – We live in an age where self-reliance is valued. We feel pressured to have all the answers. But the reality is, ... Read More »

 “50 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life” (Continued)

Want to make changes in your life for 2017?  Reading the Bible can change your life in so many ways… at least 50 but there are many more ways.  How can it change your life?               “Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word.  All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.  The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)      24:  Be Stronger Than Your Temptations –  Even you live by a moral code, you will face challenges to your convictions.  Temptation found Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It found Jesus in the wilderness.  And it will find you – likely when you’re at your most vulnerable point.  As the author of Proverbs 6 recommended, meditating on the principles that form the core of who you are and who you should be is a great first step in resisting temptation.  The practice of reflection can be a helpful tool.      23:  Choose Your Associates Carefully – Solomon, the author of Proverbs 4, understood that the ability to distinguish ... Read More »

50 Ways The Bible Can Change Your Life (Continued)

The Bible is still the best-selling book of all time.  Reading the Bible can change your life in so many ways… at least 50 but there are many more ways.  How can it change your life? “Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  God is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort.  God comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share this same comfort with others in trouble.”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)      37:  Comfort Those Who Grieve –  God understands all too well why we mourn and ache after we lose someone close to us.  That’s why he promises to do something about it.  “God blesses those people who grieve.  They will find comfort!”  (Matthew 5:4) Sometimes words aren’t necessary at all.  Sometimes simply being there for another person – as a sounding board for the person’s thoughts and feelings or as a silent partner in grieving – is enough.      36:  Give God the Credit – God chooses to work through humble people because when God’s done, they will make sure God gets the glory.  They won’t claim undue credit for themselves.  ... Read More »

“3 Things Churches Love That KILL Outreach”

(Continued from September) It is October and soon FUMC will be having its Charge Conference.  It is time when churches charge into the new year and plan and prepare for that.  We look at the past year and then see what has worked and what has not.  It is always an exciting time with much discussion.  One of the sayings that the staff here uses is CANEI:  Constant And Never Ending Improvement!  In other words, how did we do on something and how can we improve.  With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves how we are doing as a church.   The following was written by Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research. All churches love certain things.  Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer.  Those are good loves.  Some are neutral loves.  Some are not.  Other churches love their building, their history or their strategy. Those can be good or bad, depending on what we mean by love and how we value those things.  But some things that churches love hurt their mission and hinder their call.  Here are three I’ve observed from my work with thousands of churches.  Too ... Read More »

“3 Things Churches Love That KILL Outreach”

It is September and soon FUMC will be having its Charge Conference.  It is time when churches charge into the new year and plan and prepare for that.  We look at the past year and then see what has worked and what has not.  It is always an exciting time with much discussion.  One of the sayings that the staff here uses is CANEI:  Constant And Never Ending Improvement!  In other words, how did we do on something and how can we improve.  With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves how we are doing as a church.  Are we on the same page?  The following was written by Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research. All churches love certain things.  Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer.  Those are good loves.  Some are neutral loves.  Some are not.  Other churches love their building, their history or their strategy. Those can be good or bad, depending on what we mean by love and how we value those things.  But some things that churches love hurt their mission and hinder their call.  Here are three I’ve observed from my work with thousands ... Read More »

During my 1st year of Ministry here at FUMC

Thank you so much for your support of Jesus Christ’s call to Fennimore UMC: through fellowship with each other, through helping each other grow spiritually, through serving each other, through financial giving, through telling others about Christ in our community and beyond, and through worshiping our God together each Sunday. Thus far in 2016 we have been blessed in so many ways. Some of those ways are: We have had two successful sermon series We have had 8 new members, plus 10 Confirmation students join the church We have had a successful Vacation Bible School We have had 4 well attended and received connectional groups, with more kicking off in October We have had steady attendance throughout the summer In the near future, we also have a Sermon Series, Half Truths, starting August 7. Christian Education will be continuing in September and in October another Sermon Series and exciting connectional groups. Again I would like to say thank you for giving sacrificially of your time, talents and resources. The ministries of this church would not and could not happen without you. Thank you for being faithful and taking part in ... Read More »

“Who Do You Say I Am?” (continued from June)

    Since the movie “God’s Not Dead 2”, I have been asked numerous questions about some of the themes and discussions in the movie.  Questions such as:  was that just movie jargon about other sources, what other writings and what is the historical Jesus?  The interest has been so exciting and I will try to answer those questions.       First of all, yes, Jesus really existed.  This is often referred to as the historical Jesus or Jesus as a man who walked this earth.  Evidence also comes from those who walked with Jesus and shared his life:  the apostles.  Peter says in his message to the first Gentile believers:  “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.  They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.  He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”  (Acts 10:39-41)     Many of the apostles ... Read More »

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