Sermon – August 20, 2017

Who Am I Becoming? From The Ground Up, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Matthew 7:24-27

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”

August 13-19, 2017

Seek God—Prayer

God of mysterious ways, you take our fears and turn them into triumphs. You remind us that you are always with us and that we do not need to fear the wind and waves of life. Encourage us to step out of the boat; to come across these difficulties to your redeeming and transforming love. Give us courage and strength, joy and peace for all the times ahead. Amen.

Prayer Focus For This Week: Pray for your Church Family.

Lose Yourself—Daily Scriptures

Sunday, August 13 – Galatians 6:7-10
Monday, August 14 – Luke 23:32-43
Tuesday, August 15 – Isaiah 2:1-4
Wednesday, August 16 – 1 John 18-28
Thursday, August 17 – Matthew 7:13-29
Friday, August 18 – Psalm 30
Saturday, August 19 – Ephesians 2

Find Life—Personal Reflection

As you worship today and as you read these Scriptures this week, consider what God is trying to say to you today. How does God want your life or actions to be different because of what you heard?

We look forward to the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting – promises from God about how we have a future with hope in Him.  Pastor and author James Howell says that “this God draws us into the circle and bequeaths upon us an inheritance beyond all imagining.  All gift.  All wonder.  All good.  Whoever frailty we have suffered will be healed.  Whatever unbearable agony  we have endured will be more than made right.  Tears wiped away, no more sorrow.  Unfathomable beauty.”  How does the promise of God addressing the suffering, loss and inequity of the here and now give you hope about your future with God?

August 13, 2017

We are beginning a new year at Bluff Park UMC in prayer and mission! On Sunday morning, we will bless the backpacks of the children of our church and community as they get ready to go back to school. We will also have a time of prayer for the students, teachers, and staff! Our children will be introduced to their brand new educational space on the first floor on Sunday morning! I know they are all very excited to see what has been done!

In terms of mission and outreach, our children’s ministry staff worked with area churches to provide a meal and prayer to the staff and teachers at Bluff Park Elementary. We are also in the middle of a school supply drive for the Room 35226 project for local schools and for Little Imaginations Preschool. In addition to this, our church has already picked up close to 200 shoeboxes for Christmas gifts to children. We have many more boxes so come by on Sunday to pick them up from the Narthex!

Finally, we are finishing the summer sermon series on the Apostles’ Creed this weekend. I hope it has been a blessing to all of you as I know it has been to me. I have been so amazed at how the Creed tells the story of our faith and how it helps us to put into a few words the grand and wonderful way in which God has shown love and poured out grace upon us all. Over and over again, I see the connection between who God is and how God has worked in the world and in our lives to give us life. When we meet on Sunday morning, we will hear about the resurrection of our bodies and the life everlasting (eternal life). This is a hope and promise that we lean towards; however, it is also a gift for the here and now. It is true life connecting to the Source of Life — being in a deep and meaningful relationship with God, a caring and uplifting relationship with others, and a pathway of finding our own way to live out our calling in ways that make a difference in the world.

May you enjoy the fullness of life that God offers to each and every one of us!

~Mike

Sermon – August 13, 2017

Creed: What Happens Next, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Sermon – August 6, 2017

Creed: What God Loves To Do, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Matthew 9:1-8

And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.

And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

Sermon – July 30, 2017

Creed: A Being, Not A Building, by Rev. John Carl Hastings

The Word

Acts 2:37-47

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Sermon – July 23, 2017

Creed: Holy Spirit, by Rev. Angela Martin

The Word

John 16:4b-15

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Sermon – July 16, 2017

Creed: Everyday Matters, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Matthew 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Sermon – July 9, 2017

Creed: Rose. Rise. Reign, by Rev. John Carl Hastings

The Word

Luke 24:1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Sermon – July 2, 2017

Creed: Sacrifice and Reconciliation, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

1 Peter 2:23-25

When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.