Sermon – September 17, 2017

We Can Work It Out: Forgive Like God, by Rev. Mike Holly

The Word

Ephesians 4:25-32

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

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 – June 12, 2016

BPUMC_Podcast_LogoBoth/And, by Rev. Angela Martin

Sometimes our lives, our actions and our attitudes are like both Simon and the woman. We have a both/and relationship with ourselves where this battle between good and bad is going on within us each and every day. To use a popular terms, “The struggle is real.” The good news is that our relationship with God is a both/and relationship. And because of that we are able to receive both God’s love and forgiveness. We don’t have to be stuck in behaviors and sins that are unbecoming to those of us who call ourselves disciples. When we choose God’s love and forgiveness we are empowered to change the paradigm for our lives and better take part in God’s Kingdom.


Leap of Faith Weekly Prayer

Summer Prayer 1

Father and Creator of all things, we thank you for the warmth of the summer sun and for the increased daylight. We thank you for how the light gives life to Your world and how it makes possible the growth of plants and animals that feed the world. Thank you for the beauty of the world around us. Help me to become more thankful for everything you provide every time I enjoy being outside in Your creation. And as I enjoy Your creation, create in me a pure heart and a hunger and thirst for You. Amen.

The Word

Luke 7:36-8:3

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

Sermon – February 7, 2016

BPUMC_Podcast_LogoLearning To Let Go, by Rev. Mike Holly

This morning we will celebrate Holy Communion together in worship. Each person will have the opportunity to come forward to receive the bread and the cup. I often wonder where the minds of our church family are as they walk forward to come and receive communion. Some folks come forward to remember the sacrifices of God and Christ on our behalf. They come and reflect about the great love that God has for each of us. Some folks come forward to receive spiritual nourishment and potentially even a greater sense of peace in their own lives. However, I also wonder if anyone ever feels unworthy of receiving Holy Communion.
“Thank goodness we don’t have to earn worth in God’s eyes by our own goodness or our own faith,” an article on Holy Communion on the United Methodist website says. Our sacred worth is in God’s hands and in God’s eyes. No matter what we have done and no matter what we have left undone, none of us is too unworthy or too unreachable with God’s grace. We are all welcome at the table. This is an opportunity for us to confess our sins, to receive God’s forgiveness and to prepare ourselves to lead a new life.

~Mike Holly

The Word

Psalm 103:8-12

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.

Sermon – January 31, 2016

BPUMC_Podcast_LogoSeven, by Rev. Angela Martin

In our scripture for today, Peter asks Jesus how many times we must forgive someone who does us wrong. Jesus’ answer indicates that we must forgive until the forgiveness is complete, whatever the number of times.

In his book, Forgiveness, Adam Hamilton indicates that there are some things we need to understand as we move toward complete forgiveness. First, forgiving is not the same as condoning. We forgive, we let go of the idea of retribution and we choose not to allow the wrongs committed against us to affect our lives. Second, forgiving doesn’t dismiss the consequences. If someone betrays us, we may forgive but it may take a while before we trust that person again. Third, forgiveness can be hard depending on the size of the hurt that has been caused. With small grievances, we must constantly forgive. When we have suffered a deeper hurt, we must communicate that hurt to the wrongdoer, hope for repentance on their part and then work toward offering mercy and forgiveness. Sometimes this is a long process.

God’s forgiveness for us is always absolute and complete. We are called to work toward the same in our relationships with others.

~Angela Martin

The Word

Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Sermon – January 24, 2016

BPUMC_Podcast_LogoHow To Fold a Towel, by Rev. Mike Holly

Today in worship, we as a church family turn our attention to an important process of making relationships last a lifetime as well as a central part of God’s attitude towards each and every one of us: Forgiveness. A wise person once said that that weak persons cannot or will not forgive because forgiveness is “the attribute of the strong.” While I agree with this statement, I would go a step further. True forgiveness is the attribute of the faithful.

Why take forgiveness to that next step? Partly because I believe that we can only practice true forgiveness once we know what it means to be truly forgiven. In the church, we mediate on this often whether it be in our Prayer of Confession or as we gather together to receive the bread and the cup as forgiven people at Holy Communion. One of the first things that every child in the faith learns is that God loves us. The second is usually that God forgives.
If God has forgiven us, then it creates a possibility for us to learn to forgive one another. We begin with the small things. How can we ever learn to forgive the big things in life if we cannot let those little things go? In today’s Scripture reading, Joseph forgives after being sold into slavery, abandoned and forgotten by his own brothers. How amazing is that act of forgiveness? Now, about those little things…

~Mike Holly

The Word

Genesis 50:15-21

Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Week Three: June 21-27

Genesis – Jacob becomes Israel


  • Have you ever felt like you’ve screwed up a friendship so bad that it will never be the same?
  • Have you ever felt that you’ve messed up so bad that you are too ashamed to even pray to God?


Eventually Abram and Sarai settled with his family in the land of Canaan. It was here that God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah and blessed them with a son named Isaac. He in turn had two sons named Esau and Jacob. They were twins, even Esau was considered the first born, and it was said that they struggled against each other as far back as anyone could remember.

Years later, an adult Jacob stood alone facing the horizon. He was afraid. In the morning, he would see his Esau for the first time in years. And there was a very real possibility that his brother would kill him on the spot. Years ago, as their father Isaac lay dying, Jacob had cheated Esau out of his inheritance because in their culture the eldest son stood to inherit the father’s wealth and Jacob wanted to make sure he wasn’t left with nothing. When Esau realized he had been tricked, he was filled with rage. Isaac was forced to flee and make a new life for himself among people who were not his family.

In their world, this was extremely difficult and dangerous. Family connections were all that one had for protection. No one person was equipped to survive alone. In his travels, Jacob found himself being cheated by those he came into contact with – even by his future father-in-law. He married and became a father but always wondered how things might have been had he not lied to Isaac and betrayed Esau. Eventually he came to need his brother to survive. Times were hard and his family would not survive on their own. He was forced to go home and ask to be taken back into his brother’s care. But even as he hoped that he’d be welcomed home, he was still fearful that his brother might kill him and finally get revenge.

The day before Jacob was to meet Esau again after all these years, he crossed a river ford by himself and camped out alone, leaving the rest of his family and servants behind him on the other side of the river. If Esau did decide to kill him, at least they would be able to get to safety. That night, he tossed and turned, worried about the next day’s meeting. As he wrestled with his worries in the early hours of that morning, he began to wrestle with another man, a stranger, whom he’d never seen before. Neither could force the other to give up and as day started to break, the strange man struck Jacob in the hip, throwing it out of socket. And still, Jacob would not let go. Finally the stranger agreed to give him a blessing but also told him that from now on he would be called Israel which means “wrestles with God.”

The next day when this newly blessed Jacob met his brother Esau, he bowed very low as a servant would to his master. This was also a very vulnerable position — with his neck down his brother could easily draw his sword and cut off his head with one blow. But instead of being killed or treated harshly, Esau lifted him up, grabbed him in a deep embrace and forgave him. All of Jacob’s worries had been for nothing. He was welcomed back into the Promised Land, into relationship with God and back into his own family. He was so overwhelmed by this love that he tried to give most of his possessions to his brother to show how sorry he was for what he had cheated him out of all those years before.

But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” Jacob said, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God — since you have received me with such favor. Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.” (Genesis 33:9-11a)


We all wrestle with God or have conflicts with those close to us at some point. But life is almost never a zero-sum game where we get to play once and then if we lose we’re done forever. Isaac thought that cheating his brother out of what he deserved from their father or by running away from his responsibilities would keep him out of God’s grace forever. But he was so wrong.

If you think that you’ve burned a bridge in your life, maybe you are wrong too. Our God is a God of second chances for screw-ups.


You are good enough. You may wrestle with God’s presence in your life. And he’s okay with that. A whole nation, Israel, is named for a man who struggled against God.

You are good enough. You may screw up your relationships with your friends and family. You may let them down and be embarrassed by what you’ve done. Don’t let that stop you from asking from forgiveness because you need each other.

You are good enough. You may have been let down by someone close to you. And you may have every reason in the world to hate them. Don’t hold onto that hate. Forgive them and know that when you do, they will see the face of God in you.

You are good enough.


Nobody’s perfect. God knows this. Go to him now in prayer. Let go of your feelings of inadequacy. Let go of your past failures and regrets. Let go of your anxieties about the future. Give and seek forgiveness. And then move on.


Family – A Short Film by Ransom TeeVee

Sermon – February 15, 2015

Dysfunctional Families of the Old TestamentForgiving the Unforgivable“, by Rev. Mike Holly

Sermon Series: Dysfunctional Families of the Old Testament

Forgiveness is an essential life skill. We cannot make it through life without being able to forgive for if we do not, we will eventually find ourselves alone. The story of Joseph and his brothers demonstrates how life creates opportunities for families to wound one another. Joseph takes a few missteps before finally offering forgiveness to his brothers. And the Bible tells us that their reunion leads to prosperity, at least for a while, for them and their descendants.

In our own families, we will from time to time be wounded by those who love us. Sometimes it is for the actions they took against us or the words that they spew at us. Other times, it is the things that they have not done. And finally, there are those terrible, almost unspeakable, things that family members do that seem almost unforgivable.

How do we go about forgiving the unforgivable? And how do we make sure that forgiveness is constructive — healing all members of the family in the process? The story of reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers will help us ponder these questions.

~Mike Holly

The Word

Genesis 45:1-15

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

Sermon – January 11, 2015

Dysfunctional Families of the Old TestamentMarriage in Difficult Times“, by Rev. Mike Holly

Sermon Series: Dysfunctional Families of the Old Testament

Abram and Sarai are called by God to leave everything they have known and go to a new land. This journey requires them to trust in God alone as they embark into the unknown. And along the way, they encounter difficulty over and over again, according to the stories in Genesis. We begin in Chapter 12 this Sunday as we first meet them (and before they are given the new names of Abraham and Sarah). This is a shocking story, but it is also a story that shows us that human relationships have always faced great hardships.

The marriage of Abram and Sarai is tested here and again with Hagar and Ishmael as well as in a few other places. While they may not always act in a holy manner, they remain intact as a couple throughout these crises. What is it that creates such a bond between them that holds them together through the difficult times?

Significant human relationships, such as marriage, require commitment, love and faithfulness. Without these three, we may find that our relationships unravel at the first signs of trouble. As we read the story of Abram and Sarai this morning, consider your own relationships. How can you recommit to a loved one? How can you overcome the past and become bonded together through commitment, love and faithfulness?

~Mike Holly

The Word

Genesis 12:10-20

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know well that you are a woman beautiful in appearance; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.” When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels.

But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone.” And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.