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by Lois Fox | November 7, 2018
The Power of Prayer
by Lois Fox
Wednesday morning, October 3rd, 2018, I was having serious chest pain that my nitro could not resolve. So 9-1-1 was called. The emergency persons ran a few tests on me, and said yes, we did find some problems, so I was ambulanced and admitted to the hospital. Once I was admitted, they ran different tests, and hooked me up to a couple of machines as they also found problems with my heart. That afternoon Pastor John came to visit and pray with me, and briefly told me about the coming Sunday’s sermon, which would be about the Holy Spirit.
An echocardiogram (echo) test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to make pictures of your heart was discussed and scheduled for Thursday to be followed by a cardio angiogram with stent.
When I was taken into the pre-op area Thursday, I asked the nurse if she was Christian, and would she pray with me? Which she did. And then I had the Echo. The Echo also showed problems with the heart.
I had to wait about two hours before the angiogram. When the surgeon came in to visit before the procedure, he told me that he understood I was also a Christian and could he pray with me before the procedure? So we prayed, giving thanks to God for surrounding me with other believers before this scary procedure, asking God to calm my nerves, and to guide the surgeons hands, etc., etc.
The procedure itself is not scary, even though the thought of it was. Inserting a needle from my wrist up into the heart, through my small veins! They give meds to put me out, and another kind that allows you to talk to the doctor as he's working on me, but gives me amnesia, so I remember nothing of the entire procedure. That worked wonderfully well. The results of the angiogram were no problems of any kind were found in the heart. Obviously no stent needed as no problems found. The power of prayer! When two or more are gathered in His name ---
When one is in the hospital, your primary physician is notified, but doesn’t take care of you there. You are assigned to a ‘hospitalist’ who visits you daily to take care of any needs and concerns you might have. I saw mine Wednesday and then again on Friday. When I saw him Friday, I asked why I didn’t see him on Thursday. He corrected me. He visited with me in the post-op room and we had a long chat about my church in Silverdale. I had no recollection of this, thanks to that amnesia med given me in the procedure room.
Never before had I asked any nurse or doctor if they were Christian, never brought up religion with any of them. Obviously, the Holy Spirit was guiding me every step of my journey in the hospital, from Wednesday visit with the pastor until during and after my procedures. Can’t wait to find where He guides me next.
by John Weston | October 31, 2018
Why You Should Be There Saturday (The D. S. Will)
by John Weston
We're all busy. I get that. But if you didn't come to last fall's simulcast of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, you missed out. And if you miss this Saturday, you'll miss out again. And you will miss an opportunity to visit with D. S. Mark Galang who hopes to sit in with us for an hour or two during the course of the day. If you're expecting to hear a lot about homosexuality, you will be disappointed. What you can expect to hear is about how Methodism in America was a vibrant, powerful movement for the gospel, and how it could be again. The United Methodist Church in America has ground to a halt in terms of growth. Statistically we are officially in decline. But the United Methodist Church is GROWING in the Philippines. And is EXPLODING in Africa. Why? Because God is gracious and the core doctrines and teachings of the United Methodist Church are worth using, celebrating, and spreading. The heart of United Methodism is worth imparting: we don't spend all our time thinking or talking about faith: we also do it. We help. We witness. We see miracles. Anyone can see a miracle. That's what you're going to hear about.
As a pastor I spend my connectional time with other United Methodist pastors in our region, and I have friends and colleagues. We share the same tradition and all of us pastors do jobs that are very similar. But I'm a minority; most of my colleagues see things very differently from me. We are serving for different motivations and for different outcomes. Sometimes I get up and speak about our differences. And sometimes I give in to apathy or fatigue. It's not easy to get up and speak when most people are not going to like what you have to say. It's not to the same degree as Jesus, or Peter, or Paul, or others in the early church who were forced to publicly defend the true faith at risk and eventually at the cost of their lives:
Luke 12:11-12 11 "And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there."
Jesus lived out his own prophecy himself before he died at the hands of the authorities. Peter, Paul, and many other early church leaders did as well. I am grateful that in my generation I have not yet had to take that kind of a stand. But it could come. Sometimes you can say the truth and even if you put it in the most perfect terms possible, the deal-maker is not word-smithing—saying it as perfectly as possible; the deal-maker is when you're faithful to stand up and when the Holy Spirit prepares hearts to receive it instead of playing target practice with it. Or with you.
But Saturday I will get to enjoy United Methodists who believe and live out what we say we do on paper—folks who are a lot like us here in Silverdale. I still love my progressive colleagues here. But Saturday will be a time of great comfort for me. And hope.
Sign up as soon as you can. I'm making my famous pinto beans for our taco bar for lunch. (And don't worry because that's all Jennifer is letting me make.) But we will be together and by the miracle of technology will get to listen in and even worship with over two thousand other United Methodists around the world. Walk-ins welcome. It's $50. We have some scholarships available. Do this with me. We just might be getting a glimpse of the future.
by The Confessing Movement | October 24, 2018
The Confessing Movement
The General Conference meeting in February of 2019, will be offered three options submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to help direct the church in the coming years. Other options are coming from petitions presented by individuals or groups with more ideas. The ones that are known to us at the moment will follow.
The three options offered for consideration by the Commission do give insight into possibilities for the church. Briefly summarized (each one will be dealt with more completely in other articles in the newsletter) these are as follows:
1. THE TRADITIONAL MODEL.
Keep the same Discipline statements regarding human sexuality as are in the Discipline currently.However, since bishops, conferences, boards of ministry and churches are presently in open defiance of the Discipline as it now stands, close the loopholes and tighten the accountability sections of the Discipline.
2. THE CONNECTIONAL CONFERENCE PLAN.
Divide into three separate branches of United Methodism and let each branch adopt their own Discipline, select their own bishops, adopt their own criteria for ordination and set its own standards for human sexuality.This option would necessitate several constitutional amendments.
3. THE ONE CHURCH MODEL.
Reverse the church’s historic teaching in regard to human sexuality.Remove all references to homosexuality and to marriage as between a man and a woman.Let individuals, churches, and conferences decide for themselves what standards they wish to follow.Build in assurances that the convictions of traditionalists will be honored.
1. THE TRADITIONAL MODEL.
For many in the church there is dismay as to why we are even having this debate.Is not the Bible clear about the place of the woman and man in God’s creation?Has not the Church always stressed the importance of sexual purity and the importance of the family?The Traditional Plan basically reaffirms what the church has always taught.
What is added would be provisions for a gracious exit for any who feel they can no longer live under the church’s teaching that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and prohibits same sex weddings and ordination of practicing homosexuals.Churches leaving would be able to keep their property.
For those who do not wish to take advantage of gracious exit and for the rest of the church, legislation would be added which would further define the term “practicing homosexual” as a person living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union.Annual conferences and bishops would be required to indicate if they would or would not enforce the Discipline regarding these issues.
Furthermore, bishops could not dismiss a complaint unless there are not grounds and Annual Conferences and congregations could continue in the pension program.
►An additional petition has been submitted as an amendment to the Traditional Plan to guide the implementation of gracious accountability.The petition would offer changes to the Discipline that would allow local churches or annual conferences to form or join self-governing churches if they do not desire to support and uphold the UMC standards for accountability.This petition requires the church to uphold Biblical standards in regard to homosexual practice and marriage.Annual conferences would be required to hold votes to determine if a conference is willing or not willing to uphold the Discipline. Churches or clergy whose consciences are in conflict with the annual conference decision would be encouraged to transfer to another self-governing church.The petition also offers the procedures by which this legislation can be effectively implemented by adding several enforcement procedures.
►Another petition to amend the Traditional Plan was filed that proposes a new Global Episcopacy Committee that would replace the present Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy.The committee would help facilitate transfers of bishops across jurisdictional or central conference lines.It would administer the complaint process of complaints filed against bishops who have not upheld the Discipline. It would also monitor developments in the church that might call for a reorganization of jurisdictional or central conferences.
►A petition has also been filed with the Judicial Council that the Traditional Plan as submitted by the Commission on the Way Forward is unconstitutional.The Judicial Council is expected to rule on this and other petitions at their October 2018 meeting.
WHAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
It is most unfortunate that restrictive accountability measures need to be added to the Discipline. Our present crisis is caused not by unbiblical teaching but by those who took vows that they affirmed the church’s doctrine and behavioral standards and then deliberately and consciously violated those vows.For many of us this was a breach of integrity.Furthermore, persons (including bishops) have indicated they would not uphold the Discipline. So, the crisis.The church is already in schism – separated within the church due to conflicting beliefs.The church cannot function without commonly held values and without trust.So, the choice.Succumb to the rebellion by compromising the church’s historic beliefs on one hand or uphold the church’s historic standards.This action would be impossible without added accountability.
The Traditional Plan was first delineated by the Commission on the Way Forward.It is no secret that a majority of the bishops at the present so oppose the Traditional Plan that originally they rejected the Commission’s recommendation to present the plan even as an option.However, the Judicial Council ruled it is the Commission who is to submit the report, not the Council of Bishops.The Commission chose to submit all three plans.
2. THE CONNECTIONAL CONFERENCE PLAN.
In this plan the five U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences by geography would be replaced by three Connectional Conferences, each covering the whole country, based on traditional or progressive theology.Each Connectional Conference would create its own Book of Discipline carrying Articles of Religion, Confession of Faith, the General Rules and other items agreed upon by United Methodists.Each annual conference would decide with which Connectional Conference it chooses to align.A local church could choose to be in a conference other than the conference with which their annual conference aligns and clergy could identify with a particular conference or make themselves available for more than one conference.A central conference (those outside the U.S.) Can exist as its own Connectional Conference or it can choose to align with a U.S. Connectional Conference.All the Connectional Conferences would continue to support ministries and mission outside the U.S.
Each Connectional Conferences elects and pay for its own bishops.This does not include bishops outside the U.S. who would be supported by all U.S. annual conferences.Wespath, Publishing House, GCFA, Archives & History and parts of GBGM would continue. There would, however, be some re-alignment of other general boards and agencies, possibly operating somewhat independently and contracting on a fee-basis for services.The Judicial Council would consist of two personas elected by each Connectional Conference and would serve as the supreme judicial body for all matters in the several Books of Discipline.
A Standing Committee on Connectional Conferences would be established by the 2020 General Conference to help the Council of Bishops facilitate cooperative ministry between the newly formed Connectional Conferences.Legislation for this would be written by a Transitional Team and Submitted for 2020 General Conference.This team would consist of approximately 30 members, including a project manager and other paid staff or contracted services. This group would be responsible for overseeing and administering the transition process through General Conference 2022.
WHAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
This plan would allow for realignment on the basis of theology and mission. For evangelicals, for example, it would be encouraging to be able to relate to like-minded churches who share common values and beliefs. Progressive churches in the evangelical conference could choose to relate to a Connectional Conference more sympathetic to their beliefs and values.
Most importantly it would offer an opportunity for the general church to restructure its boards and agencies and repurpose the seminaries.At the moment it seems that the boards and agencies and the seminaries act as if the local churches serve them instead of they serving the local church.In this plan churches would have some freedom in determining how boards and agencies can best serve them.Annual conferences might be able to have influence in how seminaries can best train for ministry.Different conferences could focus their ministry on groups they feel called to serve.If the progressive conference wants different ministries for LGBTQ persons they would be able to create those ministries.For those who believe the United Methodist Church is in a rut, this plan offers the possibility for a New Thing.
WHAT MORE CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN
The commission on the Way Forward knew this plan would require at least 8 constitutional amendments and that there could be more depending on the Judicial Council ruling.If it should pass in 2019, it would require an aggregate 2/3 vote of all United Methodists and then can be considered again by the 2020 General Conference.
3. THE ONE CHURCH PLAN
The One Church Plan is a variation on legislation that has been rejected several times at General Conferences often referred to as the local option.This plan, however, goes much further than the legislation that has failed before.The One Church Plan that will be presented to the 2019 General Conference asserts that the UMC is not of one mind on matters of homosexual practice and, therefore, proposes the following
►Removal of all language from the Discipline that restricts pastors and churches from conducting same-sex weddings and annual conferences from ordaining self-avowed practicing homosexual persons.Language is added to affirm that no annual conference, bishop, congregation or pastor is compelled to act contrary to their convictions.
►Creates a moral equivalency between Christian marriage and same sex marriage, thus redefining Christian marriage.
►Ends the threat of church trials over same-sex weddings.
►Maintains the leadership structure of the UMC including the Council of Bishops, General Conferences and annual conferences as one body and one church.
The Plan argues that this would allow the church to stay together.The church would be united by heritage and doctrine and values and by mission.Some believe sexual morality is not an important enough issue that it should keep us from being united.Specifically, the appeal is that we must do anything we can to avoid division.
WHAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN
If adopted this Plan would violate Scripture, 2,000 years of Christian tradition, and all who have sought to uphold Wesleyan standards, doctrine, values, and practices since the beginning of Methodism.It basically places United Methodism outside the Christian tradition and its teaching about marriage that has existed since New Testament days.Some would argue it would make the United Methodist Church an apostate church.
Supporters of the plan argue that churches can continue their ministry and mission without disruption and would not have to vote on anything.This is fantasy thinking.Local churches, clusters, conferences, and various ministries will face issues inevitably relating to homosexual practice and marriage and there will be more, not less disruption in the church.Conflict once associated with General Conference will be brought to the local church.Instead of keeping unity with Plan would further divide the church. Many churches even now speak of leaving the denomination.The Confessing Movement, along with other evangelical renewal groups, urge these churches to stay faithful to the denomination because our stated doctrines and values affirm historic Christian truth.United Methodism is too valuable to abandon.If the Plan is adopted it will be impossible to continue to make that argument.
What is discouraging is that a majority of the bishops along with most of our seminaries and most of our boards and agencies, are out of touch with the rank and file of United Methodism that they believe this Plan would be supported and that it might keep the church united.The Confessing Movement and other renewal movements make the point that evangelical United Methodism, while usually underrepresented in the councils of the church, is the perspective of choice for the majority of United Methodists.
WHAT FURTHER CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
It won’t pass.While it reflects the liberal bias of many bishops, many seminaries, many official institutional boards and agencies, the liberal caucuses, and the wellfunded and politically aggressive LGBTQ advocates, it is too much outside Christian tradition to be adopted.
WHAT FURTHER CAN BE SAID ABOUT THIS PLAN?
A petition being filed will argue before the church’s Judicial Council that several provisions, namely the very provisions that seek to protect the consciences of those who stand for Biblical morality, are unconstitutional.
by John Weston | October 17, 2018
by John Weston
Who of you have not taken Wind of the Spirit Ministries' Motivational Gifts Seminar? It begins Thursday evening, October 25th. Click here for more info and registration. This is a GREAT opportunity that most churches don't have in-house and which people fly, do a hotel, and spend a huge amount to get. You have it right here at home.
Did you ever have a household appliance that broke, and it was way beyond your capability to fix it, so you shell out the bucks, the repair guy comes, and in a short amount of time, he takes off a panel cover, replaces a fuse or a bearing or a circuit board, puts it back together, and you think to yourself, “I have no idea what he just did?” It's moments like that where it's great to have the professionals come in and do their thing. “They're good at it. It's what they do. Get out of the way and let them do their thing!”
But it's not like that in the Kingdom of God.
There's only one Pro whose way we need to get out of, and that's the Holy Spirit. He calls on each of us to step up and do things on his behalf, and when we do, whatever power is needed will be supplied to us. Remember Paul's reminder in Ephesians where he was writing about God's plan to unite Jew and Gentile in one church as a witness to the universe and all powers that occupy it that it all belongs to Jesus:
Ephesians 4:11-13 11 He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
This list includes some of the offices of the church; positions that are key in the body of Christ functioning at its best. But it's easy to ignore verse 12 and focus on verse 11. “Yeah, those church leaders, especially the ordained ones? They know so much. And they have special training! Stay out of their way! Leave it to the pros!” Not so much. My job and all of the leaders' job in this church is to make sure all of us are being trained and equipped to do the practical and spiritual stuff of ministry. Some churches act like a football team that refuses to send anyone out on the field except the quarterback. All of us have a role, and all of us belong on the playing field. Bob & Tracy Martello and the WOSM team are prepared to give exceptionally practical and biblical training to help you figure out what your primary gifting and function is for the body of Christ. WOSM helps pastors like me get my team equipped and into shape so they will function at their best. Do you want to be sharp and effective? WOSM conferences happen right here @ SUMC a couple times every year. I will personally be taking this training as part of my continuing education. Join us!
by John Weston | September 19, 2018
Master Your Money
I read recently that the U. S. stock market is always turbulent in September. Regardless of what is going on in the world, investors always encounter dips and bumps which make big investors crazy. So really you can plan on it being crazy. Isn't that weird? The Bible has two major warnings about money:
Don't let money be your master.
Don't let money be your master.
Proverbs is God's Little Life Instruction Book about practical matters of day-to-day living—how people think and operate and how we can either honor God and work hard and save for the future or live for ourselves and squander the future.
Proverbs 22:7 Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.
Does God want his people to be slaves? No. The basic idea is we need to take care of our finances by staying out of debt. Basic life care. Being in debt is a great way for money to be your master.
But there's another side to it. Jesus adds a very important addendum to this principle:
Luke 16:13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
This includes people in debt whose lives are made miserable by the circumstances surrounding their situation. But the gospels are really focusing on the people on the OTHER side of the equation: financially stable individuals who focus on their stuff. Wealth can become a god.
If we don't take care of our finances we can easily fall into debt, and money will try to master us. That's bad.
And if we get out of debt and save for the future and invest and maybe invest a little more, and keep on investing, and wow, we can make a huge stinking pile of money! Then money will try to master us. And that's also bad.
It's September, and if your month has been like mine, then you know that it's not just the Wall Street players that are experiencing turbulence. If you're in debt, form a plan to knock it out. Visit daveramsey.com, listen to his show, and find some ideas of where to start. And while you're getting out of debt, serve Jesus. And if money is great and more and more of your time is spent thinking about it or the stuff you own that reflects it, keep tithing and ask God for some more personal ways you can give your money AND time to serve Jesus. God wants you to be free from money, and he wants you to be free from money. Do these things, and money won't be your master.
by John Weston | September 12, 2018
Come on the Journey
Mark 10:21b "You lack only one thing," he told him. "Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
The gospels tell us that this promising young man did neither of those two things and missed out on something big. But not everyone missed out. Jesus didn't just ask people to believe in him and then go on their way; he challenged them to linger and even help with his ministry as they literally journeyed throughout their homeland and even outside its borders. For Jesus' core disciples, those men and women got to drink in not just Jesus' opinion about the scriptures or the traditions that Jews held in such high importance: they came away with a worldview and that was strong enough and foundational enough to go on to change that very same world.
The United Methodist Church is in crisis and at the end of February, 2019, we will come to a decision point as a denomination. We at SUMC are not burying our heads in the sand. We are staying the course and going on a journey together. Whatever happens, our local church will continue. This past Sunday we took our first step into understanding what the United Methodist Church says it believes on paper. This fall we will examine core beliefs of Christianity and how they affect our lives including our involvement in current day American culture. What do you believe? What difference does it make? What is church really about? You will remember why you love Jesus or come to know him for the first time personally.
Here's what you can do:
Attend worship each week and take in the teaching.
Be a part of a small group that is going through “A Firm Foundation.” There are two sections open Sunday mornings at 9:15!
Visit the website at least monthly for upcoming sermon scriptures so you can read ahead and start collecting your own thoughts.
Pray for SUMC and for the United Methodist Church.
Support each other. It's easier to bond with other believers when you know what really matters.
This is where the faithful are reminded, where the skeptical are thoughtfully answered, and where guests are offered a place in the church which spans nearly two millennia. It's not about listening to a few sermons or going to one class for a few weeks. It's the process. It's serving Jesus. It's loving people. It's living his word. It's the community of everyday saints doing normal things with supernatural help. Come on the journey.
August 29, 2018
A Firm Foundation
(hope and vision for a new Methodist future)
Our Basic Christian Beliefs
If you have not already joined a group to study A Firm Foundation, you are invited to join any of the groups listed below. Our entire church is encouraged to join one of the groups in order to be best prepared for whatever decision will be made in February at the special General Conference concerning the future of the UMC.
Another benefit of the study is that we will all be encouraged to deepen our faith and clarify what we believe and how to best live out those beliefs. We will also be better equipped to discuss and explain Christianity to those who are not yet committed to Christ.
Books for the study will be supplied by SUMC at no cost to you. You will receive your book at the first class.
See or call Jan Rosas (3600 698-4678) or Fran Donaldson (360 710-9654) for more information or for answers to any questions you might have.
SUNDAY – Grant Bosshart – Class begins at 9:15 – 10:15 on Sept. 16, 2018 in room 104. Grant can be reached at 360 286-5368.
Kathy Cosner – Class begins at 9:15 – 10:15 on Oct. 7, 2018 in room 102(Library). Kathy can be reached at 360 286-7350.
Nitz Arcega – Nitz will be leading class in her home on Sundays. She has not yet set a time or beginning date. Nitz can be reached at 360 271-3595.
MONDAY – Jan Rosas – The Monday night group will start on Sept. 10 with a potluck at 5:30-8:00. Group will meet on the following Monday nights from 6:30-8:30 in the Emma Linn Room at SUMC. This study session will be held from Sept. 10 through Nov. 5, 2018.
TUESDAY – Jan Rosas – The Tuesday women’s group will meet from 10-12 noon in Room 104 at SUMC. The study session will be held from Sept. 11 through Dec. 11, 2018.
WEDNESDAY – Carol Frost – This group is beginning on Sept. 5, 2018 in the evening at Carol’s house from 6:30-8:00. Carol can be reached at 360 692-6080.
THURSDAY – Jan Rosas – The Thursday women’s group will meet from 10-12 noon in Room 104 at SUMC. This study session will be held from Sept. 13 through Dec. 13, 2018.
by John Weston | August 15, 2018
Do you like knowing how to do things? I was doing some maintenance on the parsonage a year ago and needed to use an extension ladder. Before going up, I thought, “The church wouldn't appreciate having an interim pastor for six months while I recover from a bad fall,” so I got on YouTube and spent a few minutes learning how to best handle a ladder from some experts. The gutters are cleaned out and I am in one piece two years in a row now. Don't you love learning from people who are really good at a particular thing? Young people today call skills and tricks that make your life better “life hacks.” A “hack” in the computer world is breaking into someone else's data and using it for your purposes. But a “life hack” is using someone else's wisdom or learning to make your life better. Life hacks are usually concise and don't take much time to pick up.
Tomorrow evening, Wind of the Spirit ministries will be offering more than just a “life hack” or two; they will give basic, easy-to-use training on healing prayer that is geared for all Christians. The Apostle Paul tells the churches of the region around Ephesus what job #1 is for pastors:
Ephesians 4:11-13 11 He [Jesus] is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13 until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.
Church leaders are supposed to train. Christians are supposed to get equipped and then go out into the world and be Christians in it doing Christian stuff around non-Christians. Wind of the Spirit Ministries is headed up by Bob & Tracy Martello who have been a part of Silverdale United for a lot of years. If you haven't taken advantage of a WOSM training event, you're missing out on the best we have to offer. The Martellos and the rest of WOSM have been equipping in a way that does not feel like a theoretical aerospace physics lecture. You get to try out what you're taught as part of the teaching. It's safe, hands on, and full of the Holy Spirit's power. He is the one who makes it all work in the first place.
Sunday mornings is just a starting place. Get equipped to go out and be Jesus for people who are living in darkness and bondage—people who are ready to be set free. Sound totally out of your league? It is. But not with God working in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But this precious treasure-- this light and power that now shine within us-- is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
If you want to try and get in on this week's Healing Seminar Thursday evening, August 16th through Saturday morning, August 18th, please call 360-692-9813 between 9:00 a.m. and noon and ask for WOSM.
by John Weston | August 8, 2018
Billy Graham sought to impact America for Christ. Millions of believers in the U. S. credit him as being an important part of God reaching them and putting them on the right track to salvation. Especially in the early days, there had to have been religious people who frowned on his activities as being undignified: meeting in tents or movie theaters or parks or anywhere people would come and hear the good news of Jesus. Why would a true man of God preach outside of a church building? Probably because it has been done for centuries (it took John Wesley a while to warm up to it), and because Jesus himself favored ministry outside of formal settings. I think Graham wanted settings where people would come who otherwise might not show up in a religious facility. He wanted people to “come as you are.” Graham's favorite hymn to be at the end of his services was “Just As I Am Without One Plea.” He wanted to cut through the layers of religious ritual that can sometimes insulate souls from the living God and help people engage with God personally.
Graham's strategy comes right of Jesus' playbook. Jesus was not nearly as interested in trying to convince deeply entrenched religious stuffed shirts of their need for God's forgiveness as he was making on-ramps to faith for people who thought they didn't matter, didn't measure up, or would never fit in with “the religious crowd.” After reaching out to a well-to-do, but hated chief tax collector, Jesus defends himself succinctly:
Luke 19:9-10 9 Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham. 10 And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."
When Jesus engages with Zacchaeus, it was not in a synagogue. Jesus invites himself over to the man's home, who then throws a party for Jesus and invites his non-religious friends to attend. Many “good Jews” in that day couldn't understand why Jesus would conduct his ministry outside of the box with “those kind of people.” But Jesus' followers have been breaking out and innovating to make those connections for centuries since.
Dr. Graham's legacy continues, and we all have a chance to participate this Sunday night. Rev. Dr. Franklin Graham, one of Billy Graham's sons, will be sharing a message after an evening of worship at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma this Sunday.
Schedule, Sunday Night, August 12
6:00: Leave from SUMC (caravan, church shuttle van)
7:00: Arrive @ Cheney Sadium, set up
7:30: Worship Begins led by Jeremy Camp
The event will be in the parking lot: bring camp chairs, blankets, snacks, and water, and be ready for a great evening of worship and a message of hope for all of us, especially for friends who are far from God.
by John Weston | July 12, 2018
By John Weston
I sound like a frog.
I just got back from three nights at Camp Indianola working with a group of overnight campers and a group of day campers and I love that no matter how much things change in our society, and no matter how many times I've worked with kids in a camp setting, kids are still kids. We sang songs older than me VERY loudly. We played “Eagle's Nest,” which is like “Capture the Flag,” except that each team is trying to steal “egg” basketballs from each other's side of the play field instead of a towel or a sheet: we decided to play adults vs. kids. The kids cleaned our clocks. We went swimming in Puget Sound TWICE in one day. I have so many mosquito bites, people are asking me what went wrong with the tattoos on my legs. I don't have tattoos on my legs. We ran. We yelled. I had kids try to attach themselves to my feet. The first two days of camp I had over 20,000 steps. Why all this effort? Camp plants seeds.
When kids are around Christians who treat them right, it sends powerful messages that go deep inside them. John Mark's family regularly hosted prayer meetings in the Jerusalem Church in the early days (Acts 12). Luke tells us that when God springs Peter from jail that he goes to their house where there happens to be a prayer meeting in progress. I have a suspicion that John Mark's family's home was a regular meeting place for believers even before Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. In Mark's gospel there is a curious note in the scene where Jesus is arrested in the middle of the night at the Garden of Gethsemene:
Mark 14:51-52 51 There was a young man following along behind, clothed only in a linen nightshirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52 they tore off his clothes, but he escaped and ran away naked.
I believe this is Mark's signature: HE was the youth who was out that night, either hanging close to Jesus and the disciples or following them because he was worried. Mark wasn't a major player in those early days, but years later he is one of the first of the next generation to be tapped to accompany Paul and Barnabas on the first official mission trip from the church in Antioch.
One measure of a church's vitality and passion for the Lord is how well they craft spaces in ministry for the next generation. You want to help carry that torch? Contact the office (360-692-9813 or email@example.com) about becoming a part of the nursery team, the kids church team, or working with youth. We screen our leaders for safety, but it's an easy process, and well worth it.
And you probably will not get dunked in Puget Sound and lose your voice.
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