Jul 8, 2012
Living in the Second Mile
Series: Life 101
When it comes to worship, is it really all about me? Over the last twenty-fives years or so, there has been a lot of discussion of "me-ism" in the church. Using marketing techniques crafted to appeal to the masses who have bought into consumerism and a "I deserve the best" mentality, a wide swath of the Christian Church has wrung its hands about how to make worship more appealing to the participants. But isn't that upside down? Worship isn't about me. It's about Him. It's about the sacrifice of self and the lifting up of praise to the One who created and loved and redeemed me from sin. In this Sunday's Scripture selection from The Sermon on the Mount, we'll examine the phenomena of "upside-down" worship, when the worshiper demands what is rightfully God's.
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  • Jul 8, 2012Living in the Second Mile
    Jul 8, 2012
    Living in the Second Mile
    Series: Life 101
    When it comes to worship, is it really all about me? Over the last twenty-fives years or so, there has been a lot of discussion of "me-ism" in the church. Using marketing techniques crafted to appeal to the masses who have bought into consumerism and a "I deserve the best" mentality, a wide swath of the Christian Church has wrung its hands about how to make worship more appealing to the participants. But isn't that upside down? Worship isn't about me. It's about Him. It's about the sacrifice of self and the lifting up of praise to the One who created and loved and redeemed me from sin. In this Sunday's Scripture selection from The Sermon on the Mount, we'll examine the phenomena of "upside-down" worship, when the worshiper demands what is rightfully God's.
  • Jul 1, 2012Straight Talk
    Jul 1, 2012
    Straight Talk
    Series: Life 101
    I've returned from our Virginia UMC's Annual Conference in Roanoke with renewed commitment to our church and its mission - "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." While there is always a good deal of hand-wringing about dying churches at such conferences, I am convinced that our mighty God can revive even the most hopeless of situations!         What encouraged me the most was the straight talk we heard from both preachers and laity. One key leader in our conference challenged us to turn away from the "soft idol" of self-salvation, i.e. thinking that we, and not God, are the answer to our problems. A young man from northern Virginia reminded us that we live in an "upside-down kingdom" that doesn't mesh with the cultural values of greed and power - so why, he asked, do we so often apply those cultural values in our churches?       With all this straight talk, I was reminded of Matthew 5:37, where Jesus challenges us to speak with integrity and resolution... "let your yes be yes, and your no be no." It's time for Christians everywhere to make a commitment to straight talk - words of life and healing and faith in the God who is truth. I'll be preaching on this very passage of Scripture this Sunday, July 1st. I hope to see you in worship!                                Grace and peace, Pastor Bob
  • Jun 17, 2012A Father’s Heart
    Jun 17, 2012
    A Father’s Heart
    Series: Life 101
    How do we know God's will for a father's heart? A search of the Scriptures reveals many examples of fathers who possessed hearts of courage and faith and dedication to their God. Noah, Abraham, Joshua and Job are four examples of fathers who exhibited these qualities. For fathers today, following these biblical examples can restore the joy and purpose we all seek. In age of fractured families, wayward children, and fathers lost in the fog of purposelessness, the Bible provides us with models that can save our souls and our families.
  • Jun 10, 2012Life Happens
    Jun 10, 2012
    Life Happens
    Series: UMW Sunday
    Guest speaker Dolly Huffman shares a message of life, love, and service on UMW (United Methodist Women) Sunday at VUMC. Dolly is President of the Harrisonburg District United Methodist Women.
  • Jun 3, 2012Most Likely to Succeed
    Jun 3, 2012
    Most Likely to Succeed
    Series: Life 101
    PDF of Sermon PowerPoint Slides for 6/3/12: "Most Likely to Succeed" It's Graduation Sunday and we'll look at "Senior Superlatives" through the lens of the Bible. Senior superlatives are those titles awarded in high school to "The Most Likely to Succeed," or "The Cutest Couple," or "The Class Clown".... If superlatives were handed out to Bible characters, who would win what? And, most importantly, who would be awarded that most sought-after superlative:  "The Most Likely to Succeed." While the message may have light moments, there will certainly be some serious questions addressed:  What is success? When do I know I've reached that pinnacle of success? Does success really matter?
  • May 27, 2012It’s So Easy to Forget
    May 27, 2012
    It’s So Easy to Forget
    Series: Life 101
    It's so easy to forget. We are a nation and a church that loves celebrations. As a nation we celebrate July Fourth and an endless number of "special" days. As a church we "celebrate" Christmas, Easter and The Day of Pentecost and more. There are some important days we don't associate with "celebration." All-Saints Day in the Church for one. Memorial Day as a nation is another. There's a more serious, even somber, tone to these days. Yet the truth is that without these days of remembering the important sacrifices of martyrs and heroes and everyday people who gave their all to church and nation, there would be no celebrations. This Sunday is both The Day of Pentecost and Memorial Day Sunday. One is a celebration of the "birthday" of the church - the other a remembrance of ultimate sacrifice. Whether traveling for the holiday weekend or worshiping in your home church, I hope you'll take time to both remember and celebrate. I would especially encourage you to attend the 7:00 a.m. memorial service at the VUMC cemetery across from our church building on Rt. 11.
  • May 20, 2012The Anger Trap
    May 20, 2012
    The Anger Trap
    Series: Life 101
    A look at Jesus' teachings on murder, anger, and reconciliation from Matthew 5:21-26.
  • May 13, 2012It’s Not Easy Being Mom
    May 13, 2012
    It’s Not Easy Being Mom
    Series: Life 101
    PowerPoint Slides for "It's Not Easy Being Mom" This Sunday we look at five moms from the Bible - all challenged by circumstances, most struggling to find their way in God's will. Matthew 12:46-50 46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." 48 He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"49 Pointing to his disciples, he said,"Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." John 19:25-27
    25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
  • May 6, 2012Law and Life
    May 6, 2012
    Law and Life
    Series: Life 101
    SERMON TEXT:  MATTHEW 5:17-20
    We live in an age of confusion when it comes to the commandments of God. While the Ten Commandments are held up as the foundation of many nations' legal codes, most of us would have a hard time naming all ten. We tend to fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to God's will, basing our ethics on the situation at hand, and excusing ourselves from the highest demands of the law while holding others to the most rigorous standards.
           This Sunday is a Communion Sunday and we'll meditate on the relationship of love, grace, faith, and law. Rather than proclaiming them at odds and mutually exclusive, Jesus weaves grace and law, forgiveness and holiness together in a way that leads to true righteousness. Come and join us a s we continue on our journey through The Sermon on the Mount and learn the basics of life in the Kingdom.
  • Apr 29, 2012Salt and Light
    Apr 29, 2012
    Salt and Light
    Series: Life 101
    PDF of Sermon for 4-29-2012_Salt and Light
    The greatest threat to authentic discipleship in today's world may be the brick walls of our churches. Rather than shining as lights on a stand (Matthew 5:15), we often take on the nature of secret societies, huddling together in scarcely filled sanctuaries fearing for our future.
           In this week's portion of The Sermon on The Mount, Jesus paints a contrasting portrait of a people whose actions glorify God as they serve as agents of change shining in the darkness - an image strikingly different from the "escapism" of our culture that encourages us to create "safe spaces" away from the injustice and pain of the world; spaces that keep us away from the very people we are called to serve.
             I'm excited about this sermon series and the challenge of this passage of Holy Scripture. May we live out Jesus' vision for his church not only in Verona but as we go out into the world with the Gospel!
           Grace and peace, Pastor Bob