Dec 25, 2011
Do You Hear What I Hear?
EXCERPTS FROM THIS SERMON:

Do you hear what I hear?

I wonder what I would have heard had I been there that night in Bethlehem. Would I have heard the choirs of angels singing or simply the sounds of sheep in the fields? Would I have seen the glory of the Lord all around or just a bunch of shepherds staring up at a cold night sky? Wou1d I have discerned the divine presence, or simply the chill of a cold east wind? Would I have perceived the presence of God in a little baby boy, or would the cosmic implications of that evening have passed me by? shepherds and starsI am convinced that had two people been there that night in Bethlehem, standing in the same place, seeing the same scenes, hearing the same sounds,  it is quite possible that they could have walked away with very different conclusions as to what had occurred. I believe this because my life experience tells me it is not only possible but likely. God never presents himself in revelation in a manner in which we are forced to believe in his presence or power. We are always left with options in our interpretations of events, for God has gifted us not only with free will but with free imaginations. Thus, one person can say "It’s a miracle, while another says "It's a coincidence." One person sees only a shooting star, another calls it a sign from heaven. One sees the birth of a child as the routine result of biological forces; another calls the child a miracle and a gift from God. Certainly very few people in Palestine saw and heard and understood what took place that night as the most momentous moment in human history. The choirs of angels singing were drowned out by the haggling and trading going on in the Jerusalem bazaar. On that night or on a night soon after there was a bright star in the sky moving toward Bethlehem, but the only ones apparently to pay any attention to it were pagan astrologers from the East. If anyone did see Mary and Joseph and their newborn child on that most fateful night, they were too preoccupied with their own problems to offer any assistance. You see, what we see and what we hear in life depends not upon the events themselves, but rather on who we are as people. It's not what is out there but what is inside of us that determines our interpretation of life.
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  • Dec 25, 2011Do You Hear What I Hear?
    Dec 25, 2011
    Do You Hear What I Hear?
    EXCERPTS FROM THIS SERMON:

    Do you hear what I hear?

    I wonder what I would have heard had I been there that night in Bethlehem. Would I have heard the choirs of angels singing or simply the sounds of sheep in the fields? Would I have seen the glory of the Lord all around or just a bunch of shepherds staring up at a cold night sky? Wou1d I have discerned the divine presence, or simply the chill of a cold east wind? Would I have perceived the presence of God in a little baby boy, or would the cosmic implications of that evening have passed me by? shepherds and starsI am convinced that had two people been there that night in Bethlehem, standing in the same place, seeing the same scenes, hearing the same sounds,  it is quite possible that they could have walked away with very different conclusions as to what had occurred. I believe this because my life experience tells me it is not only possible but likely. God never presents himself in revelation in a manner in which we are forced to believe in his presence or power. We are always left with options in our interpretations of events, for God has gifted us not only with free will but with free imaginations. Thus, one person can say "It’s a miracle, while another says "It's a coincidence." One person sees only a shooting star, another calls it a sign from heaven. One sees the birth of a child as the routine result of biological forces; another calls the child a miracle and a gift from God. Certainly very few people in Palestine saw and heard and understood what took place that night as the most momentous moment in human history. The choirs of angels singing were drowned out by the haggling and trading going on in the Jerusalem bazaar. On that night or on a night soon after there was a bright star in the sky moving toward Bethlehem, but the only ones apparently to pay any attention to it were pagan astrologers from the East. If anyone did see Mary and Joseph and their newborn child on that most fateful night, they were too preoccupied with their own problems to offer any assistance. You see, what we see and what we hear in life depends not upon the events themselves, but rather on who we are as people. It's not what is out there but what is inside of us that determines our interpretation of life.
  • Dec 18, 2011From Nazareth to Bethlehem
    Dec 18, 2011
    From Nazareth to Bethlehem
    We continue our series with a look at the details of Mary and Joseph's journey from "Nazareth to Bethlehem" and the circumstances that resulted in the birth of the Messiah taking place in a stable!
  • Dec 11, 2011Mary Visits Elizabeth
    Dec 11, 2011
    Mary Visits Elizabeth
    Mary's visit to her kinswoman Elizabeth, as early as ten days after her visit by the angel Gabriel in Nazareth, is filled with joy that shatters the great fear that must have accompanied the news that she, a betrothed but unmarried virgin, would have a child. The elderly Elizabeth, six months present with her first son who would later be known as John the Baptist, is filled with the Holy Spirit and declares Mary and her unborn son "blessed." In the midst of scenes of stress and earnest faith, we learn some valuable lessons about both the Kingdom of God and ourselves.
  • Dec 4, 2011Joseph of Bethlehem
    Dec 4, 2011
    Joseph of Bethlehem
    This Sunday we continued our sermon series entitled "The Journey to Christmas" based on an Advent series created by Pastor Adam Hamiltion of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Each Sunday from now until January 1 we'll share in the journey taken by the primary characters in the Christmas story. On November 27th we began in Nazareth with Mary, the angel Gabriel, and "The Annunciation." This Sunday we continued our series with a look at "Joseph of Bethlehem."
           This Sunday we also experienced the joyful sounds of the Bella Voce Madrigal Choir from Mary Baldwin College directed by Melissa Sumner.
           What is God announcing to us on our journey to Christmas and our journey through life? Are we open to God breaking in on our carefully laid plans and dreams and doing the unexpected?Grace and peace this Advent season.... Pastor Bob
  • Nov 27, 2011Nazareth – The Annunciation
    Nov 27, 2011
    Nazareth – The Annunciation
    This Sunday we begin a new sermon series entitled "The Journey to Christmas" based on an Advent series created by Pastor Adam Hamiltion of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Each Sunday  from now until January 1 we'll share in the journey taken by the primary characters in the Christmas story. On November 27th we begin in Nazareth with Mary, the angel Gabriel, and "The Annunciation." The announcement to Mary of God's grand plan of a Kingdom without end, established through a son she would carry in her womb, could not have been easy for her to comprehend or accept. She was troubled and wondered about its meaning. Still, she submitted to the will of God and his purpose for her life. What is God announcing to us on our journey to Christmas and our journey through life? Are we open to God breaking in on our carefully laid plans and dreams and doing the unexpected?
  • Nov 20, 2011Give Thanks
    Nov 20, 2011
    Give Thanks
  • Nov 13, 2011The Mustard Seed Principle
    Nov 13, 2011
    The Mustard Seed Principle
    This Sunday's Message:  "The Mustard Seed Principle"  Sermon Text:  1 Samuel 4:1-11 and Matthew 17:14-23 Mustard seeds are mentioned twice in the Gospel of Matthew, once in Mark, and twice in Luke. The tiniest of seeds used by the Judean farmers, the mustard seed reminds us of an important Kingdom of God principle:  within the smallest and the least lie the secrets of the Christian life. This Sunday we begin two Sundays of looking at "The Blessings of a Thankful Heart." In regard to giving thanks, The Mustard Seed Principle reminds us that:  1) we must give thanks in all things, including the seemingly insignificant moments of life; and 2) God's greatest blessings come from places we might easily overlook.  
  • Nov 6, 2011What’s In Your Wallet?
    Nov 6, 2011
    What’s In Your Wallet?
    Former Verona UMC Pastor Charlie Reynolds shares the story of the Faithful and Foolish Virgins and asks our congregation on Anniversary Sunday:  "Are you prepared for what's coming?" Old Testament Lesson:  Joshua 24: 1-3a; 14-24 New Testament Lesson:  Matthew 25: 1-13
  • Oct 30, 2011A New Creation
    Oct 30, 2011
    A New Creation
    All of creation resounds with redemption - the cycle of the seasons, death breaking forth into new life, the insignificant contributing to the miracle of God's new creation. Jesus redeems not only the sinner, but all of creation and the promise of Scripture is clear - there will be a new heaven and a new earth and on that day a river will flow forth and the tree of life will grow by it, its leaves healing the nations. Pastor Bob shares how the work of redemption flows forth from the cross through the church, into all of creation.
  • Oct 23, 2011The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands
    Oct 23, 2011
    The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands