Anointed Beloved Chosen!

God is never satisfied with the status quo. God is always moving forward, creating and re-creating, anointing and empowering God’s beloved. We are God’s beloved, chosen and blessed! However, too often we are pre-occupied with clinging to the old, and unable to embrace the “Newness” God has to offer. Richard Rohr in his book, Eager to Love, quotes Neale Donald Walsch:

“Yearning for a new way will not produce it. Only ending the old way can do that. You cannot hold onto the old, all the while declaring that you want something new. The old will defy the new; the old will deny the new; the old will decry the new. There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it. (page Xiii)

As we strive to make our way in life, God’s grace is abundant, God’s mercy is wide and God’s love is unconditional. As we make the journey with Jesus Christ at the center of life, we make room for the new; remembering the words of Paul: we are a new creation! This is something that God alone does; it’s all about God!

When we allow God to do a new thing in us, we experience the majesty of God. Experiencing the majesty of God, life is transformed, and our joy is made complete. This Sunday we start a new sermon series: “It’s All About God”. Let us move beyond “yearning for a new way”, and make room for a new way through a fresh anointing of God’s spirit, experiencing the fullness of God’s majesty.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Even Presidents Have to Listen to their Mothers

When Laura Bush was First Lady she recalled one overnight visit with her husband in the home of his parents, the former President and Mrs. Bush.

“George woke up at 6:00 am as usual and went downstairs to get a cup of coffee,” Laura shared. “And he sat down on the sofa with his parents and put his feet up. And all of a sudden, Barbara Bush yelled, ‘Put your feet down!’
“George’s dad replied, ‘For goodness’ sake, Barbara, he’s the President of the United States.’
“And Barbara said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t want his feet on my table.'”
The president promptly did as he was told, for as Mrs. Bush observed, “Even Presidents have to listen to their mothers.”
(from John McCaslin, The Washington Times “Inside the Beltway” (11-12-03)

This Sunday Rev. Don Dixon, who served here at Hyde Park Community United Methodist for fifteen years, will preach a sermon based on Matthew 25. His message, “God still speaking,” will invite us to open our minds and hearts to what God is doing in and around us today. God is ever-present in our world and invites us to step into what God is already doing. Invite a friend to join you; and mothers, enjoy your special day!

Pastor Cathy

Strength in God

What happens when the bottom drops out of your life? When you experience a great calamity like the loss of your home through a fire or a flood? Or suffer through an unwanted divorce, or worse, the death of a loved one who meant the world to you? What happens when you must undergo lingering, intense personal illness or pain that just won’t go away? Some lose their faith in God when they go through times like these. Others, however, find hope and the strength to endure, often discovering a deeper meaning to life as a result of their strong, deeply spiritual and moral convictions. These brave souls see the proof that God is alive and is compassionate during those terrible times, as God cares for our needs.
All our power and strength comes from God who carries us through all suffering. As Christians we surrender to the strength that God provides and God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. As you read through these scripture passages about strength, be encouraged in that it is not your strength that is needed, but the strength that God willingly supplies. All our strength comes from God.

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” — Exodus 15:2

“God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.” — 2 Samuel 22:33

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:13

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”– Psalms 46:1

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.” — Ephesians 6:10

At times we must wait patiently and remember, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” –Isaiah 40:31. Lastly, allow the Spirit of God to intercede in prayer on our behalf and God will see us through all our suffering.

Like you, I’ve experienced emotional, physical, and at times, spiritual suffering in my life. But through it all God has responded. God’s strength is greater than my strength. It’s my prayer that God’s strength will be your strength. Because He Lives….We live in his victorious power and resurrection strength that gives us hope both now and forever.

In Christ’s Care,
Dave Weaver

With Glad and Generous Hearts

We read in the second chapter of Acts that the followers of “The Way” (followers of Jesus) met daily in the temple, broke bread together, praised God together, and reached out in concern and service to all people with “glad and generous hearts”! As followers of Jesus Christ in the 21st century, are we able to say the same?

This morning Dr. Brian McClaren, prominent Christian theologian, author, speaker and pastor, will preach at the 9:30 and 11:00 am worship services (Sponsored by The Emerson and Jane Colaw Lectureship Endowment Fund). Dr. McClaren will preach on Acts 2:40-47, sermon titled: “We Make the Road by Walking”.

Because Jesus lives, we live with “glad and generous hearts,” and the alleluias of Easter transform life. As the hymn proclaims; ” Because Jesus lives I can face tomorrow; because he lives all fear is gone! ” Join us this Sunday as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you!

Sharing a Joy . . . I take this opportunity to share with you a joy, in the form of an update. Last year early June, our chiller went down. Over the past ten months the Property Team has performed the due diligence necessary to install a new chiller.

With joy I can report that the work began April 6. The Property Team reports: “Work is progressing well on the Chiller and Electrical Upgrade infrastructure project. The electrical service/infrastructure upgrades are underway . . . Rooftop work for the new air conditioning condenser units is progressing. Components for the new expandable chiller system and piping upgrades are on-site and are being installed by the contractor.” The work should be completed by the fourth week of May. Although the completion date has the potential to take us into the early days of high temperatures and high humidity, I encourage you to join me in praying for patience as the project is completed!

Thank you for your “glad and generous hearts” that have supported this project with your patience, prayers, and your financial gifts. Thank you to the Property Team and their tireless efforts in moving the project forward to completion.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

Bridge over Troubled Water

Visitors to the Grand Canyon all find themselves saying the same thing: “This is really big!” The towering walls of the canyon separated by several miles take our breath away. One of the seven wonders of the world, the canyon is about 227 miles long, 18 miles wide, and is 5,000 miles deep.

Have there been times when you felt separated from God, as if God were standing on one side of the Grand Canyon and miles and miles divided you?

This Sunday’s scripture from Romans 8:31-39 proclaims “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How is that possible? Human beings are capable of doing awful things to one another! Paul explains that nothing in all creation, not life, not death, not things from the past, not things in the present, not principalities (territories) or powers, nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God through our Risen Christ.

Jesus, who is the Christ, God’s Son, came to us to teach us to love God and one another and to set us free from sin and death. He laid down His very body, to reveal the depth of God’s love for us. Jesus’ body closed the gap that we created between us and God and makes a bridge that unites us with our loving God, who longs to be in an intimate relationship with us.

Simon and Garfunkel released a song in January 1970 that is a timeless classic. The refrain gives us a wonderful picture of theology, a glimpse of God’s relationship with humanity:

“Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”

“Because He Lives,” our new sermon series continues this weekend. Celebrate the joy that we experience because of the relationship we have with God through our Risen Christ. No matter how sad or broken you feel, know that God loves you and will never let you go. Come and walk across the bridge to God. God is waiting and eager to welcome you home.
Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real problem; hacked servers of medical providers, insurance companies, and major retail stores have put thousands at risk.  Social Security numbers in the wrong hands will negatively affect our identity, as well as potentially destroy life as we know it.  However, identity theft is not limited to the physical world but extends to our spiritual identities as well.

We are created in God’s image, male and female God created us, and God said we are “very good”.  We are children of God; God is our God and we are God’s people.  However, possessing free will we often find ourselves chasing life’s diversions, consequently experiencing “spiritual” identity theft.

The good news is that God, through Jesus Christ, provides a way back, offers restoration, and restores my true identity, not because of what I have done, but what God does for/in me!  Chuck Swindoll in his book, Wisdom for the Way writes:

God has entrusted to us a great deal. . . .  God is trusting in us to trust in God.  Yet God knows our fears as well, otherwise God wouldn’t assure us so often of God’s purposes and God’s presence.

We feel hurt and alone – God assures us God cares.  We feel angry and resentful – God provides wisdom and strength.  We feel ashamed – God promises to supply all our needs.  Our God is uniquely and ultimately trustworthy! (page 256)

Through the resurrection, Jesus’ victory is our victory.  Because He lives, my identity is redeemed!  Trusting in the “Spirit of our living God” we find God trustworthy.   Today we continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our identity in Him, because He lives. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you!

In Christ,

Pastor Doug

Easter: The Rest of the Story

Paul Harvey became famous for his column, “The Rest of the Story.” Harvey became well-loved for his clever stories which helped us get a new perspective on the news and life. For over 50 years he shared amazing stories with people across our nation.

For some Easter is simply a day when we gather to hunt for chocolate eggs to fill our Easter baskets. For some Easter is a day to go to the mandatory “Easter Family Brunch.” For others it is a day to celebrate a day that changed everything.

Easter is the foundation of Christianity. Dr. Leander Keck puts it well:

“Without Easter, there is no Christian faith.”

Easter is the day when we celebrate a God who defeated sin and death and offers us new life through Jesus Christ. New chapters of life open up to us because of Easter!

“The rest of the story” is about a journey of healing and wholeness, celebrating our victory over sin and death because Christ rose from the dead. We join the chorus through the centuries celebrating the great news: Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

At Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church we invite you to be a part of our faith community, a group of people that are committed to walking together, praying for one another, and supporting each other in Christian love. Here are a few ways that you can deepen your walk with God and get acquainted here:

  • Sign up for a new “Because He Lives” Connect Group. These small groups gather in homes and will use a brand new resource written by some of our Hyde Park Community clergy. Please contact Dave Weaver: dweaver@hpcumc.org or 979-8184.
  • Attend the First Friday Nighters Event: Friday, April 10. You are invited to come for a catered meal ($10) ; Brian Geist will share his journey on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Visit our website to see all that we offer for children, youth, adult, mission, and music ministries: www.hpcumc.org.

You are invited to be a part of the rest of the story of Easter: We would love to have you join us in the adventure!

Joy in our Risen Lord,

Pastor Cathy

Your Kingdom Come

We pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. The reality is that God’s answer to our prayer is dependent upon our willingness to collaborate with God to make it happen. From our children’s ministry to our youth ministry; from our small groups to Sunday School classes; from our shared worship opportunities, and our music ministry, to our prayer and healing ministry, and hospitality ministries; from our outreach opportunities, to our mission partners, and the United Methodist Women, we collaborate with God in extending God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Annually, our Bishop and his Cabinet (the 8 District Superintendents) ask every local church to set “Breakthrough Goals”. The “Breakthrough Goals” provide the framework for developing strategies to achieve the goals set, based on the “Five Fruitful Practices”: Passionate Worship; Radical Hospitality; Intentional Faith Development; Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. At the March 9 meeting of the Servant Leadership Board, the 2015 goals for Hyde Park Community United Methodist were set as follows:

 2014 Actual2015 Goal
Passionate Worship
(Average weekly worship attendance)
593625
Radical Hospitality and New Members (Professional of Faith)2332
Baptisms1725
Intentional Faith Development (Avg. number of Small Groups,
Sunday School classes, and Bible Studies)
4852
Avg. attendees in groups/classes303330
Risk-Taking Mission and Service
(Total number members/attendees engaged in local, national, international mission/outreach, and number of people served.
28,65630,000
Extravagant Generosity
(Avg. weekly giving)
1,619,8331,800,000
Apportionments100%100%

Together we make a difference in God’s kingdom, and partner with God in establishing God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I look forward to our shared journey; it’s a privilege to serve in ministry with you! See you in Church!

In Christ,
Pastor Doug

“Stressed Out? Worried?”

You might be surprised by the results of a recent survey which tracked the top temptations faced by Americans. The people surveyed said they struggled with the following temptations either “often” or “sometimes”:

• Worrying or being anxious—60 percent
• Procrastinating or putting things off—60 percent
• Eating too much—55 percent
• Spending too much time on media—44 percent
• Being lazy—41 percent
• Spending more money than they could afford—35 percent
• Gossiping about others—26 percent
• Being jealous or envious of others—24 percent
• Viewing pornography or sexually explicit material—18 percent
• Abusing alcohol or drugs—11 percent

When asked if they tried to do anything specific to avoid giving in to a temptation, 41 percent said yes and 59 percent said no.
When people were asked why they give in to temptations, the top four reasons were:

• I am not really sure—50 percent
• To escape or get away from “real life”—20 percent
• To feel less pain or loneliness—8 percent
• To satisfy other people’s expectations of me—7 percent

Reported in Todd Hunter, Our Favorite Sins (Thomas Nelson, 2012), pp. 237-245.

Join us Sunday morning as we continue the sermon series: “The Radical Way of Jesus.” This Sunday’s topic is “Peace.” Jesus had a lot to teach us about how to handle worry and manage stress in the Sermon on the Mount.

Please invite a friend to join you or someone that might need some tools to help them achieve lasting peace in their lives.

Peace,
Pastor Cathy Johns

It’s All About Love!

We are told in the Bible that we are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Jesus reminds us that the greatest commandment is to love God with my all, and love those whom God loves (Matthew 22: 37-40). Love is something received and something shared. It’s all about love!

This Sunday we continue the teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 6:44). The kind of love Jesus speaks of comes only from God. In the Tuesday morning study group I lead, we have encountered the term panenthiest from two different authors (Marcus Borg and Richard Rohr). I have come to appreciate the depth of its meaning: “God is in me, I am in God, and God is in all things.” (Eager to Love, Richard Rohr, page 142). This is not to be confused with “Pantheism” (all things are God – I am a god).

As I have been introduced to Panentheism, I embrace what I have come to know about it. Panentheism is at the core of Biblical teaching, as well as the teaching of the first century church. It is the foundation of Jesus’ teaching: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” If indeed God is in me, and I am in God, and God is in all things, then this includes my enemies, those I hate, those I have deemed unworthy and worth-less.

The question is how? How do I love my enemies, those who seek to destroy me? The answer finds it’s power and meaning in the depth of my relationship with God, the love I have for myself, and, therefore, the depth of love I’m able to extend to those whom God loves. The next time you are irritated by, and/or in conflict with another; when revenge and retaliation toward the one who desires to harm you seems the only option; stop and look at the other and remember: he/she is a beloved child of God!

To love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you is no easy task. Nonetheless, it is possible centered in Jesus Christ! I look forward to seeing you in church. Invite a friend, relative, acquaintance or neighbor to join you.

In Christ,
Pastor Doug