Monday, January 16, 2017

We Have Found the Messiah!


                                                                         Prayer
                                                                    John 1:29-42
First Movement:
            A couple years before I answered the call into the ministry, my pastor led us in a study on Evangelism.  There were several books we used: “Everyday Evangelism” by Billie Hanks Jr., “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman, and “How to Win Souls” by (I don’t remember the author.  Seems I did not keep it in my library).  These books laid out a plan where you knocked on the door, asked someone if they were saved, quoted certain scriptures, and led them to pray the prayer of salvation.  As we went through this study, several questions came to mind: “Wouldn’t it be helpful to get to know the person first?”  “Wouldn’t they listen more if they knew and respected you?”  “Is it possible for this to do more damage than good?”  I just didn’t feel like this was the answer!  I just didn’t feel like this was me.  I just didn’t feel like this is what I saw in the Bible, even though these authors quoted scriptures to defend their positions.  There is a time and place for these scriptures, but somehow, pressing a stranger just didn’t seem right!

Second Movement:
            Our scripture today comes from the Gospel of John.  There are four gospels.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they seem to really parallel each other.  A lot of what you find in one you find in the others.  John’s gospel is different.  John seems to march to a different beat.  His gospel has been called the maverick gospel. Robert Kysar wrote a book about John’s gospel called “The Maverick Gospel” because John’s gospel seems to stand alone.  When you look at something in John’s gospel, you do well to look at what is different from the other gospels and ask yourself why John felt the need to record it differently. 
 
Third Movement:
            Last week, we looked at the baptism of Jesus account from Luke.  This followed the birth account that we’ve been reading throughout Christmas.  Before we look at our scripture, notice the birth narratives from John:  John 1:1-5 & 10-14.  It seems to me that John is more into interpreting what has happened than just recording for us what has happened.  It is from John that we learn that this baby was there in the beginning and was with God and was/is God!  It is from John that we learn that it is through this baby that we are given the power to become children of God!  It is from John that we find some of the greatest theology and understanding that Jesus is God, right here in John’s birth narrative!
            Also, there is no baptism of Jesus narrative in John!  John is questioned as to why he is baptizing if he is not the Messiah . . .  He says “ I baptize with water …. the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.”  John doesn’t seem to want us to be confused by the fact that Jesus is even baptized by John, so he does not emphasize that.  Jesus is so much greater than John; the place of John the Baptist is to prepare the way for Jesus, to introduce us to Jesus.  That is his only function in the Gospel of John.  John doesn’t even refer to him as John the Baptist, just John.  In our scripture today, John tells us who Jesus is, and John isn’t mentioned again except in chapter 3 where John again passes the mantle to Jesus. 
            So with John the Baptist’s introduction, what does the writer of John tell us about Jesus in our scripture today? 

First, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  Here is John’s interpretation of what has happened.  Jesus is the Lamb of God.  He will be that eternal sacrifice for our sins that will take away our sins!  Praise God!  There will no longer be a need for the sacrifice of a Lamb for sin; Jesus will be that lamb.  It is from John that we get this theology of the lamb and the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus!

Second, “I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.  And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”  There is not a baptism narrative, but here John seems to allude to it.  He interpretes the Dove as being the Spirit descending on Jesus.  He sees this as God telling who he is!  He says, I didn’t know him, but God pointed him out to me!  It isn’t me, but God!   He is the one I have been called to prepare the way for!  God told me!!

Third, “this is the Son of God.”  Here John also wants us to know that this Jesus is the Son of God!  He is the Son of the creator God!  Again, just like in Luke, John wants us to know that Jesus isn’t an illegitimate child but the Son of God!  He is a God/man!

Then, in the following scriptures (verses 35-42) is the beginning of the gathering of the first disciples.  John, declares, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”  Then the two disciples just followed Jesus!  One of these was Andrew, he goes and tells his brother Simon, “We have found the Messiah!”  He brings Simon to Jesus.  It seems to me that in John’s gospel there is a drawing power to Jesus.   People go tell their friends, and Jesus draws them in.  The testimony is “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” or “We have found the Messiah!” and people come to see!  People are drawn to Jesus!  It is in John 12:32 where John quotes Jesus as saying, “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  This is referring to Christ’s crucifiction, but John wants us to know that Jesus draws people to himself.  All we have to do is lift Him up! 

            I like this!  We don’t have to pound people with the gospel like in the training I referred to in the beginning.  It isn’t about going to strangers that we don’t know, pounding on their door, and pushing them to make a commitment for Christ.  It is about going to people we have relationships with.  It is about going to people who respect what you say and think.  We just need to say, come to one who has made a difference in my life!   Come to one who wants to help you through whatever you are going through!  And they will come!  John Wesley said it this way, “Offer them Christ.” 
             
Forth Movement:
            As we conclude today, we are going to have an anointing of hands.  Our part in this evangelism thing is much like that of John the Baptism.  Our part is to tell them, here is one who can make a difference in your life!  Here is one who can give you a new beginning!  Come and see!  Jesus will do the drawing to Himself!  As we have an anointing of hands, won’t you allow God to use your hands as God’s  hands to do this work of introducing the people you know to Jesus?

Anointing of Hands!

Monday, January 9, 2017

A New Beginning!


1st Sunday after Epiphany
Baptism of the Lord Sunday!
  
                            Prayer
                      Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

1st Movement



When I graduated from High School in 1977, I hadn't even seen a Personal Computer.  In the sixties, we had experienced the Apollo Space flights and we had seen the big room-size computers on T.V., and we were taught that this was going to be a coming thing.  Everything was going to go to computer because it made everything so easy.  I think Personal Computers had been made, but they were so expensive that the common person or a small business couldn't afford to own one.  For the most part, everything was still done by hand, by typewriter, or by filing cabinets.  When I started to college in 1992, one of the first classes they enrolled me in was Computing Essentials.  When I sat down behind my first computer among others who had considerable more exposure to computers than I had, I was somewhat terrified.  I do not know what I thought the computer was going to do to me, but I know my heart was beating very rapidly. I probably thought I was going to mess it up unrepairably some way.  The class went well and I learned to use WordPerfect 5.1 on a Dos IBM PC.  When I say it went well, that does not mean it was always easy.  I can remember having a lot of confusion about whether I was in a program or not!  You would exit from WordPerfect.  You would exit from the print screen.  You would exit from the menu that they had set up on the computer.  The teacher would tell us to exit out to DOS, and I didn't know when I was there. Later, some of the computers, you clicked start to shut it down!  It was all quite confusing to this seventies kid who had never seen a computer. 
I can remember two things that really opened my eyes to what was going on.  First, a parishioner I had at the time gave me a 286 PC that had WordPerfect 5.1 on it.  I got a bunch of shareware from the College library and my brother-in-law showed me how to set up a Menu, with bat files in dos, and install these programs.  As I worked in DOS and did this my eyes were opened.  The other time was when I took a programming language called Turbo Pascal.  I learned that files with the extension .exe were executable files and were going to do something (On a side note, those are the ones you have to watch for that come as an attachment to emails).  These were the programs!  My eyes were opened!  An Ah Hah moment!  These were Epiphanies.  That is what an Epiphany is:  an Ah Hah moment. Last Sunday was Epiphany Sunday, and last Friday was Epiphany. This is Baptism of the Lord Sunday, but we still have an Epiphany!

2nd movement


In our scripture today, we have an Epiphany: an Ah Hah moment.  Jesus had been born the cute little baby in Bethlehem.  He had been raised like any other little boy.  He had helped his dad in the carpenter shop.  He had played in the streets with the other kids.  He had grown up in the shadow of being an illegitimate child; after all, only his parents really knew otherwise, and who would believe their story?  In our scripture today, he comes to John to be baptized.  After his baptism, a dove descends from Heaven and a voice from Heaven declares, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."  Ah Hah!  He isn't an illegitimate child but a son of the creator God:  the God of the universe, the God of the Hebrew people!
We shouldn’t miss the significance of the Dove!  This is to be a new beginning to be associated with the time that the Dove came back to Noah with the Olive twig.  This would be a new beginning!  Jesus as the God-man: the Savior of the world!  God is a God of new beginnings!  God wants to give us a new beginning.  This new year is a new beginning; what will we do with it?
3rd movement
Now we can understand!  As we reaffirm our baptisms together today, remember who Jesus is.  He isn't just the cute baby of Christmas, but he is the Son of God.  He is our Savior.  He is God in the flesh.  He is a God of new beginnings!  He is the one in whom we can place our Hope!  He is the one who can help us change for the better this new year!  As we reaffirm our baptism vows this morning, let God do this for you today.

                       Thanks be to God!

Monday, January 2, 2017

That Day is Here!


                       Christmas Sunday!
                        Isaiah 52:7-10

                            prayer

(1)  Focus statement:

God is sending a messenger (they understood this as being the Messiah; we understand this as being the return of Christ) who will right the wrongs, proclaim that God reigns, and show all peoples that God is God.

(2)  Function Statement:

That the congregation will come to a fuller understanding of the hope that we have in Christ and will leave ready to proclaim the Good News.


1st movement
When I was 15 years old and getting ready to turn 16 and get my drivers license, my dad bought me a 63 or 64 Volkswagen Beatle. That would have been about 1973, so it would have been around 10 years old, but it had seen its better days.  It smoked and it had been hit on the side.  Dad rebuilt the engine in our back yard, and I helped him.  It was mostly my job to clean the parts or do whatever else he told me to do.  When we got that done, had the engine put back in, and had it running, it was my turn to fix it up.  We took the door off of the passenger side and beat out a dent.  We got the door back on and it worked pretty good.  He got a running board for that side, and we put it on.  I took the wheels all off and spray painted them and the hubs with aluminum paint, and I painted the lug nuts (or rather lug bolts) black.  I took the bumpers off and painted the back side of them and the bumper brackets with aluminum paint.  Then I got some decals and pin striping and applied them.  All the time I was doing this, I was driving it around in the yard.  By the way, it had a standard transmission.  One day, it kind of got away from me a little bit and I backed into the swing set and bent the leg on it. Those were the days!  All the time I was doing this, I was anticipating and waiting for the day that I would turn 16 and get my drivers license and drive it down the road.  When that day came, I did it on my birthday, as I recall.
2nd movement


This is kind-of like what we have been doing through Advent:  waiting, anticipating, and practicing for when the day of our Lord arrives.  Well, that day is here!  Our scripture today shows us some of the joy and anticipation that the Hebrew people felt as they waited for the coming of the Messiah.  They expected this Messiah to conquer their enemies and to show that God was God.  They expected to be God's people and to reign with God on earth.  They expected for God to show through doing all of this that God was God!
They were waiting in Persia for the Messiah to make things right. Judah had been taken by Babylon and many of them carted off to Babylon.  They had lost their homeland and identity.  Since then, Babylon had been conquered by Persia and King Cyrus was the King.  When King Cyrus agreed for them to go back to the homeland, they thought he was the Messiah!  They were so excited!  All these things would finally come to pass!  God would finally show that God was God! They had waited for this day with much anticipation!  Much like I waited to drive my  Beatle.  Much like we have waited for Christmas!  Things didn’t all turn out to be as grand as they thought.  Several years pass, and Christ is born!  The New Testament writers understood this, our Isaiah passage, to be a prophecy of Christ!
It was a high calling that Christ claimed as He proclaimed to be the fulfillment of this prophecy.  It would carry with it a lot of hidden expectations and some not so hidden.  They were now under Roman rule.  They would expect him to set up an earthly kingdom and make things right. It would be hard to be all that everyone expected him to be.  For those who knew that this Jesus was a special child, it was a time of great excitement and anticipation!
3rd movement

Today, we realize that Jesus was indeed that Messiah, but we also realize that Jesus conquered the enemies a little different than the people of Israel expected. (John's Revelation; the lamb that looked like it was slain was victorious!)  We realize that He has conquered sin making it possible for us to be a part of the Kingdom today, making a positive impact on the world for people and for God.  We realize that He will finally conquer all sin in eternity, He will finally right all wrongs, He will finally heal all our sicknesses, and He will finally show the world that God truly is God in the end times.  We expect that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord!  That will be a glories day!  We have reason to rejoice.  We are on the winning side!  What began at Bethlehem is changing the world today and will be finally consummated when the Lord comes again!  As we go forth today, let's be a part of changing the world by proclaiming the good news to everyone we come in contact with!  Let’s proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and King!  Amen!

What Would Christmas be Without Christ?

  
                                              Christmas Eve.


Intro:
     A.   What is Christmas to you?  (answers from Congregation)
              Possible answers: Love, gifts, family, Christ.

     B.   All these things point back to one thing: Christ!
          1.   Love because in Christ we see God's Love
              extended to humankind.
          2.   Gifts because Christ was God's gift to us.
          3.   Family because God created families and he sent
              Christ into The world as a part of a family!
     Trans:
Let's look at the Christmas story and then ask ourselves; what would Christmas be without Christ?

                            Prayer
                        St. Luke 2:1-20

I.   What would Christmas be without Christ?

A.   It would be a day without love because Christ showed us how to love!
          1.   No love for family.
          2.   No love for friends.
          3.   Children were possessions; women were
possessions!
          4.   The world didn't understand love as we do before
              God revealed it to us through Christ!
     B.   It would be a day without gifts because gifts are a
          celebration of God's gift to humankind!

     C.   It would be a day without the Christmas tree because
          the Christmas tree points to Christ!

1.   Evergreen represents everlasting life that we have in Christ.
2.   The lights remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.
          3.   The star reminds us of the star that led the                   wisemen.
          4.   The angel reminds us of the angel that proclaimed              the glorious news to the shepherds.

     D.   It would be a day without singing and praise because               there would be nothing to sing and praise about.

E.   It would be a day without Santa Claus because after all Santa Claus is believed to be a good person that gives gifts and that comes right back to the reason we give gifts.

II.  What is Christmas because of Christ?

     A.   It is a time of celebration such as we have in verse
     20.  Don't let the carols loose their meaning!

     B.   It is a time of Love, family, and friends.

     C.   It is a time of exchanging gifts.

D.   It is a time of remembering God's ultimate gift and what Jesus (God's gift) means to us!

     E.   It is a time of singing & praise!

III. After we realize that everything of importance points to
Christ, let's determine to keep Christ in Christmas.  You’ve got a good start; you are here on Christmas eve!
                         
A.   Take time to read the Christmas story: Luke 2:1-20 this Christmas! Maybe take a nativity set and move the characters around while you read.

     B.   In your families Christmas, make it a special time of
          remembrance by teaching the symbolism of Christmas in               your home.  Gather your family around and talk about:
          1.   the meaning of the lights.
          2.   the meaning of the evergreen.
          3.   the reason we exchange gifts.
          4.   the reason we sing carols.

     C.   Don't let the commercialization of the modern day              Christmas rob you and yours of the real meaning of
          Christmas.

D.   For children you could capture the meaning of Christmas by planning a Birthday party for Christ sometime during the Christmas season!

     E.   Do something to keep Christ in your Christmas.

Conclusion:
     A.   One of the best ways for us to keep Christ in our
Christmas is to make sure we have Christ in our hearts.

B.   As we encounter Christ in communion, let Christ in, draw closer.  There is not a better way to start the celebration of Christmas this year!  If you make a first time commitment, let me know so I can help you with your new journey in Christ!


                   Celebration of Communion

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pastor's Report


PASTOR’S REPORT TO THE CHARGE CONFERENCE

For
Marble Hill UMC
Meeting at New McKendree UMC (South Campus) at 2 p.m.
With
South East District Superintendent Rev. Fred Leist

Nov. 15, 2015

By

Mike Hargraves

We are still enjoying being here at Marble Hill UMC! Marble Hill UMC is a good church. Marble Hill has a history of paying their district and Conference apportionments in full, and we are on track to do it again this year. This is in part because Marble Hill is a missional church who sees the importance of paying their apportionments as a way of fulfilling Christ’s commission to go into all the world with the gospel. By paying their apportionments, they take part in the connectional ministry of the church in fulfilling the great commission. This missional identity continues in the way that Marble Hill ministers to the community. They see themselves as existing to serve their community, so at the Marble Hill church, many community things happen throughout the week: PEPP (Positive Education Parenting Program), Relay for Life meetings, Red Cross Blood Drives, County Extension Office meetings, Fire Department training, City Meeting for Missouri Rural Waste Water, Hunter Education Classes, Optimist Club meetings, many community baby and wedding showers, and funeral bereavement dinners for people inside and outside of the church. The Marble Hill church sees all of these things as ways to be in the community and offer Christ!

We continue to work on our “Marble Hill Growth plans for 2013 and forward.” This plan provides us with a vision and a goal to shoot for. Some of the highlights of what we have done this year toward these goals are as follows. We continue to work on our hospitality. We have had several first time visitors continue to come and make Marble Hill their church home. One of our members has recently taken on the hospitality/refreshment table as her personal ministry and is doing some great things with it. Our Nursery and Children’s Church ministries have undergone some changes. A couple ladies have taken on the ministry of the Children’s Church, one takes a month then the other takes a month. They are trying to make it more like a Children’s worship time, and they are trying to bring some continuity to this ministry. The Nursery continues to be served by volunteers. We have had a couple more people Safe Sanctuary certified this year to help with these Children’s ministries! A Care Team has been developed to help care for our shut-ins; several folks are calling or visiting our shut-ins, one of which is a retired pastor who has made Marble Hill his home church. It is good to have these resources in the church. The youth went on a mission trip to Sikeston to box up food at the Sikeston Food Bank this year. A trailer has been donated by one of our members to use for emergency response and some work has been done toward stocking it. Some work has been done toward developing a new directory, but this has been put on hold since our county is in the process of getting new 911 addresses. We have three young people who have started leading our Contemporary Song of Praise at the beginning of the service. This has really helped to enrich our worship and help people to participate in this song of praise, making the worship of our awesome God more passionate. There has even been some work toward looking into building the new addition mentioned in Phase IV of our growth plan, but for now that has been tabled until we can grow some more. The people of Marble Hill are eagerly working toward the mission of the church and God’s Kingdom! They are a good group of people! That growth plan is attached to this report!

Marble Hill has a website that one of our young people helped to set up, www.marblehillumc.com. We have been doing some work to keep it updated and information posted on it about upcoming activities. During this year, someone logged unto it in Utah who used to live in the Marble Hill area. She saw what we were doing with youth in the area and contacted us by an email she found on the site. Since then, she has significantly been supporting our youth ministry on a monthly basis.
Marble Hill’s worship takes place at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Marble Hill has blended worship with elements of contemporary as well as traditional to meet the needs of all people in our geographic area. The people really begin to gather at about 9 a.m. for a time of fellowship around the hospitality table before Sunday School. The laity take an active part in worship: Marble Hill has a choir that leads us in traditional music with excellence. The choir has experienced some growth; we’ve had one lady move back and join the choir who sings and helps out with the organ as needed. Our Tech team includes a couple of very committed youth! Marble Hill is blessed with musical talent and several people share specials during worship; we have even discovered some new talent this past year! Praise God! Laity lead the Children’s time each week; after which, the children are dismissed to the nursery or Children’s Church which is also served by our laity. Marble Hill endeavors to offer passionate worship where people can encounter God and find their place in the Kingdom of God.

As of the writing of this report, the average attendance since this time last year at Marble Hill is 96 which is down from the 104 reported last year, but we have had some severe sickness in the church this year, and when you look at those who are missing with that consideration and add back those affected by that, you realize we have still grown. There are still people here who were not here last year. I believe that average may increase before the end of the year since many of those folks are back with us. The average attendance for 2013 was 85. We have had a total of 2 professions of faith who joined the church since the first of the year! Praise God! Marble Hill is alive and well, and moving forward for Christ, striving to make a positive difference in our community and the world. Marble Hill participated in Serve again this year with around 50 something taking part in doing service for our community in such ways as a mobile food pantry on our church parking lot, soup and food taken to the elderly and less fortunate, visits in the nursing home by our children’s group, highway and community clean up, and other work projects in the community. Marble Hill is a working church who takes seriously the Wesleyan emphasis on doing something because of your faith! Marble Hill is made up of people of just about any age, from many faith traditions. Marble Hill is really a regional church, having people come as far as Jackson, Patton, and the surrounding areas to worship here!

Marble Hill actively supports many local mission projects. Marble Hill actively supports The Amen Center, a local shelter with the mission of providing a place for people who are trying to help themselves get back on their feet. The Amen Center is housed in an old school building near a neighboring town. Besides supporting the Amen Center financially, folks from Marble Hill went to the Amen center to help paint and fix the property up at its beginning. Marble Hill also supports the local food pantry. Marble Hill sent an increase in food boxes, Hygiene kits, Dental kits, and cash donations to the Festival of Sharing this year! Again, Marble Hill has a heart for mission! Marble Hill UMC is one of the main churches people turn to for help in times of need because Marble Hill has a Benevolence fund and is known as a church who cares and who will help! That is not a bad way to be known!

The United Methodist Men at Marble Hill are preparing for their Annual Fish Supper. It is a big deal and many participate to make it happen. It is a time when I get to meet and invite several people to come and be a part of the church. It is a real good opportunity to get the church into the community! We are again planning for our annual Trunk or Treat. Again, it is a great opportunity to invite people to church and for people to receive information about the church in their treat bags! Marble Hill church had an Advent walk-through and for the first time in several years the Easter Passion Play production on the church grounds. Marble Hill uses all of these events as bridge events between the community and the church. For many, this may be their first exposure to the church. It is my job to work the crowd and meet people. This is another example of how the Marble Hill church is in the community and the community is in the church. There are many other ways, some of which I have surely missed, that Marble Hill is in the community, but hopefully, this is enough to convey the idea of just how vital a ministry the Marble Hill church offers in the Southeast district of Missouri.

Besides being in the community, Marble Hill also supports several missions beyond our community. Marble Hill church is in mission in Africa. Marble Hill has a long history of supporting “Heart of Africa.” Marble Hill supports this mission financially but has also sent people personally to be a part of this mission work in Africa. Marble Hill has supported Gideons International, Mozambique flooding, the PET project, Ferguson Church, Haiti Clean Water Project, Operation Christmas Child, and Heifer international this year. Marble Hill regularly sends out mission teams; one of the plans on the above mentioned growth plan is to prepare an emergency response trailer. Keep up the good work Marble Hill Church as you continue to make disciples in the uttermost parts of the world!

Marble Hill offers several faith building opportunities as well. Marble Hill offers Sunday School classes for all ages. We have four adult Sunday School classes and 4 children’s and youth classes. There are small group Bible Studies that take place from time to time. We have a youth group that meets each Wednesday night called “EPIC” to offer a short lesson, food, and fellowship. We also have a younger children’s group that meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday evenings called “JAMS” to offer the same to our children. JAMS has just undergone some changes with new people stepping up to lead this ministry. We have a good group of very creative children and youth leaders! We have a few laity who lead small group Bible Studies from time to time, and I lead Methodist 101 as needed.

My hope in providing this report is that those who read it will get a better sense of the vital ministry of the Marble United Methodist Church in a way that cannot always be detected when looking at stats. This is not a complete report of all the ways Marble has done ministry this year but is meant to celebrate some of the highlights of the year and to give the reader a flavor of the Marble Hill church. Marble Hill is one of a few congregations who are really making a difference in our world today, and I think that is worth celebrating! May God Bless you as we serve together!      

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thank you from your Pastor!



Thank you for your support of all the ministries of Marble Hill UMC. Thank you for your generous support of our monthly missions like Rainbow Network and the Christmas Shoe Boxes above and beyond your tithes and offerings to the church.

Your regular tithes and offerings support the behind the scenes but expected ministries and everyday functions of the church. Your regular tithes and offerings:

  1. Pay the staff to have a church office that you can come to for ministry needs throughout the week, and as a resource for much of what happens in the church.
  2. Provide for a pastor that can minister to you and lead the church in reaching out into the community.
  3. Insure that when you come into the church and flip a switch the lights come on and the ac/heat is there for your comfort as well.
  4. When you turn on a faucet the water flows.
  5. There is ample parking for members and visitors.
  6. The grass is mowed and the place is kept looking nice for visitors as well as regulars.
  7. Pay for the song books you use, the computers we use, the Sunday school literature that you use!
  8. Pay for a janitor to do some of the clean up for us as our building is used for ministry.
  9. Pay for general upkeep up our facility so that it is an attractive place for visitors and from which to do ministry.
  10. Pay for some of the administrative costs, building costs, and misc costs of doing much of the ministry we do in the community to provide a spiritual home for our community (as our mission statement says).

We don't talk about all these rather hidden costs much of the time, but your support makes all this happen every day and every week. Thank you for your support of all the ministries of our church. It is nice, as your pastor, to not have to be standing up here begging for money to do the ministry of the church!


Pastor Mike

Monday, October 5, 2015

From the blogger!


I offer these written outlines as versions of my sermons I do in the church where I serve at Marble Hill UMC.  My hope is that people who miss in attendance might be able to engage in the Lord through reading these.  I also offer them to you who may not ever attend Marble Hill UMC because of distance to the church or other reasons as an extended ministry of the church in the hope that they might touch you with the Love of God as well. I would like to offer a word of explanation. Sometimes the page set up and formatting is off; well, maybe most the time.  That is because, when I copy and past from my word processor programs, the formatting does not always transfer well.  I have found that to be a big job to go through and fix, so I usually do not.   Just read line by line and bear with me;  I think you will get the point.  May God bless you as you follow my blog!

                                                                                                   Pastor Mike

P.S.  You'll also find newsletter articles and other misc. entries I choose to post here from time to time.