Wednesday Night Bible Study — Matthew

We’re studying our way through the Gospel of Matthew!  Our adult Bible study group meets in Pastor Stephen’s office on Wednesday nights, from 6 to 7pm.  We are going through the Scripture itself using various Bible translations, and we are supplementing our study with the book Be Loyal: Following the King of Kings by Warren Wiersbe.  This is an informal group; we have great discussions and we’d love to have you join us!

McKendree Life Groups — Join Us!

At McKendree United Methodist Church you will hear a lot about life groups.  What are they and why do we feel like they are so important?

Simply put, a life group is a small group (ideally 8-10 people) committed to meet together for a season (a minimum of twice a month for a semester) for the primary purpose of walking together as a group on the Christian journey to grow deeper in our faith in Christ and to engage in missional activity as a group.  We believe that life groups are an essential means for making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world simply because life groups are places where people learn how to interpret their entire lives through the lens of the gospel, build a vocabulary for giving voice to their experience of God, and grow in faith in Christ.

We currently have life groups meeting in MetroCenter, North Nashville, 12th South, Lebanon, and Midtown among other locations.  We will soon begin a new life Group in East Nashville!  We hope to launch at least 2-3 new life groups this year.  If you have an interest in knowing more about our Life Groups, joining a Life Group or helping to launch or host one, please contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com.

Exploring the “I AM” Statements of Jesus

Our Spring Sermon Series is called Exploring The “I AM” Sayings of Jesus!  Brother Lawrence writes in this book, The Practice of the Presence of God, “Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God.  The more we know God the more we will desire to know God.”  We are invited to take a “deep dive” into the images Jesus uses to identify himself: bread, light, good shepherd, gate of the sheep, true vine, way of life, resurrection and life.  Responding to the invitation for abundant life is a process.

Jesus will remind us constantly in these sayings that Christianity was never meant to a religion, but rather a series of deep and abiding relationships that inspire and transform us.  We will be offering a series of reflective questions each week for individual and group engagement.  We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday at 9am and 11am!

An Encounter with Glory!

Luke 9:28-36 Common English Bible

Every day we encounter the elements of nature, people, places, conversations, and a plethora of other things in God’s created order.  These things shape us through the process of socialization.

Jesus has invited his inner circle, Peter, John and James, a symbol of the trinity, to the mountain top for another lesson.  As he was praying, the process of transfiguration happens.  God desires an encounter with us every day and even every moment so that we can hear, see and act in alignment with God’s will.  While Jesus is praying another trinity appears wrapped in glory.  An encounter with God’s glory is evident when at least a few things happen.

God’s Glory can only happen when it is shared!
About eight days after Jesus said these things, he took Peter, John, and James, and went up on a mountain to pray.  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes flashed white like lightning.  Two men, Moses and Elijah, were talking with him.  They were clothed with heavenly splendor and spoke about Jesus’ departure, which he would achieve in Jerusalem.  Peter and those with him were almost overcome by sleep, but they managed to stay awake and saw his glory as well as the two men with him.   Luke 9:28-32

Don’t allow diversions to lead!
As the two men were about to leave Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it’s good that we’re here.  We should construct three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—but he didn’t know what he was saying.   Luke 9:33

Learn to listen to God’s voice!
Peter was still speaking when a cloud overshadowed them.  As they entered the cloud, they were overcome with awe.  Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my chosen one.  Listen to him!”  Even as the voice spoke, Jesus was found alone.  They were speechless and at the time told no one what they had seen.   Luke 9:34-36

Hear the W.O.W., Words of Wisdom,
“Jesus calls us back to the mission!”

Christ will never leave or forsake us!

Greetings Holy, Healthy and Happy People of God,

As I write this eNote to our faithful and devoted community of radical and responsible followers of Jesus Christ, I reflect upon last Saturday’s assembly as our United Methodist delegates to the Special General Conference gathered in a full day of prayer.  God’s amazing grace was fully present as everyone in the room prayed together.  During the next three days, both sides, conservatives and progressives, treated each other with condemnation, disdain and hatred.  Emotions were extremely high.  I thought about the words of Paul, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1  Part of our baptismal covenant question, Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?” and we responded, “I do!”

The United Methodist delegates, representing a global church, voted 54% to 46% to maintain its historical stance as recorded in our Book of Discipline, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.  Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”  Although the Special General Conference was designed and invited to discuss human sexuality and to determine the best “Way Forward” from two plans presented, human sexuality was actually never discussed.  Fear crept in and held us captive!  No wonder Jesus told the disciples in the midst of the storm, where uncertainty had set in, to fear not!  Fear is debilitating and can cause us not to see the humanity in each other.  Contrary to belief, this Special General Conference was never about human sexuality, it was about power, money and control.  Sound familiar?  These themes ran rampant in the gospels with Jesus and these themes ultimately got him crucified.

Two plans were developed, proposed, and voted on.  One plan was called The Traditional Plan (which kept the traditional language of homosexuality), which was supported by conservatives.  And the other, The One Church Plan (offered the ability for same-sex marriage if your pastor chose to exercise their conscience) that was supported by progressives.  Because we are a grace grounded people, I expected more grace from both sides.  However, each side treated the other with disdain and hatred.  The LGBTQ community left spiritually and physically wounded, which goes against Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  To anyone who left more broken and to those who said we won, my prayers are for God’s unity in the church.  Law never comes before Love because Love is the Law!

On Saturday evening, I return to Nashville and I cannot wait to see everyone this Sunday in church.  Thanks for your prayers!  I am humbled by the various comments I have received about McKendree while here in St. Louis; from remarks about being a diverse church that reflects the beloved community to meeting with the Chief Operating Officer of The Connectional Table who’s hoping that her team can soon tour the ministry and mission at McKendree.

Please don’t allow this diversion to distract us from the mission and ministry of Jesus and keep you from McKendree.  We are the beloved people of God and we need each other in this moment.  It is easy to walk away.  Satan wins when we walk away from the body of Christ.  But I’m glad that Jesus Christ never walked away from the cross and our salvation!  The church, the body of Christ, is so much greater than any denomination.  Don’t walk away.  Hear these words of good news from Isaiah 61 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.”

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Christ will never leave nor forsake us!”

Remember to pray The Lord’s Prayer every day at 12 Noon!

Be God’s Shalom,
Stephen