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

What’s Happening, February 28, 2019

McKENDREE MINISTRIES!

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES  are regularly at 9am and 11am.  This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday.  We invite everyone to attend!

NEW SACRED SPACE TEAM  Information Session this Sunday at 10 am.  We are looking for artists, poets, people with an eye for design, photographers, people who like to create spaces of beauty, people who pride themselves in yard sale or online finds, and more who would love to use their creativity in worship.  Or even people who don’t have any of those gifts, but just believe worship can (should) be more than just singing and speaking.

We believe in curating worship…which means that Jesus uses all our gifts to create engagement with Him.  We are building a team to create and curate worship experiences and help create experiential worship, meaning praying with all our senses.

Join us Sunday morning at 10am in the fellowship hall to learn more!

BAPTISM  If you are interested in joining the church or in being baptized, please contact Ruth Baggett in the church office at 615-271-2600 or mckendreeinfo@gmail.com.

ENCOUNTER MINISTRY    Our Encounter Ministry is an alternative service for those who feel “church” is not for them.  We meet at 12:30pm at the offices of the United Methodist Publishing House, at 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.  We are meeting on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month.  For more information on our Encounter Ministry, you may contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com.

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES   March 6 is Ash Wednesday.  We will have two services – at 12:00 noon, in our first floor chapel, and at 6:30 pm, in the sanctuary.  Everyone is welcome!

CHANGE FOR RWANDA  McKendree Church is sponsoring a United Methodist Pastor in Rwanda for a year.  Currently the United Methodist pastors in Rwanda do not receive an adequate salary to support their families.  It takes only $34 (U.S. money) a month to support a pastor in Rwanda.  Thank you for your generosity!

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LENTEN STUDY

As we move toward the season of Lent, many Christians around the world prepare their hearts and minds for forty days of contemplation and preparation for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  We remember Jesus being tempted for 40 days in the desert as we reflect on our own spiritual wellness and our interactions with the world around us.

This year through the Lenten season, a group will gather weekly to learn more about our relationship with Judaism as Christians—our shared roots, our tumultuous history, and the possibility of reconciliation and interfaith collaboration.  To support our study, we will use Amy-Jill Levine’s book, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi.  Over the course of our five sessions, we will be hearing a brief history, learning about the Jewish context of Jesus’ parables, scoping out obvious and not-so-obvious anti-Semitism in our world today, and talking about how all of this affects us as Christians.  We will also focus on rituals and practices that come out of this shared history and may enrich our own spiritual lives.  Many of the rituals we practice in the church today, including Baptism and Communion, have their roots in Judaism!  We will learn a new spiritual practice each week, hearing about its origins and having the opportunity to practice together and on our own.

We can enrich our lives as Christians by seeking to build bridges of understanding and reverence with our neighbors of different religions.  Join us at 6pm on Mondays during Lent to begin our immersion into this rich and exciting topic.

We will meet the following dates: March 11, 18, 25 and April 1, 8.  We will gather at 6pm at the United Methodist Publishing House (2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37228).

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McKENDREE GROUP MINISTRIES!

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN  We will be celebrating on Saturday, March 9th at 10am in Fellowship Hall:

  • That women, children and youth have found faith, hope and love through this wonderful organization for 150 years (1869-2019)!
  • That the first Women’s Foreign Missionary  Society in Tennessee was formed by six ladies here at McKendree in 1872!
  • That only five years later over 100 women at McKendree were members!
  • That by 1878 they sent a missionary to China.
  • That the determination and effort to make missions happen has never ceased at McKendree United Methodist Church.
  • That on the National level the ministry of United Methodist Women’s organization has extended to missions throughout the United States and in many countries.

Now that is one way the love and spirit of Jesus Christ is being spread “into all the world.”  And that is why we are excited and have so much for which to be thankful for and to celebrate!  Come celebrate and share our excitement and joy with us on March 9th!  Please RSVP to Shelley Handy, 615-545-3008, if you are planning to attend.

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CHILDREN’S EASTER EGG HUNT, MARCH 31, 11am
ON McKENDREE CAMPUS

Can you fill some eggs with candy?  We have bags of eggs on the table in the sanctuary.  The eggs need to be returned by Sunday, March 17th.  (No later than March 24th!)

IMPORTANT NOTE: NO PEANUTS OR PEANUT BUTTER!
We have some children with severe peanut allergies and want to be sure
the candy is safe for them.  So please, no Snickers, Reese’s, Peanut M&M’s, etc.

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ADULT STUDY GROUP—10am Sunday mornings  We meet in the Community Room (near garage entrance).  We invite everyone to join us as we grow together in Christ!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT   Our Adult Bible study group meets each Wednesday at 6pm in Pastor Stephen’s office.  NOTE: We will not meet on March 6, as we will attend the Ash Wednesday Service.

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WE NEED MEN’S WINTER CLOTHING!

            sweat shirts/pants                flannel shirts                     jeans                         shoes/socks
jackets and coats                 hats and gloves                 blankets

Also we need men’s black dress pants, solid black shirts/t-shirts and white button down shirts (many jobs require these.)

If you have any of these items, please consider donating them to the church clothes closet.  All donations are greatly appreciated!  Items don’t have to be new, but clean and in good condition.

*********************************

CHURCH FAMILY NEWS

PRAYER WALL  Our prayer wall is located on the table at the back of the church.  You may take a tag (in a box on the table), write out your prayer need, and place it on a nail in the wall.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays the Lead Team and Prayer Team pray over all the concerns submitted.  We welcome people from our congregation to submit concerns and to read and pray over the concerns of our church body.  You may also share your concerns with the church staff by phone (615-271-2600) or email (mckendreeinfo@gmail.com).

*********************************

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER  Remember that we as a church are praying the Lord’s Prayer every day at Noon.  Wherever you are at noon, we invite you to join us in prayer.

PASTOR’S SERMON  You may hear Pastor Handy’s latest sermon by going to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/mckendree-united-methodist/id962978531?mt=2

McKENDREE GIVING  Your financial gifts and donations are always appreciated.  Consider adding McKendree UMC to your bill pay account.  Our address is: 523 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219.  Online giving is available at www.McKendreeNashville.com/give/financialgifts/.   You may also text your giving!  Just text the amount you would like to give to 615-375-4049.

Be shalom,
Pastor Stephen

What’s Happening, February 22. 2019

McKENDREE MINISTRIES!

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES  are regularly at 9am and 11am.  Our current sermon series, “The Evidence of Grace!”  is in two parts.  Using the Prodigal Son parable, we will explore how grace is evident in three ways: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace.  These three descriptors of grace are distinctively Wesleyan.  Each one offers a helpful understanding of how God’s grace works in our lives and how grace worked in the lives of both sons of the Father.  We will conclude the series this Sunday.

NEW SACRED SPACE TEAM!– Information Session at 10 am on March 3.  We are looking for artists, poets, people with an eye for design, photographers, people who like to create spaces of beauty, people who pride themselves in yard sale or online finds, and more who would love to use their creativity in worship.  Or even people who don’t have any of those gifts, but just believe worship can (should) be more than just singing and speaking.

We believe in curating worship…which means that Jesus uses all our gifts to create engagement with Him.  We are building a team to create and curate worship experiences and help create experiential worship, meaning praying with all our senses.

Join us Sunday, March 3 between the services in the fellowship hall to learn more!

BAPTISM  If you are interested in joining the church or in being baptized, please contact Ruth Baggett in the church office at 615-271-2600 or mckendreeinfo@gmail.com.

ENCOUNTER MINISTRY    Our Encounter Ministry is an alternative service for those who feel “church” is not for them.  We meet at 12:30pm at the offices of the United Methodist Publishing House, at 2222 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.  We are meeting on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month.  For more information on our Encounter Ministry, you may contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com.

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES   March 6 is Ash Wednesday.  We will have two services – at 12:00 noon, in our first floor chapel, and at 6:30 pm, in the sanctuary.  Everyone is welcome!

CHANGE FOR RWANDA  McKendree Church is sponsoring a United Methodist Pastor in Rwanda for a year.  Currently the United Methodist pastors in Rwanda do not receive an adequate salary to support their families.  It takes only $34 (U.S. money) a month to support a pastor in Rwanda.  Thank you for your generosity!

*********************************

LENTEN STUDY

As we move toward the season of Lent, many Christians around the world prepare their hearts and minds for forty days of contemplation and preparation for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  We remember Jesus being tempted for 40 days in the desert as we reflect on our own spiritual wellness and our interactions with the world around us.

This year through the Lenten season, a group will gather weekly to learn more about our relationship with Judaism as Christians—our shared roots, our tumultuous history, and the possibility of reconciliation and interfaith collaboration.  To support our study, we will use Amy-Jill Levine’s book, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi.  Over the course of our five sessions, we will be hearing a brief history, learning about the Jewish context of Jesus’ parables, scoping out obvious and not-so-obvious anti-Semitism in our world today, and talking about how all of this affects us as Christians.  We will also focus on rituals and practices that come out of this shared history and may enrich our own spiritual lives.  Many of the rituals we practice in the church today, including Baptism and Communion, have their roots in Judaism!  We will learn a new spiritual practice each week, hearing about its origins and having the opportunity to practice together and on our own.

We can enrich our lives as Christians by seeking to build bridges of understanding and reverence with our neighbors of different religions.  Join us at 6pm on Mondays during Lent to begin our immersion into this rich and exciting topic.

We will meet the following dates: March 11, 18, 25 and April 1, 8.  We will gather at 6pm at the United Methodist Publishing House (2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37228).

*********************************

McKENDREE GROUP MINISTRIES!

UNITED METHODIST WOMEN  We will be celebrating on March 9th in Fellowship Hall:

  • That women, children and youth have found faith, hope and love through this wonderful organization for 150 years (1869-2019)!
  • That the first Women’s Foreign Missionary Society in Tennessee was formed by six ladies here at McKendree in 1872!
  • That only five years later over 100 women at McKendree were members!
  • That by 1878 they sent a missionary to China.
  • That the determination and effort to make missions happen has never ceased at McKendree United Methodist Church.
  • That on the National level the ministry of United Methodist Women’s organization has extended to missions throughout the United States and in many countries.

Now that is one way the love and sprit of Jesus Christ is being spread “into all the world.”  And that is why we are excited and have so much for which to be thankful for and to celebrate!  Come celebrate and share our excitement and joy with us on March 9th!

 ADULT STUDY GROUP—10am Sunday mornings  We meet in the Community Room (near garage entrance).  We invite everyone to join us as we grow together in Christ!

WEDNESDAY NIGHT   Our Adult Bible study group meets each Wednesday at 6pm in Pastor Stephen’s office.  We are currently studying the book of Matthew.  On February 27 our reading and study will be on Matthew chapter 17.  We have some great discussions as we go through the Word of God.  We’d love to have you join us!  NOTE: We will not meet on March 6, as we will attend the Ash Wednesday Service.

*********************************

WE NEED MEN’S WINTER CLOTHING!

            sweat shirts/pants             flannel shirts                    jeans                        shoes/socks
jackets and coats                hats and gloves                blankets

Also we need men’s black dress pants and white button down shirts (many jobs require these.)

If you have any of these items, please consider donating them to the church clothes closet.  All donations are greatly appreciated!  Items don’t have to be new, but clean and in good condition.

*********************************

CHURCH FAMILY NEWS

PRAYER WALL  Our prayer wall is located on the table at the back of the church.  You may take a tag (in a box on the table), write out your prayer need, and place it on a nail in the wall.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays the Lead Team and Prayer Team pray over all the concerns submitted.  We welcome people from our congregation to submit concerns and to read and pray over the concerns of our church body.  You may also share your concerns with the church staff by phone (615-271-2600) or email (mckendreeinfo@gmail.com).

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER  Remember that we as a church are praying the Lord’s Prayer every day at Noon.  Wherever you are at noon, we invite you to join us in prayer.

PASTOR’S SERMON  You may hear Pastor Handy’s latest sermon by going to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/mckendree-united-methodist/id962978531?mt=2

McKENDREE GIVING  Your financial gifts and donations are always appreciated.  Consider adding McKendree UMC to your bill pay account.  Our address is: 523 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219.  Online giving is available at www.McKendreeNashville.com/give/financialgifts/.   You may also text your giving!  Just text the amount you would like to give to 615-375-4049.

As always, remember God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

Be Aware of Grace!

Luke 15:1-2; 11-32, Common English Bible

Grace is always before us because God is with us!  This story has profound implications on how we see God and understand God’s grace.  We are introduced to the fact that there are two sons, a younger and older.

Grace responds in spite of our faults!
Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons.  The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’  Then the father divided his estate between them.  Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away.  There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.”   Luke 15:11-13

Grace awakens us to self and sin!
“When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need.  He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything.  When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death!  I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son.  Take me on as one of your hired hands.”   Luke 15:14-19

Grace is a sign of unrestricted compassion!
“So he got up and went to his father.  While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion.  His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him.  Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son.’  But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him!  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet!  Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it.  We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life!  He was lost and is found!’  And they began to celebrate.”   Luke 15:20-24

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Grace keeps inviting us to come home to God!”