The Table of Thanks and Giving!

November 2017 Sermon Series

Thankfulness is a major theme in the Bible.  From the birth of a baby to the deliverance of a people, God’s people have so much to be thankful for in everyday life.  Giving is another theme is the Bible most modeled when God sent Jesus into the world to redeem and reconcile us. Both thanks and giving are most prominent promises around the table with Jesus and others.

Jesus offers us some lessons when he invites people to the table of thanksgiving. During Jesus’ life he invited a variety of people to sit at tables to listen, broaden their perspective and be healed.  Jesus viewed the table as a place of necessary refuge, conscious reconciliation and blessed assurance. Jesus understood a simple invitation to come and then engage at the table so that lives can be examined, restored, and ultimately transformed into the His image and likeness.

How much time to we spend at the table with Jesus and others? Jesus invites us and others to the table of thanksgiving. Will we, as followers of Jesus, join him in this season of thanksgiving over a meal and eventually to join the movement where of thanks and giving are natural?

Church Anniversary Celebration!

230th Anniversary — October 29, 2017

We celebrated the 230th Anniversary of McKendree Church on Sunday, October 29th and if you missed it – well, you missed a great morning of praise and worship!  Our combined choir and praise team had excellent music and led us in praise.  Erica Johnson allowed us to experience worship in dance, and Rev. Kennard Murray gave us the Word!  We gave God praise as we shared in the baptism of Micheal Travis and gave thanks as he and Robin Horner officially united with McKendree Church.  After the service, we enjoyed a time of fellowship and food as people looked over the items available at the Silent Auction.  We had 24 awesome baskets, plus Bibles and books for sale.  We raised over $1070 for the baskets, which will go toward our apportionments.  Thank you to everyone who came and helped make our day special!

Unity is a God Thing!

Greetings Holy, Healthy and Happy People of God,

As I write this eNote to our faithful and devoted community of radical and contextually conscious followers of Jesus Christ, I am thankful for our congregation’s commitment to unity and collaboration with others.

Earlier this week, several Wesleyan congregations in the Middle Tennessee area gathered as a worship cohort group to explore, exchange ideas, and connect with our Wesleyan roots on the Trevecca Nazarene University campus.  Rick Quinn, one of our staff members, thought it was a good idea for Sam Green and me to meet.  Sam, Professor of Worship/Arts, and I connected well and then posed a question, “What if we considered gathering a few pastors and worship leaders to discuss worship and reunite our Wesleyan branches?”  We planned the event and the gathering happened Tuesday of this week.  Our Wesleyan family reconnected our branches with brothers and sisters from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Nazarene Church and the United Methodist Church through our shared Wesleyan theology of worship.  The family was unified!

Interesting that God would assemble this diverse body as a sign of unity right before the weekend of the White Supremacy protests in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro.  God offered us an alternative view.  David on his pilgrimage with the Israelites writes in Psalm 133:1, “Look at how good and pleasing it is when families live together as one!”

Tomorrow several faith leaders are gathering in Murfreesboro as a sign of solidarity and to stand against racism, bigotry and hatred.  McKendree will be represented because it is out of our baptism covenant that we stand, “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?”  WE DO!

Whether you can gather tomorrow or not, you can pray and resist evil in any forms that they present themselves each and every day.  Thanks for trying another bold and courageous step.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Unity is a God thing!”

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

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

Faithfulness: Our Choices Are the Challenge

Joshua 24:14-24, Common English Bible

Joshua is now quite old; and he has seen a lot in his lifetime.  His early, formative years were spent in service to the great liberator, Moses, and his later years were spent leading God’s people into battle in the Promised Land.  He has seen the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the trip through the desert to the edge of the Promised Land and then the trip back into the desert for 40 years of wilderness wanderings.  He saw God part the Jordan River, crumble the walls of Jericho, and send the enemies into a panic.  He also saw the punishment of Achan after his sin, and then the restoration of the blessing and presence of God.

He has led a full life, he has been strong and courageous as God commanded, he has the scars from a hundred battles, he has known the power and presence of God in his life and in his leadership, and now he recognizes his death is near.

Joshua challenges the people to be faithful!
Then Joshua said to the people, “You can’t serve the Lord, because he is a holy God.  He is a jealous God.  He won’t forgive your rebellion and your sins.  If you leave the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn around and do you harm and finish you off, in spite of having done you good in the past.”   Joshua 24:19-20

Call to commitment of all the people.
“So now, revere the Lord.  Serve him honestly and faithfully.  Put aside the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and serve the Lord.  But if it seems wrong in your opinion to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve.  Choose the gods whom your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live.  But my family and I will serve the Lord.”   Joshua 24:14-15

The people choose to be faithful.
The people said to Joshua, “No!  The Lord is the one we will serve.”  So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”  The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and will obey him.”   Joshua 24:21-22, 24

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Faithfulness is our choice to serve the Lord!”

Promised Land and Promised Life Steps!

Joshua 4:1-9

Historical markers cause us to think about the past.  Remembrance is a tremendous gift of the believer and follower of Jesus Christ.  If you travel any parts of America and many parts of this city, eventually you will see a historical marker that is a sign of something significant that happened in that space.  Mount Rushmore is a prime example of seeing four distinct Presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln) who impacted culture and the future of this country.

Long before Mount Rushmore, the Israelites were about enter into the Canaan’s Promised Land and leave a historical marker of remembrance (stones).  These stones were to be memorials for them and the generations to come.  Joshua was to lead them into a period of remembrance with these stones.  Remembrance of God’s deliverance of 40 years earlier of being in bondage in Egypt.

On the remembrance journey we are awakened to several perspectives that will help us in the midst of encountering God.  These perspectives can actually be unifying.

Moment Perspective!
When the entire nation had finished crossing over the Jordan the LORD said to Joshua, “Pick twelve from the people, one man per tribe.  Command them, ‘Pick up twelve stones from right here in the middle of the Jordan, where the feet of the priests had been firmly planted.  Bring them across with you and put them down in the camp where you are staying tonight.”   Joshua 4:1-3 CEB

Memorial Perspective!
“These stones we will be an enduring memorial for the Israelites.”   Joshua 4:7(b) CEB

Mercy Perspective!
Joshua also set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the feet of the priests had stood while carrying the covenant chest.  They are still there today.   Joshua 4:9 CEB

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“We are Christ Markers!”