You Don’t Have to be Home Alone…

A favorite Christmas movie is the kid’s move, “Home Alone.”  It’s a comedy about a little boy named, “Kevin,” who, as part of a big family, is accidentally left behind when his family leaves for a European vacation.  The comedy occurs as this little boy repeatedly messes up the plans of a couple of bumbling burglars by setting up all these wild traps. 

What captured my attention was what happened on Christmas Eve as Kevin is all alone.  He goes to church and meets an older man who is unhappy about family problems.  As the two talk, Kevin admits feeling guilty because right before his family left he told his mom in a fit of anger, “I wish you would just go away!”  and now he was missing her terribly.

The old man then said, “You’re in church now and this is the place to come when you’re feeling bad about yourself.”

He was right, wasn’t he?   The church is the body of Christ and it would have never come into existence if it wasn’t for Christmas.  It’s the place to come when we need comfort; when we need forgiveness; when we need strength; when we need direction; when we need a new start. 

In 1939 a man named Robert May worked in the publicity department for Montgomery Ward stores. He was asked to come up with a new story for Christmas so he mixed two stories… the story of Santa Claus and the story of the Ugly Duckling and came up with a new story called, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

You know why we like the Rudolph story so much, don’t you? Not just because it’s a cute story that was made into a catchy tune. No, we like this story because it’s about rising above defeat. It’s about turning a defeat into a victory.  Rudolph was teased and taunted because of his red nose… but then in the end, he becomes the hero.

Jesus came into the world as a baby.  He came into a world in which people felt down and out without any hope.  But Christ came to give us hope and confidence that with Him nothing is impossible.  He showed us from the manger to the cross that His love is the most POWERFUL and REDEEMING THING IN THE UNIVERSE… and that if we would simply believe and trust Him; nothing can defeat us. 

This Christmas I invite you to come and let us adore the one who is able to give us abundantly beyond anything we can think or imagine (Eph 3:20) and in His presence let us receive the ultimate healing that comes from His grace. 

Merry Christmas,

Bill

The Cast of Christmas: The Prophets

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church on the “Cast of Christmas: Part 1 – The Prophets” taken from Isaiah 7:14, 9:2,6 and Matthew 1:18-23

Community Thanksgiving Service

Bill Stegemueller preaching at First Baptist Church in Medina for a Community Thanksgiving Service. Message text: 2 Kings 5:1-14

“Strengthening the Inner Man”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Strengthening the Inner Man,” taken from Ephesians 3:14-21

DAYENU

As we approach our National Holiday of THANKSGIVING, Psalm 136 has been on my heart:

Psalms 136:1-9, 23-26
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights.
           His faithful love endures forever.
 …the sun to rule the day,
           His faithful love endures forever.
 …and the moon and stars to rule the night.
           His faithful love endures forever.
He remembered us in our weakness.
           His faithful love endures forever.
He saved us from our enemies.
           His faithful love endures forever.
He gives food to every living thing. 
           His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
           His faithful love endures forever.

I love the way the Message paraphrases it, “His Love never quits.”  I think that’s what God wants us to hear this Thanksgiving.  HIS LOVE DOESN’T QUIT!   Isn’t that awesome!

Back in the early 70’s Kris Kristofferson wrote a song titled, “Why Me, Lord?” He wrote the song in response to all the negative people who go through life having a pity party saying, “Why me, Lord?” and he reversed it and put a positive twist to it, “Why me, Lord, What have I done to deserve even one of the good things you’ve done.”  

I believe you can say, “Why me,” in two different ways.  Somebody once said, “Anything short of hell is grace.”   That’s rather strong language and has some rough edges, but I agree with the statement.  The Bible clearly teaches that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and that “the wages of sin is death.”  

My prayer for all of us is for this Thanksgiving to be a time in which all of us can take inventory on HOW GOOD GOD IS!  

The Jews have a word DAYENU (Hebrew:דַּיֵּנוּ) that means, “It would’ve been enough,” that they sing during Passover.  As they remember the FAITHFULNESS of God they sing,

“If God had delivered us out of Egypt, but had not parted the Red Sea.
DAYENU.”
“If God had parted the Red Sea, but had not fed us manna in the wilderness
DAYENU.”
“If God had fed us manna in the wilderness, but had not led us to Sinai
DAYENU.”
“If God had led us to Sinai, but did not give us the Tora
DAYENU.”
“If God have us the Tora, but did not give us the Promise Land
DAYENU.”
“If God gave us the Promise Land, but did not give us the Temple
DAYENU.”

… and I would add, “If God gave us His Son to die for our sins and give us His righteousness… DAYENU (It would’ve been enough!!)

Let us give thanks to the Lord for He is Good.   His LOVE endures FOREVER!

Thankful to be your pastor,

Bill

“The Mystery of the Gospel

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “The Mystery of the Gospel,” taken from Ephesians 3:1-13

“Chief Cornerstone”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Chief Cornerstone” taken from Ephesians 2:11-22

“… But God”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “But God…” taken from Ephesians 2:1-10

Kairos 38 Eastham

October 24-27th was Kairos #38 in Eastham (Just outside of Huntsville Texas). It was a special, eye opening walk. It was a awesome thing to see these men who have been hardened by the prison system begin to open up and respond to God’s GRACE!

Things That Erode Your Faith

Chuck Ballard preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Four Things That Erode Your Faith,” taken from Deuteronomy 1:26-33