Monthly Archives: November 2013

You Have to Bow…

I love the traditional Christmas narratives that are read over Christmas.   The stories of Mary and Joseph along with the shepherds and wise men have drama and excitement that appeal to all ages.

The story is all about the INCARNATION.  The word incarnation means, “to become flesh,” and that’s what we say happened two thousand years ago:  God became FLESH.  Everything about God suddenly became touchable and seeable and… knowable.   The incarnation is as important as the death and resurrection of Christ because without the incarnation there would be no death and resurrection.

I also love the Christmas story that Paul shared with the Church in Philippi in Philippians 2:5-11…

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

That single passage covers all the bases in terms of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  I love the part that talks about Jesus “who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men.”   THAT IS THE INCARNATION!    Jesus not trying to take advantage of the fact that he was God, laid aside all His glory as God and became man.   WOW!

There is a Huge Cathedral built in the 4th century outside Bethlehem that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus.  There is a very small four foot door at the entrance.  The door is  so small that you have to really stoop down to go in.  It is said that the door was made that small so that invading armies couldn’t rush into the cathedral on horseback and slaughter the early Christians.

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… but I like to think that the door is that small to force you to BOW before the one who humbled himself to take on human flesh.  This Christmas let’s not forget to BOW our heads to the One to whom once day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess as LORD… JESUS.

Merry CHRISTmas.

 

Community Thanksgiving

Pastor Bill Stegemueller preaches at FBC in Medina in our annual JOINT THANKSGIVING SERVICE.

Text:  Psalm 100 – A Psalm of Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church on THANKSGIVING from 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Being Transfomed”

Bill Stegemueller preaching on Romans 12:2 in a message entitled, “Being Transformed,” at Medina United Methodist Church.

 

Growing Old Gracefully

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church on Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 in a message entitled, “Growing Old Gracefully.”

Heart of the Worship

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church’s GATHER AT THE RIVER on Romans 12:1 in a message entitled, “The Heart of Worship.”

Bishop Talbert’s Defiance

I’ve been asked about my thoughts about recent events with Bishop Talbert’s willful disobedience to church law when he blatantly and defiantly performed a same sex marriage against the wishes of the Council of Bishops and in direct violation of the Discipline of the United Methodist Church.   I have urged my congregation to express their disdain for this act to our Bishop (Bishop Dorff) so he can represent the Rio Texas Conference when the Council of Bishop meets this month.  If you write Bishop Dorff I encourage you to write with courtesy and respect avoiding ugly and inflammatory language.  You can use my letter below as a guideline.

Here is a good video put out by Rev. Rob Renfroe from the Good News Movement within the United Methodist Church.   Here is the LINK directly linking to the Good News Page with guidelines to writing to the Bishop.   Bottom line, your voice needs to be heard.

Below you will find a letter I wrote to Bishop Dorff.  I have a lot of respect for Bishop Dorff and I know he will represent us well, but he needs to hear from you!  (Remember write with courtesy and respect!)

October 31, 2013

Bishop Dorff
16400 Huebner Road
San Antonio, TX 78248-1694

Dear Bishop Dorff,

I write to you with a heavy heart over what has happened recently in Alabama with Bishop Talbert performing a same sex marriage in open defiance and rebellion both to our covenant connection and our Book of Discipline

I certainly don’t envy your position as the chief overseer in the Rio Texas Conference.  I know we have people on both sides of the issue of same sex marriage and you have to balance all parties involved with the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

I simply want to offer my prayers and encouragement to you and the Council of Bishops as you handle the repercussions of Bishop Talbert’s rebellion.   My congregation is constantly asking what is being done about this whole situation.  If ever we need decisive leadership it’s NOW.   I encourage you to be one of the decisive voices in the Council that speaks clearly about the need to uphold the Discipline of the United Methodist Church.

There is already talk about a group of clergy who plan in November to follow Bishop Talbert’s example.  If something isn’t done immediately I fear all chaos will break lose and we will have a mass exodus in the United Methodist Church.

I encourage you to ask the Council of Bishops to file formal charges against Bishop Talbert for (1) violating our Discipline in preceding over a same sex marriage and (2) Undermining the ministry of another United Methodist Bishop (Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett).

Most Sincerely,

Rev. William (Bill) Stegemueller
Medina United Methodist Church
bill@medinaumc.org