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… our Service

The past couple of months I’ve been writing about the commitment we make when we become a part of Medina United Methodist Church.  In addition to acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we ask you to support this church with your Prayers, Presence, Gifts, SERVICE, and Witness.

This month I want to talk about what it means to support the church with your SERVICE.

When I think of SERVICE I think of the story of Albert Schweitzer

(Born 1875 – Died 1965).  Schweitzer was a man with multiple earned doctorates including a PHD in philosophy and PHD in theology.  He was also one of the greatest organist of his day.

One day, Schweitzer was reading a theological paper on God and he suddenly realized that his only experience with God was on a intellectual level.  He didn’t really FEEL like he had a personal relationship with Him.   About the same time, he saw a pamphlet asking for missionaries to go to Africa and God spoke to his heart, “Go…”

You know what Switzer did?  He went back to school to become a Medical Doctor.  His plan was to go to the mission field as a Medical Doctor.   In Africa, he converted a chicken coop into a makeshift hospital.  Switzer went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Albert Schweitzer’s theology was simple:  You cannot know God until you SERVE Him.   For Schweitzer, SERVICE was the issue of the cross.  He believed that the theologians of his day had made Christianity so intellectual that they had lost touch with the simplicity of Christ’s command to LOVE GOD and to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as yourself.

“You Cannot Know God Until You Serve Him”

Medina United Methodist Church’s Mission Statement is:  To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.  One of the best ways we can do that is through our SERVICE.    I feel in many ways that I’m preaching to the choir because so many of you “Get It,” but maybe there’s someone like Schweitzer in his early days.  You are struggling with your faith wondering, “Where is God?”   Try serving Him.  Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “As surely as you have done it to the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me.”

See you in Church.

Bill

 

 

 

“He Leadeth Me” Part 2

Acts 16: 11-15
Sorry folks… the recording of the service didn’t come out and is incomplete, but here is a partial recording.

 

“War on Grace”

TRYING TO LOCATE PODCAST….

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “The War on Grace,” taken from Acts 15:1-29

SONrise Service 2017

Bill Stegemueller preaching the SONrise Service on Resurrection Sunday at Deer Creek Camp taken from 1 Corinthians 15

“The Greatest Miracle”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “The Greatest Miracle,” taken from Acts 9:32-43

Happy New Year!

I don’t know what your thoughts are about celebrating a New Year.  Some look at it as an opportunity to put the old year to rest and to start out NEW!  It seems that everyone at one time or another has made “New Year’s Resolutions,” and there’s nothing wrong with making resolutions.  A resolution is just a GOAL and GOALS are good.

The top 10 New Year’s Resolutions last year were:
1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5  Staying Fit and Healthy
6   Learn Something Exciting
7   Quit Smoking
8  Help Others in Their Dreams
9  Fall in Love
10  Spend More Time with Family

The problem a lot of people have with making such goals is that they are either (1) Too Vague or (2) Not Measurable.   For example, let’s say your goal is to LOSE WEIGHT.  Well, what exactly does that mean?  What does it look like?  What does it feel like?   What does it taste like?   The more VIVID your goal is, the more likely you are to attain it.  You want a goal that inspires you and motivates you.   A goal also ought to be MEASURABLE otherwise how will you know when you attain it.    I gained 10 pounds over the holiday so my goal is to lose 10 pounds by June which ought to be easy.  That’s just 2 pounds a month!

… by the way, did you notice anything missing in those top 10 goals?  There was not even a hint of any spiritual goals.  What are your spiritual goals for the New Year?   Remember they need to be VIVID and MEASURABLE.   Some of you might want to make a commitment to read through the entire Bible in a year.  It takes about 70 hours to read through the Bible at pulpit reading speed.   That’s just 19 minutes a day!   Some of you might want to make a goal to memorize Scripture.   You say, “That’s too hard!” You don’t have to make it hard.  It can be as hard or easy as you want.  How about ONE Scripture a month?  That’s doable and measurable.    How about a goal to set aside a specific amount of time to pray.   Again, it doesn’t have to be hard.  Make it fun.  How about a goal of waking up 10 minutes earlier and giving those 10 minutes completely to God?  Who knows?  Maybe after a month of doing that you might want to up the time to 20 minutes a day?

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

 

 

 

Seeing through Christ’s Eyes

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Seeing through Christ’s Eyes,” in preparation of FAITH IN ACTION taken from Luke 4:14-20

Forgiveness…

From the Heart of Bill

I remember years ago watching on the evening news a man in India who poured gasoline on himself and lit himself on fire.   I remember thinking, “That’s CRAZY… why would anyone want to do that?” and I asked a friend of mine from India what would cause a person to do such a thing.  His answer shocked me.  He said, “For some in my culture if someone has hurt you; the way to get back at them is to hurt yourself even more in their presence,” and he went on to explain that the people who were lighting themselves on fire were mad at the government so to get back at them they lit themselves on fire.”

You say, “That’s CRAZY!” and I would agree, but don’t we do the same thing when we refuse to forgive those who hurt us.   Jim Jones (your Lay Leader) said at breakfast, “Refusing to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Some of you (I suspect) have drunk from the fountain of unforgiveness and it’s starting to take its toll.  A lot of people refuse to forgive because they have some misconceptions about what it means to forgive.   Forgiving is NOT whitewashing or minimizing the seriousness of the offense.  Forgiving is NOT saying, “It’s no big deal!”   It was a big deal.  Forgiving is NOT saying, “It didn’t hurt!”  It did hurt. Forgiving is not saying, “It was a small thing!”  It was a big thing and that’s why you need to forgive it.

This might surprise you.  Forgiving is NOT forgetting.  Some people will say, “Doesn’t the Bible say that when God forgives that He forgets?”  (Isaiah 43:24; Hebrews 8:12)  When the Bible says that God “Remembers our sin no more,” it’s not talking about God suddenly getting amnesia.  What it means is that God does not hold our sin against us anymore.

Forgiving does not allow that person to avoid the consequences of his/her actions.  I can forgive a murderer, but that doesn’t mean that that person shouldn’t have to face the consequences.

Here is what forgiveness is:  Letting Go!   Letting go of what?  Letting go of your right to get even and letting God handle that person and putting that person’s faith in God’s hand.

Forgiving is one of the most personal things a person can do because nobody can force you to forgive another person.  It’s a decision that only YOU can make.   It’s a very personal thing.  It’s also a very freeing thing.  Some of you also know the power of forgiveness.  It’s like a million pounds has been lifted off your back.   Some of you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Forgiveness is one the most freeing things a person can do!

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was YOU.”

 

“You GET TO…”

We have been watching a teaching series by Andy Stanley called, “Brand New,” during the Adult Sunday School Class that has been REALLY eye opening view of the Church.

Stanley argues that we have (unfortunately) patterned the church after the Old Testament Temple Model in which you have DO something to get right with God.  Jesus ushered in a whole new way for us to connect with God.  He’s already DONE it all… we just need to respond.

Christianity spells salvation entirely different than any other belief system.  You look at any other religion in the world and you’ll find that they all spell salvation the same way: DO… something YOU have to D-O.   Christianity spells salvation D-O-N-E… something that has already been DONE for us.  That’s good news!

Romans 5:8 says that, “Christ died FOR US.”  .  In Romans 8:31 Paul writes, “If Christ is FOR US who can be against us.”  In other words, Jesus is FOR YOU.  Think about that for a moment.  The God of the universe is FOR YOU!   You don’t have to lie awake at night wondering how you and God are doing.  If someone has died for you, they are FOR you.

When you come to Christ there is a major paradigm shift in the way you relate to God.  In the Old Testament it was more of, “I have to do THIS,” or, “I have to do THAT.”  Now it’s no longer, “I HAVE to,” it is, “I GET TO.”   You GET TO read your Bible.  You GET TO pray.  You GET TO come to church and fellowship with other believers.  You GET TO give.  You GET TO serve.   Do you see the difference?  It’s no longer I HAVE TO.  That’s Old Testament.  The New Testament is YOU GET TO.

Live your life with that attitude and you will discover a whole new love and joy for Jesus Christ.

**You can watch the whole teaching series at http://brandnewseries.org/

Shalom,

Pastor Bill

At the Cross

My beautiful wife singing, “At the Cross,” by Hillsong.

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