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How Is Your Heart?

March 14th Anna and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary.   The next day, our world changed with COVID-19.  We are in week number seventeen in this crisis.   I still have difficulty wrapping my mind around it.  Seventeen weeks! 

As a result, people are more frustrated and angry than at any time I can remember which has spilled over into social unrest.  Just when I think things can’t get any crazier… it does!  I don’t even recognize my country anymore.  So, what should you and I do in light of all this? 

The temptation is to take it all in and allow it to feed our spirit.  I know people like that.  Their TV is on 24/7 watching or listening to the news.  It is not surprising that they are often the people who are experiencing the most stress.

I think of that verse in Psalm 46:10, “Be Still and Know that I am God.”  The Message paraphrases it like this, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”    I like that.  “Take a LONG LOVING LOOK at me, your High God, above politics, above EVERYTHING.”

Whatever we FOCUS on, we bring CLOSER into our lives.   Think about that the next time you think about turning on the NEWS.  Ask yourself, “Am I sure I want to bring this into my life?”   I’m not saying don’t watch the news, but rather limit your exposure. 

One of the few positive things that have come out of this pandemic is that it has given people an opportunity to reevaluate their priorities and realize what is truly important in life.

I’ve discovered in my own spiritual life that it’s hard to stay focused when I’m constantly on the move.  That’s why I like Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Psalm 46, “STEP OUT OF TRAFFIC.”  It is important to maintain a spiritual rhythm.  Yes, there are things to do for the Kingdom of God, but there are also times that we need to slow down, catch our breath, and allow our souls to catch up with our bodies. 

I think of Jesus letter to the Church in Ephesus in which Jesus commends them for DOING the right things, but then He says, “I have this against you, you have LEFT your first love.”  (Revelation 2:1-7)  In other words, it is possible to DO all the right things, but do it with the wrong heart. 

So how is your heart?  Proverbs 23:4 says, “Above all guard your heart for out of it springs the issues of life.”  So how do you guard your heart?

Jesus tells the church in Ephesus to REMEMBER, REPENT, and to DO THE THINGS THEY DID AT FIRST.  That is great advice.

1. REMEMBER.  Take the time (instead of watching the news) to remember what it was like when you first fell in love with Jesus. 

2. REPENT.  If you can think of a time that you were more in love with Jesus, you are in danger of leaving your first love.  Repent.  Admit it and turn away from it.  Ask God to help.  He will.

3. DO THE THINGS YOU DID AT FIRST.   Do the things you did when you first fell in love with the Lord.  Again, ask God to help you with this.  Pray, “Lord, help me to fall deeper in love with you,” and then commit yourself to get up and read the word and pray.  There is a lot to pray about these days. 

Corrie Ten Boom once said, ““If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” 

My prayer for all of us is that we would be intentionally about stepping out of traffic and taking a long loving look at God. 

Blessed to be your Pastor,

Bill

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The Sword of the Spirit

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in Medina TX on THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT in Ephesians 6:17b Come find out what the Sword of the Spirit is and how to use it. CCLI Streaming License 20210596SHOW LESS

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Run to the Darkness…

What a year 2020 has turned out to be…

Two months ago, everything shut down due to the Corona Virus.  It has been a crazy time.  Thank you for your patience as we tried (with God’s help) to navigate through unfamiliar territory.  Thank you also for your prayers and financial support.  You are such a faithful church!

When this virus invaded our lives there were models that predicted an outrageous number of people being infected and dying.  Christians everywhere prayed that God would turn back the Coronavirus.  People humbled themselves and prayed along the lines of  2 Chronicles 7:14

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

The Coronavirus was a wakeup call for a lot of people.  I have observed a genuine move back to God!

Yet, here is what I don’t hear many people talking about:  “What if the reason this virus wasn’t worse than it was projected to be, was a direct result of God’s people humbling themselves and turning to God in PRAYER.”  You can choose to believe the projections were wrong, but I choose to believe God intervened on behalf of His people. 

We are still dealing with the virus, but now there is also CIVIL UNREST in all the major cities of our country.  There is so much hate and darkness.  It is time for the church to rise up and be LIGHT.   

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

One of the purposes of the church is to run to the darkness.  LIGHT always overcomes DARKNESS.  I’m reminded of the chorus in Kathy Troccoli’s song, “Go Light Your World”

Carry your candle, run to the darkness.
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn.
Hold out your candle for all to see it.
Take your candle, and go light your world.
Take your candle, and go light your world.

So, let’s be LIGHT.  And, let’s continue to HUMBLE OURSELVE AND PRAY.  Let’s once again ASK God to move because He wants revival to wash over our Land.  And, let that REVIVAL start with US.

Your Pastor,


Bill

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Helmet of Salvation

Your salvation is something more than something you put on the shelf. God wants you to USE it in Spiritual Warfare. Find out HOW as Bill Stegemueller preaches on Ephesians 6:17 and the HELMET of SALVATION Streaming License: 20210596

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Shield of Faith

CCLI Streaming License 20210596 Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church on the Spiritual Armor. This morning he’s preaching on the SHIELD of FAITH from Ephesians 6:16

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Are You Fighting Barefooted?

CCLI Streaming License 20210596 Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church ) in Medina Texas) on the Armor of God: “Are You Fighting Barefooted” taken from Ephesians 5:15

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The Breastplate of Righteousness

Our CCLI Stream License number is: 20210596 under Medina UMC What do you do when you’ve blown it so bad that you feel that God can’t ever take you back? We answer that question as we look at the Breastplate of Righteousness in Ephesains 6:14b Medina United Methodist Church Medina, TX 78055 https://medinaumc.org

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The Belt of Truth

Our CCLI Stream License number is: 20210596 under Medina United Methodist Church Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “Spiritual Warfare: The Belt of Truth” taken from Ephesians 6:14 https://medinaumc.org

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Walking in LIGHT

Billy Graham was one of my heroes.  (1918-2018)

I remember in 1997 chartering a couple of buses and taking a group from church to the Billy Graham Crusade in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, TX. It was POWERFUL time when God REALLY made Himself know. What was amazing to me is that it was a rather SIMPLE message that Billy Graham preached and yet hundreds of people came forward!


RC Sproul tells a story about Billy Graham playing a celebrity golf tournament in his book, “Holiness of God,” in which Graham was put in a foursome with President Gerald Ford and two other professional golfers. After the round someone came up to one of the professionals and asked, “What was it like playing golf with the President and Billy Graham,” and the Pro said with disgust, “I don’t need Billy Graham stuffing religion down my throat!” and then stormed off a HUFF. Bewildered the man turned to the other pro and said, “What did Billy Graham say?” and the PRO sighed with embarrassment and said, “Funny thing is, Billy Graham didn’t even mention RELIGION.” 

Isn’t that something. Billy Graham didn’t even have to SAY anything.  His mere PRESENCE was LIGHT. Light has an interesting characteristic. It exposes the darkness.

You say, well that was Billy Graham! But if you are in Christ, the same Holy Spirit that was in Billy Graham is also in you!

Jesus says that we are the SALT of the Earth and the LIGHT of the WORLD. (Matthew 5:13-16) We were put on the planet to bring LIGHT to an otherwise DARK world. Jesus said that when you light a candle, you don’t put it under a BUSHEL, but put it out for all to see.

Let your LIGHT SHINE!

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“The NEW Man”

Bill Stegemueller preaching at Medina United Methodist Church in a message entitled, “The NEW Man,” taken from Ephesians 4:25-32.

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