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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


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


Pastor Bill

At the Cross

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

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Our Nation…

signWe just got through celebrating our INDEPENDENCE DAY as a nation.   I really believe our nation is the greatest nation on the planet. Yet, I don’t think were as great as we once were…

Please… don’t throw food at me yet.  I love our nation. It was a nation founded on the very principles of the Bible and yet it seems like we’ve gotten away from those principles and are paying the consequences.

Alexander Tyler (A Scottish History Professor) made the observation in 1787:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the people will always vote for those who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

What’s scary to think about is that if you study the great civilizations of the world, they average about 200 years and they tend to progress through the following sequence:

  1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
  2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
  3. From courage to liberty;
  4. From liberty to abundance;
  5. From abundance to complacency;
  6. From complacency to apathy;
  7. From apathy to dependence;
  8. From dependence back into bondage.

Can you see the United States in any of those sequences and where do you think we are today? Scary, hugh?

Let me give you some hope. You see the same progression in the nation of Israel in the Book of Judges. In fact, you see the phrase, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes, “ over and over and over again; and each time you see it, you see the nation of Israel fall on hard times. Yet, when they called out to the Lord, God restored them.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “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.”

It’s not too late, but it’s time to ACT. It’s time to cry out!



gun_1__1You may have heard on the news about a Southern California man who was put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and allegedly had 100,000 rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel. By Southern California standards, someone owning 100,000 rounds is considered “mentally unstable.”

In Arizona, he’d be called “an avid gun collector.”

In Arkansas, he’d be called “a novice gun collector.”

In Utah, he’d be called “moderately well prepared,” but they’d probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.”

In Kansas, he’d be “A guy down the road you would want to have for a friend.”

In Montana, he’d be called “The neighborhood ‘Go-To’ guy.”

In Alabama, he’d be called “a likely gubernatorial candidate.”

In Georgia, he’d be called “an eligible bachelor.”

In North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina he would be called “a deer hunting buddy.”

And in TEXAS he’d just be “Bubba, who’s a little short on ammo.”

A Season of Prayer…

It has been a season of PRAYER for the church.

A group of us went to pray through the school last Sunday (April 17th), and we took 50+ people by bus to the capitol steps last Tuesday (April 26th) to PRAY for our nation with Franklin Graham and the Decision America Tour.  Next Thursday (May 5th) is the National Day of PRAYER, and we will meet at Medina’s Veterans Memorial to continue to pray for our Nation and the Church.  We also started a new Sunday School class on PRAYER from the movie War Room.

PRAYER seems to be on everyone’s heart.

May 10th through the 20th is the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in which delegates from all over the world will meet in Portland to PRAY and vote on the official polity (law) of the United Methodist Church.   The General Conference meets every four years and it is the ONLY official voice of the United Methodist Church.

There are a number of issues going before the General Conference that we need to be in PRAYER about.

If you remember, we prayerfully completed a survey about some of the issues facing this General Conference, and we wrote the delegates who would be representing us asking them to vote in ways that are consistent with and supportive of the following:

  1. That the current language of the Church’s Book of Discipline be maintained with regards to the subject of human sexuality and the life of the church.
  2. That current ordination qualifications and standards for the office of elder or licensed preacher be maintained.
  3. That the clergy and licensed preachers of the United Methodist Church may not officiate at same-sex unions, and same-sex unions may not be performed in churches of the United Methodist Church.
  4. That the episcopacy and other ordained leaders in the United Methodist Church remain faithful to the vows/oaths of their offices. Specifically, that they support and uphold Church law as codified by the Church’s Book of Discipline.
  5. That the episcopacy and other ordained leaders vigorously prosecute any members of the episcopacy or clergy who violate their vows/oaths and who, in so doing, fail to uphold and abide the laws of the church as codified by the Church’s Book of Discipline.

NOW is the time to pray and fast for our church.  There are rumors of organized disruptions of the whole process.   Pray that God will make Himself known in a powerful way and breathe life into the United Methodist Church once more.

You can go to our Conference Web Page for more information at  There should be a link to watch the General Conference LIVE online.