Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Shout Out

• First Sunday after Christmas
with Isaiah 61:10-62:3 @kerrfunk

• If you’re happy and you know it…
… clap your hands…
… stomp your feet…
… say “Amen”...

If you’re Christian and you know it…
... what do we do?

• Name a tax law that came out in 2014? Name a movie?
Which has more effect on your life?
The church needs to work on its presentation.

Q: Why do people buy Coke? Or McD’s?
A: Branding + word of mouth. BOTH are important.
Regarding Christian witness, Which do YOU have control over?

• Who has Plan2015? Coke? McD’s? IRS? Church?

Our Plan2015 comes from you. And our Plan2015 depends on you

• Our kids. Our community.

• In Luke…why did shepherds respond? Because compelling. Shout Out.

• Hymn Sing We Now of Christmas

Isaiah 61:10-62:3   (Common English Bible)                       12/28/14

10 I surely rejoice in the Lord;
    my heart is joyful because of my God,
    because he has clothed me with clothes of victory,
    wrapped me in a robe of righteousness
    like a bridegroom in a priestly crown,
    and like a bride adorned in jewelry.
11 As the earth puts out its growth,
    and as a garden grows its seeds,
    so the Lord God will grow righteousness and praise before all the nations.

62 For Zion’s sake I won’t keep silent,
    and for Jerusalem’s sake I won’t sit still
    until her righteousness shines out like a light,
    and her salvation blazes like a torch.
Nations will see your righteousness,
    all kings your glory.
You will be called by a new name,
    which the Lord’s own mouth will determine.
You will be a splendid garland in the Lord’s hand,
    a royal turban in the palm of God’s hand.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

God's Grace

• Christmas Eve, the Christ Candle
With Titus 2:11-14  @FirstUMCBville  @kerrfunk

• Complete the phrase: “Please be patient with me…”
(God isn’t finished with me yet).
We are under construction.
The WORLD is under construction.
And construction is messy.

• I have a simple message tonight. Four points.
• Our story starts in sin. There’s construction going on across the street, making all kinds of mud. Everywhere. Actually our mud isn’t so bad, but we can imagine if we didn’t have pavement…
          Our efforts to clean ourselves from sin, to redeem
fall short, like trying to clean up mud with a muddy mop.

• Thankfully, God’s grace is available to all!
God cleans us up through Jesus Christ,
No one is excluded from the offer of salvation,
and the offer of salvation is a gift from God.
23 For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

• The salvation (cleaning us up) includes two things:
one, forgiveness, we are saved from sin
and two, transforms us, empowers us,
enables us, saves us FOR godly (clean) living

• Saved from sin, saved for godly living,
all for the glory of God.
It’s what we’re designed for.
we are made and redeemed for God’s glory and pleasure.
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

• Into our world Jesus comes, to live in our hearts.
And we are nourished and sustained through fellowship with God.
In act of communion

Titus 2:11-14 New International Version (NIV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Blue Christmas worship service

Welcome to Barboursville First United Methodist Church.
Several area pastors decided they wanted to offer the community a “Blue Christmas” worship service, acknowledging that the holidays are not always happy, and that many of us bear the griefs of life, sometimes painfully, sometimes alone.
Some of us have lost loved ones. Some have lost jobs or health.
Some struggle with addictions to substances, behaviors, or beliefs. Again.
Tonight we want to offer a time to name those griefs,
and to symbolically give them to the Lord.

After all, Jesus came into our world so that we might have life, to the full.
So that he might bear our griefs.
So that we might know hope and redemption and peace.

We just experienced the shortest day and the longest night of the year.
We know what it feels like to be in darkness.
Others have called it “the dark night of the soul,”
or “the winter of our discontent.”
This time of year can bring back memories of past pain and sorrow.
It highlights and heightens new experiences of suffering.
For many this time of year, that we call the holiday season,
is no holiday at all.
It is filled with difficult times, humps to get over, gatherings to endure, varieties of pressures and a flood of memories
that darken and dampen the days.
This service will allow for some time to recognize that
this season is not a joy for everyone.
When others are going “merrily along” many of us would rather
the season just go away.

In this service, we will be given a chance to sing and to pray.
We will be invited to offer up the pain, the loneliness,
the sad and dark memories,
and the anxiety and fear to the one whose birth we eagerly await…
...Jesus Christ.
We pray that you will find hope and peace in this service
and comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

Upon entering, you will receive a star. We invite you to write something of your grief on the star – a name, a date, a circumstance, even just a word – and hold it during the service. There will be a time to come forward and hang your star on the tree, and we pray it will be a time of blessing for you.

If you would like to receive anointing with oil after the service, please speak to one of the pastors. And we hope you’ll return to one of our communities for a Christmas Eve service. If you’re looking for a worship community to call home, we’d be happy to help.

Pastor Carl Ames, Christ the King Lutheran Church
Pastor Kerry Bart, First UMC Barboursville
Pastor Julia Bolling, Dillon Chapel UMC
Pastor Patrick Ryan, Kuhn Memorial Presbyterian Church

Call to Worship
Today we come looking for the Christ Child.
We come, bringing our hurts, our worries, our fears.
We come seeking relief from pain. With the psalmist of old we say,
“O Lord, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.
Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low.”

A Word from the Scriptures: Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a land of deep shadow a light has shone. For the yoke that was weighing upon them, and the burden upon their shoulders, thou hast broken in pieces O God, our Renewer.

Opening Prayer
God of Mercy, hear our prayer in this Advent Season for ourselves and our families who live with the painful memories of loss. We ask for strength for today, courage for tomorrow and peace for the past. We ask these things in the name of your Christ who shares our life in joy and sorrow, death and new birth, despair and promise. Amen.

Opening Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus     196

A Responsive Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 121     p.844

An Advent Liturgy of Remembering
This first candle we light to remember those whom we have loved and lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice, the memory that binds them to us in this season.
May God’s eternal love surround them.
This second candle we light is to redeem the pain of loss: the loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health or wellness. We pause to gather up the pain of the past and offer it to God, asking that from God’s hands we receive the gift of peace.
Refresh, restore, and renew us, O God, and lead us into your future.
This third candle we light is to remember ourselves this month: The disbelief, the anger, the down times, the poignancy of reminiscing, the hugs and handshakes of family and friends, all those who have stood with us. We give thanks for all the support we have known.
Let us remember that dawn defeats darkness.
This fourth candle is lit to remember our faith and the gift of hope which the Christmas story offers to us. We remember that God gives us life and promises a place and time of no more pain and suffering.
Let us remember the one who shows the way, who brings the truth and who bears the light.

Hymn: There is a Balm in Gilead   375

Prayers of the People
In the spirit of this season let us now confidently ask God for all the things we need;
For ourselves as we participate in whatever way we can this Christmas.
God, hear our prayer,
And in your mercy, answer.
For our families and friends,
that they may continue to help and support us,
God, hear our prayer,
And in your mercy, answer.
For the person we have loved that has died.
For all the losses that we know,
That all may be redeemed by your Easter promises.
God, hear our prayer,
And in your mercy, answer.
For all our family and friends,
that they may know Hope and Peace and Joy and Love in you,
God, hear our prayer,
And in your mercy, answer.
For the peace proclaimed by the Christmas angels,
to come throughout the whole world.
God, hear our prayer,
And in your mercy, answer.
God of great compassion and love,
Listen to the prayers of these your people.
Grant to all, especially the bereaved and troubled ones this Christmas,
the blessings we ask in the name of Christ who taught us to pray together, saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

A Reading from the Gospel: John 1:1-14
God’s light comes into the world, unquenchable by darkness

A Word from Ann Weems (from her book Kneeling in Bethlehem)
Into this silent night
As we make our weary journey
We know not where;
Just when the night becomes its darkest
And we cannot see our path;
Just then is when the angels rush in,
Their hands full of stars.

Worshipers are invited to bring their griefs forward,
hang them on the tree,
light a candle, and receive a new hope.
Musical offering: Heal Us, Hands of Jesus (Hymn 262)

A Word from Ann Weems (from her book Kneeling in Bethlehem)
The Christmas Spirit is that hope
Which tenaciously clings to the hearts of the faithful
And announces
In the face of any Herod the world can produce
And all the inn doors slammed in our faces
And all the dark nights of our souls
That with God all things still are possible
That even now
Unto us a Child is born!

Closing Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel    211

Benediction: An Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields;
And until we meet again,

May you be held in the warmth of God’s hand. Amen.

This service was crafted by CA, KB, and JB, utilizing several resources we found online. Feel free to use it and adapt it as you see fit.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

God Be With You

• Fourth Sunday of Advent, the Candle of LOVEon 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16  and  selections from Luke 1, the Annunciation and the Magnificat.  @FirstUMCBville  @kerrfunk

• Child checkup at pediatrician. The doctor peers into ears and throat, asking if Mickey Mouse or Elmo may be in there. (no). Doctor listens to heart, wondering if Barney is in there.
“Barney is on my socks, Jesus is in my heart.”
• Where DOES Jesus live?
• David to Nathan: I should build God a house.
Nathan: God Be With You.
(Nathan seeks God… God speaks to Nathan:
Tell David I got this. I will make my house among his line.)
• David was a man of God, chosen, a man after God’s heart;
David had good intentions and even consulted advisor,
but it turns out David was wrong about what God wanted
and how best to serve God.
• Where does God live? What is “church”?
House of God? A building? 
It’s people. It’s the word of God alive.
It’s people seeking God’s direction and acting.
And it’s the gift of God.
(good news! What resources do you need to BE house of God?)
• Would you rather a new building (&funds)
or an additional generation of God-loving disciples?
To which do we direct our efforts?
• Therefore open your hearts.
Accept and nurture the word of God, living in your heart.
As Mary did: angel said Long ago I promised David I’d bless the world through him, and I’m fulfilling that promise to the world in you right now. And Mary praised.

• Open. Accept. Nurture. And don’t forget to consult advisors.
Thanks be to God for the gift God gives, and that he lives in us.

• Hymn 130 God Will Take Care of You

2 Samuel 7:1-11      Common English Bible (CEB)

When the king was settled in his palace, and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look! I’m living in a cedar palace, but God’s chest is housed in a tent!”
Nathan said to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you.”
But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in. In fact, I haven’t lived in a temple from the day I brought Israel out of Egypt until now. Instead, I have been traveling around in a tent and in a dwelling. Throughout my traveling around with the Israelites, did I ever ask any of Israel’s tribal leaders I appointed to shepherd my people: Why haven’t you built me a cedar temple?
So then, say this to my servant David: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be leader over my people Israel. I’ve been with you wherever you’ve gone, and I’ve eliminated all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great—like the name of the greatest people on earth. 10 I’m going to provide a place for my people Israel, and plant them so that they may live there and no longer be disturbed. Cruel people will no longer trouble them, as they had been earlier, 11 when I appointed leaders over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.
And the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make a dynasty for you.
16 Your dynasty and your kingdom will be secured forever before me. Your throne will be established forever.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Third Sunday of Advent: Christmas Cantata

For the Third Sunday of Advent our church combined with Barboursville Baptist Church to present the cantata "The First Noel" by Mauldin and Smith.

Most of the presentation can be viewed here

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What do we want for Christmas?

• Second Sunday of Advent, the Candle of PEACE
on Mark 1:1-8 and Isaiah 40:1-11 and 2 Peter 3:8-15.
Communion Sunday  @FirstUMCBville  @kerrfunk

What do people want for Christmas?
(Spike Jones 1947, two front teeth)
(Gayla Peevey 1953, Hippopotamus)
Little more technological today... phone, video game, music.

Perhaps the economically challenged want
to provide food and clothing, or shelter if they lack.

Those who are ill or have ill loved ones...
They want wellness, quality time...

Amy Grant, Grown-Up Christmas List
(words by Linda Thompson-Jenner)
No more lives torn apart,
that wars would never start,
and time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend,
and right would always win,
and love would never end...
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

Protesters want sense of justice, end to systemic racism, oppression, a la MLKjr's I Have A Dream speech (not be judged by the color of the skin but by the content of their character) (1963)

Gospel of Mark begins with a voice calling out,
and people responding.
Why did they respond? They wanted something,
something that John the Baptist was offering.
They ventured into the wilderness because of
the hope for forgiveness of sins.
Repentance. Baptism.
John was preparing for God to act in the world.

Our Isaiah reading: people get ready, the dawn is coming,
the long suffering is over.
Our 2 Peter reading: aaaand we're still waiting,
but the wait will be worth it.
Be blameless and patient.

What do we want for Christmas?
Community. Family. (gospel: you're in the family!)
Sense of SECURITY.
No fear of destruction / oppression /
injustice / hunger (Isaiah: it's coming!)
PEACE. In our cities, nation, world, homes, hearts.
(Isaiah: It's coming!)
Meanwhile Paul, Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things)
verses 11-12: I have learned how to be content in any circumstance. I know the experience of being in need and of having more than enough; I have learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor. I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength.
(& Paul goes on to encourage generous living)

Christ came into our darkness, and brings belonging and security and peace,
and sustains us if we'll have it...

Hymn In the Breaking of the Bread / into Communion

Mark 1:1-8 Common English Bible (CEB)

1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah:
Look, I am sending my messenger before you.He will prepare your way,
a voice shouting in the wilderness:
Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.”

John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Monday, December 1, 2014

Looking for Christ? Preach in the Dark!

• 1st Sunday of Advent (year B)
on Mark 13:24-37 and Isaiah 64:1-9  @FirstUMCBville  @kerrfunk

Think of a child. Does it bring a smile?
Think of the same child in distress. What now?
In Isaiah 64 prophet asks God as Father to look on his children, who are in distress.
Also in Psalm 80, look upon the people you've planted, for glory. Now in distress.
Ferguson. Death of Michael Brown. Life of Darren Wilson. Violence and protests and cries of racism. Property destroyed. Pain, oppression, voicelessness. Country deeply divided, and little hope. Dark and hurting, and that's not even mentioning personal griefs. (deaths and addictions, joblessness, depression)
World is desperate for God.
If only you would tear open the heavens and come down.
We are hoping for Christ.
Waiting for his arrival (his birth) as well as his return.

Jesus seems to be concerned about something else. He told the disciples the Temple was going to fall... don't put your faith in it. And really, don't worry about details of the end of times. God has not revealed that, and if you're spending your efforts trying to figure it out, you're squandering efforts that I'd rather you be using elsewhere. The best thing for you to do in all circumstances is the task I have set for you: preach the good news. Are you looking for Christ? Preach in the dark.
Remember your calling, your mission. Repent and believe the good news. Be agents of healing and reconciliation. Teach people about Christ, teach people about forgiveness. Listen to the brokenhearted the angry the grieved the frightened, give them bread give them hope, tell them though there be darkness there is a light that the darkness cannot overcome.

Remember your calling, your mission – to share the love of God with people in a hurting world. Know that love and carry it with you so that when your life interesects with another's you give them love. When you hear or see (or make!) the cry of woe, when the hurting world is looking for Christ, come alive! Remind them that God chose to make the world and then enter into it out of love and to offer light and salvation not because things were going so well but because of love and because the world was and is desperate for love.

Share the love of God with people in a hurting world. Be love... be patient and kind and hoping and persevering and believing, keeping no record of wrongs and delighting in the truth.

So that when God looks upon his children he will smile for their love and light.

Hymn 206 I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Mark 13:24-37 Nov. 30 / 1st Sunday of Advent
24 “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. 25 The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Human One, the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27 Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.
28 “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. 30 I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.
32 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 33  Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. 34  It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. 35 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. 36  Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!”