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EASTER MAKES THINGS LESS CERTAIN

To get maximum benefit from this post, you will want to do the following: Think about a time when something you thought to be one-hundred percent true was cast into doubt - a time when something of which you were completely certain became uncertain.
According to the way the Bible tells it, Easter is first and foremost about that kind of uncertainty.The people who came to the empty tomb that first Easter morning came to it certain about a part of their lives, and, after they left the empty tomb, they were more uncertain about it then they had ever been.
And what certainty does Easter seek to make less certain?
When followers of Jesus went to the tomb that first Easter morning, they were certain that Jesus’ life was completely over.Why else would they bring spices with them?They came with spices that were used to embalm dead bodies so that the stench from the tombs wouldn’t be overwhelming.They came expecting what had been their experience - that death eventually has the last word on e…
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DUST, DEATH AND DISCIPLESHIP

Lent is that forty-day period before Easter that many churches have set aside as a time of reflection upon Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and our response to that sacrifice.Lent, basically, is a season of spiritual inventory.
In Genesis 2:4b-7, we read how God created us out of dust.In Genesis 3:1-19, we read how we will return to that dust.Physically speaking, our origin and our destination are one and the same – dust!
Do you know that household dust is made up mostly of the discarded skin cells of the occupants of that house?Sometime, when you’re brave and you can handle a sobering dose of biblical reality, lift up the bedspread from where it touches the floor, get on your hands and knees and stare your mortality square in the face!
Doing so is part of what Lent is all about.That’s why some people have cross-shaped smears of ashes put on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday.Those smears are a reminder that we are all returning to dust, which is a rather euphemistic way of saying that w…
WORSHIP STARTS A FIRE
“I don’t need to go to worship to experience God.God is everywhere, so I can experience God anywhere – in the park, on a golf course or resting in my bed on Sunday morning.It doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with.I can experience God anywhere I want and any way I want.”
I’ve heard people say something like that many times.It sounds so right and so true – and I believe parts of it are right and true.
It’s true, I believe – God is everywhere.
It’s true, I believe - you can potentially experience God anywhere.(God is not confined to little boxes called church buildings.)
However, just because something is everywhere doesn’t mean that you can experience it the same way everywhere.
Take the sun, for instance.
I think it’s fair to say that the power of the sun is pretty much everywhere.(If it weren’t, we’d all be ice cubes!)However, there are certain things which can intensify that power for us.
Walk outside on a nice day.Put a piece of paper on the ground.Wait.Nothing ha…
HOPE AND CONSEQUENCES
Have you ever felt that something or someone was just too far gone?
I mean like when your favorite team is losing so bad that, even though the game isn’t over, it’s over.It’s too far gone.You turn off the TV and go to bed.
Or, like when a car you’ve enjoyed for years starts to need repair after repair after repair.You want to hang on to it.It’s served you well.You like the way it looks.You like the way it rides.You don’t want another car payment.But your current car is just not long for this world.It’s too far gone.You buy another car.
Maybe it’s a person.This person keeps making the same dumb mistake over and over and over again and it’s just destroying him or her.You care about this person, but you know there’s nothing you can do to affect a change in the person’s life.He or she is just too far gone.
Have you ever felt that a person is too far gone for God?Have you ever felt that you were too far gone for God?Do you feel that way now?
The people of Judah once f…
CHRISTMAS MEANS GOD WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES

Soon many of us will be doing those things that signal the approach of Christmas – shopping, sending cards, buying and decorating trees and hosting friends and family.With so much to do during this time of year, it's easy to forget what Christmas really means.
I know Рthat's a clich̩.It's true, though.
Take a few moments with me in this article and consider what God did to make Christmas a reality for us.
Christmas is all about God entering the world as a human being and starting were we all start – as a baby.
Granted, many of us have heard about the baby Jesus being God-in-the-flesh.How often have we stopped and actually thought about what that meant for God?
Quite frankly, birth doesn't look like a very pleasant experience.God went through that.Why?
Babies often have runny noses.Did God have a runny nose?I believe that Christmas says, “Yes.”It doesn't seem like a very dignified thing for the Creator of the universe t…
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CHRISTIAN?CONSIDER THE FOUR L’S!
The mission statement of the Newtown United Methodist Church is “Helping Christians Grow and Growing New Christians.”This statement raises a very important question: What does it mean to be a Christian?Arriving at a shared understanding of what makes a Christian a Christian is crucial for us at NUMC if we’re going to fulfill our mission!
One understanding of what it means to be a Christian is that a Christian is a disciple of Jesus.The word “disciple” is based on a word which means “a pupil of a teacher” or, simply, “a learner.”Jesus said that we are to be making disciples (see Matthew 28:16-20).Another understanding of what it means to be a Christian is that a Christian is one who follows Jesus.Jesus also said that we are meant to follow him (see Matthew 16:24-26). Another understanding is that a Christian is a miniature version of Jesus or “a little Christ” (which is the literal meaning of the word).The Bible certainly has man…
30, 60, 90 AND BEYOND!
What is the best way for a new pastor to get started in a congregation?That’s a question I’ve been asking myself quite a bit since I moved to the Newtown United Methodist Church!
There are many ways to answer that question.One is answer is that the best way to get started is to make some big decisions shortly after arriving so the people in your congregation realize that the new pastor is a decisive leader.Another answer is that the best way to get started is to quickly begin a new program (which is guaranteed to be a success) so people realize that the new pastor is effective at making things happen.Another answer is to rapidly make changes where needed while the “Honeymoon Effect” is still in full swing so as to get the maximum strategic leverage from the start up period.
My answer is to that question is a little different from those above.Even though my hope and prayer is that you will realize that I am an effective leader, that I can make things happen (by God…