New Year's Eve Comments

Posted by Pastor Rob on January 1, 2014

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 starts off with "for everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." On this night we take time to look back at what has happened in our lives. We all have experienced joys and losses.

In our cultural world we see a baby entering the world as Father Time leaves it. That shows you how much we age or wear out over the course of a year. For example, look at a president's picture at the beginning of his administration and at the conclusion of their time in serving.

You are no different during the year. You too have had great joy and probably great sorrows during this past year. This pattern has continued since Adam & Eve were thrown out of the garden by God due to their sins.

As we end the year 2013 take time to reflect backwards.

A Thanksgiving Meal for Your Soul

Posted by Pastor Rob on November 22, 2013

As you and your family gather around the table this holiday season, stuffing yourself as we all do with more things than we stuff the Thanksgiving turkey remember, that there is only one source of food that will fully suffice us for all eternity. That is "the bread of life that has come from heaven". In the Old Testament when the children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years, God sustained his people. Each and every morning, "manna" was given to them by God: to gather, to prepare, and to eat. (God has always provided for us but it does take some effort on our part – He usually doesn't serve us breakfast in bed) This kind of physical food indeed sustains our bodies and is needed daily. God knows that! We pray and he responds – "give us our daily bread".

What are you adding on for Lent?

Posted by Pastor Dave on February 15, 2013

We have entered the season of Lent. Many Christians will be asking, "What are you giving up for Lent?" And so we answer, "chocolate" or "sweets" or "a trip to Cancun" (which you were not planning on anyhow!). It's as if we have to punish ourselves in some way to observe Lent. This has become a normal question for Lent. We are so used to it the habit is hard to break.

However, Lent is a 40-day "season of spiritual preparation. During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism [on Easter Sunday]. It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins and had separated themselves from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness and restored to participation in the life of the church." (UM Book of Worship, 1992) I doubt that giving up chocolate is what the early church had in mind!

The Father and the Son

Posted by Pastor Dave on January 18, 2013

Sometimes there is nothing better than a story to make a point. Preachers will frequently maim and kill for a good story that serves to illustrate a point. We can be hunters on the prowl. So, I am going to get out of the way this issue and share the following story, the source of which has long been lost.

Christmas is coming. But remember, it’s not your birthday!

Posted by Pastor Dave on December 19, 2012

What if you were to give away a percentage of what you spend this Christmas? What if we were to share our resources in a dramatic and intentional way that illustrates our deep gratitude to God for life, for faith, for family? Seriously! You can, if you choose, give a tithe (10%) or more of what you spend on yourselves and others. You can cut your spending in half of what you usually spend and give the other 50% away. You really could. Celebrate the birthday of Jesus, God's son, by intentional giving, maybe even sacrificing for those in need.

Suffering Produces Endurance

Posted by Pastor Dave on March 9, 2012

It's that time of the year when gardeners are planning to get the soil ready for gardens and flower beds. At our house the soil is a lumpy clay, hard to break up. We lack rich topsoil. This year I plan to mix in more manure in the flower bed to enrich the soil and hopefully to break down some of that clay.

Recently I heard Ned Conklin, former Virginia Extension agent for Shenandoah County, say that the topsoil here in the valley is an average of about 4 inches – not very deep at all. But at Meems Bottom, the topsoil is 5 feet deep (60 inches!). Can you imagine that? Four inches here; five feet there!? There is no limit to what can grow there. Why?

Foundations of the Faith

Posted by Pastor Dave on February 24, 2012

For a few Sundays in January and February I will be preaching and teaching sermons that are designed to increase our appreciation of the classic doctrines of salvation, grace, redemption, justification and sanctification. When the foundation is built we are standing on ground that will not shake though all around us shakes.