Category Archives: Pastor’s Page

Tim’s Tidbits

Lent.  What does this word mean to the Christian world?

The season of Lent is a 40-day period preceding Easter (not counting Sundays).  The number 40 has significance because it was the number of years the Israelites wandered in the desert after their departure from Egypt, and it represents the number of days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness following his baptism. <!–split–>

The liturgical color for Lent is purple; a symbol of passion and repentance, as well as royalty.  We are reminded to prepare our hearts and lives for the coming of the king of glory, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We read in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus came as the light of the world, but the world resisted his illumination.  We read in John 3:19-20, “Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.”

Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lent season and a time of personal reflection with our celebration of Ash Wednesday.  As we move through this Lenten season, let us ponder whether our lives are bringing darkness or light into this world.

See you Sunday if not before.

Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

The past couple of months have been rather burdensome to many people.  There has been illness, death, feelings of loneliness, extended travel; not to mention the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the post-holiday letdown. <!–split–>

But whatever the burden, remember that you are never alone on your journey.  God is always here, promising to never leave us nor forsake us along the way.  We just have to rely on him, allowing his love and grace to bring peace and joy to our life.

How often do we try to handle life’s situations by ourselves, thinking we need no help from anyone or anything?  Or how often have we kept a burden inside, not sharing with someone?  And this includes shutting out God.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

There is no need to feel weighed down by life’s burdens.  People can be their own worst enemy.  If you are carrying any burden today, give it to God.  Let God be your heavyweight and carry it for you.

When we are weighed down with burdens, in all probability, we are not capable of experiencing God’s love because our focus is inward.  We are feeling sorry for our self.  But by allowing God to control the situation, we are free to live the full, abundant life that Jesus came to give us and that God wants us to live.

There is a song in our hymnal titled “Leave It There.”  The chorus goes like this:

“Leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.  If you trust and never doubt, he will surely bring you out; take you burden to the Lord and leave it there.”

See you Sunday, if not before.

Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

Myra and I have had numerous conversations over the years stating that it would sure be nice if life would be normal again.  And by that we are thinking about when life was not so hectic and we didn’t have many of the responsibilities that we have today.  But as we have gotten older, and hopefully more mature and wiser, we have come to realize that normal is what is happening now. <!–split–>

I often hear people remark that they are looking for life to return to normal  following the holiday season.  The “Big Day” has come and gone; Christmas has been or will soon be packed away for the next 11 months; life will be less stressful and hectic (we hope); life will return to normal.

For Mary and Joseph their normal has taken a huge hit.  Mary is now the mother of the Son of God.  Joseph, a carpenter, has now taken on the role of Jesus’ father.  Where is their normal?

For anyone who has reared children you know the responsibility.  I have commented it would have been nice if our children came with an instruction manual.  But they don’t and often we learn through OJT (on-the-job training).

As we move forward into 2017, let’s keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts, our homes, our church, our workplace; in everything we say and do.  And always remember the true meaning for not only Christmas, but every season and every day of our life is celebrating and worshiping Jesus Christ.

Let’s not be too busy this year that we don’t live a normal life that includes Jesus Christ.

See you Sunday, if not before.

Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

We often hear people complain about department stores putting up Christmas decorations too early.  Or that the merchandisers are only thinking of commercial gain.  I have been guilty of this a time or two.  But when we think about the symbols of Christmas, they really can’t be displayed too early.  The wreaths, lights, red bows, decorated trees, presents; all remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. <!–split–>

While on vacation recently in Branson, Myra and I saw several shows, including The Hughes Brothers Christmas Show.  The second half of that show focused on the symbols of Christmas.   I want to share some of their show symbols with you.

The Wreath … eternal love, no beginning nor end.  Love comes full circle.

The Candle … the light of Christ that shines in each of us.

The Gifts … giving, sharing, thinking of others.

The Bow … tied in the bonds of brotherly/sisterly love.

The Bell … rings to bring lost sheep home.

The Tree … the evergreen of everlasting life, pointing heavenward.

The Candy Cane … shepherd’s crook for bringing lambs back to the fold.

The Red … the Savior’s sacrifice for all.

The Star … the Bethlehem star, a sign of prophecy, the light of the world.

Each of these symbols help us to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas – Jesus Christ.

Myra and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you Sunday, if not before – Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

The autumn season is in full swing and I have seen numerous reminders on the internet and Facebook of what is coming up.  To start with there have been pictures reminding us that snow is on the way.  Also, when you receive this, Halloween will be over for another year.  But at the time of this writing there is 1 more Friday before Halloween, 4 more Fridays before Thanksgiving, 9 more Fridays before Christmas and 10 more Fridays before New Year’s Day.  It seems that each year people tend to rush faster and faster to the holidays. <!–split–>

But let’s take a pause to reflect on what happens in the month of November.  There are numerous events/holidays to celebrate.  The first is November 1st – All Saints Day.  We have a day to celebrate those who are no longer with us, but have been an instrument to shape and mold us into who we are today.  This will include parents, grandparents, spouses, children, aunts and uncles, other family members; maybe a boss or even a Sunday school teacher or pastor.

Next is November 11th – Veteran’s Day.  We have the opportunity to celebrate and to remember those who fought for our freedoms that we enjoy every day as an American.  There have been many wars fought, many lives taken, many were injured, and many are still fighting.  If you haven’t done so lately, thank a veteran for their service and your freedom.

Finally November 24th is Thanksgiving Day.  This is not a day to solely feed our faces or to watch football all day on TV, or even to kick off the Christmas season; but instead is a day to give thanks for the bounty that God has supplied.  We give thanks for such things as family, friends, church, careers and jobs, recreational activities, farmers and the food (meat and grain) they grow so that we will have food on our tables.  But most of all we thank God that He loves us so much He sent Jesus to save and redeem us and all we have to do is believe and we will have eternal life.  Almost sounds too easy doesn’t it?

Take a moment to reflect on what God has blessed you with during your lifetime and   consider where you would be without God in your life.

See you Sunday if not before,    Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

I have to admit that this is my favorite time of the year.  I love the cooler temperatures, the bright autumn colors of red, orange, yellow, and purple as the leaves begin to change colors, mums and other fall blooming flowers, hayrides, the smell of a campfire to roast hotdogs and marshmallows and to huddle around on a cool evening. <!–split–>

There is also the excitement of the fall sports season with football, soccer, volleyball, and golf.  There is Homecoming and class reunions.

It is also a time to celebrate the life of the church and the many blessings we experience every day through our service to God.  We have many opportunities to witness and share the gospel of Jesus Christ through the various activities we participate in.

One way to celebrate is through our annual Stewardship campaign.  As God blesses us we want to give back to show our love for God and to enable others to come to know the God who loves us all; the God we love and worship, and to receive those same blessings.  Ways in which we  celebrate are through our giving, both monetarily as well as serving.

We read in scripture concerning tithing.  In Leviticus 27:32 we read that every tenth one of the flock and herd shall be holy to the Lord.  It belongs to God.  If every member of Bethel Wesley UMC gave a tithe of 10% imagine what we can do for the Lord.  The dollar amount may differ among the people, but the proportion is the same.

Also consider the ways in which you serve.  There may be an area of service that you have thought about but never acted on those thoughts.  You may have felt inadequate to serve.  Remember that God will use you as he wills, giving you the necessary gifts and tools to do the job.

Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

The past few weeks we have had several opportunities to consider our prayer life as we watched “War Room” and to be actively involved in prayer ministry during our prayer vigil for the school year. <!–split–>

I subscribe to a daily devotional wet site from Max Lucado. The following is from a recent posting that I found interesting concerning prayer and wanted to share it with you. Prayer is a great opportunity to foster relationships and to seek God’s will for our church.

Most of us struggle with prayer. We forget to pray. And when we do, our minds drift; our thoughts scatter like a covey of quail. Why is this? Prayer requires minimal effort. No location is prescribed. No particular clothing is required. Yet you’d think we were wrestling a greased pig.

Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers any way he can. Our battle with prayer isn’t entirely our fault. The Devil knows the stories; he knows what happens when we pray. He knows the Scripture, “Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places (2 Corinthians 10:4). Satan is not troubled when Max writes a book or prepares a sermon, but his knobby knees tremble when Max prays.

Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself between us and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move forward in prayer. So let’s do it … let’s pray!

How about starting a prayer group today. Small groups such as prayer and study groups have been instrumental to the life and success of the UMC.

See you Sunday if not before.

Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

As I write this article this month, the news media is full of reports concerning violence across our country.  The latest is an ambush on policemen in Baton Rouge, LA.  There have been protest marches; violent acts of crime against police officers and other individuals; and we have to be asking ourselves, “When will it all stop?”  My answer for this is that it won’t stop until  Jesus returns. <!–split–>

Throughout history, even back to biblical days, there has been conflicts, battles, even wars.  Just look at how the Israelite nation conquered the Promised Land.  The only difference is they did it at God’s command.  And when they didn’t follow God’s lead they were always defeated.  They did have periods of peace, and today some countries may experience peace for a period of time, but there is always news of fighting somewhere in our world.

Recently in our worship services I presented some traffic signs that are appropriate for our spiritual journey as well as our physical journey down life’s highway.  Obeying these signs can bring peace to our lives.  In case you missed it the signs were:

STOP – stop sinning resulting in undue pain and hardship.

U-turn – turn to God for repentance and forgiveness.

YIELD – putting other people and their needs before your own.

ONE WAY – there is only one way for salvation and eternal life and that is Jesus.

Kris also talked with the children about signs and some ways we can see God at work in our lives.  When we allow God to work through us, we have peace.  Jill even got in on the act as she shared that we can be signs of peace, God’s peace, using the song lyric “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Jesus came as the Prince of Peace.  But because so many people rejected him there was conflict.  Do we lack peace because we have rejected Jesus?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

See you Sunday if not before —   Pastor Tim

TIM’S TIDBITS

The summer season is in full swing. School is out and graduations have sent many young adults into a new chapter of their life. Little league baseball/softball diamonds as well as outdoor volleyball courts are a flurry of activity. Swimming pools are once again a big splash. The BBQ grill is getting fired up. Summer vacations and visits to relatives are on the horizon. A lot of time is being spent on leisurely activity.  <!–split–>

Hopefully leisurely doesn’t describe your spiritual life when it comes to your summer calendar. Just because it is summer doesn’t mean we have time off. We are called to Christian service 24/7/365.

Our relationship with God is a working relationship. It is not something that we can actively participate in today and take a day or two off. It is daily.

In Revelation 2:2,5b, John writes where Jesus is telling the church of Ephesus, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance…do the works you did at first.” God sees and knows all. We are not able to hide anything from God. Although we may try, we just can’t. God knows our works; knowing our thoughts, words, and actions; knowing the motives and reasons.

When we seek the ways of the world instead of the will of God we tend to get off course as to where God is leading. And we need to be brought back, remembering what we first did and why we did it. God is to be our top priority, even during the summer when we have a tendency to be slackers.

We also read in James 2:26 that “Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” Keeping the works going in the summer, as well as the rest of the year, will only strengthen and enhance our relationship with God; deepening our faith. Nothing will please God more than to have a strong and healthy relationship with each one of us.

So as you are sitting on your patio or porch, resting under a shade tree, or just relaxing for the day, take a moment to spend some time with God. You will be glad you did.

See you Sunday if not before.

Pastor Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

It is hard to believe the spring season is here, March Madness is winding down, and Easter was this past Sunday. It seems like just last week we were celebrating Christmas. But time marches on and so do we. <!–split–>

The Easter celebration is a big part of the Christian’s life. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, we would not be the recipients of such wonderful gifts known as salvation and eternal life. For it is only through the resurrection that we experience new life: a new life in Christ.

We know the entire Easter story, but imagine if you had been one of the disciples living the story. Would you have reacted as the disciples did? Would you have believed Jesus if he proclaimed that he was about to be handed over to the officials, die, and come back in 3 days? They didn’t quite understand, and I would venture a guess that if any of us were in the same position, we would act the same way.

We live today as Easter people, living in the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. He is a living and loving Lord. We experience the evil forces trying to destroy our faith, trying to rid the world of Christianity, trying to denounce the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In John’s gospel we read that Jesus is the true light coming into the world shining in the darkness. But people have tried to extinguish the light of Christ through hatred and fear, material stuff, manipulation, betrayal, rejection, seeking someone other than Jesus.

As we studied in our Lenten study on the Lord’s prayer, we live in a world created by God, living by God’s principles, receiving the food we need for our physical bodies as well as our spiritual bodies, seeking God’s forgiveness for past sins and protection from future evils. And we give him praise for all this.

In essence, we are not extinguishing the light but keeping it shining. Let us go into the world letting Jesus’ light shine in our life to light the way for someone else.

See you Sunday, if not before –   Pastor Tim