Category Archives: Pastor’s Page

From the Desk of Pastor Stan

“This book of law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and they you shall have good success.”   Joshua 1:8 (RSV)

Our God had no intentions for any Christians to operate under the conditions of stress. It should be noted that Jesus actually took on the curse of our sins. Jesus also took on the curse of stress that we might receive PEACE and REST.

Moving forward, I plan to share my thoughts on how each and every one of us can learn what it means to find rest in God’s Word and His Love. <!–split–>

I am often asked, Pastor Stan, you always appear to be so positive and upbeat. How do you do it and what’s your secret? Well, first and foremost let me say that I have my moments when I don’t feel the presence of God and any peace at all. But what I have learned to do is meditate on God’s word. Some Christians, when they hear the word meditate, often associate it with being a difficult and often time-consuming task. Actually, I have found that meditating on God’s word is actually refreshing and uplifting.

Rick Warren (founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Forest Lake CA) said in his book, The Purpose Driven Life the following about meditation.

Meditation is ‘thinking about God’ – His essence, His desires, His plans, His mercy, through each day. And the only way a Christian can do this is by knowing God – and the only way a Christian can know God is through His Word. Meditation allows God to share His secrets (revelations) with His children – to speak to His children in a close and personal way. To properly meditate requires a life of studying God’s thoughts recorded in the Bible.

Let me say meditation isn’t easy; however, meditation can change your life. Are there areas in your life that need to be changed or refreshed? As recorded in Joshua 1:8, meditating on God’s Word day and night will enable us to prosper and be successful in every area of our lives.

There are 3 steps that we must adhere to, to master the art of meditation. We must memorize, personalize, and visualize. Some people get uptight at the mention of the word, memorize. Some may even say I’m too old. Jesus promised us in John 14:26 “that our Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom that Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” This is very important in the process of meditation because we have to spend time reading our Bibles.

The second step to meditation for me is to personalize God’s Word. As I read God’s Word, I often say, this is God’s Word for me regarding this situation and God is no respecter of person. In other words, God’s promises are for me and others who embrace His Word. Finally, I visualize when meditating on God’s Word by accepting God’s Word as a reality in my life.

Like Joshua, I want my life to be a testimony of the power of meditation and the  blessings it brings. Like Joshua even in my mistakes I desire to be prosperous and successful in advancing the Kingdom of God. Spreading love and hope. Sharing the beauty of a love that was exhibited on an old rugged cross.

Like the Apostle Paul, “Oh that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”

Tim’s Tidbits

As Myra and I prepare to say goodbye to you as your pastor, we also say goodbye as your friends. With each appointment there are lasting relationships forged, and we are grateful for each and every one of them. Even though pastors are told that we are not here to be your friends, but to be your pastor, it is hard not to make friends as we become part of your family. We have laughed and cried together, served together, agreed on some things and disagreed on others. <!–split–>

We are also grateful for the many blessings we have received from God through each of you. We never know how or when we are going to affect someone’s life, but God opens the door to make blessings happen.

As we pack and get things in order to make the move, I am reminded of Abraham and Sarah when God called them to go to Canaan. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. So Abraham went as the Lord had told him: and Lot went with him. Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from Haran. Abraham took his wife Sarah and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered and the persons they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go the land of Canaan.” Genesis 12:1, 4-5.

They didn’t have the modern conveniences that we have today to make their move possible, such as a moving company. It was done on foot with donkeys and other pack animals. They also didn’t have a lot of the material possessions that we have amassed over the years. I’m sure they didn’t have a cabinet full of Tupperware, dining room furniture with a hutch full of china, and they definitely didn’t have totes of seasonal decorations. Their life was simplified compared to the life we live today.

But the one thing that we can always count on is God’s constant love and abiding care to help us, whoever and wherever we are. As we submit to God’s will, being faithful and obedient servants, God will bless us on our journey. God will bless us as we venture to Norris City and  God will bless Bethel Wesley as you journey forward under the leadership of a new pastor.

Many people will pass through your life and through the doors of the church. We welcome each opportunity s a blessing from God. As we move forward, we continue to keep each of you in our prayers as God’s blessing abound.

See you Sunday, if not before.

Tim

Tim’s Tidbits

Jesus has resurrected.  Spring has sprung.  We see new life and changes happening all around us.

One of those changes is coming with a change in pastor leadership for Bethel Wesley.   If you have not already heard, Myra and I have been appointed to serve the Norris City/Shiloh charge in the Cache River District.  We are very excited to be closer to our families, but at the same time saddened to leave you.  We have met and made new friends in Christ. <!–split–>

In the time that we have spent here there have been some changes take place.  There has been the revitalization of the 9:00 a.m. contemporary worship service.  And with the quarterly combined worship services, I feel that there has been some sense of unity.  While there are still some who stand firm in the fact that they do not like the other worship style, many have been amicable and accepted what is taking place.  But still, progress is being made, and there are sure to be future changes as the church proceeds forward.  Often times baby steps are the best steps we can take.

There has also been a sense of pride with the new fence, landscaping and courtyard at the parsonage.  From what it was when we came to what it is now, it was definitely a needed change and has been a morale booster.

We read in scripture many accounts where Jesus changed the lives of everyone who came into contact with him.  And that is why he was rejected so; because of the change he was bringing to the world.  Hopefully and prayerfully he has changed you over the course of the past two years.

This past Sunday was the closing for the spring QC Emmaus men’s walk.  And the testimonies that the pilgrims share concerning their experience is awesome.  New relationships are forged and old relationships are renewed.  Some are even transformed and changed.

But through it all, God is at work to bring about his will for our lives in special ways, and often in unexpected ways.  As Bethel Wesley moves forward under new pastoral leadership, I pray that the work that was begun, and the changes that have taken place in my tenure will help guide you into the future.

See you Sunday if not before.

Tim’s Tidbits

  • Joins us Easter Sunday for our Sunrise Service at 6:30 am.  (West parking lot; please bring a lawn chair.)
  • Easter Breakfast (including pancakes) will follow.
  • One Easter Worship Service in the Sanctuary at 10:00 am.

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of Lent, heading straight for Easter and the resurrection celebration. Praise God that we live as Easter people and not Good Friday people.

As we look at the events leading up to Easter, we find them to be somewhat dismal and depressing. For the week to take such a turn, as it did from Palm Sunday, is almost beyond belief. <!–split–>

The week started out with such joy and jubilation as Jesus entered Jerusalem. There was the waving of palm branches and the shouts of “Hosanna!” as Jesus rode into town on the colt. But while many people were excited to see Jesus, there were some who were trying to find some way, any way, to get him out of the picture.

As Jesus sat in the upper room with the disciples on Thursday, he knew this would be his last meal with them before his death.

Satan was definitely at work this week as he came to Judas Iscariot and convinced him to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was also working on Peter when after promising Jesus to never deny  him, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times in the courtyard following Jesus’ arrest as he left the Garden of Gethsemane.

There were the Roman soldiers, Pilate, the unruly mob, the trumped-up charges; Jesus being mocked and beaten, the questionable trial and conviction, the shouts of “crucify”, the desertion by the disciples, and ultimately death on the cross. But this all took place to fulfill the scriptures. Jesus endured all this for us so that we might have the gift of salvation and eternal life.

The celebration of Palm Sunday comes full circle as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. Satan may have appeared to win the battle, but he definitely didn’t win the war. With the events of Holy Week, Jesus is victorious over death on Easter as he arose from the grave, and is alive forevermore.

As we continue this Lenten season in anticipation of Easter Sunday, reflect on your relationship with Jesus. Have you ever deserted or denied or even betrayed him? Have there been weak moments when your personal shouts of “Hosanna!”  turned to jeers and sneers, and possibly shouts of “Crucify?”

Also reflect on the relationship you have with the risen Christ through the resurrection. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”

See you Sunday, if not before,    Pastor Tim

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