Showing posts from July, 2017

Seaside With Jesus: Sleeping Through The Storms - Matthew 8:23-27

One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small boy into bed.  She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?"
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug.  "I can't, dear," she said.  "I have to sleep in Daddy's room."
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."

John Wesley, one of the founding brothers, along with his brother Charles, of the Methodist movement that began as a reform within the Church of England and now has grown to be what we know as the United Methodist Church, was not known as a cowardly person.  In fact, there were times that he placed himself in situations that we might have avoided if we were in that time frame.  However, on a cross-Atlantic journey, a massive storm came upon the ship transporting Wesley and other passengers.  The storm tossed the ship around like a boat in …

Storm Warnings - Matthew 7:24-29 (Wed Night Reflection)

Now I will tell you that since I have been on Harkers Island, my phone has stayed lit up with one weather warning after another for severe thunderstorms…and with the exception of one or two that came during the night, they have failed to materialize.  They head for the Island, and then as if there is a dome over us, they dissipate or go around us.  One morning I was out on the front porch having my devotional time sometime before daybreak and I literally watched the storm skirt around the outside of the Island.  It started off to the west, around behind the parsonage, and I watched as lightning streaks moved from west to east, moving from behind the parsonage, across the horizon in front of me, until they disappeared around the eastern side of our home.
I have grown weary of those warnings and have just about come to the point of ignoring them.  Yesterday there were no warnings that came across my phone.  I had come home from a day of visiting under beautiful skies.  We ate a quick s…

Seaside With Jesus: Life Interrupted -- Matthew 4:18-22

How many of us truly like interruptions, interruptions in our activities, our plans, or our lives?  Maybe you’ve just sat down to lunch or supper…maybe you’ve settled down to watch your favorite television show…maybe you and your spouse are having the first time alone you’ve had all week…or maybe you’ve just settled down for a mid-afternoon nap.  Suddenly you get a knock at the door, your telephone rings, or, nowadays, you get a series of text alerts.  You stop what you are doing only to find out you’ve been interrupted by a telemarketer, a door-to-door solicitor, or the pastor.  Or maybe you’re that pastor working on a Saturday morning enjoying your pizer while working on the sermon and your wife keeps showing you humorous Facebook videos that their aunt is posting (and not one of them is illustrating worthy for that Sunday’s sermon). Some of those kinds of interruptions are almost expected, and while, possibly aggravating or annoying, aren’t that bad.  Sometimes interruptions are goo…

Before PokemonGo, Jesus Said "Go" -- Matthew 28:18-20 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

Last year a game released for mobile phone and tablet users that has taking over the mobile gaming industry. In 2013 Candy Crush’s candy matching game took the lead as the most played mobile game, but it was quickly pushed aside over the past year by users in search of elusive little pocket monsters for collection and battle.  It was July of 2016 that Niantic released Pok√©monGo…and changed the mobile game industry.  As opposed to Candy Crush type games that you can just sit and play, Pok√©monGo was designed to get folks out and about.  Landmarks, Museums, Churches (like HIUMC), and other places of interest were marked as either Pokestops (where gear to play can be collected) or Gyms (where battles are held).  In addition to catching Pokemon in the wild, eggs can be hatched through walking with the game app opened up.  The game was designed to get folks active while playing a game.
I will tell you that I was initially opposed to (mostly out of ignorance and judgment) and not interested…

Seaside With Jesus: Kingdom Reality -- Matthew 4:12-17

Today we begin a new series.  Many, if not most, of you have lived by the sea your whole lives…or at least by the sound.  Other than a vacation now and then, I haven’t.  Yet, for most of my life, I have been I have been connected to one who chose to settle by the sea…one who lived, taught, and even walked across the sea.  For those of you who have looked online at some of the sermons from St. Paul’s, you have noticed that I tend to preach sermon series’s.  And while I, being honest with you, may at some time revisit some of those series with you here at Harkers Island, as I began praying and reflecting on where to begin a series here, God led me seaside…as so we begin today, and will at least through the rest of this month and next, be Seaside with Jesus—examining the life, actions, and teaching of Jesus at times when He found Himself near the water.
They are possibly the most popular and feared words of any family trip—well, after the “I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” that is said w…

Oreos and Cigarettes - Romans 7:15-25a

Do you ever have a hard time figuring yourself out?  I have those times.  We have cookies in the house so that if Joshua wants some cookies there will be some.  It just so happens that often we keep my favorite kind on hand, the golden, double-stuff Oreos.  I will see them and think to myself, “No, you do not need to eat any of those cookies.”  A little while later, there will be a craving for something sweet.  “No, you do not need any of those cookies.”  I’ll fix myself a cup of coffee.  “Well, maybe just two or three of those cookies wouldn’t be so bad…it’s not like I’m going to eat them every day.”  So I quietly open the package, like if I hide the fact that I’m doing it from everyone else in the house, I’m hiding it from myself, and get out two or three.  I dip them in my coffee and enjoy them.  Then I look and I am out of cookies and still have a good bit of coffee left.  “Well, maybe a couple of more won’t hurt.”  And it keeps going on until I look down and a whole row of those…

Stepping Stones (Harkers Island Intro) - Psalm 119:105-112

The pastor of a new appointment and two of the church members are out on the river fishing in their boat. Twelve o'clock rolls around, and one of the members notices a nice spot on the bank to have lunch. He turns to the others and says, "That looks like a nice spot for lunch. What do you say we have eat over there?"
The other member agrees, and so does the pastor. The first member stands up in the boat, steps out onto the river and walks over to the bank. The pastor looks on with amazement, and thinks to himself, if this member is holy enough to walk on water, surely he can.
The other member stands up, picks up the picnic basket, steps out of the boat, and walks over to the bank and sits with the first member. Again, the pastor thinks, if his members are holy enough to walk on water, surely he can.
The pastor stands up, steps out of the boat, and sinks into the water. The first member turns to the second and says, "Think we should have told him where the stepping s…